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ENGLISH 3GF3 Studies in Popular Genres (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2019

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Donald Goellnicht


Office: Chester New Hall 225

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 26259

Office Hours: Tuesdays 11:30-12:30PM

Course Objectives:

Course Description and Objectives:

James Bond, 007, Ian Fleming’s British spy, debuted with the publication of Casino Royale in 1953; twelve novels, two collections of short stories, twenty-four official films, and sixty-six years later, Fleming’s Bond is the most famous secret agent and one of the most famous Britons ever. The Bond film franchise is the longest-running and one of the most financially successful (adjusted for inflation) in film history—and there appears to be no end in sight as Bond is re-born or re-booted for each new generation.

Fleming’s novels and story collections were written and published over a fairly concentrated period, from 1953 to 1966, at the rate of one per year, portraying Bond as a British spy dealing with the post-World War Two period of the 1950s and early 60s—the period of the Cold War between communism and the “free world,” the decline of the British empire, and the burgeoning of U.S. imperialism. (A host of authorized Bond novels and stories, as well as a “young Bond” series, by other writers have been published since the death of Ian Fleming in 1964, some of them novelizations of Bond films, but there will not be time to consider these.)

The twenty-four Bond films produced by Eon Films over fifty-three years, from Dr No (1962) to Spectre (2015)—and now “Bond 25,” to be released in 2020—have covered a significantly longer historical trajectory, so have seen greater changes to the figure of Bond and to the personal, professional, and political issues he encounters: the influence of feminism and changing gender roles, the emergence of neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism, the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the decline of Europe in a postcolonial world, the economic rise of Asia, the increase in Islamophobia and the War on Terror after 9/11, and so on. The films were originally based closely on the Fleming novels, but they have tended over time to move further and further from the novels or stories they were “based” on and named after; and Ian Fleming titles have been exhausted. From the outset, the films did not follow the order or chronology of Fleming’s novels and stories. There have been eleven different directors of the Eon Bond movies, and six actors, ranging from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, have played 007. (There have been two additional Bond feature films made outside of the Eon franchise, but we will not be dealing with those.)

This course will consider James Bond in selected Fleming novels and Eon films, reading these texts closely, but also considering Bond as an icon in popular culture. Issues such as gender, race, class, sexuality, colonialism and postcolonialism, imperialism and the geopolitics of the second half of the twentieth century and the early twenty-first century will be explored. Issues of genre—how Fleming adapted and influenced the spy thriller and the effect of Bond movies on the genre of spy films—will also be taken up. Four novels and seven films, some paired, others not, will be studied in an attempt to gain an overview of Bond, although it will be impossible to attain a comprehensive understanding of the Bond cultural phenomenon (which involves multiple spinoffs, including comic strips, video games, “fan films,”

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Texts:


Casino Royale (1953)

Moonraker (1955)

Dr. No (1958)

You Only Live Twice (1964)


Dr. No (1962. Sean Connery; dir: Terence Young)

Goldfinger (1964. Sean Connery; dir: Guy Hamilton)

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969. George Lazenby; dir: Peter Hunt)

Moonraker (1979. Roger Moore; dir: Lewis Gilbert)

GoldenEye (1995. Pierce Brosnan; dir: Martin Campbell)

Casino Royale (2006. Daniel Craig; dir: Martin Campbell)

Skyfall (2012. Daniel Craig; dir: Sam Mendes)

NB: The novels—Thomas & Mercer paperback edition, 2012—are available for purchase in the Campus Store. The films are available for streaming or purchase online from a number of services, including YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, US Netflix, and Hulu. Licensing arrangements keep changing so you need to check. Please read the novels and view the films before the relevant class.

Method of Assessment:

Assignments and Evaluation:

Two brief response papers (500 words each):              20% (10% each)

Response papers are due in the class related to the relevant text. The first response will be to one of the first three novels: Casino Royale, due September 12th; or Moonraker, due September 19th; or Dr. No, due September 26th. The second response paper will be to one of the first three films: Dr. No, due October 3rd; or Goldfinger, due October 10th; or On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, due October 24th. You will decide on your response-paper topics but they should be focused enough for you to deal with in 500 words. Please see below for “Expectations of Essays.”

Major paper (2000 words):                                            40%

Topics will be distributed/posted on Avenue to Learn and in class. The deadline is November 19th. Please see below for “Expectations of Essays” and “Late Assignment Policy.”

Final examination:                                                        40%

The final examination (2 hours) will cover material from the entire course and will be scheduled by the Registrar’s Office in the regular examination period.

Expectations of Essays:

  • have a clear thesis and organizing argument
  • write in paragraphs that are logically consecutive
  • write in a grammatically correct, error-free style
  • follow MLA style (8th edition); this webpage highlights what you should know:
  • draw upon secondary sources in the longer paper especially but make those sources truly secondary to your own critical argument
  • do not significantly exceed or fall short of the length requirement
  • fully reference secondary sources in accordance with Academic Integrity policies

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late Assignment Policy:

Response papers are due in class on the specified due date. You have three choices of due date for each response paper; no papers will be accepted after the relevant due date.

The major paper is due in class on November 19th. If you have a legitimate reason for being late, please talk to me in advance of the due date. Students who have official accommodations from SAS and anticipate needing to use their accommodation should also talk to me in advance of the due date. Papers submitted late without prior arrangement will be penalized at the rate of one grade point every 2 days and a full grade after five days up to a week; for example, a B+ paper that is one or two days late would become B, three or four days late would become B-, and five days to a week late would become C+, and so on.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:


Week 1 (September 3, 5)             Introduction: Overview of the Bond phenomenon

Week 2 (September 10, 12)       Casino Royale (novel, 1953)

Week 3 (September 17, 19)       Moonraker (novel, 1955)

Week 4 (September 24, 26)       Dr. No (novel, 1958)

Week 5 (October 1, 3)               Dr. No (film, 1962)

Week 6 (October 8, 10)            Goldfinger (film, 1964)

Reading Week (October 14-20)            

Week 7 (October 22, 24)           On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (film, 1969)

Week 8 (October 29, 31)          You Only Live Twice (novel, 1964)

Week 9 (November 5, 7)           Moonraker (film, 1979)

Week 10 (November 12, 14)     GoldenEye (film, 1995)

Week 11 (November 19, 21)     Casino Royale (film, 2006)

Week 12 (November 26, 28)     Skyfall (film, 2012)

Week 13 (December 3)             Review