700: Rhetoric (RCD/XDM) MacDonald
The systematic study of effective communication—the art of rhetoric—dates back at least to the epics of Homer and flourishes today in countless academic disciplines and fields of business. In fact, the “empire” of rhetoric is so vast and enduring that it “digests regimes, religions, and civilizations” (Roland Barthes). Nevertheless, English 700 sets out to compress two and a half millennia of rhetorical theory and criticism into a single semester. More specifically, this introductory seminar aims to provide students with the grounding in rhetorical theory necessary for advanced study in rhetoric, communication design, digital media, and literary studies. To accomplish this goal, the seminar will introduce essential concepts, frameworks, and debates in rhetorical theory by analyzing key selections from foundational texts, both ancient and contemporary. The seminar will also demonstrate the relevance of rhetorical theory and criticism to a variety of social, intellectual, and cultural fields: law, politics, science, philosophy, etc. Finally, the seminar will investigate, with the help of guest lecturers, emerging forms of rhetorical theory and practice made possible by new media technologies: digital design, information warfare, computational gaming, and others. Students will leave the seminar with a firm grasp of basic concepts, an ability to analyze rhetorical artifacts, and a deeper sense of rhetoric as an inventive, critical, multimodal, and richly interdisciplinary enterprise—what Quintilian calls an “encompassing art” (ars circumcurrens).
715: Milton (LIT) Graham
During his lifetime, Milton was best known for defending a number of radical positions, including the legality of divorce on the grounds of incompatibility, freedom from pre-publication censorship, and the people's right, generally, to choose their leaders and, specifically, to execute Charles I. Milton's position as the most politically involved of major pre-modern poets has made his oeuvre an ideal place to think about the historical involvement of imaginative literature, so it is not surprising that the reinvigoration of historical criticism in the last two or three decades has gone hand in hand with important developments in Milton studies. Miltonists have contributed to recent debates about the history of print culture, the development of the public sphere, the rise of nationalism, the growth of religious toleration, and the spread of early modern republicanism and liberalism. In view of these developments, this class will undertake an historical reading of Milton's major prose and poetry.
730: Mesmerism and Literature in the Victorian Period (LIT) Wyse
The para-medical phenomenon of Mesmerism named after the innovative physician (or quack doctor) Franz Mesmer (1734-1815) resurfaced in Britain in the 1940s, becoming something of a cultural sensation. As Alison Winter remarks, "a large proportion of Victorians knew of mesmerism and its claimed effects and [...] a great many people had witnessed it at first hand" (Mesmerized: Powers of Mind in Victorian Britain). Poised as it was between the nascent psychology of the nineteenth century and investigations of the paranormal and the occult, Mesmerism was often used is literature as a vehicle for exploring unaccountable mental processes and effects. While it typically was presented as uncanny or preternatural, the mesmeric nexus often functioned as a figure for the seemingly imponderable dimensions of intersubjectivity. Mesmeric phenomena also enabled Victorian thinkers to speculate about the dynamic unconscious mind, and led some psychologists to reflect on the multiplicity of human personality. This course will explore a range of nineteenth-century literary representations of Mesmerism and its attendant phenomena (trance or somnambulism, double consciousness, clairvoyance, telepathy, prescience) as well as associated phenomena like spiritualism and mediumship. One of the central themes of this course will be the analogies and connections between mesmeric phenomena and imagination (or more precisely the experiences of literary creation and of reading).
