Canadian Literature and Culture

Course title: Canadian Literature and Culture
Instructor: Dr. Vanja Polić
ECTS credits: 6
Status: elective
Semester: one semester, 4th or 6th (2012/13)
Enrolment requirements:  completed Introduction in English Literature; enrolment in the 4th or 6th semester
Course description: The course will consist of a close reading and analysis of selected (representative) Canadian texts and of placing them into the context of Canadian culture, history and present times.
Objectives: The objective of this course is to acquaint the students with selected works from Canadian literature, fiction as well as non-fiction (some of the most prominent literary critics are Canadian: McLuhan, Margaret Atwood, Northrop Frye, Brian McHale, Linda Hutcheon, Simon During), and to enable students to place Canadian literature into a broader context of literatures written in English language (in “english” languages).
Course requirements: The finalgrade is based on continuous assessment which includes regular attendance, preparation for and participation in class, writing small assignments, timely submission of the final paper, and obligatory sitting for midterm and endterm exam. The paper is worth 35%, midterm and endterm exams are worth 50% and other elements of continuous assessment are worth 15% of the final grade. Students must fulfill all elements of continuous assessment.

Week by week schedule:
1st week: introduction, general info on the seminar

2nd week: a short introduction into Canada’s geography and the influence it exerted on Canadian history, culture and literature
3rd week: a short introduction into the Canadian history
4th week: multiculturalism and globalization: concepts that were coined in Canada. Also, a discussion about the diversity of Canadian society and the attempts to preserve it
5th week: introduction into literature: how Canadians perceive Can Lit: M. Atwood, Survival and N. Frye, Bush Garden and Mythologizing Canada.
6th week: historical overview of literature, traveller accounts and literature of the first immigrants (e.g. S. Moodie, C. Parr Traill)
7th week: overview of 19th and 20th century poetry (Confederation poets, as well as contemporary poets such as M. A. Klein, M. Atwood, L. Cohen, R. Kroetsch, et al.)
8th week: multiculturalism, 2nd part on the example of a short story: R. Mistry, «Swimming Lessons».
9th week: multiculturalism 3rd part: “the first settlers”, Inuit and “Indians”: a documentary Nunavuk and discussion on the current position of the First Nations in the multicultural society of contemporary Canada
10th week: a selection from the first settlers’ literature, e.g. E. P. Johnson, T. Highway, T. King et al.
11th week: identity in Canada (M. Atwood, Surfacing, J. Kogawa, Obasan)
12th week: identity in Canada: female identity: M. Laurence, A. Munro, M. Atwood, C. Shields (a selection of short stories and novels)
13th week: revision and preparation for the final exam
14th week: final exam


– Keith, W. J., Canadian Literature in English, Longman Literature in English Series; London and New York: Longman, 1985
A New Anthology of Canadian Literature in English, D. Bennet, R. Brown ed., Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press Canada, 2002
Profiles of Canada, K. G. Pryke and W. Soderlund, 3rd ed., Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc., 2003
– Riendeau, R. A Brief History of Canada, Markham, Ontario: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2000
– primary texts given in class

– Atwood, M. Survival: a thematic guide to Canadian literature, Toronto: Anansiland and Stewart, 1972
– Frye, N. The Bush Garden: essays on the Canadian imagination, Toronto: Anansi, 1971
– Hutcheon, L., As Canadian as… Possible… Under the Circumstances!, Toronto: York University, 1990
A Passion for Identity: Canadian Studies for the 21st Century, D. Taras and B. Rasporich, 4. ed., Scarborough, Ontario: Nelson Thomson Learning, 2001
– Internet: official sites on various aspects of Canadian society sponsored by Canadian Government