Category Archives: Undergraduate Students

Typewriters! Femme fatales! Zeppelins!

English 460A: Early Literature of the Modernist Period in the United Kingdom and Ireland, taught by Dr. Dorothy Hadfield this fall, promises modernism as you’ve possibly never imagined it. Typewriters! Zeppelins! ZEPPELINS! There’s something delightfully steampunk about it all. Read on to find out more about English 460, which runs Tuesday/Thursday 10:00-11:20am.

Vampires. Prostitutes. Typewriters. Femme fatales. Zeppelins.
As the world moved towards the 20th century, the spirit of modernism was in the air… and on the ground, and in the machines…. Literature of the fin-de-siècle reflected both the optimism and the anxiety of a nation in transition. This is the age of Dracula and Sherlock Holmes—villains intent on destroying the sociopolitical order and agents intent on thwarting them. It’s the age of Major Barbara, pitting a Salvation Army crusader against her arms-dealer father in an argument over which of them will save the world. But some of the most controversial literature of the period revolved around Grant Allen’s notorious novel The Woman Who Did, hotly debating the propriety of what the woman did – or didn’t – do. In this course, we will look at both the literary texts and the historical and social contexts in which they were written to examine how a range of early modernist writers were coming to terms with the future they see approaching.


English 408B: The Discourse of Advertising

I am grateful to anyone who gives me an excuse to share that vintage image of a pig bisecting itself. In this case, it’s Dr. Gordon Slethaug who, this fall, will be teaching English 408B: The Discourse of Advertising. According to the description:

Print advertising is dead; Long live advertising. Well, no, door-to-door advertising mainly involving newspapers, magazines, and other printed material and is not entirely dead, but it no longer represents the main thrust in advertising or the bulk of revenue. Still, because TV and digital advertising now surrounds us in ways that it never did before, the volume of it and the revenue have been steadily climbing and are expected to climb further. Moreover, of the 584 billion dollars spent on advertising in the US in 2017, over 50% of that is said to be on Google and Facebook. In fact, 97% of Facebook’s enormous revenue comes from advertising. So, the face of advertising may have changed, but the consumer is increasingly influenced as never before. This course will introduce students to the history and present reality of the discourse and rhetoric of advertising that surrounds us at home and increasingly abroad. In addition, students will have ample opportunity to write about advertising, create ads of their own, and compile a portfolio of advertising copy and discussion to show prospective employers.

Barry, Pete. 2017 (third edition). The Advertising Concept Book. New York: Thames and Hudson
Various online and PDF articles on LEARN as required
“Glen talks” by Glen Drummond (Quarry Communications) and Gordon Slethaug

Test X 2 (30%)
Twice a term (Oct. 16, Nov. 29), in a full class period of an hour and twenty minutes each, students will write a test applying readings and lecture material to ads. Each test will cover a specific section of the course. Both will hold equal weight with regard to your final grade. (15% each)

Advertising Portfolio: Reflections (32%/8% each)
Students will create and maintain a portfolio for the duration of the course. Four reflections of about 1200 words each submitted on LEARN as well as in hard copy will give students the opportunity to create, analyze, and edit ads within the context of course readings and lecture material. Reflections will include:
–Oct 2: Use Barry’s basic tools and campaign analysis to unpack an advertising       campaign
–Oct. 11: Reflect on the semiotic use of color in a campaign
–Oct. 30: Reflect on the use of males or females in advertising or relationship between the two
–Nov. 15: Subtervise (substitute/revise) either a single ad or campaign

Advertising Portfolio: Major Campaign (15%)
–Nov. 27:  This major assignment will require students, working in groups of three (a sign-up sheet will be distributed), to design and comment on a multi-platform advertising campaign (consisting of 3 print ads, 2 TV spots, 1 viral component), present the projects in class, and submit them to me.

In-class presentation (13%)
Students will work in groups of three to make PowerPoint presentations on material for one particular day.  This should be 30 minutes long, commenting on some of the main take-away points of readings with reference to selected ads.

Participation (10%)
By enrolling in this course you obligate yourself to read the assigned texts in advance of class, attend classes, and enter readily into class discussion. Our class discussions will be an important part of your learning, and that is reflected in the mark distribution. Should you miss a class, it is your responsibility to find out what you missed.


Literature of the Romantic

Looking for a 4th year course for Fall 2018? Why not consider English 430A: Literature of the Romantic, taught by Dr. John Savarese?

