“Tout est construit” –Gaston Bachelard (La formation de l’esprit scientifique, 1934)
I teach graduate and undergraduate courses in the Department of English in modernism, 20th-century studies, literary and cultural theory, and historical surveys of Anglophone literature. I have longstanding interests in active learning methods, research-supported best practices and effective instructional technologies. My undergraduate students have called me “a great instructor,” “very knowledgeable,” “energetic,” “approachable,” and said my courses have “great content” and are “thought provoking.” My teaching is built on a commitment to educational equity that provides a diverse body of university students with a climate of high expectation and useful scaffolding, asking students to take creativity-enhancing intellectual risks in response to challenging assignments. I welcome graduate projects in modernism, understood broadly, twentieth-century Anglophone literatures, postcolonial, cultural, and material studies, intersectional work in feminism, gender, race, and sexuality, and media and technology studies.
COVID-19 and our courses
Now that we know W2020 will begin online in the Bachelor of Arts program, I thought it would be helpful to share this information based on researched best practices which has recently been shared by UBCO University Relations colleague Paul Neufeld.
ENGL 365-001 Modernist Literature: Modernist Movements
TTh, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM
Some descriptions of modernism are bloodless abstractions about formal experimentation, academic disruption, and reaction against a too-rigid bourgeois morality. This course concentrates on the wildly passionate commitment of moderns to changing the world, to finding new sensations and affects, to overcoming historical evils and biases, to appreciating with sincere admiration other arts, other cultures and languages, and other places.
Topics include Decadence, the New Woman, Expressionism, Dada, Manifesto Modernism, New Objectivity, Impressionism, the Surreal and Psychoanalytic, Gesamtkunstwerk and Encyclopedism, Minimalism, Montage, Technological Moderns, Graphic Modernisms. Writers include Conrad, Stein, H.D., Loy, Woolf, Joyce, Pound, Eliot, Breton, Beckett, Barnes, Stevens, Hughes, McKay, Rhys, others.
This course experience may include a blend of synchronous and asynchronous lectures and discussions, a research paper, a curated exhibition project, and other text-based forum and assignment work.
ENGL 539 Studies in the Twentieth Century: Modernism and the Minor
This graduate-level course juxtaposes the category of the minor with modernism in order to sieve modernism’s rebellion from the major out from the institutions that have supported modernism itself *as* major, important, canonical, generative, and influential. Since Deleuze wrote about Kafka as a writer of a minor literature, the keyword has been applied broadly across critical and aesthetic theories. Shu-Mei Shih and Françoise Lionnet, in a volume of collected essays titled Minor Transnationalisms (2005), argue against allowing the major to always mediate the minor, and propose a horizontal set of relations produced among minority subjects. In Languages of the Night: Minor Languages and the Literary Imagination in 20th-century Ireland and Europe (2015), Barry McCrea “argues that the sudden linguistic homogenization of the European countryside was a key impulse in the development of literary modernism”; as vernacular rural dialects declined, they became available for subversive use by modernist writers such as Joyce and Proust. The minor may designate subjects’ identities, aesthetic categories or processes, languages and literatures, the marginal or disprivileged industry or occupation, locales, nations, or collectives. I myself see modernisms as in many respects produced in the context of the failure of major attachments in the early twentieth century, such as attachments to nation, empire, religion, kinship, established gender and class identities, and region.
Besides primary literary texts and theoretical materials, we will study little magazines and manifestos, visual art, film, dance and dramatic performances from around the world, The bibliography is under development but I expect it will include primary authors such as Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen, Gertrude Stein, H.D., Jean Rhys, Katherine Mansfield, James Joyce, Sean O’Casey, Sam Selvon, Djuna Barnes. Theorists will likely include Freud, Fanon, Said, Deleuze & Guattari, Braidotti, hooks, Lorde, Rich, Ngai, Hartman, Lloyd, Lionnet & Shih.
