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What courses will you take?

This guide is designed to help you make course selections for 2019-2020. While the Mount’s University Calendar gives descriptions for all English and Writing courses, not all of those courses are offered each year. In the drop-down menus below, you’ll see more detailed information about the courses offered, program options, an introduction to English at the Mount, information on courses for next year, and checklists to help you plan. Please consult the University Calendar for official information on admissions and program requirements.

  • Program Options — Students can take a 20-unit Bachelor of Arts degree with an Honours or a Major in English literature (typically four years). English can also be taken as a Combined Major with another subject in the Arts or Science offerings. A 15-unit Bachelor of Arts (General Studies) degree is also available with a Concentration in English (typically three years). These and other options (such as a Minor in Literature or Writing) are explored below in the drop-down menu.
  • ENGL or WRIT — Courses offered by our department are designated as English (ENGL) or Writing (WRIT) or both (ENGL/WRIT). Courses with the WRIT designation can count towards the Writing Minor or they can be taken as an elective. ENGL/WRIT courses let you decide if you want the course to count towards an English program option, towards the Writing Minor, or as an English or Writing elective.
  • Pre-requisites — Please consult the University Calendar to ensure you are adequately prepared for the courses you want to take. Generally, taking a 1000-level course is recommended to help you prepare for 2000-level and 3000-level courses.

Looking for Academic Advising?

At the Mount, we want to ensure you’re on the right track from registration straight through to graduation. Our academic advisors are here to make sure your course choices work for your degree requirements and timeline. Download our advising checklists and contact your academic advisor – we encourage you to meet in person. A list of academic advisors is posted on the English Department bulletin board on the 5th floor of the Seton Academic Centre (between Room 510 and Room 511), or if you need to be assigned to an advisor, ask our administrative assistant, Tracy McDonald, in Seton 533 (902-457-6346;

English/Writing Course Booklet 2021-2022

Download the English Course Booklet-2021-2022 — or read the course descriptions below.

An introduction to English at the Mount

Victorian lit recitations 2011

Left: Victorian Literature students after a public recitation of 19th-century poetry.



Study what you love

In the English Department you can select courses that cover a wide range of subjects from traditional and historical literatures to contemporary theory and cultural studies. As part of your course work, you may find yourself memorizing lines for a performance project, researching eighteenth-century women writers, examining art responding to 9/11, or analyzing what makes a monster in different cultures. You will craft persuasive essays about books, authors, and issues that excite you. Some of your course work might deal with authors and subjects that you already know you love, and other courses will introduce you to exciting new challenges and approaches.

Even as you may be involved in analyzing how a book is made into a film, or translating lines of medieval poetry, or debating concepts of gender and sexuality in contemporary media, you will also be improving your oral and written communication skills, your research abilities, and your own creativity as a writer while developing the theoretical tools that will lead you to a greater literary and cultural understanding.

We know that you’re more likely to succeed in university if you study what you love.

Charlotte Kiddell at Grand Opening of McCain Centre


Left: Charlotte Kiddell, English Honours student and student activist, one of ten Canadians recently chosen by the CBC to interview the Prime Minister one-on-one.



Gain skills in communication and critical analysis

University English teaches you both clear, articulate writing and critical analysis of the ways that language and literature work. These skills are acquired by prolonged experience and practice, rather like high-diving or ballet or piano-playing. Regular attendance at classes is consequently essential, along with active participation.

To maximize participation, English classes at the Mount are usually run in a discussion format. Your instructors will sometimes transmit information necessary to understand the background of literary works or certain critical approaches — but on the whole, our teaching of English will not be simple transmission, any more than your learning will be simple memorization. Rather, we try to raise thought-provoking questions about literary texts, so that students can try out various solutions. Through weighing one solution against another, and checking all these solutions against the text, you should acquire a good sense of literary judgment. This will, over time, make your responses more convincing, more sophisticated, and more able to take account of the full complexity of literature.

These skills are carried over into the formulation of written arguments. English Department faculty make an effort to give full, careful comments on each student’s written work. If taken to heart, these comments should prevent the repetition of errors, and year by year the writing of English students increases in precision and authority.

While all of our English courses will enable you to become a better writer, our Writing courses are for those who are especially interested in exploring the theory and practice of writing in different situations and in different types of writing. Writing courses will introduce writing as a rhetorical practice: a highly intentional exercise of choices to achieve a particular goal. Their topics range from an introduction to the field of writing studies, through creative writing and persuasion, editing and publishing, to theory and research in the field. Our Writing classes are run as small workshops of no more than 20 to 25 students in which you and your instructor and other students work closely on your writing, research, and editing.

The skills gained by these teaching practices — the ability to think through problems and then to communicate the results convincingly — will be useful not only in English classes but in any number of different fields and professions. In fact, excellent communication skills are among the top three priorities of most employers today. Read more about our students’ career paths.

