Spring 2018 - ENGL 357 E100

Studies in Canadian Literature since 1920 (4)

Class Number: 11199

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM
    HCC 1520, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    Two 100 division English courses, and two 200 division English courses.



The study of selected works of Canadian literature written after 1920. Students with credit for ENGL 356 or 358 may not take this course for further credit.


In this course we will read Indigenous orality, avant-garde poetry, and two novels, in an attempt to un-settle (as Paulette Regan puts it) notions of nation-hood, literature, gender, and colonialism as part of Canada's so-called 150th anniversary. We will begin with The Survivors Speak, a collection of testimony before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Canada's Indian Residential Schools, asking questions about orature (or oral literature), decolonization, and reconciliation. We will then turn to Writing Class, an anthology of poetry from the Kootenay School of Writing, a Vancouver collective from the 1980s whose work brought formal innovation and politicized writing into Canadian literature. We will then read two (perhaps feminist, certainly controversial) novels, separate by thirty years, to examine changing perspectives on gender and sexuality. Anakana Schofield, who is also the SFU Writer in Residence for Spring 2018, has in Martin John given us a troubling portrait of a sexual predator, forcing readers to ask, not, as Freud did, what do women want? but instead what do men want?  With Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale, that question may be foreclosed. This account of gender politics has been given new life with a Hulu TV series and the disaster that is the Trump administration, and so we will be able to ask what has changed since the novel's original publication in the 1980s, and what has not?


To un-settle Canadian literature. Please note that "un-settle" here is not a euphemism: material covered may be difficult, both emotionally and intellectually. Come prepared to be challenged, upset, but also excited.


  • Position paper on The Survivors Speak (1000 words) 20%
  • presentation on a KSW poet (15-20 minutes) 20%
  • reception analysis of Martin John (1000 words) 20%
  • final paper (2500 words) 25%
  • attendance/participation/smartness 15%


The Survivors Speak is available online as a PDF here.



Writing Class: The Kootenay School of Writing Anthology, eds. Barnholden & Klobucar
ISBN: 9780921586685

The Handmaid's Tale - Atwood
ISBN: 9780385490818

Martin John -
ISBN: 9781771960342


The Only Poetry That Matters : Reading the Kootenay School of Writing - Burnham
ISBN: 9781551524290

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html