This course will offer an introduction to the first half of the Romantic period. Often characterized as an “Age of Revolution,” the Romantic period saw a variety of approaches to (and breaks with) tradition, from modes of governance to poetic style. We will begin by studying the poetry, prose, and images that circulated in the wake of the French Revolution, with particular focus on the development of a discourse of human rights in literature and political rhetoric, and culminating in William Blake’s various treatments of the power of the imagination. The next weeks of the course will focus the relations among Romanticism, revolution, and the literary gothic. We will conclude the course by revisiting perhaps the most traditional location of a “revolution in poetic language”—the Wordsworth circle—in light of the broader interests, anxieties, and experiments we will have surveyed. Our last sessions will focus on an additional text we choose together, with the aim of producing a concrete outcome (e.g. an annotated text or digital resource) that future classes can use.

William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (Dover, 9780486281223)
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (Broadview, 9781551114798)
Coursepack (available on LEARN; please print and bring to class)

Participation 25%
Exercise 1: 2-page “close reading” 10%
Exercise 2: 5-page short paper 15%
Exercise 3: Final Project 20%
Self-evaluation 1 (at mid-term) 5%
Self-evaluation 2 (end of term) 5%
Final exam 20%

MONSTERS! (also known as English 208G)

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From Frankenstein and Dracula to World War Z and Slenderman: join Dr. John Savarese this fall for “Gothic Monsters,” a study of monstrosity, fear, terror, and horror in the gothic mode from its origins to the present (Tuesday/Thursday 11:30 – 12:50).

Among other questions, this term the course will ask: What cultural and intellectual work do our monsters do for us? Why do scary s tories give pleasure ? W hy did stories of religious superstition and ghostly hauntings take on new power in and after the “Age of Enlightenment , ” and how do today’s terrors bear the marks of that history ? We will first survey the foundations of the gothic mode and two of its most canonical monsters — Mary Shelley’s patchwork of living tissues and Bram Stoker’s synthesis of vampire traditions . We will then use the zombie as a test case a) in monsters and their variations ( how does the zombie relate to other “undead” monsters, and why is the reanimated corpse so persistent a trope ? ) and b) the migration of genres (to what degree are zombie horror fictions “gothic” in any meaningful sense)? Alongside the zombie, we will also examine the gothic’s divergent paths in weird fiction, horror film, music and fashion subcultures, and the murkier regions of the internet.

Required Texts
Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (the 1818 text)
Bram Stoker, Dracula
Max Brookes, World War Z
Note : You may procure any complete and unabridged edition of the above texts , so long as the edition of Shelley uses the 1818 text (which was subsequently heavily revised) .

Available on LEARN (Courepack)
Jeffrey Cohen, “Monster Culture: Seven Theses”
Excerpts on the Sublime, Terror, and Horror ( Baldick; Burke; Ann.; Radcliffe; King)
Theoretical readings: Sigmund Freud, from “The Uncanny;” Julia Kristeva, from Powers of Horror; Susan Sontag, from “Notes on Camp;” Bakhtin, from Rabelais and His World
Fiction selections: Rice, Lovecraft

Online/Hyperlinked Texts
Frankenstein (1910 film , recommended but not required viewing)
Bauhaus, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (1979 song)
“From Gothic to Goth” ( Youtube playlist)
Night of the Living Dead (1968 film )
Know Your Meme: Slenderman

Pictured: a young Bram Stoker

Murder, jazz, and more: English 485 this fall

It’s that time when we start to advertise special topics courses. I could lead with “this one has no exam,” but quite honestly, that’s not as compelling as tales of jazz, mystery, racial passing, and the hoops African American authors jumped through to get them published. Welcome to English 485, Claiming the Narrative: African American Novels from Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance (offered Fall 2018, M/W 1:00-2:20).

Claiming the Narrative: African American Novels from Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance
Dr. Jennifer Harris

A satire featuring a machine that turns black people white; a murder mystery where the corpse isn’t dead; a utopian tale of a secret black nationalist state in Texas; an expressionist jazz novel. Following the abolition of slavery African American readers swelled in numbers; so too, did their desire for diverse novels with protagonists who looked like them or shared their sensibilities and concerns. This course opens in the 1890s when, for the first time, African American authors could reasonably assume that the majority of their black readers hadn’t been denied access to literacy and had exposure to a variety of literary forms. Yet, access to publishing remained vexed; white newspapers did not equally review black novels, mainstream literary journals expressed a preference for particular iterations of black life, and white publishers proclaimed there was no audience for a “black book.” Drawing on literary studies and print culture studies, we will consider eight novels, the context in which they were produced, and the ways in which they circulated. Select academic essays on African American print culture and literary history will complement our study. As there is no exam, additional emphasis will be placed on engagement in the classroom.