735: The Making of The Waste Land (LIT) McArthur
When it was published in 1922, The Waste Land became, with Ulysses, published in its complete form in the same year, an immediate international sensation and one of the primary texts of literary Modernism. This course proposes to examine the significance of these events through exploring the making of this poem in its genetic phases and its intertextual networks. All of Eliot's early work from before and during his crucial postgraduate year in Paris in 1910-11, published in 1996 as Inventions of the March Hare, to his collaboration on his first two volumes of poetry with Ezra Pound (published in 1917 and 1920), through to the manuscripts of the poem itself, published with all the evidence of Pound's extensive editing in 1971, constitute the local phases of the genesis of the poem. Multiple texts, from The Odyssey to The Tempest, from The Golden Bough to From Ritual to Romance, and beyond, constitute the wider networks of its intertextuality. These networks can be accessed through the evidence of his reading in this period, those essays he wrote in the years of the genesis of the poem, especially "Tradition and the Individual Talent" (1919) and "The Metaphysical Poets" (1921). And there is Eliot's own life story during these years. Our course will focus on these many strands converging in and emanating from our central focus, the making of the poem itself in 1921 and early 1922.
770: Canada and Black North American Writing (LIT) Siemerling
The course looks at Black writing in a wider North American comparative perspective but ultimately concentrates on Black writing in Canada and Quebec. Both Theoretical and literary texts will be studies to explore this field, which has become crucial to literary culture studies in the United States for the quite some time but is only now emerging as a major preoccupation in Canadian literary discussion. The course will begin with texts by Lorena Gale and Lawrence Hill that evoke slavery in Canada, then look at narratives produced by ex-slaves and other Blacks who settled in Canada after leaving the United States. We will briefly explore Du Bois' classic The Souls of Black Folk to learn of the predicaments of blacks after the U.S. Civil War. Du Bois also played a role in the Harlem Renaissance, and a brief look at that chapter of cultural history will serve as introduction to contemporary Black Canadian texts that reference this period. The second half of the course will be dedicated to other contemporary Black writing in Canada and Quebec, including texts by Mairuth Sarsfield, Dionne Brand, Wayde Compton, and George Elliott Clarke.
775: Gender in Postcolonial Literature (LIT) Smyth
This course will explore the literary and critical terrain that theories of gender and sexuality share with postcolonial studies and critical race theory. Topics to be addressed will include colonial representations of control over sexuality; the challenges that racialization and colonialism pose to mainstream feminist theory; the gendering of nationalism, masculinity and race; the body as colonial text and postcolonial space of performance; and queer postcolonialism. As we read, we will discuss such questions as;
- How do discourses of race, sexuality, gender, indigeneity, ethnicity, and ability intersect in colonial/postcolonial spaces? What kinds of subject positions are created at their points of intersection? What contradictions arise, and with what effects?
- What kinds of technologies- of writing, of the visual, of surveillance, of medicalization- and spaces- the nation, diaspora, family- produce or sustain hierarchies of gender, racialization, culture, class, ability, and sexuality? How might these technologies and spaces be wielded or navigated differently to challenge or undo these hierarchies? In what ways are these writers and critics exploring new ways to imagine humans and bodies?
- Are there common epistemologies underlying these various forms of discrimination, diversion, and violence? How is "normal" produced? How do the different writers and critics on our course identify and challenge these epistemologies?
791: Global Communications (RCD) Slethaug
This course is designed to acquaint students with basic concepts and information about globalization and global communications. Students will have the opportunity to explore the roots of the rapid growth of globalization in the second half of the 20th century, assess the role that English language, media, intercultural, and internet communications have played in this, and consider the implications of this development for culture, identity, and consumption.
794: Memory and Techne (LIT/RCD/XDM) O'Gorman
The Greek lyric poet Simonides (566-468 BC) is famous for recalling the name and location of each guest crushed in the rubble of the dining hall of Scopas. His mnemotechnic had a lasting impression on the art of rhetoric, but it did not impress Themistocles, who commented as follows: "I would rather a technique of forgetting, for I remember what I would rather not remember and cannot forget what I would rather forget." Thermistocles' clever rejoinder is especially apt at a time when mnemotechnologies serve both to externalize memory and shape human identity, leading Viktor Meyer-Schonberger to praise "the virtue of forgetting in the digital age." This course is about memory and its externalization through technics. This is also a course about understanding the human as a technical animal, an animal that strives constantly to externalize itself. If memory, the capacity to archive, is what distinguishes us from other species, what happens when we become forgetful, either by virtue of cognitive impairment or thanks to digital archives that remember for us?
