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Faculty of Arts
UNB Fredericton

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Graduate courses

Course timetable

2023-2024 courses

3 credit hours

Professor Lisa Robertson

Gender and sexuality feature prominently in many of the great texts of English Literature: from Virginia Woolf’s Orlando to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider to Billy Ray Belcourt’s A History of My Brief Body. It is unsurprising, then, that literary theory has always had a special relationship to the lived experiences and writings of women, feminists, queer, trans, and other 2SLGBTQIA+ people who rethink bodies and desires.

This course introduces students to critical theories that each take gender and sexuality as a starting point, focus, or outcome. It explores the role of language and discourse in literary theory and asks to what extent gender and sexuality are themselves literary concepts that rely on interpretation, representation, metaphor, and imagery. Core topics include feminisms; queer theory; transgender studies; critical race theory; Indigenous studies; disability studies; and postcolonial studies. Other topics may address affect theory; ecocriticism; masculinity studies; and performance studies, including those that feature drag. Students will deliver seminar presentations, develop a project, and write an article-length paper. Active participation is an important component of this course.

[Compulsory Pass/Fail course for all new graduate students]

6 credit hours

Professor Elizabeth Effinger

An introduction to graduate study at UNB. The first term will consist of seminars on post-secondary teaching, research sources on campus (including those of the library, Internet, and the campus network), workshops on writing SSHRC and other grant applications, and strategies of dissertation research and publication (academic and creative). The second term will consist of supervised research leading to a thesis proposal. This course is taken in addition to the required 15 ch for MA students and 15 ch for PhD students.

3 credit hours

Various professors

Under exceptional circumstances, a student may be granted permission to take a directed reading course. The student must prepare a proposal for a directed reading course, in consultation with the proposed instructor, and submit it for approval to the Graduate Committee at least one month prior to the term in which the course is to be taken. The Committee may decline to approve proposals or ask for revisions. Such course proposals must follow these guidelines:

The student must find a faculty member willing to supervise the directed reading course. Faculty members will take on the directed reading course as an overload teaching assignment.

The proposal should provide the reading list and an outline of assignments, with the relative grade weighting for each. The student will write at least two substantial papers or one paper and a final examination.

The reading course must be sufficiently substantial to warrant a 3-ch weighting and be entirely different from the thesis or dissertation.

Only one student will be allowed to take the same reading course at a time.

Only one course of those required for the degree can be a directed reading course.

Such a course will consist of at least six meetings and twelve contact hours with the course supervisor.

If the directed reading course is interdisciplinary in nature, the supervisor will be a member of the GAU in English.

While students who have been accepted to the MA program are encouraged to enquire with the Director of Graduate Studies about the possibility of undertaking a directed reading course, directed reading courses will not normally be approved for students who have not yet undertaken their first term of study.

3 credit hours

Professor Sue Sinclair

This course aims to support writers in their efforts to create poems that may move in any number of ways and may engage with a variety of goals or challenges.

Its premise is twofold: 1) that poets need the space to explore their poetic commitments and desires, and 2) that they are also constantly working to develop their practical skills in light of those commitments. This workshop is a place to do both these things. It allows writers to rub shoulders with other writers who may have different priorities, interests and styles. Writers have the chance to lean into complementary poetics and to experience fruitful resistances. We will read and discuss writings that raise questions about the social and artistic possibilities of poetry, and students will also edit each other’s work with an eye to helping each poem to realize its particular ambitions in its particular fashion. Attention will be paid to elements such as metaphor, rhythm, line break, syntax, the registers of diction, and sound pattern. Students will also have the chance to work on the oral presentation of poetry, as the effective reading aloud of a poem can offer insight into the poem and is also a skill poets need in order to present their work in a fruitful way to audiences.

Required texts: Students will be asked to keep a reading journal in which they will engage in a writerly way with the work, both critical and creative, of a variety of poets. You will choose from a list developed collaboratively and tailored to your interests.

