Department of English

University of Toronto

Cross-listed Courses

Courses are TBA and will be included here as they become available.


The Nineteenth-Century Information Age: Readers, Markets, and Media (2016-17)
A. Esterhammer (Department of English)

This course looks at current work in print culture and media history using nineteenth-century Britain and Europe as a source of case studies. Focusing on primary texts together with recent research, we will discuss the evolution of the literary marketplace from 1800 to 1840, reading habits, visual media and new technologies, and the popularity of periodicals and magazines. We will emphasize the reciprocal influence of publishing and marketing practices on genre, content, interpretation, and reception. Developments to be studied include the trend toward shorter prose forms and serial fiction; experiments with hybrid genres; notions of authorship, authority, and authenticity; and complex relationships among editors, authors, and readers that involve pseudonymity and hoaxing.

Seminars will allow participants to bring their own research interests into relation with course material in presentations leading to term papers. These projects may expand on some aspect of nineteenth-century print culture or explore how new research tools and methodologies including digital humanities can be used to study this period. Alternatively, participants may apply a theme or theory studied in the course to their own period/area of focus (e.g., editor-author-reader relationships, the evolution of genre in tandem with new media and technology).

Term: Winter S-Term (January - April 2017),  Wednesdays, 3:00pm-6:00pm;
Location: Northrop Frye Centre, Victoria College (room VC102)

Link to Book History & Print Culture Website:



Link to CompLit website: 

COL 1000HF
U. Esonwanne

This course is a general introduction to the field of comparative literature, to contemporary theory, and to modern approaches to literary texts. It involves the participation of Comparative Literature faculty discussing issues that arise in the comparison of different literatures or research across disciplines or across media. It is taken by all MA and all first-year PhD students and is intended to provide guidance for more advanced work in specific critical domains.

Class Participation 20%
Two Position Papers 40% (4-5 pages maximum per paper; due dates TBA)
Research Essay 40% (5000-7000 words, max; due date TBA)

The research essay should address either an issue involving comparison that came up during the course or the comparative implications of the student’s own research project. Each class will involve the participation of Comparative Literature faculty.

F-term (September 2016 - December 2016), Fridays, 2:00 pm-4:30 pm
Comparative Literature courses are taught at the Centre for Comparative Literature, Isabel Bader Theatre, 3rd floor, Linda Hutcheon Seminar Room (BT319).


V. Li

The writings of the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben have, in recent years, been widely cited and discussed by literary, social and political theorists. At once erudite and provocative, Agamben’s work calls for a profound reassessment of such fundamental concepts as the human, language, sovereignty, and the politics of life and death. Critical of those forms of decision and definition that lead to lethal states of exception as exemplified in the figure of the homo sacer (the person who can be killed without legal consequences) and the concentration camp, Agamben is alert to the task of keeping open what he calls “potentiality,” the state of non-actualization that is also the modality of the not-yet that holds out the possibility of creativity and hope. This course will examine Agamben’s influential work (The Coming Community, Homo Sacer, State of Exception, The Open and The Use of Bodies among others) in relation to examples drawn from literature (Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” and Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians) and our contemporary world (the “war on terror” and the pervasiveness of biopolitics in all facets of life).

Seminar participation and weekly responses: 20%
Seminar presentation and write-up: 30%
Final essay: 50%

F-term (September 2016 - December 2016), Wednesdays, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm 
Comparative Literature courses are taught at the Centre for Comparative Literature, Isabel Bader Theatre, 3rd floor, Linda Hutcheon Seminar Room (BT319).



Link to DRAMA website:

Modern Drama’s Environments
A. Ackerman

This seminar will situate Ibsen, Strindberg, and Chekhov in the context of environmental humanities, with a coda devoted to Beckett’s post-apocalyptic Endgame.  Our premise is that dramatic texts attend to physical space and the biology of actors. Focusing on late-nineteenth & early-twentieth century drama, we will investigate how this work engages with the material world and is reshaped by theory, imagination, and techne, reconnecting modern drama with the living earth.  In recent decades, theatre practitioners have expanded settings and physical structures of performance in “environmental” theatre, but theatre has always been environmental.  Modern dramatists, attuned to radical changes in their “natural” environments, advocated the renewal of the theatrical environment as integral to renewing the drama.

S-Term (January 2017 - April 2017) Wednesdays, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Location: the Luella Massey Studio Theatre, 4 Glen Morris Street


A. Ackerman

Adaptation, a term of art and biology, raises questions about origins, evolution, and what brings art to life. Like the word performance, adaptation refers to a product and a process. It prompts artists to investigate relations between media, modes, and environments. Stories adapted from folklore have been translated from oral tales to written texts to ballets to movies to music, and so on. What may be gained and lost in the process? Do adaptations acknowledge what is lost? In some sense, all works of art are adaptations; none are totally original. In this seminar we start with Aristotle’s Poetics and Sophocles’ adaptation of the Oedipus legend, before turning to treatments of the Pygmalion myth by Ovid, Shaw, Lerner & Loewe, and others. Next, we examine adaptations of news and historical documents in Living Newspapers, Anna Deavere Smith’s Fires in the Mirror, and Annabel Soutar’s Seeds. Finally, we focus on adapting fiction, using Herman Melville’s story “Bartleby, the Scrivener” as a case study. We will study Linda Hutcheon’s Theory of Adaptation and aspects of artistic form, and create our own adaptations in the theatre.

F-Term (September 2016 - December 2016), Wednesdays, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Location: the Luella Massey Studio Theatre, 4 Glen Morris Street


Top of Page
Return to 2016-2017 Graduate Course Timetable.



(Course Descriptions TBA) Link to CMS website: 

Medieval Representation of Sexual Dissidence
D. Townsend

Course Description: TBA

S-Term (January 2017 - April 2017) Tuesdays, 10:00 am -12:00 noon
Location: LI 301  (Lillian Massey Building, 125 Queen's Park)


Top of Page
Return to 2016-2017 Graduate Course Timetable



Link to Cinema Studies Website:

CIN3010H L0101
Topics in Film and Media Theory:
Making Faces: Identity, Performance, and the Face on Film (exclusion: ENG6070H)
A. Maurice

In this course, we will explore the meaning of the face on screen. Much has been said about the face in cinema, with much of that discourse focusing on the close-up. This course will explore this work while also examining the historical context and material specificity of the face on screen. Beginning in the early silent era, when the close-up was becoming an accepted part of cinematic language, we will examine the numerous ways the face has created meaning on screen, as well as the numerous ways the screen image has shaped our understanding of the face. We will study films and performers that have been central to theories of the screen face, and we will read criticism and theory that takes up the aesthetic, political, and ethical meaning of the face.

Fall 2016: Mondays 9-11, Thursdays 11-1
Location: Room TBA


Top of Page
Return to 2016-2017 Graduate Course Timetable.


Return to Graduate Courses main page.

Site Information:

Site Tools:

Click below for directions to the University of Toronto!

University of Toronto, St. George Campus
Map of St. George Campus
Map of Mississauga Campus
Map of Scarborough Campus