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Graduate courses

Course timetable

2021-2022 courses

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

6 credit hours

Professor Edie Snook

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 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 programme 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

Various professors

Studio courses are for the purpose of pursuing a well-defined writing project that lies beyond the writing undertaken in the creative writing workshops. The student must prepare a proposal for a studio 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 or instructor willing to supervise the writing project. Faculty members will take on the studio 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 assignment. The student will write one major project, in addition to other relevant smaller assignments to be determined by the student and supervisor.

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

Only one or two students will be allowed to take the same studio course at a time.

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

Regular meetings must be arranged. The course should include at least eight contact hours with the course supervisor.

A supervisor may be selected from the literary community outside the department as long as she or he is approved by the English Department. Possible supervisors include the department’s Honorary Research Associates and Professors Emeriti.

While students who have been accepted to the MA programme are encouraged to enquire with the Director of Creative Writing about the possibility of undertaking a studio course, studio 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 Mark Jarman

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.


3 credit hours

Professor Mark Jarman

This course is restricted to students in the PhD programme 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 Edie Snook

In the period between 1600 and 1800, the Atlantic world, bound by the eastern coasts of the Americas and the western coasts of Africa and Europe, is marked by biological exchange, settler colonialism, the slave trade, an ever-expanding trade in goods—and an intellectual and creative reimaging of human relationships in the world. This course will look at the literary exchanges produced by people contemplating their place within this Atlantic geography. It will be focused on England and the northeast Atlantic—extending only as far south as Virginia—and give particular attention to the place of Atlantic Canada and its peoples in this cultural foment. The course will include work by Europeans (largely English, but also French, recognizing their importance in this region), by men and women brought to North America as slaves, by Indigenous peoples, especially the Mi’kmaq, and by Settlers. Through examining travel and captivity narratives, life writing, recipes and advertisements, plays, fiction, poetry, and legal writing, the course will explore the nature of the literary archive of the early modern Atlantic world. It will study well-known literary texts, such as Shakespeare’s Tempest, and re-read European accounts of well-known historical figures, such as Pocahontas, while also drawing attending to lesser-known writing in English by Indigenous and formerly enslaved men and women. The course will focus on issues around recovering and reading the voices of marginalized and racialized peoples in colonized societies, and ponder the place of eastern Canada, in particular, in the early modern Atlantic world.

Primary readings

European Travel Narratives

  • [excerpt] Thomas Hariot, A Brief and True Report of the New found land of Virginia. London, 1588.
  • [excerpt] Jacques Cartier. Third Voyage. The Principall Navigations. London, 1600.
  • [excerpt] Marc Lescarbot. Nova Francia: or The Description of that part of New France which is one continent with Virginia. Trans. P.E. London, 1609.
  • [excerpt] John Smith, A Description of New England. London, 1616.
  • [excerpt] Pehr Kalm, Peter Kalm’s Travels in North America. Warrington, 1770.
  • [excerpt] “The Voyage of M. Hore and Divers Other Gentlemen to Newfoundland and Cape Breton in the Year 1536,” The Principall Navigations. London, 1600.

European

  • Ben Jonson. Masque of Blackness (1605). Spectacle of Empire. 91-102.
  • Marc Lescarbot. Le Théâtre de Neptune en la Nouvelle-France (1606). Trans. Eugene and Renate Benson. Spectacle of Empire: Marc Lescarbot's Theatre of Neptune in New France. Ed. Jerry Wasserman (Vancouver, Talon Books, 2006), 73-82.
  • William Shakespeare. The Tempest. 1610-11; 1623.
  • Aphra Behn. The Widow Ranter. 1690.

