D-level courses provide opportunities for more sophisticated study and are founded on discussion-based learning, and they require some independent work on the part of the student. These courses are generally restricted in enrolment and focus on seminar discussion. You need to complete any two C-level courses in English before taking a D-level.
If you are pursuing an English Specialist or Major, you will need to take one or more D-level courses to graduate. You shouldn't necessarily wait until your fourth year of study to embark on a D-level -- you might be ready earlier, especially if you have taken a C-level course in a similar topic or thread.
Most D-level seminars are "topics" or "studies" courses, meaning that the focus, approach, and texts may change significantly from year to year. Below you will find the current descriptions of this year's D-level courses, including the specific area(s) of focus. You should always double-check the Registrar's Calendar for information about pre-requisites or recommended preparation. We also encourage you to talk to professors about D-level options and expectations.
Click here to preview Winter 2024 seminars.
Note that some of our D-level options run as yearlong courses: click here to explore them.
FALL 2023 D-LEVEL COURSES
Medieval authors answer the question “what happens after we die?” in great detail. This course explores medieval representations of heaven, hell, and the afterlife. Texts under discussion will include: Dante’s Inferno, with its creative punishments; the Book of Muhammad’s Ladder, an adaptation of Islamic tradition for Christian readers; the otherworldly visions of female mystics such as Julian of Norwich; and Pearl, the story of a father who meets his daughter in heaven and immediately starts bickering with her. Throughout we will consider the political, spiritual, and creative significance of writing about the afterlife.
Instructor: Sara Saljoughi
An exploration of multicultural perspectives on issues of power, perception, and identity as revealed in representations of imperialism and colonialism from the early twentieth century to the present.
Instructor: Maria Assif
A study of Arab North-American writers from the twentieth century to the present. Surveying one hundred years of Arab North-American literature, this course will examine issues of gender, identity, assimilation, and diaspora in poetry, novels, short stories, autobiographies and nonfiction.
Instructor: Sonja Nikkila
Topics vary from year to year and might include Victorian children's literature; city and country in Victorian literature; science and nature in Victorian writing; aestheticism and decadence; or steampunk.
Instructor: Christine Bolus-Reichert
Happily Ever After: The Romance Novel since Jane Austen. The least critically examined literary genre, the romance novel, is also the most popular, and its popularity has only continued to grow over the past decade, in the wake of BookTok, the pandemic, fanfic, and the worldwide success of online publishing platforms such as WattPad and Episode. In the first two thirds of the course, we will examine the history of the genre in English, and will engage with a variety of theories and methods for the study of the romance novel as we try to account for its enduring popularity, and why the genre is both loved and reviled. In the final third of the course, readings and projects will focus on recent developments in the genre, such as increasing diversity of authors and protagonists, new media, and the changing nature of the happy ending.
Instructor: Daniel Tysdal
“Extremely Revealing Bullshit”: The Art of Professional Wrestling
It’s not surprising that most people asked to describe professional wrestling use some variation on the word “bullshit.” “The fighting’s fake,” they sneer. “The matches are fixed, and the politics are garbage.” What is surprising is that pro wrestling fans won’t argue with these assessments. Instead, they will follow Oliver Lee Bateman’s lead and go one step further. Pro wrestling is bullshit, yes, but it’s “extremely revealing bullshit.”
What exactly does a close look at pro wrestling’s “bullshit” reveal? It reveals a distinct, complex, and dynamic artistic medium. It reveals an art that fascinates and inspires writers, artists, and thinkers across mediums and disciplines. It reveals a community that, in recent years, has grown more progressive and inclusive, with examples including Effy’s Big Gay Brunch, the feminist promotion BLOWW, which “smash[es] bottles, hearts, and the patriarchy,” and Nyla Rose, the first transgender wrestler to hold a major championship belt.
In ENGD54, we will Swanton Bomb into pro wrestling’s revelatory “bullshit,” exploring pro wrestling as an artistic medium and examining how pro wrestling manifests in literature, other artistic mediums, and contemporary conversations around race, gender, sexuality, and class. We will meet real pro wrestlers in the flesh, attend a live show, and even have the chance to step in the ring.
Just as importantly, we will undertake writing assignments as part of our explorations, with both academic and creative options available, adding our own “extremely revealing bullshit” to the cheers, boos, and chants roused by this vibrant, one-of-a-kind art.
Instructor: Neal Dolan
This seminar will usually provide advanced intensive study of a selected American poet each term, following the development of the author's work over the course of his or her entire career. It may also focus on a small group of thematically or historically related poets.
Instructor: Alice Maurice
The study of films from major movements in the documentary tradition, including ethnography, cinema vérité, social documentary, the video diary, and "reality television". The course will examine the tensions between reality and representation, art and politics, technology and narrative, film and audience.
Instructor: Andrew Westoll
A practical introduction to the tools, skills and knowledge-base required to publish in the digital ages and to sustain a professional creative-writing career. Topics include: the publishing landscape, pitching creative work, and employment avenues for creative writers. Will also include a workshop component (open to all genres).