Spring 2024 - ENGL 113W D100

Literature and Performance (3)

Class Number: 4496

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Wed, Fri, 9:30–10:20 a.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 22, 2024
    Mon, 7:00–10:00 p.m.



Introduces students to plays and performance works created and adapted for the stage, and/or the performative dimensions of other literary forms. May be organized historically, generically or thematically. The course may also explore the links between literary and performance theory. Includes attention to writing skills. Students with credit for ENGL 103W may not take this course for further credit. Writing/Breadth-Humanities.


Place and Displacement: Stage Plays about Refugees, Exiles, and Homelands

A Hindu dancer tries to get past three very different immigration desks. An Indigenous Hawai’ian steals bones from a museum in Germany to return them to Hawai’i. A Jewish milkman with five daughters tries to adapt to a changing world in the Russian Pale of Settlement. A Black woman working in England wants to return to apartheid South Africa. A First Nations man thinks through his relationship to his culture and a set of petroglyphs in what is now Ontario. A group of immigrants finds love in Québec City.

This course uses the artistic performance of people’s relationship with the places they come from and/or the places they arrive at to examine our assumptions about belonging and culture. We will study a number of stage plays in script form (available online or legally excerpted from larger collections) written by authors from varied cultural contexts. Most of the works are by OwnVoices playwrights, and some are more complicated.

This is a writing-intensive course, allowing us space to practice writing in academic and creative forms, and at least half the grade is based on writing for which students receive feedback. There are two major writing assignments developed and revised over the semester: 1) an argumentative essay using one primary text (a play script) and other academic secondary sources (articles/book chapters) as evidence, and 2) a short original one-act play about place and/or displacement. Each tutorial group will choose one student’s original script to be part of a public reading event at the end of term to raise money for an organization that supports refugees. Any student may submit their finished play for the English Department’s Betty Lambert Prize and their finished essay for the Library’s Student Writing Contest.



Skills developed: This course will help you learn to
1) interpret stories for performance, gathering and evaluating textual evidence,
2) write persuasive arguments supported by evidence,
3) think about cultural belonging and write creatively about it,
4) revise and improve your writing, and
5) give peer feedback in clear, concise, helpful ways.



Although all students will receive grades on the same four assessments, each student can choose how to distribute the grade. There are four plans to choose from (see below).

4 Assessments =
1) argumentative essay (c 1500 words) on a course text, including the submission of a first paragraph, then a draft (both get feedback but not a mark), then a revision (gets a mark, not feedback)
2) participation, including primarily attendance at tutorials and participation in tutorials, with lecture participation and online discussion postings as a possible supplement (estimate/feedback at mid-term and a mark at end of term)
3) creative writing of a play (short, one act), including the submission of a proposal and outline, then a draft (both get feedback but not a mark), then a revision (gets a mark, not feedback)
4) final exam: two-hour in-person essay exam linking different plays together, not including the one you wrote your essay on (gets a mark, not feedback) 
Students may also earn up to 2% bonus marks toward their final grade by posting lecture notes, creating footnotes for course texts, or volunteering at the public reading fundraiser in early April.


Grading schemes: students choose one in January, but have the opportunity to switch once later in the term.

A) Essay emphasis = 40% essay, 15% participation, 20% creative, 25% exam
B) Creative writing emphasis = 25% essay, 15% participation, 40% creative, 20% exam
C) Exam emphasis = 25% essay, 10% participation, 25% creative, 40% exam   
D) Even split = 25% essay, 25% participation, 25% creative, 25% exam



No texts to purchase: texts will be either available from SFU library, online, or as legal excerpts from anthologies.


“The Rehearsal,” by Manjula Padmanabhan (2019, 6 pages)

Ola Nā Iwi (The Bones Live), by Victoria Kneubuhl (1994, 80 pages)

Fiddler on the Roof, book by Joseph Stein, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick (1964, 100 pages, film version readily available)

Just Like Home, by Pieter-Dirk Uys (1988, 55 pages)

“The Gift,” by the De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Theatre Group (2003, 15 pages)

Québécité: A Jazz Libretto in Three Cantos, by Geroge Eliott Clarke (2003 version, 30 pages)


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