Course descriptions are tentative and may be subject to revision; syllabi will be posted later in the year. If you have questions about a particular course, please contact the course instructor or the Graduate Supervisor.

FALL 2016

ENGL 5005F M.A. Seminar

Professing “English”: Disciplinary Debates, Practices, Horizons

Brian Johnson

What does it mean, these days, to study “English”? What are the stakes involved in teaching it? And what, in fact, are we to study and teach, exactly? How—in practical terms—might graduate students most effectively navigate their own research and teaching at a time when disciplinary boundaries seem more porous than ever, and when the assumptions about what constitutes sound scholarship or even effective pedagogy are by no means self-evident or mutually agreed upon by members of the profession? This course provides MA students with a primer on the tumultuous history of English Studies and a roadmap to the current state of the discipline in several key areas: disciplinary boundaries and interdisciplinarity; methodological debates; and pedagogy. In addition to considering theoretical questions raised by these issues, the course will assist students with a range of practical concerns including: developing graduate research strategies, learning bibliographic tools (print and electronic), grading essays, leading seminars, crafting grant proposals, and understanding employment and academic opportunities available to graduates, both inside and outside the profession. Required Text: David H. Richter’s Falling Into Theory: Conflicting Views on Reading Literature, 2nd Edition.


ENGL 5208F Studies in Middlle English Literature  (click here for syllabus)

“For ther is so grete diversite”: Translation and Multilingualism in Late Medieval England

S. Bly Calkin

Translation and multilingualism loom large in contemporary discussions of global literatures and of transnationalism. These issues, however, also lie at the very heart of medieval English literature, much to the surprise of some more familiar with nineteenth-century assertions of a homogeneous and unilingual “English,” or “Anglo-Saxon,” identity. What language do I use at what point in my text? Do I use a different language to speak to women or to men? How does translating a text change it, and in what ways? How might I change this text to reflect the perspectives of my culture? These are all questions that confronted writers working in the trilingual world of late medieval England, and this course offers students the opportunity to consider how various writers navigated these linguistic choices and their fierce, sometimes life-threatening, repercussions. The course will explore the deployment of multiple languages within texts and within manuscripts as well as the ways in which texts migrate from one language to another through translation and re-translation. It will also consider the ways in which authors make use of different languages to advance distinctive authorial visions, and to retell the same narrative in intriguing and potentially inflammatory ways.

The course will begin by considering some of the theoretical pronouncements on multilingualism and translation by modern and medieval writers such as Spivak, Venuti, Augustine, and Dante. It will then proceed to consider each week a set of late medieval texts that navigate multilingualism in interesting ways. We will consider macaronic poems (lyric poems written in multiple languages) and the ways these poems use different languages simultaneously to exclude or include certain audiences. We will also study longer texts such as Chrétien de Troyes’ Perceval and the forms this French Arthurian narrative takes in later Welsh and Middle English manuscript versions We will look at romance tales of English knightly endeavor (e.g. King Horn and Beves of Hamtoun) produced in Britain, and consider whether the French and English versions of these texts advance different visions of conquest, heroism, and resistance in the context of England’s own conquest and colonization by French invaders in the eleventh century. We will examine the use of Latin and English in selected manuscripts and texts of the more renowned, canonical writers of late medieval England such as Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland, and John Gower. We will also look at the ways in which women writers negotiate the multilingual world they inhabited and the ways in which they engage the pervasive Latinity associated with masculine clerical culture during the Middle Ages (e.g. Marie de France, Margery Kempe). Finally, we will consider the vehement, and deadly, debates about translating the Bible in fourteenth-century England as well as various translators’ defenses of that and other projects (e.g. the writers of the Wycliffite Bible, John of Trevisa). In all cases, we will strive to answer the question: What are the distinctive registers and resonances of different languages, and how do different medieval writers deploy them and to what effect, then and now?

N.B. All texts not in English will be read in a modern English translation, a decision which will, of course, also be a subject of reflection and discussion.


ENGL 5501F Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature (click here for syllabus)

Topic: Producing Literature: A Case Study of Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor (1850-62)

J. Schroeder

In this course students will have the unique opportunity to contribute to the production of a scholarly volume—Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor for Broadview Press—while at the same time thinking about broader issues related to the production of literature (and what counts as literature). Drawing together the voices of the little-known urban poor and working classes in a multi-volume illustrated survey, Mayhew’s collection has long been regarded as foundational to our understanding of nineteenth-century social documentation, oral history and street literature, and urban studies and it is a text that continues to shape current formulations of these fields. More recently, critics in the environmental humanities have identified its role in giving us a language of recycling, reusing, and repurposing. Produced between 1850 and 1862, London Labour and the London Poor combined the voices of London’s “underworld,” woodcut illustration, and social theory. Mayhew called his survey “the first attempt to publish the history of a people, from the lips of the people themselves—giving a literal description of their labour, their earnings, their trials, and their sufferings, in their own ‘unvarnished’ language’ . . .”.

Students in the course will be invited to take an active role in the research and selection process for the new edition of Mayhew’s text. Together we will examine other modern editions of the text, review and select material for the new edition from Mayhew’s original four volumes, learn about and write annotations, and conduct new research that will feed directly into the Broadview edition. The course will be shaped by two broad streams of inquiry: 1) print culture in relation to both London Labour’s publishing history and its own discussion and representation of a range of print genres and materials; and 2) the burgeoning field of environmental humanities, which has its origins in the nineteenth-century.


ENGL 5610F Studies in Contemporary Literature (click here for syllabus)

Culture and Crisis: War, Migration, Climate

F. Nudelman

In this course, we will consider writers, photographers, and filmmakers who have responded to the urgent and interrelated contemporary crises of poverty, forced migration, and climate change. What role does literary and visual culture play in making disruptive change real, and helping us to comprehend conditions that are still in the process of unfolding? How do artists address the political and ethical dimensions of new social realities? The figures that we will study innovate in an effort to capture the extreme experiences of their subjects, as well as their own immersive creative practices. At the same time, they often question and subvert the very rhetoric of emergency that characterizes our mediascape as well as a great deal of scholarship on socially-engaged contemporary culture.

Texts may include:

Literary: Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers (2012); Teju Cole, Open City (2011); Rana Dasgupta, Capital (2014); Dave Eggers, What is the What (2006); Jonathan Franzen, selected essays; Elizabeth Kolbert, selected essays; Ben Lerner, 10:04 (2014); Shailja Patel, Migritude (2010)

Visual (film, video, photography): Lynsey Addario, selected photographs; Jennifer Baichwal, Payback (2011); Carl Deal and Tia Lessin, Trouble the Waters (2008); Tim Hetherington, “Diary” (2010); Richard Mosse, “The Enclave” (2014); Renzo Martens, Enjoy Poverty (2009); Jeff Wall, “Dead Troops Talk,” (1992)

Secondary: Judith Butler, Precarious Life (2004); Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others (2003); Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (2011); T.J. Demos, The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary During Global Crisis (2013)


ENGL 5606F Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature (click here for syllabus)

Time and Literature after the Spatial Turn

A. Barrows

The spatial turn in theory and criticism of the late twentieth-century was crucial in terms of exposing cartographies of power and the spatial imaginaries that inform them. Theorists like Henri Lefebvre, Michel Foucault, and Fredric Jameson among others brought to the forefront of humanities research the architectural and geographical foundations of power relations and the function of the cartographic imaginary in literary production. Yet the spatial “turn” was as much a turn away from time as as meaningful object of study as it was a turn toward more complex ways of thinking about space. As a result, the role of time in literature and its interrelationship with spatial imagination has been curiously under-theorized. Time in the wake of the spatial turn is made to seem quaintly old-fashioned and somewhat spent as a topic of discussion, yoked as it often is to cognitive subjectivity, teleological historicism, or philosophical conundrum. The time is ripe to explore the ways in which the temporal analysis of literature can be reinvigorated by the insights of twentieth-century spatial analysis. In this course, we revisit some of the major “time works” of twentieth-century fiction written in English or in translation, asking how they manage the interrelationship of time and space and exploring the temporal dimensions of their cartographic imaginaries.

