English Studies Courses

To complement English modules, our courses focus on narrower themes and issues which better reflect the current state of the field and the research interests of our faculty.

featured courses

See Western Academic Timetable for course delivery details.

fall/winter 2022-23 Courses (Subject to change)

1000 Level Courses

1000-level courses initiate students to the university-level study of English literature. Students will be introduced to the rich diversity of English literature and to the scholarly research tools which make the study of English possible. Discussions, activities and assignments focus on close reading practices which allow students to move beyond arguments based primarily on questions plot. Students will be expected to begin to develop their own critical point of view and to take responsibility for their own engagement with the texts at hand. 1000-level courses are an ideal way to enter an English module, but they also provide the foundations of analysis and argument essential to university-level scholarship in any text-based discipline (e.g. history, philosophy, sociology, classics, etc.). Learn more >>

1020E - Understanding Literature Today
By studying a broad range of exciting and important literary works from the past and present, this course will increase your understanding and appreciation not just of the richness and power of the works themselves, but also of the role of literature in reflecting and shaping our perceptions of the world and of ourselves. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 1020E / 001 J. Devereux Syllabus 
Fall/Winter 1020E / 002 J. Boulter Syllabus
Fall/Winter

1020E / 003 (Evening)

M. McDayter Syllabus

1022E - Enriched Introduction to English Literature
The principal aims of English 1022E are: (1) to give students an overview of English literature from the Middle Ages to the present, with some attention to recent Canadian writers; (2) to introduce students to a variety of literary genres, historical perspectives, and critical approaches; (3) to permit students to strengthen their writing and research skills and to apply them to the study of literature; (4) to enable students to deepen their interest in and enjoyment of the study and use of English. Beyond this, we will explore how the writing and reading of literature are in and of themselves inherently and intensely political acts, asking us to think through the most problematic issues of our or any time – sex, race, gender, class – with a degree of tolerance and open-mindedness rarely possible in the supposedly ‘real’ world of everyday events and happenings. See also Learning outcomes for 1000-level English Courses. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 1022E / 001 J. Faflak Syllabus 

1027F - The Storyteller’s Art I: Introduction to Narrative POPULAR!
The act of storytelling has been essential to human culture from the time of the ancient Greeks to the present day. Stories are integral to the way we define ourselves – and manipulate others. This course will examine the story teller’s art not only through novels and short stories but also in its ancient and modern forms, ranging from the epic to more recent forms such as the graphic novel. As diverse as these stories may seem, they share a central concern with the way we represent ourselves and interpret others. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 0.5 course

Fall 2022 1027F / 001 C. Keep Syllabus
Fall 2022 1027F / 002 A. Lee Syllabus

1028G (001) - The Storyteller’s Art II | Introduction to Narrative: The Rise of the Machines POPULAR!
This course explores a particular theme, mode, or genre of storytelling. Consult the Department of English for details of current course offerings. Instruction is by lecture and tutorials; emphasis on developing strong analytical and writing skills. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 0.5 course

Winter 2023 1028G / 001 C. Keep Syllabus 

1028G (002) - The Storyteller’s Art II | Introduction to Narrative: Disturbed Stories: Unsettling Narratives POPULAR!
This course explores a particular theme, mode, or genre of storytelling. Consult the Department of English for details of current course offerings. Instruction is by lecture and tutorials; emphasis on developing strong analytical and writing skills. 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, 0.5 course

Winter 2023 1028G / 002 A. Lee Syllabus

2000-2099 Level Courses (No prerequisites)

2017 - Reading Popular Culture
"If Shakespeare were alive today, he'd be writing for television." This course addresses the many forms of popular culture, including television, music, popular fiction and film, urban myths, and celebrities. The aim of this course is to encourage students to develop a critical understanding of all aspects of popular culture. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2017 / 001 (Evening) J. Sandhar Syllabus 

2033E - Children’s Literature
This course examines the development of literature for and about children from its roots in fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and nonsense literature. Animal stories, adventure tales, picture books, and domestic novels will be considered alongside visits to fantasy realms like Wonderland, Neverland, or the Land of Oz. A central focus will be the assumptions about children and childhood that shape these texts, all produced by adults based on what they believe children enjoy, want, or need. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2033E / 001 G. Ceraldi Syllabus 
Fall/Winter 2033E / 650 (Online) C. Suranyi Syllabus