799: Residual Media (XDM) Balaisis
This course begins with a simple question: what is “new” about new media? We are confronted with an abundance of “new” media objects that challenge existing social practices, aesthetics and epistemologies. However, while some older technologies are displaced by newer digital formats, newer media technologies also encourage the resurgence of older media. This course examines how the preoccupation with new media as a “rupture from the past” ignores historical continuities within media production. The course will map some of the residual remainders of “old” media and technology within emergent modes of digital technology. We may study for example how Netflix draws upon a larger archive of television and movie history and makes it visible in different ways. In this way the course will also consider the market and consumer forces driving media and material obsolescence. Course readings will draw both on foundational texts in media and cultural theory (McLuhan, Elsaesser, Durham Peters, The Frankfurt School) as well as recent publications (Charles Acland, Jonathan Sterne, Will Straw).
705: Getting the Picture: The Medieval Visionary Tradition (LIT/RCD/XDM) Tolmie
Ut pictura poesis, wrote Horace: poetry is just like painting. Artful writing is based substantially on visual images. Rendering complex social interactions, moral principles or theological abstractions visualizable in order to understand and explain them was one of the main tasks of medieval allegorical poets like William Langland or Geoffrey Chaucer. Mystical writers across the period likewise relied on the religious vision- a complex cognitive event that often sat uneasily in language- as a primary tool to convey personal somatic experience. This course will bridge the unbridgeable- criticism has tended to address either the courtly literary genre of dream vision or the devotional mystical tradition, but rarely both- by focusing on the techniques and affordances of medieval visualization, as it is quixotically captured by text. In addition to reading Chaucer's dream vision poems, extracts from Langland's Piers Plowman, and meditative works by Richard Rolle and Julian(a) of Norwich, we will read scientific and theoretical works from the period on optics, memory and imagination, or the power of making mental pictures.
710: “Sweet Smoke of Rhetoric!”: Shakespearean Persuasion in Theory and Practice (LIT/RCD) MacDonald
730: Four Victorians on Culture: Arnold, Mill, Newman, Ruskin (LIT) North
Matthew Arnold discusses the nature of culture itself in the context of British class structure, warning of trends toward anarchy. John Stuart Mill’s seminal defense of the liberty of thought and discussion leads directly into his defense of the emancipation of women, and then into his analysis of the strengths yet dangers of socialism. John Henry Newman’s Idea of A University, together with The Rise and Progress of Universities, sketches the history, the subjects and the teaching of the university (which as a recent scholar has noted, is one of the greatest creations of Western civilization); this volume as been said to be second only to Aristotle's Poetics as a study of education. Newman’s A Grammar of Assent argues that the scientific standards of evidence and assent are too narrow and are inapplicable in concrete life, that logic and its conclusions are not transferable to real life decision-making. Finally, John Ruskin writes on architecture, painting and economics. His chapter “The Nature of Gothic” in The Stones of Venice explains the seven moral traits characteristic of Gothic cathedral architecture. Modern Painters elaborates the artistic characteristics of the paintings of J.M.W. Turner, greatest of British landscape painters. His Unto This Last addresses political and social issues in economic life: this little volume was Mahatma Gandi’s inspiration for his own social and economic ideas, influencing millions.
Each seminar will begin with a 45-minute presentation, to be discussed in the remaining 2 hours. The day prior to class each person will submit notes on the topic of the week.
755: What is an African American Slave Narrative? (LIT) J.Harris
770: Haunting in Contemporary Canadian Literature (LIT) Austen
770: Metis Literature and Culture in Canada (LIT) Warley
Now that the study of indigenous literatures has found secure footing in universities, it is time to move on from offering general survey courses on "Native Literature" towards more focused studies of particular communities' literatures and traditions. I have chosen to focus on Metis literature partly because to many "Native" authors are actually Metis, but also because the Metis present a particular challenge when we are thinking about land-based, tribally specific identities. Most of these authors write in English; some write in English interspersed with Cree; some write in a transliteration of Michif. Students in this course will be challenged to think of this body of writing in ways that are both particular- what is a Metis nation?- and flexible. We will read works of autobiography, traditional story, poetry, drama and fiction, as well as relevant literary criticism.
