Readers Are Listening

An online graduate seminar
English 506 + CSPT 500/600
Fall 2020 at the University of Victoria
Zoom Seminar: Tuesdays, 1:30 - 2:50pm (optional)
Zoom Office Hours: Wednesdays, 12 - 1pm (optional)
Taught by Jentery Sayers (

This syllabus is licensed CC BY-NC 4.0.



“Readers are listening.” We’ll treat that sentence, including its many implications, as a refrain for this seminar.

Readers are listening because, as a 2018 BookNet Canada report suggests, more and more of them are purchasing audiobooks and subscribing to podcasts. Readers are listening because publishers, writers, actors, and critics are taking sound more seriously. Readers are listening because they’ve been diagnosed with print disabilities or visual impairments. They are listening because they are multitasking—listening while commuting, working at home, or engaging in hobbies. Readers are listening because they enjoy it, they need a break from screens, or they’re playing games. The list goes on, all to demonstrate that the combination of reading and listening, or the characterization of listening as reading, is not a contradiction. Listening is not “cheating,” or passive, or homogeneous, and it’s long been central to the interpretation of fiction. This seminar explores how and why by treating listening as a critical practice.

You’ll have the opportunity to test various approaches to listening by studying fiction (mostly Anglo-American) from the 20th and 21st centuries. To invite an array of expertise on the topic, I’ve selected a range of works that not only engage themes of sound and listening (as content) but also experiment with audio formats, such as radio plays, talking books, cut-ups, recorded readings, serialized drama, voice-over narration, and first-person videogames, where listeners cannot see the “source” of a sound. Each week, we’ll examine a work or two with a particular theme or technique in mind. Themes will include listening to writers read, listening to narrators speak, listening for meaning, listening for effects, listening with others, listening in place, listening against the grain, listening spheres, and listening with machines. Across them, we’ll consider the aesthetics and sensory politics of how readers listen to fiction and how fiction is composed to be heard. I’ll also encourage you to try writing for readers who are listening by asking you to develop a portfolio of audio work comprised of brief exercises that culminate in an episode for a podcast of your design about a seminar topic of your choice.


This seminar contributes to your graduate education in English and/or Cultural, Social, and Political Thought by asking you to:

I hope this approach to the online seminar offers you room to experiment with your own take on the theme of “Readers Are Listening,” and to build upon your own interests and experiences. If you find that it does not, then please let me or the graduate adviser know, and I’ll adjust my pedagogy accordingly.

About Me

My name is Jentery Sayers (he / him / his). I’m a settler scholar and associate professor of English and Cultural, Social, and Political Thought (CSPT), and I direct the Praxis Studio for Comparative Media Studies. I’ve been at UVic since 2011. I did my MA and PhD in English at the University of Washington, and I grew up in Richmond, Virginia, where I also got my BA and BS (at Virginia Commonwealth University). Most of my work is in comparative media studies, including sound studies. I teach American fiction, media and cultural studies, prototyping, and materialism at UVic. This is the tenth graduate seminar I’ve taught at the university, but my first online. I’ll be learning quite a bit as we go. Thanks for your patience, and apologies in advance for any hiccups on my end.

Structure and Assignments

I’ve structured this online seminar around three assignments, all of which can be performed asynchronously: an audio portfolio (marked twice, as Portfolio 1 and 2, each 25% of your mark), participation in online discussion forums (marked twice, as Discussion 1 and 2, each 10% of your mark), and a final project: an episode for a podcast of your design (30% of your mark). The portfolio and forums will help you to gradually develop your final project, and I’ve integrated them into the seminar as tasks or activities to be performed each week. To clarify expectations and also render transparent my approach to assessment, I will provide rubrics for all three assignments.

