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Department of English

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Upcoming Courses Fall 2019

Today, science and literature are often thought of as entirely separate academic realms with separate respective practices. In this introductory-level course, however, students will gain an understanding for the ties and relationships between literature and science over the course of history, beginning from the Medieval period and ending in the contemporary era. The course will ask students to consider how these relationships change over time and across cultures, and demonstrate how critical reading and literary analysis can deepen our understanding of said relationships. Being that this is an English course, the majority of the texts will be from literary writers – however, it will also include selections of what today are traditionally understood as distinctly scientific writers and texts. Among other things, students will specifically examine: scientific practice as it is represented in literature, the influence of literature on scientific writing, discovery, and observation, and the origins of the two as distinct concepts.

This course provides instruction in close and critical reading and writing through the exploration of texts that center Writers of Color in Speculative Fiction. Exploring POC (People of Color) within futurisms and alternate histories we will highlight characters, landbases, culture, languages, colonisation, histories and historic reimaginings in texts by a variety of authors. We will seek to create conversations highlighting how speculative POC epistemologies (methods and knowledges) influence how we think/imagine about literature (written, visual, oratory etc.) and how these texts both create meaning and how we make meaning from these texts (rhetorics or meaning making).

With its final vision of parched Eden -- doomed to suffer extreme weather events -- and its critiques of colonization and imperalism, arguments for civil liberties and free speech, and an Eve who is a bold warrior in the face of patriarchy, John Milton's epic Paradise Lost (1667) is very much a work for our own political and cultural moment. In this advanced study of Paradise Lost, we will pay particular attention to the historical contexts of the poem and its contemporary resonances. The material forms of production and transmission of the text -- how the book was printed, bound, and retailed -- will be a special focus of the course. Seminar members will conceptualize a final research project based on their own interests in Milton's epic.

Instructor: Dr. Susan Bennett (sbennett@ucalgary.ca)

This course will combine classroom and community-based learning in partnership with the Calgary Public Library’s “Creative Writing Club.” The goals of “Community Engagement through Literature” are to explore practical ways that knowledge gained in the study of English might serve the community and to reflect on the relationship between literary studies and public service.

Students will meet in a formal classroom setting to examine and discuss assigned readings on service learning and community engagement. Once a week students, in teams of two, will work in a community partner setting (one of eight library branches), bringing their expertise and interest in literature to help students in grades 5-9 improve their writing skills.

Admission to the course is by application.  For a copy of the application form, please contact Karen Preddy in the Department of English office: karen.preddy@ucalgary.ca.  For all other questions, please contact the instructor.

Upcoming Courses Winter 2020

Slavery considered Black people things instead of people. How did enslaved authors fight against this kind of representation? How do contemporary North American authors revise these earlier ways of representing slavery? We will begin by close reading short stories about slavery and race. Then we’ll compare two famous nineteenth-century slave narratives, Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglassand ask how gender affects the experience of the enslaved. We’ll end by considering how Toni Morrison’s masterpiece Beloved rewrites these earlier representations, developing our own contribution to the critical conversation around Beloved.

This course will introduce students to literary studies and the methods it uses. Through close reading, critical writing and rewriting, and thoughtful discussion about specific texts, students will develop the practical skills necessary to succeed as a University English major.

This course asks us to trace connections between key issues in Canadian and U.S. Law & Policy (i.e. Truth and Reconciliation, Residential/Boarding Schools, Indian Removal, MMIW, Oil and Mineral Rights, etc.) and the literatures/textual productions produced by FNMI/Native authors. As a community, this class will explore issues, policies, histories, and laws within Indigenous literature/text on Turtle Island (North America). This course engages in dialogues addressing policy and law and its relationship to creative production highlighting Indigenous survivals, resistance, struggles, and sovereignty within popular culture (speculative fiction, comics, film, music, genre literature, and poetry) from across the U.S. and Canada.


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