English 301/001: Technical Writing (January 2019)

Technical Writing – Term 2 TTh 9:30-11:00 a.m. – Gisèle M. Baxter

Don’t let the name fool you: this is not a course in remedial grammar! Technical Writing examines principles and practices of communication in various professional contexts (mostly online). You will produce a formal report, investigating resources and/or concerns in a real-life community and making recommendations for improvement or solution. Production of this report will involve the study (and possibly practical application) of research ethics where human subjects are involved (e.g. in conducting surveys or interviews). Think of this course as an extended report-writing Boot Camp: intensive, useful preparation for the last phase of your undergraduate degree, as you start applying to professional and graduate programs, and for the years beyond of work and community involvement. This is the description posted on the English Department website; keep checking this blog for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements. Note: this is a blended course, with both classroom and online components and requirements.While technical competence in writing is required, the course will not cover grammar and mechanics (though it will provide lots of writing resources on its Canvas site). Technical Writing is closed to first- and second-year students in Arts, and cannot be used for credit towards the English Major or Minor.

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English 468B/002: Children’s Literature (September 2018)

Children’s Literature – Term 1 MWF 12:00-12:50 p.m. – Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

Canvas login | My website

Something in the Shadows is Watching

“You are always in danger in the forest, where no people are.” Angela Carter, “The Company of Wolves”

From The Turn of the Screw to The Others, creepy children frequently haunt Gothic texts. But what of Gothic texts assuming a young audience? Children’s/YA literature so often focuses on successful (or not so successful) negotiation of threats and learning opportunities in the intimate and public worlds around the child that “children’s” tales are often scarier than adult fiction.

In this section, we will study a variety of texts through a literary/cultural studies critical and theoretical lens, exploring their (sometimes) evolving genre features. We’ll start with familiar (and not-so-familiar) oral-tradition folk/fairytales, to consider how their recurring devices establish tropes still frequently recurring. Then we will stray from the path and consider how a selection of novels might challenge or subvert perceived boundaries and conventions, especially in engaging with Gothic themes and motifs.

Evaluation will be based on two short essays, a term paper requiring secondary academic research, and an essay-based final examination, as well as participation in discussion both in class and on Canvas.

Text List

I’ve ordered the following texts from the bookstore. I do want you to use the new 5th edition of Folk and Fairy Tales, but you may use any edition of the novels as long as it is unabridged.

  • Martin Hallett and Barbara Karasek, eds. Folk and Fairy Tales, 5th Edition. (Broadview)
  • Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
  • Roald Dahl, The Witches
  • Alan Garner, The Owl Service
  • Neil Gaiman, Coraline
  • Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy

Watch this site for updates.

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English 110/MA4: Approaches to Literature (Summer 2018)

Approaches to Literature
Term 1 Summer 2018 (May-June)
TTh 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
 

Literary Monsters and Monstrous Literature

Rey: “You are a monster.”
Kylo Ren: “Yes, I am.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

“Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time into this breathing world” – Richard III 1.i

What is a monster? We know monsters from myths and legends, folktales, horror fiction and film. We know their variety: the grotesque, the beautiful, the terrifying, the pitiable, the sports of nature and the forces of evil. Dragons, werewolves, vampires, zombies, Frankenstein’s Creature, Mr. Hyde, the Joker, most of the characters in Penny Dreadful: they’re everywhere, from under the bed to the battlefield, and right into a great deal of literature. Which leaves us here: in this section of 110 we’ll focus on how literary texts use representations of monstrosity to say a variety of things.

We’ll look at excerpts from William Shakespeare’s Richard III (a play that both meditates on villainy and ambition, and demonizes its subject for Tudor audiences), then at Ian McKellen’s 1995 film adaptation, which shifts the setting to an alternate-reality 1930s England where fascism takes hold. We’ll examine Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla, a novel about a female vampire that influenced the writing of Dracula, and Charles Perrault’s 17th century tale “Bluebeard”; while its status as a children’s story is now problematic, its influence on literary and popular culture is enormous.

Evaluation will be based on two in-class essays, a term paper, participation in discussion (in class and online), and an essay-based final examination.