2041F - Special Topics in Drama: The Roaring Girl
In this course, students participating in the Department of English and Writing Studies' Drama Production - The Roaring Girl, explore in theory and practice approaches to text in performance. Only students working as an actor, director, stage manager, assistant stage manager, lighting, set or costume designer may enroll. Please note: Auditions are held prior to the course start date so that students can register and receive a course credit for their part in the production. See course page for more details. Permission of the Chair of Undergraduate Studies required to enroll. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 2041F / 001 J. Devereux Syllabus 

2071F and 2071G - Speculative Fiction: Science Fiction
From Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, a consideration of the history and development of science fiction. Will include science fiction themes such as the Other, new technologies, chaos theory, cybernetics, paradoxes of space/time travel, first contact, and alien worlds. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 2071F / 650 (Online) A. MacLean Syllabus
Winter 2023 2071G / 001 J. Kelly Syllabus

2072F and 2072G - Speculative Fiction: Fantasy
Wizards, vampires, fairies, and the Chosen One – these figures are no longer confined to a genre ghetto but have instead moved to the mainstream. This course examines the roots of the fantasy genre in novels such as Dracula and The Lord of the Rings and considers how the tropes of the genre have been reproduced and transformed by authors like J.K. Rowling and Angela Carter. We will examine the continuing appeal of stories about magic, whether they involve supernatural intrusions, visits to the realm of faerie, or extraordinary powers hidden in apparently ordinary places. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 2072F / 001 G. Ceraldi Syllabus 
Winter 2023 2072G / 650 (Online) G. Ceraldi Syllabus 

2073G - Speculative Fiction: Utopias and Dystopias
An examination of major utopian and dystopian texts. Will concern ways in which humanity has tried to imagine a perfect world, fix the current world, or construct an exaggerated version of the world in order to demonstrate its flaws and weaknesses. 0.5 course

Winter 2023 2073G / 001 G. Ceraldi Syllabus 

2074F - Mystery and Detective Fiction
Mystery stories aren’t just light entertainment. They explore matters of life and death. They investigate problems involving the law, justice, and morality. They address fundamental questions of security, identity, and agency. This course introduces students to the critical study of popular mystery and detective fiction from a range of historical periods and national contexts. It will examine a selection of fiction, film, television, and radio narratives. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 2074F / 001 M. Jones Syllabus 

2091G - Special Topics: Arts for a Damaged Planet
Global heating, species depletion, non-renewable resource dependency, sustainable energies – solutions to these pressing issues will require not just advances in science, new economic policies, and political will. Resolving each of these also will require changes in vision, new stories, and new ways of imagining the present and the future. The arts help us to document and understand the damaged planet we live on, and contribute to transitioning to a future earth we aspire to see. This class introduces students to a wide range of arts for a damaged planet. We will study recent works of fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, film, and photography that helps to make legible our current planetary condition. This is also a kind of “maker class,” in that we will have short hands-on assignments, creative proposals, and experiential learning practices that involve ourselves in thinking and connecting to our environs in new ways. Our overall goal in this class is to use the arts to develop new ideas and tools to repair the damaged planet. 0.5 course

Winter 2023 2091G / 001 (Evening) J. Schuster Syllabus

2092F - Special Topics in Popular Literature: The Many Faces of Harry Potter
This course will examine the Harry Potter series in relation to the multiple genres that it draws on, including the gothic novel, detective fiction, fantasy, adventure, and even the dystopian novel. We will read all seven books alongside other novels and short stories that illustrate the generic conventions Rowling is working with. There will also be opportunity to consider the translation of the series into film. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 2092F / 001 G. Ceraldi Syllabus 

2097B - The Madness of Creativity (cross-listed with Music 3854B)
Students will discuss theories of madness and creativity through works of culture and criticism that are situated historically and culturally. Through examining accepted cultural, social, and ethical norms of thought and behavior, students will gain a deeper understanding of how madness and creativity are critical to our humanness. 0.5 course

Winter 2023 2097B / 001 J. Faflak/B. Younker Syllabus

2100-2999 Level Courses

2000-level courses welcome students into the community of literary scholarship. Literary surveys focus on the development of textual traditions across time while courses in theory introduce students to the multitude of tools available for text analysis. Developing research skills and methods of investigation will allow students to begin to articulate their own questions and to situate their own analysis within the discourse of previous scholarship. Assignments will demand independent study in which students develop and explore their own areas of interest and grapple with the difficulties and challenges of the discipline. For students in an English module, 2000-level courses provide the basic tools necessary for more advanced and independent study. For non-English students, 2000-level courses are an excellent way to complement other modules while indulging in some of the great literature available in the language. Learn more >>

These courses require prerequisites. Students are responsible for ensuring that they have successfully completed all course prerequisites and that they have not taken an antirequisite course, as stated in the Academic Calendar.


