Graduate courses 2017-2018

Overview of Graduate Courses, 2017-2018 

Please scroll down to view detailed course descriptions.

Professionalization workshops (Required for all graduate students):

ENG 6302          L. Gillingham, “Research Methods and Professionalization I” (offered in Fall 2017)

ENG 6303          L. Gillingham, “Research Methods and Professionalization II” (offered in Winter 2018)

Academic seminars: Fall 2017, Winter 2018, and Spring/Summer 2018

The following seminars will be offered in Fall 2017, Winter 2018, or Spring/Summer 2018. The exact schedule will be determined later. For more information, contact the Graduate Assistant at

ENG 6304          R. Stacey, “Critical Methodologies in Literary Studies” (Theory) – offered in Fall 2017(Required for PhD students; MA students are also welcome to register)

ENG 6310          A. Taylor, “The Medieval Poet and the City: Langland, Chaucer, Hoccleve, Lydgate” (Medieval)

ENG 6341          B. Radloff, “Truth and Subjectivity in Shakespeare” (Renaissance)

ENG 6360          S. Landreth, “Reading the Passions: A Prehistory of Affect” (Eighteenth-Century)

ENG 6370          J. Brooke-Smith, “Aesthetic Pedagogies: Forms, Institutions and Legacies of Literary Education, 1805–2017” (Romantic)

ENG 6380          L. Gillingham, “Victorian Materialities: Affects, Objects, and Sensational Matters” (Victorian)

ENG 7310          T. Allen, “Time, Literature, Theory” (American)

ENG 7320          G. Lynch, “Canadian Short Story Cycles” (Canadian)

ENG 7321          I. Makaryk, “Shakespeare and Canada” (Canadian)

ENG 7322          J. Blair, “Queer States: Sexualities, Nationalisms, and Anti-Colonial Sovereignties in Contemporary Canada” (Canadian)

ENG 7381          A. Raine, “Introduction to Ecocritical Theory” (Theory)

ENG 6302             Research Methods and Professionalization, Part 1

Fall 2017 (1.5 credits)

Professor             Lauren Gillingham

Introduction      This course is a series of workshops designed to help students develop the skills they need to succeed in graduate studies. The amount of work required is minimal, as the sessions are designed not to add to students’ workload but to provide guidance and practical help with the scholarly tasks you need to be doing anyway. Some workshops will be led by the Graduate Director and others by guest speakers from within and outside the English Department. Topics will include research methods and library resources, preparing scholarship applications, teaching strategies for new TAs, and strategies for writing graduate-level essays and thesis proposals.

ENG6302 is required for all MA and PhD students. 

Method                Biweekly workshops (there may be a couple of extra sessions in September), with a minimal amount of preparatory reading for some sessions and some short follow-up assignments.

Grading                                S/NS

ENG 6303             Research Methods and Professionalization, Part 2

Winter 2018 (1.5 credits)

Professor             Lauren Gillingham

Introduction      This course is a series of workshops designed to help students develop the professional skills required for an academic career and/or for the transition from graduate studies to careers outside academia. The amount of work required is minimal, as the sessions are designed not to add to students’ workload but to provide guidance and practical help with the professional tasks you need to be doing anyway. Some workshops will be led by the Graduate Director and others by guest speakers from within and outside the English Department. Topics will include presenting papers at conferences, publishing in academic journals and other venues, course design and other advanced teaching skills, preparing for the academic job market, and preparing for non-academic careers.

ENG6303 is required for all MA and PhD students. 

Method                Biweekly workshops, with a minimal amount of preparatory reading and some short follow-up assignments.

Grading                                S/NS

ENG 6304             Critical Methodologies in Literary Studies

Fall 2017 (3 credits)

(Required for PhD students; MA students are also welcome

Professor             Robert Stacey

Introduction      TBA (a full description will be available at a later date; please contact the instructor for more information)

ENG 6310             The Medieval Poet and the City: Langland, Chaucer, Hoccleve, Lydgate

(3 credits)

Professor             Andrew Taylor

Introduction       “… in the experience of the city, so much that was important, and even decisive, could not be known or simply communicated, but had … to be revealed, to be forced into consciousness.” Raymond Williams, The Country and the City

This course will explore the relation between four late medieval poets and the economic and political energies of the city, the metropolitan nexus of Westminster, Southwark, and the City of London.