Indigenous North American

  • The Old Man Told Us: Excerpts from Mikmaw History 1500-1950. Ed. Ruth Holmes Whitehead. Halifax: Nimbus, 2015.
  • Letters by Letters by James Printer/ Wowaus Reprinted in “Indians and Images: The Massachussets Bay Colony Seal, James Printer and the Anxiety of Colonial Identity,” American Quarterly 63.1 (2011): 61-93.
  • Katherine Garrett, The Confession and Dying Warning of Katherine Garrett (1738). Transatlantic Feminisms in the Age of Revolutions. Ed. Lisa L. Moore, Joanna Brooks, and Caroline Wigginton. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. 100-102.
  • [selections] Joseph Johnson, To Do Good to My Indian Brethren: The Writings of Joseph Johnson, 1751– 1776. Ed. Laura J. Murray. Amherst: University of Massachusetts, 1998.
  • [selections] Samson Occom. The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan. Ed. Joanna Brooks. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • Peace and Friendship Treaties. 1752 and 1760. Indigenous and North Affairs Website.

Settler

  • John Gyles, Memoirs of odd adventures, strange deliverances, &c. in the captivity of John Gyles, Esq; commander of the garrison on St. George's River. 1736.
  • Mary Rowlandson. A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. 1682.
  • Jonathon Odell, Selected poetry.
  • Adam Allan, “Grand Falls.” 1798.
  • Recipes. Selections from Early Modern Maritime Recipes.

African

  • [selections] Court documents from the trial of Marie-Joseph Angelique. 1734. Torture and the Truth website.
  • Briton Hammon, A Narrative of the Uncommon Sufferings, and Surprising Deliverance of Briton Hammon, a Negro Man. 1760.
  • John Marrant. A Narrative of the Lord’s Wonderful Dealings with John Marrant, a Black (Now Going to Preach the Gospel in Nova Scotia). 1785.
  • John Marrant. A Journal of the Rev. John Marrant, from August 18th 1785 to the 16th of March 1790.
  • Boston King. “Memoirs of the Life of Boston King,” The Methodist Magazine (March 1798, April 1798, May 1798, June 1798).
  • Ads for Run-away slaves [Nova Scotia, New England, various sources]
  • Carleton Papers—Book of Negroes (1783). Library and Archives Canada Website. Phyllis Wheatley. Selected poetry.

Selected secondary readings (selections from)

  • Daniel Paul. We Were Not the Savages. 3rd ed. 2006.
  • Emma Battell Lowman and Adam Barker, Settler: Identity and Colonialism in 21st Century Canada. 2015.
  • Douglas R. Egerton, Alison Games, Jane G. Landers, Kris Lane, Donald R. Wright, eds. The Atlantic World: A History, 1400-1888. 2007.
  • Lisa Brooks. The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast. 2008.
  • Winfried Siemerling. The Black Atlantic Reconsidered: Black Canadian Writing, Cultural History and the Presence of the Past. 2015.
  • Coll-Peter Thrush. Indigenous London: Native Travellers in the Heart of Empire. 2016.

3 credit hours

Professor Elizabeth Effinger

What does literature teach us about the art of failure? Why is failure, and all the bad feelings that go along with it, worth our attention? When we think about key occasions, even just throughout recent history, unhappiness, anger, and resentment can clearly serve as a spur to critical thought and meaningful change in the world. Undoubtedly, then, there is value in the work of negative affect. But in order for failure and negativity to be operative, they need first to be visible.

This course will give failure a space in which to breathe and be examined, a gesture that requires us to resist the compulsive turn toward positive affect and narratives of success. For as Daniel Gross and Jonathan Alexander note in their article “Frameworks for Failure,” “The cost of forgetting negative emotion, even the experience of failure, is high. Success feels good, but it does not reorient us against unjust norms. Success, as it trumps personal failure, can also numb us to failures that are structural” (290). Lingering in the muck and mess, rather than turning away, might attune us to those structural conditions of possibility in failure. Sticking around in these bad feelings might also open us up to the new. Indeed, as J. Jack Halberstam observes in their book The Queer Art of Failure, “failing, losing, forgetting, unmaking, undoing, unbecoming, not knowing may in fact offer more creative, more cooperative, more surprising ways of being in the world” (2-3). This statement will serve as an anchoring view for us throughout the term.

