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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
April 20, 2014
Canadian Excellence

400-level Courses, 2013-14

Note 1: Fourth-year EN majors may register for only the number of seminars (i.e., 400-level courses) that are required for their program. Honours English majors require 2 seminars and Combined Honours English majors require 1 seminar. Students who choose more than the number of required seminars will be removed from the extra(s).

Note 2: The Department cannot add students into full courses even if they are needed to fulfill graduation requirements. It is the student’s responsibility to put themselves on course waitlists as early in the Spring registration period as possible.

Note 3: Students who arrive at the beginning of term without having made any course selections will be advised to add themselves into open courses and onto the waitlist of closed courses, even if that means they don't acquire all of the English courses they'd planned to take.


The university reserves the right to remove you at any time from any courses that you have registered for contrary to the regulations. For example, if you register in more courses than allowed, in courses for which you have exclusions, in courses for which you lack prerequisites or in courses which are inappropriate due to any other university regulation, the university reserves the right to remove you even after classes have begun. Nevertheless, it is your responsibility to make the appropriate selections. The university does not guarantee that your errors will be caught.





Day / Time




Shakespeare’s Dramatic Language: Theory and Context


MWF 10:30-11:20


Dr. A. Bretz

In this course we will examine Shakespeare’s dramatic poetry and prose from the perspective of actors playing roles in his plays. We will have a look at the four Shakespeare plays being performed during the 2013 season at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival: Othello, Measure for Measure, Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice, as well as one or two more texts to be selected in connection with local performances of Shakespeare. This co-ordination will allow students to select the option of reporting on a live performance of a play we’ve studied, though attendance at performances will not be a required component of the course. Topics for consideration in discussions and seminars will include the text in context, metaphor and emotion, language and characterization, and the challenges of performing Shakespeare in the modern theatre.

NOTE: This course counts in Category 1 of the Honours and Combined Honours English Programs and is excluded from the restriction on Shakespeare courses in the Honours English program.


Gender, Race, and Class in Renaissance Drama


TR 2:30-3:50


Dr. V. Comensoli

The course examines the representation of the categories of gender, race, and class in selected Renaissance plays in relation to early modern ideologies of the ideal subject and state. The focus is on how theatrical portrayals of these categories intersect with the plays’ dramatic form, early modern and theatrical practices, and discursive and social constructions of the gendered body, subjectivity, and sexuality. Playwrights whose works are studied include William Shakespeare, Elizabeth Cary, Thomas Middleton, Thomas Dekker, and Aphra Behn.

NOTE: This course counts in Category 1 of the Honours and Combined Honours English Programs.


The Female Bildungsroman
MW 4:00 - 5:20
Dr. K. Bell

This course provides students with an in-depth analysis of the bildungsroman, or coming of age novel. We begin with a brief history of the genre as it takes its form in the later half of the 18th century in response to new notions of "development." We will turn to different definitions of development (personal, historical, economical) as we attempt to understand how the genre charts individual formation alongside, and in response to, notions of social and national progress. While we are interested in the genre as a literary form, we will pay particular attention to the way gender has been represented within its confines. What are the markers of maturation for females in canonical coming-of-age novels, and how are these markers changed and reprioritized as the genre is taken up in various contexts? Participation is essential in this course; students are expected to facilitate one seminar, circulate work for peer review, and engage in class discussion throughout the term.

NOTE: This course counts in
Category 4 of the Honours and Combined Honours English Programs.


Caribbean Literature
TR 1:00 - 2:20
Dr. M. Pirbhai
This course provides a survey of Caribbean literature from the English-speaking Caribbean, including Jamaica, Trinidad, and St Lucia, as well as from the Caribbean diaspora in North America and Europe. Students will familiarize themselves with the development of Caribbean literature in terms of its uniquely “cross-cultural” aesthetic, its various linguistic and formal innovations, and its critical engagement with the history of slavery and indenture. Students will be exposed to the major canonical figures of Caribbean literature, including poet, playwright and essayist Derek Walcott and novelists such as Samuel Selvon, Caryl Phillips and Jamaica Kincaid.

NOTE: This course counts in Category 3 of the Honours and Combined Honours English Programs.


Disability in Victorian Fiction


TR 1:00-2:20


Dr. J. Esmail

In this course, we will read fiction by a range of central Victorian writers, including Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Wilkie Collins in order to critically examine how disability functions in the genre of the Victorian novel. Why are characters with disabilities so pervasive in Victorian fiction? How do these texts imagine what it is like to experience the world as a person with a disability? What is the relationship between emergent genres of fiction including realist and sensation novels and the representation of disability? We will read this Victorian fiction alongside Disability Studies theory and Victorian medical and cultural texts in order to answer these important questions and to pose new ones about Victorian (and contemporary) ideas of disability, normalcy and the body.

