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.” – Charlotte 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 texts 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 tentative 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. Please check my blog at http://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/ for a fuller description of the course, its texts, and its requirements (this will be posted in late April or early May).

This post replicates the description on the UBC English Department website; it will be updated to provide the further information indicated above.

© 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: Danger and Discovery in 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”

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. The core text list includes an anthology of folk/fairytales; Treasure Island; Anne of Green Gables; The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe; The Witches; Coraline; Skim; and The Hunger Games (Note: two or three of the novels may be replaced). Evaluation will be based on two short papers, a term paper, and an essay-based final examination, all focused on literary textual analysis, as well as on contribution to online discussion. Please check my blog at http://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/ for a fuller description of the course, its texts (any updates will be posted by October), and its requirements.

This post replicates the description on the UBC English Department website; it will be updated to provide the further information indicated above.

© 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 short assignments, such as a job application (letter and resumé) or a set of instructions, 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 my blog, linked below). 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. Please check my blog at http://blogs.ubc.ca/drgmbaxter/ for a fuller description of the course, its assignments, and its texts, to be posted by late April/early May. 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.

This replicates the description on the UBC English Department website; it will be updated to provide the further information described above.

© 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: 15%
  • 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): 25% 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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Why the Undead Walk Among Us: An Exploration of Zombies in Literature and Popular Culture (Student Directed Seminar)

Here is an abridged version of Kate Reilly’s description of this Student Directed Seminar, which I am sponsoring at UBC in Term 2 of the 2015-16 academic year. If you have any questions, please email Kate directly at kate_reilly@live.ca

ASTU 400P 001 Why the Undead Walk Among Us: An Exploration of Zombies in Literature and Popular Culture

  • UBC 2015-16 Term 2; Monday 6-9 p.m. Buch D221
  • Coordinator: Kate Reilly
  • Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

Zombies have invaded movies, television, the internet, and, for the purposes of this course, literary texts. The odds of finding someone who cannot describe a zombie are slim, yet few people know how old and complex their role in Western culture is. By examining the literary representation of zombies and their role as a mirror of Western anxieties throughout the 20th and into 21st century, students in this course will gain a greater sense of the fears that have plagued North America’s self-image. The class will meet once a week for a three-hour seminar.

The seminar will function based on the critical notion that representations of horror “always seem to play upon and express fears across a wide spectrum of people” (Stephen King, Danse Macabre). Enthusiastic students with a high level of interest and experience in literary and cultural analysis are encouraged to join. We will move though material in a chronological order, starting with the Haitian zombie represented before WWII. When examining the slow-moving, subservient zombies portrayed in early zombie literature, we see fears of control and colonization, and the repercussions of America’s history of slavery represented. Once we’ve acquired a good sense of zombie world history, we will examine the rapid evolution of approaches to the genre of zombie literature over the last century, with specific attention paid to the change in representation post-WWII. Instead of being controlled by someone else, zombies became (and remain) in control of themselves, taking on the emblematic role of a new kind of fear: of societal upheaval, totalitarianism, and nuclear war, as exemplified in Richard Matheson’s iconic I Am Legend. Although some critics do not consider I Am Legend a zombie novel, it has undeniable zombie attributes and connections to one of the most influential contributors to zombie representation, filmmaker George A. Romero.

After analyzing the specific cultural fears portrayed historically, we will move on to how similar fears have manifested themselves post-9/11 by reading Max Brook’s World War Z and analyzing the way in which the novel presents various countries globally in relation to a plague of zombies. The internet-age zombies in Madeline Sheehan and Claire C. Riley’s Thicker Than Blood and Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies share similarities in the sense that, in these texts, humans take on zombie characteristics, and we will explore how each novel narrates contemporary fears of dehumanization.

Each week’s readings will be supplemented by student presentations and discussion of selected academic studies of the current topic. By the end of the course, we will have a solid understanding of the close connection between zombies in literary and popular culture and the societal fears they reflect, and of how their enduring popularity suggests the depth of those fears and the questions they provoke.

Required Reading List:

  • “Herbert West- Reanimator” H.P Lovecraft (1922)
  • The Magic Island William Seabrook (1929)
  • I am Legend Richard Matheson (1954)
  • World War Z Max Brooks (2006)
  • Warm Bodies Isaac Marion (2010)
  • Thicker Than Blood Madeline Sheehan (2015)
  • Selected essays from Better off Dead – The Evolution of the Zombie as Post-Human Deborah Christie and Sarah Juliet Lauro (2011)
  • “Greek Zombies.” Jan Sleutels, Philosophical Psychology2 (2006)
  • “The Role of Place in the Post-Apocalypse: Contrasting The Road and World War Z.” Petter Skult, Studia Neophilologica 87 (2015)

Supplemental and Recommended Reading/Viewing List:

