Second-Year Courses 2024-25

Fall 2024

Course NumberCourse DescriptionProfessor
204Business and Technical WritingMultiple Instructors
208Introduction to Public SpeakingMultiple Instructors
221North American Indigenous LiteraturesSkibo
222Introduction to World LiteratureMoosa
230Literature and Popular CultureHagan
231Speculative LiteratureBurgoyne
233Literature and FilmFinigan
273Ancients and ModernsKlan

Spring 2025

Course NumberCourse DescriptionProfessor
203Intermediate Academic WritingKlan
204Business and Technical WritingMultiple Instructors
208Introduction to Public SpeakingMultiple Instructors
220Canadian Literature in ContextMoosa
232Children's LiteratureKlan
240Ways of ReadingCarpentier
274Literary Traditions
Surkan
280Book ClubRoberson
FILM 220
Special Topics in Film StudiesScott

Fall 2024 – Course Descriptions

ENGL 204: Business and Technical Writing

Multiple Sections

Business Writing

An introduction to business and technical communication skills with a focus on documents (such as letters and reports) and presentations. Topics may include planning, outlining, summarizing, presenting data, handling references, and editing. The course comprises several practical assignments, including a formal report and an oral presentation. ENGL 204 was formerly called ENGL 225; credit will not be granted for both courses.


ENGL 208: Introduction to Public Speaking

Multiple Sections

Microphone

An introduction to public speaking that focuses on the creation, organization, and delivery of speeches for non-dramatic purposes. It provides the rhetorical principles of effective and ethical public speaking, offers opportunities to become familiar with different speaking situations, and attempts to instill a sense of the importance of public speech. ENGL 208 was formerly called THEA 203; credit will not be granted for both courses.

ENGL 208 F24N01 - Nicole Klan - Wed 17:30–20:30

ENGL 208 F24N02 - Sonnet L'Abbé Tue/Thu 10:00 - 11:30 am


ENGL 221: North American Indigenous Literatures

Professor Bryn Skibo

judd summer they visited

When we consider apocalypses, we often think of the events themselves: cataclysmic scenarios like pandemics, nuclear war, or zombies. However, “apocalypse” stems from apokálypsis, Greek for “revelation,” or an “off-covering” (“Apocalypse”). Apocalyptic fiction is revelatory, either in telling of the destruction to come or telling in the means to protect ourselves from it, but always something that could happen. Yet, Anishinaabe scholar Lawrence Gross argues that Indigenous North Americans are currently experiencing what he terms “postapocalyptic stress syndrome” since, he explains, they have already survived an apocalypse (33). Furthermore, in many Indigenous worldviews, the past and the future are entwined with, or indistinguishable from, present. Reading Indigenous stories of apocalypses, then, reveals as much about the present as it does about the past and the future. This seminar will critically encounter Indigenous apocalyptic fiction, such as The Marrow Thieves (Dimaline, 2017), Future Home of the Living God (Erdrich, 2017), and Moon of the Crusted Snow (Rice, 2018), among others, to lead discussions on how the authors of different Indigenous communities illustrate and dramatize worlds coming to an end and worlds blossoming anew, exploring at the same time how these texts speak to and against the destruction and potential regrowth that is present in our yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Works Cited:

- “Apocalypse, N., Etymology.” Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford UP, September 2023, https://doi.org/10.1093/OED/4668314849.

- Gross, Lawrence. Anishinaabe Ways of Knowing and Being. Routledge, 2016.

Cover Art:

- Judd, Steven Paul. Photograph of “The Summer They Visited.” 2014. “Pop Culture: Native Satire,” by Cynthia Benitez. American Indian Magazine, Vol. 17, No. 4, Winter 2016, https://www.americanindianmagazine.org/story/pop-culture-native-satire.

 


ENGL 222: Introduction to World Literature

satrapi image

Professor Farah Moosa

Join us to read contemporary international texts that deal with themes of war, love, family, community, and resiliency.

Texts may include Mohsin Hamid’s novel Exit West (Pakistan), Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis (France/Iran), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Purple Hibiscus (Nigeria), and selected short stories. We will also watch Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Parannaud’s animated film Persepolis.

As some of our texts have won major international awards, we will also think about what makes them prizeworthy.


ENGL 230: Literature and Popular Culture

Professor Sandra Hagan

egret over marsh

THE 21st-CENTURY SENSATION NOVEL

In seeking to define chick noir—a new publishing phenomenon that emerged a decade ago—one journalist described these books as “thrillers thrown into the domestic sphere, tales of intimate betrayal and mistrust.”[1]  Critics of popular culture looking farther back to the Victorian era would have found a ready-made term for such domestic thrillers: the sensation novel.  Emerging in 1860s Britain from a society in flux, the sensation novel capitalized on cultural realities like first-wave feminism, Darwinism, and mass market publishing.  It offered a voracious reading public stories that served up one part bigamy and one part danger; some drugs, disguise, and fine furnishings; and a series of strange coincidences that kept them returning for more.   In this course, we’ll trace a direct line from the 19th-century sensation novel to current chick noir bestsellers and investigate the ways that, like the Victorian sensation novel, they upend the comfortable domestic sphere.  Readings are likely to include Thomas Hardy’s sensation novel Desperate Remedies and contemporary bestsellers The Guest List, Where the Crawdads Sing, and Gone Girl.