Left: a photo-collage of Halifax street art by Katrina Haight, part of her project in a Contemporary Culture course on psychogeography and the city as text. Read more about Katrina’s project.

Enjoy innovative teaching in a creative community

At the Mount, you will get to know your professors and classmates as you read, discuss, write, and work together in small classes of no more than 20 to 35 students. And your professors will get to know you as well, guiding you through your assignments and advising you on your program of study. Your work is graded by your professor, not by student teaching assistants.

While your professors are all active researchers in their fields, they also look for creative new ways to bring their knowledge into the classroom to share with you. All of our faculty are committed to high standards of teaching, and many of them have won or have been nominated for university, regional, and national teaching awards. Read more about our professors’ teaching and research interests and their recent activities.

It’s this personal level of attention that allows us to offer a full-year honours thesis course in which a student works with one professor on a substantial research project, a unique opportunity among Halifax universities. Other research and teaching opportunities are also available to our senior students, such as working as a research assistant or writing tutor.

1000-level courses (Introductory)

Photo: Krista HillEnglish 1000-level courses. Photo Krista Hill


If you are considering a major in English or if you are looking to sharpen your critical faculties, then choose ENGL 1170/1171 or ENGL 1155. These are introductions to English studies at the university level, but they take different approaches. Read the descriptions that follow carefully.

If this is your first experience of English study at university, please note that it will differ from high school, and students sometimes report a drop in their English grades. You will need a GPA of 2.0 (equivalent to a C average) in English to become and to remain a major. The Calendar has a full description of the meaning of the various grades used in the university, and your English professors will most likely distribute in class the English Department Marking Scheme handout which describes how the department applies the university’s grading system. Copies of this handout are available from the department administrative assistant, Tracy McDonald, in Seton 533.



WRIT 1120 is a course in writing theory and practice; it is the foundation of the minor in Writing, but it is valuable for any student. Those who enjoy writing and its challenges will find more enjoyable challenges, and will acquire a deeper understanding of how writing is accomplished, from first glimmering of idea to final edit. English majors and minors can take this course as an elective.

If you are considering a major in English or if you are looking to sharpen your critical faculties, then choose ENGL 1170/1171 or ENGL 1155. These are introductions to English studies at the university level, but they take different approaches. Read the descriptions that follow carefully.

If this is your first experience of English study at university, please note that it will differ from high school, and students sometimes report a drop in their English grades. You will need a GPA of 2.0 (equivalent to a C average) in English to become and to remain a major. The Calendar has a full description of the meaning of the various grades used in the university, and your English professors will most likely distribute in class the English Department Marking Scheme handout which describes how the department applies the university’s grading system. Copies of this handout are available from the department administrative assistant, Tracy McDonald, in Seton 533.


WRIT 1120: The Writing Process: Theory and Practice

Half (0.5) Unit–Fall or Winter

NOTE: In WRIT 1120, you will be challenged and assisted to develop new strengths, whether or not you consider yourself to be a “good writer” already. This course is not “remedial”; it will challenge you to improve your writing skills by slowly and recursively engaging rich, rewarding, and often difficult ideas, texts, and problems. You will practice your writing as a process, done in your own time and in conjunction with your classmates and your instructor.

In this course, you will approach writing from a rhetorical perspective: that is, writing is not just a matter of following a series of rules or applying a set of templates. Instead, writing involves making choices that are appropriate to the situation. You will get practice in drafting and substantial revision as well as editing and polishing.

This course is the foundation of the Writing minor; it is recommended that you take 1120 before you attempt any other WRIT or WRIT/ENGL courses.


01F   MW 9:00 – 10:15 TBA

02F   MW 1:30 – 2:45 TBA

03F   MW 4:30 – 5:45 TBA

04F   TTh 10:30 – 11:45  Dr. Nathaniel Street

05F   TTh 4:30 – 5:45 TBA

18F Synchronous Online: TH, 6:00 – 7:15 TBA




06W MW 9:00 – 10:15 TBA

07W MW 1:30 – 2:45 TBA

09W TTh 9:00 – 10:15 TBA

10W TTh 10:30 – 11:45 TBA

19W Synchronous Online: TH, 6:00 – 7:15 TBA

28W Synchronous Online: MW, 4:30 – 5:45 TBA


ENGL 1155: Introduction to Literature: Gender and Form

Full (1.0) Unit–Fall and Winter

01FW              MW     12:00 – 1:15                 Dr. Rhoda Zuk

02FW              TTh     1:30 – 2:45                  Dr. Karen Macfarlane

An introduction to the critical study of the major forms of fiction, poetry, and drama, using examples from the time of Chaucer to the present day. Readings will include a balance of female and male writers, and a special focus for discussion will be representations of gender.

Note: Students may not take both ENGL 1155 and ENGL 1170/1171 for credit.

(This course is also listed as a women-emphasis course in the Women’s Studies Department.)


ENGL 1170: Introduction to Literature: Literary Genres

Half (0.5) Unit–Fall or Winter

An introduction to the terms and methods of literary analysis. Through critical study of a range of literary works, including short fiction, poetry, drama, and a novel, students will acquire the skills needed to write about them effectively.

Note: Students who have received credit for ENGL 1155 may not take this course for credit.



01F MW 10:30 – 11:45 Dr. Reina Green

02F MW 3:00 – 4:15 Dr. Bernadette Russo

03F TTh 9:00 – 10:15 TBA

18F Synchronous Online: M, 6:00 – 7:15 TBA

19F Synchronous Online: TTh, 3:00 – 4:15 Dr. Anna Smol


05W TTh 12:00 – 1:15 Dr. Bernadette Russo


ENGL 1171: Introduction to Literature: Literary Transformations

Half (0.5) Unit–Fall or Winter

An introduction to the critical study of literature from different historical periods. By following a particular theme or genre from the Middle Ages to the present day, students assess how writers are influenced by, respond to, and transform previous texts. It is recommended that students take ENGL 1170 before ENGL 1171.

Note: Students who have received credit for ENGL 1155 may not take this course for credit.


01F TTh 12:00 – 1:15 TBA


02W MW 10:30 – 11:45 TBA

03W MW 3:00 – 4:15 TBA

18W Synchronous Online: M, 6:00 – 7:15 TBA

19W Synchronous Online: TTh, 3:00 – 4:15 TBA


2000-level courses


2 studentsPhoto: Krista Hill

You may take a 2000-level ENGL course once you have completed one unit of literature at the 1000 level or five units of any university study. Completion of at least one unit at the 2000 level is recommended for English courses at the 3000 and 4000 level. WRIT and ENGL/WRIT courses may have particular pre-requisites.

ENGL 2201 Shakespeare/one unit

Fall and Winter
Monday and Wednesday 1:30-2:45.
Instructor: Dr. Reina Green

In this course we will examine a range of plays by William Shakespeare from across his career (1590s-1610s), covering the genres of comedy, history, tragedy, and romance. We will study these works in their historical, socio-political, theatrical, and contemporary cinematic contexts and reflect on the implications these contexts can have for an understanding of his plays. Key themes that will frame our discussions are power, authority, rebellion, and revenge in connection to gender, race, sexuality, and family ties. In addition, we will consider how Shakespeare explores these topics from genre to genre.


ENGL 2202 Introduction to Critical Methods/half unit

Fall term
Tuesday and Thursday 10:30-11:45
Instructor: Dr. Karen Macfarlane


Literary theory explores how we do what we do as readers and literary critics. It explores the issues around how language works, how we define and work with literary and cultural texts, how we work through the series of complex codes and meanings that make up our culture, how our material position (our social position, our race, gender, ability, sexuality etc.) affects the use of language, the production of literature, the structures and forms of narrative, our position as readers and a variety of other issues related to our relationship with the texts around us.

This course is structured as an introduction to critical theory as a field of study with the aim of providing students with a strong grounding in the methods, terms, and strategies that underpin English studies. You will be introduced to the major schools and approaches that shape contemporary theory (such as psychoanalysis, Marxist theory, structuralism, poststructuralism, feminist theory and postcolonialism). In addition to reading texts about theory, we will read selected primary theoretical works and we will read selected literary texts through a variety of critical lenses.

This course is required for English majors and strongly recommended for all English students at all levels of the programme, and for all students interested in thinking about language, literature and culture.


ENGL 2213 Contemporary Film / half unit

Fall term
Monday and Wednesday 12:00 – 1:15
Instructor:  Dr. Bernadette Russo

In a visually-oriented society filled with ever-advancing technology, film has become a primary art form. While primarily working through examples taken from contemporary films, we will explore the nuanced and subtle language of cinema through an introduction to cinematic formal elements, genre, and narrative structure. This course will introduce students to the basic concepts and techniques of film analysis, criticism and theory.


ENGL/WRIT 2220 Writing to Influence: Introduction to Rhetorical Persuasion / half unit

Winter term
Tuesday and Thursday 10:30 – 11:45
Dr. Nathaniel Street

Fall 18F  Synchronous Online
Tuesday 6:00 – 7:15
Instructor: TBA

Pre-requisite: WRIT 1120 or five units of university study. If you are taking this course in the Writing minor, you are recommended to complete WRIT 1120 first.

This class takes Aristotle’s definition of rhetoric as “an ability, in each case, to see the available means of persuasion” as a starting point for theorizing and practicing the persuasive power of writing. We will study classical rhetorical concepts and techniques – invention, kairos, ethos, stasis, topoi – for discovering, creating, and analyzing rhetorical argument. Students will do this by learning the theory and history of these concepts, practice using them to analyze the rhetorical power of example texts, and mobilizing them in their own writing. This work will culminate in a semester-long research project written for a popular audience in the spirit of essays written for publications like The Walrus, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker.


