For room locations, please go to:

Note: The content on this page is currently in the process of being updated and may be periodically unavailable while it is under construction. Thank you for your patience.

Fall 2019

EN 6000 0.0: Literary Research Methods


Lisa Sloniowski
Phone: ext. 20072

Course Description

(This seminar is a required 0 credit pass/fail course offered in the Fall term, for all entering M.A. candidates and those Ph.D. candidates who have not successfully completed such a graduate course or who have not had equivalent experience. The seminar will take place over 6 weeks in the Fall term in 3 hour sessions.)

Methodological questions animate 21st century humanities research and literary studies are no exception. For example, fierce contemporary debates challenge the propulsive force of the digital or computational turn in humanistic research, while others struggle to rethink what constitutes the archival and what is socially and politically at stake in archives. The question of how we study literature is intimately entwined with questions of why, where, when, or who.

The Literary Research Methods seminar is designed to introduce new MA and PhD students to some of the conceptual and/or methodological frameworks which characterize literary scholarship while we simultaneously make inquiries of the physical sites, technological platforms, and skills needed to do work in this discipline. Students will be introduced to specialized research and writing resources needed to perform both comprehensive and focused literature reviews at the graduate level, as well as to the skills needed to both use and critically interrogate those resources. We will learn to approach research projects with an attention to key methodological questions such as: how does the knowledge organization of a field shape or contribute to our understanding of it?

The seminar will also take up the question of digital humanities from a critical perspective and examine this method in the context of the bibliographic work in literary studies more generally. We will also situate literary research methods broadly in relation to the methods of other disciplines as we explore how and where humanities research differs from, and converges with, the questions of social sciences, fine arts, and sciences.

Guest lectures and workshops will be provided by faculty members in the GPE, as well as archivists and librarians. The seminar is led by Lisa Sloniowski, who is a humanities librarian in York University Libraries, a PhD candidate in Social and Political Thought, and an associate faculty member of the Graduate Program in English.

As this seminar is a pass/fail zero credit requirement, required reading will be no more than two essays per week. Students will engage in collaborative hands-on research workshops in the library, in the archives, and with bibliographic databases.

There will likely be one minor assignment due in October and one major assignment due in January 2020. Both will ideally be complementary with the student’s other academic projects.

The (draft) schedule is as follows:

September 25 Finding the How in Whoville: Literary Research Methods
October 2 Paradise is a Kind of a Library: Literature Reviews, Libraries, and Knowledge Organization in Literary Studies
October 9 Literary Editing and Writing and Citing Tools
October 16 Fall Reading Week
October 23 Febrile Seizures: Archives vs “The Archive”
October 30 Digital Humanities Methods and the Question of “Data”
November 6 Oppressive Algorithms, the Politics of Mass Digitization and You

All classes will be held on Wednesdays, 2.30 to 5.30 pm, room TBA.

Attendance at all sessions is mandatory.

No textbooks are required.

For further information, contact Lisa Sloniowski: or ext. 20072

EN 6158 3.0: Studies in World Literature: Detective Fiction


Marie-Christine Leps
Office: 332 Calumet College
Phone: ext. 22145

Course Description

(in process)
This course focuses on World Detective Fiction as its point of departure (Auerbach’s Ansatzpunkt) for globalized reading (Cooppan). Considering the genre as world literature re-writes the usual narrative of its emergence and development. Edgar Allan Poe’s famous Dupin stories, written in nineteenth-century US, will be studied not only in conjunction with Émile Gaboriau’s Lecoq stories, but also with eighteenth-century Chinese narratives recounting the celebrated cases of seventh-century magistrate, Judge Dee (Dee Goong An), as well as tales from One Thousand and One Nights. The English Holmes and Watson team will be read transnationally, through various Indian, Chinese, and Tibetan versions. Considering recent adaptations in novels (by Lyndsay Faye and Laurie R. King) and television series (Sherlock and Elementary) will allow us to see how this model has circulated and been adapted in different national, political, and cultural contexts, and to what ends. In other words, the detective novel will not be studied as a thing in itself, but as an epistemological mode and a changing practice contributing to various cultures.

