7100 Topics in Interdisciplinary Methods

ENG7100HF    L0101    

Writing More-than-Human Lives   

Ackerman, A.    

Course Description:  

“You’d think that biologists, of all people, would have words for life,” writes Robin Wall Kimmerer. Forms of life writng have evolved, as environmental studies prompt new ways of thinking about writng, life, and the human. This course focuses on post-industrial works that push the envelope of self-expression, nature writng, & literary form, blending bio-logy and auto-bio-graphy, including authors such as William Wordsworth, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Henry David Thoreau, Diana Beresford Kroeger, and Sumana Roy. Boundary-pushing poets & naturalists situate themselves in the “more-than-human” world, which is interconnected, porous, or “transcorporeal” (Alaimo). This seminar introduces students to ecocritcism, autobiographical theory, and historically grounded perspectves in biology. We consider whether “Nature” has rights and what consttutes personhood. Most of the class will take place outdoors. Assignments will include creatve projects that encourage students to rethink the boundaries of literary critcism and self-expression.

Course Reading List: 


Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements: [NB: SGS requires that participation grade must not exceed 20% of total grade]


Term: F-TERM (September 2024 to December 2024)
Date/Time: Tuesday 10:00 am to 12:00 pm (2 hours)
Location:  UC 44 (15 King's College Circle,
 University College)
Delivery: In-Person

ENG7101HF    L0101    CANCELLED (13 June 2024)

Literature and Medicine: Corpus, Theory, Praxis 

Charise, A.    


ENG7102HF    L0101    

Generalism: Literary Study Across the Fields   

Cobb, M.    

Course Description:  

Generalists—those who work across a number of literary periods, genres, theoretical paradigms—are now extinct.  For lots of good reasons, the professional study of literature is enthralled by historical and geographical organizing principles.  Original research, publishing, hiring, and literary pedagogy are usually pursued within a period within a national literature in non-comparative literature departments (and often, even in those)—one is expected to become a national, historical specialist.  But literary studies need not be so configured (even if those configurations have provoked work that is so rich, authoritative, and compelling).  This seminar would like to investigate other methods of investigation that are not so wrangled by period, by nationality.  What if we take our cue from something more “general”—general teachers, audiences, students—who read and think and write in a range of ways?  We’ll consider a variety of texts from a variety of literatures written (or translated) in English, across time and space, and bring less-specialized, perhaps amateur, perhaps idiosyncratic, concerns.   Along the way, we’ll take seriously what comparison, translation, juxtaposition, speculation, play, theme, “nonce taxonomies” (to use Eve Sedgwick’s term),  “wildness,” and theory might do when we undiscpline our literary work, our literary questions

Course Reading List:  

Sappho Fragments; Shakespeare, Hamlet; Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility; Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway; Toni Morrison, Beloved.  And selections of secondary texts gathered from:  Emily Apter, Against World Literature:  On the Politics of Untranslatabilit.

Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements: [NB: SGS requires that participation grade must not exceed 20% of total grade]

Active, lively seminar participation, with the hope of learning skills geared toward contributing to an intellectual community and conversation beyond the seminar room (20%). One conference paper-style class presentation (35%). One fifteen to twenty-page research paper, clearly demonstrating the following: a) knowledge of a field of primary and secondary sources; b) the intellectual questions that make the writing of the paper necessary; c) writing and argumentation that has publishable promise (45%).

Term: F-TERM (September 2024 to December 2024)
Date/Time: Monday 10:00 am to 12:00 pm (2 hours)
Location:  JHB 718 (170 St. George Street, Jackman Humanities Building)

Delivery: In-Person  

ENG7103HF    L0101    

Ordinary Language, Ordinary Criticism 

Wright, D.    

Course Description:  

In Revolution of the Ordinary (2017), the literary theorist Toril Moi proposes that ordinary language philosophy, a field of thought pioneered in the mid twentieth century by Ludwig Wittgenstein, “has the power to transform the prevailing understanding of language, theory, and reading in literary studies today.” In this seminar we’ll put Moi’s bold claim to the test. We’ll begin with a close reading of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations (1953) before moving on to important work in philosophy and literary theory that responds, whether directly or obliquely, to Wittgenstein’s claims about language and meaning, especially his challenging idea “meaning” is not something abstract that attaches to or underlies language; rather, “the meaning of a word is its use.”

Course Reading List:  

May include George Eliot, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Iris Murdoch, J. L. Austin, Stanley Cavell, Cora Diamond, Toni Morrison, Sandra Laugier, Toril Moi, Nancy Yousef.

Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements: [NB: SGS requires that participation grade must not exceed 20% of total grade]

Term: F-TERM (September 2024 to December 2024) 
Date/Time: Monday 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm (2 hours)
Location:  JHB 616 (170 St. George Street, Jackman Humanities Building)

Delivery: In-Person  

ENG7104HS    L0101    

Land, Myth and Translation in a Time of Crisis 

Most, A.