ENGL/WRIT 2221 Introduction to Creative Writing/ half unit

Fall term
Tuesday and Thursday 4:30 – 5:45
Instructor: TBA

Pre-requisite: 0.5 unit of English at the 1000 level or permission of the instructor. If you are taking this course in the Writing minor, you are recommended to complete WRIT 1120 first.

A study and practice of creative writing, including poetry, fiction, and/or creative nonfiction, in a workshop environment driven by writing exercise and peer review. Instruction will be grounded in contemporary creative writing from peer reviewed journals. Additionally, the course may be supplemented by visits from or to creative writers.

WRIT 2222 Introduction to Editing/half unit

Winter term
Tuesday and Thursday 4:30 – 5:45
Instructor: TBA

Pre-requisite: WRIT 1120 and ENGL/WRIT 2220 or permission of the instructor.

A practical and historical study of text editing. Particular attention will be paid to practices of manuscript analysis, substantive editing, copy editing, and proofreading, using standard practices set by the Editors’ Association of Canada. Students will practice editing texts from a range of genres: literature, scientific and humanist scholarship, and popular writing. Students will have access to a number of professional resources, including processional editors.


ENGL /WRIT 2223-18W: History of Writing, Reading, and the Book / half unit

Fall term
Wednesdays 6:00 – 7:15 p.m.
Synchronous Online
Instructor:  Dr. Anna Smol

Book history is an interdisciplinary field that opens up many avenues of study. In this course our topics will range from literary and rhetorical analysis to historical and cultural research. We will study the book as a material object, from scroll to codex to digital text, as we review the development of various writing systems in manuscript and print culture from antiquity to the contemporary era, setting Western developments in a global context. We will discuss the social, political, and economic factors at play in constituting readers, authors, patrons, scribes, libraries, and publishers in different eras, including contemporary developments in digital writing and publishing. We’ll examine the book’s relation to power in discussions of censorship, sacred texts, and the revolutionary power of books. We’ll consider the nature of oral traditions and their interaction with written literacies. Course readings will alternate between non-fiction (in theoretical and historical articles) and fiction (People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, short stories by Thomas King, and Fangirl, a young adult novel by Rainbow Rowell).

This course schedules discussion forum posts, a synchronous online session, and individual written responses as a regular part of the coursework for most weeks on Moodle. For more details about the course, see

This course may also count as a 0.5 elective in the Cultural Studies program.


ENGL / WRIT/ PHIL 2225: Tricksters, Liars, and Sophists: The History of Rhetoric /half unit

Fall term
Tuesday and Thursday 1:30-2:45
Instructor: Dr. Nathaniel Street

This course focuses on the history of the rhetorical tradition in the West from ancient Greece through the Renaissance. We will survey major and marginalized works on rhetoric from a variety of perspectives, including some that are (ostensibly) hostile to rhetoric. The class will study rhetoric as a historical phenomenon that gives insight into its contemporary place and read course texts as live interlocutors that may change and/or enrich how we theorize and practice rhetoric in the present. Additionally, the course will offer counterhistories of more established traditions that emphasize the role of women in rhetorical scholarship and practice, question the supposed “disappearance” of rhetoric after the fall of the Roman republic, and interrogate the ever-changing relationship between rhetoric and the practice of invention.


ENGL 2260: Poetry / half unit

Winter term
Monday and Wednesday 12:00 – 1:15
Instructor: Dr. Bernadette Russo

A study of poetic techniques and genres from different periods of literary history, with an opportunity to examine the development of one poet’s work. The course will explore the ways poets employ a variety of poetic forms, as well as the ways they both work within and challenge specific traditions.


ENGL 2261: Short Fiction / half unit

Winter term
Tuesday and Thursday 9:00 – 10:15
Instructor:  Dr. Graham Fraser

This course explores the nature of short fiction through the study of a wide range of short stories and novellas from the 19th and 20th centuries. We will examine the evolution of the short story as a form, with particular attention to the ways in which “realism” in fiction is defined and challenged, in terms of both its subject matter and formal structure, through such artistic movements as allegory, the fairy tale, the gothic, modernism, absurdism, magic realism, graphic storytelling, metafiction, and postmodernism.


ENGL 2263: Detective Fiction / half unit

Winter term
Tuesday and Thursday 12:00 – 1:15
Instructor:  Dr. Rhoda Zuk

A study of detective fiction as it has developed from it genteel English and hard-boiled American origins into a form able to embrace serious social analysis, feminist perspectives and post-modernist poetics.


3000-/4000-level courses (senior/advanced seminars)

english-dept-seminarCourses at the 3000 or 4000 level require successful completion of at least one unit of literature at the 1000 level. At least one unit at the 2000 level is recommended.