To historicize crime narratives, and discern the political and economic dimensions of their emergence and popularity, we will examine the correlations between crime facts and fictions, as reported in the world press. We will also compare the narrative “Science of Deduction and Analysis” to an emerging criminology (with Cesare Lombroso and Gabriel Tarde), to see how they variously produced different truths about criminals. Our discursive investigations of the Ripper murders will include police and coroner’s reports, post-mortem reports, parliamentary debates, and inquest testimony.

Our investigations of the pressures of genre will extend to the “golden age” fiction of the sole investigator of multiple suspects (Miss Marple in novel and film, along with her nineteenth-century U.S. predecessor, Amelia Butterworth), and the Detection Club’s Fair Play Rules.

Throughout our investigations, gender, race, sexuality, and class will be foregrounded, as well as the interrelations among detective fiction, nationalism, and imperialism.

Working list of novels and stories

  • Cheng, Xiaoquing. “The Ghost in the Villa” (1947), in Timothy Wong, trans. Stories for Saturday: Twentieth-Century Chinese Popular Fiction. U Hawaii P, 2003. [made available in class]
  • Christie, Agatha. A Murder is Announced (1950). William Morrow Paperbacks, 2011; film version with Geraldine McEwan, 2005.
  • Dee Goong An. Trans. Robert Van Gulik, 1949. Dover, 1976
  • Doherty, Robert. Elementary, Series 1, episode 1 “pilot.”
  • Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. A Study in Scarlet (1887) [any unabridged edition, also available at:]
  • … “The Man with the Twisted Lip,” in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1891) [any unabridged edition, also available at:]
  • … “The Speckled Band”
  • Faye, Lyndsay. Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson. Simon & Shuster, 2009.
  • Gaboriau, Émile. The Lerouge Case (1865).
  • Green, Anna Katherine. That Affair Next Door. (1897)
  • King, Laurie R. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Or On the Segregation of the Queen. St Martin’s Press, 1994.
  • Moffat, Steven. “A Study in Pink” (2010), Sherlock, Series 1 Episode 1.
  • Norbu, Jamyang. The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes: The Adventures of the Great Detective in India and Tibet. (1999). Bloomsbury, 2003. [Any edition; on reserve in Scott]
  • Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841); “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” (1842-1843); “The Purloined Letter” (1844) [any unabridged edition; also available at:]
  • Satyajit, Ray. “Feluda in London” (1989), in The Complete Adventures of Feluda Vol.2. Penguin Books India, 2015 [made available in class]
  • Sun Liaohong, “The Sunglasses Society” (1924), in Timothy Wong, trans. Stories for Saturday: Twentieth-Century Chinese Popular Fiction. U Hawaii P, 2003. [made available in class]
  • “The Three Apples” in One Thousand and One Nights.

Criminological Texts

World Press Reports on Ripper Murders


  • Essays by D. Damrosch, M. B. Harris-Peyton, E. Mandel, V. Shklovsky, W. Yan, and others will be made available.


Short responses and expositions in class 30%
Fifteen-minute class presentation 10%; essay version: 15%
Final research paper 40%

EN 6450 3.0: 19th Century British Fiction: Historical Novels, Novel Histories*


Dr. Tina Y. Choi
Office: 346 Stong College
Phone: ext. 22149
Tuesdays 11:30am–2:30pm

Course Description

While Edward Gibbon, author of History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1782), asserted that the historian’s foremost goal was “accuracy,” late Romantic and Victorian works reveal a more experimental attitude towards the writing of history. In this course, we will explore the use of the past as a field for speculation, nostalgic representation, historiographical reflection, narrative and temporal experiment, and counterfactual discourse, at a time when traditional historical narratives (political, military, and individual) were growing in popularity, and new genres (speciological and geological) were emerging. More generally, we consider the role of history in a range of works and contexts from the 1810s to the 1870s. Why were recreations of the past, in the form of historical fictions, monumental surveys, and immersive displays, so popular during this period? How might we interpret historically based literary works with relation to a contemporaneous enthusiasm for re-enactments, the installation of life-size dinosaur models in urban parks, or living displays of Indian workers performing traditional forms of manual labour?