788: Radical Rhetorics: Race, Class, Solidarity in the US (RCD) Condon
This course traces the genealogy of contemporary rhetorical appeals to “color-blindness” and “post-racialism” as necessary conditions for racial equality and economic justice in the United States to the radical rhetoric of transracial solidarity emerging from the American socialist labor movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In service of critical analyses of the historical arc of such appeals, in this course, we'll take up rhetorical theory as it is employed as an instrument of analysis within critical race theory and labor studies. Finally, we'll discuss the ways and degrees to which those historical rhetorical appeals and the forms of analysis on which those appeals are predicated have shaped the historical/rhetorical context for contemporary race/class struggle in the U.S.. In terms of its arc, the course will include an introduction to critical or activist rhetorical/critical race theory and readings in working class identity and racial formation, radical rhetoric and Black communism, raced/ classed identifications, affiliations, and dis-affiliations, radical rhetoric and Chicano/a labor struggles, radical rhetoric and rhetorical sovereignty (American Indian* civil rights and class struggle).
*Although this is a contested term, in the context of U.S. First Nations activism, the term is reclaimed in service of making visible a history of colonization, exploitation, and virtual extirpation effaced by the more common term, "Native American."
792: Semiotics of the City (RCD) Hirschkop
In this course we will learn to see cities and urban space more generally as structures filled with meaning. The premise of the course is that cities are not merely built environments organizing our economic and social lives, but also systems of signs, which compose a meaningful world for the urban dweller. Meaningful, but not unambiguous: there are many different kinds of people in cities, who live in different places and interpret the city in different ways. Much of our attention will be directed towards conflicting interpretations of elements of the city, and to struggles over the shape and meaning of city space. As will become clear through the course, these struggles are conducted not only through writing on the city, but also via battles over the fates of neighbourhoods, over the shaping and decorating of the urban environment, over the development and use of space, and even over how one walks (or drives, or rides a bicycle). Ideally, we would spend a great deal of time actually wandering through cities, given that our concern will be not only with texts on urban existence but with everyday acts of interpreting the city. Unfortunately, a hands-on approach would prove unwieldy and perhaps expensive, so in the main we will content ourselves with different kinds of writing on the modern city: essays, novels, texts by architects, sociologists, and urban theorists. Much of the most significant writing on cities concerns places we may not have ever visited, such as Paris, Rome, New York, Berlin or Los Angeles. It's hard to think about interpreting a city we experience only through writing, so the fiction on the course focuses on a city experience only through writing, so the fiction on the course focuses on a city relatively close to home: Toronto. By examining writing on Canada's largest city (we'll watch a film on Winnipeg as well, so it isn't just Toronto) we'll ensure a point of reference beyond the fiction.
794: The Design of Simulation Boardgames: Principles and Practice (RCD/XDM) Randall
799: Transmedia Narrative and Design (XDM) Coleman
This course looks at the theory, history, and practices of new media to understand how one constructs narratives in a network society. How does one engage compelling stories across media forms such as book, film, television, internet, games, and mobile? How does one construct such narratives? At the core of this course is the concept of transmedia narrative and design, where we critique the modalities of communication- and specifically narrative construction- in relation to the ubiquitous presence of network media. We look at a history of communication technologies from telegraph to mobile to understand the context and scale of contemporary media engagement. We study critical theory on the subject of communication and networked media as well as case studies of transmedia design. Additionally, we design transmedia narrative, exploring formats such as ARGs (alternate reality games), AR (augmented reality), and other forms of narrative. The course for winter 2013 will focus on the thematic City as Platform, investigating the concepts of public, civic, and poetic engagement in urban space. The seminar will be held in consortium with a media arts course at Goldsmiths College, London. No media design experience is required for the course.