2112F - Adapting Across Page, Stage, and Screen NEW! (cross-listed with Film 2212F and Theatre Studies 2212F)
How does the shape an artwork takes contribute to its aesthetic and political power? When artworks flex across form and media how do their messages change? What did Marshall McLuhan mean when he said “the medium is the message”? How do genre and form shape social and political discourse? In this course, students explore these questions and more as they investigate texts that assume multiple cultural forms and represent a diversity of perspectives. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 2112F / 001 A. Pero Syllabus

2200F - History of Theory and Criticism
An introduction to important issues in the history of literary criticism and theory from Plato to the twentieth century. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 2200F / 001 A. Schuurman DRAFT Syllabus 

2201G - Contemporary Theory and Criticism
This course builds on the historical foundations of English 2200F/G to concentrate on important issues in contemporary literary theory and criticism. English 2200F/G is recommended as preparation for English 2201F/G0.5 course

Winter 2023 2201G / 001 J. Plug DRAFT Syllabus 

2301E - British Literature Survey
This course investigates the changing forms of literature produced in the British Isles from the Middle Ages to the present. It addresses key movements and styles through careful analysis of both major authors, such as Shakespeare, Austen, Woolf, or Yeats, and some less well-known yet engaging figures. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2301E / 001 M. McDayter Syllabus

2401E - American Literature Survey (more )
This course offers a survey of important texts and authors from the Puritan and Revolutionary periods to the present. It addresses not only the major movements and styles of American literature associated with such authors as Poe, Dickinson, Twain, Hemingway, and Morrison, but also the innovative work of less familiar Indigenous and ethnic authors. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2401E / 002 A. MacLean Syllabus

2501E - Canadian Literature Survey
What does literature tell us about the making of a nation and its citizens? Spanning the period from imperial exploration to Confederation to the present day, this course examines Canada’s vibrant literary culture. Students will encounter a diverse range of genres and authors, from accounts of early explorers to current internationally acclaimed and award-winning writers. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2501E / 001 D. Pennee Syllabus 

2601E - Global Literatures in English Survey
This course offers students a great opportunity to survey of the links between and among different literary traditions and innovations across such diverse geographic regions as Asia, Africa, Australia, South America, and the Caribbean. Through close reading of literary texts written in English, students will explore how cultures produce different--often competing--ways of making meaning. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 2601E / 001 (Evening) N. Joseph Syllabus 

3000-3999 Level Courses

3000-level courses allow students to focus on topics, whether an historical period, a cultural tradition or a literary theme, which pique their own critical curiosity. Class discussions will address the interactions of texts with one another, with their historical moment or with larger social trends. Students will also explore how scholarship has evolved over time and learn how to place their own thought and writing within a developing and ongoing critical tradition. Advanced research skills, tailored to specific critical problems, will allow students to develop habits of independent exploration and analysis which will lead to nuanced and persuasive written work which fully participates in the discipline of English studies. Typically, students in an English module will be enrolled in 3000-level courses in their third and fourth years. A reasonable amount of choice in the modules will allow English students to pursue their own interests while becoming members of an academic community. Students not in English modules will find courses which stimulate their critical imaginations while complementing their own module offerings. Learn more >>

These courses require prerequisites. Students are responsible for ensuring that they have successfully completed all course prerequisites and that they have not taken an antirequisite course, as stated in the Academic Calendar.


ARTHUM 3200E - Knowledge Creation Through Performance INTERDISCIPLINARY COURSE
This is a pilot course led by award-winning teacher Kim Solga. It will introduce students from across campus to embodied, relational, arts-based methodologies as they help drive research and innovation in a wide range of fields. 

Playwrights teaching medical students. Applied performance scholars training cops to intervene more safely in mental health crisis situations. Tech labs staffed with artists and engineers side by side. Composers helping high school kids create a record of their lived environments. And lots more.
 
Our class will be small (maximum 20 students!) to ensure an optimal learning environment. The fall term will be guest-speaker led: learn from experts already applying interdisciplinary models in all kinds of ways, both virtual and IRL. In our winter term, a customized CEL placement will let you bring your particular expertise to a partner in London’s arts and culture community, putting your own interdisciplinary engagement into practice! Assessments will include lots of options for letting your creative juices flow, and lots of reflection on how we learn, and what that means for our future as lifelong learners.
 
