Themed Sections of Literature and Academic Writing

Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed

While all sections of the same ENGL course teach students the same set of reading and writing skills, the specific texts students read and discuss in each section depend on the instructor’s area of expertise and interests. Often, instructors choose their texts based on a particular theme or topic. Below is a list describing all the themed sections of literature and academic writing that will be offered during the Summer 2022 term. If a section does not appear below, it's because it has not been identified as one with a unifying theme or topic.

For scheduling information about both the themed sections listed below and all other sections of English offered by the department, please refer either to the course scheduling tool or to the course catalogue.

First-Year Courses

Course Catalogue Description

In this course students will read, discuss and write about at least one major theme in literature and culture, such as crime and punishment, gender roles, immigrant experiences, or paradise lost. Works studied will include at least one of the major genres (fiction, non-fiction, poetry or drama), and at least one other type, drawn from another of the major genres or from less traditional sources, such as graphic novels, film or literary work in other media.


Instructor Section Delivery Description
Louise Saldanha 005, 006 In Person

How do ideas of “identity” and “diversity” relate to each other in an increasingly globalizing, interconnected world? While many celebrate diversity for its ability to strengthen identity, others interpret diversity as threatening identity. In this course, we will investigate a range of texts, written and produced in English, from different parts of the world (including Canada) in order to meet multiple experiences of living, celebrating, suffering, and surviving the relationship between “identity” and “diversity” today. As such, we will find ourselves at the centre of hopes, anxieties, conversations, and debates about walls, bans, and sunny ways revealing that the relationship between “identity” and “diversity” is definitely more complicated than many assume.

Booklist: Cherie Dimaline, The Marrow Thieves; Shaun Tan, The Arrival; Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Course Catalogue Description

In this course, students will read, discuss and write about fiction. Works assigned will emphasize a variety of genres, such as realism, fantasy, mystery and romance, and may reflect significant developments in the history of fiction.


Instructor Section Delivery Description
Ryan Miller 001, 002 In Person

ENGL 1106 aims to help students improve close reading and analysis skills; in part, by learning to recognize and understand a variety of literary devices and textual elements. During the semester, these sections will focus on three novels that represent diverse lives and experiences. These novels are Tomson Highway’s Kiss of the Fur Queen, André Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name, and Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace. Discussion topics will include Indigenous identity and resistance in the context of Canada’s residential school history; coming of age and same-sex desire; and the double standards and expectations faced by women in both the nineteenth century and today. Given what may be at-times discomforting or graphic subject matter, students are encouraged to briefly acquaint themselves with these titles before registering.

Nate Szymanski

005, 006 In Person

This course focuses on a) the techniques of reading fiction, in b) a selection of texts about animals. The texts, showcasing a variety of genres from various historical periods, include letters written by foxes, tales about bears and other beasts, and the chronicles of a man who wakes up to realize he has somehow transformed into a bug.

Course Catalogue Description

This course emphasizes the close reading of three genres – fiction, poetry, and drama – and examines their defining features.


Instructor Section Delivery Description

Michael Stachura

090, 091 Online

This is an online asynchronous course. That means it’s a course that works around your life and schedule, not the other way around, and you get to take class in your underwear. Isn't that the dream?


We’ll be studying the three major genres of literature: poetry, fiction, and drama. We’ll start by reading some short poems by poets ranging from Emily Dickinson to Tupac Shakur as well as extracts from the epic poems Beowulf (about a Viking who kills monsters) and Paradise Lost (a poem that makes the Devil look good). We’ll study the elements of fiction by reading several short stories, such as Jhumpa Lahiri’s “A Temporary Matter,” a novel (Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye), and a novella (Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman). As for drama, we’ll study ancient Greek theatre and the conventions of tragedy by reading Sophocles’ plays Oedipusand Antigone as well as watching Park Chen-wook’s movie Oldboy, which is an adaptation of Oedipus.

Course Catalogue Description

In this course students will read, discuss and write about poetry. The works assigned may include poems from diverse cultures, contexts and traditions, as well as from non-traditional sources, such as song lyrics or spoken word.


Instructor Section Delivery Description

Eve Press

001, 002

In Person

Literary critic Helen Vendler observed, “We read imaginative works—whether epic, fiction, drama, or poetry—in order to gain a wider sense of the real.” In this course, we will study a variety of poetic forms and poets, with an emphasis on the lyric. When reading lyric poems, we take on the thoughts and feelings of the poets as if they are our own. Consequently, poems are a ripe place to gain a wider sense of the real by exploring the paradox (and beauty) of our own lived realities: what it means to be both ourselves and other people. Throughout the course we will practice in-depth close-readings of poems and develop these analytical skills in essays and other writing exercises.

Course Catalogue Description

This course introduces students to the process of writing academic argument papers, and to strategies, assignments and exercises that develop their abilities as researchers, readers and writers of scholarly prose. Students will examine the general principles of composition, and the specific conventions of academic writing as practiced in several disciplines, particularly in the arts and humanities. Students will gain experience in locating, evaluating and using sources within their own writing.


Instructor Section Delivery Topic
Richa Dwor 013, 014 In Person

Credibility and critical thinking

Louise Saldanha 009, 010 In Person The Politics of Everyday Objects

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Course Catalogue