An English Department seminar. Photo: Krista Hill


ENGL 3211 Selected Topics in English: The Gothic and Contagion/ half unit

Winter term
Tuesday and Thursday 3:00 – 4:15
Instructor:  Dr. Karen Macfarlane

“Contagion is never just about the transmission of disease…Our responses to contagions… reveal a web of social connections… A vivid imaginary, marked by fear, anxiety, and anticipation, accompanies the idea of an efficient carrier spreading disease everywhere it travels.” (Chung-jen Chen, Victorian Contagion 5)

What better place to work through the implications and fears of contagion than the Gothic? Drawing on theories of the Gothic as a mode that explores and exaggerates cultural anxieties, this course will examine representations of contagion and what it means to be contagious in Gothic narratives from the nineteenth century to the present day. We will discuss the interrelation between power structures, processes of Othering, definitions of monstrosity, the limits of life and death, bodily and cultural transgressions and more through a variety of cultural texts including literature, film, television, medical accounts and digital media.


ENGL / CHYS 3212: Selected Topics in English: Colonialized and Racialized Picture Book Animals / half unit

Fall term 18F
Synchronous Online
Monday 4:30 – 7:00
Instructor:  Dr. Donna Varga

In this course we will examine how children’s picture books present some animals as worthy of human kindness but others are as unlikeable in character or form and therefore as being the deserved targets of humiliation and violence, including by children. We will investigate how these negative representations are similar to the ways Black, Indigenous, and persons of color have often been portrayed and consider why brutality toward some animals is thought appropriate content in contemporary children’s picture books. Additionally, alternative perspectives toward animal life will be discussed, including as presented through Indigenous children’s stories.


ENGL 3221: Creative Non-Fiction Writing / half unit

Winter term
Tuesday and Thursday 1:30 – 2:45
Instructor:  Dr. Nathaniel Street

The ancient Greeks commonly combined rhetorical instruction with athletic and musical training (the aulus and lyre players would keep a beat so that students could literally stay in rhythm with each other). This educational strategy deliberately weaves bodily movement, sensation, voice, and mind. This may seem strange to us today because the Greeks, unlike us moderns, were hesitant to make any strong division between the mind and the body. It made sense for them to train the brain like it was a muscle and the body like it had an intellect. For these reasons, ancient rhetorical training was primarily driven by exercises, especially imitation, repetition, and adaptation. When written, these exercises were called the progymnasmata, which included fables, maxims, ekphrasis (vivid descriptions that entice the senses), encomiums and invectives (speeches of praise and blame), and personification. The purpose of these exercises wasn’t so much to teach these specific genres of writing, but to train aspiring rhetors in a wide range of rhetorical moves and techniques (in the same way one would teach bodily moves and techniques); and, more importantly, to develop an agility in using those moves so that students would be comfortable mobilizing them when the situation called for them.

In keeping with, and relying on, the tradition of the progymnasmata, this course is aimed at developing your rhetorical facility with creative nonfiction writing, especially in the areas of style, invention, and arrangement. The course will be driven by workshops and, especially, writing exercises that will help you learn how to make a wide range of stylistic moves and train you to adapt those moves based on the specific needs of your writing situation. This will involve a lot of writing; but we will practice writing as an embodied and spatial act. We’ll write in response to objects, visual-art, and music. We’ll not only write a variety of genres, but mediums as well. Assignments will be of two kinds: 1) a series of classic progymnasmata assignments that will be drafted and refined for submission and 2) a series of short, generally in-class, writing exercises. Taking this class will help you cultivate habits of writing that will carry over to all arenas of life where writing is important, including academic, personal, and professional arenas.


ENGL 3305: Children’s Literature/ half unit

Winter term
Monday and Wednesday 3:00 – 4:15
Instructor:  Dr. Rhoda Zuk

In this course we will explore picture books, novels, memoirs and animations created for children by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis writers, illustrators, and animators. We will analyze culturally specific issues with relation to voice, memory and representation in texts by writers such as Nicola I Campbell, Tomson Highway, Thomas King, Christy JordanFenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, Catherine Knutson, and George Littlechild. We will also consider animations by Alan Syliboy and an animated cartoon series produced in cooperation with Norval Morrisseau. Our study will be informed by the theoretical frameworks and insights of Indigenous literary critics concerning language, land, orality, spirituality, gender, and resistance.

ENGL 3310: Indigenous Literatures: Indigenous Futurisms/ half unit

Winter term
Monday and Wednesday 10:30 – 11:45
Instructor:  Dr. Bernadette Russo

“The stories offered here are thought experiments that confront issues of ‘Indianness’ in a genre that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century evolutionary theory and anthropology profoundly intertwined with colonial ideology . . .” (Grace Dillon, Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction).

Following the path paved by Afro-futurism, Indigenous futurism has carved its space within the science fiction genre. Taking the form of science fiction as well as several of the subgenres such as speculative fiction and written by Indigenous authors, futurism addressed issues of social justice that affect Indigenous peoples, including the construction of indianness, identity, assimilation, colonization, decolonization, and apocalypse. This course explores an array of written and filmic literatures from the realm of Indigenous futurisms.