NOTE: This course counts in Category 2 of the Honours and Combined Honours English Programs.


Girls, Women, and Popular Culture


MW 2:30-3:50


Dr. A. Austin

Popular culture has been theorized as a feminine and feminizing construct; Andreas Huyssen, for example, in After the Great Divide, suggests that the division between "high" and "low" art was always in fact a gendered one, with popular forms enacting an equation between femininity, mass production, and "cheap and easy pleasure." At the same time, the material conditions of popular cultural production have meant that women have been both inadequately and under-represented, with popular culture itself serving as an especially effective tool for the continuing oppression of women. This course will explore such popular culture forms as pulp fiction, film, advertising and "mall culture," music videos, cyberculture, and toys for girls. While established feminist critiques of popular culture texts and practice will provide our theoretical groundwork, we will also be engaged with emergent studies which propose sites of resistance within popular culture.

NOTE: This course counts in Category 4 of the Honours and Combined Honours English Programs.


Reading Healing: Medicine to Human Rights


T 7:00-9:50


Dr. M. Hron

Can reading lead to healing? How to express pain in words? How to represent and understand the suffering of others? These are some of the questions we will probe in this interdisciplinary course which explores the intersections of literature and medicine, through diverse forms of suffering. Examining the pathography genre, we will confront such issues as illness, grief, depression, disability, sexual abuse, old age, senility and death, to conclude with a couple of human rights testimonials. Summer Reading suggestions: Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. Bauby's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Bayley's An Elegy for Iris, Partnoy’s A Little School.

NOTE: This course counts in Category 4 of the Honours and Combined Honours English Programs.


21st Century Global Narratives


MW 1:00-2:20


Dr. E. Ty

A study of novels and films that explore encounters, or what Mary Louise Pratt calls the “contact zone” between different cultural and ethnic groups. Recent advances in travel, technology, and communication have facilitated the movement of people, goods, and culture around the world enabling the rise of hybrid identities, cosmopolitan cities and subjects. At the same time, globalization has brought concomitant problems of displacement, inequality, and the loss of traditions. Some of the theories and issues to be examined include: gender and sexuality, cosmopolitanism, transnational adoption, migrant labour, post-9/11 anxiety, and globalization.

Texts to be studied include: Elif Shafak’s The Bastard of Istanbul (Penguin 2007), Don Lee’s Country of Origin (Norton 2004), Camilla Gibb’s Sweetness in the Belly (Anchor 2005), and Arvind Adiga’s The White Tiger (Free Press 2008), as well as two films. Please read at least two of the novels over the summer.

NOTE: This course counts in
Category 3 of the Honours and Combined Honours English Programs.


Metafictional Adaptations: Novel to Film and Beyond



TR 11:30-12:50


Dr. R. Kilbourn


M 7:00-9:50


Writing in the early 1990s, Robert Stam observes that, while "many of the cinematic adaptations of self-conscious novels…incorporate certain reflexive devices, they [often] do not metalinguistically dissect their own practice or include critical discourse within the [film] text itself". This course brings together recent theories of intermedial adaptation (Grusin and Bolter; Stam; Hutcheon) with the genre of meta-fiction in both literature and film in order to examine the hybrid genre of metafilmic adaptations: films that self-reflexively discuss and include, thematically and narratively, the process of adaptation of the source-text within the film itself. By exploring these metafilmic productions, which encourage the viewer to engage in the (re)construction and/or (re)coding of a particular text, we will expose the metafilm’s subversion of viewer’s expectations of adaptations, and what this suggests about the current state of media literacy and spectatorship. These metafilmic productions expose the destabilization and impermanence of such literary conventions as authorship and genre, as the metafilms explore and discuss which elements should be changed and/or critiqued, while also probing the illusorily hermetic nature of the ‘text’ itself. This new approach to (re)coding texts lies at the heart of current and future adaptation studies, focusing on adaptations that directly engage their respective source texts in an overtly self-conscious dialogue, in order to not only embrace the ‘politics of adaptation’, but also to illuminate the internal structures and components of the films’ literary ‘models’, as well as the comparable constructedness of both adaptation and source-text. The most pertinent questions regarding adaptation theory to be addressed are: what can we learn from adaptive texts that move beyond the standard binary of original and (relatively ‘faithful’) reproduction? How does the process of adaptation influence our understanding of the texts themselves? And, most importantly, what does this notion of ‘self-consciousness’ and the desire to promote active viewership say about our current state as media consumers?

NOTE: This course counts in Category 4 of the Honours and Combined Honours English Programs.

NOTE: This course is cross-listed with FS444e. Students who are Combined Honours English and Film majors may not count this course towards both programs.