2019-2020 Courses


VIC202Y1Y

Forms of Representation

Professor Ann Komaromi and Professor Sarah Dowling
R 12-1

In this class students will explore the problem of representation across cultural boundaries. We will consider literary, visual and other works from the western tradition and beyond, investigating how such imaginative works may foster reflection on ourselves and our world. Topics for critical theoretical reflection include: genre, narrative, art, history, the self and others, sexuality, and nature and ecology. We will read works including (but not limited to) Homer’s The Odyssey, Aristotle’s Poetics, the Bible, the Qur’an, Dante’s Inferno, Auerbach’s Mimesis, Russian Formalist literary theory, Eliot’s The Waste Land, Barthes’s Mythologies, Mahasweta Devi's Imaginary Maps, and Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, vol. 1.  

Exclusion: VIC201Y1 
Distribution Requirement Status: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


VIC203H1F 

Empires I

Professor Mary Nyquist
M 12-2

This course examines the literary and non-literary representations that accompany imperial conquests and hegemony from pre-modern times to the emergence of the modern nation-state. We compare the establishment, interpretation and reinvention of cultural forms of empire (e.g. Ottoman, Persian, Roman) at local, national, transnational and global levels.

Exclusion:
 VIC203Y1 
Distribution Requirement Status: Humanities 
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


VIC204H1 F 

Canons and Canonicity

Professor Sarah Dowling 
W 3-5

This course will consider the problem of canons in a variety of contexts: the aesthetic (including the literary, visual arts and music), but also the religious, the political, the philosophical and other discursive forms. Special focus will be on the problem of the relations across these boundaries.

Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2) 


VIC205H1-S

Empires II

Professor Shaun Ross

M 12-2

This course examines literary representations of intercultural encounters in the context of imperial conquest and hegemony from the emergence of the modern nation-state through more recent developments in globalization. We will consider four novelists (Aphra Behn, Herman Melville, Chinua Achebe, and Shusaku Endo), each writing from a distinct cultural perspective, who represent encounters with the “Other” at different points in the history of imperialist expansion. We will frame our analysis of these literary authors with reference to several key 20th-century philosophical reflections on the relationship between the self and others, attending to the novel’s special power as a medium for encountering and imagining the Other in the context of colonial expansion and globalization.

Exclusion: VIC203Y1Y. 
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


VIC301H1F

Critical Writing Seminar

Professor Eva-Lynn Jagoe
T 3-5

This course is a writing intensive class devoted to the practice and analysis of critical writing. We will explore the critical tradition, the public(s) for whom one writes, and the choice of voice, point of view, and writerly form. The class will be structured around workshop style discussion and writing exercises.

Recommended Preparation: VIC202Y1 
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course 
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


VIC302H1F

Pasts and Futures

Professor Andreas Motsch
W 10-12

An introduction to representations of history, in which we will consider concepts that turn on the problem of time such as tradition, periodization, genealogy, memory, crisis, revolution, eschatology, and utopia.

Recommended Preparation: VIC202Y1 
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course 
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


VIC304H1S

Praxis and Performance

Professor Eric Cazdyn

R 10-12

This course will explore what it means to "act" in cultural, political, religious, and psychological realms. We focus on the historically shifting relations between theory and practice, between artifice and agency, and between theatricality and spectatorship.

Recommended Preparation:
 VIC202Y1 
Distribution Requirement Status: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)


VIC307H1F

Periodization and Cultural History

Professor Shaun Ross
Time: R 10-12

This course explores the phenomenon of secularization as it has shaped various modes of historical periodization. We will consider secularization both as a contested historical narrative and as a stylistic concept, examining the way narratives of secularization have informed theoretical understandings of the novel. The class will be divided into two main units. We will first examine a number of recent historical and socio-cultural studies of secularism, many of which call into question the once standard narrative that society at large is following an inevitable move away from religious modes of living and thinking. Drawing on these revisionist accounts of secularism, we will reconsider the role and features of the novel as the dominant literary genre of our “secular age.”


Recommended Preparation:
 VIC202Y1
Distribution Requirement: Humanities
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)


VIC401H1F/S

Seminar in Comparative Literature

This course offers senior students in Literature and Critical Theory the opportunity to take part in a graduate seminar in Comparative Literature. Topics change annually.

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor 
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course 
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)



VIC402H1S

Translation and Comparativity

Professor Sarah Dowling

W 3-5

This course will consider questions of adaptation, appropriation, imitation, hybridity and incommensurability across languages, geographical regions, epochs, media, and academic disciplines. Course topics may include the role of translation in the historical projects of nation-building and empire.

Prerequisite: VIC202Y1 and one of: VIC302H1, VIC303H1, VIC304H1, VIC305H1, VIC306H1, VIC307H1; or permission of instructor
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course 
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)



VIC403H1F

Advanced Topics in Literature and Critical Theory: The Tale of Genji: Adaptation, Translation, Remediation, Theorization

Professor Atsuko Sakaki

T 10-12

This course engages with The Tale of Genji, in Royall Tyler’s unabridged English translation (Penguin Classics, 2002), the most canonical Japanese narrative from the early eleventh century, oft dubbed the world’s oldest novel, as a confluence of diverse forces of reading. 

We will overview origins of the text in classical Chinese and Japanese poetry and ancient mythical narratives, and processes in which it became a source for later texts from medieval romance, poetry and noh plays to early modern fiction, and was remediated in image-text from medieval picture scrolls to contemporary manga. We will examine the history of translation into English and modern Japanese, and reflect on its significance in the (literary) historical (e.g., in comparison with the psychological novel, stream of consciousness) and geopolitical (e.g., orientalist) context of the space-time of each version.

We will also discuss accomplishments and potentials of theoretical readings of the text in light of narratology, feminism, queer theory, new materialism, and new historicism. Each session will consist of a lecture and a discussion on a specific theme, while we will read all fifty-four chapters sequentially to explore the narrative’s paradigmatic (scene-oriented and studded with over seven hundred poems) and syntagmatic (temporal and causal) structure.

Prerequisite: VIC202Y1 and one of: VIC302H1, VIC303H1, VIC304H1, VIC305H1, VIC306H1, VIC307H1; or permission of instructor.
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course 
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

Current Students