720: Funny Feelings: Comedy 1660-1737 (LIT) Tierney-Hynes
This course covers comedy from the Restoration of Charles II to the Licensing Act of 1737, which greatly restricted new dramatic productions and shut down the hotbeds of theatrical innovation that had dominated the literary scene in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century London. We’ll be talking about the peculiarly fertile environment for drama in this period, and the conditions of its production, as well as about its content. Our reading of the primary texts will be balanced by an examination of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century theories of comedy and laughter, ranging from the paratexts of the dramatists themselves as they address their audiences in prefaces, prologues, and epilogues, to the more abstract theoretical treatments of such figures as Addison and Steele in their periodical essays and Hutcheson in his philosophical essays. I hope we will discover the ways in which eighteenth-century comedy theorizes laughter as central to the human psyche, and examine the social, as well as the literary purposes it is understood to serve. We’ll also interrogate the ways in which comedy might be essential to the development of new models of emotion in the eighteenth century, and their consequent impact on the modern self.
730: The Brontës (LIT) Lawson
The hero or heroine of a Victorian novel is a stranger transformed through the process of reading into a familiar, but there are other novels in which even the central character retains a kind of strangeness. The novels of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë are perhaps peculiar in the intensity with which the experience of the stranger is recorded. From the "dirty, ragged, black-haired child" Heathcliff pulled from beneath Mr. Earnshaw's great-coat, to the "uncongenial alien" Jane Eyre "permanently intruded" on Mrs. Reed's "family group," to the strange "tenant" who inhabits Wild Hall, the novels of the three Brontë sisters are powerfully attentive both to the experience of the family or community represented and to the experience of the stranger who resides in but is not part of this community. Such strangers may indeed become the hero or heroine who wins the sympathies of readers, but they seem to take up a tenancy in the narrative rather than to become fully "at home" in the novels they populate. This course reads five major novels of the mid-nineteenth century written by three sisters within the span of six years. At the same time, the course traces the evolution of literary criticism over the past three decades using the Brontë texts as a focal point.
770: Wither CanLit? Hemispheric Criticism and Mennonite Canadian Writing (LIT) Zacharias
This seminar will consider the shifting position of Canadian literature within the emerging field of hemispheric studies. The past two decades have seen a dramatic rise of non-national paradigms in literary studies, including a surge of critical interest in diaspora, transnationalism, and border studies. Initiated by the postcolonial critique of a “methodological nationalism” implicit in conventional literary studies (Quayson), this “transnational turn” has been hailed as the most significant shift in the field since the rise of critical theory in the mid-twentieth century (P. Jay 1). The recent rise of hemispheric studies has proven contentious in Canadian literary criticism, however, as scholars have worried about the position of Canadian culture in field that has been dominated by U.S. texts and concerns.
This course will explore what is at stake for Canadian literature in this debate, taking Mennonite Writing in North America—a wide-ranging minority literature with deep roots in the Waterloo area and a lengthy but unexplored archive of critical efforts to construct a literary tradition across the Canadian / U.S. border—as a case study in hemispheric literature. Briefly considering the institutionalization of Canadian literature during the Cold War as a national/izing project and exploring the field’s long history of negotiating the international contexts of cultural production, we will situate the “hemispheric turn” into the genealogy of Canadian literary criticism. Is it true that Canadian cultural production is likely to be lost in the shuffle of a hemispheric framework, and that Canadian literary criticism will begin to wither away? Or will a careful, historicized consideration of how specific Canadian literary traditions interact with the culture and policies of other countries enable us to better understand the shape and stakes of “CanLit,” while revealing alternate cultural geographies across the hemisphere? As part of the course's case study, students will also be introduced to a range of Mennonite Canadian fiction, poetry, and film, including work by Di Brandt, Miriam Toews, Rudy Wiebe, David Bergen, Carrie Snyder, and others.
