English 301/001: Technical Writing (January 2022)

ENGL 301/001: Technical Writing

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

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Term 2 | TTh 9:30-11a

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. Technical Writing is closed to first- and second-year students in Arts, and cannot be used for credit towards the English Major or Minor.

The course text will be Lannon et al, Technical Communications, 8th Canadian Edition, Pearson, 2020.

Please note that this is a blended course, and will require both participation in synchronous lectures and workshops as well as asynchronous independent work of the sort done in a conventional online course (e.g. Canvas-based textbook exercises and peer feedback on drafts).

See Recent Posts or Archives (June 2021) in the right sidebar menu for descriptions of my other 2021-22 courses.

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English 243/002: Speculative Fiction (January 2022)

ENGL 243/002: Speculative Fiction: Commodified Populations; Posthuman Dystopias

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

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Term 2 | TTh 12:30-2p

“We make Angels. In the service of Civilization. There were bad angels once … I make good angels now.” – Niander Wallace, Blade Runner 2049

The near-future and alternate-reality landscapes of science fiction 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 more recent products or accidents of science: clones, robots and replicants, artificial intelligences, cyborgs. Such texts raise issues of gendered exploitation, consciousness and rights, research ethics, and fear, in the realization that these creatures are, ultimately, not human but posthuman, yet often more sympathetic than their makers. However, despite their apparent superiority, such humanoids tend to be defined as commodities.

In this course, we will consider the posthuman element of dystopian speculations reflecting on the present and recent past, especially concerning threats of mass surveillance, profit-motivated technology, environmental crisis, and redefinitions of human identity.

Core texts tentatively include William Gibson, Neuromancer; Lauren Beukes, Moxyland; Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski, The Matrix: Shooting Script; Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go; Blade Runner 2049 (dir. Denis Villeneuve); and possibly District 9 (dir. Neill Blomkamp).

Evaluation will be based on a midterm essay, a term paper, a final exam, and participation in discussion.

Editions of the texts and options for digital copies will be made available in the fall.

See Recent Posts or Archives (June 2021) in the right sidebar menu for descriptions of my other 2021-22 courses.

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English 110/036: Approaches to Literature (January 2022)

ENGL 110/036: Approaches to Literature: Literary Monsters and Monstrous Literature

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

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Term 2 | TTh 2:00-3:30p

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, Hannibal Lecter, Marisa Coulter, many of the characters in The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones: they’re everywhere, from under the bed to the house next door 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 in ways that inspire both terror and horror, as well as (let’s be honest) fascination and even enjoyment.

We’ll look at William Shakespeare’s Richard III (a play that meditates on villainy and ambition in demonizing its subject for Tudor audiences, yet still fascinates contemporary ones). In doing so, we’ll consider 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, and more recent adaptations using race and gender-diverse casting, and casting as Richard actors who are themselves physically disabled or disfigured. Other core texts include Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Angela Carter’s short story “The Lady of the House of Love”, possibly another short story or novella, and selected poetry (with a focus on the sonnet form).

Evaluation will be based on two short timed essays, a home paper, and a final exam, plus participation in discussion.

Editions of texts and digital options will be identified in the fall.

See Recent Posts or Archives (June 2021) in the right sidebar menu for descriptions of my other 2021-22 courses.

 

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English 392/002: Children’s Literature (September 2021)

ENGL 392/002: Children’s Literature: Something in the Shadows is Watching

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

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Term 1 | MWF 12:00-1:00p

“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 adolescent engagement with Goth culture.

Core texts include Folk and Fairy Tales (Broadview, 5th ed.); Alan Garner, The Owl Service; Francesca Lia Block, The Rose and The Beast; Neil Gaiman, Coraline; and Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, Skim.

Evaluation will be based on a midterm essay, a term paper requiring secondary academic research, a final exam, and participation in discussion.

Editions of the texts and digital options will be identified later this summer.