[1] Rosamund Urwin qtd. in Lucie Whitehouse. “The Rise of the Marriage Thriller.” The Guardian,  15 Jan. 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/jan/15/rise-marriage-th...


ENGL 231: Speculative Literature (online asynchronous)

Science Fiction

Professor Daniel Burgoyne

Rocketman talking to English teachers: "You're all just jealous of my jetpack."

This course is online asynchronous. There are no scheduled meetings.

This course is an exploration of how the genre of science fiction developed from the 19th to the 21st centuries. Beginning with the “scientific romance” of H. G. Wells and stories from mass market publications, we will focus on how “science fiction” emerges as a genre in the first part of the twentieth century. Following this, we’ll look at how it reflects historical and cultural contexts during the so-called Golden Age, the “New Wave” of the sixties and seventies, and more recently. 

Textbooks:

  • H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine
  • The Big Book of Science Fiction, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer 
  • Iain M. Banks The Player of Games

The comic is by Tom Gauld. Check out his web page: https://www.tomgauld.com/

Please contact me if you have any questions: Daniel.Burgoyne@viu.ca


ENGL 233: Literature and Film

Spy Narratives

Professor Theo Finigan

Three pigeons with cameras

The spy has been a popular figure in both literature and film for well over a century. Literary depictions of espionage go back at least as far as James Fenimore Cooper’s novel of the American Revolution The Spy: A Tale of the Neutral Ground (1821), while the first spy films—such as The German Spy Peril (1914)—appeared in the silent era in response to anxieties about great power rivalry. Inevitably a product of specific places and cultural moments, spy narratives don’t just reveal to us the alluring secrets of geopolitics and “tradecraft.” Spies in literature and film have much to tell us about a range of broader concerns: the possibility of individual agency in the face of pervasive surveillance and bureaucratization; the status of the nation state in an increasingly globalized world marked by legacies of colonial violence; the fluidity of selfhood amidst changing ideas about gender, race, and class; and the vexed and recursive relationship between representation and reality. Indeed, it can be argued that the spy narrative as a form has long been centrally concerned with the enabling conditions of narrative itself: whether exploring the fashioning of personas and cover stories, the production and archiving of documents, the interpreting of texts and deciphering of elusive subtexts, or the ultimate ambiguity of all representation—the spy narrative is often richly and complexly self-aware and metafictional. In this course, then, we will think about these and other pressing issues while discussing literary, graphic, and cinematic texts produced in and about a key period in the development of the spy narrative: the Cold War (ca. 1946-1991). Texts may include John Le Carré’s influential novel The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), Terence Young’s early James Bond film From Russia with Love (1963), Harry Mathews’ playfully fake memoir My Life in CIA (2005), the Coen brothers’ farce Burn After Reading (2008), Antony Johnston’s understated graphic novel The Coldest City (2012), and David Leitch’s high-octane adaptation of Johnston’s text, Atomic Blonde (2017).

Credit: "Three Pigeons with Cameras" (1903) by Dr. Julius Neubronner, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Three_pigeons_with_cameras.jpg, in the public domain.


ENGL 273: Ancients and Moderns

Professor Nicole Klan

ancient memoir

“Telling it like it is”: Truth-telling in Ancient texts and Confessional Memoir

Today’s stories of self-help, making good, coming out, and telling it like it is are popularly consumed on and offline, often topping the charts of bestsellers. What is it about self-disclosure that continues to draw us in? This section of Ancients and Moderns will explore the connections between ancient texts and the confessional memoir, highlighting concepts of authenticity and the self. We’ll look to past examples of lament, lyric poetry, and early autobiography to explore how truth-telling and self-presentation have developed in response to historical realities and literary conventions, while examining how these texts continue to shape our storytelling, the curation of our digital selves, and our desire to consume the stories of others. Contemporary texts will include graphic memoir, poetry, and creative non-fiction.  

 

Credit: “Sappho portrait” Naples National Archaeological Museum, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Spring 2025 – Course Descriptions

ENGL 203: Intermediate Academic Writing

Professor Nicole Klan

Using a Magnifying Glass and Driving

An exploration of compositional technique, this section of English 203 will deepen your understanding of writing for academic and professional contexts. Course work will comprise short papers that link to readings on a range of themes and discussion in seminar and workshop formats. Writing activities are aimed to give you more control over you writing and to alert you to the nuances of language and needs of readers. There is an opportunity to focus on topics of interest to you and your own writing goals. There are no exams in this course.