Our readings will include selected major works by Scott, Dickens, Eliot, and others, as well as an array of recent critical and theoretical material. While our primary focus will be on the historical novel, we will also examine the period’s historical and historicizing impulse as expressed in its many popular histories, exhibitions and museums, and geological and archaeological writings.


One oral seminar presentation (approximately 20-25 minutes) 25%
Final essay (approximately 4500 words) 55%
Active, informed participation 10%
One short bibliographic essay (approximately 1200-1500 words) on an assigned text 10%

Readings (tentative)

  • Scott, Waverley
  • Hogg, Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
  • Lyell, Principles of Geology (selections)
  • Carlyle, The French Revolution (selections)
  • Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
  • Eliot, Middlemarch
  • Birdwood, The Arts of India (selections)

+ a selection of critical and historical works by Ian Duncan, Catherine Gallagher, Saloni Mathur, Ralph O’Connor, Katie Trumpener, Hayden White, and others

EN 6549 3.0: Modernism, Interdisciplinarity, and the Arts*


Elicia Clements
Office: 204 Vanier College
Phone: ext. 77021

Course Description

Given the significance of interdisciplinary work in the current academic climate, we will probe the artistic crossings of the modernist period by drawing upon theories that examine the history and nature of interdisciplinarity and upon methodologies that cross visual and aural borders themselves, such as semiotics, narrative theory, sound studies, and performance theory. By examining twentieth century artistic border crossings in conjunction with theoretical methods and models that address both how to do interdisciplinary work and also enact it (often at the same time), we can better understand not only why there is a current impulse to traverse the boundaries of disciplines, but also how to undertake such work as a critical practice.

EN 6552 3.0: The Advent of Modernism: Time for Modernism


Prof. Lesley Higgins
Office: 301D Stong College

(formal title: The Advent of Modernism: Time for Modernism)

Course Description

How ironic: not long after international railroad companies “standardized” time across England (1847) and North America (1883) to improve efficiency and profits, and European and American politicians decided that all time should be measure in relation to a fixed “prime meridian” in Greenwich, England (1884), disparate scientists, philosophers, and writers set about demonstrating how time is unstable, relative—and susceptible to new modes of representation. While Albert Einstein, Max Plank, Henri Bergson, and Alfred North Whitehead were challenging the physics and metaphysics of temporality, Joseph Conrad, Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce, among other avant-garde writers, were experimenting with narrative time in its many manifestations: challenging the realist mode’s causal-chronological linearity; rethinking the possibilities of the reading experience within a “significant form”; reimagining the boundaries of temporality through myth and intertextuality; and rewriting the possibilities of consciousness across time and history.

To consider how the temporal has been theorized in relation to literary texts and subjectivity, our discussions will range from David Hume to Henri Bergson, from Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of the chronotope to Joycean “epiphanies” and Woolf’s “moments of being.”

Students will give one substantial 15-minute presentation, worth 20%. Two short (600-word) response papers will be worth 10% each. A final research paper (12 to 15 pages; 4000 words max.) will be worth 50% of the final grade. Informed class participation will be worth 10%.

Reading List

  • Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent (Penguin);
  • James Joyce, Ulysses (Penguin);
  • Gertrude Stein, selections from Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein, ed. F. W. Dupee (Vintage);
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (Oxford World’s Classics) and To the Lighthouse (Oxford World’s Classics).

PDFs of selected readings by Filippo Marinetti, André Breton, and Wyndham Lewis will be distributed by the instructor.

