Department of English

University of Toronto

6000 Series 2010-11


This course is intended for graduate students who have not taken an equivalent introductory course at the undergraduate level. Students will be introduced to major figures and texts in the development of twentieth-century literary theory, including work in the fields of marxism, psychoanalysis, structuralism, deconstruction, post- colonialism and theories of gender and sexuality. In any given year, the contents of this course might reflect the particular interests of the instructor, but the course is designed to provide an opening onto a variety of approaches to literary study at an advanced level.


Essay and, depending on numbers, a brief seminar presentation.

The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent Leitch et al.

Thursday 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Room 617, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street


An introduction to and survey of the concept of ideology, a central term for literary study. We’ll begin by examining the development of the term in Marx’s rewriting of Hegel, from The German Ideology to the “fetishism of commodities” in Capital. Are ideology and fetishism the same thing? How does Marx’s thinking about these issues shift over time? Next, we’ll spend the rest of the term examining readings, appropriations, and denunciations of Marx over the last hundred years. What renovation or rejection of the concept of ideology lies in terms such as “reification,” “hegemony,” “false consciousness,” “supplement,” “discourse,” or “distinction”? Is ideology still a useful category for literary analysis? More broadly, does ideology even exist in a postmodern world? Considerable emphasis will be placed on making discussions practical and useful: ideally, the course will function as a supplement to other courses and to individual research interests. No prior familiarity with this material will be assumed.


Class will be organized as a seminar, and enthusiastic participation, active engagement, and energetic critique will be crucial. Requirements will likely include a shorter paper, an oral presentation, and a longer final paper. Authors may include Marx, Hegel (and Kojève), Gramsci, Lukacs, Adorno, Althusser, Foucault, Laclau, Jameson, Bourdieu, Butler, and Žižek.

Monday 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Room 617, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street 


Solemnly, Soren Keirkegaard predicted that repetition would not only "play a very important role in modern philosophy," but that modern philosophy would teach us that life itself "is a repetition." Modern thinkers since Kierkegaard have returned repeatedly to the problematic of repetition, be this in history (Marx), psychic processes (Freud"), ethnology (Eliade), philosophy (Deleuze), or literary theory and criticism (Bloom, Miller, and Said). Now if contemporary art, like the Human Sciences, teach us that life is a repetition, we must ask what precisely life and art repeat, how, and under what circumstances. Are we, like the anthropologist in Amitav Ghosh's In an Antique Land, fated to constantly "recognize" our stories in other media and, thereafter, compelled to retell them in a psychologically redemptive incantatory pattern? Such are the issues that Repetition in Modern Thought and Culture will address.


Course conduct will consist of open discussions, seminar presentations and, where necessary, lectures. Evaluation will be based on seminar presentations (30%), a mini-conference presentation (20%), and research paper (50%).

Films: Apocalypse Now, Disgrace, O brother where art thou?

Literary texts: Homer, The Odyssey (Norton, 1993); Walcott, The Odyssey (1993); Brontë, Jane Eyre (2001); Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (2007); Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1988); Dabydeen, The Intended, Rev. ed. (2005); Shakespeare, The Tempest (1999); Césaire, A Tempest (2002); Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1998); Coetzee, Foe (1986); Walcott, Remembrance & Pantomime: two plays (1980); Sophocles, Antigone (2003); Fugard, The Island (1993).

Secondary Material (Theory):  A course reader consisting of theoretical essays by Deleuze, Derrida, Hutcheon, Kierkegaard, Rimmon-Kenan, Said, Vico, and others.

Thursday 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Room 616, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street


This course will consider the role race has played in defining film genres and film language. We will look primarily at American films — from the silent era to contemporary cinema — and we will consider how the representation of race informs (or deforms) film narratives. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which race, gender, and sexuality intersect in film and film theory. We will look at films in terms of theoretical and critical categories that have been crucial to both film studies and critical race theory (e.g., "the face," "the body," "mimesis and realism," "identification," and "stardom"). By pairing classic examples of film genres with recent revisions of those genres, we will think about the relation between formal and social convention, stereotype and identity, narrative and spectacle, individuality and iterability. How are different kinds of bodies treated in cinema, and how does difference itself structure cinematic narrative? In addition to watching mainstream Hollywood films, we will look at the work of independent and non-U.S. filmmakers who have responded to and “remixed” conventional genres. We will also read film theory alongside critical race theory and feminist and queer theory.

