Modern Literature & Culture Research Centre & Gallery

Where: Ryerson University
Instructor: Dr. Irene Gammel
Contact: gammel@ryerson.ca


Course Description

“Creativity is a characteristic given to all human beings at birth,” Abraham Maslow wrote, while Sigmund Freud asserted that creativity was rooted in childhood play and pleasure. Through the lens of a variety of writers and thinkers, students will engage with questions regarding the role of creativity in everyday life. Students will examine a broad range of writings about everyday life, including sports writing, writing about food and family, illness and trauma and healing. They will look at the relationship between writing and the visual arts including documentary arts and comics. Students will be able to learn directly from and engage with leading creative writers and practitioners like Indian-American writer Amitava Kumar, President Obama’s favourite novelist; American-Canadian artists’ biographer Molly Peacock, Globe and Mail sports columnist Cathal Kelly, British poet and writer Clare Best, and journalist and author Jan Wong. Through a field trip to the AGO, students will be able to appreciate the role of creativity in decolonizing and rewriting the old colonial stories and power structures. Ultimately, students will be able to bring their own voice to bear on an important international conversation about creativity, writing, and the everyday life.

Download or view the course syllabus (PDF)

Course Goal

In this course students examine a range of texts in relation to theories and practices of creativity to learn, appreciate and deepen humanistic skills in creative (and critical) reading, writing, making, reflecting, as well as discussion and research. Moreover, students network with authors and other practitioners in the field.

The Great War in Literature and Visual Culture

MLC Themes

The Great War in Literature and Visual Culture

Amid the unprecedented social change of World War I, women renegotiated their identities by dramatically changing the way they engaged with the arts. But how did they do so? And how did everyday citizens engage with the war?

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

MLC Themes

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, considered by many to be the mother of Dada, was a daringly innovative poet and an early creator of junk sculpture. “The Baroness” was best known for her sexually charged, often controversial performances.

Modernism in the World

MLC Themes

Modernism in the World

Recent research has departed from the Euro-centric and national view of Modernism to include approaches and methods studying Modernism across national boundaries and across different art forms to include fashion, dance, performance, technology, and visual culture.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

MLC Themes

Lucy Maud Montgomery

L.M. Montgomery is perhaps Canada's most important literary export. She was prolific writer of over 500 short stories and poems, and twenty novels, including the beloved Anne of Green Gables.

Canadian Modernism

MLC Themes

Canadian Modernism

The works of numerous Canadian authors who lived during the modernist era may well constitute the most central and experimental articulation of Canadian modernism in prose, allowing authors to stage cross-cultural, controversial, and even conflicted identities.

Modernist Biography and Life Writing

MLC Themes

Modernist Biography and Life Writing

Life writing, including autobiographical accounts, diaries, letters and testimonials written or told by women and men whose political, literary or philosophical purposes are central to their lives, has become a standard tool for communication and the dissemination of information.