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 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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English 110 Approaches to Literature (January 2021)

Approaches to Literature – Term 2 TTh 2 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.

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.

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): download as a PDF file from the Folger Shakespeare Library (you do not have to buy the print text, though you may use a complete edition you already own)
  • Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Broadview, 3rd ed.): the UBC Bookstore has ordered print copies; the ebook is available on VitalSource, RedShelf, GooglePlay, and Adobe Digital Editions
  • Janet Gardner and Joanne Diaz, Reading and Writing About Literature (Bedford St. Martins/Macmillan Learning, 5th ed.): the UBC Bookstore has ordered print copies; the ebook is available on RedShelf and VitalSource
  • Charles Perrault, “Bluebeard” (etext; Library Online Course Reserves)
  • Angela Carter, “The Lady of the House of Love” (etext; Library Online Course Reserves)
  • A collection of poems in the public domain will be provided as a PDF file on the course’s Canvas site; another short story might be added pending copyright permission.

Note: I have enquired about whether the UBC Bookstore can order digital access cards for Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Reading and Writing About Literature.

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

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.

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 a midterm essay, a term paper requiring secondary academic research, and a take-home final exam, as well as participation in 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.

Core texts include Martin Hallett and Barbara Karasek, eds. Folk and Fairy Tales, 5th Edition. (Broadview), The Witches, The Owl Service, Coraline, and Skim.

Folk and Fairy Tales is available as an ebook through Broadview Press, RedShelf, VitalSource, and GooglePlay (unless you have a very recent tablet, you may not be able to use the Adobe Digital Editions app, the platform required for ordering through the Broadview site). Sadly the UBC Bookstore seems only to have ordered the print edition.

The novels – Roald Dahl’s The Witches, Alan Garner’s The Owl Service, Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, and Mariko Tamaki/Jillian Tamaki’s Skim – are available in print (and have been ordered as such by the UBC Bookstore) and on the following digital platforms: Apple Books/iBooks (all), Kindle (all), Kobo (all except The Witches), Google Play (all). They can be read in these digital formats using an app or browser, and do not require a specific e-reader. In looking at search results, make sure the text has both the title and author correct.

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.

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

Core texts include Margaret Oliphant’s The Library Window, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, and short fiction by authors including M.R. James, Charlotte Riddell, Elizabeth Gaskell, E. Nesbit, and Robert Louis Stevenson. 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, Dracula, and A Christmas Carol 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 (all three), VitalSource (The Library Window and Dracula – search for the latter using the ISBN: 9781551111360), and GooglePlay (The Library Window is easy to find using a title search; search using the ISBN for Dracula – 9781551111360 and A Christmas Carol – 9781551114767).

You may use alternate editions of any of these texts as long as they are unabridged. However, the Broadviews are reasonably priced and have useful introductions and supplementary primary-source material from the time of publication.

Any material in Library Online Course Reserve (accessible through the Canvas site)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.

Evaluation will be based on two short essays, a term paper requiring secondary academic research, a final examination, and participation in 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 Reserves will be available in full text online.

You may order Reading and Writing About Literature in ebook format through the UBC Bookstore; The Others will be available to stream through Library Online Course Reserves linked to the Canvas site (it’s also available to rent or purchase digitally through Apple/iTunes, Microsoft Store, and Cineplex, or to order on dvd or bluray).

The Turn of the Screw is available in its Broadview edition on RedShelf, GooglePlay, and VitalSource; it’s also available on Project Gutenberg, but the Broadview is reasonably priced and has a very good introduction, plus interesting supplementary materials.

Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, Helen Oyeyemi’s White is for Witching, and Sarah Waters’s The Little Stranger are available in print as well as on the following digital platforms: Apple Books/iBooks, Kindle, Google Play; The Haunting of Hill House and White is for Witching are also available on Kobo (choose the novel The Haunting of Hill House on Kobo, NOT the study guide, which is irrelevant to this course and so a waste of money!). The novels can be read in these digital formats using an app and/or a browser, and do not require a specific e-reader.

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

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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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