If you are interested and able to participate in a synchronous seminar, then we’ll meet on Zoom every Tuesday, from 1:30 until 2:50pm Pacific. Please note that Zoom meetings are optional. I’ll email you the URL for our Zoom, and it’ll remain the same for the entire term. The meetings will usually begin with brief, prerecorded remarks from me on the assigned materials and issues we’ve been discussing in Brightspace. I’ll post these remarks to Brightspace each week in case you’re unable to attend the Zoom meetings or you’d like to refer to my remarks later. The remarks will be available in audio and text formats.

The balance of the course, including the discussion forums, audio portfolio, and final project, will happen in the seminar Brightspace, which you should be able to access via your UVic account. If you cannot access the seminar Brightspace, then please let me know. You’ll use Brightspace to submit your assignments, and we will all use it to engage in conversations and provide feedback on work in progress. I’ll also use it to return marks, post announcements, and point to you resources here and there.


The most important thing to know about this seminar is that I’ll opt for care in every instance. If the workload becomes too much, or we’re juggling more than we should, then we’ll cut materials, including assignments, as we go. I’ve planned for the maximum in advance, under the assumption that we won’t get to everything. And that’s totally fine.  

I suggest dedicating 5 to 6 hours of study each week to this seminar, plus 1.5 hours for the weekly Zoom meetings if you’re able to attend them. To frame expectations and decrease overwork, I assign in the schedule (below) a number of recommended hours to each aspect of the seminar, and I communicate progress in terms of weekly steps (0-13) toward your final project, partially because online learning makes time weird for us all, and focusing on one thing can be a struggle right now, to say the least.

Of course, 5 to 6 hours per week is only a guideline. You may find that you need more or less time depending on the activity, your preferences, and your own familiarity with the work and materials involved. 

Please also note that we’ll start the seminar (the first third) with introductory materials and a bulk of our reading and listening. Most of the last third (November and early December) will be dedicated to preparing your final projects (again, an episode in a podcast of your design). The middle third is like a bridge, where you’ll have a chance to experiment and refine your ideas. We’ll adjust along the way to ensure none of this is too much for you (or me).


The only thing you should purchase (or rent) for this seminar is Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye as an audiobook, where she is the reader and voice actress. You may want to grab a print copy, too. The remaining materials are available openly online, via UVic Libraries, or in Brightspace. I hope this approach keeps costs down for you. 

Here’s a list of the primary materials I’ve assigned. They are intended to help us cover a range of audio and fiction, across formats, while grounding our research in questions of critical listening and its relation to reading.

For your reference, I’ve also compiled a series of brief, critical introductions to listening and related issues. These introductions are written mostly from a sound studies angle, and you will find them in Brightspace or via UVic Libraries.

We will also use two discussion forums (as part of your marks for Discussion 1 and 2) to collaboratively build an annotated bibliography, which I’m populating for you with publications by several of the above scholars as well as Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Daphne Brooks, John Cage, Jason Camlot, Anne Margaret Castro, Adriana Cavarero, David Cecchetto, Steph Ceraso, Tanya Clement, Angela Davis, Susan Douglas, Nina Sun Eidsheim, Ralph Ellison, Brian Eno, Frantz Fanon, Julie Funk, Sumanth Gopinath, Lisa Gitelman, Iben Have, Brian Kane, Anahid Kassabian, Sarah Kozloff, James Lastra, Hannah McGregor, Paul D. Miller (DJ Shadow), Cat Moses, Fred Moten, John Durham Peters, Richard Cullen Rath, Tara Rodgers, Tricia Rose, Matthew Rubery, Murray Schafer, Pierre Schaeffer, Karis Shearer, Kaja Silverman, Robin Small‐McCarthy, Jennifer Lynn Stoever, Birgitte Stougaard Pedersen, Juan A. Suárez, Emily Thompson, David Toop, Olga Touloumi, Alexander Weheliye, Anna Williams, Virginia Woolf, Iannis Xenakis, and Pamela Z. I will ask each of you to annotate only four entries in the bib.

Finally, I recommend the website, Sounding Out!, edited by Jennifer Lynn Stoever, as well as podcasts such as SpokenWeb and Phantom Power. They are excellent resources for keeping up with audio and fiction as well as sound studies.