Find out how your discipline intersects with arts-based ways of making, doing, and thinking. Discover where in your own work you can learn to play! For more information or to join an orientation session, please contact Amala Poli: apoli@uwo.ca. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter ARTHUM 3200E / 001 K. Solga Syllabus

3200F - Feminist Literary Theory
An introduction to critical debates in twentieth-century feminist literary theory. Students will study (1) the diversity of feminist approaches to literature, literary production, the politics of language, questions of genre and subjectivity; and (2) the intersections among feminist literary theories, postcolonialism, Marxism, anti-racist criticism, queer theory, and post-structuralism. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 3200F / 001 J. Emberley Syllabus

3201G - Introduction to Cultural Studies
An introduction to cultural studies methodology and theory, and the history of cultural studies as a discipline. 0.5 course

Winter 2023 3201G / 001 J. Emberley Syllabus

3203F - Human, All Too Human
This course considers the figure of the posthuman as it emerges in the work of contemporary theorists. Beginning with an attempt to define the posthuman, it will then move to answer a series of critical questions regarding what is at stake in posthumanism’s critique of the humanist subject. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 3203F / 001 J. Boulter Syllabus

3204G - Critical Race Theory (cross-listed with ARTHUM 3390G and GSWS 3324G)
This course explores key concepts in critical race theory, focusing on: cultural constructions of race and their connection to settler colonialism and imperialism; the links between race, class, gender, and sexuality; processes of racialization; whiteness as an “invisible” category; the hypervisibility of racialized subjects; and anti-racist cultural production. 0.5 course

Winter 2023 3204G / 001 E. Lawson Syllabus

3300 - History of English Language
A study of the historical development of English phonology, morphology, orthography and syntax from Old English to the modern period. At the same time, we examine the changing roles of English (commercial, literary, and administrative) and the different varieties of the language available to its many speakers. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 3300 / 001 J.Toswell Syllabus 

3315E - Disenchanted Chaucer: Authority and Literature in Medieval England
The authority of crown, family, and church, and even the texts that supported those institutions, was questioned in the late medieval period. While introducing the Middle English language, this course will explore how Geoffrey Chaucer and his contemporaries used literature to critique social and political institutions. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 3315E / 001 R. Moll Syllabus

3320F - Desire in the Renaissance
Love and desire are complicated emotions, both today and in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. We will examine the profuse complexity of Renaissance love poetry, by men and women, queer and straight, including writers such as Shakespeare, Wroth, Donne, Barnfield, Spenser, Wyatt, Sidney, Marlowe, Herrick, Carew, Suckling, Marvell, and Philips. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 3320F / 001 J. Leonard Syllabus

3323F - Drama After Shakespeare
The decades following Shakespeare’s retirement witnessed the production of some extraordinary drama. This half-course will range from dark tragedies, by authors such as Middleton and Ford, to improbable romances by the likes of Heywood and Fletcher. Island princesses, miraculous reunions, lycanthropy, bloody murders, sexual obsession, and redemption lie in wait. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 3323F / 001 J. Purkis Syllabus

3332G - Money in Renaissance Drama
Seventeenth-century England saw enormous changes in the distribution of money. Dramatists responded in diverse ways to the social disruption caused by new patterns of wealth and impoverishment. Plays studied on this half-course present cityscapes populated by predators and swindlers, nostalgic evocations of lordly hospitable practices, and meditations on greed. 0.5 course

Winter 2023 3332G / 001 J. Purkis Syllabus

3339G - Topics in Renaissance Literature: Milton's Minor Poems
Poetry and prose from the golden age of English literature: More, Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Donne, Jonson, Herbert, Marvell, and Milton; examination of their individual achievements will be combined with studies of form and genre, with developing theories about the nature of literature, and with the surrounding historical context. 0.5 course

Winter 2023 3339G / 001 J. Leonard Syllabus

3350E - The Nineteenth-Century Novel: Austen to Hardy (more )
During the nineteenth century novels became the privileged medium in which British society viewed itself as a whole made up of interrelated parts. The period also saw unprecedented change in novelistic technique and in the business of publishing novels. This course will study these and other developments in prose fiction. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 3350E / 001 M. Rowlinson DRAFT Syllabus 

3371G - Contemporary Experimental Literature
Several contemporary poets and fiction writers express a profound dissatisfaction with traditional literary genres, preferring to focus on radical innovations in technique. This course examines a range of texts that offer a more clinical approach to writing, inspired by such structures as dreams, arbitrary constraints, and game theory. 0.5 course

