Department of English

University of Toronto


ENG489H1S  L0101  R1-3
Truth and Reconciliation Literature
Professor Cheryl Suzack

Brief Description of Course: Canada’s entry into the “truth and reconciliation period” in its relations with Indigenous peoples proposes to revise past colonial conduct in order to rebuild and renew social relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. In this course, we will explore literary texts that address this relationship in its pre- and post-reconciliation phases by assessing how creative writers contribute to this process of reconstruction. We will read literature that makes visible the uneasy practice of public accountability required by truth commissions by focusing on the issues of transparency in knowledge sharing, narrating victim-centered accounts, and ‘making justice’ as a stage of reparation. Our goal will be to assess how literature challenges the privatization of certain forms of knowledge practices and how it revises forms of justice and reconciliation made possible by the state.

Required Reading: Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World;Basil Johnston, Indian School Days; Shirley Sterling, My Name is Seepeetza.

First Three Authors/Texts: Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World; Basil Johnston, Indian School Days;Shirley Sterling, My Name is Seepeetza.

Method of Instruction: Lecture, discussion.

Method of Evaluation: Participation, weekly questions, short essay, long essay.

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