Spring 2021 - ENGL 357 E100

Studies in Canadian Literature since 1920 (4)

Class Number: 4131

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 22, 2021
    7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

  • 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.


This online course on contemporary Canadian fiction, combining synchronous and asynchronous learning, will model itself on the CBC Canada Reads competition. We will read both winning books and runners-up from past competitions since 2002, as well as one book not included in the competition for comparison. Each student will have the opportunity to both defend and critique the texts both verbally and in writing. In addition to staging the debates during our Zoom classes, we will discuss the works of fiction in terms of nation-building, literary merit, and the stakes involved in developing a national literature. We will consider the role of Indigenous literatures “within” or “against” Canadian literature, and engage with postnational challenges of ‘Canada’ from ethnic minority writers who create a sense of belonging through diasporic communities. We will also explore the relationship of nationalism to questions of gender, sexuality, class, race and ethnicity. In addition to the novels, we will read critical theory relating to the politics of literary prize-giving, literary merit, book marketing, and the exigencies of publishing in the 21st century.


  • to read, interpret, and creatively engage with texts by Canadian writers, including Black, Asian, diasporic and Indigenous writers working and living in Canada
  • to understand significant developments and movements in Canadian, Indigenous, and diasporic literary studies
  • to synthesize and evaluate a range of critical approaches to literature, particularly Indigenous literary nationalism, Black and Asian diasporas, anti-racist coalition-building, decolonization, and resurgence.
  • to recognize complex relationships between texts and contexts (historical, social, cultural, literary)
  • to acknowledge the diversity and complexity Canadian cultural production in a variety of forms and formats.


  • participation 10%
  • defense presentation 10%
  • critique presentation 10%
  • critical analysis 10%
  • position paper 25%
  • final research paper 35%




A limited number of copies of the course books are available at Iron Dog books, a mobile used bookstore based in Burnaby: https://irondogbooks.com/: IN THE SKIN OF A LION, INDIAN HORSE, RU, THE OUTER HARBOUR, SON OF A TRICKSTER

ALL of the course books are available as an ebook in Vancouver Public Library and may also be available as an ebook in other public libraries: IN THE SKIN OF A LION, INDIAN HORSE, RU, A COMPLICATED KINDNESS, THE OUTER HARBOUR, SON OF A TRICKSTER.

The following books are available to purchase as an ebook through the SFU Bookstore: A COMPLICATED KINDNESS, THE OUTER HARBOUR.

The following books are available as an ebook with unlimited access in the SFU library: INDIAN HORSE

ALL of the course books are available as ebooks or as paperbacks on various online bookstores or outlets like Amazon.


Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a Lion
ISBN: 978-0394281827

Miriam Toews, A Complicated Kindness
ISBN: 978-0676978568

Richard Wagamese, Indian Horse
ISBN: 978-1553654025

Kim Thúy, Ru Tr. Sheila Fischman
ISBN: 978-0307359711

Eden Robinson, Son of a Trickster
ISBN: 978- 0345810793

Souvankham Thammavongsa, How to Pronounce Knife 
ISBN: 978-0771094606

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


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).