Graduate Seminar Listings 2022-23

Below are the lists of Graduate Seminars and courses being offered throughout the 2022-2023 academic year. 

Fall 2022

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Stephen Pender

TOPIC: Histories of Experience: The Essays of Michel de Montaigne

Course Description: “If my mind could gain a firm footing, I would not make essays; I would make decisions; but it is always in apprenticeship, and on trial”: in the midst of “Of Repentance,” in which he argues that he portrays “passing, not being,” Montaigne courts the unstable, tentative nature of his form. The term ‘essay’ derives from the French noun essai, and still retains vestiges of essayer, ‘to attempt, endeavour, or probe.’ Although Aristotle, Seneca, and others establish many of its conventions, perhaps the first full examples of modern essays in European literature are Montaigne’s Essays (1580, 1586; first Englished by John Florio in 1603). With his ironic warning in mind — “reader, I am myself the matter of my book; you would be unreasonable to spend your leisure on so frivolous … a subject” — this seminar will explore the entirety of Montaigne’s text, itself a marker of the appearance of a ‘modern self,’ while situating his practice in the emergence of the essay itself. [c. 160 words]

Texts: Montaigne, The Complete Essays, trans. D. Frame (Stanford, 1958 [1582]) Francis Bacon, The Essays, or Counsels Civil and Moral, ed. B. Vickers (Oxford, 1999 [1625]) Sir William Cornwallis, Essayes (London, 1600) An ensemble of articles and book chapters selected by the instructor

Evaluation: In addition to diligent and engaged class participation, students are responsible for five pieces of work during the seminar: [1] weekly response papers; [2] an brief analysis of a recent article on our topic; [3] oral presentations; [4] a conference paper presentation at a colloquium organised by the instructor; and [5] a fifteen to twenty page research paper of publishable quality, which may be developed and refined from the oral report and / or the conference paper.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this seminar, but courses in or familiarity with the period, or with intellectual history or the history of medicine, would be advantageous.

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Suzanne Matheson

TOPIC: Reading Women in Jane Austen's Fiction Course

Description: This seminar will examine Austen’s major fiction within the literary marketplace of her era. Particular attention will be paid to Austen’s representation of reading practices in Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Emma , Persuasion and Sanditon. Issues to be explored will include female education and the strictures regulating women’s reading in late 18th/early 19th century conduct literature, the circulation of public and private texts within the novels, sites of reading, and the relation between individual reading habits and social literacy.

Required Texts: Oxford World’s Classics editions of Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion and Sanditon

Recommended Texts: Joe Bray, The Female Reader in the English Novel: from Burney to Austen: Routledge, 2009.

Kate Halsey, Jane Austen and her Readers, 1786-1945. Anthem, 2012.

Assignment and evaluation: Students will be required to review current scholarship, submit short insight papers, prepare a proposal and annotated bibliography for a final research project, deliver a conference-length seminar presentation on their research, and produce a 15-20 page research paper. In addition, students will be evaluated on the basis of their weekly attendance and contributions to class discussion.

Prerequisites: A previous course in Eighteenth-century or Romantic literature or permission of the instructor.

Winter 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Louis Cabris

TOPIC: Poetics, Modern to Contemporary

Course Description: This course aims to investigate statements in poetics. Poetics statements can open up, expand, and change the meaning of poetry for readers, while offering poets themselves greater scope, depth, and range in practicing the art of language than was previously available to them. We will be reading a range of poetics statements, across a range of identity formations and social categories, and across poetic forms and approaches to poetry and to poetry’s cultural inheritances. Many poems will be sampled for comparative purposes within the histories and politics of specific communities and influences. “Poetics, Modern to Contemporary” will be designed as individual student-lead projects in primary research. It will begin with a working, adaptable outline. Facilitated and guided by the professor, student-lead topics and findings will be introduced into the syllabus as the course unfolds.

Tentative Assignments: Research-based presentations of findings; exercises in comparative poetic analysis; annotated bibliographies of primary and secondary materials; final essay. Venturesome in-class participation will be welcomed. The course will conclude with a presentation of student findings.

Primary Texts: To be determined with student input.

Prerequisites (if any): Undergraduate-level familiarity with lyric as a genre of literature would be helpful.