775: Brantford/ London/ Calcutta: Sara Jeannette Duncan's International Works and World (LIT) Hulan
The course will focus on the oeuvre of Sara Jeannette Duncan (1861-1922). Canadian-born novelist and women of letters. From her earliest days as a journalist employed by several Canadian and American newspapers, Duncan roamed the world, eventually settling in Calcutta after marrying Indian Daily News editor Everard Cotes. Like most members of the Raj, the couple divided their time between India and Britain, and Duncan also returned regularly to Ontario, where she set The Imperialist (1904), one of Canadian literature's most enduring canonical texts. Her other novels range in setting from Paris and London to Chicago, Calcutta, and Shimla, the Raj summer headquarters in the Himalayas; one follows its protagonists on a trip around the world. The class will read Duncan's novels and novellas in relation to the issues that arise in them, including but not limited to subaltern mutiny, transnational and hybrid identities, the problems of imperial womanhood, and outside/ insider dynamics in the late British Empire, where from several vantage points Duncan bore witness to the tectonic shifts of imperial power between England and the United States. Lime many writers during the transitional period of English-language letters (c. 1880-1920), Duncan's style anticipates the modernism of a later generation while adhering to the generic conventions of the late Victorian and Edwardian novel. Some of the critical readings (e.g. by Carole Gerson) with which the novels will be paired will address this particular aesthetic moment, while others will focus on the challenges of archival research on women writers (Kathleen Garay and Christyl Verduyn). Because many of Duncan's works offer representations of different indigenous populations, the class will also apply postcolonial and indigenizing theories to her work (Len Findlay).
788: Cognitive Poetics (LIT/RCD) Hamilton
Cognitive poetics questions standard distinctions between poetics and hermeneutics by fundamentally combining the terms in practice. In general, cognitive poetics is a form of literary criticism that takes its cues from cognitive science. In this manner, it usually combines theory and criticism. Tsur and Stockwell, the first scholars to write at length specifically about cognitive poetics, closely aligned cognitive poetics with poetry. Scholars such as Herman, Hogan and Zunshine, however, have brought many other artistic genres inside the cognitive poetics tent, as it were. This seminar therefore studies a moving target, one whose development began in the recent past yet continues actively in the present. While looking at the brain or the mind to understand and appreciate literature or art is no simple task, many scholars are now doing just that, with varying degrees of success. We will take stock of some of their work in this seminar, and also discuss how “the cognitive turn” may signal an important shift in what critics pay attention to now.
793: The Ethical Universe of Kenneth Burke (LIT/RCD) Harris
Kenneth Burke's dramatism is usually characterized in terms of motives, and is usually seen as a mechanism for interrogating literature or other manifestations of rhetoric. But rhetoric he says, especially in literary or proverbial structures, provides us with "equipment for living." Burke is concerned with how we speak and write and hear and read primarily as forms of action and belief (which, in turn, is "incipient action"). Burke's dramatism is a machinery for ethical universe building. We will channel Burke, allowing the methodology to inhabit us, and disassemble the ethical universes of specific object texts, taken from such discourses as politics, literature, professional communication, and marketing, examine their structure and their implications. We will assemble out own ethical universes in the critiques we conduct of these texts. We will become better readers, better thinkers, better people.
794: Sound Interaction Design (XDM) Collins
This course aims to introduce students to the interdisciplinary field of sonic interaction design. Sonic Interaction Design studies the use of sound as one of the primary means of conveying information, meaning, and aesthetic and emotional qualities in an interactive context. It encompasses a range of technical and theoretical topics and concepts from a wide variety of disciplines. The course will introduce students to the use of interactive sound in a variety of media forms from a range of theoretical perspectives, and include a series of techniques and methods for sonic interaction design.
794: The Lord of the Rings: Novel, Film, Game (LIT/RCD/XDM) Randall
This course studies J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings from the standpoint of adaptation theory, exploring in detail the three-part film adaptation by Peter Jackson and at least two game adaptations, one of which will be Turbine's The Lord of the Rings Online.