We’ll look at examples of failed texts throughout literature, like the half-aborted projects dreamed up by Coleridge, and consider if there are particular genres that share certain family resemblances with failure (e.g. the fragment, the thesis, the translation, the found poem). We’ll discuss how the space in which we study these texts, the university, is structured in relation to failure, and is itself, as Bill Readings would have it, “in ruins.” But we’ll also consider how narratives and institutions of failure might have the curious power to revive, revitalize, and recover both readers and worlds. How might coming to terms with massive human failure, such as anthropogenic climate change, open new futures for both humans and nonhumans alike? Or is failure our end game? And, can literature help us to ultimately “fail forward” by learning from what went wrong?

Bravely embracing the queer spirit or ethos of failure, this course asks students to step off the well-worn path and try new assignments. In addition to the essay and seminar presentation, students will write their own “Shadow CV,” noting the jobs and scholarships they’ve unsuccessfully applied for and the skills they’ve never mastered. Students will participate in a collaborative project: a curated exhibition of failure, crafted in the tradition of cabinets of curiosity (Wunderkammer) but uniquely dedicated to failure. How do we engage with the uncomfortable and uneasy history of our collections and what we deem worthy of being collected, preserved, archived? What would it mean, instead, to showcase mistakes, failures, silences, the broken, the disorderly? This assignment asks for a creative and critical response. What politics are at work in (not) acknowledging our failures?

Assignments Attendance and Participation (10%) Shadow CV and Critical Self-Reflection (10%) Essay (20%) Creative project: Cabinet of Failure (25%) Seminar Presentation (35%)

Readings may include selections from:

Critical Readings Blanchot, Writing the Disaster; The Unavowable Community Jean-Luc Nancy, The Inoperative CommunityAgamben, Homo Sacer; The Use of Bodies Daniel M. Gross and Jonathan Alexander, “Frameworks for Failure,” Pedagogy 16.2 (2016): 273-295. Devoney Looser’s “Me and My Shadow CV” The Chronicle of Higher Education. October 17, 2015; Bill Readings, The University in Ruins Jack Halberstam, The Queer Art of Failure, Doris Summer, The Work of Art in the World The Material Culture of Failure: When Things Do Wrong (Ed. Carroll et al.)

Primary readings (emphasis on poetry): William Blake, Visions of the Daughters of Albion Wordsworth, “The Thorn” Mary Shelley, The Last Man Coleridge, “Kubla Khan” and his unsuccessful Encyclopaedia Metropolitan Robert Browning, "Apparent Failure" Edith Wharton, "A Failure" Rupert Brooke, "Failure" Erica Jong, "The Poet Fears Failure" Judith Wright, "Failure of Communion" George MacDonald, "Failure" Arthur Henry Adams, "A Song of Failure" Sandra Feldman, "Duplicity's Failure" and "Fiasco, Failure" Arthur Joseph Munby, "Failure" Emmeline Stuart-Wortley, "Failures and Disappointments" Robert Lowell, "The Failure at Fredericksburg..." Julia Ward Howe, "To S.G.H. on His Failure to Receive the Grecian Mission..." Charles Bukowski, "Power Failure" and "One the Failure of a Poet" D. H. Lawrence, "A Failure" C. Day Lewis, "A Failure" Allen Ginsberg, "Ode to Failure" William Carlos Williams, "Education: A Failure" Diane Wakoski, "Failures of the World" Edward Bulwer Lytton, "Last Words of a Sensitive Second-Rate Poet" Augusta Webster, "An Inventor" W. B. Yeats, "The Two Titans" Alicia Ostriker, "The War of Men and Women" Adrienne Rich, "From a Survivor"


3 credit hours

Professor Triny Finlay

This course is designed to develop, tease out, and challenge notions of innovative poetics in English Canada. We will explore some relevant critical contexts in an attempt to address such theoretical questions as: how do we define the “innovative”? What are the ideological implications of attempting such a definition? What are the relationships among the innovative, the experimental, and the avant-garde? How have Canadian writers been influenced by specific schools, political movements, publications, presses, and writing communities, within Canada and internationally? How do questions of genre, form, and theoretical approach—as well as issues of identity politics—affect our readings of an innovative text? Is the idea of innovative poetics limited to poetry? Starting with Elizabeth Smart’s lyrical narrative By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept (1945), we will follow a chronological approach in order to consider how the idea of the innovative might have shifted over time. 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—anything from a single-author study to a history of a particular small press or literary magazine.