  • “Insecure Lives: Zombies, Global Health, and the Totalitarianism of Generalization.” Steven Pokornowski, Literature and Medicine2 (2013)
  • “Zombies.” Daniel Zelterman, Significance5 (2014)
  • “Vacationing in Zombieland: The Classical Functions of the Modern Zombie Comedy.” Kyle William Bishop, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts1 (2011)
  • American Zombie Gothic- The Rise and Fall (And Rise) of the Walking Dead in Popular Culture. Kyle William Bishop (2010)
  • Generation Zombie: Essays on the Living Dead in Modern Culture. Stephanie Boluk and Wylie Lenz (2011)
  • Zombies are Us: Essays on the Humanity of the Walking Dead. Christopher Morman (2011)
  • Films including White Zombie (1932); Zombies of Mora Tau (1957); Night of the Living Dead (1968); 28 Weeks Later (2002); Shaun of the Dead (2004); Fido (2006); Planet Terror (2007); Quarantine (2008); Investigating the Haitian Zombie Vice Documentary (2012); Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead (2014)
  • Episodes of The Walking Dead (TV): “What Happened and What’s Going On” (S.5.Ep.9); “The Grove” (S.4 Ep.9); “TS-19” (S.1.Ep.6); “Clear” (S.3.Ep.12)

Assignments and Evaluation:

  • Paper 1: 20% (1000-1500 words) This will be a shorter paper focused on some aspects of the historical origins of the zombies we recognize in popular culture today, and will be graded by the faculty sponsor.
  • Paper 2: 25% (2000-3000 words) This will be a major paper requiring secondary academic research and will be graded by the faculty sponsor.
  • Online Creative Project: 20% Students will be asked to generate a creative response to zombie literature. Projects could include fan-fiction, visual art, a zombie apocalypse diary, or an audio-visual project. The aim will be to explore the various common tropes of zombie literature. This project will be posted online on a Connect site for the course and it will be peer graded.
  • Online Reader Response: 5% Many of the required readings have been made into movies with drastic changes to plot. Students will be asked to consider and respond to the differences between the literary and cinematic versions of a specific text. This assignment will be peer graded.
  • Presentation: 20% Students will be asked to give a researched presentation on the readings for the applicable week aimed at strengthening the class’s overall understanding of the text. The length of the presentation will be determined by class size. The presentation will be peer graded.
  • Participation: 10% Contribution to discussion both in class and on Connect will be mandatory. Participants are meant to work as group as we explore the complexities of this genre, so that the majority of class time will be spent in discussion and analysis of the texts, and the Connect site will allow expansion and development of the in-class conversation. Students will also be required to participate in two writing workshops via Connect. Participation will be peer graded.

Note: Clear and specific criteria for the grading of each assignment will be included in its formal description, along with length, scope, and format requirements. Criteria for peer evaluation of participation will be set out in the outline and syllabus distributed at the start of term.

UBC’s Student Directed Seminar site (this links to general information about the Student Directed Seminar concept): http://students.ubc.ca/success/student-directed-seminars/courses

UBC’s Student Services Centre site: https://courses.students.ubc.ca/cs/main?pname=subjarea&tname=subjareas&req=5&dept=ASTU&course=400P§ion=001

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ENGL 110/021 (Approaches to Literature) January 2016

Approaches to Literature (3 credits)

Instructor: Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

This Section: Literary Monsters and Monstrous Literature

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

What is a monster? We know them 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. Basilisks, dragons, werewolves, vampires, Frankenstein’s Creature, Mr. Hyde, the Joker, Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters: 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 film adaptation, which shifts the setting to an alternate-reality 1930s England where fascism takes hold. We’ll examine the novel that made “Dracula” synonymous with “vampire” in popular culture, as well as Charles Perrault’s 17th century tale “Bluebeard”; status as a children’s story is now problematic, but its influence on literary and popular culture is enormous. These core texts will be supplemented by a broad selection of poems and short stories, ranging from Coleridge’s “Christabel” and Keats’s “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” to Angela Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber” and “The Lady of the House of Love.”

You will need a Campus Wide Login (http://www.cwl.ubc.ca) username and password to access the Connect site (http://elearning.ubc.ca) for this course. All assignments and handouts for this course will be distributed electronically: emailed to you as document attachments and posted on the course’s Connect site, which will also provide links to online readings and various resources.

Texts:

  • Ebook editions of any of the texts (where available) are acceptable.
  • Custom Course Materials package: selected poems and short stories, an introduction to and synopsis of William Shakespeare’s Richard III, selected passages from Richard III, and an introduction to reading poetry. (A full list of items in the package will be posted on my blog – linked below – by November 2015.)
  • Selected poems and short fiction in the public domain can be read online and will be linked to Connect, though they may also go in the course materials package.
  • Resources on university-level literature course writing, grammar and mechanics, and library use will also be linked to Connect.
  • Richard III (1995 film) dir. Richard Loncraine, with Ian McKellen. (The film will be screened in class over two lecture days; a copy will be put on reserve in the library. Any other available viewing options will be identified at the start of term.)
  • Bram Stoker, Dracula. Broadview.
  • The Canadian Writer’s Handbook: Essentials Edition. Oxford.
  • Janet Gardner’s Reading and Writing about Literature. 3rd ed. Bedford.