Course Requirements

Short Response Paper (15%), Class Presentation (15%), Seminar Paper (20-25 pages, 70%).

Films may include Birth of a Nation, The Cheat, The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, C.S.A., The Vanishing Race, Body and Soul, Show Boat, The Jazz Singer, Bamboozled, Imitation of Life, Shadows, Illusions, Far From Heaven, All About My Mother, Crash, M. Butterfly, The Watermelon Man, The Watermelon Woman, and Manderlay. We will read critical texts by Michael Rogin, Homi Bhabha, Richard Dyer, bell hooks, Fatimah Tobing Rony, Stuart Hall, Manthaia Diawara, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Linda Williams, and others.

SCREENING: Monday 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
SEMINAR: Thursday 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Room 223, Innis College


What happens to national or local cultures, to particular ways of life in an age of globalization? Euphoric versions of globalization appear to promise either cultural hybridization or an unproblematic world of multicultural possibilities, while critical versions gloomily predict the triumph of a capitalist “McWorld” in which cultural differences are reduced to homogeneity and we are all subjected to neo-liberal governmentality.

Both versions may, however, have underestimated the complex set of relations between global forces and local ways of life because they see globalization as unfolding smoothly in a linear, teleological fashion. But any discussion of cultural globalization must take into account specific sites (the national, the local, everyday space) in which cultural products are produced, received, and consumed. And if the global is linked inextricably to the local, the latter may be equally influenced, inflected, and shaped by a consciousness of the former. We are thus faced with a complex dialectic in which the two are both opposed and related to one another--a dialectic we must patiently examine without letting go of either pole. In pursuing such a dialectical enquiry, we must also attend to asymmetries of power and the uneven relationships that result from such asymmetries.

Alternatively, however, we can dismiss both the global and the local/national as contemporary imaginaries, at once imprecise and illusory, that address our need for allegories of the present, for totalizing explanatory concepts.

We will begin by reading a number of theoretical overviews of globalization before examining how contemporary writers (and a film-maker) have responded to questions raised by our sense that there is something going on in the world that we have inadequately, perhaps, named “globalization.”


Texts: Dionne Brand, Land to Light On; Michelle Cliff, No Telephone to Heaven; Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis; Pico Iyer, The Global Soul; Hari Kunzru, Transmission; John Tomlinson, Globalization and Culture; Jia Zhang-Ke, The World (feature film).
There will also be a course reader with articles by Appadurai, Derrida, Dirlik, Featherstone, Gikandi, Hardt and Negri, Jameson, Krishnamurthy, Li, Nancy, Robertson, Shohat and Stam, and Szeman.

The course will be run as a seminar. Evaluation will be based on participation and seminar presentation/paper (worth 40%) and a term paper (worth 60%).

Tuesday 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Room 614, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street


This interdisciplinary course will draw from book history, reader response theory, institutional ethnography, and literacy studies in order to bring readers more strongly into view as subjects for literary/literary theory analysis, and to challenge the common view of reading as an “interior” or isolated activity. Rather, we will focus on reading as a socially-structured practice which involves the group mobilization of readers (into book clubs, reading circles, literacy movements, and fan cultures, for example). Readership communities will be examined historically and today (with a special emphasis on web-based reading communities). Course participants will be able to match their course research to their other areas of interest (eg. nineteenth-century women readers, romance or scifi fan cultures, African-Canadian readers).


Seminar and “work in progress” presentations, research paper. Weighting depends on class size.

Primary texts: Students will research readers through use of nearby archival deposits and web sites.

Secondary sources: To include Boyain, Ethnographies of Reading; Long, Book Clubs; Manguel, History of Reading; Pawley, Reading on the Middle Border; excerpts from History of the Book in Canada vol. 1 and 3. There will be a course package including relevant theory from reader response and history of the book.

Wednesday 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Room 614, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street 


This course will be offered in Summer 2011


No prerequisite is required for this course, which surveys the linguistic and cultural history of the English language from the late fifteenth century until the present day. In lectures and brief reports, we will identify representative developments in vocabulary, spelling, grammar, pronunciation, and the codification of English in dictionaries and grammars. Themes for research papers and seminar discussion will include the processes and implications of the standardization and codification of English; the functions of English, French, and Latin in and beyond Britain; pidgins and creoles; language and imparialism; the literary use of English (standard and non-standard varieties) by native and non-native speakers; the linguistic effects of printing, news media, and the internet.