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Sandra Muse

TOPIC: Indigenous Literature: Award Winning Novels

Course Description: The canon of Indigenous literature of Turtle Island is thought to be relatively new, and many incorrectly place the start in 1969 when N. Scott Momaday won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for House Made of Dawn. Yet many Indigenous-authored works were published long before that and oral storytelling is ancient. Momaday opened the door for the world to take notice of talented writers from the 500+ nations/tribes with his win, and countless other Indigenous authors have won prestigious awards over the decades, while numerous Indigenous poets hold/held positions as poet laureates across the continent. This course examines award-winning novels in Canada and the U.S. for their complexities of plot and characters which present the cultural sovereignty of each writer’s Indigenous nation. Students will consider what sets Indigenous literature apart from American/Canadian literature and establishes each writer’s deep connection to their nation’s/tribe’s Earth place, and why these works received accolades.

Tentative Assignments: Students are responsible for the following: [1] weekly attendance and engaged class participation; [2] Insight papers; [3] Oral presentations; [4] Proposal with annotated bibliography for final research paper; and [5] a fifteen-to-twenty-page research paper of publishable quality.

Primary Texts:

House Made of Dawn – N. Scott Momaday, 1968

Indian Horse – Richard Wagamese, 2012

Son of a Trickster – Eden Robinson, 2017

Murder on the Red River – Marcie Rendon, 2017

Jonny Appleseed – Joshua Whitehead. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018

There, There – Tommy Orange. Knopf, 2018

The Marrow Thieves – Cheri Dimaline, 2018

The Night Watchman – Louise Erdrich. HarperCollins, 2021

Critical & Theoretical Texts:

“Why Native Literature.”- Armand Garnet Ruffo. American Indian Quarterly, Vol. 21, #4, Autumn 1997.

(Ad)dressing our Word: Aboriginal Perspectives on Aboriginal Literatures – Armand Garnett Ruffo. Theytus Books, 2001.

“Intro – Stories that Wound, Stories that Heal.” Why Indigenous Literatures Matter – Daniel Heath Justice. WLU Press, 2018.

“Preface or Here are our Voices, Who will Hear?” – Emma LaRoque. Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English, 4th Ed. Oxford Press, 2015

“The Disempowerment of First North American Native Peoples and Empowerment Through Their Writing.” - Jeanette Armstrong. Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English, 4th Ed. Oxford Press, 2015

“Intro – American Indian Literary Self-Determination.” Red on Red: Native American Literary Separatism. – Craig Womack. U of Minn, 1999.

Fall 2022 & Winter 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Nicole Markotic

Course Description: An advanced writing workshop focusing on process, development, and completion of new writing, and involving the theory and practice of advanced writing skills, with particular attention given to literary structure and process. This course will improve students’ writing, editing, and critical skills, as students read, analyze, and critically comment on published writing (creative and critical), as well as analyze edit, and critically comment on each other’s work. Students will write a great deal, develop, articulate, and clearly formulate theoretical arguments about creative texts, and read a wide range of critical texts that theorize contemporary writing and literary models. Students will submit polished prose, poetry, or mixed genre, workshop each other’s writing, and theorize class work in the context of contemporary poiesis. Students should expect intensive discussions on each other’s works, come to class prepared to discuss their colleagues’ writing, and will be expected to read a series of texts by established authors ranging from the traditional to the innovative.

Texts: Books and excerpts will include: Michael Davidson, Robert Kroetsch, Suzette Mayr, Harryette Mullen, Sachiko Murakami, Rosemary Nixon, Nancy Shaw, Bob Perelman, Gertrude Stein, and Fred Wah. Essays will include Charles Bernstein, Wade Compton, Dennis Cooley, Erica Hunt, Hoa Nguyen, and Sina Queyras.

Assignments: Grades will be based on creative writing, oral and written critical abilities, as well as class participation, critiquing of fellow students’ works, and formal presentations. Students will regularly submit writing packages of their own work for workshop review, and will be responsible for preparing thoughtful, detailed, and insightful critiques of each other’s writing, coming to class prepared to thoroughly discuss the weekly published work and classmates’ writing submissions. Students will present one seminar during each semester.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this seminar, and creative OR critical students may apply to take this course. BUT, to be considered, students must submit a portfolio of their work to the Graduate committee:

Updated June 1, 2022

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