As for audio technologies that may be useful in this seminar, I recommend Audacity and some headphones or earbuds. You may want an external microphone as well, but that’s certainly optional. For more on gear, see this post by Jonathan Sterne or email me. I’m happy to talk more about the tech I use for audio work.


Here’s the schedule for the term. I’ve designed it to scaffold the audio portfolio process by presenting the seminar as a series of 14 steps, each with instructions and assigned materials, accompanied by a number of recommended hours to spend on the tasks at hand (given, again, the “timesoup” that is online learning). The final step corresponds with the completion of your final project (an episode in a podcast of your own design) in December.

I will use a Brightspace announcement to notify you at least two weeks in advance of any changes. Please note that all discussion forums are in Brightspace, and all assignments, including the portfolio and final project, should be submitted via Brightspace. It is, alas, LMS all the way down . . .

Step 0 (Sept. 15): Scan All the Steps

Before our first Zoom meeting on September 15th, please take a moment to scan the course overview and steps (0-13) outlined in this schedule. I created a discussion forum for questions and concerns. Please note that, in Brightspace, the seminar policies are provided separately in PDF. Thank you!  

Step 1 (Sept. 15): Complete a Technology Survey

This week’s step should consume no more than an hour of your time. Please:

  1. Introduce yourself in the forum and take 5 to 10 minutes to respond to others. 
  2. Dedicate 15 minutes to completing the technology survey. It contains only four questions.

Step 2 (Sept. 22): Pick a Podcast and Press Record

This week’s step should consume no more than 6 hours of your time. Please:

  1. Pick a podcast (such as SpokenWeb, Phantom Power, or Sounding Out!) to follow for the next ten weeks. Take about an hour to listen to an episode or two. 
  2. Spend about an hour experimenting with Audacity, including installation. Try recording, importing, and editing. If you’d rather not use Audacity, then just determine which app you’ll use for recording and editing audio this term. 
  3. Dedicate about 3 hours to reading the attached collection of brief introductions to listening. They represent a range of approaches across sound studies. Authors include Roland Barthes, Jody Berland, Michael Bull and Les Back, Michel Chion, Kodwo Eshun, Douglas Kahn, Michele Hilmes, Francisco López, Mara Mills, Pauline Oliveros, Tom Rice, Dylan Robinson, Tara Rodgers, Jonathan Sterne, and Ola Stockfelt. Worry less about reading all of them and more about identifying two or three that especially stick with you. 
  4. Spend 30 minutes to an hour contributing to the “Ways of Listening” discussion forum. 

Step 3 (Sept. 29): Record Your First Take

This week’s step should consume no more than 6 hours of your time. Please: 

  1. Listen to the first 3.5 to 4 hours of Toni Morrison reading her book, The Bluest Eye (totalling about 7 hours). You may want to consult a print or ebook copy as you go and take notes as you listen. Consider sound as media (the audiobook format as well as the experience and timing of listening), theme (music and voice in the novel), content (Morrison’s voice but also references to sound in the novel), and representation (Morrison reading her own work to / for you).  
  2. Contribute to the “Audiobook” discussion forum for about 30 minutes to an hour, leaving your own remarks but also commenting on points raised by others. 
  3. Take about an hour to engage an issue raised during the first three weeks of seminar by recording yourself talking about it. This is an opportunity for you to experiment with your voice(s) as a medium and to determine how (or to what degree) you want to rely on a script when recording. Submit the audio file and its description to the “Record Your First Take” discussion forum and feel free to leave constructive and affirmative comments on other people’s work. We’re all learning here. 

Specs for the audio file (MP3 may be best): 5-8 minutes of you talking, plus a one- or two-sentence description of the recording and a list of works mentioned or sampled in it

Struggling with audio? In mid-September, I’ll hold a separate Zoom session on working with Audacity and the like. 