PRIMARY TEXTS: Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way; Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five; Martin Amis, Time’s Arrow


ENGL 5608F Studies in Modernism  (click here for syllabus)

Reading Virginia Woolf: Then and Now

J. Medd

We will read the major works from Woolf’s mature and later career, to examine her preoccupations as a novelist, critic, and political thinker in relation to both her contemporary moment and milieu and the later literary-critical preoccupations that have shaped ongoing critical understandings of Woolf, particularly within the fields of modernist studies and feminist/gender studies. How might we read the evolving debates and discussions of these (inter)disciplinary fields through their engagement with Woolf? We may also consider contemporary re-writings or other fictional engagements with Woolf’s work and legacy. Primary texts by Woolf will be drawn from: Jacob’s Room, Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, A Room of One’s Own, Orlando, The Waves, Three Guineas, Between the Acts, and essays and journal/letters. Contemporary fictional engagements with Woolf may include Michael Cunningham’s The Hours and Priya Parmar’s Vanessa and her Sister.


ENGL5804F  Studies in Canadian Literature (click here for syllabus)

Making Settler Colonial Modernity

J. Henderson

In this course we will read 19th-century prose that participates in the process of constituting the spaces, subjectivities, social and economic logics, and strategies of governance associated with ideas of modernity in the settler-colonial context. Our focus is on Canada but a Canada conceived as a trans-Atlantic and continental space of discourse within which ideas of liberal progress, civility, proper gender and sexuality, and religious and racial difference circulate. Our settler literary texts include the genres of captivity narrative, gothic narrative, and sensation fiction. We will also read Indigenous life-writing and short fiction. Our last few weeks will introduce contemporary experimental writing and filmmaking reflecting on the inheritances of the 19th century in the present. Literary texts will be supplemented each week by theory readings, including work by Wolfe, Veracini, Smith, Laurence, Rifkin, Morgenstern, Coleman, Henderson, Benjamin, Goeman, Emberley, Povinelli, and Simpson.

A central concern of the course will be to make connections between two levels of analysis: biopolitics and geopolitics, or subjectivities and sexualities, on the one hand, and questions of territorial and political sovereignty, on the other. We will be guided by recent postcolonial and Indigenous studies scholarship emphasizing the way that colonial reshapings of Indigenous family and governance were crucial means of building ‘modern’ Canada. The course is structured around the idea that settler colonialism in Canada is a particular version of liberal thought and practice. Hence, we’ll be thinking about the relations between 19th century liberal ideas and the settler project. We’ll try to be attentive to questions of genre, thinking wherever possible about relationships between aesthetic or formal conventions, ideology, and affect. We’ll try to be self-reflexive about what it means to continue reading the literature of settlement in the context of a commitment to decolonization. What approaches does this require of us? Particular readings will get us thinking about the politics of epistemology or what has been called ‘cognitive imperialism,’ as well as the role of artistic production in Indigenous resurgence.

LITERARY TEXTS (Please note that this list is not final): John Galt, Bogle Corbet (1831); Anna Jameson, Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada (1838) [excerpts]; Maria Monk, The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk (1836); Theresa Gowanlock & Theresa Delaney, Two Months in the Camp of Big Bear (1885); Isabella Valancy Crawford, Winona (1873); Pauline Johnson, selected stories; Tompson Highway, Kiss of the Fur Queen (1998); Gail Scott, The Obituary (2010); Rachel Zolf, Janey’s Arcadia (2014); Leanne Simpson, Islands of Decolonial Love (2013).


ENGL 5900F Selected Topics in English Studies

Literature and the Digital Humanities

B. Greenspan

The advent of the digital humanities has radically altered the methods, objectives and future prospects of scholars in numerous fields. Literary critics in particular can no longer ignore the ways in which digital media have altered our understanding of books, texts, reading and writing.

This seminar will investigate the theoretical and practical implications of digital media for the study of literary production and reception. How are the novel modes and unprecedented scale of networked interaction changing our very concept of narrative and its interpretation? What literary genres are emerging or re-emerging from the creative interaction with digital interfaces and online environments? What new analytical tools are available to help literary scholars interpret texts? How does one read a million books?

We will explore the impact of the digital humanities on literature and its study through a combination of printed and digital texts, applied and critical research, and both online and face-to-face interaction.


