McGill Alert / Alerte de McGill

Updated: Mon, 07/15/2024 - 16:07

Gradual reopening continues on downtown campus. See Campus Public Safety website for details.

La réouverture graduelle du campus du centre-ville se poursuit. Complément d'information : Direction de la protection et de la prévention.

This version of the McGill Department of English, Undergraduate Studies site is deprecated but has been preserved for archival reasons. The information on this site is not up to date and should not be consulted. Students, faculty, and staff should consult the new site using the link below.

200-level / Introductory Courses

All 500-level courses and a certain number of 200-, 300- and 400-level courses have limited enrolment and require instructors' permission. Students hoping to enroll in these courses should consult the course descriptions on the Department of English website for the procedures for applying for admission. 


ENGL 202 Departmental Survey of English Literature I

Professor Maggie Kilgour
Fall Term 2015
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1:35-2:25

Full course description

Prerequisite: None
Not open to students who have taken ENGL 200.  Open only to students in English Major and Minor programs.

 Description:  Taken in the same term as ENGL 311, Poetics, ENGL 202 is foundational to further study in the department of English. Through readings of and lectures and discussions on a range of non-dramatic  works from the Anglo Saxon period to the 18th century, it introduces students to English literary history, as well as challenging them to reflect upon the concept of literary history and idea of the canon. Particular attention will be placed on the development through time of specific literary forms and genres, including lyric, epic, satire, sonnets, romance, and pastoral, and to the dynamics between authors in relation to historical and cultural changes. Through this course, students will develop a knowledge of early literature in English that will prepare them for more advanced and specialized study in the department. Class discussions especially in conference groups and written assignments will help students develop speaking and writing skills of interpretation and communication.

Texts: (required texts are available at McGill Bookstore); TBA

Evaluation: 25% mid-term; 40% 5 page term paper; 25% formal final exam; 10% class/conference participation

ENGL 203 Departmental Survey of English Literature 2

Professor Monica Popescu
Winter Term 2016
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1:35-2:25

Full course description

Description: This is a survey of British and Anglophone literature from the 18th century to the present. As this period covers a rich range of texts and authors from various backgrounds, we will focus on writers who, until a few decades ago, were seldom considered to be part of the canon: women, writers of color, outsiders (Mary Wollstonecraft, Olaudah Equiano, Derek Walcott, Angela Carter). In the case of the well-established writers (William Blake, Charles Dickens, Joseph Conrad, T.S. Eliot) we will focus on texts that showcase the plight of the working classes, distant imaginary or real landscapes, gender and sexuality, and less explored themes. We will study the characteristics of various literary genres, identify the historical and cultural concerns specific to each period, and read the themes and formal elements of poetry, prose and essays against the social and political background of each era.


  • Course pack
  • The Norton Anthology of Literature, Major Authors, Volume 2, 9th edition
  • Mary Shelley: Frankenstein
  • Sam Selvon: The Lonely Londoners

Evaluation (tentative): Paper 25%, Midterm 25%, Final exam 40%, Short assignments and participation 10%

Format: Lectures and weekly conferences

ENGL 215 Introduction to Shakespeare

Professor Kenneth Borris
Fall Term 2015
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12:35-13:25

Full course description

Description: A representative sampling of Shakespeare’s plays will provide an introduction to the scope and variety of his drama as it relates to his cultural context and to the main genres of his writing.


  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • As You Like It
  • King Lear
  • The Winter’s Tale
  • The Tempest

Evaluation: term paper, 50%; take-home final exam, 40%; conference attendance and participation, 10%

Format: lectures and weekly conferences

ENGL 225 American Literature I

Professor Peter Gibian
Fall Term 2015
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:35–11:25  (with weekly conference sections)

Full course description

Prerequisite: None.

Description:  A survey of American literature from its beginnings to the Civil War (1860). While we may begin with early writing—Native Americans, explorers, Puritans, or 18th-century figures such as Benjamin Franklin, for example—the main emphasis will be on literature from the first half of the 19th century: authors such as Irving, Douglass, and Stowe, with a special focus on the major writers of the “American Renaissance”--Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Poe, Hawthorne, Whitman, and Dickinson. Particular attention will be paid to representative American themes, forms, and literary techniques. No attempt will be made to cover all major writers or writings.


  • Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography and Other Writings
  • The Norton Anthology of American Literature: 8th edition, Vol. B (1820-1865).

Evaluation: (Tentative): 20% mid-term exam; 25% essay; 15% conference participation; 40% final exam. (All evaluation—on exams as well as essays—tests abilities in literary-critical writing and analysis; none involves short-answer or multiple-choice exams graded by computer.)

Format: Lectures and discussion sections.

Average Enrolment: 180 students.

ENGL 228 Canadian Literature 1: Survey of English-Canadian Literature to 1950

Professor Eli MacLaren
Winter Term 2016
Tuesday and Thursday 13:05-14:25 

Full course description

Prerequisites: None

Description: An introduction to Canadian prose and poetry in English from its beginnings through the Second World War. Written in an international language and shaped by publishing centres in Britain and the United States, early Canadian literature in English comprises a rich array of achievements reflecting the coming into being of a complex country. In this course, students will be exposed to major movements and genres, including the literature of exploration and settlement, Confederation Poetry, nineteenth-century social realism, and modernism. Thematic emphasis will be placed on the culture and legacy of the fur trade, the representation of First Nations, Canadian authorship and publishing history, and theories of the nation. Students will read, interpret, orally discuss, and learn to write critically about the assigned readings. We will strive to understand why early Canadian authors wrote as they did, meeting them on their own ground and assessing their relevance to our society today.


  • Robert Lecker, ed. Open Country: Canadian Literature in English (Thomson Nelson)
  • David Thompson. The Writings of David Thompson. Vol. 1, The Travels, 1850 Version. Ed. William E. Moreau (McGill-Queen’s)
  • Sara Jeannette Duncan. The Pool in the Desert. Ed. Gillian Siddall (Broadview)
  • Sinclair Ross. As For Me and My House (New Canadian Library)

Evaluation: Short assignments and quizzes (10%); midterm (25%); essay (25%); final exam (30%); participation in conferences (10%)

Format: Lecture and Conferences

ENGL 230 Introduction to Theatre Studies

Professor Erin Hurley
Fall Term 2015
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:35-10:25

Full course description

Prerequisites: None

Description: This course provides a critical introduction to Theatre Studies, in its branches of dramatic literature, dramatic theory, and theatre history.  Our point of departure for this introduction to the field will be plays drawn from the major episodes of world theatre history, beginning with Ancient Greek drama through contemporary Canadian and postcolonial performance, and including the Department of English mainstage show. Through the plays, we will examine what “theatre” is in different periods and places, how it is constituted by the material conditions of performance, codified in dramatic genres, and conceptualized in dramatic theory.  NB: This course is introductory in the sense of ‘foundational’; it offers the fundaments to the study of theatre and prepares students for further study in Drama and Theatre.

“Introduction to Theatre Studies” is divided into units and ordered according to chronology. Each unit is built around a representative play or performance and explores a particular question or issue in theatre studies, for instance, the actor’s body, theories of genre, or women on stage.

TextsAvailable at the McGill Bookstore and on Reserve Gainor, J. Ellen, Stanton B. Garner, Jr. and Martin Puchner, ed. The Norton Anthology of Drama, Shorter Second Edition.

Required Event: Department of English mainstage play – Moyse Hall Theatre, end of November

Evaluation: Midterm exam (25%); final exam (35%); participation (10%); close-reading assignment (15%); theatre production analysis (15%)

Format: Lecture (2 hours/week) plus discussion sections (1 hour/week)

Enrolment Cap: 140

ENGL 269 Introduction to Performance 

Instructor Myrna Selkirk
Monday, Wednesday 11:35-1:25

Full course description

Prerequisites: Open to Drama and Theatre Majors. All others must seek permission of myrna.wyatt.selkirk [at]

Description: The focus in this course is on the actor as communicator. Spontaneity and freedom from self-consciousness will be just two of the goals of the work. The class will test and explore ways for students to become more engaged, more open and more focused. Emphasis will be placed on exploration of the actor's resources - voice, body, imagination, emotion, intellect and the senses.


