Faculty of Arts


Representing Imagining

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for ENGLISH 769.


How do modern writers and readers perform representational styles, from the familiar to the new? How do we respond to recognisable writing and to “imagining what we don’t know”? How does imaginative writing conjure and interrogate representation? Can representation collapse or vanish? If it can, what events or imaginative purposes – ecstatic, traumatic and/or otherwise – position us in the unrecognisable and/or unspeakable?

Using these and similar questions, this seminar investigates styles of representation in imaginative writing. For our purposes, representation is language and other signs replicating and/or investigating what and how we perceive, experience, co-create and imagine our worlds. The principal focus is how individuals score themselves and their cultures in language and other imaginative signs near language: we’ll consider this topic in terms of genre, authenticity, translingualism, transnationalism, the page and the codex, the word and the phrase, testimony, the digitas, distributed centrality, cultural ethics, and the economy of the imaginative subject. Our texts range principally over the last forty years, with some earlier texts and contexts.

View the course syllabus

Availability 2018

Semester 1


Coordinator(s) Associate Professor Lisa Samuels


Laura Riding, Progress of Stories (1935; 1994 Persea) ISBN 0892552034

Kamau Brathwaite, Mother Poem (1977); revised in Ancestors (New Directions 2001) ISBN 0811214486

Ida West, Pride Against Prejudice: Reminiscences of a Tasmanian Aborigine (1984, 1987, 2004) ISBN 0391031260

Kathy Acker, Empire of the Senseless (1988; Grove 2010) ISBN 9780802131799

Réda Bensmaïa, The Year of Passages (trans. from French 1995) ISBN 0816623937

Craig Santos Perez, from unincorporated territory [HACHA] (Tinfish 2008) ISBN 0978992962

Lisa Robertson, Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture (2003; Coach House, 2nd edition 2011) ISBN 9781552452325

Erín Moure, Kapusta (Anansi 2015) ISBN 9781770894822

Other course readings as indicated (online and on Canvas and handouts)


ENGLISH 769: 30.0 points

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