SPRING 2014 | ENGL 109 | Romanticism Reloaded This course introduces students to the literature of the influential Romanticist movement (1789-1830), from the dissident art of William Blake to the key collection Lyrical Ballads. Our aim however will not be to appreciatively “read” the texts of the Romanticism but rather (with a reference here to the virtual universe of The Matrix) to “reload” them—to reassess their meaning in our contemporary digital culture. The course moves beyond the bounds of the book and examines the impact of computers, mobile networks, and new media on the creative process, the reading process, and on the process of scholarly inquiry. How can digital tools like Google Translator and Google Maps help us decipher lyrical poems? What does Mary Shelley’s Romanticist-Gothic novel Frankenstein have to teach us about bioengineered “frankenfoods” and sci-fi cyborgs? Students in this class should expect to submit traditional papers but will also engineer multimedia scholarly projects utilizing audio, video and mapping technologies.
SPRING 2015 | ENGL 335 | Electronic Literature (co-taught with Aurelea Mahood) [Course Website] Sound. Code. Animation. Interactive storytelling. Literature “born digital.” This course situates electronic literature–its narrative, poetic, dramatic and immersive forms–within histories of literature and new media. Readings in print and on screen will bring us into contact with computer-generated aesthetics that produce distinct literary effects while reconfiguring our reading and writing practices. Students will have an opportunity to author their own creative and critical works on digital platforms. No prior technical or computing expertise is required. Readings include selections from the Electronic Literature Collection, Vol. 1 and 2 and the digital ‘pop up book’ Between Page and Screen.
SPRING 2019 | ENGL 217 | Screen|Play: How to Read Videogames (and Why?) [Course Website] This course is an introduction to the forms of narrative, networked storytelling, simulated worlds, and fictional devices we encounter in videogames. We begin with an introduction to “play” and “gaming” (What is “play”? What is a “game”?). The course then moves on to a more focused literary, cultural and political critique of videogaming that draws on a toolbox of academic, critical, political and aesthetic approaches. In addition to playing and “reading” games (Pong; Frogger; Bioshock: Infinite;Papers, Please;The Stanley Parable; Gone Home;Thomas Was Alone; The Last of Us; Ohmygod are you alright? and others, most of which are available either online or on the popular computer platforms, Steam or itch.io) students will also be reading in a more conventional sense. Readings include short stories from Borges, Akutagawa, and others; digital experimental novels designed for the screen (Pry, and E. Horowitz, The Silent History); film (Edge of Tomorrow); and manga (R. Takeuchi, All You Need is Kill, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2). Previous experience with gaming or video games is not required for this course.
FALL 2019 | ENGL 338 | Sound Literatures + Sound Studies This interdisciplinary third-year ENGL course introduces students to the emergent and energetic Digital Humanities (DH) field of “Sound Studies.” The course explores the basic aesthetic and political intersections between sound(s) and literature(s). Students will explore sounds (music, noise, dialogue, silence, and so on) as rhetorical and textual practices; account for the ways that sound technologies and sound platforms, such as podcasting, are shifting the shape of scholarship, peer review, and research; and investigate the role that sound and sound technologies have always played in literary and artistic processes, including creation/authoring, reading, curation and criticism. We will look at a varitety of sound genres including field recordings, audio documentaries, spoken-word manifestos, silent films, sound art (Laurie Anderson), electronic literature, ambient literature, YouTube ASMR recordings, and the “odd” new subculture of “Weird Fiction” (including “Weird Podcasts”). The second part of the course turns to focus on literature’s evolving forms and functions in the age of sampling/turntabling/podcasts/ear pods/audio books and critically examines both sound production and reproductive technologies in the cultural landscape of late capitalism — with a sharp focus on race, class, gender [#metoo audio fiction], ability [so-called “Deaf Lit”], and so on. Readings and “listenings” for the course include traditional novels (Richard Powers, Orfeo); Futurist/Dadaist sound poems; the literary sound collages or “cut ups” of Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs; noise art from Merzbow, Les Rallizes Dénudés and Sonic Youth; innovative sound poetry from Langston Hughes, Kenneth Goldsmith, and Christian Bök; and works of silence (John Cage’s 4”33’ and Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times). Theory readings include selections from Bacon, Adorno, Eno, Eco, Attali, Barthes, Kittler, Lacan, Bernstein, Sterne, Kristeva, Chion, Silverman, Marx, and others. Students in this course will write conventional papers, but also will use audio apps to record sounds, remix existing sounds, explore established audio genres (and forge new academic genres), review and comment on innovative multimodal projects, and create new works, including a group podcast on a course-related literary or cultural topic.
SPRING 2021 | CAPILANO U. FIRST YEAR SEMINARS PROGRAM | “Toxic Masculinity” from Shakespeare to Tinder | This course, which is LGBTQ2+ friendly, will create a safe and critical environment for students to explore and analyze both classical and contemporary forms of what has come to be called “toxic masculinity.” Students will question and confront their own assumptions about “men” while exploring both positive and questionable representations of masculinity in popular culture, both print and screen. The course begins with an accessible introductory overview of “masculinity” drawing on theoretical key concepts from R.W. Connell. The course will revolve around three main sets of texts. The first text is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – an early display and critique of Early Modern forms of masculinity. The second texts are cinematic articluations of masculinity, Jaws (1975) and Bombshell (2019) a Hollywood-style response to the #metoo movement. The third platform we will explore is Tinder, a dating app that has both reinforced and, in some ways, subverted, a culture of toxic masculinity that has taken on a new life and a renewed foothold in the online world.
TUTORIALS The launch of Capilano University’s Bachelor degree, through our LIberal Studies Program (LBST) has given all faculty at Capilano U. the opportunity to develop and build the program and its courses from the “ground up.” The degree structure at Capilano U. means that students in the program take a series of three “tutorials” culminating in a final Graduation Project. Students select their own tutorial advisor. Brian has overseen several tutorials each year on topics such. These have included: