Spring 2019 - ENGL 112W D100

Literature Now (3)

Class Number: 1524

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 1:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    AQ 3181, Burnaby

    Th 1:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    EDB 7618, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 23, 2019
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
    SSCB 9201, Burnaby



Introduces students to contemporary works of literature in English and/or contemporary approaches to interpreting literature. May focus on one or multiple genres. Includes attention to writing skills. Writing/Breadth-Humanities.


The Fiction of Contact

‘Contact’ is both an everyday experience and an issue of profound social importance.  Every day, we negotiate face-to-face encounters with people of different social, ethnic, and ‘racial’ backgrounds.  We are also bombarded with language and stories of ‘difference’ and ‘otherness’ through advertising, political messaging, film and television, and electronic media.  Literary fiction offers us a unique means to explore the complexity of cross-cultural contact, enabling us to grasp, in finer terms, our human similarities and differences, or else to see just how easy it is to create wild ‘fictions’ of others.

In this course, we will explore how some of the most celebrated contemporary authors have represented cross-cultural contact.  These authors will take us to different historical periods and lands, and also to entirely invented settings.  While we will think about how history, culture, society, and psychology all inform how contact is represented, our primary goal will be to read the assigned novels with close attention to their stylistic particularities – how contact has been storied in each specific case.  Our goal will be to become better readers of literature, but also better analysts of the complex world of language and narrative surrounding us today.  

This is also a writing intensive course, which means that we will have the opportunity to develop and refine our writing skills.  Finally, this course will also enable students to submit a creative composition about ‘contact’ in one of the books studied – e.g. a short piece of creative writing, a musical composition or ‘mixtape,’ a website or blog entry, a work of visual art, etc.


  • Regular attendance and tutorial participation 10%
  • Oral Presentation and brief write-up (3 pages) 10%
  • Creative Project 10%
  • Essay (5-7 pages) 20%
  • Revision and Extension of Essay (7-9 pages) 20%
  • Final Exam (3 hours) 30%


Regular attendance and tutorial participation:  Your participation grade is based both on attendance and on informed participation in classroom discussions (i.e. direct and thoughtful references to the texts discussed).  In your tutorial, you will be expected to have completed all of the readings required for the week, regardless of what day your tutorial falls upon.  (See schedule below.)  

Oral presentation and write-up:  Sign-ups for presentations will take place during the first tutorial.  Please be aware that your presentation must focus on the specific section of the required text that is studied that week.  For this assignment, you will identify a theme or formal device that you find especially compelling in the section of the required text, and offer a brief analysis of its development throughout the passage(s) covered that week.  You may refer briefly to secondary sources, but you will be evaluated primarily on the closeness of your attention to the required text, as well as on the originality of your topic and the quality of your writing.  Your oral presentation will be 6-8 minutes in length (absolutely no longer).  You may use audio/visual materials if you want, but no clips longer than one minute.  Your write-up will be 3 pages (double-spaced) and due in tutorial on the same day.  You may choose to read your write-up for your in-class presentation or else freely elaborate on its main points.  Your write-up will conform to M.L.A. style guidelines (see below), and exhibit proper sentence and paragraph structure, but need not be a formal essay.  Your oral presentation will be worth 5% of the total grade for this assignment; your write-up will be worth 10%.  

Creative Project: You will select a text from the required readings (a book that you have not addressed in your essay) and respond to it through some in some ‘creative’ way.  You should feel free, in this assignment, to respond in any way that interests you.  You may, for instance, offer a sketch or illustration of a meaningful scene in the text, or else compose a few comic-book panels.  You may compile an imagined ‘soundtrack’ to a book, or else compose your own music.  Equally, you may create a short video or create some sort of media response.  You may, of course, attempt some fiction writing yourself – perhaps outlining an imagined ‘alternative’ or ‘missing’ scene of the book.  Your response must be accompanied by a one page explanation or rationale regarding your response.  You will be evaluated on the originality of your response, and the degree to which it reveals a close and knowledgeable engagement with the selected text.  

Essay:  Your essay will be 5-6 pages in length.  It will provide a clear thesis (argument) on a book-length text from the course (typically either Waiting for the Barbarians or Wide Sargasso Sea), and it will exhibit your own independent research on relevant social or literary issues.  Your essay will be evaluated on the originality of your argument, the closeness of your analysis of the primary text, the depth of your research, and the quality of your writing. Your essay should also conform to M.L.A. style guidelines.  Please see the English department website (www.sfu.ca/english/) and click on English Style Guide for a concise description of M.L.A. style.   Revision of Essay:  Your revised essay will be 6-7 pages in length.  It will effectively incorporate the feedback provided by your tutorial director, as well as deepen and expand your original argument.   

Exam:  The exam will be three hours in length and cover all lectures and course materials.  In one ‘essay response’ part of your exam, you will have to compare two texts (books) that you have not addressed in either your essay or oral presentation.



Coetzee, J.M.  Waiting for the Barbarians.  Penguin, 1999.
ISBN: 10: 0140283358

Dimaline, Cherie.  The Marrow Thieves.  Dancing Cat Books, 2017. 
ISBN: 10: 9781770864863

Kincaid, Jamaica.  Lucy.  Farrar Straus Giroux, 2002. 
ISBN: 10: 0374527350

Ondaatje, Michael.  In the Skin of a Lion.  Vintage, 1996
ISBN: 10: 0394281829

Rhys, Jean.  Wide Sargasso Sea.  Pearson, 2001.
ISBN: 10: 0582488966

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://www.sfu.ca/students/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