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Cathia Jenainati
Module Leader
Term 1
10 weeks
Availability / Priority

Liberal Arts and GSD

Monash exchange

Erasmus Liberal Arts exchange

Warwick--Honours level students

Moodle Platform »

This module is not running in 2018/19

Principal Aims

This module examines key developments in Canadian writing and history with the aim of highlighting the distinctive texture of Canadian experiences and identities. The chosen texts focus on the lives, struggles and contributions of a selection of writers and storytellers from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, enlarging and diversifying the picture of the past found in conventional historical accounts.

The texts cover a wide scope of topics, beginning in the nineteenth century with the colonisation of the Canadian prairies, moving on to the early twentieth-century's concern with finding Canadian motifs and ending in the twenty-first century with texts engaging with the search for a Canadian literary identity. Other topics include sexuality, the development of a Canadian form of literary theory, and the individual’s relationship to the landscape.
The module offers you an opportunity to examine the origins of migration to Canada and the cultural, political and economic factors that shaped the migrants’ experience. A problem-based approach to teaching will be used to examine different phases of the migrant experience, loosely described as encompassing six phases : Migration, Invasion, Settlement, Exploitation, Rehabilitation, Institutionalisation (MISERI).

By examining the Canadian experience from early migration to nation-building you broaden the scope of your knowledge of North American history, literature and culture, expand your understanding of literary theory. In addition, the topics covered are specifically taught within the context of Canada but the module offers you an opportunity to conduct comparative analyses with texts and media productions of your choice.

Principal Learning Outcomes

Upon completing the module you will acquire a range of intellectual and practical skills as well in-depth knowledge of the MISERI framework. You are expected to be able to :

  • demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the economic and social factors that triggered the initial wave of migration to Canada
  • critically assess a range of scholarly articles which chart the history of migration to Canada by examining and assessing the validity of their sources, and the reliability of their evidence
  • acquire in-depth understanding of the complex relationships that were established between the “settlers” and the “natives” and analyse the ways in which these relationships evolved
  • acquire a detailed understanding of the factors that shape the creation of national identity
  • examine problems associated with the discourses around migration, and engage with theoretical interpretations of the subject positions that the migrants occupy across historical phases.
  • develop advanced skills around textual analysis and academic writing
  • develop and hone research skills
  • develop public speaking and public communication skills by publishing critical reflections on the module’s forum

 Migration, Invasion, Settlement (weeks 1-5)

  • Drimmer, Frederick, Captured by the Indians : 15 Firsthand Accounts (1750-1870)
  • Susanna Moodie, Roughing it in the Bush (1852)
  • Catherine Parr Traill, The Backwoods of Canada (1836) [excerpts]
  • G. Mercer Adam and A. Ehtelwyn Wetherald, An Algonquin Maiden (1887)
  • James De Mille, A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder (1888)
  • Elsie Clews Parsons, North American Indian Life: Customs and Traditions of 23 Tribes
  • Selection of Short Stories 1890- 1920 [module reader]
  • Frederick Philip Grove, Settlers of the Marsh (1925)

Exploitation, Rehabilitation, Institutionalisation (weeks 6-10)

  • Hugh MacLennan, Barometer Rising (1941)
  • Sinclair Ross, As for Me and My House (1941)
  • Joy Kogawa, Obasan (1983)
  • Thomas King, Green Grass, Running Water (1993)
  • Thomson Highway, Kiss of the Fur Queen (1999)
Additional Reading opportunities

You are strongly encouraged to read widely and to refer to texts, films, music and media recordings as relevant. Specifically you are encouraged to consult:

Canuck, A. Pen Pictures of Early Pioneer Life in Upper Canada. Toronto: William Briggs, 1905.
Baskerville, Peter A. Ontario: Image, Identity, and Power. Toronto: OUP, 2002.
Bumstead, J.M. and Len Kuffert. eds. Interpreting Canada's Past: A Post-Confederation Reader. 3rd edn. Toronto: OUP, 2005.
Bumstead, J.M. The Peoples of Canada: A Post-Confederation History. Toronto: OUP, 2004.
Dickason, Olive Patricia. ed. The Native Imprint: The Contribution of First Peoples to Canada's Character, Vol 1. to 1815. Athabasca UP, 1995.
Shortt, Adam and A.G. Doughty. Documents Relating to The Constitutional History of Canada 1759-1791. Ottawa: S.E. Dawson, 1907.
Visual Materials
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001), dir. Zacharias Kunuk
The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (2006) dir. Norman Cohn
Real Injun (2009) dir. Neil Diamond and Catherine Bainbridge