Step 4 (Oct. 6th): Describe Your Podcast

This week’s step should consume no more than 6 hours of your time. Please: 

  1. Finish listening to The Bluest Eye (totalling about 7 hours). Don’t forget to take notes as you go. You should have 3 to 3.5 hours left of the book. 
  2. Contribute once more to the “Audiobooks” discussion forum. Take 30 minutes to an hour. Don’t forget to bring that positive force :) 
  3. Take about an hour to 90 minutes to draft a description (250 words) of a podcast you might produce based on material from this seminar, including your recording from last week. You might want to scan the entire seminar schedule (steps 0 - 13) to see if there’s something on the docket that may especially appeal to your own research: audiobooks, recording readings, radio plays, podcasts, voice-over narration, or games, for instance. Your podcast description should include a title, theme, interests, topic(s) you’ll address, your intended audience, and, if you wish, a few words about your style or approach. You might also want to compare it with other podcasts, especially similar ones. Just get ideas circulating for now. Don’t worry much about the particulars. You’ll continue to revise this description and your framework for the podcast throughout the term. I’m just asking to start now rather than later with the rough stuff. That way, you can get feedback from us as you develop your ideas and audio style. 

Step 5 (Oct. 13): Record Some Dialogue

This week’s step should consume no more than 5 hours of your time. Please: 

  1. Spend between an hour and 90 minutes listening to Edwidge Danticat (2013) read Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” (1978) and “Wingless” (1979) (totalling 37 minutes). Listen at least twice, if you can, and take notes as you go. I’ll provide PDF copies of the short stories for your reference. 
  2. Dedicate between 30 minutes and an hour contributing to the “Recorded Readings” forum. Have some conversations there. 
  3. Take 30 minutes to an hour to listen to that podcast you selected back in September. 
  4. Take another hour or 2 to engage an issue raised during the first five weeks of seminar by recording dialogue (or banter) with someone else in the seminar. This should be an opportunity to integrate conversations and other perspectives into work toward your final project (a podcast episode), which, if you wish, may ultimately include you in conversation with someone else. This recorded dialogue will count “double”: as your recording for the week and theirs. You need to submit only one audio file per pair, and you can submit it to the “Record Some Dialogue” forum. You’ll have a chance to revise / edit it down the line.  

Specs for your audio file (MP3 may be best): 10-15 minutes of you talking with someone else, plus a one- or two-sentence description of the recording and a list of works mentioned or sampled in it

Step 6 (Oct. 20th): Revise and Edit

This week’s step should consume no more than 4 hours of your time. Please: 

  1. Listen to a recording of Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall: A Play for Radio (1957), totalling about 70 minutes. Take notes while listening. You may want to refer to the print copy as you go.
  2. Spend 30 minutes to an hour contributing to the “Radio Plays” discussion forum.
  3. Now that some time has passed, spend an hour or 2 revising the description for your proposed podcast and edit your first two recordings where / if necessary. Submit all three (description, your first take, and your recorded dialogue) for assessment. 

Step 7 (Oct. 27): Record an Analysis of Voice or Dialogue

This week’s step should consume no more than 4 hours of your time. Please: 

  1. Dedicate about 30 minutes to a few sound art and music recordings: Alvin Lucier’s “I Am Sitting in a Room,” (15:23, 1969), Delia Derbyshire’s “Ziwzih Ziwzih OO-OO-OO” (1:45, 1967), King Tubby and The Aggrovators’ “Dub Fi Gwan” (3:59, 1977), and Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman” (8:27, 1982). I’ll provide some context for these recordings during our October 27th Zoom meeting and also play some related sound art pieces for the group.  
  2. Take 30 minutes to an hour to contribute to the “Sound Art” discussion forum. 
  3. Spend about 2 hours engaging an issue raised during the first seven weeks of seminar by recording your analysis of a recorded voice or dialogue of your choice from what we’ve studied. This is your opportunity to treat audio as an object of inquiry (something you might want to try in your final project, too). If you’ve not yet sampled audio in your work, then I recommend doing so for this exercise. Upload your recording to the “Record an Analysis of Voice or Dialogue” forum and consider commenting on work submitted by others. 