Lectures; four or five brief reports on linguistic topics; a personal and bibliography, presentation, and final research paper (formatted as an online guide).

You will need to have easy access to the University of Toronto library’s electronic resources. The course reader will be available at the University of Toronto bookstore. You may also find it helpful to have a history of the language textbook like Millward’s Biography of the English Language or Crystal’s Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language; these and other readings will be available on short-term loan at the Robarts Library.

No prerequisite study is required, though knowledge of/interest in early English and/or French and Latin will be helpful for you.

Tuesday 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Room 616, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street


This course explores the postmodern “spatial turn” of the 1980s as a critique of traditional Marxism. The theorists of the spatial turn find their theoretical predecessor in the Marxist sociologist Henri Lefebvre and take his cue in suggesting that the traditional Marxist readings of political and social life overlook our spatial existence in favor of an overdeveloped historical consciousness. In response, theorists such as David Harvey and Edward W. Soja propose a shifting of focus from history to geography, from time to space. What does this spatial critique add to our understanding of Marxism on the one hand, and of daily socio-political life, on the other? Can space be overlooked, implied, or simply excluded from critical theory? What is the theoretical significance of spatiality? To what extent is this spatilization of Marxism a “postmodern” phenomenon? Beginning with some aspects of “traditional” Marxism, we will attempt to contextualize its postmodern revisions.

Course Requirements

Seminar discussion, reading responses, oral presentations, written assignment (final essay).

The Marx-Engels Reader (ed. Robert C. Tucker), Marx and Modernity: Key Readings and Commentary (Robert Antonio and Ira J. Cohen), Selections from Louis Althusser, “Of Other Spaces” (Michel Foucault), The Production of Space (Henri Lefebvre), Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography (David Harvey), Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Fredric Jameson), Postmodern Geographies (Edward W. Soja), Postmodern Geography: Theory and Praxis (ed. Claudio Minca), Planet of Slums (Mike Davis).

Monday 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Room 718, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street 


This course investigates the central yet troubled place of masculinity in questions of trans/nationalism, performance and power. Drawing from feminist theory, queer studies and diaspora studies, we will think about the simultaneous narratives of desire and anxiety that characterize constructions of masculinity in transatlantic colonial and anti-colonial projects and the North American Civil Rights Movement and post-Civil Rights moment. We will read primarily in the African-American and Caribbean traditions, paying close attention to popular culture such as film, music, fashion, photography, visual art, dance and sports, to think about how the black male body in particular negotiates various crises of representation. How are "hegemonic" constructions of masculinity continuously established and contested in these traditions?


Participation (20%); Presentation (30%); Research Paper (50%).

Texts may include: Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Belinda Edmondson, Making Men: Gender, Literary Authority, and Women's Writing in Caribbbean Narrative, Maurice Wallace, Constructing the Black Masculine: Identity and Ideality in African American Men's Literature and Culture, 1775-1995, Monica Miller, Slaves to Fashion: Black Dandyism and the Styling of Black Diasporic Identity, selected essays by Eve Sedgwick.

James Baldwin, Another Country, Richard Wright, Native Son, selected poetry by Derek Walcott and Robert Hayden.

Selected hip-hop, reggae and other music. Films by Perry Henzell, Clement Virgo and Haile Gerima. Dance/Performance by Geoffrey Holder. Visual Art by Yinka Shonibare and Chris Cozier.

Thursday 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Room 616, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street 

This course will be offered in Summer 2011


In this course we will interpret death, figuring it and signifying it through theorizations and representations of the dead, dying and death. We will think about how the Ancients’ notion of “a good death” has been radically altered by modern techno-medical life-prolonging interventions, and we will study the ways in which contemporary thinkers and writers respond to ethical challenges surrounding death and dying. Since the dead are also present in the works we?ll read, we will also spend some time theorizing mourning, melancholia and the ethics of obituarizing.


In-class review (10%); Conference presentation and abstract (20% plus 5%); Final research paper (50%); Participation (15%).

Text we’ll read and discuss may include some but not all of the following:

Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida. Reflections on Photography Maurice Blanchot, “Literature and the Right to Death,” in The Gaze of Orpheus and Other Literary Essays ---. The Space of Literature ---. The Instant of My Death Judith Butler, Antigone’s Claim. Kinship Between Life and Death Judith Butler, Precarious Life. The Powers of Mourning and Violence Jacques Derrida, The Gift of Death Martin Heidegger, Being and Time (selections) Gillian Rose, Mourning Becomes the Law. Philosophy and Representation.

