Prof Profiles: Michael Zeitlin

For our annual ‘Meet Your Prof’ event we asked each of our Arts One instructors to answer these 10 questions. In light of the exciting news that Dr. Zeitlin is returning to teach in Arts One again this September (‘Dangerous Questions, Forbidden Knowledge’ team) we thought it’d be fun to post some background for new first-year students to consider. 

So until this years 2019W new round of questions, please enjoy these little known facts about Michael Zeitlin 🙂


1. What degrees do you have and where did you get them?

B.A., 1979 [Trinity College]; M.A., 1980; Ph.D., 1988. All from the University of Toronto. Not recommended to get all your degrees from one place but I had my reasons, at the time. 🙂 Long story.

2. What’s your fondest memory as a student? (What sort of shenanigans did you get yourself into?

Probably my first-year English class at Trinity College, UofT, in 1975. Great professor: Douglas Chamber. Mesmerizing books. 17 students, we sat at tables lining the perimeter and talked to one another. Authors taught in that class included Hemingway, Faulkner, and Plath. 🙂 Life is a series of eternal repetitions.

3. Why are you an Arts One prof?
The chance to read The Odyssey etc. and to learn from great teachers here at UBC. To be a kid again, putting my feet up and being entertained in the lecture room. A chance to be on the Dream Team with Gavin, Tom, Carla, and Brandon: are you freakin kidding me? 🙂

4. Are you a dog or cat person?
I grew up as a dog person. Had, once, a 100 lb. white German Shepherd. A beautiful dog. Not too bright. Later, much later, became a cat person. Rescued brother and sister cats from the SPCA 15 years ago: Jack and Stella. Stella is still alive. The smartest creature I’ve ever talked to. Don’t get me to talk about Jack, please . . . 🙁

5. What is your favourite book on the reading list?
The Odyssey and The Bell Jar and The Road and In Our Time and As I Lay Dying and OK OK OK

6. Coke or Pepsi?
Arsenic or Mustard Gas?

7. What would you be if you weren’t an Arts One Professor?
I would be one of those baggy dudes who presses his nose against the glass windows, looking in.

8. If there’s an exception to every rule, is there an exception to that rule?
That’s why I went into English: to escape these kinds of questions. 🙂

9. If you were to name one piece of clothing that best describes you, what would you say?
T-shirt. Need to be comfortable. Plus, I have tenure. 🙂

10. I love Arts One because…
Arts One is the best thing on the whole dam planet. Small classes. Close reading. Discussion. Exchange. Writing. Reading. Brilliant superb and wonderful students. Incredibly smart and talented colleagues. Glamour. Riches. Street cred.