Required primary texts:

  • Bachinsky, Elizabeth. I Don’t Feel So Good. (Book*hug, 2012)
  • Belcourt, Billy-Ray. This Wound Is A World. 2017. (U of Minnestoa P, 2019)
  • Bök, Christian. Eunoia. 2001. (Coach House, 2009)
  • Brand, Dionne. Inventory. (McClelland & Stewart, 2006)
  • Carson, Anne. Autobiography of Red. (1998. Vintage, 1999)
  • Kennedy, Bill, and Darren Wershler-Henry. Update. (Snare, 2010)
  • Moure, Erín. Planetary Noise. (Wesleyan UP, 2017)
  • Nichol, bp. a book of variations. 1974-1990. (Coach House, 2013)
  • Ondaatje, Michael. Coming Through Slaughter. 1976. (Vintage, 1998)
  • Philip, M. Nourbese. She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks. 1989. (Wesleyan UP, 2015)
  • Smart, Elizabeth. By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept. 1945. (UK General, 1991)
  • Webb, Phyllis. The Vision Tree. 1954-1982. (Talonbooks, 1982)

Secondary readings:

  • Altieri, Charles. “Avant-Garde or Arrière-Garde in Recent American Poetry.” Poetics Today, vol. 20, no. 4, 1999, pp. 629–653.
  • bissett, bill. “Introductions” from The Last blewointment Anthology, 1963-1983, Vols. 1 & 2. Nightwood, 1979.
  • Bök, Christian. “Afterward” from Ground Works: Avant-Garde for Thee. Anansi, 2002, pp. 229-231.
  • Butling, Pauline. “(Re)Defining Radical Poetics.” Writing in Our Time: Canada’s Radical Poetries in English (1957-2003). Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2005, pp. 17-28.
  • ______. “One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Four: Poetry, Publishing, Politics, and Communities.” Writing in Our Time: Canada’s Radical Poetries in English (1957-2003). Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2005, pp. 29-48.
  • Capperdoni, Alessandra. “Why the Avant-Garde? The Function of the Letter in Canadian Avant-Garde Poetics.” Canadian Literature, nos. 210-211, 2011, pp. 97-114.
  • Carr, Emily. “The Wreading Experiment: Performative Strategies for Teaching Women’s Innovative Poetries.” Feminist Teacher, vol. 20, no. 3, 2010, pp. 183-203. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/ftr.2010.0022
  • Eichorn, Kate, and Heather Milne, eds. Prismatic Publics: Innovative Canadian Women’s Poetry and Poetics (excerpts). Coach House, 2009.
  • Kennedy, Bill. http://apostropheengine.ca (online)
  • Mayer, Bernadette. “20 Questions About Form or New Forms.” A Bernadette Mayer Reader. New Directions, 1992.
  • McCaffery, Steve. “Teachable Texts” (online).
  • Milne, Heather. “Beyond Inter/Disciplinarity: Feminist Cultural Studies and Innovative Poetics: Disciplinary Dislocations.” TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, no. 25, pp. 182-189. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3138/topia.25.182
  • Nicholls, Peter. “Difference Spreading: From Gertrude Stein to L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Poetry.” Contemporary Poetry Meets Modern Theory. UTP, 1991.
  • Ondaatje, Michael. “Introduction.” The Long Poem Anthology. Coach House, 1979.
  • Perloff, Marjorie. “The Return of the (Numerical) Repressed: From Free Verse to Procedural Play.” Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media. U of Chicago P, 1991.
  • Poggioli, Renato. “The Concept of a Movement” and “Aesthetics and Poetics.” The Theory of the Avant-Garde. 1969. Harvard UP, 1981.
  • Quartermain, Peter. “Introduction: Reading the Difficult.” Stubborn Poetries: Poetic Facticity and the Avant-Garde. U of Alabama P, 2013.
  • Rudy, Susan. “’what can atmosphere with / vocabularies delight?’ Excessively Reading Erin Moure.” Writing in Our Time: Canada’s Radical Poetries in English (1957-2003). Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2005, pp. 205-216.
  • Sheppard, Robert. “Introduction: Form, Forms, and Forming.” The Meaning of Form in Contemporary Innovative Poetry. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

