Themed Sections of Literature and Academic Writing

Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed

While all sections of the same ENGL course teach students the same set of reading and writing skills, the specific texts students read and discuss in each section depend on the instructor’s area of expertise and interests. Often, instructors choose their texts based on a particular theme or topic. Below is a list describingall the themed sections of literature and academic writing that will be offered during the Winter 2024 term. If a section does not appear below, it's because it has not been identified as one with a unifying theme or topic.

For scheduling information about both the themed sections listed below and all other sections of English offered by the department, please refer to the browse classes tool.

For more information about the instructors teaching these sections and others, please see the English Department's faculty profile page.

First-Year Courses
First-Year Courses

Course Catalogue Description

In this course students will read, discuss and write about at least one major theme in literature and culture, such as crime and punishment, gender roles, immigrant experiences, or paradise lost. Texts studied will be drawn from at least two literary genres.


Jason Bourget010, 050In PersonIn this section of ENGL 1102, we will explore how speculative fiction challenges what our culture tells us about ourselves and others. Using texts drawn primarily from science fiction and weird fiction, but also incorporating examples of horror and fantasy into our discussion, we will examine how the philosophical and political assumptions of our culture structure our beliefs about gender and sexuality, race and class, alien and artificial intelligence, language and reality, and the meaning of life and death. While we have this discussion, we will also note how these speculative forms of literature, like science itself, encourage a habit of mind which demands that we always question commonly accepted “truths” about the world around us.
Elizabeth McCausland003In Person

This semester, we will consider the connections among family, gender, and sexuality. How do the families we are born into shape our understandings of gender identity and gender roles? As ideas about gender and sexuality change, how do people adapt family roles and structures in response? We will begin with Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, a classic British courtship novel, and move on to consider more recent texts by and about trans people and the ways they disrupt and reinvent conventional ideas about family (the novel Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters and the play Hir by Taylor Mac). You may find this reading challenging, whether because of Austen’s early-19th century English or because of the frank depictions of gender fluidity, sex and sexuality in Hir and Detransition, Baby. If you are not comfortable reading about these topics, considering the questions they raise with an open mind, and discussing them respectfully, this is not the right class for you.

This section of ENGL 1102 can count as a relevant course for the Associate of Arts Specialization in Gender, Sexualities, and Women's Studies. It is open to all students.

Ryan Miller006, 007In Person

Theme: The (Post-)Apocalyptic Imagination

ENGL 1102 aims to recognize and understand a variety of literary devices and textual elements, and in so doing promotes the development of close reading and analysis skills. As a chosen focus, my sections of the course will explore the (post-)apocalyptic imagination in fiction. Using novels and short stories, we will consider some of the diverse strategies and approaches writers use when depicting societal collapse, including – most importantly – where meaning is to be found for those left behind. Primary readings will include Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven (2014), Waubgeshig Rice’s Moon of the Crusted Snow (2018), and Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake (2003).

Course Catalogue Description

In this course, students will read, discuss and write about fiction. Texts assigned will emphasize a variety of genres, such as realism, fantasy, mystery and romance, and may reflect significant developments in the history of fiction.


Nancy Earle005, 006In Person

GHOST STORIES will be the focus of this section of English 1106. We will study short stories and novels, ranging from Gothic fiction to literary realism. Our texts will explore the subject of ghosts and hauntings from the perspective of various time periods and cultural traditions.

Ryan Stephenson001, 002Hybrid

This section of Reading Fiction examines the literary representation of Artificial Intelligence across a range of fictional genres. We will discuss depiction of AI from nineteenth-century automata to twenty-first-century androids and intelligent machines while charting the ways that literary responses have changed over time and how these changes show evolving definitions of humanity. Along with short stories by E.T.A. Hoffmann, E.M. Forster and others, we will be reading Karel Čapek’s R.U.R.(Rossum’s Universal Robots) (1920), Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968), Louisa Hall’s Speak (2015), and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun (2021). In conjunction with these literary texts, we will examine the current discourse on this important topic in contemporary media and culture.

Course Catalogue Description

This course emphasizes the close reading of three genres – fiction, poetry, and plays – and examines their defining features.


Wilhelm Emilsson001, 002In Person

In this course, our reading of poetry will range from William Shakespeare to music lyrics (ENGL 1109, Coursepack). We will study two major 20th century plays (Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot), one classic detective novel (Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles), and one recent novel about the conflict between conformity and individualism (Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman). We will combine an analysis of literary texts with an appreciation of their cultural significance and aesthetic power.

Course Catalogue Description

This course introduces students to the process of writing academic argument papers, and to strategies, assignments and exercises that develop their abilities as researchers, readers and writers of scholarly prose. Students will examine the general principles of composition, and the specific conventions of academic writing as practiced in several disciplines, particularly in the arts and humanities. Students will gain experience in locating, evaluating and using sources within their own writing.


Jason Bourget050In PersonThe Ethics of Animal Rights
Nancy Earle052, 053In PersonThe Future of Work
Wilhelm Emilsson023, 027In PersonEducation, Smartphones, Free speech, Consumerism
Dorritta Fong008, 010, 018, 019In PersonSocial Influences on Student's Identity
Elizabeth McCausland009, 012In PersonEducation
Ryan Stephenson090, 091OnlineHealth: Personal, Social, and Global

Second-Year Courses

Admission to second-year English courses is open to all students who have taken anytwo university-transfer first-year English literature courses,orone university-transfer first-year English literature course andone university-transfer first-year Creative Writing or English writing course.

Second-Year Courses

Course Catalogue Description

This course is a survey of major representative works of the late 17th through the early 20th centuries, studied in the context of the dramatic shifts in British culture following the Renaissance. A significant portion of the readings will be poetry, from the Restoration, Neo-Classical, Romantic and Victorian Periods, and from the beginnings of the 20th Century Modernist era.


Noëlle Phillips001In Person

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