Winter 2023 3371G / 001 J. Boulter Syllabus

3471F - Ballots and Bullets: U.S. Literature and Civil Rights (cross-listed with ARTHUM 3391F)
This course considers literature that produced, reflected, and reacted to the emergence of the various American civil rights movements. Approaches will vary but likely topics include: the revolution and founding; “Indian Removal” and indigenous rights; slavery, abolition, and Jim Crow; women’s rights and feminism; the sexual revolution and queer identity. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 3471F / 001 M. Green-Barteet DRAFT Syllabus 

3490F - American Drama
What is America, as a theatrical idea? How does the stage reflect the nation, its myths and aspirations? This course explores theatre as a “public art” form in the modern and contemporary United States, reading a variety of dramatists that may include Hansberry, Kushner, Miller, O’Neill, Parks, Williams, and Wilson. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 3490F / 001 A. MacLean Syllabus

3571G - Be/Longing: Global Literature in Canada
Where is “here” for writers of migrant and diasporic heritages living in Canada? How does writing from “elsewhere” reshape collective understanding? These and other questions will be studied in vibrant and provocative works by such writers as Dionne Brand, Anita Rau Badami, Rawi Hage, Michael Ondaatje, and Kim Thuy. 0.5 course

Winter 2023 3571G / 001 D. Pennee
Syllabus

3580G - Canadian Literature: Creativity and the Local
Eudora Welty wrote that “Location is the crossroads of circumstance, the proving ground of ‘What happened? Who’s here? Who’s coming?’ – and that is the heart’s field.” This course the vibrant literature related to the region where we live, including writers such as Alice Munro, Dionne Brand, Emma Donoghue, Janet Rogers, Madeleine Thien, André Alexis, and Jeff Lemire. It examines the ways local writing accesses the public, builds communities, relates people to their environment, and connects local, national, and transnational networks. Students will deploy critical, creative, and experiential approaches in community engaged learning projects with artists, scholars, organizations, and communities who bring local literature to life. 0.5 course

Winter 2023 3580G / 001 M. Jones
DRAFT Syllabus 

3680F - Indigenous Literatures of Turtle Island (cross-listed with Indigenous Studies 3880F)
This course engages with concepts and practices of storytelling from Indigenous nations across Turtle Island (North America) while considering the many shapes that Indigenous storytelling takes, including oral narratives, literature, and film. In many Indigenous communities, stories are an important way of teaching—they transmit knowledges and histories and offer powerful insights about how to live in good relation with each other and the world around us. Come join us in learning from the brilliance of Indigenous storytellers! 0.5 course

Fall 2022 3680F / 001 P. Wakeham DRAFT Syllabus 

4000 Level Courses

4000-level courses are designed for Honors students (whether those in an HSP or a Double Major). Fourth-year, non-Honors students with a 70% average may also enroll in 4000-level courses. These courses typically explore narrowly defined topics: a particular work or author, a brief historical moment, or a clearly defined theoretical issue. Students and faculty will engage with the texts at hand and the surrounding critical tradition. Deploying and expanding their critical skills, students will find and explore their own research questions while situating their argument within an ongoing conversation. 4000-level seminars are an opportunity for sustained, independent study within the structure of a communal seminar. The small, seminar setting prepares English students for continued study at the graduate level. 4000-level courses are typically not suitable for students not in English modules unless the topic specifically compliments the student’s work in their home module. Learn more >>

4201F – Seminar in Theory and Criticism | Reading the Land: Literature and Environmental Justice
Description TBA. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 4201F / 001 J. Emberley Syllabus

4312G – Seminar in Medieval Language and Literature: The Consolation of Philosophy and its English Afterlives (cross-listed with English 9123B) NEW!
Few works have influenced English thought and literature as profoundly or for as long as The Consolation of Philosophy, a dialogue written in the sixth century by the Roman philosopher and statesman Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius. In this seminar, we will begin by studying the Consolation in a modern English translation, with the aid of scholarship that will help us interpret the text with some understanding of its original language and context. We will then consider medieval and early modern translations of and responses to the Consolation; possible texts include The Old English Boethius (ca. 900), Geoffrey Chaucer’s Boece (1382) and various lyrics, Thomas More’s A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation (1534), John Stradling’s translation of Justus Lipsius, Two Bookes of Constancie (1595), and Elizabeth I’s translation of the Consolation (1598). In the third and final part of the course, we will consider some expressions of modern Stoicism (from Martha Nussbaum and Alastair MacIntyre to popular self-help guides) as well as recent texts that invoke Boethian themes, such as Tom Stoppard’s play Arcadia (1993) and the film Arrival (2016). As we survey this long tradition, we will reflect on Boethian ideas that remain more or less constant over time and those that change in response to changing historical circumstances, paying careful attention to the various modes and politics of translation that shape these ideas. Some key themes that will guide our reading and discussion include: forms of consolation and desire; the nature of suffering and of the good; the problem of evil and theodicy; time and temporality; philosophy as therapy of the soul and care of the self; paradoxes of allegory and mimesis. 0.5 course

