Reading Critically

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Course Code
ENGL 3110
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course examines a variety of approaches to reading literature and considers critical theory as a socially engaged mode of inquiry. Readings will include one primary text and representative samplings from key thinkers in at least three theoretical approaches to literature. These critical approaches may include, but are not
limited to, postcolonialism, postmodernism, feminism, formalism, queer theory, Marxism, structuralism, post-structuralism, new historicism, psychoanalytic theory, and/or critical race theory.
Course Content

All third-year English courses share the following features:

  1. Students are presumed to have had first-year level instruction and experience in writing critical essays on literary subjects.
  2. Students are required to read in the course subject area beyond the texts assigned by the instructor.
  3. Students are required to incorporate into their oral and written coursework secondary source materials, which may include biographical information, literary criticism or theory, unassigned texts by the author under study, relevant cultural or intellectual history, or other aesthetic works such as music or visual art.

Readings and topics vary with each instructor’s presentation of a course, but all course materials are consistent with the objectives and outcomes outlined in Section M. English 3110 offers students the opportunity to think deeply about a single text from a wide variety of critical approaches to literature, exposing students to multiple schools of thought. These critical approaches may include, but are not limited to, postcolonialism, postmodernism, feminism, queer theory, Marxism, structuralism, post-structuralism, new historicism, psychoanalytic theory, and/or critical race theory.

Methods Of Instruction

Some or all of the following methods will be used:

  1. lecture/discussion;
  2. group work;
  3. peer review;
  4. independent research;
  5. instructor feedback on students’ work;
  6. individual consultation; and
  7. presentation (individual or group)
Means of Assessment
  1. A minimum of two academic essays and a final exam worth at least 80% of the course grade (combined total).
  2. A maximum of 20% of the course grade may be based on informal writing (quizzes, short answer tests); oral reports/presentations; participation/preparation grades; and/or other non writing-intensive assignments.
Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of any third-year English literature course, students should be able to

  1. read and analyze literary texts with increased skill and insight;
  2. integrate their understanding of literature into an evolving awareness of relevant cultural and historical contexts and perspectives;
  3. perceive connections among literary texts across genres, historical periods, and/or cultural contexts;
  4. conduct independent research to supplement the course material and integrate this information into course assignments; and
  5. write different kinds of literary analyses, such as thematic, technical, or theoretical.

Upon completion of English 3110, students should also

  1. understand the role critical theory plays in the analysis of literature;
  2. be able to analyze a literary text from multiple theoretical perspectives;
  3. understand how critical theories exist in conversation, both with one another and with works of literature; and
  4. be able to make choices about when a particular critical theory might be more or less appropriate/helpful with the analysis of a particular text.
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:

Texts for this course will include a collection of relevant critical readings, either in the form of a textbook, an instructor-compiled coursepack, or selected e-resources. These readings will be paired with an appropriate literary text for analysis.

Possible textbooks include one of the following:

  • Leitch, Vincent. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism.
  • Riviken, Julie and Michael Ryan. Literary Theory: An Anthology.

Possible literary texts include:

  • Hill, Lawrence. The Book of Negroes. (For a course focusing on class, race, and postcolonial theories.)
  • LeGuin, Ursula K. The Left Hand of Darkness. (For a course focusing on gender, postcolonial, and psychoanalytic theories.)
  • Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. (For a course focusing on gender, sexuality, and psychoanalytic theories.)



Any TWO university-transfer first-year English courses, or ONE first-year university-transfer English course and ONE first-year university transfer CRWR course, AND a minimum of 45 credit hours


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

Institution Transfer Details Effective Dates
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU ENGL 216 (3) 2014/01/01 to -
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU ENGL 3XXX (3) 2014/01/01 to -
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV ENGL 2nd (3) 2014/01/01 to -
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC ENGL 400 (3) 2014/01/01 to -
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC ENGL 461 (1.5) 2014/01/01 to 2020/04/30

Course Offerings

Fall 2021

There aren't any scheduled upcoming offerings for this course.