ENGL 6000T

The Production of Literature

P. Walton/T. DeCook

This year-long course, open to both MA and PhD students, studies a variety of ways in which scholars have thought about and researched the production of literature. ‘Production’ here is conceived broadly as the cultural and material ways in which literature comes into being, is transmitted and received. The course is also centrally concerned with how the category of the ‘literary’ gets constructed and the kinds of social, political, and cultural work literature is called upon to perform. It provides students with an overview of some of the most influential scholarship in book history, cultural theory, sociology of literature, and media studies. It explores such topics as media transitions from manuscript to print and print to digital; theories of authorship; the politics of canon formation; the philosophical foundations of copyright; the impact of digital media on culture and reading; and the cultural implications of contemporary reading formations such as mass reading events, book clubs, and literary-oriented social media.


ENGL 6002T  Proseminar

Research, Pedagogy, Profession

B. Johnson

The general goal of this year-long course for second-year PhD candidates is to hone the pragmatic skills and knowledge necessary for succeeding as a teacher and researcher at the doctoral level. In the Fall Term, while students are preparing for their comprehensive exams, the seminar schedule will be divided into four broad areas of concern: applying for scholarly grants and fellowships, doctoral and post-doctoral; comprehensive examination study strategies; the development of advanced bibliographical techniques, including an examination of the functionality of bibliographic software; philosophies of education, teaching dossiers, and the practical challenges relating to university teaching in lecture and seminar environments. In the Winter Term, while students are working on their doctoral research project, the course will focus on the scholarly practices integral to writing a doctoral research project and a dissertation; this will include discussions of how to write an article geared for publication in a scholarly journal, how to write a conference paper, and how to submit and present papers to these scholarly venues. As we explore these and other practical matters related to conducting and disseminating research, the Winter Term will operate as a fortnightly workshop for the doctoral research project, providing a space where students will share and provide feedback on each other’s work-in-progress. Throughout both terms, under the broad category of professional matters, an examination of the history of the university English department will be a springboard to an investigation of current issues and trends within academia. Required Texts: Donald E. Hall’s The Academic Self and The Academic Community, Wendy Laura Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks. Meets fortnightly.


(Limited Seats Available)

ENGL 5900X Issues in History and Culture

Historical Representation


This course takes a deliberately broad view of issues of historical representation as they arise in a variety of historically-minded genres, including history “proper,” biography, historical novel, and history painting. Students are encouraged to extend this range still further in their term papers. The focus of our common readings is on narrativity and historical distance as exemplified in the historical thought of the second half of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th. Our starting point will be the idea that history is essentially a mediatory art and therefore that a central issue for historical representation (whatever the genres or media) is the problem of what we call “historical distance.” Drawing on a variety of theoretical discussions as well as primary readings in history, biography, fiction, and art theory we will explore the idea of “distance” as a tool for analyzing structures of historical representation in a number of different kinds of narrative–including historiographical, philosophical, fictional, and visual.


ENGL 5002W Studies in Theory  (click here for syllabus)

Biopolitics, Sentimentality, and Humanitarian Reason

S. Murray

This course addresses the rhetorics of humanitarianism, and the ways that humanitarian sentiments—the desire to address, redress, or alleviate human suffering—are fostered and mobilized as biopolitical forms of governance, the means by which the biopolitical State increasingly manages and regulates the lives of its populations, both at home and abroad. Where should we place literature and literary tropes in the context of humanitarianism and biopolitics?

Are literary sentiments complicitous—tools of neoliberal biopolitics? Or might they furnish us with critical tools? I hope to explore a distinctly rhetorical understanding of the ways that humanitarian sentiments underpin contemporary biopol­itics, lending it a moral raison d’être. Can we account rhetorically for what Didier Fassin calls “humanitarian reason,” a sort of onto-logic that has come to be taken for granted, and that organizes political—and sometimes violent—State interventions under the aegis of humanitarianism and in the name of life itself? Fassin observes that “Humanitarian intervention is a biopolitics insofar as it sets up and manages refugee camps, establishes protected corridors in order to gain access to war casu­alties, develops statistical tools to measure malnutrition, and makes use of communication media to bear witness to injustice in the world.” Humanitarian intervention is “also a politics of life,” he continues, “in that it takes as its object the saving of individuals, which presupposes not only risking oth­ers but also making a sel­ect­ion of which existences it is possible or legitimate to save.” Human­it­arian sentiments are at the very heart of that process of selection and operate implicitly in decisions over who will live and who will die.