Winter 2023 4312G / 001 A. Schuurman Syllabus 

4321G – Seminar in Renaissance Literature | Hamlet: Then and Now
“The world’s longest ‘knock-knock’ joke” (Geoffrey Tennant, Slings and Arrows). “After all, all [Shakespeare] did was string together a lot of old, well-known quotations” (H. L. Mencken). Hamlet is one of the greatest dramatic achievements in the English language and a play that is rarely out of the international theatrical repertory. Premised on revenge and preoccupied with friendship, family and betrayal, Hamlet has been performed and adapted for over four hundred years. This fourth-year seminar will give students the opportunity to do a deep dive into this tragedy, its criticism, and its stage and film legacy. 0.5 course

Winter 2023 4321G / 001 M.J. Kidnie DRAFT Syllabus 

4350G - Seminar in Nineteenth-Century Literature | Pre-Raphaelites: Romanticism to Modernism
Description TBA. 0.5 course

Winter 2023 4350G / 001 D. Bentley Syllabus

4351F - Seminar in Nineteenth-Century Literature | Weird Science: Psychical Research and the Late-Victorian Gothic Novel
This course focuses on the ways in which late-Victorian gothic fiction imagined the encounter between the scientific and the occult, those phenomena which challenged the limits of rational enquiry, such as spirit photography, automatic writing, telepathic communication, crisis apparitions, and ectoplasm. The occult, we will argue, was not only of serious scientific investigation in this period, but the cultural site through which such vexed categories as gender, class, race, and national identity were both contested and consolidated. Texts to be studied include: Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, H. Rider’s Haggard’s She, William Hope Hodgson’s Carnacki, The Ghost Finder, Henry James’s The Turn of The Screw, Vernon Lee’s Hauntings, and Arthur Machen’s The Great God Pan. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 4351F / 001 C. Keep Syllabus

4471F - Seminar in American Literature - American "Metafiction": the Sixties, Seventies, and Beyond (Brescia University College)
In the post-World War II years, one of the directions American fiction moved was towards an explicit exploration of the structures of narrative and of storytelling itself. Largely subsumed into broader discussions of the postmodern, the concepts of the metafictional and of metafiction were developed in the 1960s and especially in the 1970s by William Gass, Robert Scholes, and others. As Patricia Waugh tells us in her 1984 treatment, “the practice [of metafiction] is as old (if not older) than the novel itself”, and precursors to some of the most innovative fiction of post-war American fiction can be found in works by Cervantes, Sterne, Fielding, and others. Nonetheless, in the sixties and seventies, the playful work of Barth, Barthelme, Coover, and others created the sense that literature had left the reality of the world behind as it became preoccupied with itself and the ontological status of fictional worlds and characters. The question becomes: can overtly metafictional narrative deal with the “real”—the perception of a shared environment that surrounds us-- and social and political experience? Can the techniques of metafictional storytelling offer more than a Brechtian challenge to the reality we inhabit? This seminar will explore the work of authors whose innovations have been absorbed into contemporary American storytelling even as the critical reputations of those authors find a narrower audience. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 4471F / 530 B. Diemert Syllabus

4570F - Seminar in Canadian Literature: Diaspora in the Works of Dionne Brand
This course will study selected works by Dionne Brand for their theory and practice of the Black diaspora and for their intersections with a range of other key terms in contemporary cultural and literary studies, such as nation, place, space, temporality; form, reading, embodiment, affect; autobiography, historiography, memory, phenomenology; race, gender, sexuality, class, language. We will study together how creative work is a form of theorizing as well as aesthetic practice, and we will do so across a range of genres, with particular attention to the “poetic” elements of Brand’s work in her prose, including one work of non-fiction prose, A Map to the Door of No Return.

