English (ENGL) 302

An Introduction to Canadian Literature (Revision 4)

ENGL 302 course cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 6

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: ENGL 211 and ENGL 212 or equivalent first year English course(s).

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

English Studies Home Page

ENGL 302 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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English 302 is a six-credit senior level course that presents an overview of Canadian literature from its beginnings to the present. Students will study novels, poetry, humorous stories, drama, exploration narratives, creative non-fiction stories, and other works from authors such as Pauline Johnson, Emily Carr, Gabrielle Roy, M.G. Vassanji, Michael Ondaatje, Marilyn Dumont, Shyam Selvadurai, Madeleine Thien, Don McKay, and others.

Just as the nation itself is a diverse and contested place, so too is Canadian literature a collection of many forms of representation with diverse and sometimes conflicting priorities. To develop an understanding of this complexity, students will read about the injustice of the railroad, contemplate the collapse of civilization, and watch Lorna Crozier perform an erotic poem.


  • Unit 1: Making Canada
  • Unit 2: Modern Canada
  • Unit 3: Many Canadas
  • Unit 4: When Is Now?

Learning Outcomes

There is a crack, a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.
—Leonard Cohen

After completing this course, students should be able to:

  • Evaluate the concerns at stake in conceiving the field of Canadian literature itself as well as its trajectories over time
  • Apply the skills of close reading in relation to the assigned texts while also assessing the existing secondary criticism on particular works
  • Assess the ways in which particular texts approach cultural assumptions and concepts such as those associated with national identity, voice, power, perspective, representation, ideology, race, gender, Indigeneity, colonization, multiculturalism, the environment, and other concerns
  • Analyze the ways in which relevant literary concepts such as theme, metaphor, irony, point of view, form, genre, and others operate within specific texts
  • Create thoughtful, articulate, original critical analyses of the assigned texts, surprising your instructor with new insights


To receive credit for ENGL 302, you must submit all four assignments, obtain a minimum grade of 50% on the exam, and obtain a final course grade of at least 50%. The weighting of the course assignments is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 10%
Assignment 2 15%
Assignment 3 15%
Assignment 4 20%
Final Exam 40%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Hamilton, Sharon. Essential Literary Terms. 2nd ed., W.W. Norton & Company, 2017.

Bennett, Donna, and Russell Brown, editors. An Anthology of Canadian Literature in English. 4th ed., Oxford UP, 2019.

Carr, Emily. Klee Wyck. Douglas & McIntyre, 2003.

Loring, Kevin. Where the Blood Mixes. Talonbooks, 2009.

Mandel, Emily St. John. Station Eleven. Harper Avenue, 2014.

Ondaatje, Michael. In the Skin of a Lion. Vintage Canada, 1996.

Roy, Gabrielle. The Road Past Altamont. Penguin Modern Classics Edition, 2018.

Selvadurai, Shyam. Funny Boy. Penguin Modern Classics Edition, 2019.

Other Materials

All other course materials, including a Study Guide, a writing guide, and detailed course information, can be found online.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the ENGL 302 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least 50% on the examination and a grade of at least 50% overall.

Activity Weighting
Research Essay 50%
Exam 50%
Total 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 4, April 11, 2019.

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