Potential readings include may include any of the following: Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction edited by Grace Dillon, The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline (Métis), Johnny Appleseed: A Novel by Joshua Whitehead (Oji-nêhiyaw), Robopocalypse by Daniel H Wilson (Cherokee), The Heirs of Columbus by Gerald Vizenor (Anishinaabe/Ojibwe), Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice (Wasauksing First Nation) Red Spider White Web by Misha Nogha (Métis), Solar Storms by Linda Hogan, and other possibilities.

Potential films include two short films: Danis Goulet’s Wakening (2013) and Jeff Barnaby’s File Under Miscellaneous (2010), as well as the feature length Blood Quantum (2019), also by Jeff Barnaby.


ENGL 3355: Sixteenth-Century Literature/ half unit

Winter term
Monday and Wednesday 4:30 – 5:45
Instructor: Dr. Reina Green

While sixteenth-century England was quite a different world from our own, some of the challenges faced by people then would be familiar to us now. To begin with, their understanding of the world and their place in it was being challenged by technological developments and scientific discoveries. Not only had the printing press changed people’s access to print media and the type of material available, but also there was a new understanding of the universe, the world, and the body: stars never before seen were now visible with a telescope, new continents were “discovered,” and there was an improved— though imperfect—knowledge of how the body functioned. More people were moving to urban areas, and the fortunes of some declined while others profited. The sense of a shifting, unstable world is present in the literature of the time.

We will examine a range of poetry and prose, both by well-known authors such as Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, and William Shakespeare, and by their lesser known contemporaries, including several women writers, in order to explore their ideas about society, gender, love, politics, religion, and literature. The hope is that, in doing so, we will come to understand more about our own world and our place in it.


ENGL 3365: The Eighteenth-Century British Novel/ half unit

Fall term
Monday and Wednesday 3:00 – 4:15.
Instructor: Dr. Rhoda Zuk

The eighteenth-century saw the emergence and various developments of a new literary form in English: the novel. This literature can be understood as an aesthetic response to the formation of particular social identities engendered by the flourishing of mercantile capitalism. Each of the novels on our syllabus emphasizes the materiality of the world: money, clothing, household fixtures and objects, even paper and ink. In addition, the works we will analyze, written by women and men of disparate class positions, religious traditions, and political affiliations, have in common themes of work, education, class aspiration, virtue, and reputation.


ENGL 3376: Medieval Literature

Fall term
Tuesday and Thursday 12:00 – 1:15
Instructor: Dr. Anna Smol

This course will examine 13th – and 14th -century travel narratives, imaginative geographies, and pilgrimage experiences. From the first Norse contact with Indigenous North Americans recounted in the Vinland Sagas to selected tales by Geoffrey Chaucer’s pilgrims on the road to Canterbury, we will explore movements of people in both fact and fiction. Our readings will include Margery Kempe’s account of her pilgrimages to Europe and Jerusalem; Ibn Battuta’s extensive travels in Africa and Asia; the fantastical quest into the wilderness in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; and the popular adventures attributed to John Mandeville. These English, French, Norse, and Arabic sources will be read in modern English translations, except for Chaucer’s tales, which we will learn to read in Middle English. Throughout the course, we will examine the racial, religious, and gender boundaries that are either crossed or defended in these various narratives of cultural encounters around the world.

For more information, see

ENGL/ WOMS 4407/ GWGS 6607: Queer Theory / half unit

Winter term
Monday and Wednesday 1:30- 2:45
Instructor:  Dr. Diane Piccitto

As a theory of otherness, disruption, and alternative ways of being and acting in the world, Queer Theory offers a mode of resisting and deconstructing normative – especially heteronormative – ideologies, discourses, and practices. Addressing representations of marginal identities and experiences, it is a rich theory that continues to develop and be reshaped with contemporary investments, particularly in the context of sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, as well as numerous constellations of performance, articulation, and desire. In this course, we will explore the origins of queer cultural criticism as well as more recent theorizations, interrogating the relationship between theory and practice, knowledge and being, identity and embodiment.

Please note that ENGL courses at the 3000 and 4000 levels typically require 1.0 unit of ENGL at the 1000 level. In addition, for Queer Theory, 1.0 unit of ENGL at the 2000 or 3000 level or 1.0 unit of WOMS at the 3000 level is normally required. Students are strongly encouraged to take ENGL 2202: Introduction to Critical Methods before taking this course.


ENGL 4408: Critical Theory / half unit

Fall term
Tuesday and Thursday  3:00 – 4:15
Instructor:  Dr. Karen Macfarlane

This course continues where ENGL 2202 Critical Methods left off. We will focus on the major theorists and theoretical works that have shaped the ways we read and think about literature and culture in the twenty-first century. Our focus will therefore be on the “posts” in contemporary theory: poststructuralism, postcolonialism, post-queer, post-feminist and so on…. Our discussions will be based on primary theoretical texts, but we will also be discussing selected works from popular culture as a way of thinking about the ways in which theory becomes methodology.