ENGL 5004W Studies in Transnational Literatures

Holocaust Representation and Global Memory

S. Casteel

Is there such as thing as “global Holocaust memory”? How and why does Holocaust memory circulate across national and cultural borders? How do memories of the Holocaust interact or compete with those of other historical traumas (African slavery, the genocide of Aboriginal peoples) and how has Holocaust memory been reanimated in the service of other political projects? Why did the Holocaust serve as a catalyst to the emergence of memory studies in the late 20th century and to more recent transnational and transcultural directions in the field?

In this course we will begin by discussing classic theorizations of the Holocaust and its relationship to historical and cultural representation, engaging with canonical works of Holocaust literature, film and art. We will then consider the global circulation or “cosmopolitanization” of Holocaust memory through an analysis of literary and visual texts that bring the Holocaust into conversation with colonial histories of trauma, raising thorny issues about uniqueness, comparison and claims to universality. Over the course of the term, we will examine a variety of forms of memory, including: personal, collective, competitive, multidirectional, prosthetic, postmemory, and countermemory. We will give particular attention to the intersection between media and cultural memory and to the role of text, image and other mediums in mediating, preserving or erasing memories of atrocity.


ENGL 5008W Studies in African Literature

Transnational Blackness

P. Adesanmi

This seminar will examine the rise of 20th and 21st-century transnational blackness as a theoretical proposition on the one hand and a political and cultural praxis of identity on the other hand. From being initially equated with and reduced to the geography of “black Africa,” the 20th century (and after) witnessed the mobilization of blackness across global borders and spaces and its ideological deployment as resistance to and engagement with certain structures of power: Eurocentrism, modernity, colonialism, the postcolonial, globalization. In literature, theory, and other areas of political and cultural expression, discourses such as pan-Africanism, the Black Atlantic, Negritude, and the latest on the block, Afropolitanism, emerged as transnational modes of interrogating power from the standpoint of constantly shifting accounts and understandings of blackness. We shall examine these discourses using creative texts, theoretical works, film, and music. We shall also devote considerable attention to social media as an emerging site of transnational blackness.


ENGL 5207W Studies in Anglo-Saxon Literature (click here for syllabus)

Introduction to Old English

R. Norris

The primary purpose of this course is to learn to read Old English, the oldest form of the English language. After 1000 years of language change, the language of the Anglo-Saxons can seem quite foreign. At the same time, 76% of the most common Old English words are still in use today, and 83% of our most common words are from Old English.

In this new version of the Introduction to Old English course, we will read the five texts of the Beowulf manuscript. The creators of London, BL, Cotton Vitellius A.xv compiled a codex that reflects their interest in the monstrous, featuring the passion of the dog-headed saint Christopher; the so-called “wonders of the east,” a catalogue of foreign peoples, monsters, and marvels; the orientalism of Alexander the Great’s letter to his teacher Aristotle; the beheading of the heathen hound Holofernes by the Hebrew maiden Judith; and, of course, Beowulf, the most famous Anglo-Saxon text, with its dragon, Grendelkin, and monstrous humans.

Reading knowledge of Old English is the primary objective of the course, but we will accomplish several additional course objectives along the way:

  • Introduction to the extant Old English corpus
  • Mastery of fundamental Old English grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation
  • Understanding of the cultural and historical contexts of Anglo-Saxon literature
  • Introduction to Anglo-Saxon material culture, including art, archaeology, and manuscripts


ENGL 5303W Studies in Early Modern Literature (click here for syllabus)

Ideas into Experience: Milton’s Paradise Lost as an Epic Encyclopedia

D. Beecher

The stature of Milton’s great poem needs no special defense; even Dryden acknowledged with admiration and regret that Milton had surpassed them all, without fully realizing that he had also brought to a close the age of the pansophic poem. It is a monumental work in so many ways, not the least of them its dramatic representation of ideas drawn from a lifelong program of reading and study. This course is designed to bring its members into a close encounter with the text and into dialogic exchange with others in the seminar engaged in a mutual discovery of some of the prevailing ideas that find representation in this work. Milton’s epic was created at a moment in cultural and intellectual time, but the ideas themselves have histories going back to ancient, medieval and Renaissance sources. The history of ideas is a critical perspective in its own right, worth knowing about as a discipline, and worth mastering as a vehicle to a fuller understanding of literature in general. Just what those ideas may include will be yours to discover, but among the master concepts, you might find justice, obedience, punishment, angels, hell, salvation, eschatology, creation, reprobation, uxoriousness, the fortunate fall, dreams, memory, prayer, paradise, and honeymoon (I left out hero and predestination). Unfolding this poem in relation to its informing ideas is a rewarding experience, one that from class to class has never come close to repeating itself. The material is so rich, you could take this course over and over!


