English 100/001: Reading and Writing About Literature
Instructor: Dr. Gisèle M. Baxter
“Have you ever retired a human by mistake?” – Rachael to Deckard, Blade Runner
Description: From V for Vendetta to The Hunger Games to The Walking Dead, the near-future landscapes of literary and popular culture are terrifying places. In this course, we will consider dystopian speculations that reflect on the present and recent past, especially concerning the threats of mass surveillance, profit-motivated technology, and environmental crisis. We will focus on two novels and a film (though you will be encouraged to introduce other relevant texts).
As well, through readings in criticism and theory, we will examine the academic discussion of texts in literary and cultural studies, and their relationship to other academic disciplines (such as history, psychology, and sociology). We will also consider the difficulty, if not impossibility, of reaching a “fixed” or consensus reading of any text.
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, which will provide resources and useful links, and where you will contribute to discussion forums and an ongoing journal. All assignments and handouts will be distributed electronically: emailed to you as document attachments and posted on the course’s Connect site.
Note: This course is recommended for students planning a major, minor, or honours degree in English studies, and meets the three-credit UBC Faculty of Arts writing requirement. Prerequisite: LPI level 5 or approved exemption: http://www.english.ubc.ca/ugrad/1styear/faq.htm#1
Tentative Core Text List:
Options for viewing Blade Runner will be provided at the start of term.
- Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake
- Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
- Blade Runner (dir. Ridley Scott; Director’s Cut or Final Cut version)
- Robert Dale Parker, How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies 2nd ed.
- The Canadian Writer’s Handbook: Essentials Edition
- participation (based on regular contribution to in-class and online discussion, and maintenance of an online reading journal: 10%)
- two in-class essays (15% each)
- in-class presentation: introduction of an academic journal article (10%: your presentation script/notes will be submitted)
- term paper (20%); an informal proposal will be required
- final examination (30%): Even with submission of all assigned work, in order to receive a passing final grade of 50% or greater in this course, you must write and pass the final examination.
© Gisèle M. Baxter. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.