3 credit hours

A striking feature of the United States is the weakness of its welfare state. One reason for this weakness is many Americans’ persistent belief that most welfare recipients fall into the category of the “undeserving poor”: lower-class citizens who, for an assortment of cultural and psychological reasons, are responsible for their own poverty. In this course, we will explore a broad range of literary, social scientific, and journalistic texts that address the causes and effects of poverty and that grapple with the problem of representing it.

Our readings will focus on historical moments when poverty became a central topic of public debate and government policy: the Progressive Era, the Great Depression, the Great Society, Clinton-era Welfare Reform, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the current pandemic. In each case, apart from discussing thematic connections between literature and welfare policy, we will focus on the changing literary aesthetics of poverty: from the documentary naturalism of the 1930s to the process aesthetics of the 1960s and beyond.

Throughout the course, we will ask questions such as the following: How did American writers contribute to or question conventional depictions of the poor as grotesque or abject and therefore undeserving of welfare? How did writers respond to the post-1970s emergence of workfare and prisonfare as key strategies for disciplining the poor? Were literary representations of poverty (especially ethnic and racial poverty) central to the development of literary modernism and postmodernism? How did poverty writers mediate between their impoverished subject matter and (mostly) middle class audience? How did this mediation shape their aesthetics?

Primary texts:

  • Jacob Riis – How the Other Half Lives
  • William Faulkner – As I Lay Dying
  • Tillie Olson – Yonnondio: From the Thirties
  • Carlos Bulosan – America is in the Heart
  • Ann Petry – The Street
  • Gwendolyn Brooks – In the Mecca
  • Leslie Marmon Silko – Ceremony
  • Octavia Butler – Parable of the Sower
  • Dorothy Allison – Bastard Out of Carolina
  • Jesmyn Ward – Salvage the Bones
  • Colson Whitehead – The Nickel Boys

Secondary texts:

  • Karl Marx – excerpts from “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte” and Das Kapital
  • Ernest Burgess – “The Growth of the City”
  • Oscar Lewis – excerpts from La Vida: A Puerto Rican Family in the Culture of Poverty
  • Daniel P. Moynihan – “The Negro Family”
  • Edward Banfield – excerpts from The Unheavenly City: The Nature and Future of Our Urban Crisis
  • Julia Kristeva – excerpts from Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection
  • Madhu Dubey – excerpts from Signs and Cities: Black Literary Postmodernism
  • Loïc Wacquant – excerpts from Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity
  • Gavin Jones – excerpts from American Hungers: The Problem of Poverty in U.S. Literature, 1840-1945
  • Rob Nixon – excerpts from Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor

3 credit hours

Professor John Ball

This course examines contemporary novels by writers with South Asian roots whose homes (present or past) and fictional terrains include India, Pakistan, Canada, the USA, the UK, Trinidad, and Tanzania. Writers of the South Asian diaspora are writing some of the best and most innovative novels of our time, as recognized regularly by such major prizes as the Man Booker and the Giller. Their work invites discussion of a host of stimulating issues: colonialism and postcolonialism, migration and exile, history and historiography, nation and nationalism, race and racism, acculturation and transculturation, politics and violence, gender and the body, and more. The course will also consider the ways in which the concept of diaspora may be understood in a South Asian context and through the study of diasporic fictions and theories. The course is designed to engage the interests of both academic and creative writing students; in our discussions, we will consider some of the many critical, theoretical, and historical frameworks in which these works have been or could be situated, as well as performing close readings and attending to matters of craft, form, and style.

