It has never been easy, or even possible, to define a cohesive Canadian Literature. In this course, we will unpack this unease around questions of decolonization and diversity. How can we unsettle cultural nationalism? What sort of citizenship, and what sort of literacy, emerges in the wake of this critical work? How do we re-constitute a sense of Canada as place, as history, as literary project, as country? Reading work from a variety of (octen conflicted) origins and backgrounds, we will confront these complicated and compelling questions around who and where we find ourselves to be.
Assignments for the course will include a response blog, a brief (3 minute) video or a brief (5 minute) audio podcast, three formal analysis essays and a final examination.
Dionne Brand, Fierce Departures: The Poetry of Dionne Brand (Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2009)
Maria Campbell, HalfBreed (NCL, 1975)
Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Volume One: Summary -- Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future. (Lorimer, 2015) An electronic copy of this first volume of the TRC report is also available, as a pdf, here.
Margery Fee and Dory Nason, eds., Tekahionwake: E. Pauline Johnson's Writings on Native North America (Broadview, 2016)
Joy Kogawa, Obasan (Penguin, )
Alice Munro, Vintage Munro (Vintage, 2014)
John K. Samson, Lyrics and Poems 1997-2012 (ARP, 2012)
Three short analysis papers (maximum 1500 words, or approximately five typed, double-spaced pages) -- 20% each, for a total of 60% Click here for a topic sheet for the short analysis papers.
A YouTube-style video, of no more than three minutes duration or an audio podcast, of no more than four minutes duration -- 10% Click here for a description of the format for the video project, along with a sample video.
Shared blog/vlog/discussion group, five substantive postings (1-2 paragraphs) -- 10% Click here for instructions about the blog posts.
Final examination -- 20% Click here for the rubric for the final examination.
Plagiarism and Citation of Sources
Please refer to the UBC Learning Commons FAQ on plagiarism. All of the written work you submit in this course must be your own original work. Copying the work of others without acknowledgement is a serious academic offence with significant consequences. Don't do it.
Lecturer's Course Blog
Please click here to access my blog for this course. I will be posting my own responses to our class, additional material and commentary here.
Links are still being updated. (Please note that I can't necessarily endorse the contents of any linked sites. They're here for background information.)
All classes take place on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays from 11:00am to 11:50am in BRKX-2365.
Click here for a Wikipedia entry on the discovery and naming of the moons of Jupiter.
This week's keyword(s): CanLit, nation, reading, country, place, epistemology, text
The video of "Bobcaygeon" by The Tragically Hip we started to discuss in our first class:
How does the song or the video construct (notice the repairing of the trashed stage at the end!) a sense of home or homecoming? What is revealed here? How is the local juxtaposed with the cosmic (the constellations...)? What kind of Canadian cosmos is this? Why is it significant that the lyrics are from the point of view of a (mounted) policeman? How are matrices of race and class and gender and place explored or presented in the video or the song? (Who are The Men They Couldn't Hang, mentioned in the lyrics as provoking anti-fascist riots and represented on-stage in the video, and whom does their music represent? Notice too how Rob Baker's acoustic guitar [the instrument with which the song opens] at 4:07-ish is inscribed with "This Machine Kills Fascists," which is the scrawled inscription on Woody Guthrie's guitar.) Whose Canada gets represented? What are its cultural politics?
Week of September 10 to 14, 2018
Please read Pauline Johnson, "The Corn Husker" (190), "Ojistoh" (180), "Canadian Born" (37), "As Red Men Die" (105), "A Pagan in St Paul's Cathedral" (117), "We-Hro's Sacrifice" (121)
Click here for an open-access electronic copy of E Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake)'s Legends of Vancouver (new edition, 1911).
Click here for a page on E. Pauline Johnson at the Poetry Foundation (Chicago) website.
Click here for the entry on Johnson from The Canadian Encyclopedia.
This week's keyword(s): decolonization, reconciliation, lyric, elegy, culture
Week of September 17 to 21, 2018
Please read Pauline Johnson, "The Song My Paddle Sings" (148), "As It Was in the Beginning," "Heroic Indian Mothers" (84), "A Squamish Legend of Napoleon" (246), "The Legend of the Ice Babies" (252), "The Lost Lagoon" (255).
Please read Peter Bryce (342), Duncan Campbell Scott, "The Onandaga Madonna" (321).
Click here to watch a YouTube video of a reading of "The Half-Breed Girl" by Duncan Campbell Scott (from poetryspoken.com).
Click here to read the text of the conclusion to a LIterary History of Canada, by Northrop Frye. (It contains the often cited passage about "Where is here?")
Click here to access an e-book version of Canadian Born, E. Pauline Johnson Tekahionwake's 1903 collection. Note the position of the title poem. Note the photograph that's offered as frontispiece.
Click here for "How a famous Canadian author came to be buried in Stanley Park."
Click here for a CanLit Guide on E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake).