Seminar Schedule

  • Week 1
    Introduction: theoretical and critical framework
  • Week 2
    Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent
    Impressionist prose and “time shifting”
  • Week 3
    Conrad, The Secret Agent
  • Week 4
    Short fiction: Woolf and Stein
    Consciousness and temporality; writing and reading in the “continuous present”
  • Week 5
    Futurists, Vorticists, and Surrealists: manifestos and selected texts by Filippo Marinetti and André Breton; selections from Wyndham Lewis’s Time and Western Man
  • Week 6
    James Joyce, Ulysses
  • Week 7
    James Joyce, Ulysses
  • Week 8
    James Joyce, Ulysses
  • Week 9
    Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
  • Week 10
    Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse
  • Week 11
    Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
  • Week 12
    Stein, Four Saints in Three Acts and “Composition as Explanation”

EN 6578 3.0: Women Writing South Asia: Gender, Nation and the World


Arun Mukherjee
Office: 354 Stong College
Phone: ext. 33420

Course Description

This course will introduce students to women’s writing from South Asia. South Asian women’s writings have been triply marginalized: they are absent from the literature curriculum both in South Asia and the West and they have also been ignored by the Western feminists whose “recoveries” were often limited to white western writers, i.e., Sandra Gilbert’s and Susan Gubar’s The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women.

South Asia is not a national but a regional category. Generally, literary studies either groups authors according to their “universality” or “greatness,” or their nationality. The course will begin by examining the provenance of various categories. South Asia is a culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse region and the literatures identified with this region reflect this diversity. Home to more than 1.5 billion people, and with a diaspora of more than 30 million, it is an important region of the globe and with a vast body of literatures. The choice of texts used here is basically eclectic, partly based on the instructor’s choice and partly on their availability. The course aims to get students acquainted with issues and debates which frame the literature rather than claim geographic or historic exhaustiveness. The major objectives of the course are to foster the ability to read critically and to write coherently.

Reading a variety of women’s texts from India, Pakistan, Bangla Desh and Sri Lanka, we will focus on how South Asian women have engaged with the dominant discourses of South Asian societies: whether indigenous, colonial, postcolonial, or neo-colonial. I intend to introduce the students to (a) ideologies embedded and/or contested in these texts; (b) the narrative and discursive strategies employed in them; and (c) the role these voices have played in shaping the course of history, both South Asian and global. The course will examine these texts in order to gain an understanding of women’s lives in South Asia and the forces that shape them.

Course Requirements are as follows:

  • One 20–25 minute seminar presentation, 20%;
  • Presentation write up, approximately 2000 words (can be longer), 15%;
  • Final essay, 4500 words, 55%;
  • Class participation: 10% .

Note: If you choose to write your paper on the text you presented your seminar on, you must use one more text from the Reading List in your essay.

Seminar Expectations
My time limit, as specified in the syllabus, is 20–25 minutes. So, I do not assume that the presentation has to cover the whole book: that would be impossible. It is up to you to choose a topic doable in 20–25 minutes and productive re the interpretation of the text. Please prepare a one- or two-page sheet for distribution to the class so that we can follow your arguments. The sheet should guide your listeners to references to the text, quotes from others if you are using them, and provide a list of references.

Seminar Write Up Format
You will submit it three weeks after your seminar presentation. An oral presentation is ephemeral, so the report documents what you did. Think of it as informing a very interested person who wasn’t there but really wants to know what you said and what the responses were to what you said: “I presented on… ,” “I chose to discuss this topic because I was interested in…,” “I was fascinated by this subject matter because I am very interested in…” After this introductory part, in the next part of your report, you describe your presentation in detail. In the penultimate part, you bring in the post-seminar discussion in the class and whether the questions or comments made you think further on the subject. So, make sure to take notes of the post-seminar discussion. In the concluding section, mention any further thoughts or insights you have had, or points you wanted to include in your oral presentation but could not because of time limit.

Reading List

  • Usha Alexander, The Legend of Virinara;
  • Tahmima Anam, A Golden Age;
  • Jean Arasanayagam, All Is Burning;
  • Gaiutra Bahadur, Coolie Woman;
  • Shama Futehally, Reaching Bombay Central;
  • Githa Hariharan, I Have Become the Tide;
  • Pandita Ramabai Saraswati, High Caste Hindu Woman;
  • Kamila Shamsie, Burnt Shadows;
  • P. Sivakami, The Grip of Change.
  • We will also read some poetry by South Asian women.