Questions to be pursued together include: How does her writing represent what she calls “this inexplicable space” into which slaves and their descendants stepped through “the door of no return,” the space of the diaspora created by slavery and permeated by racism and white supremacy but also by Black resistance and refusal? How might we understand Brand’s (selected) work as “a map” to this “door of no return”? How does her work facilitate understanding of “this inexplicable space”? How does her work represent being and knowing in this space? How do the formal properties of her work contribute to our understanding of the particularities of “diaspora” for Black people, past and present? How might Brand’s theorizing and practice of diaspora entail futurity for those who live in “this inexplicable space”?

While attending to the specificities of Brand’s engagements with “diaspora” and “the afterlives of slavery” (Saidiya Hartman’s phrase), we will also reflect on methods for reading, discussing, and writing that are called for by Brand’s work. Some of these methods are demonstrated in her own work, some in scholarship about her work, others are yet to be invented—perhaps by some participants in this course. Understanding and analyzing methodology, then, will be a key component of course work both in the classroom and in assignments. Students will be required to articulate their understanding of others’ and their own methodologies as the course progresses and as is appropriate to an honour’s level seminar.

Accordingly, students will be required to read the selected Brand texts alongside selected secondary sources (journal articles, book chapters) about Brand’s work and/or about key terms. A scholarly monograph, inspired in part by Brand’s work, particularly by A Map to the Door of No Return, will be required reading as well: our engagements with this monograph, Christina Sharpe’s In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, will help to hone our understanding of methodology as situated approaches to creative and other forms of work. Likewise, reading of selected prose essays by Brand herself will help to illuminate methods in her poetry and fiction.

The course will proceed as much as possible as a seminar, which is to say with significant informed participation during class time by all members of the class. The honing of abilities to speak about the required readings is a significant objective of the course, not only to communicate clearly and in detail, but also to be able to speculate aloud in the classroom, i.e., to consider implications arising from discussion as it occurs. Informed listening will accompany informed speaking, of course.

Everyone is expected, then, to come to class having studied the assigned materials sufficiently to engage readily in detailed discussion. Assignments are designed for just such purposes of developing or improving professional communication skills that draw on informed analytical reading skills. (Analytical reading skills will also be assessed in spoken and written work.) A significant portion of the grade is to be earned through informed participation and oral presentations (from, for example, very short reports on a component of a reading to a 15-minute presentation). The final assignment, a research essay, is designed with similar professional objectives in mind, i.e., to take you through stages of the research-writing continuum and to hone your capacities for writing yourself into scholarly conversations about the course materials.

Note: Seminars require oral work. Students who enrol to be able to study Brand’s work but who struggle to speak in class may wish to discuss alternative approaches to assessment with the instructor, though you are also encouraged to use the course as a space to develop your public voice and share your insights with others in a small group setting, grounded as we will be in shared readings. Our collective endeavours can benefit from your input, and your capacity to contribute can benefit from the collective environment. 0.5 course

4851F - Seminar in Literary Studies - Music and Culture (Huron University College)
This course will explore the cultural impact of popular music on literature and the other arts since the beginning of the twentieth century. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 4851F / 550 J. Vanderheide Syllabus

4871G - Seminar in Literary Studies - The Graphic Memoir: Comics and Life Writing (King's University College)
Despite the familiarity of the phrase, many of the most celebrated “graphic novels” are in fact autobiographies, personal narratives of lived experiences ranging from the mundane to the traumatic. Surveying recent examples of this burgeoning genre, this seminar will consider some of the issues arising from this distinctive form of self-representation. 0.5 course

Winter 2023 4871G / 570 B. Patton Syllabus

4881F - Seminar in Literary Studies - Festival City: Stratford as a Hub of Canadian Literature and Drama (King's University College)
This seminar begins with a historical component about the literary formation of the community from early settlement (John Galt, William Dunlop, and Indigenous figures such as Ahyonwaeghs [Haudenausonee] and Maungwudaus [Anishinaabe]) to early residents (J.D. Barnett, Kathleen and Robina Lizars), and then connects these works to pieces about Stratford not only by canonical CanLit authors (such as James Reaney, Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Robertson Davies, Al Purdy, Jane Urquhart, Andrew Pyper) but also the contributions made by Black authors and Jewish authors to this cultural hub. The seminar may also include a drama component (Findley’s Elizabeth Rex) and possibly a trip to Stratford for its fall season. 0.5 course

Fall 2022 4881F / 570 I. Rae Syllabus

4881G - Seminar in Literary Studies: Version Control: Process, Variation and Flux in Literary Authorship (Huron University College)
This course will examine the versions and variants of poems and prose by authors such as William Blake, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Mary Shelly, William Shakespeare, Harriett Beecher Stowe, Walt Whitman and others. Special focus will be placed on the authorial, literary process (e.g. notetaking, drafting, visualizing) and textual variation (versions of works, differing editions, and the influence of media, e.g. works in manuscript, print and digital). 0.5 course