3 credit hours

Professor Sue Sinclair

This course is restricted to students in the PhD program in English (Creative Writing) who have already taken ENGL 6123 at the MA level. A workshop-based course designed to further refine skills with the elements of poetry (metaphor, rhythm, sound pattern, line breaks etc.) while reflecting on the varied aesthetic and sociopolitical roles a poet may take. The course will explore the techniques and poetics underlying forms ranging from free verse and narrative to formal and experimental poetries. Attention will also be given to professional concerns, eg. the development of one’s poetics, the question of distinctive voice and style, the performance of poetry for an audience, and the preparation of book manuscripts. Prerequisite English 6123.

3 credit hours

Professor David Huebert

A course designed to develop skills in short fiction, with room for students interested in writing novellas or novels. Taught in a workshop format, with close attention to line-by-line editing and revision and some preparation for publication in markets like literary quarterlies, higher circulation magazines, small presses and larger publishing houses.

3 credit hours

Professor David Huebert

This course is restricted to students in the PhD program in English (Creative Writing) who have already taken English 6143 at the MA level. A course designed to develop skills in short fiction, with room for students interested in writing novellas or novels. Taught in a workshop format, with close attention to line-by-line editing and revision and some preparation for publication in markets such as literary quarterlies, higher circulation magazines, small presses and larger publishing houses. Prerequisite English 6143.

3 credit hours

Professor Robert Gray

Web series, short films, commercials, music videos, and sketch shorts are all short fomats that have emerged as viable ways for screenwriters to break into the film industry. Short formats can be an affordable and achievable way for a filmmaker or a screenwriter to develop a calling card and to be considered for larger projects. For artists developing their craft, short formats are also less costly and more versatile forms in which to play and experiment; they provide an essential opportunity to develop a voice as a film artist. This intensive course guides writers through the basics of short format screenplay structure, character principles, writing and rewriting strategies. Students will be exposed to a wide range of short films in a variety of genres so they can explore the limits and possibilities of briefer forms of cinematic storytelling. Students do no need previous writing experience but first timers should be prepared to spend extra time developing/working on their process.

Please note: Students will be expected to read/write every day through the duration of the course to cover the necessary material. This is an intensive course and students should be prepared to commit themselves.

Required texts:

  • The Screenwriter’s Bible, 5th edition, David Trottier
  • Inside Story, Dara Marks
  • The Writer’s Journey, Christopher Vogler

Selected Readings (d2l): Students should read as many screenplays as possible to acclimatize themselves to the form.

3 credit hours

Professor Robert Gray

This course is restricted to students in the PhD programme in English (Creative Writing) who have already taken ENGL 6183 at the MA level. This workshop is designed to hone skills in writing for the screen (film and television) through the exploration of narrative forms and character psychology. Prerequisite English 6183.

3 credit hours

Professor Edith Snook

This course will intervene in the history of early modern women’s writing. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in England, women wrote in a diverse array of genres and circulated their works in print and manuscript. However, almost none of this work became part of the historical literary canon, and even today, canon-making anthology editors continue to marginalize and exclude work by women. So where Shakespeare’s plays and poetry continue to inspire, in addition to scholarly analyses, a diverse array of contemporary films and books, work by his female contemporaries has a very thin reception history. This course will respond to this perpetual occlusion by making a future for early modern women’s writing. It will read poetry, drama, and fiction by early modern women that considers gender, same sex desire, colonialism, race, and ecology. It will also examine some of the few contemporary responses to that work. In response, students will strive to create public, creative, and critical projects that will bring this interesting literature to life in our own time and place.

Primary text reading list

  • Siri Hustvedt. The Blazing World (2014)
  • Morgan Lloyd Malcolm. Emilia (2018)
  • Naomi Miller. The Imperfect Alchemist (2021)
  • Sandra Newman, The Heavens (2019)
  • Elizabeth Cary. The Tragedy of Mariam (1613)
  • Margaret Cavendish. The New World, Called the Blazing World (1666)
  • Aemelia Lanyer. Salve Deus Rex Judeaorum (1611)
  • Mary Sidney Herbert, selected poetry
  • Hester Pulter, selected poetry
  • Lady Mary Wroth. The Countess of Montgomeries Urania, Book 1 (1621)

Other literature by women writers (1500-1700) may be selected in response to student interests from the many possibilities, which include poetry, drama, and fiction by Aphra Behn, Jane Cavendish and Elizabeth Brackley, Katherine Philips, and Isabella Whitney, amongst others.