Suggested Reading

  • Himani Bannerji, Inventing subjects;
  • Uma Chakravarti, Gendering Caste;
  • Uma Chakravarti, Rewriting History: The Life and Times of Pandita Ramabai;
  • Geraldine Forbes, Women in Modern India;
  • Kumari Jayawardena, The White Woman’s Other Burden;
  • Kumkum Sangari and Sudesh Vaid, Recasting Women;
  • Tanika Sarkar, Women and the Hindu Right;
  • Susie Tharu and K. Lalita, Ed. Women Writing in India: 600 B.C. to the Present.

EN 6997 3.0: Issues in Contemporary Theory: McLuhan and the Crises of the Global Village/Theatre: Readings in Texts that Absorb the New Media*


B.W. Powe
Office: 352 Stong College
Phone: ext. 33775

Course Description

The media seer, Marshall McLuhan, had a powerful, lasting influence on many writers, artists, and thinkers. It is no exaggeration to say that he is to date Canada’s most significant and prophetic theorist. His radical interdisciplinary and trans-historical approach to the study of new electric media fields led to controversy and essential insights. His impact on writers—and their impact on him—is pivotal to understanding his embrace of and unease with our wired environment. This course begins with a weighty summary text that organizes and presents many of McLuhan’s most profound insights, through his methodology of aphorism, figure/ground, tetrads, and probes. We will explore from the beginning of our class how McLuhan revised his vision of the global village percept in favour of the global theatre recognition. Then we will explore works that both manifest and represent the vision of radical rewiring, the reinventions of consciousness and sensibility, indeed of the world, that have emerged through media, digital communications’ technologies. These articulations may be either

Utopian or Dystopian, or both. They may extend McLuhan’s perceptions directly, or indirectly. This course will trace and explore the McLuhan lineage and its original adaptations and metamorphoses, from articulations of paranoia and ecstasy, to intimations of A.I. and new kind of mysticism. It is a course that sets out to discover how McLuhan’s searing insights that we are being altered and transfigured by media extensions have found literary and artistic expression. This course will also explore how widely differing approaches (or sensitivities) to this global transformation have and can spark crises of form and content.

Readings List
(This is the order in which these works will be engaged and read.)

  1. Marshall McLuhan, The Book of Probes
  2. William Gibson, Neuromancer
  3. Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
  4. Kathy Acker, Empire of the Senseless
  5. Jean Baudrillard, Simulations (excerpts) and Paroxysms (excerpts) to be paired with William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch
  6. Don DeLillo, Mao II
  7. Anne Carson, Float
  8. Jeanette Winterson, The Powerbook

Winter 2019

EN 6150 3.0: Satire: Twisting World Literature


Julia Creet
Office: 334 Stong College
Phone: ext. 30439

Course Description

Melding repellent physicality with political commentary, “the grotesque” is a particular genre of satire that invokes rich histories and contemporary dangers. Beginning with some of the rudest satires in history from the Romans and the Persians, this course traverses time and country, text, images and film to explore our abject responses to monstrous combinations of political horror and laughter.


2 short response papers (approx. 750 words) each worth 20%
Leading Seminar discussion (based on one response paper) 20%
1 final essay (approx. 4000 words) 40%

Syllabus (subject to change)

Gregory Harphan, On the Grotesque (1982)
Northrup Frye “The Nature of Satire” (1949)

Juvenal The Sixteen Satires and Lucian (Rome 100s)

Obeyd Zakani (Persia, 1370s)
Iranian Studies Series, Irreverent Persia: Invective, Satirical and Burlesque Poetry from the Origins to the Timurid Period (10th to 15th Century) (2015)

Carnivalesque and Minnepean
François Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel (France 1490s)
M.M. Bahktin, Rabelais and His World (Russia, 1965)

Gorgio Spiller “The United Sexes of Gorgio Spillers” (Italy 1980s)
Scott Blanchard—Scholars Bedlam: Minnepean Satire in the Renaissance (Selections)

Politically Modern
Jonathan Swift, “A Modest Proposal” (Ireland 1729)
Nikoli Gogol The Nose (Russia 1835)
Istvan Orkney One Minute Stories (Hungary 1977)
John Clarke The Modern Satiric Grotesque and Its Traditions (Selections) (U.S.,1991)

Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber (UK 1976)
Monique Wittig, Paris La Politique (France 1986)
Mary Russo, The Female Grotesque (selections) (UK, 2001)

Kathy Acker, Blood and Guts in Highschool (US 1994)
Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror (France 1984)

William Burroughs, Naked Lunch (U.S. 1959)
David Cronenberg, Naked Lunch (Canada 1991)
Charlie Hebdo (France, 2015)

Leonard Cassuto, The Inhuman Race: The Racial Grotesque in American Lit and Culture (1997)
African/Indian or Asian Satire TBA

A New Golden Age of the Grotesque
The Victim Fashion Show (Canada 1980)
Trump (International 2015-17)

EN 6157 3.0 Comparative and World Literature*+


Marie-Christine Leps
Office: 332 Calumet College
Phone: ext. 22145

Course Description

This seminar introduces students to the conditions of emergence and development of the discipline of Comparative Literature from its beginnings in nineteenth-century Europe to its most recent global iteration of World Literature. Students will experience how expanded understandings of cultural translation and textuality have radically altered and expanded the Eurocentric character of the discipline.
Questions for investigation include (with the emphasis changing from year to year): What are the politics (the stakes, the ethics, the costs) of practicing Comparative Literature? How do those compare with the practice of World Literature? How do they relate to colonial, post-colonial, diasporic, cultural, and translation studies? How are Comparative Literature and World Literature practiced in different locations? What role has the globalization of capital played in the formation of the discipline? How are theoretical and methodological decisions and approaches such as World Literature redefining the discipline?

Texts will include theoretical and methodological essays by Theodor Adorno, Emily Apter, Erich Auerbach, Pascale Casanova, Wai Chee Dimock, David Damrosch, Charles Mill Gayley, Debjani Ganguly, Édouard Glissant, J.W. von Goethe, Johann Gottfried Herder, Kobayashi Hideo, Djelal Kadir, Adam Kirsch, Franco Moretti, Bruce Robbins, Edward Said, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Germaine de Staël, Lawrence Venuti, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, René Wellek, and others.


Two short response papers (250 words, 5% each) (10%)
Class presentation (15 minutes, 10%); essay based on the presentation (20%) (2300 words/7 pages) (30%)
Final research paper (3500 words) (45%)
Final paper Capstone Diploma Research Paper presentation (5%)
Class participation (10%)

This seminar course is required for both the Humanities Graduate Diploma in Comparative Literature and the English Graduate Diploma in World Literature. The seminar introduces students to the history of both fields, and the theories and methodologies that have forged them. Students who are not enrolled in either diploma are of course welcome.

EN 6220 3.0: Shakespeare’s Political Theory*

Instructor:  TBA


Many of Shakespeare’s best-known plays, from early tragedies like Richard 3 and mid-career histories like Henry 4 part 1, to later Roman plays like Antony & Cleopatra or Coriolanus, interrogate the relationship between theatre and politics, exploring, for example, the performative nature of kingship or the illusions that sustain political authority. This course explores Shakespeare’s engagement with the political issues and theories of his time by grounding our reading of his plays in the major theoretical works of the period, allowing us to better understand his representations of sovereignty, tyranny, and servitude; absolutism and republicanism; colonialism and conquest. Tracts like Machiavelli’s Prince, which enjoyed a certain notoriety in Shakespeare’s time, can usefully inform our reading of plays like Richard 3 and Hamlet, while works by Thomas More, Michel de Montaigne, and Bartolomé de Las Casas can all be paired in productive ways with a play like The Tempest to explore utopianism, skepticism, and the early modern debates about human rights. Early modern resistance theory, articulated in radical works by Etienne de La Boétie and the pseudonymous “Brutus,” author of the Vindiciae, Contra Tyrannos, can also shed light on plays like Richard 2, Julius Caesar, and King Lear. The course typically sets eight or nine works by Shakespeare in dialogue with a selection of political writings from the classical era and the Renaissance.