Other non-fiction

Julian Barnes, Nothing to Be Frightened Of Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking.


Russell Banks, The Sweet Hereafter.

Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer. Sovereign Power and Bare Life Jacques Derrida, The Work of Mourning Margaret Lock, Twice Dead. Organ Transplants and the Reinvention of Death Sherwin B. Nuland, How We Die. Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter, Ancient death and dying, Sophocles, Antigone Plato, The Last Days of Socrates, trans. Hugh Tredennick (London: Penguin, 1984).

Monday 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Room 718, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street 


This course takes as its starting point a single text: Orson Welles’s film Touch of Evil, which was initially released in 1958 and subsequently re-released in altered form forty years later. Having inspired a wealth of critical literature from scholars working with a wide range of methodological approaches (including formalist, structuralist, feminist, and postcolonial) and intellectual concerns (related to issues such as adaptation, genre, auteurism, sound and stardom), Touch of Evil will provide an opportunity to engage rigorously with those methods and topics that have proven most historically salient and theoretically fruitful in cinema studies. As a culmination to this line of inquiry, students will collaborate in the creation of a multimedia project that maps the various theoretical contexts in which meaning emerges as well as the web of intertextual connections such contexts provoke, thereby realizing in audio-visual form acts of interruption, fragmentation, and re-writing facilitated by the critical process.


In-class participation (20%); class facilitation (20%); individual contribution to collaborative project (20%); final paper (40%).

Primary Texts: Touch of Evil (Orson Welles. USA, 1958).

Secondary Texts: We will be reading works by Stephen Heath, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Kaja Silverman, Homi Bhabha, Peter Wollen, David Bordwell, James Naremore, John Stubbs, Clinton Heylin, Terry Comito, Andre Bazin, Michael Denning, Jonathan Munby, Amy Lawrence, Penny Mintz, William Anthony Nericcio, among others. Additionally we will be screening a wide variety of films with intertextual connections to Touch of Evil.

SCREENING: Monday 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
SEMINAR: Thursday 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Room 223, Innis College


Critics from several different schools of thought agree that the study of emotion has now been constituted as a field of inquiry that is multi-disciplinary in scope. From sociology to law to literary analysis, emotions and emotional states are figured as complex conditions engendered by diverse cultural, historical, and geographical factors. No longer understood as simply a form of expressive agency, emotions are now widely recognized as effects of material culture, structures of feeling, zones of intimacy, and signs of bodily sensation. This course provides an introduction to the field of emotion theory. It explores current debates about the status of the feeling subject, ideologies about emotionality and embodiment, and theoretical inquiries into the relationship between the psychological and the emotional. Its objective is to explore how the study of emotion contributes to theories of modern subjectivity. Readings will sample a broad range of fields, and students will be encouraged to analyse these selections in relation to a project they are developing.


Seminar Presentation (with accompanying paper) 25%, Research Proposal w/ Bibliography 15%, Research Essay 60%.

