Credit: Geoffrey of Monmouth, via Flickr

One of my more pleasant duties as a Graduate Chair in the fall semester is to meet on an individual basis with the new grad cohort, to hear about their plans and goals in the M.A. or Ph.D. program, and to talk about the awesome graduate courses and other opportunities on offer. This year’s cohort includes students who have studied at SFU as well as other universities in Canada, in the U.S., and in Taiwan, China, Iran, and Sri Lanka; their interests include queer television, gendered post-colonialities, raced representations in YA, Emily Dickinson, and Moby-Dick (among other topics). You can read about new and continuing graduate students here. We are also finalizing the course offerings for 2020-2021, and this looks to be particularly exciting because of the medieval double-header set up by Profs. Matthew Hussey and David Coley. The “Medieval Historiographies” split begins with Prof. Hussey’s challenging premise: early medieval England as the site of “Celtic history overwritten by Roman overwritten by Anglo-Saxon and then Norman,” traces legible in the frenetic angry religious screed of Gildas, in the stark elegiac heroics of Beowulf, and in the magical romance history of Geoffrey of Monmouth. Prof. Coley picks this up with gestures toward fissures still discernable today within Britain’s crumbling and fractious imperium, reading medieval British writers like Chaucer, Lydgate, and the anonymous poets of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Other fall 2020 offerings are similarly tempting. Prof. Carolyn Lesjak will be teaching a rigorous introduction to Marxist theory that promises to demonstrate the continuing relevance of same in the current conjuncture; Prof. Leith Davis, in the Print Culture theory course, will draw on media and performance studies to look at popular entertainment in late 18th and early 19th century Britain, culminating in online exhibitions using Omeka software; and Prof. Paul Budra will teach a course on Shakespeare and the interface, which promises to bridge not only historical periods, but also questions of technology, reading, and interpretation. In spring 2021, Prof. Mike Everton is teaching a course on what’s been making waves over the past decade or so in the scholarly community of Americanists who work on the 19th century, engaging with work on indigeneity, law, race, gender, and the environment; Prof. David Chariandy will examine criticism in diasporic studies in the context of Rinaldo Walcott’s The Long Emancipation, including the diverse archive of global Black expressive culture as it is being created and reanimated in ongoing conditions of anti-blackness and ethnic absolutism, and Prof. Mary Ann Gillies will teach a course on Modernist studies, exploring how and whether it is on the cusp of having to (re)address some fundamental issues about the field. Also on offer will be courses in the MATE program (our graduate stream aimed specifically at B.C. secondary school teachers), which presently has an Indigenous focus: in the fall, Prof. Sophie McCall will teach a course on reclamations of land and story on unceded, ancestral Coast Salish Territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), Kwikwitlem (Coquitlam), and Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) peoples; in the spring, Prof. June Scudeler (of First Nations Studies/Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies) will explore how the Sovereign Erotic as “wholeness healed and/or healing from historical trauma,” rooted within the histories, traditions, and resistance struggles of Indigenous peoples, counteract colonial stereotypes.