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Campus Life - Okanagan

Spies, double agents and fugitives take over Okanagan College

Okanagan College Media Release

Dive right into the world of espionage and intrigue at Okanagan College this fall. English professor Dr. Matt Kavanagh will take students on a journey through some of the most riveting 20th century British spy novels ever written in ENGL 213 (Studies in British Literature) which focuses on spies, double agents, and fugitive authors.  

“Even though the genre gets its start at the beginning of the 20th century, the subject matter is very contemporary: declining geopolitical power, betrayal, and terrorism,” says Kavanagh. 

“Fantasy figures like James Bond are meant to embody a sense of national virility at a time when Britain’s sense of its place in the world was very much in question. Then there are organization-men like George Smiley who orchestrate intrigue from their desks in anonymous institutional settings. Most interesting are the traitors who spy against their own country and serve as scapegoats whose betrayal ‘explains’ Britain’s keenly felt sense of diminishment amidst a broad sense of decline,” he says.

Beyond Ian Fleming and John Le Carré, this class examines modernist classics by Joseph Conrad and Elizabeth Bowen as well as contemporary work by John Banville and Salman Rushdie (who has written a memoir of his time spent living on the run from Islamic fundamentalists in Joseph Anton).

ENGL 213 is just one of several unique English courses being offered at Okanagan College this fall. 

Another is ENGL 204 (Applied English Studies), a course that puts students in the role of editor at an actual literary publication, Ryga: A Journal of Provocations. A companion course, ENGL 205, runs in the Winter term.

“From content creation to layout, students use the analytical and writing skills they have learned in their previous English classes and master the applied skills they need to create, design and publish a magazine,” says English professor Corinna Chong.

“Applied English Studies will not only appeal to arts students, but also to students interested in communications, marketing and business, as they will have the opportunity to run a real publishing company.”

While the fall term is fast approaching, Okanagan College is still accepting applications for enrolment. Go to www.okanagan.bc.ca/becomeastudent for details.


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