English 301 Technical Writing (January 2021)

Technical Writing – Term 2 TTh 9:30 a.m.

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

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Now with added grammar! While 301 is not a course in remedial grammar, this section will provide online Canvas-based writing resources and a series of workshops, designed to help identify writing and proofreading problems, and to provide strategies to address them.

English 301: Technical Writing examines the rhetorical genre of professional and technical communication, especially online, through analysis and application of its principles and practices. You will produce a formal report, investigating resources and/or concerns in a real-life community, as a major project involving a series of linked assignments. This project 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. Note: this course was designed and written as a blended course, with both classroom and online components and requirements. Technical Writing is closed to first- and second-year students in Arts, and cannot be used for credit towards the English Major or Minor.

Course Text:

  • Lannon et al, Technical Communications, 7th Canadian Edition, Pearson, 2017. (Hard copy and e-text versions are both available and acceptable. The 8th edition might be available by Term 2.)

In the event that we are unable to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver, this course will proceed in a fully online form, using Canvas, and a combination of asynchronous (notes, links, discussion forums, slides, and videos) and synchronous (short live lectures and discussion) materials. I will make sure as much material as possible is available in digital format (and will identify ebook options for course texts) and that the full course is accessible to all students.

Please keep checking this post for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements.

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English 243/001 Speculative Fiction/Science Fiction (January 2021)

Science Fiction and Fantasy/Speculative Fiction – Term 2 12:00 p.m.

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

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The Posthuman Prometheus: Frankenstein’s Legacy in the Artificial Humans of Speculative Fiction

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

The near-future and alternate-reality landscapes of literary and popular culture are often terrifying places, and have been since Gothic and dystopian impulses intersected in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Shelley’s landmark tale evokes dread in the implications of Victor’s generation of a humanoid Creature; this dread echoes in the creatures haunting recent speculative fiction: clones, androids, artificial intelligences, cyborgs. Such texts conjure questions of gaze (why are these creatures so often attractive young women presented as the object of male desire?), rights, research ethics, and fear, in the realization that these creatures are, ultimately, not human but posthuman, yet often more sympathetic than their makers. You will write two short essays, a term paper requiring secondary research, and a final examination, and will contribute to discussion.

Core texts tentatively include William Gibson’s Neuromancer, the Wachowskis’ The Matrix: The Shooting Script, Madeline Ashby’s Vn, and a film: either Blade Runner (dir. Ridley Scott, Final Cut edition) or Blade Runner 2049 (dir. Denis Villeneuve) or AI (dir. Steven Spielberg); another core text may be added. A list of supplementary recommended texts will be developed (from The Island of Dr. Moreau to Ex Machina and beyond), and online readings will be put in Library Course Reserves.

In the event that we are unable to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver, this course will proceed in a fully online form, using Canvas, and a combination of asynchronous (notes, links, discussion forums, slides, and videos) and synchronous (short live lectures and discussion) materials. I will make sure as much material as possible is available in digital format (and will identify ebook options for course texts) and that the full course is accessible to all students.

Keep checking this post for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements.

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English 110 Approaches to Literature (January 2021)

Approaches to Literature – Term 2 TTh 2 p.m.

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

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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, Dorian Gray, the Joker, many of the characters in The Walking Dead or Penny Dreadful or Game of Thrones: 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 across the genres use representations of monstrosity to say a variety of things.

We’ll look at William Shakespeare’s Richard III (a play that both meditates on villainy and ambition, and demonizes its subject for Tudor audiences), then at clips from various film and stage adaptations, including Ian McKellen’s 1995 film, which shifts the setting to an alternate-reality 1930s England where fascism takes hold. Other core texts include Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Angela Carter’s “The Lady of the House of Love”, Charles Perrault’s “Bluebeard” (and possibly Francesca Lia Block’s retelling “Bones” and one or two other short stories), as well as selected poetry.

Evaluation will be based on three short writing assignments, participation in discussion, and an essay-based final examination.

In the event that we are unable to hold classes on campus at UBC Vancouver, this course will proceed in a fully online form, using Canvas, and a combination of asynchronous (notes, links, discussion forums, slides, and videos) and synchronous (short live lectures and discussion) materials. I will make sure as much material as possible is available in digital format (and will identify ebook options for course texts) and that the full course is accessible to all students.

Keep checking this post for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements.

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English 392/002 Children’s Literature (September 2020)

Children’s Literature – Term 1 MWF 12:00 p.m.

NOTE: This course will be Web-oriented: it will be fully online and delivered through Canvas. This status differs from that of courses developed by CTLT and offered through Distance Learning. It also retains a registration cap.