Writing about London did not come easily to medieval poets. As David Wallace notes in Chaucerian Polity, “Whereas the countryside in Chaucer is both mysterious and powerful, the city is notable chiefly by its absence.” The Canterbury Tales begin on the outskirts of the city and only one the tales, the fragmentary Cook’s Tale, is set in London proper. Chaucer himself wrote much of Canterbury Tales after he had withdrawn to Kent. But London is still a force for these four poets, even if emerges only indirectly in their writings: the new forms of identity that developed in a market economy and an urban milieu were a major concern of all four. The city was a meeting point for those who were neither monks, knights, nor agricultural labourers and thus fell outside the traditional three estates. The city was a stage for social and political rivalry, and, according to its critics, a centre of corruption. The city was also a centre for new forms of literary patronage. For much of their lives, three of these poets earned their keep in greater London: Langland as a member of an ecclesiastical proletariat, singing masses, Chaucer as a senior government administrator, and Hoccleve, as a clerk in the office of the Privy Seal. Lydgate, a Benedictine monk, was based at the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, but wrote occasional verse for public ceremonies at the behest of city officials such as John Carpenter, London’s Town Clerk. 

Henri Lefebvre’s The Production of Space, Raymond Williams’s The Country and the City, and Caroline Barron’s recent work on London’s history will provide some of the basic methodological points of reference.

Grading                                TBA


Primary Texts

Geoffrey Chaucer, selections from The House of Fame, Troilus and Criseyde, and The Canterbury Tales

Thomas Hoccleve, Selections from Hoccleve, ed. M. C. Seymour (Clarendon, 1981)

William Langland, Piers Plowman: A New Annotated Edition of the C-text, ed. Derek Pearsall (Liverpool University Press, 2008)

John Lydgate, Mummings and Entertainments, ed. Claire Sponsler (TEAMS Middle English Text Series, 2010)

Secondary Texts

Caroline Barron, London in the Later Middle Ages: Government and People 1200-1500 (Oxford University Press, 2005)

Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith (Wiley-Blackwell, 1992)

Raymond Williams, The Country and the City (Vintage Classics, 2016)

ENG 6341             Truth and Subjectivity in Shakespeare

(3 credits)

Professor             Bernhard Radloff

Introduction       The objective of this course is to unfold the historical and philosophical foundations of the specifically modern “subject,” with special reference to selected works of Shakespeare. This calls for an examination of the concepts of “selfhood” and associated concepts of “truth.” The course proposes to draw on Machiavelli’s The Prince and Bacon’s Essays to bring out possible relations between selfhood, authority, and canons of “virtue.” Reference to the Marxist-inspired work of Jonathan Dollimore will serve to orient the class in terms of contemporary critical debates.

Grading In-class Source Summary: 10%

Seminar and Written Report: 30%

Assignment No. 1: 20%

Final Research Paper: 40%


Shakespeare, William. Hamlet (Bedford/ St. Martin’s)

—. Macbeth (Bedford/ St. Martin’s)

—. The Merchant of Venice (Bedford/ St. Martin’s)

—. Othello (Bedford/ St. Martin’s)

Supplemental Texts

Dollimore, Jonathan. Radical Tragedy: Religion, Ideology and Power in the Drama of        Shakespeare and his Contemporaries. Third Edition (Durham: Duke Up, 2004).

Radloff, Bernhard, ed. Coursepack: Relevant Supporting Excerpts from Works of Machiavelli and Bacon.

Texts will be available at ALL BOOKS, 327 Rideau St

ENG 6360             Reading the Passions: A Prehistory of Affect

(3 credits)

Professor             Sara Landreth

Introduction       What does it mean to be “moved” by a text? How is it that black marks on a white page can make us cry or laugh or feel disgusted or aroused? This course traces the prehistory of affect from early modern humours to eighteenth-century sentiments and forward to the MRI images of twenty-first-century neuroscience.  We will examine cultures of feeling and unfeeling in a number of genres, including the novel, pornography, essays on aesthetics, it-narratives, crime fiction, and slave narratives. Our primary readings will span from the late seventeenth century to a 2016 novel set in eighteenth-century New York. We will explore a series of important questions: how is contemporary affect theory reshaping how we study the literature? How can we make meaningful distinctions between what eighteenth-century writers called “passions,” “affections,” and “sentiments? How might the history and philosophy of emotion influence how we understand concepts of action, causation, disciplinarity, and narrative?

