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Reading Critically

Course Code: ENGL 3110
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: English
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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.

course prerequisites

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

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.