ENGL 5402 W Studies in Eighteenth Century Literature (click here for syllabus)

The Nature and Uses of 18th Century Book Subscription Lists


This course aims to provide students with the context and nature of subscription lists and give students the opportunity for original research in this field.  Initially students will be given a theoretical background to subscription lists and lessons on how the 18th century book trade worked:  how was paper made, how was type set, how were books printed and bound, what was the role of bookseller, of publishing congers, etc.  The hope is that they will then have an understanding of the trade sufficient to deal with book subscriptions.  Then each shall pick a subscription list to work on.  This kind of work could not have been done at Carleton in the past because the library’s holdings in antiquarian books was inadequate.  Now, however, we can access almost all the books published in the 18th century by subscription (some 3,000).  Students may choose any list.  For example, if they are interested in female poets they might chose Mary Leapor whose work was published posthumously by subscription.   In the seminar, they will report on what they have learned and what has evaded them.  As each student reports we will discuss how each may progress.  There are so many things which we can learn from subscription lists and very little has been done in this field in the past.  Some of the topics which may be examined might include the number of female subscribers, the number of people from the mercantile class, the number of members of the aristocracy, or from academia, or the clergy, or other sub groups.  How did this subscription list fit into the publishing industry in the eighteenth century?


ENGL 5900W Selected Topic in English Studies

Superhero Fiction

B. Johnson

Although costumed superheroes have been fixtures of comic books roughly since the debut of Superman in 1938, the awarding of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2001 to Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay seemed to register a shift in the superhero’s cultural status and domain—but did it? The main goals of this seminar will be to explore the history, contours, and concerns of superhero fiction. When, how, and why did it emerge? What are its principle generic features? What cultural work does it do? What is its relation to superhero comics? And why is it (suddenly?) so ubiquitous? With an eye to such questions, this seminar will proceed along two different but intersecting lines of inquiry. One of these will be to trace the emergence and transformation of the superhero in comic books, from the early twentieth century to the present day. The second will be to examine the points of connection and disjunction between the history of the superhero in comics and the appearance of superhero figures in other genres and media, particularly pulp fiction, science fiction, the “literary” novel, and the short story.

POSSIBLE TEXTS: Emmuska Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel; Philip Wylie, Gladiator; Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human; Robert Mayer, Superfolks; Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay; Claude Lalumière and Camille Alexa, eds., Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories; Samit Basu, Turbulence.


ENGL 5900Y Selected Topics in African Studies -Cross-listed with African Studies and History  (click here for syllabus)

Oral Literature and History in Africa

N. Otiono

Since 1970 when Ruth Finnegan’s seminal work Oral Literature in Africa was published, fieldwork and scholarly inquiry into Oral Literature and History in Africa have undergone significant transformation. This course explores the transformation from the anthropological bias of Finnegan, through the literary bent of Isidore Okpewho, to the more interdisciplinary orientation of contemporary studies of oral literature and history in Africa. Central to the topics to be covered in the course is the significance of storytelling to Africa’s intangible cultural heritage and the idea that “In Africa, when an old [person] dies, it’s a library burning” (Amadou Hampâté Bâ). Associated with this idea is the fact that the oral artist in Africa is more than an “artist”; s/he is a repository of knowledge and the historical memory of the society. The course samples the oral tradition and oral arts of Africa not just as forms of indigenous knowledge production but also as forms of artistic/cultural expression. The course examines the content and form of selected representative texts that include epics (e.g. The Epic of Sundiata and The Ozidi Saga), myths, songs, non-fiction, historical texts, and popular cultural texts (e.g. films), while highlighting the work of leading scholars in the field. The course is, therefore, interdisciplinary in nature—drawing from the literary arts, performance studies, cultural studies, history/ historiography, anthropology, and philosophy.