ENGL 4446: Studies in Contemporary Culture: Psychogeographies: The City as Text /half unit

Fall term
Monday and Wednesday 10:30 – 11:45
Instructor:  Dr. Graham Fraser

Walking is a way of seeing – a way of knowing. Since ancient times, peripatetic literature equated walking with the practices of thinking and writing that underscore literature itself. The rise of the modern city brought about a corresponding body of literature and theory to express the particular experience of the pedestrian exploration of the urban environment, from the Parisian flâneur of Baudelaire and Benjamin to the psychogeographical experiments of the situationists’ dérive. Wandering outwards from a core of literary and theoretical texts, the course will drift through other neighborhoods of cultural representations of the pedestrian experience, including film, visual and performance art, politics, music, architecture and urban design. We will explore the city as a textual, aesthetic space, investigating the experience of walking and lostness as embodied metaphors of the acts of reading, writing, and thinking, as ways of knowing and not-knowing. This course may well include field work. Maps will not be required.

Tentative Text List: Auster, City of Glass; Benjamin, Arcades Project; Calle, Double Game; Cole, Open City; Ford, Savage Messiah; Katchor, Julius Knipl: Real Estate Photographer; Karinthy, Metropole; Scott, My Paris; Sinclair, Lights out for the Territory; Solnit, Wanderlust and A Field Guide to Getting Lost; Vladislavic, Portrait With Keys; Wood, Everything Sings.



Planning Ahead: Courses for 2022-2023

Karen Livingstone Image

Our upper-level courses are offered in rotation, usually in alternate years. The courses listed below are the 2000- to 4000-level courses which we hope to offer in 2022-23. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of this projection as the timetable will be affected by faculty sabbaticals, levels of funding, and other factors beyond the department’s control. We will ensure, however, that Majors and Honours students will be able to meet their requirements.

Image: Lothlorien (detail) by Karen Livingstone. Created as part of a creative project / analysis in ENGL 4475.


  • ENGL 2201 Shakespeare
  • ENGL 2202 Introduction to Critical Methods
  • ENGL 2205  Introduction to Literature for Children and Young Adults
  • ENGL 2207  Queer Literature and Culture
  • ENGL 2213   Contemporary Film
  • ENGL/WRIT 2220 Writing to Influence: Introduction to Rhetorical Persuasion
  • ENGL/WRIT 2221 Introduction to Creative Writing
  • WRIT 2222 Introduction to Editing
  • ENGL/ WRIT 2223  History of Writing, Reading, and the Book
  • ENGL/ WRIT/ PHIL 2225  Tricksters, Liars, and Sophists: The History of Rhetoric
  • ENGL 2242  Themes in Women’s Writing
  • ENGL 2260 Poetry
  • ENGL 2261  Short Fiction
  • ENGL/ WRIT 3212  Selected Topics in English/Writing
  • ENGL/ WRIT 3221 Creative Non-Fiction
  • ENGL 3310 Indigenous Literature: Indigenous Futurisms
  • ENGL 3319 Modern Poetry to 1945
  • ENGL 3330 Myths and Theories About Writing
  • ENGL 3365 Eighteenth-Century British Novel
  • ENGL 3376  Medieval Literature
  • ENGL 4415 Studies in Children’s Literature
  • ENGL 4480 Studies in Literature and Film

Summer School 2022

Summer Session I:

  • WRIT 1120 Writing Theory and Practice
  • ENGL 1170 Introduction to Literature: Reading Literary Forms
  • ENGL/WRIT 2220 Writing to Influence
  • ENGL 2242 Themes in Women’s Writing
  • ENGL at 3000 level, to be decided

Summer Session II:

  • ENGL 1171 Introduction to Literature: Literary Transformations
  • ENGL/WRIT 2221 Creative Writing
  • WRIT 2222 Introduction to Editing


Program Option: Honours Degree

English Honours. Photo Krista HillThe MacDonald Collection, MSVU Library. Photo: Krista Hill

The 20-unit Honours degree in English is designed for students who maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above and who are interested in an in-depth study of English literature. The Mount Honours English degree is unique among Halifax university English programs in that it includes the writing of an Honours thesis, a year-long full-credit course in which Honours students research a topic that interests them under the supervision of a faculty member and write a thesis on the subject. Students who are considering graduate school should enroll in the Honours program, but it is also a suitable degree for any student who is doing well in English courses.

If you are considering an Honours program, read the package of information for prospective Honours students available from the Department Secretary in Seton 533 and talk to your advisor or the Department Chair about your interest. The program requires careful planning, especially if you are considering graduate studies. Roughly, you should have a GPA of 3.0 or above in order to apply for Honours; MA programs usually require a GPA of 3.0 to 3.5 for admission. Graduate programs in English usually require that students pass a second language exam at some point in their studies, so it is advisable, if you are thinking of going on to do an M.A. or PhD in English, to take a language course during your undergraduate years.