ENGL 211-001 Seminar for English Honours: Introduction to Literary and Critical Theory
MWF, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
This problem- and play-based approach to general literary and critical theory studies what counts as knowledge, and why do we think so, how we find meaning and where, how humans adapt, respond, and resist in the face of changing conditions in the world, and how we have determined communication and interpretation. You might think of critical theory as consisting in the arguments which justify the work of the arts and humanities, and expose the measure of their worth. It asks what function critics and creatively-thinking theorists play in the processes by which a society reproduces itself, and how to advocate most effectively for those in the world who face social and political barriers to thriving and flourishing.
We will read and discuss a rich selection of short fiction and poems in conjunction with narrative theory, ecocriticism, studies in media and communication, critical race theory, feminist literary criticism/gender studies/queer theory, old and new materialisms, studies in the workings of the mind and psychoanalysis, decoloniality, post/structuralism, and cultural theory.
Depending on public health conditions, this course experience may include a blend of synchronous and asynchronous discussions, a research paper, a brief solo presentation, and other text-based forum and assignment work.
ENGL 377-001 World Literature and Social Movements: Democracy in the Writerly Imagination
MWF, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM
This course places world literature next to complex, diverse social movements, with their internal tensions and contradictions, and their uneasy relationship with the popular as a category and the people as a formation. The course looks at literary writing as an imaginative exercise in expressing democratic social change and utopian desire, which cohabits alongside popular and crowd-based movements for instantiating those demands.
Readings will depend on availability but may include fiction, poetry, and drama by Henrik Ibsen, Mulk Raj Anand, Bapsi Sidhwa, J. Coetzee, Wole Soyinka, Seamus Heaney, Jean Rhys, Etel Adnan, Ahmed Saadawi, Sam Selvon, and critical work from Said, Shih, Walkowitz, Hooks, Huyssens, Singh, Spivak.
Depending on public health conditions, this course experience may include a blend of synchronous and asynchronous lectures and discussions, a research paper, a special reporting project, and other text-based forum and assignment work.
ENGL 110 Approaches to Literature: Speculative Societies and Possible Worlds: syllabus 110 1W2019
ENGL 224 World Literature in English: Near and Far: syllabus 224 1W2019
ENGL 365 Modernist Literature: Modernist Movements: syllabus 365 001 2W2019
ENGL 491C Senior Honours Seminar Lit: Books and Friendship: syllabus 491H 003 2W2019
ENGL 100: Fantasy, Satire, and Play: Syllabus 100-005 1W2018
ENGL 365: Aesthetic Modernism: ENGL 365 1W2018 syllabus
ENGL 224: World Literature in English: Near and Far: Syllabus 224-005 2W2018
ENGL 539: Studies in the Twentieth Century: Figuring Modernism (Graduate-level seminar): ENGL 539A-001 2W2018 syllabus
ENGL 561-921 – Topics in Science and Technology – Assemblage and Other Fluid Materialisms (graduate-level seminar): ENGL561A1S2017Syllabus.docx
ENGL 100-001 Reading and Writing about Literature: Books and Friendship: Syllabus 100-001
ENGL 224-002 World Literature in English: World-Breaking Literature: Syllabus 224-002
ENGL 464A-001 Twentieth-Century Studies: Modernism and the Political Novel: Syllabus 464 1W2017
ENGL 464. Women’s Writing and Media: From Fordism to Cyber-culture: 464 syllabus
ENGL 100. MakerSpaces: Literature and Transformation: 100 Syllabus
ENGL 491. New Masses: Modernism and the Crowd: ENGL 491 Syllabus
ENGL 221-011. English Literature from the Eighteenth Century to the Present: ENGL 221 Syllabus
ENGL 539: Modernism, Mass Bodies and Crowd Politics (Graduate-level seminar) — ENGL 539 W15-16 Syllabus
ENGL 466 (Studies in a Twentieth-Century Genre): Society of the Spectacle and Modernist Shorter Fiction (W15) — Paltin_Syllabus_466 W15