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Fall 2019 Course Spotlight: ENG 5555HF – Archived Toronto: Literary and Cultural Tracings

Submitted on Tuesday, July 16, 2019


ENG 5555HF – Archived Toronto: Literary and Cultural Tracings
Professor Heather Murray
Tuesday 9-11
JHB 617

The first goal of this course is to explore the diverse literary and cultural histories of Toronto (including the vibrant literary networks and scenes of today), by working with equally rich and varied library collections and archival deposits to be found throughout the Toronto area, as well as digitized collections and online sources. The second goal is to provide students with advanced primary source and archival research skills, along with an understanding of the practical, theoretical, ethical, legal, and affective dimensions of archival work. Thus, this course is aimed both to intending “CanLit” specialists, and to students from other fields who wish to acquire training in primary source work and related transferrable skills. While there will be a certain amount of secondary reading, the main work of this course will be hands-on research, beginning with a series of guided individual and group assignments designed to familiarize students with some of key collections, and with the trajectories of research. (Sample topics could include 19th C authorial organizations and reading groups; bohemian and left cultural “scenes” of the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s; the evolution of poetry reading series; the literary legacy of lesbian and gay publications.) We will pay particular attention to the challenges of researching earlier historical periods, and “minority” or less well-documented communities. Students will develop individual research topics for their final papers.

Course Reading List

Key texts include: Lisa Gitelman, Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents; James O’Toole and Richard J. Cox,  Understanding Archives and Manuscripts (second edition); Carolyn Steedman, Dust: The Archive and Cultural History

Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements

Guided research exercises and group research presentations 30%; individual presentations 10%; final paper (including workshopping of proposal) 60%.

If interested, please:

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