Spring 2023 - ENGL 355 C100

Canadian Literatures (4)

Class Number: 7915

Delivery Method: Distance Education


  • Course Times + Location:

    Distance Education

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 21, 2023
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM

  • Prerequisites:

    30 units or two 200-division English courses.



Study of selected works of Canadian literature, including Indigenous, diasporic, and settler texts. May draw from a variety of methods, critical debates, regions, and historical periods. This course may be repeated for credit if a different topic is taught.


“Home, for me, was not a birthright, but an invention.... I want to talk about the problem of belonging, of home, both as a place and as an idea. ... when we speak ofhome we are speaking of several things... We say home and mean origins, we say home and mean belonging. These are two different things: where we come from, and where we are.” Award-winning Black Canadian novelist Esi Edugyan, who lives in Victoria, BC, writes about home and belonging in her lecture, Dreaming of Elsewhere, and puts her finger on some of the main themes of this course: how does one craft a sense of belonging? What relationship does a sense of belonging have to our sense of our origins? How does race, nation, gender, and class impact our sense of belonging to community? In this course, students will consider the dynamic interaction between place and displacement in a diverse array of literatures from British Columbia, including fiction, memoir, poetry, essay, visual art,performance, and film. Through our readings by writers such as Esi Edugyan, Jeannette Armstrong, Joy Kogawa, Fred Wah, Eden Robinson, and Wayde Compton, we will examine the reciprocal relationship between land and story, and consider itsconnection to memory, time, and history.

There are five units in this course:
1. Writing the Land
2. Writing for Justice,
3. Writing the Self,
4. Writing Vancouver, and
5. Writing the Future

We will ask how literature acts to claim territory, how stories can fight for ecologicaljustice, how authors can unearth buried histories of the land, and what kind of future speculative fiction writers have in store for us. Through our readings and discussions, we will consider questions relating to multiculturalism, diaspora, immigration, and Indigeneity in relation to gender and race. In addition, we will consider issues such as racialization of space, working-class spaces, spaces of consumption and production, the spaces of protest and resistance, and urban gentrification. Ultimately, the students in this course will learn that the literature of BC is a battleground in which many actors have struggled and continue to struggle to claim place, belonging, territory, and justice.


Thematic outcomes

Recognize the role that narrative plays in determining how we understand the contests over land in British Columbia.

Identify the various claims made on land through narrative.

Recognize how belief systems are embedded in different narrative forms - poetry, graphic novel, short story.

Distinguish literary forms and analyse their effects on interpretation of texts and issues.

Understand significant developments and movements in contemporary literatures of British Columbia.

Skills-based outcomes

Use close reading strategies to analyze the relationship between land and story.

Summarize an article and identify the thesis.Construct an argument and support it with evidence in a convincing manner.

Make links between current events and narratives about land in BC.

Analyze and interpret literary texts across a range of genres and media.

Synthesize and evaluate a range of critical approaches to literature.

Recognize complex relationships between texts and contexts (historical, social, cultural, literary).

Cite from multiple literary and academic texts and generate a critical conversation between them.


  • Position Paper (350 words) 10%
  • Essay 1 Critical Analysis (1000 words) 15%
  • Essay 2: Comparative Analysis (2500 words) 35%
  • Final Exam 30%
  • Position Paper Discussion 10%



Important Note: The SFU Bookstore is trying to get the required books as soon as they can but they may not be there on time. Please consider ordering the books from your local bookstore.

Eden Robinson, Monkey Beach (2000). Vintage ISBN 978-0676973228

Joy Kogawa, Obasan (1983). Penguin ISBN 978-0735233706

Fred Wah, Diamond Grill: 10th Anniversary Edition (2006). NeWest ISBN 978-1897126110

Edugyan, Esi. Dreaming of Elsewhere: Observations on Home (2014). U Alberta P. ISBN 978-88864-821-1 (also available SFU Library online)


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.

Centre for Online and Distance Education Notes:

All courses are delivered through Canvas.  Students will have access starting the first day of classes.   

Required Readings are the responsibility of the student to purchase. Textbooks are available for purchase online through the SFU Bookstore's website. 

All courses have an Additional Course Fee of $40.This fee is not associated primarily with physical materials. This also supports developing tools and rich web resources embedded throughout the activities, assignments and videos.

If your course has an exam,  further details may be available in Canvas

NOTE : Exams may be held in-person, at the Burnaby campus. 

For information on exams and policies : https://www.sfu.ca/students/exams/new-exam-scheduling.html

NOTE: This course outline was accurate at the time of publication but is subject to change. Please check your course details in Canvas.

*Important Note for U.S. citizens: As per the U.S. Department of Education, programs offered in whole or in part through telecommunications, otherwise known as distance education or correspondence are ineligible for Federal Direct Loans. This also includes scenarios where students who take distance education courses outside of their loan period and pay for them with their own funding, and attempt to apply for future Federal Direct Loans. 

For more information about US Direct Loans please visit and to read our FAQ on distance education courses, please go here: http://www.sfu.ca/students/financialaid/international/us-loans/federal-direct-loan.html


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