Course readings
Fauset, Jessie Redmon. Plum Bun (1928)
Fisher, Rudolph. The Conjure Man Dies (1932)
Griggs, Sutton. Imperium in Imperio (1899)
Harper, Frances E. W. Iola Leroy (1892)
Johnson, James Weldon. Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912)
Larsen, Nella. Passing (1929)
McKay, Claude. Home to Harlem (1927)
Thurman, Wallace. Black No More (1931)
* select academic articles will be posted on learn

Course components
Two written reports (3 pages each) on reception of a novel (2 x 10%=20%)
Presentation (25 minutes) (25%)
Essay proposal (10%)
Essay peer review component (5%)
Final essay (8-10 pages) (25%)
Class participation (15%)
* no exam


Screenshot 2018-06-25 09.25.35Convocation happens twice a year at UWaterloo. June convocation is the larger of the two. Faculty dust off their academic robes, enviously eying colleagues who graduated from institutions with much nicer robes in more flattering colours or with more interesting designs. (UWaterloo’s are red and green, pictured above.) Inevitably someone cracks a joke about Harry Potter, and who resembles which Hogwarts professor. And then the ceremony begins: we get to watch students receive their degrees as parents and friends cheer, mortifying some, buoying others. Afterwards, there is a reception in the student centre, where everyone poses for photos and faculty mingle with students and their parents. Congratulations to all our new English graduates! Here is our 2018 graduating class, with photos interspersed:


Kasandra Arthur, “We are Having All Kinds of Fun: Fluidity in Shoebox Project” (Supervisor Dr. Neil Randall)

Ryan Clement, “Playing the Story: The Emergence of Narrative through the Interaction between Players, Game Mechanics, and Participatory Fan Communities.” (Co-supervisors Karen Collins, Dr. Neil Randall)



Megan Dawe
Justine Fifield
Tasnuma Mou
Amber O’Brien


Julie Funk, “Sleep Mode and Material Melancholies: Speaking Roland Barthes, Love, Longing and Loss in Smartphone Discourse” (pictured above right) (Supervisor: Dr. Marcel O’Gorman)

Miraya Groot, “Waterloo Region Cyborgs:  Practice and Theory” (Supervisor: Dr. Marcel O’Gorman)

Megan Honsberger, “Technically Buddhist” (Supervisor: Dr. Marcel O’Gorman)

Caitlin Woodcock, “Resistance isn’t Futile: Exploring Mindful Non-Use of Digital Technologies from Female Perspectives” (pictured above left) (Supervisor: Dr. Marcel O’Gorman)


Emran Arif
Aaron David Atienza
Carmen Barsomian-Dietrich
Martin Bertrand
Dale Brennan
Gabriela Carmen Bzorek
Brian Nicolas Carney
Diana Hill Yin Cheung
Erica Antoinette Diane Lucille Coutts
Alyssa Briana Dauria
Benjamin Davis
Sandun Dissanayake
Benjamin Michael Elliott
Annabelle Camilla Maria Eshuis
Christine Barbara Frim
Alicia Jean Fuller
Emily Galvao
Nivan Hamed
Taylor Hatkoski
Meghan Holmes
Ishmal Hussain
Jasmin Jackson
Sumer Jafri
Lisa Manni Juniper
Tasha Karsan
Naz Delair Kittani (pictured above right)
Melissa Karina Koehler
Heather Nicole Lambert
Chelsea Leite (pictured above left)
Hayley Joy Levine
Troy MacArthur
Laura Macdonald
Katharine Macpherson
Victoria Yvonne Malfait
Kayley Maree Marner
Ernest Joseph McCullough
Kristin Elizabeth Rose McKnight
Scott Aaron Metzger
Shehzeen Misbah
Emily Taylore Misurec
William George Mitchell
Tatiana Morand
Zibusiso Ncube
Vanessa Ngan
Ryan Harrison Nisker
Oluwabukunola Oluwafisayo Orunesajo
Emily B Paul
Robyn Peers
Brandon Petryna
Nathika Pratheep-Ananth
Sanum Mumtaz Qazi
Summer Sarah Rashed
Michael Joseph Reitmeier
Alexander Joseph Rollinson
Erica Rosa
Tanja Maria Saric
Pamela Maria Schmidt
Nemanja Simic
Madeline Victoria Smith
Megan Elizabeth Smith
Ashley Marie Snyder
Elizabeth Spanjer
Katherine Elaine Steckly
Jonathan Tang
Naomi Corinna Turner
Sarah Elizabeth Turner
Meghan Elisabeth Voll
Margaret Anna Walker
Mackenzie Jane Verba Weaver
Samantha Miharu Yasui

Reconciliation, Resistance, Resurgence

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On Thursday April 5, Dr. Heather Smyth’s ARTS 130 class will be displaying research posters in Porter Library reflecting what they’ve learned about the course theme, “Reconciliation, Resistance, Resurgence.” They have been learning about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the history of Indigenous resistance in Canada, and Indigenous literature. The poster session is also part of the ongoing “Unsettling Conversations” teaching series at UW. The students will be present from 10-11 am to meet with visitors but the posters will be up all day. Please drop by and see what they’ve been doing.

Image source