Text List:

Note: titles with publishers have been ordered through the UBC Bookstore. The film Richard III will be available via Library Reserve on dvd; other viewing options will be announced in class. Carmilla and “Bluebeard” will be linked to the course’s Canvas site via Project Gutenberg and Wikisource respectively. Other short fiction (tentatively including Francesca Lia Block’s “Bones” and Angela Carter’s “The Lady of the House of Love”) will be available in full text online through Library Reserve.

  • Susan Holbrook, How to Read (and Write About) Poetry (Broadview)
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818) (Broadview Third Edition)
  • William Shakespeare, Richard III (Signet)
  • Richard III (1995 film, directed by Richard Loncraine, with Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Robert Downey Jr., Maggie Smith, Adrian Dunbar, Jim Broadbent etc.)
  • Sheridan LeFanu, Carmilla
  • Charles Perrault, “Bluebeard” and various other short stories (see Note above)
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English 100/017: Reading and Writing About Literature (January 2018)

ENGL 100/017:  Strange Creatures – Gisèle M. Baxter

Term 2 TTh 2:00-3:30 p.m.

 “Have you ever retired a human by mistake?” – Rachael to Deckard, Blade Runner

From V for Vendetta to The Hunger Games to The Walking Dead, the near-future landscapes of literary and popular culture are terrifying places. In this course, we will consider dystopian speculations that reflect on the present and recent past, especially concerning the threats of mass surveillance, profit-motivated technology, environmental crisis, and redefinitions of human identity. Our core texts will be John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, and the Director’s Cut of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (though you will be encouraged to introduce other relevant texts). Through readings in current criticism and theory, we will develop strategies for textual analysis in literary and cultural studies. We will also consider the difficulty, if not impossibility, of reaching a “fixed” or consensus reading of any text. You will write two short essays, a term paper requiring secondary research, and a final examination, all focused on literary textual analysis, and will contribute to in-class and online discussion.

© Gisèle M. Baxter. Not to be copied, used, shared, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

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English 362/001: Studies in a 19th-Century Genre (September 2017)

ENGL 362-001: Ghosts are Real (So are Vampires): 19th-Century Gothic Horror – Gisèle M. Baxter

Term 1 MWF 10:00 a.m.

“I know that ghosts have wandered on the earth.” – Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

Whether we take Edith Cushing, Abraham Van Helsing, and Heathcliff at their word, the 19th-century Gothic revival certainly emphasized possibilities for horror and terror in tales of the supernatural. However, these interventions of un-dead beings often take place in the recognizable present; they speak to its anxieties. Perhaps they speak to ours as well, given our recent fascination with Neo-Victorian representations of the 19th century, such as Penny Dreadful, From Hell, Crimson Peak, etc. As we journey into the dark days of autumn, we will address issues of gender and sexuality; class, race, and culture; realism and the supernatural; urban and rural settings, all in a century known for developments in science and technology, social upheaval, and a veneer of respectability, yet with monsters lurking in closets and under beds.

The core text list includes Wuthering Heights, Carmilla, Dracula, The Turn of the Screw, and short fiction including works by Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, M.R. James, Arthur Machen, Sheridan LeFanu, W.W. Jacobs, and E. Nesbit (and possibly others; we may even look at a few excerpts from the genuine penny dreadful serial, Varney the Vampire). We will consider the evolution of academic critical responses (as well as popular reaction) to such texts, and the way in which such texts have shaped the way we think about and visualize the 19th century. Evaluation will be based on two short essays, a term paper, and a final examination, all focused on literary textual analysis, as well as contribution to in-class and Connect-based discussion.

The following books have been ordered through the UBC Bookstore:

  • Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (Broadview)
  • Henry James, The Turn of the Screw and Other Stories (Broadview)
  • Bram Stoker, Dracula (Broadview)
  • Michael Cox and R.A. Gilbert, eds. The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories (Oxford)

Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla will be linked to the course’s Connect site as a Project Gutenberg text (allowing you to read it online or download to a computer or e-reader). Wuthering Heights, The Turn of the Screw, and Dracula are also available online, and if you already own unabridged copies of them, feel free to use those, but the Broadview editions are reasonably priced and contain useful contextual material. Other short stories will also be linked to Connect, as well as academic critical resources and writing resources.