See Recent Posts or Archives (June 2021) in the right sidebar menu for descriptions of my other 2021-22 courses.

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English 365/001: Modernist Literature (September 2021)

ENGL 365/001: Modernist Literature: Haunted Landscapes of Gothic Modernism

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

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NOTE: This course will be web-based: 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.

Term 1 | MWF 2:00-3:00p

“in the middle of my party, here’s death, she thought” – Mrs. Dalloway

Modernism was born out of seismic, revolutionary shifts in society and culture. World wars, political revolutions in Europe and beyond, murderous civil and colonial/imperial wars, economic depression, and successive waves of technological modernization offering mixed psychological and social benefits and injuries laid siege to assumptions that the world was in any way well-ordered or reliably understood. Its literature both reflects conscious innovation and experiment and sometimes opposes these passions for change. Its obsessions respond in complex ways to those seismic shifts in its representations of gender and sexuality, social structures, race and culture, in all cases often in terms of transgression.

And yet, in its drive to make things new, Modernist literature is often a haunted place: spectres of ancestry, of war, of places escaped from collide with the present moment, creating a dark, Gothic modernity. This troubled place will be our focus in the darkening days of autumn.

Core texts include Henry James, The Turn of the Screw; Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison; D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway;  short fiction by James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield.

NOTE UPDATE: The course will be fully online and will combine synchronous (live video lectures with discussion) and asynchronous (Canvas-based discussion, notes, online resources) material.

Evaluation will be based on a midterm essay, a term paper requiring secondary academic research, a final exam, and participation in discussion.

Editions of the texts and digital options will be identified later this summer.

See Recent Posts or Archives (June 2021) in the right sidebar menu for descriptions of my other 2021-22 courses.

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English 100/003: Reading and Writing About Literature (September 2021)

ENGL 100/003: Reading and Writing About Literature: Haunted Houses

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

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NOTE: This course will be web-based: 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.

Term 1 | MWF 11:00-12:00p

“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 Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca; Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House; Sarah Waters, The Little Stranger; Helen Oyeyemi, White is for Witching; and Crimson Peak (dir. Guillermo Del Toro), as well as Gardner and Diaz, Reading and Writing About Literature (5th 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.

The course will be fully online and will combine synchronous (live video lectures with discussion) and asynchronous (Canvas-based discussion, notes, online resources) material.

Evaluation will be based on two short essays, a term paper requiring secondary academic research, a final examination, and participation in discussion.

Editions of the texts and digital options will be identified later this summer.

See Recent Posts or Archives (June 2021) in the right sidebar menu for descriptions of my other 2021-22 courses.

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English 362/951: Victorian Period Literature (Summer 2021)

Victorian Literature – Summer Term 2 TTh 6-9 p.m.

NOTE: This course will be web-based: 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): Victorian Gothic Terror and Horror

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

“Vampires do exist” – Bram Stoker’s 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 a chill to the bright 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 (especially photography), 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 include Margaret Oliphant’s The Library Window, Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla, Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, and the following short fiction: M.R. James, “Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad”; Elizabeth Gaskell, “The Old Nurse’s Story”; Charlotte Riddell, “The Open Door”; Sheridan LeFanu, “An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street”; R.L. Stevenson, “The Body Snatcher”; E. Nesbit, “John Charrington’s Wedding”. A page of links to the short stories is in the Notes and Course Materials Module on our Canvas site, as well as a link to the Project Gutenberg edition of Carmilla.

The Broadview editions of The Library Window and The Turn of the Screw are all available as ebooks through the UBC Bookstore (and all are required, despite what the bookstore site says); you can also buy Broadview ebooks on RedShelf or VitalSource (use the ISBN 9781460402078 for The Turn of the Screw; run a title search for The Library Window), and The Library Window is available on GooglePlay.

You may use alternate editions of any of these texts as long as they are unabridged (beware of very cheap quickly produced ebook editions of public-domain texts; you might as well look on Project Gutenberg as they’re more likely to be complete and accurate). However, the Broadviews are reasonably priced and have very useful introductions and supplementary primary-source material from the time of publication.

