Fall 2023 - ENGL 115W D200

Literature and Culture (3)

Class Number: 4040

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Mon, Wed, 11:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

    Oct 10, 2023: Tue, 11:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 13, 2023
    Wed, 7:00–10:00 p.m.



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.


 Narratives of Encounter and Survival

In this writing-intensive course, we will read fiction (novels and graphic novels) and poetry from a diverse range of national and cultural perspectives. We will consider the relationship between word and image in texts, films, adaptations, and other formats that work at the intersection of the visual and the textual. A thematic focus of the course is on stories of resistance by survivors of genocide, displacement, and cultural suppression. We will read Art Spiegelman’s MAUS, a Holocaust survivor’s story in the form of a graphic novel; Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis on the revolution in Iran; Chantal Gibson’s How She Read, on Black diasporic life in the wake of the Middle Passage; Ojibwe author Richard Wagamese’s Indian Horse, a novel that confronts the legacies of residential schools and other forms of colonial dispossession in Canada, while also telling the stories of those who endured against the odds with humour, wit, and care; and a selection of stories from Vancouver Noir, a vivid portrait of Vancouver that challenges mainstream narratives (edited by SFU's 2023 writer in residence, Sam Wiebe). 


  • To develop your skills in reading, interpreting, and writing about literary texts.
  • To learn how to read and interpret graphic novels that work at the interface of the visual and the textual.
  • To read, discuss, and write about complex relationships between texts and contexts (historical, social, cultural, literary).


  • Participation (attendance & informal writing in tutorials, lectures or on Canvas) 20%
  • Essay 1 (800 words) 20%
  • Essay 2 (1000 words) 20%
  • Revision of Essay 2 (1000-1200 words) 20%
  • Final Exam 20%



You must read all of the books (with the exception of Vancouver Noir, from which you will read a selection of stories - to be determined at the beginning of term). All the books have been ordered and should be available at the SFU Bookstore early in the term. You may also order them from your favourite local bookstore or online. You may use electronic copies of the books. A limited number of copies will be on reserve at the SFU library. Many if not all will be available through your local Public Library.


Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis
ISBN: 978-0375714573

Art Spiegelman, Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History
ISBN: 978-0394747231

Richard Wagamese, Indian Horse
ISBN: 978-1771621908

Chantal Gibson, How She Read
ISBN: 9781987915969

Sam Wiebe (ed), Vancouver Noir (Akashik Books)
ISBN: 9781617756849


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

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 website 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.