© Gisèle M. Baxter. Not to be copied, used, shared, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

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English 468A/99C: Children’s Literature (January 2018)

ENGL 468A/99C: You Are Now Entering the Wider World: Children’s/YA Literature – Gisèle M. Baxter

Children’s Literature
Term 2
This section of ENGL 468 is offered online.

“You are always in danger in the forest, where no people are” – Angela Carter, “The Company of Wolves”

Children’s literature so often focuses on successful (or not so successful) negotiation of the threats and learning opportunities in the intimate and public worlds around the child that “children’s” tales are often more intense (and even more scary) than adult fiction. Not surprisingly, children’s literature has long been the focus of both fascination and controversy, and only more recently of full-on academic (theorizing) attention. In this course, we will study a broad selection of texts through a literary/cultural studies lens, exploring their (sometimes) evolving genre features and the ways assumptions about audiences have shifted over time and according to various theorists.

We’ll start with familiar (and not-so-familiar) oral-tradition folk/fairytales, to consider how their recurring devices establish tropes still commonly used in children’s adventure-quest stories. Then we will stray from the path and consider how texts that assume a mostly young readership might challenge or subvert perceived boundaries and conventions, especially in representing both that point of realization that a wider world exists, and the discoveries and adventures that arise once it has been entered.

Text List

  • Folk and Fairy Tales (Broadview, 4th edition)
  • Custom Course Materials package for ENGL 468A/99C (this will only be available through the UBC Bookstore)
  • L.M. Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside
  • Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Alexei Panshin, Rite of Passage
  • Philip Pullman, The Subtle Knife (the second volume in the His Dark Materials trilogy)
  • Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki, Skim

Evaluation will be based on two short literary textual analyses (worth 10% and 20%); a term paper requiring use of current academic research (worth 30%); and an essay-based final exam (30%: you must write and pass the exam to pass the course). There is a participation mark (10%: based on weekly contribution to online discussion).

Note: This course is not designed for people with children or who work with children, and we will not (nostalgically or speculatively) try to read the texts as children might; we will be reading them as adult scholars in literary studies. I strongly suggest looking up all the novels so that you’ll know something about them in deciding to take the course.

© Gisèle M. Baxter. Not to be copied, used, shared, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

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English 301/001: Technical Writing (January 2018)

ENGL 301-001: Technical Writing – Gisèle M. Baxter

Technical Writing
Term 2 TTh 9:30

This course examines the principles of written, oral, and visual communication (including online) in various professional activities. You will spend much of term producing a formal report, in which you will investigate concerns in a real-life workplace, organization, or community, and make recommendations for solution or improvement. This report is a multi-part assignment, involving a proposal, a progress report, an oral presentation, and the final report itself with all of its apparatus. Evaluation will also include two shorter assignments (an introductory memo and a resumé) as well as participation in classroom and online discussion and activities (Note: this will be a blended course, with both classroom and online components and requirements; more information will follow on this blog via edits to this post).

Our discussions will consider the requirements and the ethical concerns of these forms of communication, given their specific aims, methods, and goals. In some ways, you can think of this course as an extended report-writing Boot Camp; it is an intensive, useful preparation for the last phase of your undergraduate degree, as you start applying to professional and graduate programs, and for the years beyond of work and community involvement.

A fuller description of the course will be posted later this summer; this description of last year’s classroom version provides some sense of the assignments (there will be two more short assignments set near the start of term: see above). However, the texts will differ: the primary textbook will be Lannon et al’s Technical Communication, 7th Cdn. ed (Pearson 2018), and writing resources will be linked to the course’s Connect site.

As well, please note that while technical competence in writing is required, the course will not cover grammar and mechanics. This course is closed to first- and second-year students in Arts, and cannot be used for credit towards the English Major or Minor.