Specs for your audio file (MP3 may be best): 5-10 minutes of you analyzing audio, plus a one- or two-sentence description of the recording and a list of works mentioned or sampled in it

Step 8 (Nov. 3): Let’s Bib

This week’s step should consume no more than 4 hours of your time. Please: 

  1. Note that we’ll start collaboratively annotating a bibliography that should inform your final project (the podcast episode). Spend 2 to 3 hours reading material and providing annotations for two of the bib’s entries. (You’ll do two this week and then two more for Nov. 24; see step 11). Leave your name (in brackets) at the end of all entries you annotate. You may want to add your name next to four entries early in the process to avoid duplication (multiple annotations for the same entry) and then return to the document later to add your annotations. I’ll populate the bib for you; you just need to do the annotations. (You’ll be able to add entries, too, if you’d rather.) If you have trouble finding a copy of a particular item on the bib, then email me for help.
  2. Recall that podcast you selected back in September? Consider spending an hour listening to an episode or two of it. Perhaps it’ll provide more inspiration for your podcast and final project. 
  3. During our Zoom meeting on November 3rd, we’ll talk about voice-over narration in movies. You don’t need to prep for that session unless you wish. I’m pointing you to two introductory videos in case you’re curious about it.

Step 9 (Nov. 10): Take a Break

Step away from the seminar, the discussion forums, and your audio portfolio for a bit. There’s nothing due this week. 

Step 10 (Nov. 17th): Record an Analysis of a Sound Object or Soundscape

This week’s step should consume no more than 5 hours of your time. Please:

  1. Take about 90 minutes to listen to the first four episodes of Within the Wires (Season One, “Relaxation Cassettes”) (2016), by Jeffrey Cranor, Janina Matthewson, and Mary Epworth. You’re also welcome to listen to the entire season, if you’ve got the time.  
  2. Take 30 minutes to an hour to contribute to the “Voice-Over and Pod Drama” discussion forum. There you’ll have an opportunity to talk about either voice-over in movies or Within the Wires.  
  3. Spend about 2 hours engaging an issue raised during the first ten weeks of seminar by recording your analysis of a sound object (such as an effect) or a soundscape of your choice from what we’ve studied. This is your opportunity to engage audio beyond semantic listening. I encourage sampling in this one, too. Submit it to the “Record an Analysis of a Sound Object or Soundscape” forum.  

Specs for your audio file (MP3 may be best): 5-10 minutes of you analyzing audio (a sound object or soundscape), plus a one- or two-sentence description of the recording and a list of works mentioned or sampled in it 

Step 11 (Nov. 24): Revise, Edit, and Annotate

This week’s step should consume no more than 6 hours of your time. Please:

  1. Take an hour to review your recorded analysis of both voice / dialogue and sound object / soundscape and revise and edit them where / if necessary.
  2. Dedicate roughly 2 hours to annotating two more entries in our collaborative bib. Please leave your name in brackets after your annotations.
  3. Spend 2 to 3 hours watching or playing either Giant Sparrow’s What Remains of Edith Finch (2017) or Lucas Pope’s Return of the Obra Dinn (2018). Take notes on the sound design as you go. If you’re watching rather than playing, then consider no-commentary gameplay. I’ve created a discussion forum for sound in games; however, it’s not required. (We may just use it to share notes during this week’s Zoom meeting, when we’ll talk more about audio and fiction in games.) 

