SETS Graduate Courses | College of Arts

SETS Graduate Courses

School of English and Theatre Studies Tentative Graduate Course Offerings 2022-23*

*Note: All courses are subject to change without notice. Official course outlines will be provided to students in the first week of classes. 

Fall 2022 Course Outlines

ENGL*6201 Canadian Literary Humanism

The course begins from the provocation that Canadian  literary culture is a decidedly humanist enterprise, one dedicated to not merely asserting a particular vision of national identity and culture but a particular conception of the human. Canadian literature has pride of place within the expression of national identity as both the form and the forum for asserting who gets to count as human in Canada and for narrating the story of nation to accord with a particularly humanist ethos. We will investigate the depiction of humanism in Canadian literature and use the critiques of humanism as our basis for reading CanLit against the grain.  

Dr. Paul Barrett


2:30 PM – 5:20 PM 


MCKN 034A 


ENGL*6621 Children’s & Young Adult Literature: Toy / Story 

One of the most productive turns in children’s literature scholarship of recent years has been the focus on material culture, whether that is the materiality of books and other media, the commodification of childhood/the children’s book business, or the myriad uses of material objects/”things” in texts created by adults for children. This iteration of ENGL*6621 picks up those threads: we will focus on a range of ways that “toys” generate narratives -- both in the writings of adults and the play of children. We will consider scholarship from the fields of childhood studies, sociology, folklore, museum studies, and consumer studies. Students in the course will be given many opportunities to expand their existing repertoires of critical perspectives and methodologies. 

Dr. Jennifer Schacker


2:30 PM – 5:20 PM  


MCKN 034A 

ENGL*6209  Postcoloniality & Decolonization

Through a range of literatures and film, this seminar explores fiction and non-fiction accounts of terrorism from the French Revolution to after 11 September. Various trajectories include 1880s-1920s (Russian) anarchism and 1960s-80s left-wing (revolutionary and nationalist) terrorism, as well as post9/11 fiction that foregrounds global, historical and cultural context. The relationship between nationalism, colonialism and decolonizing insurgency will be foregrounded through discussion of such texts as Claire Messud’s “The Professor’s History,” Ghassan Kanafani’s Returning to Haifa, Pierre Falardeau’s Octobre and Shyam Selvadurai’s Funny Boy, amongst others. The course emphasizes and critiques (though not exclusively) Western readerly responses to terrorism in fiction and film.

Dr. Sandra Singer


2:30 PM – 5:20 PM 


MCKN 521



Theatre Theory This graduate theatre course explores contemporary theatre and performance theories with relationships to both traditional and experimental practices including performance art, immersive theatre, multimedia performance, site-specific theatre, political performance, and cyber-spectacle. Students will participate in an array of experiential seminar work while also completing in-class presentations concerning contemporary performance theories and ideas. Major contributions to and reconsiderations of performance theory will be read and studied from both historical and conceptual perspectives.  Dr. Peter Kuling


2:30 PM – 5:20 PM 


MCKN 261 




Theatre in the Past This graduate seminar explores 1) how theatre and performance contribute to different constructions and understandings of human history and 2) how one can understand and analyze performance in historical terms. Through discussions of playwrights, historical source material, revisionist practices, as well as performance aesthetics, students will encounter historical events, beliefs, characters/figures, audiences, and perceptions of the past. Examples from diverse global cultures, communities, and time periods will be used to engage with the mutability of supposedly stable historical events as compelling performance material. We will ask questions about who writes and/or performs different histories while learning to identify key features of the political/social conditions of performances as well as culturally accepted/challenged narratives. In this iteration of the course, we will likely be looking at different moments of in the representation of Islam, but the specific case studies have yet to be isolated. I'm currently considering case studies on Othello, Tamerlano, The Sultan/The Mogul Tale, multiple Aladdin/Ali Baba pantos, a taziya play, the Luminato staging of the Arabian Nights, and other productions.  I'm also considering a trip to see Brandon Jacob-Jenkins's Everybody.  Dr. Daniel O'Quinn