Critical reading list

Jaime Goodrich and Paula McQuade. 2021. “Beyond Canonicity: The Future(s) of Early Modern Women Writers.” Criticism 63 (1/2): n.p.

Ania Loomba and Melissa E Sanchez, eds. 2016. Rethinking Feminism in Early Modern Studies: Gender, Race, and Sexuality. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Diane Purkiss. 2019. “Rooms of all our own.” Times Literary Supplement, 15 February 2019.

Melissa E. Sanchez. 2021. “What Were Women Writers?” Criticism 63 (1/2): n.p.

3 credit hours

Professor Triny Finlay

In 1979, Michael Ondaatje announced that “the most interesting work being done by poets today can be found within the structure of the long poem.” Forty years later, Ondaatje’s statement still applies. This course is designed to offer a survey of contemporary Canadian long poems, using Sharon Thesen’s updated text The New Long Poem Anthology as a primary source. We will explore such issues as: the long poem’s relationship with genre and postmodernism, using sections of Smaro Kamboureli’s study On the Edge of Genre as a framework for class discussion; formal and thematic innovations in the long poem, including peritextual, textual, paratextual, and intertextual elements; the tensions among lyric and narrative in the long poem, with connections to the oral roots of epic poetry; and the politics of voice and identity within the long poem. Poets studied will include Dionne Brand, Anne Carson, George Elliott Clarke, Louise Bernice Halfe, Robert Kroetsch, Daphne Marlatt, Erin Mouré, bpNichol, Michael Ondaatje, Lisa Robertson, Fred Wah, and Phyllis Webb. Students will actively participate in class discussions by preparing response papers, giving seminar presentations, and leading question periods; they will also produce a final term paper on an original topic of their choice.

Required primary texts

  • Brand, Dionne. Inventory. M&S, 2006.
  • Carson, Anne. Autobiography of Red. 1998. Vintage, 1999.
  • Clarke, George Elliott. Execution Poems. Gaspereau, 2001.
  • Halfe, Louise Bernice. Blue Marrow. 1998. Coteau, 2004.
  • Thesen, Sharon, ed., The New Long Poem Anthology, 2nd Ed. Talonbooks, 2001.

Selected secondary readings

  • Banks, Michelle. “Myth-Making and Exile: The Desire for a Homeplace in George Elliott Clarke’s Whylah Falls.” Canadian Poetry, vol. 51, 2002, pp. 58-85.
  • Bernstein, Charles. “Whole to Part: the Ends of Ideologies of the Long Poem.” In Davey/Munton.
  • Butling, Pauline. “bpNichol and a Gift Economy: ‘the play of a value and the value of play.’” In Butling/Rudy.
  • ______. “(Re)defining Radical Poetics.” In Butling/Rudy.
  • ______. “Webb Criticism: A Re View.” Seeing in the Dark: The Poetry of Phyllis Webb. Wilfrid Laurier UP, 1997, pp. 109-123.
  • Butling, Pauline, and Susan Rudy. Writing in Our Time. Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2005.
  • Clarke, George Elliott. “The Career of Black English in Nova Scotia: A Literary Sketch.” Odysseys Home: Mapping African-Canadian Literature. UTP, 2002. pp. 86-106.
  • Davey, Frank. “Countertextuality in the Long Poem.” In Davey/Munton.
  • Davey, Frank, and Ann Munton, eds. Open Letter: Long-liners Conference Issue, vol. 6, nos. 2-3, 1985.
  • Genette, Gerard. Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation (excerpts). Cambridge UP, 1997.
  • Kamboureli, Smaro. On the Edge of Genre (excerpts). UTP, 1991.