Step 12 (Dec. 1): Record Part of Your Episode and Describe It

This week’s step should consume no more than 6 hours of your time. Please: 

  1. Spend about 4 to 5 hours engaging an issue raised during the seminar by recording part of an episode for the podcast you’ve been cooking up all term. This is your opportunity to start your final project, get feedback on it, and select and test critical approaches, including material from our collaborative bib, that work best for you. You are also more than welcome to engage primary material beyond what we’ve studied; however, I recommend focusing on the role of audio and listening in one or two of the following formats: radio plays, talking books (or audiobooks), cut-ups, recorded readings, serialized drama (podcasts), voice-over narration, or first-person videogames. You may also want to determine which of the following you want to include in your episode: dialogue, soundscape, sound object, and sound effects. Maybe all of them? (Of note, I am asking you to include at least one sample in the final project. See step 13. Now may be a good time to identify that sample.) Please submit your draft material to the “Record Part of Your Episode and Describe It” forum.
  2. Take about 30 minutes to draft a description (250 words) of your episode (i.e., your final project). Consider reviewing how other podcasts describe their individual episodes and also how those descriptions correspond with similar summary genres, such as academic abstracts. Submit your episode description to the forum alongside the short draft of your episode (above).
  3. Spend another 30 minutes revising the description of your podcast that you wrote back in October. Submit your revised podcast description to the forum alongside the short draft of your episode (above). 

Specs for your audio file (MP3 may be best): 3-8 minutes (including at least one sample) of you critically approaching audio and fiction how you wish, plus a 250-word description of your episode, a 250-word description of your podcast, and a list of works mentioned or sampled in the episode

When you’re done, I’m also asking you to submit all of the above, together with your recorded analyses of voice / dialogue and a sound object / soundscape to the “Portfolio 2” assignment. Apologies for the redundancies, but the distinct submission and discussion features of Brightspace make this sort of duplication necessary. The platform doesn’t allow us to simultaneously share material with each other and submit it for assessment.  

Step 13 (Dec. 15): Record, Edit, and Polish Your Episode

It’s time to submit your final project for the seminar. Please:

Spend an additional 12 to 18 hours engaging an issue raised during the seminar by recording, editing, and polishing an episode in your podcast, drawing upon material you already recorded and edited earlier in December (see step 12). This is your opportunity to synthesize what you’ve learned and put your own spin on it, with attention to primary materials of your choice. You should include at least one sample, and I’ll provide you with feedback on your draft material (step 12) to help guide your episode to completion. Please submit the episode as a single audio file and also provide a transcript as a well as a revised copy of your podcast description (from step 12). 

Specs for your audio file (MP3 may be best): 12-20 minutes (including at least one sample) of you critically approaching audio and fiction how you wish, plus a 250-word description of your episode, a transcript for it, and a list of all works mentioned or sampled in it; be sure to introduce yourself and your podcast and to include verbal acknowledgments at the end; intro music, sound effects, and ambient sounds are optional; avoid overdoing it, tho :)



There are no prerequisites for this seminar. It is part of the English graduate program (MA and PhD) and Cultural, Social, and Political Thought concentration (MA and PhD). It’s a special topics course (English 506, Studies in Literary Theory: Special Topic).


The final project, plus at least one part of the audio portfolio, are required to pass this course. Failure to complete these two assignments will result in a failing N grade (calculated as a 0 for your GPA).

I will use the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ official grading system to produce rubrics for each assignment and assess your work. I do not post marks publicly or outside my office, and I do not use plagiarism detection software.

Late Submissions and Extensions

If you need to request an extension or you’re concerned about the possibility of a late submission, then please email me. I understand that extensions may be necessary for numerous reasons, especially right now. I will comment on all assigned work I receive from you during the term, regardless of when it’s submitted.


The best way to communicate with me is by email ( and Zoom, either by appointment or during my office hours, which are Wednesdays, 12 - 1pm (see me for the URL). I respond to work email between 9am and 5pm, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.


I will provide feedback via Brightspace on each assignment. Feedback on discussions may be bundled with feedback on other assignments, such as the audio portfolio.

Throughout the term, I’ll request feedback (verbal and in writing) from you on how the seminar is going. I’ll also ask you to complete Course Experience Surveys at the end of the term (during our last meeting).