Grading                                TBA


Joseph Addison, Cato (1712)

David Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748)

John Cleland, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1748)

William Hogarth, Analysis of Beauty (1753) [selections]

Lord Kames, Elements of Criticism (1762) [selections]

Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey (1768)

Henry Mackenzie, The Man of Feeling (1771)

Anonymous, Travels of Monsieur Le Post-Chaise

Dorothy Kilner, Adventures of a Hackney-Coach (1781)

Elaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789)

Francis Spufford, Golden Hill (2016)

Plus selections from:

Julie Ellison, Cato’s Tears

Jonathan Kramnick, Actions and Objects

Kathleen Lubey, Excitable Imaginations

Christina Lupton, Knowing Books

Brad Pasanek, Metaphors of Mind

Adela Pinch, Strange Fits of Passion

Sean Silver, The Mind is a Collection

Gabi Starr, Feeling Literature

ENG 6370             Aesthetic Pedagogies: Forms, Institutions and Legacies of Literary Education, 1805–2017

(3 credits)

Professor             James Brooke-Smith

Introduction       In this seminar we will investigate the influence of new concepts, practices, and institutions of education on the literature and culture of nineteenth-century Britain. At the beginning of this period, formal education was the preserve of a tiny elite; by the end, the 1902 Education Act had instituted a universal system of state-funded secondary education. It was also in this period that many of our most cherished assumptions about the nature and value of education were formed, including the role of education as an engine of social progress; education as a vehicle for cultivating the whole person; the necessity of an educated public in a modern democracy; the role of education in mitigating the effects of mass media; the school as a key site of cultural memory and nostalgic reverie; and the construction of childhood and adolescence as distinct phases of life with their own rights and responsibilities.

We will pay particular attention to the ways in which literature and the aesthetic figured in the educational thinking of the era. What specific educational virtues did authors ascribe to literary texts and aesthetic experience? How was literature taught in schools and universities? What specific genres and modes of literary writing were considered appropriate to educational contexts? And how, if at all, could the creative imagination be cultivated in an institutional setting? These are important questions not only for understanding nineteenth-century British literature and culture, but also for addressing the changing role of literary studies in our own rapidly shifting world. One of the broader aims of this course will be to study the past with an eye on the present. What can the emergence of literary education in nineteenth-century Britain teach us about the challenges and opportunities we face today, including new digital media, new disciplinary organizations, and new institutional cultures? What can we learn from the past in order to navigate an uncertain future?

Grading                In addition to an in-class presentation (25%), for their final projects students will be able to choose between writing a research paper or producing a multi-media learning tool (podcast, website, video, etc.) that teaches a theme of their choosing to an audience beyond the university (75%).


Philosophical Contexts:

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile

Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

James Mill, On Education

John Dewey, Experience and Education

Antonio Gramsci, “The Popular University” and “The Problem of the School”

Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society

Paolo Freire, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Cathy N. Davidson, Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Businesses for the 21st Century

Literary Texts:

William Wordsworth, The Prelude

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

John Stuart Mill, Autobiography

Charles Dickens, Hard Times

Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure

Netta Syrett, Rose Cottingham / The Victorians

Thomas Hughes, Tom Brown’s School Day’s

C.L.R. James, Beyond a Boundary

Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Morrissey, Autobiography

Zoe Heller, Notes on a Scandal

Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age

ENG 6380             Victorian Materialities: Affects, Objects, and Sensational Matters

(3 credits)

Professor             Lauren Gillingham

Introduction       Victorian studies has long concerned itself with the material world, and thus, as a field, has lent itself readily to the exciting critical and theoretical work produced in recent years under the banner of material culture studies. From groundbreaking works such as Asa Briggs’s Victorian Things (1988) and Andrew Miller’s Novels Behind Glass (1995), Victorian historians and literary scholars have helped us think about how the Victorians interacted with, thought about, and were affected by the objects that surrounded them and the industrial and technological transformations of their world. In the years since those early studies, questions of materiality have become only more pressing (with books such as Elaine Freedgood’s The Ideas in Things (2006), John Plotz’s Portable Property (2008), and Leah Price’s How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain (2012)), and most recently, have expanded to interrogate the boundaries between subjects and objects, objects and things, and the relationship of affect and sensation to movement and intensity. Affect theory has also encouraged us to examine the ways in which culture, and popular culture in particular, puts into circulation logics of sentiment, sympathy, and complaint that shape the individual’s perception of the historical present and of her own self.

