Spring 2020 - ENGL 115W D900

Literature and Culture (3)

Class Number: 1329

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    SRYC 3310, Surrey

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 18, 2020
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby



An Introduction to the study of literature within the wider cultural field, with a focus on contemporary issues across genres and media. Students with credit for ENGL 105W may not take this course for further credit. Writing/Breadth-Humanities.


Literature and Culture: What the Ghosts Saw

To what extent does culture matter in a novel? How does literature serve to represent and communicate culture, both within a cultural group and beyond? This course explores a series of literary works whose representations of culture overlap in various ways, at the levels of folklore (folk culture), subculture, and dominant culture, focusing on the way that members of various subcultures find their voices as they negotiate the gap between their culture and the socio-economically dominant culture.

The short stories, novellas, and novels come from a variety of different places and cover issues of cultural difference across gender, race, social class, age, language, and access to power. In this class, we will look at the way that each group constructs its own web of meaning through interlaced metaphors and specific cultural constructs such as the supernatural. 

The focus on culture allows a thorough exploration of the kinds of diverse voices that make up contemporary fiction and the different issues they can raise.


This is a writing-designated course. There are two short papers. Each student will give feedback to and receive feedback from other students on the papers, as well as receiving feedback from the instructor; the papers will be resubmitted after revision. By the end of the course, you should be comfortable writing fluently in formal standard Canadian English, including the conventions of punctuation and grammar used in the formal language. Other writing skills include citation, organization, structure, argument, and clear communication. The focus is on how to write effectively about literature, but the skills being built are crucial to success in every field.


  • Essay #1 (1200–1600 words) 9%
  • Peer Review #1 2%
  • Essay #1 Revision 14%
  • Essay #2 (1200–1600 words) 10%
  • Peer Review #2 2%
  • Essay #2 Revision 18%
  • Tutorial Participation 15%
  • Final Exam 30%



Eden Robinson, Son of a Trickster, ISBN 9780345810793
ISBN: 978-0-676-97322-8

Louise Fitzhugh, Nobody's Family Is Going to Change, ISBN 9781939601490

Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn, ISBN 9780451450524

Henry James, The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Novels, ISBN 9780451530677

Diego Marani, The Last of the Vostyaks, ISBN 9781907650567 

Minakshi Chaudhry, Ghost Stories of Shimla Hills, ISBN 9788129107534 


Vivien Alcock, The Trial of Anna Cotman, ISBN 9780395816493

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