Course Description:  

In Braiding Sweetgrass, Potawatomi botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer re-tells the Turtle Island and Garden of Eden creation stories, and imagines the fateful conversation that ensued when the two met. In this course, students will engage with Genesis 1-3 through the lens of the conversation Kimmerer proposes, asking how a reparative reading of this foundational cultural narrative might offer a strategy for meeting environmental crisis. By comparing different English versions of the Bible, students will explore how translation progressively stripped the language of Genesis 1-3 of its animacy and the story of its deep connection to land, enabling the myth to become a justification for colonization and environmental degradation. Then, utilizing apocryphal stories, Near Eastern mythology, ancient and medieval commentary from the Jewish and Christian traditions as well as ecocritical and translation theory, we will listen for echoes of an animate land-based cosmology present within the Biblical text. In addition to conventional seminar sessions, the course will include a number of experiential workshops on different storytelling modes, in which students will enact “re-story-ation,” drawing the re-animated biblical myth into conversation with the land itself. 

Course Reading List:  

Readings will include texts such as: 
Martin Shaw, Scatterlings and Smoke Hole (selections) 
Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement 
Richard Powers, “A Little More Than Kin,” Emergence Oct 2021 
Genesis 1-3 (in three translations: KJV, JPS, and Everett Fox) 
Ancient Near Eastern Myths; Gilgamesh, Inanna, Tiamat (translations TBD) 
Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass (selected essays) 
Thomas King, The Truth About Stories 
Leanne Simpson, Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back (selected essays) 
Naomi Seidman, Faithful Renderings: Jewish-Christian Difference and the Politics of Translation (selections) 
Mary Jane Rubenstein, Pantheologies: Gods, Worlds, Monsters (selected chapters) 
Rachel Havrelock, “The Mother of Life and the Infertility of Eden,” in Eve: The Unbearable Flaming Fire.  and “Home at Last: The Local Domain and Female Power,” in The Bible and Feminism: Remapping the Field.   
Stephen Greenblatt, The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve (Chapters 1-3)

Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements: [NB: SGS requires that participation grade must not exceed 20% of total grade] (TBC)

  • Weekly Council Contributions  20% 
  • Class Participation 20% 
  • Final Project Written Component 40% 
  • Final Project Presentation Component 20% 

Term: S-TERM (January 2025 to April 2025)
Date/Time: Monday 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm (2 hours)
Location:  JHB 616 (170 St. George Street, Jackman Humanities Building)

Delivery: In-Person  

ENG7105HF    L0101    

Destroying The City: Vandalism Past & Present 

Mount, N.    

This is a MUGS (Multidisciplinary Urban Graduate Seminar) Course - see School of Cities*

Course Description:  

Marking walls, defacing monuments, burning books, blowing up statues, breaking windows…for as long as humans have created things, they have also willfully defaced and destroyed them. What is vandalism? Who does it, and why? Does vandalism also create? Can a transhistorical, interdisciplinary approach to vandalism offer new perspectives on old and new forms of vandalism that period-specific historians and social scientists may have missed? These are the working questions of my current research. Focused on the urban sites past and present in which most vandalism has occurred, this interdisciplinary seminar will explore theories and representations of vandalism in both “fact” and fiction. Our topics of conversation, and potentially of your own research and essays, will include such things as state-sponsored vs. citizen vandalism, cultural vandalism, political vandalism, the vandalism of art, art as vandalism, vandalism for fun and vandalism for profit.

This seminar is delivered with the support of the *School of Cities at the University of Toronto. To encourage the multidisciplinary nature of the seminar, we are reserving half its available spots for Department of English graduate students, and the other half for graduate students from across the university's other disciplines.

Course Reading List:
Course Texts (available through the UofT Bookstore, all other readings online through UTL or the course Quercus page)
Dario Gamboni, The Destruction of Art: Iconoclasm and Vandalism Since the French Revolution (1997). Reaktion 2012 edition ISBN 978-1-86189-316-1 $40
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953). Simon & Schuster 2018 edition ISBN 978-1-4516-7331-9 $23
Banksy, Wall and Piece (2006). Random House-Century ISBN 978184413879 $28
Andreas Malm, How to Blow Up a Pipeline: Learning to Fight in a World on Fire (2021). Verso ISBN 978-1839760259 $20

Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements:

Course marks will be determined by seminar participation (20%), short written weekly responses (20%), and a 5,000-word research paper (60%). The research paper is due [date TBA]. Late essays require alternate arrangements with me. Instructors cannot accept graduate course work after the SGS deadline for the term unless the student has filed an Extension to Complete Course Work.

Term: F-TERM (September 2024 to December 2024)
Date/Time: Wednesday 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm (2 hours)
Location:  JHB 616 (170 St. George Street, Jackman Humanities Building)

Delivery: In-Person