This week's keyword(s): indigeneity, autochthony, representation, performance, appropriation, hybridity, race
Week of September 24 to 28, 2018
Please watch and listen to The Idea of North by Glenn Gould. (Both radio documentary and short film are about an hour long each.)
Please watch The People of the Kattawapiskak River (2012), dir. Alanis Obomsawin.
Click here for "Glenn Gould on his eccentricities."
Click here to access Alanis Obomsawin's films made for the NFB.
Click here for a page on Alanis Obomsawin at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation site.
Click here for "Alanis Obomsawin on the resurgence of Indigenous music and living in a 'different time' for Canada." (July 20, 2018)
Click here for "The Idea of North: A Short Film by Glenn Gould" on YouTube.
Click here for "Revisiting Glenn Gould's revolutionary radio documentary" from the CBC Radio website, which has both the complete audio version of The Idea of North embedded, and also the "short film" (which I have embedded below) on the radio documentary created by Gould. (Note that the "full episode" link on the embedded player at the top of the story is for an Ideas documentary about the radio program; the sound file for the program itself is embedded further down the webpage.)
Click here for a brief article on Maria Campbell from The Canadian Encyclopedia.
Click here for a brief page on Maria Campbell from Athabasca University.
Click here for Bedside Books: Nick Ferrio on "Half-Breed" by Maria Campbell, audio from the website for The Next Chapter.
This week's keyword(s):
Week of October 10 and 12, 2018
Monday, October 8, 2018, is Thanksgiving Day: UNIVERSITY CLOSED.
Please finish reading Halfbreed by Maria Campbell.
Please read at least the introduction and whatever else you can -- looking especially to the 94 calls to action near the close of the volume -- from Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada; a free-of-charge pdf of the book is available here.
How might Maria Campbell's text function as documentary or as autobiography around the 2015 report?
Week of October 15 to 19, 2018
Please read "The Progress of Love" and "Hateship Friendship Courtship Loveship Marriage" by Alice Munro
Videos to screen or audio podcasts to listen to this week: Marco S.
This week's keyword(s):
Week of October 22 to 26, 2018
Please read "Differently" and "Carried Away" by Alice Munro
Videos to screen or audio podcasts to listen to this week: Noelle W., Sefa D., Skylar M., Tracy W.
Click here to read "Everyone Is Lonely" by Billy-Ray Belcourt.
Please read Dionne Brand -- the whole book! (Start at the beginning, with the sequence "No Language Is Neutral.")
Click here to access a CanLit Guide (from the journal Canadian Literature) on Dionne Brand's No Language Is Neutral.
Click here to read the opening pages of A Map to the Door of No Return.
Click here for a bio and excerpts from Dionne Brand's poetry from Canadian Poetry Online.
Click here for Dionne Brand's page at the University of Guelph.
Click here to link to a page on Brand at the Griffin Poetry Prize site, which Brand won in 2011 (for ossuaries.)
Click here for a 1999 article on Brand (from Quill and Quire).
Click here to read and view Dionne Brand's 2018 commencement address at U of T.
Click here for an excerpt from "Thirsty" used in the Poetry in Voice reading contest.
Click here for "Dionne Brand's Global Intimacies: Practising Affective Citizenship" by Diana Brydon (2007).
Click here for "Dionne Brand, Christina Sharpe, & David Chariandy in conversation," from The Capilano Review, April 5, 2018.
Click here to read from a pdf of an excerpt from In the Wake: On Blackness and Being by Christina Sharpe (from Duke UP, 2016). (Note how Brand is cited throughout the introduction. There is a long quotation of "Verso 55" from Brand's new book, The Blue Clerk.)
Click here to listen to "Teju Cole, Madeleine Thien and Dionne Brand on the places and spaces that inspire their writing," from Writers and Company with Eleanor Wachtel, September 2018 on CBC Radio.
Click here for "An Ars Poetica from the Blue Clerk" by Dionne Brand (from The Black Scholar 47.1, 2017, pp. 58-77).
Click here for the Conclusion to a Literary History of Canada (1965), by Northrop Frye. Note how he, famously, frames the question of Anglo-Celtic, settler-culture identity in terms of placing, of physiography.
Click here to watch Sisters in the Struggle, a film by Dionne Brand and Ginny Stikeman, produced in 1991 through the NFB.
Videos to screen or audio podcasts to listen to this week: Caitlin S., Natalie H., David M.
This week's keyword(s):
Week of November 5 to 9, 2018
Please read Joy Kogawa, Obasan.
Click here to access a CanLit Guide (from the journal Canadian Literature) on Obasan.
Videos to screen or audio podcasts to listen to this week: Johnny Z. & Kevin L., Paula S., Cameron N., Natalie D., Louie L. & Audrey L.
Click here for the text of "What Will You Be" by Dennis Lee.
Click here for an entry from the Canadian Encyclopedia on Charles G D Roberts.
Click here for "Tantramar Revisited" by Charles G. D. Roberts.