Our objectives in this course will be two-fold: on the one hand, we will ask how Victorian studies itself has changed, by analyzing how the theorizations of materiality that to a significant extent have defined the field have evolved over the past 30-odd years. On the other hand, we will examine what material and affect studies have to offer our understanding of Victorian literature, and what Victorian literature itself, especially the novel, has to teach us about these broad questions of culture, materiality, and sensation.

Grading Short seminar presentation: 20%

Paper proposal: 5%

Conference paper presentation: 20%

Research Essay: 45%

Class participation: 10%


Mary Elizabeth Braddon, The Doctor’s Wife (Oxford)

—, Lady Audley’s Secret (Broadview)

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (Broadview)

Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone (Oxford)

Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend (Oxford)

Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four (Broadview)

Plus: a selection of readings (critical, theoretical, historiographic) to be available online

ENG 7310             Time, Literature, Theory

(3 credits)

Professor             Tom Allen

Introduction       The “temporal turn” is one of the signature events of literary studies in the past decade; a sharpened awareness of the complexity and ambiguity of time has also shaped work in other disciplines from history to cultural studies. This seminar will take advantage of this outpouring of intriguing scholarship to explore nineteenth and twentieth-century literature in relation to different ways of thinking about time and temporality. With regard to scholarship, we will read some important articles and book chapters, along with five recent scholarly monographs that have helped define the state of the field in literary time studies. Each theoretical work will be sequenced with one or more particular literary texts that should allow for productive discussion of the theory, but all of the readings on the syllabus should engage one another in a variety of ways. The theoretical readings will be drawn from scholars working in various periods, from medieval to contemporary, but we will focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in our literary readings.

Grading Attendance and participation: 25%

Presentation and short paper: 25%

Research paper: 50%


(all of the articles and some of the books are available to students at no additional cost through the uOttawa library website):


John Keats, selected poems (1816-20)

Washington Irving, selections from The Sketch Book (1819-20)

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables (1851)

George Eliot, Daniel Deronda (1876)

Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889)

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)

H. G. Wells, The Time Machine (1895)

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955)

Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)

Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)

Scholarly Books:

Elizabeth Freeman, Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories (Duke UP, 2010)

Carolyn Dinshaw, How Soon Is Now?: Medieval Texts, Amateur Readers, and the Queerness of Time (Duke UP, 2012)

Michael Clune, Writing Against Time (Stanford University Press, 2013)

David Wittenberg, Time Travel: The Popular Philosophy of Narrative (Fordham University Press, 2013)

Michelle Wright, Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology (University of Minnesota Press, 2015)

ENG 7320             Canadian Short Story Cycles

(3 credits)

Professor             Gerald Lynch

Introduction       Since the early nineteenth century the short story cycle has become something of a sub-genre in Canadian literature. Generically occupying the space between the miscellany of short stories and the novel, it is a form that continues to serve some of Canada's best writers intent on portraying a small town or region, its history, its characters, its collective concerns. Other writers focus on the growth of a single character, thereby illustrating in the story cycle the heightened interest in individual psychology since the rise of Modernism. In this seminar we will consider some of the fundamental questions about this comparatively new genre, while studying the history of the story cycle in Canada as represented by many of the major achievements in the form.

Grading                                TBA

Texts        D.C. Scott, In the Village of Viger (Tecumseh)          

                Stephen Leacock, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (Tecumseh)

                J.G. Sime, Sister Woman (Tecumseh)

                Emily Carr, Klee Wyck (Douglas & McIntyre)

                George Elliott, The Kissing Man (M&S)        

                Mordecai Richler, The Street (Penguin)

                Margaret Laurence, A Bird in the House (M&S)

                Mavis Gallant, “Linnet Muir,” in Home Truths (M&S)

                Alice Munro, Who Do You Think You Are? (Penguin)

                Thomas King, Medicine River (Penguin)

ENG 7321             Shakespeare and Canada

(3 credits)


Professor             Irene Makaryk

Introduction       The most translated, adapted, and performed playwright in the world, Shakespeare found a home here on Canadian soil even before Canada officially existed. Beginning in the late 18th century with amateur theatricals, Shakespeare soon became embedded in Canadian political, educational, cultural, and (with the naming of towns such as Shakespeare, Ontario) even geographical terrain. Neither without controversy nor without facing resistance, Shakespeare has nonetheless become a naturalized part of our national imaginary.

