Spring 2022 - ENGL 493W D100
Seminar in Special Topics (4)
Class Number: 8000
Delivery Method: In Person
Advanced seminar. May be organized by author, genre, period, critical approach, or other criteria. This course may be repeated for credit if a different topic is taught. Writing.
Books, Bodies, and Borders: Women Writers’ (Trans)national Archives & Practices
Michel Foucault observes in The Archaeology of Knowledge and the Discourse on Language that one’s literary contributions are provisional, dependent upon the discourses of the period that inform one’s texts; he argues that archives are not “the sum of all texts that a culture has kept upon its person as documents attesting to its own past,” but rather “the law of what can be said, the system that governs the appearance of statements as unique events” (1972, 128-9). An archive defines “at the outset the system of its enunciability” (129). What is included within a repository—and the shape of the repository itself—determines and limits potential enunciations of personhood. A woman writer could only uneasily make claims to authorship, if discourses of a given period or the “law of what can be said” would not recognize her as such.
This course focuses on women writers’ archives and literary exchanges in Canada, and characterizes the socio-political contexts that undergird them; it explores what incarnations these archives and literary papers may assume at different epochs and explore how socio-political archival representations of women evolve over time in response to structures of power. Exploring critical work of the last twenty years that addresses archival theory, we will investigate how women’s archives may be seen as an extension of their literary lives and characterized multiply—as feminist, queer, activist—and therefore might be called upon to generate collective action; to go against a patriarchal, sexist, racist, or imperial grain; or to develop networks and alliances that supersede political or national borders. Using several different female writers (their books and/or their archival materials), and working with the archives at Simon Fraser University and the Special Collections of the University of British Columbia, among others, we will read how women’s literary lives were forged, contested, and negotiated. We will consider how race, gender, and sexual orientation intersect with, affect, and/or supersede national interests and claims to nation, through the very means by which women’s archives (institutional and other) are forged and preserved over time, and by the materials that are selected for preservation therein.
- Response Papers (1.5-2 pages, x2) 15%
- Seminar/Conference Paper (7-8 pages) 25%
- Final Paper/Podcast (15-18 pages) 40%
- Participation 20%
MATERIALS + SUPPLIES:
Required Readings in this class will involve texts and archives. Other theoretical texts will be added to the course to provide us with some context for and the lexicon animating debates about archives.
Sheila Watson, unpublished journals (online archive, University of Toronto; see Fred Flahiff’s always someone to kill the doves)
Pauline Johnson, selected texts TBA (E. Pauline Johnson Collection, City of Vancouver Archives, and Simon Fraser Special Collections)
Jane Rule, Taking My Life (Jane Rule Fonds, UBC Special Collections, and Simon Fraser University Special Collections)
Emily Carr, Klee Wyck (BCARS, Victoria University)
Larissa Lai, Salt Fish Girl (Larissa Lai Fonds, Simon Fraser University Special Collections)
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.
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TEACHING AT SFU IN SPRING 2022
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