Tuesdays & Thursdays 

11:30 AM – 12:50 PM 


MCKN 119A 


Winter 2023 Course Outlines



Victorian Literature & the Environmental Humanities 

The Victorian period saw the rise of industrial pollution, urban overcrowding, animal extinction, and environmentally damaging resource extraction, as well as opportunities for the hunting of exotic species through Britain’s imperial presence. Meanwhile scientists expanded the Victorians’ understanding of geological time from thousands of years to millennia, the first and second laws of thermodynamics focused attention on energy and generated narratives of resource exhaustion, while Darwin exploded the presumed distinction between human and non-human animals. This course will situate the Victorians’ developing understandings of the biosphere in conversation with the ecocritical concerns raised in our own time as we investigate Victorian literature. Issues we might examine are the extent to which Victorian social causes intersect with a concern for environmental justice; the mobilizing force of narratives generated by scientific reframings of the environment and its resources; the extent to which a post-Darwinian awareness of the interrelatedness of organisms and environments raised questions of biological egalitarianism; the relationship between the Victorians’ fascination with geology and the content and/or form of Victorian literature; or an investigation into what is enabled through Victorian conflations of moral and environmental pollution. 

Dr. Michelle Elleray


ENGL*6611   Entanglements of Genders, Sexualities, and Bodies. 

This research seminar explores negotiations, debates, and affordances in current scholarship about genders, bodies, and sexualities; learners examine specific performances, cultural practices, and media texts, engaging intersectional, psychoanalytic, queer, and semiotic theory to examine the operations of explicit imagery within a complex web of attitudes and cultural practices. Ideologies of gender, the privatization of sexual activity, and the political uses of language (eg., medical, camp) are emphasized as influencing viewer-text interactions. Critical scholarship on the history/science of sex(ual construction) are utilized to investigate semiotic conventions deployed in speech about topics such as feminism, body politics, sexological imperatives, the cinematic body, erotic imagination, the proliferation of deviance, and intersecting structures on sex, gender, sexuality, race, class, embodied abilities, and place. 

Dr. Mark Lipton




Aesthetics and Politics: Materialist Cultural Theory and Applied Methodology after Marx This seminar will concentrate on materialist theories of subjectivity, value and determination, divisions of labour, the nexus of aesthetics and politics, and relations between power and knowledge, the state and civil society, and colonization and subalternity. We will begin with selected core texts (e.g., Marx vis-à-vis Hegel and Nietzsche), and explore post-Marxian, culturally and historically informed re-configurations of work, class/caste, race, imperialism, globalization, and gender/sexuality. These later works will include writings by figures such as Brecht, Benjamin, Bakhtin, Adorno, Césaire, Fanon, Althusser, Macheray, Foucault, Gramsci, Amin, Deleuze and Guattari, Laclau and Mouffe, G. Rose, Haraway, Spivak, Appadurai, Moten, and Srinivasan. Primary cultural texts may include a select combination of novels and films that would serve as discussion points of departure and return.  Dr. Elaine Chang





Devising  In this course the students will explore theatre creation, both solo and collaborative. There are many forms of Devising, and each student will find their own form. The students will create three works over the semester: one solo, one in a "duet," and one in a group of three or more. The pieces may be text based, movement based, sound and video based, or a combination. Each student will also prepare a seminar on a Devising company.  Dr. Judith Thompson 


THST*6250   Bodies and Space in Performance  Conducted as a hybrid seminar/lab, this course invites students to consider bodies and space in relation to digital performance practices. We will analyze several key terms, such as intermediality, liveness, presence and embodiment through in-depth readings, viewings of digital theatre/performance pieces and practical performance experiments. Though grounded in our current moment, the course will consider historical legacies and how digital approaches and understandings of embodiment have evolved within different aesthetic and geographic contexts.  Dr. Kim McLeod TBA


*Note: All courses are subject to change without notice. Official course outlines will be provided to students in the first week of classes.