3 credit hours

Professor Stephen Schryer

Neoliberalism – a doctrine that asserts the absolute primacy of the free market, enforced, if necessary, by the state – has shaped what we think of as politically, economically, and culturally possible since at least the 1980s. This course explores the emergence and consolidation of this paradigm. The course has a twin focus. First, we will read works of political and economic theory that articulated the central tenets of neoliberalism in the 1960s and works that identified and criticized the new paradigm from the 1980s onwards. These texts will come from a diverse range of political perspectives – from the libertarian right to the Marxist left. Second, we will read American novels published since the 1990s that provide a “cognitive map” (Jameson) of neoliberalism and attempt to imagine alternatives to it. We will ask questions such as the following: does neoliberalism short-circuit collective politics in an age that demands that we take ambitious measures to deal with issues such as climate change and increasing economic disparity? To what extent has neoliberalism determined our conceptions of class, race, gender, and sexuality and the politics that are based on these categories? How has neoliberalism impacted the novel as a form, and how have certain works of fiction, in turn, guided the evolution of neoliberalism? Is neoliberalism coming to an end, and if so, what new paradigms are emerging to replace it?

Primary course texts (will include):

  • Don DeLillo, Underworld
  • Karen Tei Yamashita, Tropic of Orange
  • Chang-Rae Lee, Native Speaker
  • Colson Whitehead, The Intuitionist
  • Percival Everett, Erasure
  • Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End
  • Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad
  • Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones
  • Richard Powers, The Overstory
  • Rachel Kushner, The Mars Room
  • Jonathan Lethem - The Feral Detective;

Possible theorists include Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Frederic Jameson, David Harvey, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, Walter Benn Michaels, Loïc Wacquant, Sarah Brouillete, Annie McClanahan, and Phil A. Neel.

3 credit hours

Professor John Ball

This course will survey fiction from the post-colonial Commonwealth; it will focus on novels that encourage interdisciplinary discussion of space, place, landscape, geography, nation, borders, migration, and home, with attention to the ways these contexts ‘ground’ the political and social dimensions of narrative and intersect with notions of individual and communal identity. The course as a whole will reflect the geographical, cultural, and formal variety of post-colonial writing, and will combine historical novels with ones set in contemporary times.

Primary Texts (some selections will change)

  • Race, Power, and Crisis in Southern Africa
    • Nadine Gordimer. July’s People (1981)
    • Yvonne Vera. Nehanda (1992)
  • British Settlement and the Intrusive Other in 18th- and 19th-Century Australia
    • Kate Grenville. The Secret River (2006)
    • David Malouf. Remembering Babylon (1993)
  • Gender, Identity, and Mobility in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe
    • Tsitsi Dangarembga. Nervous Conditions (1988)
    • NoViolet Bulawayo. We Need New Names (2013)
  • Lines of Narrative Connection in Transnational London
    • Amitav Ghosh. The Shadow Lines (1988)
    • Zadie Smith. White Teeth (2000)
  • Imagined Geographies and Speculative Histories
    • Bernardine Evaristo. Blonde Roots (2008)
    • Mohsin Hamid. Exit West (2017)

[Compulsory Pass/Fail course for all second-year PhD students]

3 credit hours

Various professors

All PhD students are normally required, as part of their course program, to complete a teaching apprenticeship under the supervision and mentorship of a full-time faculty member. During the second year of the PhD, the apprentice is assigned to a section of ENGL 1000, a full-year, 6-ch undergraduate course taught by the faculty mentor in the fall term, during which the student will attend all classes and meet regularly with the mentor. In the meetings, the student will receive training and guidance on: course planning and curriculum design; preparing and delivering classes on literature and writing skills; preparing and grading essays, tests, and examinations; course administration; and the preparation of a professional teaching dossier (including a general philosophy of teaching). In the winter term the student will be employed to teach the second half of the ENGL 1000 section, including responsibility for grading. The faculty mentor will observe winter-term classes periodically in order to offer feedback, and will be available throughout the term for advice. Course credit is awarded upon successful completion of the specific course requirements as determined by the supervisor in conjunction with the student at the beginning of the fall term. Prerequisite: must have completed first year of PhD program in English.