  • The Practical Handbook for the Actor by Melissa Bruder, et al. (Vintage Books, 1986). 
  • Actions: The Actor's Thesaurus by Marina Calderone and Maggie Lloyd-Williams (Drama Publishers, 2004).  Plays TBA.

Evaluation: Class Participation 20%; Rehearsals and Presentations 55%; Written Analysis, Journals and Critiques 25%

Format: Improvisation; games; movement exercises; text interpretation; background research; scene work; warm-ups; discussion; presentations.

ENGL 275 Introduction to Cultural Studies

Professor Derek Nystrom 
Fall Term 2015
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:35-11:25

Full course description

Prerequisites: None

Description: This course, a required course for Cultural Studies majors and minors, will introduce various critical efforts to theorize the aesthetics, semiotics, and politics of popular culture over the past century. Beginning with a few crucial theoretical touchstones (Marx, Freud, structuralism), we will survey such movements as the Frankfurt School, the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, critical race studies, queer theory, affect theory, and various feminisms, as they each formulate critical frameworks to explain how popular culture works. Along the way, we will consider the following questions: What does the “popular” in “popular culture” mean? Does the distinction between “high” and “low” culture have a political dimension? Furthermore, when we do cultural studies, whose culture should be investigated? What is the role of the critic? Finally, how can we grasp the meanings of popular culture: by examining the texts themselves, or by studying the audiences’ interpretations and uses of these texts?

Texts: Roland Barthes, Mythologies. Essays by Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Andreas Huyssen, Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, Dick Hebdige, Louis Althusser, John Fiske, Janice Radway, Laura Kipnis, Constance Penley, and others 

Evaluation: short papers, midterm quiz, conference participation, final exam

Format: lecture, weekly TA-led conferences

ENGL 277 Introduction to Film Studies

ned.schantz [at] (Professor Ned Schantz)
Fall Term 2015 
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12:35-1:25 | Screenings: TBA

Full course description

Prerequisite:  Restricted to Cultural Studies majors/minors and Film Studies minors

Description: This course is designed to prepare students for future film courses at McGill.  It is therefore dedicated to three main goals: establishing a frame of reference for the history of film and film theory, introducing key analytical concepts and skills, and inspiring an ongoing interest in film.

NOTE: This course is for Cultural Studies majors/minors and Film Studies minors only, and to maintain fairness no exceptions can be made. 

Required Texts: coursepack

Evaluation: quiz 10%, 3-4 page paper 15%, 5-6 page paper 25%, conferences 15%, posted class notes 5%, final 30%.

Format: Lecture and conferences plus weekly screenings

ENGL 297 Introduction to Inuit, Métis and First Nations Literature, Video and Film

Professor Marianne Stenbaek
Winter Term 2016 
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:35-12:25

Full course description

Prerequisite: None

Description: This course offers an introduction to Canadian Inuit, Métis and First Nations literature, video and film. It should be stressed that this is only an introduction: Canada is a vast and varied country with over 600 different First Nations tribes, four distinct Inuit regions and several Métis groups who all have different traditions, often different languages, and quite different histories.

We will address works either originally written in English or translated into English.

The course will consider oral literature, story-telling and legends handed down through generations as well as contemporary “collaborative life stories,” novels, essays and one play. The common themes are a “revolt” against colonialism, in whatever form this may take, and a search for a renewed or continued identity in the contemporary world. Creations in modern media such as television and film have been both forceful and successful: some are included in the course.

Required Texts:


  • Wachovich: Saquiaq
  • Excerpts from Voices and Images of Nunavimmiut volume 1. Edited By Stenbaek and Grey
  • Legends, to be distributed in class.


  • Maria Campbell: Half-Breed

First Nations:

  • Tomson Highway: The Rez Sister.
  • Richard Wagamese: Indian Horse.

Other articles will be distributed in class.
Most books have been used in other courses, so you may be able to find them second-hand, but they will also available at Paragraphe Bookstore, southwest corner of McGill College and Sherbrooke.
Excerpts from films and videos will be shown in class and are considered an integral part of the class material for which you are responsible.  You should have access to watching APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) either on line or on television.

Evaluation: TBA

Format: Lecture and duscussion


Back to top