Any material in Library Online Course Reserves (accessible through the Canvas site) will be available in full text online.

Evaluation will be based on two essays, a take-home final exam, and participation in discussion on the course’s Canvas site.

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

 

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English 110 Approaches to Literature (Summer 2021)

Approaches to Literature – Term 1 (May-June) MW 6-9 p.m.

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

Canvas Login | My Website

NOTE: This course will be web-based: 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.

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, Hannibal Lecter, Marisa Coulter, many of the characters in The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones: they’re everywhere, from under the bed to the house next door 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 in ways that inspire both terror and horror, as well as (let’s be honest) fascination and even enjoyment.

We’ll look at William Shakespeare’s Richard III (a play that meditates on villainy and ambition in demonizing its subject for Tudor audiences, yet still fascinates contemporary ones). In doing so, we’ll consider 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, and more recent adaptations using race and gender-diverse casting, and casting as Richard actors who are themselves physically disabled or disfigured. Other core texts include Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as well as selected poetry (with a focus on the sonnet form).

Core texts will include the following (with availability):

  • Richard III (1995 film; dir. Richard Loncraine): this will be available to stream through Library Online Course Reserves
  • William Shakespeare, Richard III (excerpts): the UBC Bookstore has ordered the inexpensive Signet print edition; you can download the play as a PDF file from the Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Broadview, 3rd ed.): the UBC Bookstore has ordered print copies and digital access cards
  • Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Penguin): the UBC Bookstore has ordered print copies; the ebook is available on Apple Books, Kindle, Kobo, and Google Play
  • A collection of poems in the public domain will be provided as a PDF file on the course’s Canvas site

Strongly recommended as a writing guide:

  • Janet Gardner and Joanne Diaz, Reading and Writing About Literature (Macmillan Learning, 5th ed.): the ebook is available on RedShelf and VitalSource

This course will proceed in a fully online form, using Canvas and a combination of  synchronous (short live lectures and workshops) and asynchronous (notes, links, discussion forums, slides) materials. I will make sure all that course material is available online and/or in digital format (and will identify ebook or streaming options for all course texts) and that the full course is accessible to all students.

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

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English 301 Technical Writing (January 2021)

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

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

Canvas login | My website

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.

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. 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, 8th Canadian Edition, Pearson, 2020. (This is only available as an e-text on Pearson’s Revel site; I’ve ordered access cards through the UBC Bookstore.)

This course will proceed in a fully online form, using Canvas and a combination of  synchronous (short live lectures and workshops) and asynchronous (notes, links, discussion forums, slides) materials. I will make sure 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 TTh 12:00 p.m.

Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter

Canvas login | My website

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.

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 include the following (with availability):

  • William Gibson, Neuromancer (print via UBC Bookstore; ebook via Kindle, GooglePlay, iBooks/Apple Books)
  • the Wachowskis, The Matrix: The Shooting Script (download as a PDF file on The Daily Script)
  • Madeline Ashby, Vn (print via UBC Bookstore; ebook via Kindle, Kobo, GooglePlay, iBooks/Apple Books)
  • Alex Garland, Ex Machina: screenplay (ebook via Kindle, Kobo, GooglePlay)
  • a film: either Blade Runner (dir. Ridley Scott, Final Cut edition) or Blade Runner 2049 (dir. Denis Villeneuve) or AI (dir. Steven Spielberg)

Note: I’ve enquired about whether the UBC Bookstore can order digital access cards for Neuromancer and Vn.

A list of supplementary recommended texts will be developed and online readings will be put in Library Online Course Reserves.

This course will proceed in a fully online form, using Canvas and a combination of  synchronous (live lectures) and asynchronous (notes, links, discussion forums, slides) materials. I will make sure all that course material is available online and/or in digital format (and will identify ebook or streaming options for all 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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