Attendance and Participation

Weekly attendance in our Zoom meetings is optional. I will post on Brightspce recordings of our meetings, including my remarks. My remarks will be available in audio and text, and Zoom meetings will be available in video.

Participation in discussion forums (marked twice, as Discussion 1 and 2, each 10% of your mark) is expected, but see me with any concerns you have. I’m happy to work with you depending on your situation and schedule.

Learning Climate

The University of Victoria is committed to promoting, providing, and protecting a positive, supportive, and safe working and learning environment for all its members. You and I are expected to adhere to UVic’s equity and human rights policies. You should alert me immediately if you have any questions about these policies and their application, or if you have concerns about course proceedings or participants.

Academic Integrity

You and I are expected to adhere to UVic’s academic integrity policy and be aware of the policies for the evaluation of student course work. Violations of the integrity policy will result in a failing grade for the given assignment and may additionally result in a failing grade for the course. By taking this course, you agree that all submitted assignments may be subject to an originality review. I do not use software to detect plagiarism in essays or any other assignments.

Accessibility and Accommodation

Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability or health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or the Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL) as soon as possible. CAL staff are available by appointment to assess specific needs, provide referrals, and arrange appropriate accommodations. The sooner you let us know your needs, the quicker we can assist you in achieving your learning goals in this course.

Diversity and Inclusion

I would like to create a learning environment that supports a diversity of thoughts, perspectives, and experiences, and also honours your identities (including race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, and ability). Integrating a diverse set of experiences is important for a more comprehensive understanding of literature, audio, and culture. I (like many people) am still in the process of learning about diverse perspectives and identities. If something is said in class (by anyone, including me) that makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to talk with me. If you have a name and/or set of pronouns that differ from those that appear in your university records, please let me know. If you feel like your performance in the class is being impeded by your experiences outside of class, please don’t hesitate to talk with me. I want to be a resource for you. You can also submit anonymous feedback, which, with your permission, I may use to make a general announcement to the seminar. If you prefer to speak with someone outside of the course, Stephen Ross (acting graduate adviser in the Department of English), is an excellent resource. Finally, please contact me or submit anonymous feedback if you have any suggestions to improve the quality of the course materials.

(Language for this policy was drawn from the Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning at Brown University, and from the work of Monica Linden, in particular.)

Online Conduct

The University of Victoria is committed to promoting critical academic discourse while providing a respectful and supportive learning environment. All members of the university community have the right to this experience, and the responsibility to help create, such an environment. The University will not tolerate racism, sexualized violence, or any form of discrimination, bullying or harassment.

Please be advised that by logging into UVic’s learning systems and interacting with online resources you are engaging in a university activity. All interactions within this environment are subject to the university expectations and policies. Any concerns about student conduct, may be reviewed and responded to in accordance with the appropriate university policy. To report concerns about online student conduct, email

Basic Needs

I want you to thrive in this course and everywhere else. Please let me know as early as possible if you have any concerns or if you require any assistance to succeed. I’ll do my best to help.

If you need to cover gaps in care, then please don’t hesitate to bring your children to Zoom meetings. Babies who are nursing are always welcome, as I do not want you to choose between feeding your child and continuing your education.

UVic takes student mental health very seriously, with a website full of resources. They offer services such as assistance and referral to address students’ personal, social, career, and study skills concerns. Services for students also include crisis and emergency mental health consultation and confidential assessment, counselling services (individual and small group), and referrals. Many of these programs are connected with Health Services, which you may contact by phone.

The Student Services website lists several policies that you might want to know about and may make your life at UVic safer and easier. Only some of them are directly related to this seminar, but they’re still important.

Territory Acknowledgement

As a faculty member who has the privilege to live and work as a guest on these lands, I acknowledge with respect that the University of Victoria is located on the unceded territory of the Lkwungen peoples and the Songhees, Esquimalt, and SÁNEĆ First Nations, whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.

This syllabus is licensed CC BY-NC 4.0.