“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.
ENGL 365-99A. Modernist Literature.
Some descriptions of Modernism offer bloodless abstractions about formal experimentation, academic disruption, and reactions against conventional 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. The practices of the literary avant-garde may be a kind of cosmopolitanism of the arts, opening borders between different aesthetic media, traditions, and forms, to correspond with the opening up of the planet’s borders through technologies of speed in movement and communication. This course analyzes Modernism through the lens of its discrete experimental literary and artistic movements, networks, manifestos, and performances. Topics include Decadence, the New Woman, Expressionism, Manifesto Modernism, Impressionism, Surreality, Psychoanalysis, Minimalism, Technological Modernity, and Graphic Modernisms. Writers include Stein, Yeats, Rhys, Woolf, Joyce, Eliot, Conrad, others.
ENGL 490. Literature Majors Seminar. “Modern Political Fictions and Democracy”
This course uses literary analysis and critical and cultural theory to understand the genre of modern political fiction and its role in public culture. We will also extrapolate some of our findings to the contemporary moment. When Eloise Knapp Hay discusses T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land (1922) as a poem of “radical doubt and negation,” she argues that its city made no “convincing allusions… to St. Augustine’s vision of interpenetration between the City of God and the City of Man in this world.” That vision of divine interpenetration was the unconscious of Anglophone political fiction for many centuries, the eternalized Form of social utopia. But toward what does modern democratic politics gesture when the ideal City of God is unavailable as a schema?
Modernism and its kinfolk carried out a lengthy thought-experiment during much of the twentieth century, devising new political fictions without the support of a divine guarantee of goodness. We will read a set of novels, shorter fiction, poems, and drama whose politics are overt and whose aesthetic prowess is distinctive, but not straightforward. We will support our literary readings with nonfiction essays by writers such as Woolf, Conrad, and Orwell, and theorists such as Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, Michel Foucault, Stuart Hall, and Raymond Williams.
Book list: Sean O’Casey, The Dublin Plays, Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, Richard Wright, Native Son, Sinclair Lewis, It Can’t Happen Here, George Orwell, Animal Farm, Karen Tei Yamashita, Tropic of Orange, Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle, Ursula Le Guin, The Dispossessed
ENGL 100-012. Reading and Writing about Language and Literatures. “Books and Friendship”
Aristotle says, “Without friends no one would choose to live, though they had all other goods.” Friendship claims to exist upon a principle of perfect equality. It promises a private intimacy free from masquerade and convention; only a friend knows and loves your “true portrait,” proposes Montaigne. But what would a cultural history of friendship show? Is modern friendship a different kind of thing than friendships in the past? Could you have a friend at first sight, or briefly, or must a friendship be built with labour over time? Is group friendship possible? Can friendship be erotic or romantic? This course thinks about “two [or more] going together,” exemplary and distinctive friendships in fiction, in drama, in poetry, in life. We consider topics including friends as companions, friends and self-growth, friendships with animals, philosophy of friendship, heroic friendships, queer and romantic friendships, friendship and the nation, doomed and difficult friendships. Writers include Ursula Le Guin, Nella Larsen, Samuel Beckett, John Steinbeck, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Kazuo Ishiguro.
ENGL 200-011. Principles of Literary Studies. “Creation, Destruction, Reflection, Rebuilding”
This team-taught course examines how literature intersects with pivotal moments in the lives of individuals, collectives, and our planet. We will explore a range of literary texts across time that engage with ideas of making and unmaking. Our explorations might include an ancient poem about how the world was created, or texts that reflect on the destructive wars of the twentieth century. Sometimes we will encounter art forms that build themselves on the bones of other forms, that take old traditions apart in order to create new ones for their own time and place. Some of our texts might be celebratory, some apocalyptic; all of them show the power of literature to reflect the human experience in profound and unforgettable ways.
This course meets three times a week: Mondays and Fridays are for each section to meet with its designated instructor, while Wednesdays bring together several sections for one large lecture. These large lectures rotate through the course’s four instructors: Phanuel Antwi, Siân Echard, Miguel Mota, and Judith Paltin.
The idea is to introduce you to some of the vast range of texts and approaches that constitute literary studies today, as well as to give you a taste of how different professors approach teaching and thinking about literary texts.
Through our class meetings, the large lectures, and a range of assignments, you will develop tools to approach diverse texts in ways that attend to their formal structure, content, and socio-historical contexts. You will hone your skills in close reading/ analysis in ways that support broader arguments about literature and culture. You will develop self-reflexive and critical awareness of your own reading methods, preferences, and biases, and you will understand the institutional contexts of literary studies.
Term 1: Study Leave
Term 2: English 300 Introduction to Critical Theory Syllabus ENGL 300 2W2022
ENGL 539 Studies in the Twentieth Century: Exilic Modernisms Syllabus-ENGL-539-2W2022
Term 1: Study Leave
Term 2: ENGL 211-001 Seminar for English Honours: Introduction to Literary and Critical Theory ENGL 211 syllabus 2W2021
ENGL 365-99C Modernist Literature Syllabus 365 99C 2W2022
ENGL 365-001 Modernist Literature: Modernist Movements syllabus 365 001 1W2020
ENGL 539 Studies in the Twentieth Century: Modernism and the Minor syllabus 539B 002 1W2020
ENGL 211-001 Seminar for English Honours: Introduction to Literary and Critical Theory syllabus ENGL 211 001 2W2020 Paltin
ENGL 377-001 World Literature and Social Movements: Democracy in the Writerly Imagination syllabus 377 2W2020
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