ENGLISH 1XXX (Introduction to Literary Interpretation; or, 'How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Interpretation')
"Literary criticism is a matter of persuasion, not demonstration.... There is no single way of reading that is correct or natural, only 'ways of reading' that are extensions of community perspectives." -- Stanley Fish
In "Introduction, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Interpretation" Stanley Fish suggests that literary meaning develops in the dynamic process of reading itself. Fish suggests that instead of asking 'what does this mean?' we should be asking 'what does this do?' Fish describes the reading process as a succession of 'deliberate acts;' as these acts are being performed by the reader, sense or meaning is continually being made and then made again. According to Fish, some of the questions a literary critic should be asking are: What is the reader doing? What assumptions is she making? What conclusions is she leaning toward? What expectations is she forming? What attitudes is she entertaining? What acts is she moved to perform?
ENGLISH 2160 (North American Aboriginal Literature)
This course introduces Aboriginal literature in a social, political and historical context. Beginning with the oral tradition, it will focus on a variety of North American aboriginal works: legend, film, story, poetry, essay and novel.
ENGLISH 4851 (Canadian Exploration Literature)
This course examines Canada 's early exploration and travel literature and show how it has shaped contemporary fiction. Some of the early texts include excerpts from Germaine Warkentin's Canadian Exploration Literature: An Anthology. We also read several contemporary novels including Wayne Johnston's The Navigator of New York and John Steffler's The Afterlife of George Cartwright.
ENGLISH 7062 The 'Sorrows of War' in a Postmodern World
This course examines from a postmodern and post-colonial position a range of texts about the Vietnam War (novels, short fiction, poetry, films, popular music, photographs, memoirs, essays). It will look at 'the sorrows of war' and the 'commonality of loss and pain' from various positions: Vietnamese and American, male and female, warrior and pacifist, adult and child.
ENGLISH 7063 The Vietnam War & American Trauma
The general scope of this course examines the development of posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) among American veterans of the Vietnam War and shows how some authors used writing as part of the healing process. American novelist and Vietnam veteran Tim O'Brien will provide the primary readings. Examining the changing nature of O'Brien's writing since the end of the War provides a microscopic view of how Vietnam veterans deal with their experiences through their own writing and through works by other writers.
ENGLISH 7086 Women's Travel Literature: Worldly Women, 'Imaginative Geographies' and Imperial Eyes
This course examines a number of travel narratives written by unusually intrepid women: Elizabeth Taylor's The Far Islands and Other Cold Places, Isabella L. Bird's A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains, Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson's A Woman Tenderfoot, and Agnes C. Laut's Through Our Unknown Southwest. These narratives may be viewed as "worldly texts"; often they present the places visited as "exotic geographies" (Said). In Orientalism Edward Said suggests that literature (and especially travel literature) contributes to the formation of imperial attitudes and helps empires rule distant lands and unruly people.