Modern Writing and Critical Thinking

Please note: this is archived course information from 2020 for ENGLISH 305.


This course explores theories and practices of writing and criticality in academic, civic and artistic contexts.

We consider some of the scripts that organise literate social practices and how to perceive and extrapolate their principles. We explore how we are affected by, how we navigate and how we transform our immersive world of signs. We explore how writing functions in paper, installation and digital environments and how we construe and read literary and non-literary texts for different purposes. We’ll engage critically with your writing and reading practices and we will also practice creative alternatives for recoding what we encounter.

This is a critical skills class as well as an opportunity to learn new writings and critical modes.

Readings are from multiple national and regional contexts: the United States, Oceania, Canada, Japan, China, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Sweden, England, Russia and explicitly contested border sites. Our transnational critical thinking blends Euro and Anglo-American-Australasian critical modes with Oceania and digital criticality. We are studying the “trans” (translingual, transgenre, translation, transformation) of writing: “liquid writing” that flows from one genre, place, identity, or time to another.

Your work in the course will develop your ability to

  • Understand how writing and critical thinking creates and records individuals and societies
  • Articulate underlying or unacknowledged assumptions about writing, mind and identity in textual practices
  • Perceive how texts reproduce, alter, or resist dominant discourses
  • Perceive how becoming literate and making texts means more than acquiring a set of linguistic, technical and genre skills
  • Situate literary texts in other and wider fields of discourse
  • Reflect on what being an active, critically aware writer and reader means for you as an individual, a collaborative maker and a member of social groups


Coursework only

Availability 2020

Not offered in 2020; planned for 2021


Coordinator(s) Professor Lisa Samuels


Course Pack


Coursework only


ENGLISH 305: 15 points


30 points at Stage II in English, Drama, and/or Writing Studies