Winter 2023 4881G / 550 S. Schofield Syllabus

4899G – The Alice Munro Chair in Creativity Seminar: Creative Writing Workshop - Create, Connect, and Collaborate POPULAR!
This course is taught by Ivan Coyote, the Alice Munro Chair in Creativity. It is meant for artists and creators who are serious about building and developing their art practice. Students will conceive of and craft a multi-disciplinary project and present it at the end of the semester. 0.5 course

Winter 2023 4899G / 001 Alice Munro Chair: Ivan Coyote Syllabus

4999E - Thesis
Individual instruction in the selection of a topic, the preparation of materials, and the writing of a thesis. Students who wish to take this course must apply to the Chair of Undergraduate Studies, Department of English and Writing Studies. This course is restricted to students in fourth year of an English Program with a minimum A average. Additional registration in 4000-level English courses require permission of the Department. See English Studies 4999E - Undergraduate Thesis for details. 1.0 course

Fall/Winter 4999E / 001 Various Consent form 

Spring/Summer 2022 Courses (Subject to change)

Distance Studies (May 9-July 29)

1020E - Understanding Literature Today
By studying a broad range of exciting and important literary works from the past and present, this course will increase your understanding and appreciation not just of the richness and power of the works themselves, but also of the role of literature in reflecting and shaping our perceptions of the world and of ourselves. 1.0 course

Spring/Summer 1020E / 650 Online K. Stanley Syllabus

2033E - Children's Literature
Readings from significant books written for children, selected primarily for literary quality. Some attention will be given to the historic evolution of "Children's Literature" as a separate class, but the principal aim of the course will be to consider the nature and development of the two major genres: nonsense verse and romance. 1.0 course

Spring/Summer 2033E / 650
Online C. Suranyi Syllabus 

2071F - Speculative Fiction: Science Fiction
From Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, a consideration of the history and development of science fiction. Will include science fiction themes such as the Other, new technologies, chaos theory, cybernetics, paradoxes of space/time travel, first contact, and alien worlds. 0.5 course

Spring/Summer 2071F / 650
Online J. Kelly Syllabus 

2072F - Speculative Fiction: Fantasy
A study of the purposes and historical origins of fantasy, and modern developments in fantasy: alternate worlds, horror or ghost stories, sword & sorcery, heroic fantasy. May include writers such as Tolkien, Simmons, Peake, Herbert, Beagle, Rowling. 0.5 course

Spring/Summer 2072F / 650
Online J. Kelly Syllabus 

2401E - American Literature Survey
This course offers a survey of important texts and authors from the Puritan and Revolutionary periods to the present. It addresses not only the major movements and styles of American literature associated with such authors as Poe, Dickinson, Twain, Hemingway, and Morrison, but also the innovative work of less familiar Indigenous and ethnic authors. 1.0 course

Spring/Summer 2401E / 650 Online J. Schuster Syllabus

3330E - Shakespeare
Shakespeare remains one of the most influential of English writers. This course studies plays across a range of genres. Instructors may integrate theatre-oriented exercises and/or other dramatic or non-dramatic material, depending on individual emphasis. 1.0 course

Spring/Summer 3330E / 650 Online J. Devereux Syllabus 

Intersession (May 16-June 3)

1010F - This University
Learn about Western, its story, its architecture, academic calendar, governance, codes of conduct, research; and learn about universities, their origins in the Middle Ages, their development and current campus issues. Read a short story by Western’s own Nobel prizewinner Alice Munro, and think about universities in the world today. Taught in a flexible hybrid format. 0.5 course

Spring/Summer (this course will run for 3 weeks from May 16 to June 3) 1010F / 200 Blended J. Toswell Syllabus 

Intersession (May 16-June 24)

2033E - Children's Literature
Readings from significant books written for children, selected primarily for literary quality. Some attention will be given to the historic evolution of "Children's Literature" as a separate class, but the principal aim of the course will be to consider the nature and development of the two major genres: nonsense verse and romance. 1.0 course

Spring/Summer 2033E / 001
In-Person G. Ceraldi Syllabus

Course listings are subject to change. See Western Academic Timetable for date, time, and location of specific courses. See Undergraduate Sessional Dates for more details and deadlines.

Previous Courses Offered & Course Outlines