© Gisèle M. Baxter. Not to be copied, used, shared, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

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English 468A/98A: Summer 2017

Children’s Literature (online; 3 credits)

Instructor: Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

Danger and Discovery

“You are always in danger in the forest, where no people are.” – Angela Carter, “The Company of Wolves”

Danger and discovery stalk children’s literature in many ways. It so often focuses on successful (or not so successful) negotiation of the threats and learning opportunities in the intimate and public worlds around the child that “children’s” tales are often scarier than adult fiction. Not surprisingly, children’s literature has long been the focus of both fascination and controversy, and only more recently of full-on academic (theorizing) attention. In this course, we will study a broad selection of texts, most specifically through a literary/cultural studies lens, exploring their (sometimes) evolving genre features and the ways assumptions about audiences have shifted over time and according to various theorists. We’ll start with familiar (and not-so-familiar) oral-tradition folk/fairytales, to consider how their recurring devices establish tropes still commonly used in children’s adventure-quest stories. Then we will stray from the path and consider how texts that assume a mostly young readership might challenge or subvert perceived boundaries and conventions, especially in representing discovery or peril.

Text List:

Except for Folk & Fairy Tales and the Custom Course Materials, any editions (print or e-book) are acceptable as long as they are complete. You may want the Broadview editions for the scholarly material: very useful for writing assignments! Writing resources will be posted on Connect.

  • Hallett and Karasek, eds. Folk & Fairy Tales. Broadview. 4th ed.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
  • C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
  • Roald Dahl, The Witches
  • Neil Gaiman, Coraline
  • Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, Skim
  • Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
  • Custom Course Materials package
  • Readings from Folk & Fairy Tales will be announced shortly before term starts in May (meanwhile, read as widely as you like in the book: it’s all useful material!); you will gain online access to the course on the first day of term.

Course Requirements:

NOTE: There may be some minor adjustments to due dates and percentages.

  • Short Critical Analysis 1: end of Week 4: 10%
  • Short Critical Analysis 2: end of Week 8: 20%
  • Term Paper: end of Week 13: 30% (an email proposal will be required by the end of Week 11)
  • Participation (ongoing: based on contribution to open online discussions): 10%
  • Final Examination (invigilated): 30% Even with submission of all assignments, you must write and pass the final exam in order to pass this course. The university sets the final exam date, and if it conflicts with travel plans, I cannot schedule an exam ahead of that date.

Note concerning focus: This senior undergraduate course is concerned with the academic literary analysis of texts, and not with whether the texts are “good” for young readers or with how to introduce texts to them. The texts represent no specific hierarchy or cross section; many others will come up in discussion. If you chose this section because of one specific text, please find out about the others, so you can bring the same attention and enthusiasm to all of them.

Note concerning pace: 468A/98A is the online equivalent of a classroom course in winter, and is structured the same way: 13 weeks, with weekly readings and required contribution to open discussion (on Connect). There is much reading to be done, and you’ll have to pace it so that you can contribute to discussion in the appropriate week. You will need daily access to a computer with a current operating system and browser, and a reliable high-speed internet connection.

  • You will need a Campus Wide Login (http://www.cwl.ubc.ca) username and password to access the Connect site (http://lthub.ubc.ca) for this course.
  • 6 credits of first-year English, or the 18-credit Arts One Program, or the 6-credit ASTU 100A in CAP, or 3 credits of first-year ENGL plus one of ASTU 100B or ASTU 150 and third-year standing are prerequisite to all English courses numbered 343 and above.
  • A book order form will be available from CTLT: http://ctlt.ubc.ca/distance-learning/courses/engl/engl468a/ (wait till the link specifies the form is for the section offered in Summer 2017; the winter section has a different text list)

© Gisèle M. Baxter. Not to be copied, used, shared, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

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ENGL 301/002: Technical Writing (September 2016)

English 301/002: Technical Writing

UBC 2016/17 Term 1: TTh 9:00-10:45 a.m. Buch B208

  • Instructor: Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter
  • Email: Gisele.Baxter@ubc.ca (put “English 301” in the subject line)
  • URL: http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/gmbaxter
  • Office: Buchanan Tower 413; tel. 604 822-9455
  • Office Hours: by appointment

General Description:

English 301 is a study of the principles of written communication in general business and professional activities, and practice in the preparation of abstracts, proposals, reports, and correspondence. This course is closed to first- and second-year students in Arts, and cannot be used for credit towards the English Major or Minor.

