D-Level Course Topics

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.

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 for Summer 2019 Courses)


ENGD07 Studies in Postmodern Poetry

Instructor: Ryan Fitzpatrick

Topic: Poetics as Research

What is the relationship between poetry and research? Working in the university, we often have to negotiate a weird separation between creative and academic work. It’s easy to convince a prof to read your essay about a poem, but what about a poem that’s an essay? Or a data set? Or an archival investigation? Can poetry do research? The short answer is an unqualified YES! Poetry has a long history as an investigative tool or method. In this class, we will read a constellation of poets who use research as a compositional strategy. For these poets, poetry provides a set of formal tools that allow them to do research in ways different than journalistic or academic prose. Poetry allows a different kind of material attention to historical narratives, to archival documents, to local spaces, to personal experience, and to the materiality of language itself. In other words, poetry does research otherwise.

Each week we will think through an investigative stance that is exemplified by the book we’ll read together. These stances all constitute tendencies within 20th and 21st century avant-garde and experimental poetics in North America and, together, we’ll build an understanding of the histories of those tendencies – the discussions and debates, the flare-ups and flame wars. The tendencies we’ll dig into include documentary poetry, site-specificity, auto-poetry, conceptual writing, critical theory, treating language as information, activist poetics, and lots more.

Readings include Muriel Rukeyser, Charles Olson, Bernadette Mayer, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Erín Moure, M. Nourbese Philip, Jordan Abel, Mark Nowak, Claudia Rankine, Cheena Marie Lo, and Jordan Scott.


ENGD14 Topics in Early Modern English Literature and Culture

Instructor: Yulia Ryzhik

Topic: Shakespeare and Satire

We will read several of Shakespeare's plays in the context of early modern satirical traditions, their sources, influences, and afterlives. To what extent did Shakespeare engage with contemporary debates over the form and function of satire--particularly the fashionable formal verse satire, with its cultivated harshness and obscenity? How do his plays compare with the more overtly satirical dramas of his contemporaries and rivals? We will consider satire from a theoretical perspective, especially in relation to hierarchies of class, race, and gender, and will interrogate the ability (or inability) of satire to address social injustice. Through plays such as As You Like It, Troilus and Cressida, Othello, King Lear, and Timon of Athens, we will see how Shakespeare puts diverse satirical modes into conversation and develops his own satirical strategies. 

Note: Pre-1900 course


ENGD22 Special Topics in Creative Writing II

Instructor: TBC

This multi-genre creative writing course, designed around a specific theme or topic, will encourage interdisciplinary practice, experiential adventuring, and rigorous theoretical reflection through readings, exercises, field trips, projects, etc. Admission by portfolio.

Note: Please be sure to check the Calendar for enrollment limits and requirements.


ENGD62 Topics in Postcolonial Literature and Film

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.


ENGD84 Canadian Writing in the 21st Century

Instructor: SJ Sindu (Sinduja Sathiyaseelan)

An analysis of features of Canadian writing at the end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first century. This course will consider such topics as changing themes and sensibilities, canonical challenges, and millennial and apocalyptic themes associated with the end of the twentieth century.




ENGD26 Independent Studies: Creative Writing: Poetry

ENGD27 Independent Studies in Creative Writing: Prose

ENGD28 Independent Studies in Creative Writing: Special Topics

The three creative writing independent study courses are taught by creative writing faculty — please see the Calendar for enrollment requirements and procedures.


ENGD98 Senior Essay & Capstone Seminar

Instructor: Sonja Nikkila

An intensive year-long seminar that supports students in the development of a major independent scholarly project. Drawing on workshops and peer review, bi-monthly seminar meetings will introduce students to advanced research methodologies in English and will provide an important framework for students as they develop their individual senior essays.

Note: Depending on the subject area of the senior essay, this course can be counted towards the Pre-1900 requirement. Also, please see the Calendar for enrollment requirements and procedures.




ENGD52 Cinema: The Auteur Theory

Instructor: Garry Leonard

An exploration of the genesis of auteur theory. By focusing on a particular director such as Jane Campion, Kubrick, John Ford, Cronenberg, Chaplin, Egoyan, Berman, Godard, Kurosawa, Sembene, or Bertolucci, we will trace the extent to which a director's vision can be traced throough their body of work.


ENGD71 Studies in Arab North-American Literature  

Instructor: Maria Assif

English D71  is a seminar course that aims at examining texts by Arab American and Arab Canadian authors, with a special focus on life writings produced in the last three decades. Some of the themes covered are gender, home, identity, and trauma. Equal emphasis will be placed on theoretical discussions of life writing, diaspora and narrative. No knowledge of the Arabic language, culture and history is needed.

Required Texts:

  1. A Thousand Farewells: A Repotrter's Journey from Refugee Camp to the Arab Spring by Nahlah Ayed
  2. Intolerable by Kamal Al-Solaylee (ISBN: 9781554688876)
  3. Looking for Palestine: Groing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family by Najla Said (ISBN: 9781594632754)
  4. How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi (ISBN: 9780143115410)
  5. The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between by Hisham Mattar (ISBN: 9780345807755)


ENGD93 Theoretical Approaches to Cinema: The Face on Screen

Instructor: Alice Maurice

From silent films to selfies, the face on screen has always been an object of fascination for viewers. This course will explore classic and contemporary theories of the face on screen. Beginning in the early silent era, when the close-up was becoming an accepted part of cinematic language, we will examine the numerous ways the face has created meaning on screen, as well as the numerous ways the screen image has shaped our understanding of the face. We will ask questions including: How do we read faces? How have movie stars influenced our own self-image? Dow e put too much pressure on the face as a site of profound meaning? How are coded assumptions about race, gender, class, and sexuality reflected in the way the face is represented on screen? How do makeup practices express assumptions about the face, beauty, and character? We think about popular and critical reactions to the face on screen. Throughout, we will read criticism and theory that takes up the aesthetic, poltical, and ethical meaning of the face. Films may include: The Passion of Joan of Arc, The Phantom of the Opera, Persona, Queen Christina, The Face of Another, Vertigo, Phoenix, and Avatar.