The aim of this seminar is to examine some of the multifarious roles that Shakespeare has played in Canada’s cultural and political history through an analysis of both archival documents and published texts. Among the questions we will be posing are: How has Shakespeare been reconfigured in different ways for particular Canadian contexts? What part does Shakespeare play in Anglophone Canada? In Quebec? Among First Nations?  Educational institutions? Popular culture? How have writers responded to Shakespeare? In what ways have they “talked with” or “through” Shakespeare? How have Shakespeare’s role and functions changed over the years? What function does Shakespeare serve in Canada today? 

In analysing Shakespeare’s complex place in Canada, we will employ a multi-pronged emphasis on history, theory, text, and performance. We will be examining material in Library and Archives Canada, the National Arts Centre Archives, as well as our own University Archives. This will permit students to carry out original research on this topic and to contribute to the creation of a digital cultural map of Shakespeare in Canada. Our principal tools of analysis will be theories of translation, adaptation, and appropriation, since Canada’s most frequent (and perhaps most distinct) response to Shakespeare has been that of adaptation and parody, that is, the simultaneous validation of the (literary) past and its subversion.

With the active collaboration of archivists, library specialists and technicians, students will be assisted in creating a digital project based on their findings.

Grading Term work:  65%

Final project: 35%


Ric Knowles, ed. The Shakespeare’s Mine: Adapting Shakespeare in Anglophone Canada.

Playwrights Canada Press, 2009.

Leanore Lieblein, ed. A Certain William: Adapting Shakespeare in Francophone Canada.  Playwrights Canada Press, 2009.

CASP (Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project). Online texts of Shakespeare adaptations.

Course reader of theoretical texts

LibGuide of recommended texts, including special issues of journals focussing on Canadian Shakespeare

ENG 7322             Queer States: Sexualities, Nationalisms, and Anti-Colonial Sovereignties in Contemporary Canada

                                (3 credits)

Professor             Jennifer Blair

Introduction       This course examines queer states of being in relation to political states—primarily the nation-state—in contemporary theory, literature (fiction, poetry, graphic narratives), and film. In other words, at issue in this course is the connection between queer circuits of desire, on the one hand, and regimes, structures, and acts of modern governance on the other. Our main point of inquiry will be the role and critique of heteronormativity within settler states, with an emphasis on cultural production taking place within, or focusing upon, Canada. The questions our class discussions will explore include: when do representations of queer subjects, performances, or acts reference state structures and their ideological underpinnings, and when are they conditioned by these structures? When do formations like the family, marriage, citizenship, and civic space come to affect homo, hetero, bi, and trans orientations? How do bodies come to affiliate with these queer labels and how do they also become marked with identifiers based on constructs like race, gender, and ability? Finally, how does Queer Studies intersect with Postcolonial Theory, Critical Race Theory, and Indigenous Studies?

The course will begin with an introduction to queer theory and criticism (including queer critiques of settler colonialism) before we enter into discussions of recent theoretical and cultural texts (so no background in this area is necessary).

Grading Article presentation & short paper: 15%

Seminar: 30%

Essay: 40%

Participation: 15%


Dionne Brand, What We All Long For (Vintage Canada)

Beth Brant, Mohawk Trail (available as an e-book through the library, also will be on reserve)

Ranger Shawna Dempsey and Ranger Lorri Milan, Lesbian National Parks and Services Field Guide to North America: Flora, Fauna, and Survival Skills (Pedlar Press)

Tomson Highway, Kiss of the Fur Queen (Anchor Canada)

Larissa Lai, Salt Fish Girl (Dundurn)

Kent Monkman, Shooting Geronimo, Séance, Taxonomy of the European Male, Justice of the Piece (films of the former three are in the library; texts of the latter three in Two Spirit Acts)

Obom, On Loving Women (Drawn and Quarterly)

Jean O’Hara (ed.), Two Spirit Acts: Indigenous Performance (Playwrights Canada Press)

Gregory Scofield, kipocihkân (Nightwood Editions)

Teddy Syrette, “Skeletal Remains” (see course website)

My Prairie Home, dir. Chelsea McMullen

Plus coursepack containing works by: Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Michel Foucault, Lee Edelman, Scott Lauria Morgensen, Lucas Cassidy Crawford, Lauren Berlant, Mark Rifkin, Margot Francis, Qwo-Li Driskill, and Daniel Heath Justice.

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