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 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, ending with a graphic novel examining the adolescent engagement with Gothic culture.

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.

Core texts tentatively include Martin Hallett and Barbara Karasek, eds. Folk and Fairy Tales, 5th Edition. (Broadview); Roald Dahl, The Witches; Alan Garner, The Owl Service; Neil Gaiman, Coraline; Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, Skim.

This course will proceed in a fully online form using Canvas, and will involve a combination of asynchronous (notes, links, discussion forums, slides and videos) and synchronous (short live lectures and discussion) materials. I will make sure that the full course is accessible to all students. Any material in Online Library Course Reserve will be available in full text online. Folk and Fairy Tales will be available as an ebook; all the novels are available in print as well as on the following digital platforms: Apple Books/iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, Google Play. They can be read in these digital formats using an app, and do not require a specific e-reader. Some might be available in digital format through a public library website. Only legally published versions of material under copyright will be acceptable for use in this course.

Keep checking this post for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements.

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English 362/001 19th-Century Studies (September 2020)

Victorian Literature – Term 1 MWF 2 p.m.

NOTE: This course will be Web-oriented: it will be fully online and delivered through Canvas. This status differs from that of courses developed by CTLT and offered through Distance Learning. It also retains a registration cap.

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

Canvas Login | My Website

Ghosts are Real (So are Vampires): Nineteenth-Century Gothic Terror and Horror

“Ghosts are real, this much I know” – Edith Cushing, Crimson Peak

“There are such beings as vampires; some of us have evidence that they exist” – Abraham Van Helsing, Dracula

Whether we take Edith Cushing or Abraham Van Helsing at their word, the 19th-century Gothic revival certainly emphasized possibilities for terror and horror in tales of the supernatural. However, these interventions of spectral and 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 DreadfulFrom HellCrimson Peak, etc. We will add to the chill of autumn’s darkening days as we examine stories addressing 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.

Our focus will also permit consideration of the boom in publication of popular literature in a variety of formats, as well as the rise of the professional writer during the 19th century. Core texts tentatively include Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, and short fiction by authors including (but not limited to) M.R. James, Margaret Oliphaunt, Charlotte Riddell, Elizabeth Gaskell, E. Nesbit, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

This course will proceed in a fully online form using Canvas, and will involve a combination of asynchronous (notes, links, discussion forums, slides and videos) and synchronous (short live lectures and discussion) materials. I will make sure that the full course is accessible to all students, will order ebook versions of the novels, and will provide links to reputable online versions of the short stories on Canvas (since all texts for this course are in the public domain). Any material in Online Library Course Reserve will be available in full text online.

Keep checking this post for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements.

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English 100/003 Reading and Writing About Literature (September 2020)

Reading and Writing About Literature – Term 1 MWF 11 a.m.

NOTE: This course will be Web-oriented: it will be fully online and delivered through Canvas. This status differs from that of courses developed by CTLT and offered through Distance Learning. It also retains a registration cap.

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

Canvas Login | My Website

Haunted Houses

“What is a ghost? A tragedy condemned to repeat itself time and again? An instant of pain, perhaps. Something dead which still seems to be alive. An emotion suspended in time. Like a blurred photograph. Like an insect trapped in amber.”

The Devil’s Backbone (dir. Guillermo Del Toro)

Where is the fascination, even when the deepest mysteries of the universe are being scientifically unlocked, in stories of haunted houses? What accounts for the lure, and even the enjoyment, of tales of terror and horror, even in the 21st century? This course examines the Gothic influence in texts where collisions of past and present, and implications of the uncanny, allow fascinating investigations of social codes and their transgression.

Core texts include Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, Sarah Waters’s The Little Stranger, Helen Oyeyemi’s White is for Witching, and The Others (dir. Alejandro Amenábar), as well as Gardner and Diaz’s Reading and Writing About Literature (4th edition). 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, and will contribute to in-class and online discussion.

This course will proceed in a fully online form using Canvas, and will involve a combination of asynchronous (notes, links, discussion forums, slides and videos) and synchronous (short live lectures and discussion) materials. I will make sure that the full course is accessible to all students. Any material in Online Library Course Reserve will be available in full text online.

The Turn of the Screw and Reading and Writing About Literature have been ordered in ebook format; The Others will be available to stream through Online Library Course Reserves (it’s also available to rent or purchase digitally through Apple/iTunes, Microsoft Store, and Cineplex, or to order on dvd or bluray). The Haunting of Hill House, White is for Witching, and The Little Stranger are available in print as well as on the following digital platforms: Apple Books/iBooks, Kindle, Google Play; Hill House and White is for Witching are also available on Kobo. They can be read in these digital formats using an app, and do not require a specific e-reader. They might be available in digital format through a public library website. Only legally published versions of material under copyright will be acceptable for use in this course.