Proposed Primary Texts (Although selections may change, it is expected that 9 or 10 of the following will be studied; students will be invited to choose one more primary text.)

History, Family, Nation
Anita Desai. Clear Light of Day (1980)
Salman Rushdie. Midnight’s Children (1981)
Arundhati Roy. The God of Small Things (1997)

India in the 21st Century
Amitav Ghosh. The Calcutta Chromosome (1995)
Kiran Desai. The Inheritance of Loss (2006)
Aravind Adiga. The White Tiger (2008)

East Africa and the West Indies via Canada and the UK: The Indian Diaspora
M.G. Vassanji. The In-Between World of Vikram Lall (2003)
Shani Mootoo. He Drown She in the Sea (2005)
V.S. Naipaul. Half a Life (2001)

Diasporic Narratives of the Post-9/11 World
Mohsin Hamid. The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007)
Kamila Shamsie. Burnt Shadows (2009)
Zia Haider Rahman. In the Light of What We Know (2014)

Assignments: Students will be responsible for two class presentations, one reading report, a final research paper (which may be based on a presentation, 15-20 pp.), and regular class participation.


Compulsory Pass/Fail course open only to students in the 12-month course-based academic MA

6 credit hours

Various professors

The course requirements are a conference paper and an article. These two pieces of work will be based on one essay undertaken during the previous 10 months of course work. The article should be 20-25 pages in length and should be striving to meet the standard of a scholarly article that could be published in a refereed journal. It does not have to be submitted for publication. The conference paper, based on the article, should be a good example of this oral form. The paper does not have to be delivered at a conference, although students will have the opportunity to present their conference papers at an optional departmental symposium to be organized for late summer each year.


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 programme, 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 programme in English.


2022-2023 courses

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

6 credit hours

Professor Edith Snook

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

Various professors

Studio courses are for the purpose of pursuing a well-defined writing project that lies beyond the writing undertaken in the creative writing workshops. The student must prepare a proposal for a studio 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 or instructor willing to supervise the writing project. Faculty members will take on the studio 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 assignment. The student will write one major project, in addition to other relevant smaller assignments to be determined by the student and supervisor.

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

Only one or two students will be allowed to take the same studio course at a time.

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

Regular meetings must be arranged. The course should include at least eight contact hours with the course supervisor.

A supervisor may be selected from the literary community outside the department as long as she or he is approved by the English Department. Possible supervisors include the department’s Honorary Research Associates and Professors Emeriti.

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


3 credit hours

Professor Triny Finlay

This graduate seminar is a workshop designed to develop and improve skills with the elements of poetry, such as metaphor, imagery, rhythm, line break, syntax, the registers of diction, and sound pattern. The course will explore poetic form, ranging from free verse and narrative to structured verse such as the sonnet and glosa. Attention will also be given to professional concerns, including the development of a distinctive voice and style, publication in journals, and the preparation of book manuscripts.

Primary course texts:

  • Belcourt, Billy-Ray. This Wound Is A World. Frontenac House, 2017
  • Brand, Dionne. Ossuaries. McClelland & Stewart, 2010
  • Pico, Tommy. Junk. Tin House, 2018
  • Vermette, Katherena. North End Love Songs. Muses’ Company, 2012
  • Wang, Phoebe. Admission Requirements. McClelland & Stewart, 2017

Students in the course will workshop their poetry throughout the term; prepare an in-class presentation on an assigned poet; keep a reading journal for assigned secondary readings; and put together a final portfolio of the term’s work for evaluation.


3 credit hours

Professor Triny Finlay

This course is restricted to students in the PhD program in English (Creative Writing) who have already taken English 6123 at the MA level. A workshop designed to develop and improve skills with the elements of poetry, such as metaphor, rhythm, line break, syntax, registers of diction, and sound pattern. The course will explore poetic forms, ranging from free verse to structured forms, such as the sonnet, sestina and glosa.

Attention will also be given to professional concerns, including publication in journals and the preparation of book manuscripts. Prerequisite English 6123.


3 credit hours

Professor TBD

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.


