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Graduate Courses

Graduate programs in the Department of English are offered regularly throughout the academic year. Upcoming courses are highlighted below; for more detailed information please contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator.  

Fall 2014 (subject to change)

English 7003: Contemporary Literary Theory and Practice. The University in Ruins? The Idea and Use of the University


Wednesday 10 to 1

It is an understatement say that a great deal of ink, screen space, debate, and hand-wringing has been devoted to questions and concerns about the contemporary university in general, and the humanities in particular. This course will consider some of the founding ideas of post-secondary education, investigate how those ideas have translated into practical realities of today’s universities, and work through key debates over what and how (theory and practice) a university should be. Further, we’ll pay particular attention to the position of graduate studies and graduate students in the complex web of university politics and practices. Contact Dr. Danine Farquharson ( for more information and readings. 


English 7052: "What the Dickens" is it all about? Charles Dickens and Women: Can We Forgive Him?

Friday 1 to 4

Dr. Annette Staveley (

The recent bicentenary of Charles Dickens’s birth (2012) has been the occasion for a repositioning of critical approaches to his life and work, a refashioning of his contribution to English cultural identity, and a re-examination of his representation of gender. Contemporary critics read his work not as evidence of rigid Victorian values, but as revealing the discontinuities, anxieties and conflicts in nineteenth-century English culture. Through a range of critical approaches including among others, feminist, new historicist, psychoanalytic, poststructuralist and formalist, the course will consider how far Dickens is the author of the Victorian image of the ideal “domestic goddesses” – the docile wives, obedient daughters, self-sacrificing mothers, chaste sisters and silent mistresses – and how far he undercuts these images by writing about mental and physical cruelty in marriage, the lack of educational and professional opportunity for women, the exploitation of women in the family and in the workplace. Many of the more than 400 women in his novels reveal the complex, ambivalent, and inconsistent roles women and men assumed in order to conform to the social, marital and moral constraints expected of them. The course will focus on Dickens’s works published between 1850-1870, including Bleak House (1852-3), Little Dorrit (1855-57), Great Expectations (1861), Our Mutual Friend (1864-5) and the final, incomplete novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870).


English 7066: Colonial Fantasies & Nationalist Fairytales

Tuesday 10 to 1

Dr. Valerie Legge (

Early Canadian critics suggested that our national narratives, stories about the country’s ‘becoming’, were shaped largely by a series of dualities or ‘solitudes’: French and English, hinterland and metropolis, North and South, wilderness and garden. With new developments in the field of contemporary critical theory and cultural studies, we have started to question certain assumptions about our country and our literature. Ajay Heble writes, “the new contexts of Canadian criticism have forced Canadians to expand their repertoire of contradictory experiences to include, for example, a consideration of the tensions between some of the following: race, class, ethnicity, and gender.” Using ReCalling Early Canada: Reading the Political in Literary and Cultural Production as a critical guide, we will “reread” our early literature by focussing on canonical and non-canonical texts. Course evaluation will be based mainly on a Student Reading Journal and a Major Research Project related to the Journal.


English 7070: Canadian Drama

Monday 10 to 1

English 7070 will introduce students to Canadian drama, and since drama cannot be considered outside of its theatrical context, we will consider ‘drama’ as ‘performance’, ‘collaborative performance’ et cetera, and examine what various forms are being explored or exploded. Further, we will assess the larger forces that shape the broader term ‘Canadian’ theatre on both the provincial and national stages.

N. B. In this course, all students must be prepared to contribute to every class. A written version of whatever aspect of the week’s reading you wish to share will be handed in at the end of each class. This will be part of your evaluation.

Further specific information from Dr. Denyse Lynde or first class meeting. Readings for that first class are the plays by Ryga and Herbert.

Texts: Modern Canadian Plays, Volume 1 & 2


Winter 2015 (subject to change)

English 7038: Early Modern Writers as Critics

Dr. Agnes Juhasz-Ormsby (

English 7064: Hardboiled (Noir) Fiction

Dr. Brad Clissold (

English 7071: Re-Imagining the Ocean: Atlantic-Canadian Sea Stories and Environmental Policy

Dr. Caitlin Charman (