All students must have third year standing and must have met one of the four following acceptable prerequisites:

  • 6 credits of 100-level English
  • WRDS 150 or ASTU 150 plus 3 credits of 100-level English
  • 6 credits of ASTU 100 or 3 credits of ASTU 100 and 3 credits of 100-level English
  • ARTS 001

This Section:

This course will examine the principles of written and oral communication in various professional activities. You will spend much of term producing a formal report, in which you will investigate concerns in a real-life workplace, organization, or local community, and make recommendations for solution or improvement. This report is a multi-part assignment, involving a proposal, a progress report, an oral presentation, and the final report itself with all of its apparatus. Our discussions will consider the requirements and the ethical concerns of these forms of communication, given their specific aims, methods, and audiences. In some ways, you can think of this course as an extended report-writing Boot Camp; it is an intensive, useful preparation for the last phase of your undergraduate degree, as you start applying to professional and graduate programs, and for the years beyond of work and community involvement. Note: While technical competence in writing is required, the course will not cover grammar and mechanics. Students with writing problems should seek early, expert, and ethical tutorial help (UBC’s Learning Commons – http://learningcommons.ubc.ca – provides several resources; others are posted in Web Links on this course’s Connect site: log in at http://www.lthub.ubc.ca).

Texts:

  • A Strategic Guide to Technical Communication: Canadian Edition. 2nd ed. Broadview.
  • The Canadian Writer’s Handbook: Essentials Edition. Oxford.
  • A good university-level dictionary.

Requirements: 

  • Report Proposal Memo (10%; written in class)
  • Progress Report Letter with Formal Outline (15%)
  • Oral Presentation on Report with Script (10%)
  • Formal Report (30%)
  • Participation Mark (10%: based on contribution to in-class discussion, completion of at least three Connect exercises; posting of and response to at least one draft on Connect; attendance and submission on time of assigned work)
  • Final Exam: 25% (Please note that you must write and pass the final exam in order to pass the course.)
  • All assignments and handouts for this course will be distributed electronically: emailed to you as PDF file attachments and posted on the course’s Connect site (the login link is here: http://www.lthub.ubc.ca).

Syllabus:

Readings will be announced ahead of each class on Connect Announcements. Exercises will be posted on Connect on Friday of each week.

  • September 6: Imagine Day for incoming undergraduates; no class meeting.
  • September 8: Introduction; discussion of course structure and major assignment.
  • September 13-22: Formal Reports Part 1 (concept); Correspondence.
  • September 29: Proposal Memo (in-class essay)
  • September 27-October 4: Definition and Technical Description.
  • October 6-13: Instructions and Processes.
  • October 18-25: Summary and Outline.
  • October 27: Progress Report on Formal Report due.
  • October 27-November 8: Formal Reports Part 2 (format and apparatus).
  • November 10-15: Technical Speaking.
  • November 17-29: Oral Presentations.
  • December 1: Examination review; last class meeting. Formal Reports due.

© Gisèle M. Baxter. Not to be copied, used, shared, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

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ENGL 364A/003: 19th Century Studies (January 2017)

English 364A/003 19th Century Studies (3 credits)

Instructor: Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

This Section: Making Monsters

“Art, like Nature, has her monsters.” – Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

What is a monster? What does its creation have to say about fear and desire in the world it haunts? This course will examine the literary representation of monsters, both hideous and beautiful, as well as of their creators and victims, throughout the long 19th century. We will address contextual issues of gender and sexuality; class, race, and culture; realism and the supernatural; urban and rural settings, all in a century known for its developments in science and technology, its social upheaval, and its veneer of respectability, yet with monsters lurking in closets and under beds. The tentative core text list includes Frankenstein and Dracula, as well as Jane Eyre, Carmilla, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Turn of the Screw, and The Picture of Dorian Gray, as well as various examples of short fiction. We will also consider the evolution of academic critical responses (as well as popular reaction) to these texts and the 19th-century Gothic in general, and the way in which such texts have shaped the way we think about and visualize the 19th century. Evaluation will be based on a short midterm paper, a term paper requiring secondary research, and a final examination (all focused on literary textual analysis) as well as contribution to in-class and Connect-based discussion.

© Gisèle M. Baxter. Not to be copied, used, shared, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

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