Sara Ahmed, The Cultural Politics of Emotion. Routledge, 2004. Teresa Brennan, The Transmission of Affect. Cornell, 2004. Ann Cvetkovich, An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures. Duke, 2003. Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents. W.W. Norton & Company, 1961. Sianne Ngai, Ugly Feelings. Harvard, 2005. Jackie Orr, Panic Diaries: A Genealogy of Panic Disorder. Duke, 2006. Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: The Making and Umaking of the World. Oxford, 1985. C. Nadia Seremetakis, ed. The Senses Still: Perception and Memory as Material Culture in Modernity. Chicago, 1994. Course pack of readings available by handout and online. Selections from the following list: Sara Ahmed, “Affective Economies.” Social Text 22.2 (2004): 117-39. Charles Altieri, The Particulars of Rapture: An Aesthetics of Affects. Cornell, 2003. Lauren Berlant, Compassion: The Culture and Politics of an Emotion. Routledge, 2004. Teresa Brennan, “Social Pressure.” American Imago (September 1997): 210-34. Cheshire Calhoun, “Making Up Emotional People: The Case of Romantic Love.” The Passions of Law. Ed. Susan A. Bandes. NYUP, 1999. David L. Eng and David Kazanjian, Loss: The Politics of Mourning. California, 2003. Robert H. Frank, “The Strategic Role of the Emotions: Reconciling Over—and Undersocialized Accounts of Behavior.” Rationality and Society 160 (1993). Arlie Hochschild, The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling. UCP, 1983. Frederic Jameson, Postmodernism or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Duke, 1991. Suzanne Keen, “A Theory of Narrative Empathy.” Narrative 14.3 (October 2006): 207-36. Ato Quayson, Aesthetic Nervousness: Disability and the Crisis of Representation. Columbia, 1997. Catherine A. Lutz, “The Cultural Construction of the Emotions.” Cultural Anthropology 1 (1986): 287-309. ---. Unnatural Emotions: Everyday Sentiments on a Micronesian Atoll & Their Challenge to Western Theory. Chicago, 1998. Martha C. Nussbaum, Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law. Princeton, 2004. Jenefer Robinson, Deeper than Reason: Emotion and its Role in Literature, Music, and Art. Oxford, 2005. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity. Duke, 2003. Robert C. Solomon, Thinking about Feeling: Contemporary Philosophers on Emotions. Oxford, 2004. Elizabeth V. Spelman, “Anger and Subordination.” Women, Knowledge, and Reality. Ed. Ann Garry and Marilyn Pearsall. Unwin Hyman, 1989. Jane Tompkins, “Me and My Shadow.” New Literary History 19.1 (1987): 169-78. Raymond Williams, “Structures of Feeling.” Marxism and Literature. Oxford, 1977. R. B. Zajonc, “Feeling and Thinking: Preferences Need No Inferences.” American Psychologist 35 (1980).

Monday 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Room 617, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street 


To find the author in his text, and intention in traces of authorial process, challenges reader-centered literary theory and criticism. This course is an introduction to the multi-disciplinary knowledge about authoring that has grown in the past quarter century. The testimony of writers, cognitive psychology, corpus and cognitive linguistics, neurobiology, reading and writing research, and text analysis have uncovered much about mental language production. Schemas and models, working memory, chunking and constructions, the inner voice and monitor, embodiment, vocabulary richness, deep encoding, and eye movement and fixation are powerful concepts for authoring theory and philological study. They show that authors are not dead in their works but leave behind signs of neuro-cognitive processing and, in holograph drafts, evidence of intention. Mental illness and dementia are as common among writers as in the general population, and we can now identify some effects of brain damage in texts. The different strategies of healthy authors are partly recoverable: some trust their natural unconscious flow, some draw on mental models elaborated over time and stored in long-term memory, and some think on paper and use the prosthetic devices of language technology to edit both flow and model.


Seminar/discussion. 20-page research paper (40%), class report (20 minutes; 20%), close reading of one short text (20%), and class participation (20%).

James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land: A Facsimile and Transcript of the Original Drafts (1971), selections from Sylvia Plath's poetry, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale (1984; and Fisher Library holograph drafts), and Iris Murdoch's Jackson's Dilemma (1995).

Sample book-length introductions to the subject are Writing and Cognition: Research and Applications (ed. Mark Torrance and others, 2007), and The Neurocognition of Language (ed. Colin Brown and Hagoort, 1999). Journal articles from the past two-three years focus on ideas in contention.

Tuesday 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Room 614,  Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street



NOTE: An introduction to the book as a physical object; on-line library research and resources; electronic and digital media; archival research; copyright; and the future of the book. Particular emphasis will be placed throughout on materials relevant to students' own current work and proposed research.


A general introduction to research methods and scholarly practice; textual and editorial problems; physical bibliography; the history of the book.


Lectures, workshops, library assignments, site-visits, and research exercises.

A list of recommended reading and the required exercises will be distributed at the first class. The Department’s Check Lists of Scholarship keyed to the University of Toronto Library will be available on line.

J. Levenson (L0101) – Monday 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Room 340, Trinity College Larkin

G. Fenwick (L0201) – Monday 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Room Room 22, Trinity College
NOTE: An introduction to the book as a physical object; on-line library research and resources; electronic and digital media; archival research; copyright; and the future of the book. Particular emphasis will be placed throughout on materials relevant to students' own current work and proposed research.

D. Galbraith (L0301) – Thursday 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Room 105, Emmanuel College, 75 Queen's Park 

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