Admission to the Honours program must be approved by the Honours Committee of the English Department. Typically, application through the Department Chair would be made after the completion of 10 units of study; acceptance is contingent upon the agreement of a faculty member to supervise the thesis. Honours students are also required to present an Honours colloquium, and to attend those presented by other Honours students.

View Program Requirements (Academic Calendar) »


Program Option: Major

Old English class toastStudents in an Old English class preparing to give their presentations.

The degree with a major is intended for those students with a clearly focused interest who wish to gain knowledge in depth of a single discipline.

View Program Requirements (Academic Calendar) »

Program Option: Combined Major

English 2000-level courses. Photo: Krista HillThe combined major degree is intended for those students who wish to gain in-depth knowledge of two disciplines. Students must declare a major or combined major before registering for their sixth unit of coursework. Students who do not make this declaration within this time frame will not be permitted to register for further coursework.

Photo: Krista Hill

View Program Requirements (Academic Calendar) »


Program Option: Concentration

A Concentration in English literature is available for students in the BA General Studies (15-unit degree).

View Program Requirements (Academic Calendar) »

Program Option: Minor in English Literature

Students who require a Minor as part of their degree may complete a Minor in English Literature. Please note that the English Department offers two different Minors, one in Literature and one in Writing, and that the requirements are different for each one. A Minor in English Literature consists of three full units of ENGL courses, including two full units of English at the 2000 level or above.

View Minor Requirements (Academic Calendar) »

Program Option: Writing Minor

PencilsOffered by the Mount’s Department of English, the Writing Minor will enable you to become a strong and flexible writer who can excel in any university field of study or future career. You’ll explore the theory and practice of writing, covering communication in many forms such as creative writing, editing, researching in the digital age, the business of publishing, classical rhetoric, scientific writing, and contemporary theories about composition.

Visit the Writing Minor page »

Information on Plagiarism

When you submit an essay as part of the requirements of a university course, it is assumed that the essay is your own work. Plagiarism is an inexcusable offence in the academic world, but some students seem uncertain about how to recognize and avoid plagiarism.

The university calendar defines plagiarism as “presenting someone else’s words, ideas or information as though they were one’s own” and lists a number of specific examples. Note the scope of this definition: words: this means that you must not incorporate material from another source directly into your work without proper citation and quotation marks; ideas: this means that your material must be original – if you are influenced by another’s original thoughts, understanding, interpretation, or perception then you need to acknowledge that influence with a citation; information: there is a difference between common knowledge in the discipline (date of Shakespeare’s death, for instance) and more specialized or controversial information: it is the specialized information that must always be cited. The scope of this definition makes diligence necessary when you are using secondary sources. Keep close track of where you got your information. Any presentation of material other than your own, whether intentional or unintentional, is plagiarism. It is your responsibility to make sure that your paper reflects your own ideas and that the material from which you drew any other information is properly cited.

Quotations: The rules governing quotation and references are very simple. If you find a passage that seems particularly apt for your chosen topic, you may reproduce it in your essay so long as it is copied accurately, enclosed in quotation marks (or indented, in the case of longer quotations), and followed by a correct parenthetical reference. (See  the English Department’s A Student’s Guide to MLA 2009 for instructions). At the end of the essay, under the heading “Works Cited,” you must also list the author’s name, the title of the work, the name of the publisher, and the place and date of publication. Detailed descriptions of correct forms for citations can be found in A Student’s Guide to MLA 2009..

Paraphrase: You may, however, decide that, although an article or chapter is relevant to your studies, and has influenced you in the preparation of your essay, there is no specific passage that offers itself as quotable material. In this case you may paraphrase or summarize the argument or opinion presented. Since you do not use the words of the original, you do not need to use quotation marks, but you must still provide a correct parenthetical reference (see A Student’s Guide to MLA 2009 for instructions). What you must not do, under any circumstances, is find relevant passages on the topic, cut and paste them (or simply copy them out), and offer them as if they were your own work. Note here that you must still indicate clearly in the body of your work that you have drawn your idea/information/interpretation from another source. It is not enough to include the source in your bibliography. Not indicating that specific passages, ideas etc are drawn from another source is plagiarism.

Electronic Sources are not excluded from this rule. If you use information from web sites, from full text databases (like EBSCO), from CD ROMs, or from other electronic sources these must be followed by a proper citation. Cutting and pasting sections of these sources into your own paper, even if you change them slightly or take only sections, is plagiarism and is not allowed. You will be penalized.

Penalties: Plagiarism is theft. Like any other form of dishonesty, it is unacceptable and results in serious consequences. Penalties include the awarding of a grade of F or zero to the assignment containing plagiarized material, or receiving a grade of F for the course (at the time of the infraction), or receiving a grade of F* for the course (which indicates that the course was failed because of cheating. This grade will remain on your transcript). It is that serious a matter.

September 2006