Keep checking this post for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements.

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English 362/951 19th-Century Studies (Summer 2020)

UBC Summer 2020 Term 2 (July-August)

NOTE: Like all Summer 2020 courses at UBC, this course will be Web-oriented: it will be fully online and delivered through Canvas. This status differs from that of online/distance education courses offered through CTLT. It also retains a registration cap.

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

Canvas Login | My Website

Ghosts are Real (So are Vampires): 19th-Century Gothic Terror and Horror

“Ghosts are real, this much I know” – Edith Cushing, Crimson Peak

“There are such beings as vampires; some of us have evidence that they exist” – Abraham Van Helsing, Dracula

Whether we take Edith Cushing or Abraham Van Helsing at their word, the 19th-century Gothic revival certainly emphasized possibilities for terror and horror in tales of the supernatural. However, these interventions of spectral and 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 DreadfulFrom HellCrimson Peak, etc. We will bring a chill to summer evenings as we examine stories addressing 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.

Our focus will also permit consideration of the boom in publication of popular literature in a variety of formats, as well as the rise of the professional writer during the 19th century. Core texts tentatively include Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla, Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, and short fiction by authors including (but not limited to) M.R. James, Margaret Oliphaunt, Charlotte Riddell, Elizabeth Gaskell, E. Nesbit, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Since the course now will be conducted fully online, any texts ordered will be in e-book/digital format. Through Canvas, I will provide links to online texts of public domain required readings and will put other material on Library Course Reserve in full-text online format.

Evaluation will be based on two short essays and a term paper, participation in discussion on the course’s Canvas site, and an essay-based final examination.

Keep checking this post for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements.

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English 110/MA1 Approaches to Literature (Summer 2020)

UBC Summer 2020 Term 1 (May-June)

NOTE: Like all Summer 2020 courses at UBC, this course will be Web-oriented: it will be fully online and delivered through Canvas. This status differs from that of online/distance education courses offered through CTLT. It also retains a registration cap.

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

Canvas Login | My Website

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, Dorian Gray, the Joker, many of the characters in The Walking Dead or Penny Dreadful or Game of Thrones: 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 across the genres use representations of monstrosity to say a variety of things.

We’ll look at William Shakespeare’s Richard III (a play that both meditates on villainy and ambition, and demonizes its subject for Tudor audiences), then at clips from various film and stage adaptations, including Ian McKellen’s 1995 film, which shifts the setting to an alternate-reality 1930s England where fascism takes hold. Other core texts include Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Angela Carter’s “The Lady of the House of Love”, Charles Perrault’s “Bluebeard” (and possibly Francesca Lia Block’s retelling “Bones” and one or two other short stories), as well as selected poetry.

Since the course now will be conducted fully online, I have ordered only one text through the UBC Bookstore, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, as a Broadview Press e-book (Broadview e-books are very reasonably priced and include great supplementary materials). I will provide links to online texts of public domain required readings and put other material on Library Course Reserve in full-text online format.

Evaluation will be based on three short writing assignments, participation in discussion on the course’s Canvas site, and an essay-based final examination.

Keep checking this post for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements.

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Invisible to Visible: Symposium & Publication Exhibition of Contract Faculty Work at Congress 2019

CongressPoster_V4

Click the link to open the poster as a PDF; the Symposium will take place on June 4. My presentation, “‘Like a real girl: gaze, gender, and synthetic humans in Gothic science fiction” will develop the paper I gave on May 2 at Gothic Feminism 3: Technology, Women, and Gothic-Horror On-Screen, at the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK.

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English 364/001: 19th-Century Studies (September 2019)

19th-Century Studies – Term 1 MWF 12:00-1:00 p.m. – Gisèle M. Baxter

Canvas login | My website

Ghosts are Real (So are Vampires): 19th-Century Gothic Terror and Horror

“Ghosts are real, this much I know” – Edith Cushing, Crimson Peak

“There are such beings as vampires; some of us have evidence that they exist” – Abraham Van Helsing, Dracula

Whether we take Edith or Van Helsing at their word, the 19th-century Gothic revival certainly emphasized possibilities for terror and horror 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 DreadfulFrom HellCrimson 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 will tentatively include John Polidori’s The Vampyre, Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, Margaret Oliphant’s The Library Window, and short fiction from The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories (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, as well as contribution to in-class and Canvas-based discussion.

Keep checking this post for updates concerning the course, its texts, and its requirements.

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