The image "Using a Magnifying Glass and Driving" by Mike 'Dakinewavamon' Kline is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


ENGL 204: Business and Technical Writing

Multiple Sections

business Writing

An introduction to business and technical communication skills with a focus on documents (such as letters and reports) and presentations. Topics may include planning, outlining, summarizing, presenting data, handling references, and editing. The course comprises several practical assignments, including a formal report and an oral presentation. ENGL 204 was formerly called ENGL 225; credit will not be granted for both courses.


ENGL 208: Introduction to Public Speaking

Multiple Sections

Microphone

An introduction to public speaking that focuses on the creation, organization, and delivery of speeches for non-dramatic purposes. It provides the rhetorical principles of effective and ethical public speaking, offers opportunities to become familiar with different speaking situations, and attempts to instil a sense of the importance of public speech. ENGL 208 was formerly called THEA 203; credit will not be granted for both courses.


ENGL 220: Canadian Literature in Context

Professor Farah Moosa

mural

What histories and cultural legacies do we inherit from our individual and shared pasts? What do we owe ourselves and others as a result of such inheritances?

Join us to read contemporary Canadian literary works that help us think through our answers to such questions. Drawing on current debates in memory, trauma, indigenous, and diaspora studies, we will discuss issues of colonialism, race, class, gender, and generational identity.

Texts may include short stories from 2021 Scotiabank Gillar Prize finalist Angélique Lalonde’s Glorious Frazzled Beings, Richard Wagamese’s highly celebrated novel Indian Horse (2012), and selected poems from Renée Saklikar’s powerful collection, children of air india: un/authorized exhibits and interjections (2013). 

This class will meet face-to-face on the Nanaimo campus twice a week.


ENGL 232: Children's Literature

Professor Nicole Klan

Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf

This course will explore themes and trends in contemporary children’s literature with some attention to folk and fairy tales and critical perspectives in the field. We’ll read picture books and novels to expand our understanding of the ways authors represent children and their worlds and consider how these texts reveal and respond to current social concerns. Possible texts may include Birdsong (Flett), They say blue (Tamaki), The Secret Garden (Burnett), The Wild Robot (Brown), The Girl Who Speaks Bear (Anderson), The Wolves in the Walls (Gaiman), Extra Yarn (Barnett), and The Girl and the Wolf (Vermette).


ENGL 240: Ways of Reading (online asynchronous)

Professor Sally Carpentier

child reading books

This course provides an introduction to the ways in which a particular text can be read critically. The course is both theoretical and practical. Students will learn the critical vocabulary associated with a particular theoretical approach and then apply it in their readings of one text. No prior knowledge of theory is necessary; however, by the time the course is over, students will be equipped to read a variety of texts in multiple ways, regardless of the discipline (anthropology, criminology, philosophy, psychology) to which their career paths will lead. The course will be structured in such a way that students will have the opportunity to share their research with their classmates and to pursue areas dictated by their own interests or chosen career fields. This course is also a requirement for those planning on pursuing a major or a minor in English and would be of benefit for students intending on pursuing advanced studies in any of the disciplines. 


ENGL 274: Literary Traditions

Professor Neil Surkan

armstrong ruin

Ruin Ruminations

The Old English word “dustsceawung” translates, roughly, to “contemplation of the fact that dust used to be other things – the walls of a city, the chief of the guards, a book, a great tree.” Simply put, the destination of all things is dust, and remembering that we will someday be dust can be a means of finding peace. This course will examine the literary tradition of ruminating on ruins, from the earliest English poems all the way up to our present moment, in order to find both consolation and inspiration in the aftermath. Across the centuries, abandoned, eroding, wrecked, and deserted places – both metaphorical and literal – have fascinated poets, novelists, playwrights, and essayists alike. Whether nostalgically recollecting the “good old days,” lamenting the current state of disrepair, or enthusiastically looking ahead to whatever fantastical future will rise from the ashes, the speakers, narrators, characters, and essayists in this course begin at the end as they survey the damage – facing off with fate and faith alike. We presently find ourselves in an increasingly tenuous (and dire) relationship with the environment, which is forcing us to reckon with a future where previous ways of life will no longer be sustainable: how might reading a historical array of ruin ruminations heighten our sense of accountability, encourage us to scrutinize our complicities, and steady our resolve? Might we refresh our convictions among the wastes?


ENGL 280: Book Club

Professor Mike Roberson

road trip wikimedia

Road trips are a typical trope for every summer—whether we head to the road on vacations, to move home after term, to explore an unknown country, or to escape our current confines.  But, road trips are also a huge trope in literature—a subset of travel literature that focuses highways and byways in particular, sometimes as drivers, sometimes as passengers, but almost always along paths marked by more than fifty shades of grey asphalt.  We’ll be reading the quintessential road trip novel, On the Road, but we’ll also be tackling different perspectives on this genre in an effort to extend, dilute, and challenge that quintessence.  We’ll span time, gender, language, culture, and sexual orientation…


FILM 220: Special Topics in Film Studies

Instructor Kaia Scott

An intensive analysis of a topic in the field of cinema studies. The focus may be a specific director, genre, or national cinema. Topics may include the representation of gender or minority groups or specific social, psychological, historical or political issues.