Course Requirements:

  • Participation (preparation for and contribution to discussion; completion and submission on time of all assignments; attendance): 10%
  • Two in-class essays (1st: 15%; 2nd: 20%)
  • Term paper (25%)
  • Final examination (30%) In order to receive a passing final grade of 50% or greater, you must write and pass the final examination.

Course Prerequisite: LPI level 5 or approved LPI exemption required to remain registered in this class. For further details on the LPI requirement, please visit http://www.english.ubc.ca/ugrad/1styear/faq.htm

General 110 Description:

Through the study of selected examples of poetry, fiction, and drama, this course will introduce you to the fundamentals of the university-level literary study, and furnish you with the skills to think and write critically about literature. Through lectures and discussions, you will learn the basic concepts of genre and form in literature, and methods of literary analysis, to enable you to pursue more specialized English courses at the second year or beyond. The skills developed this term in critical reading and writing will serve you well in your pursuit of a variety of academic courses (not just English). Moreover, they’ll serve you well in your everyday engagement with various forms of cultural expression: novels, movies, songs, television series, journalism, etc.

Each week will consist of two 50-minute lectures (Monday and Wednesday) and one 50-minute meeting with your Discussion Group (Friday).

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

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ENGL 468A/99A (Children’s Literature) September 2015

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! (The recommended books have not been ordered through the bookstore. If the library has them I will try to put them on reserve.)

  • 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
  • J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, Skim
  • Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
  • Custom Course Materials package
  • Recommended for material on writing textual analysis in literary studies: Janet Gardner’s Reading and Writing about Literature 3rd ed.
  • Recommended for general writing issues (grammar/mechanics; documentation/citation): The Canadian Writer’s Handbook: Essentials Edition
  • Readings from Folk & Fairy Tales will be announced shortly before term starts in September (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:

  • Short Critical Analysis 1: end of Week 4: 15%
  • Short Critical Analysis 2: end of Week 7: 20%
  • Term Paper: end of Week 13: 30% (an informal email proposal will be required by the end of Week 10)
  • Participation (ongoing: based primarily on contribution to open discussions, with occasional, optional prompts for posts to a private journal): 10%
  • Final Examination (invigilated): 25% 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 all the others, so you can bring the same attention and enthusiasm to all of them.

Note concerning pace: 468A/99A is the online equivalent of a classroom course 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://elearning.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 Term 1 2015-16; the summer 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 468A/98A Summer 2015

Children’s Literature (online version; 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”

Children’s literature has long been the focus of both fascination and controversy, and more recently of academic attention. In this course, we will study a broad selection of texts through a literary/cultural studies lens, exploring their (sometimes) evolving generic features and audience assumptions. 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 assuming a mostly young readership might challenge or subvert perceived boundaries and conventions, especially in representing discovery or peril.

Text List for Summer 2015:

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! (The recommended books have not been ordered through the bookstore. If the library has them I will try to put them on reserve.)

  • Hallett and Karasek, eds. Folk & Fairy Tales. Broadview. 4th ed.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
  • J.M. Barrie, Peter and Wendy
  • Roald Dahl, The Witches
  • Neil Gaiman, Coraline
  • Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, Skim
  • Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
  • Custom Course Materials package
  • Recommended if you have little/no experience writing literary analysis: Janet Gardner’s Reading and Writing about Literature 3rd ed
  • Recommended for general writing issues (grammar/mechanics; documentation/citation): The Canadian Writer’s Handbook: Essentials Edition
  • Readings from Folk & Fairy Tales will be announced shortly before term starts in May; you will gain online access to the course on the first day of term.

Course Requirements:

  • Short Critical Analysis 1: Week 4: 15%
  • Short Critical Analysis 2: Week 7: 20%
  • Term Paper: Week 13: 30% (an informal email proposal will be required by the end of Week 10)
  • Participation (ongoing: based primarily on contribution to open discussions, with optional prompts for posts to a private journal): 10%
  • Final Examination (invigilated): 25% Even with submission of all assignments, you must write and pass the final exam in order to pass this course.

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 all 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 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.

  • The university sets the final exam date, and if it conflicts with travel plans, I cannot schedule an exam ahead of that date.
  • You will need a Campus Wide Login (http://www.cwl.ubc.ca) username and password to access the Connect site (http://elearning.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/

© Gisèle M. Baxter. Not to be copied, used, shared, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner. No re-use under Policy 81.

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