3 credit hours

Professor TBD

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 Len Falkenstein

Taught in a workshop format, this course will develop students’ skills in writing for the stage. Beginning with exercises in the scripting of dramatic action, monologues, and simple scenes, students will by the end of the class write a one act or full length play suitable for submission to an established theatre company or production at one of Canada’s many theatre festivals. Students will also learn about the market for plays in Canada and the various routes that new scripts may take towards production by either mainstream or alternative theatre companies.


3 credit hours

Professor Len Falkenstein

This course is restricted to students in the PhD program in English (Creative Writing) who have already taken ENGL 6163 at the MA level. Taught in a workshop format, this course will develop students’ skills in writing for the stage. Beginning with exercises in the scripting of dramatic action, monologues, and simple scenes, students will by the end of the class write a one act or full length play suitable for submission to an established theatre company or production at one of Canada’s many theatre festivals. Students will also learn about the market for plays in Canada and the various routes that new scripts may take towards production by either mainstream or alternative theatre companies. Prerequisite English 6163.


3 credit hours

Professor Edith Snook

Because diagnosis of illness, the manufacture of medicines, and the prevention of disease were recognized as essential knowledge for housewives and mothers, many early modern women provided health care within the household. Others became professional, if usually unlicensed, physicians. This course will investigate how these textual and medical practices infiltrated literary forms undertaken by women—recipes, autobiography, poetry, fiction, the familiar letter, and various combinations thereof—and examine how religion, social relationships, and politics inform women’s medical knowledge. Beginning with an analysis of the current feminist critique of medical culture, as well historical study of early modern medicine, topics addressed will include pregnancy and childbirth, natural philosophy, sociability, disability, race and empire.

Primary course texts:

  • Margaret Cavendish, The New World, Called the Blazing World and Other Writings, Poems and Fancies, and Observations Upon Experimental Philosophy
  • An Collins, Divine Songs and Meditacions
  • Anne Conway, The Conway Letters: The Correspondence of Anne, Viscountess Conway, Henry More, and their Friends
  • Amy Eyton (and others), Collection of Cookery Recipes, with a few medical and household receipts, Wellcome Library MS 2323
  • Ann Fanshawe, Recipe Book of Lady Ann Fanshawe, Wellcome Library MS 7113 and The Memoirs of Ann, Lady Fanshawe, wife of Sir Richard Fanshawe, bart., 1600-72
  • Elizabeth Grey, Countess of Kent, A Choice Manual of Rare and Select Secrets in Physick and Chyrurgery
  • Margaret Hoby, The Private Life of an Elizabethan Lady: The Diary of Lady Margaret Hoby 1599-1605
  • Elizabeth Isham, Diary and Book of Remembrances
  • Hester Pulter, Selected Poetry
  • Jane Sharp, The Midwives Book, or The Whole Art of Midwifery Discovered
  • Arbella Stuart, The Letters of Lady Arbella Stuart.

Students will complete a weekly commentaries, a major presentation, an annotated bibliography, and a major research paper.


3 credit hours

Professor Jennifer Andrews

In his well-known satirical poem, aptly titled “Can. Lit., (1962)” Earle Birney argues that “[i]t’s only by our lack of ghosts that we’re [Canadians] are haunted.” Paradoxically, Birney has subsequently stirred substantial debate over what specters continue to shape English-Canadian literature and more broadly, Canada as a nation. While Birney has been read by some as literally suggesting that Canada is devoid of ghosts, the reality is that he is one in a long line of writers who recognizes the fundamentally ambivalent relationship between colonialism and haunting as manifested in our national literature and culture, ranging from poetry and short stories to drama, novels, paintings, and film. This course explores and wrestles with critical work written over the last forty years that characterizes and label Canadian texts as “gothic,” ranging from Margot Northey, Northrop Frye, and Margaret Atwood, to recent work by Cynthia Sugars and Stephen Bruhm. In particular, we will probe the benefits and liabilities of employing the “Gothic” label to describe the work of ethnic- and racial-minority writers and artists, especially those who identify as Indigenous and thus may see such terms as a colonial stamp of approval. Moreover, there are a variety of regionally-focused texts that rely on what could be described as a Gothic viewpoint to convey a specific kind of atmosphere, which has led to the development of sub-categories of the Canadian Gothic including the “Southern Ontario Gothic” and the “Prairie Gothic”; our discussions will consider these relationships between the Gothic and place, paying particular attention to its significance to Atlantic Canadian literature. Critical to our discussions will be considerations of sexuality, particularly when thinking about how Queer theory has contributed to the Gothic. And as part of the class we will probe the possible usefulness of other related terminology in a distinctly Canadian context such as magic realism and the grotesque, and will explore how Canadian treatments of these concepts differ from those of American and even British writers and artists.