Evaluation (subject to change):

Seminar presentation 15 minutes (20%)
Response papers 3 x 300 words (15%)
Paper Abstract 300 words (due: March 5) (5%)
Research Paper 4,000 words (due: April 2) (45%)
Participation ongoing (15%)

EN 6714 3.0: Considering Black Canada


Leslie Sanders
Office: 225 Vanier College
Phone: ext. 66604
Wednesdays 4:00–7:00pm

Course Description

In Odysseys Home, George Elliott Clarke proffers a massive bibliography of black Canadian writing extending back to the eighteenth century, a testament to the long tenure of people of African descent in Canada, and a complex expressive tradition. Critical readings and theorizing of black Canadian writers regularly frame them as 'postcolonial' or 'Caribbean,' more recently as 'diasporic,' yet each frame has limitations, excluding some writers, neglecting national location, or segregating the writers within 'the' national imaginary.

This course focuses on contemporary writing in English, primarily on work that interrogates Canada as location, space and context for blackness. We will be concerned with a variety of literary conversations, both within and across a variety of boundaries and borders.


seminar presentations (20%)
brief response papers (20%)
one major paper, 3000 words/15 pages (40%)
informed participation (20%)

Sample Texts

  • Dionne Brand, Thirsty;
  • David Chariandy, Brother;
  • Wayde Compton, Performance Bond Austin Clarke, short stories;
  • George Elliott Clarke, Execution Poem;
  • Esi Edugyan, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne;
  • Sylvia D.Hamilton, And I Alone Escaped to Tell You;
  • M. NorbeSe Philip, Zong;
  • Mairuth Sarsfield, No Crystal Stair;
  • Lorena Gayle, Angelique;
  • Djanet Sears, Harlem Duet.

Articles will be available on Moodle

EN 6801 3.0: Studies in Canadian Literature: Critical Theory: The Politics of Space


Rob Zacharias
Office: 338 Stong College
Phone: ext. 30870

Course Description

In 1967, as Canada was proudly celebrating its centennial, Michel Foucault was in Paris predicting that if history had been the “great obsession of the nineteenth century,” the “present epoch will perhaps be above all the epoch of space.” Today, Foucault’s essay is widely acknowledged as anticipating the larger spatial turn, which has worked to denaturalize the complex social and cultural processes at play in the production of space itself—production exemplified in the centennial nation-building celebrations that helped to cement the establishment of Canadian literary as a field of study.

This course has two overlapping aims. First, we will explore the spatiality of Canadian literary criticism in English, seeking to historicize the recent proliferation of self-consciously spatial critical frames in the transnational turn—including diaspora and hemispheric studies—as part of the longer “topocentric” history of Canadian criticism as it has developed since the 19th century. Second, we will examine the critical field’s long “spatial history” through the theoretical lens of the spatial turn, considering key essays and debates in the Canadian critical tradition alongside foundational works in the study of space, including works by Foucault, Soja, Appadurai, and others. Works of short fiction and poetry will ground and test our discussions.

Summer 2020

EN 6590 3.0: Contemporary Fiction: After 9/11


Susan Warwick
Office: 040 McLaughlin
Phone: (416) 736-2100 ext. 77387

Course Description


EN 6998 3.0: Studies in Contemporary Literature: The Internet


Marcus Boon
Office: 722 Atkinson
Phone: (416) 736-2100 ext. 40675

Course Description


EN 6320 3.0: 18th Century Intellectual Texts: Sublime, Beautiful, and Picturesque


Karen Valihora
Office: 540 Atkinson
Phone: (416) 736-2100 ext. 66397

Course Description


Directed Reading

(ONLY available for students registered in the Graduate Program in English)

Students have the option of taking a Directed Reading course with a faculty member provided something like it is not available in the current curriculum and provided it does not overlap significantly with a course taken previously.  Students are normally allowed one reading course during their entire graduate tenure at York.

*   Cross-listed course.  Courses that are cross-listed will reserve a certain number of seats for students in each of the cross-listed disciplines.
** Taught at the Glendon Campus
This is the core course for the Diploma in World Literature