Primary course texts (may include):

  • John Richardson, Wacousta
  • Susan Frances Harrison, The Forest of Bourg-Marie
  • Martha Ostenso, Wild Geese
  • Sheila Watson, The Double Hook
  • Aislinn Hunter, The World Before Us
  • Dionne Brand, What We All Long For
  • Peter J. Clair, Taapoategl & Pallet: A Mi’kmaq Journey of Loss & Survival
  • Christy Ann Conlin, The Momento
  • Emily Carroll, Through the Woods
  • Suzette Mayr, Dr Edith Crane and the Horrors of Crawley Hall
  • Madeline Thien, Dogs at the Perimeter
  • Eden Robinson, Blood Sports
  • David Chariandy, Soucouyant: A Novel of Forgetting
  • Paul Yee, Ghost Train
  • Robert McGill, The Mysteries
  • Drew Hayden Taylor, The Night Wanderer: A Graphic Novel
  • Leo McKay Jr., Twenty-Six

The theoretical frameworks will be developed with work by Margot Northey, Cynthia Sugars, Justin Edwards, Marlene Goldman, and Cynthia Sugars and Gerry Turcotte.

The methods of evaluation for this course are designed to encourage the close reading of texts, active participation, and to provide graduate students with several opportunities to develop professional skills that are useful both within and beyond the academic world. Those enrolled will have the chance to deliver a formal conference-style paper to the class and to produce an article-length, potentially publishable essay. The final grade will consist of a conference paper (30%), a final essay (40%), two response papers totaling 15% and 15% for active class participation. Because this is a relatively recent field of study, there is ample opportunity to use the work you do in this class to apply to professional conferences and/or to publish an academic article.


3 credit hours

Professor David Creelman

We will examine the fiction written in the Maritime region from the late nineteenth century to the present and concentrate on texts written after the Second World War. We will examine some of the historical paradigms which have been used to interpret the Maritime region, particularly the notion of economic underdevelopment, and we will attempt to situate the fiction of the region in a larger historical and cultural framework. Through a survey of well-known and less widely read novels and short stories, we will study the ways in which gender roles have shifted during the century, the gradual emergence of the form of realism, and the difficulties associated with the study of the region’s minority literatures.

Primary course texts (tentative):

  • James DeMille, A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder
  • Theodore Roberts, Red Feathers
  • Frank Parker Day, John Paul’s Rock
  • L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
  • Evelyn Eaton, Quietly my Captain Waits
  • Hugh MacLennan, Barometer Rising
  • Ernest Buckler, The Mountain and the Valley
  • Donna Smyth, Quilt
  • Alistair MacLeod, Lost Salt Gift of Blood
  • Antonine Maillet, Pelagie (In translation)
  • David Adams Richards, For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down
  • Lynn Coady, Strange Heaven
  • George Eliot Clarke, George & Rue

Critical and historical Essays which will be read alongside the fiction by George Elliott Clarke, David Creelman, E.R. Forbes, Danielle Fuller, Ian McKay, Daniel Samson, Donald Savoie, Della Stanley, Tony Tremblay, and Herb Wyile.

While the method of evaluation is still open for discussion, the course can include seminar presentations, a short formal paper and an article length term paper. When we meet we will determine the weights of the assignments.


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 Lisa Jodoin

Title and description TBD


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.