GEOGRAPHIES OF NATION AND EMPIRE: THE VICTORIAN NOVEL 1850 - 1890 - 2018/9

Module code: ELIM040

Module Overview

This module explores the relationship between national and imperial identities in novels from the 1850s to 1890s by writers including Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell and Wilkie Collins. The module introduces students to contextual debates about the nation-state and its imperial engagements, and seeks to understand how novelists respond and contribute to these ideas through literary fiction. The module engages with these themes through a focus on concepts of space and mobility, using literary journeys as a way into understanding how novelists construct a dialogue between national and imperial spaces in literary texts.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

MATHIESON CE Dr (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: Q323

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None

Module content

Indicative content includes:

Week 1: Introduction: nation and empire, concepts and definitions

Weeks 2-3: Moving between nation and empire

Week 4: Empire at home

Weeks 5-6: The threat of empire

Weeks 7-8: Nation and Narration

Week 9-10: Gendering Empire

Week 11: Urban imperialism

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 500 Word Blog Post 10
Coursework Essay 4000 Words 90

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the module learning outcomes.

Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback is designed to assess professional/practical skills in communicating ideas orally and transferable skills in working individually and as part of a group. It also assesses subject knowledge relating to formal, contextual, critical, and theoretical approaches to the study of Victorian literature. Seminars also assess cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking and in the analysis of literary form and language.

The 500-word blog post and 4000-word essay assess subject knowledge relating to formal, contextual, critical, and theoretical approaches to the analysis of literary form and language, cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking, and professional/practical skills in communicating ideas in writing. The blog post and essay also assesses transferable skills, namely the ability to conduct research for written work in an organised and critical fashion and to develop and communicate imaginative and rigorous arguments in different formats, i.e. through writing a shorter online blog-post and a longer research essay.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:



500-word blog post


4000-word essay

Formative assessment and feedback

Verbal feedback and formative ‘feed forward’ feedback is provided through seminar discussions, tutor feedback in seminars, and one-to-one tutorials.

Seminar discussion and tutor feedback in seminars: Each student will be expected to contribute to seminar discussion each week and to give a short presentation of 5-10 minutes in one seminar, to which they will be allocated at the start of the module; verbal formative feedback will be provided by the tutor in response to these contributions.

One-to-one tutorials: written feedback on the first summative assessment (500-word blog post) will be accompanied by oral feedback in a one-to-one tutorial for each student after the first submission has been marked and returned. Students will each receive an additional one-to-one tutorial focusing on essay planning for the second summative assessment (4000-word essay).

As such, writing, presentation and critical analysis skills will be developed and honed which will feed forward to the summative assessment at the end of the module.



There is the option of a range of other feedback mechanisms agreed between tutor and students in week 1 of the module, such as seminar contribution and further one-to-one discussions with the tutor throughout the course of the module.

Module aims

  • broaden and deepen contextual knowledge of nation and empire in the Victorian period
  • develop understanding of how literary texts respond to and inform contextual debates
  • introduce concepts of space and mobility as theories to engage with literary texts;
  • develop and strengthen skills in close reading and analysis of literary texts
  • advance students’ critical thinking and application of theoretical frameworks to literature
  • improve oral and written communication skills
  • strengthen students’ ability to undertake independent research, including using digital and online materials for research
  • facilitate the examination of theoretical and critical approaches to Victorian nationhood and empire
  • develop students’ ability to engage critically with theoretical and critical approaches to Victorian nationhood and empire, and to employ these approaches in their writing

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of contexts of nation and empire in the Victorian period K
002 Understand how to locate analyses of the Victorian novel in these broader historical and socio-cultural contexts, and use detailed close-reading to support this KC
003 Demonstrate advanced critical thinking and application of theoretical frameworks to literature C
004 Be able to effectively communicate information, arguments and analysis in oral and written formats, including online writing T
005 Work independently in conducting research P
006 Demonstrate skills in independent research, including competency in using digital tools and materials for writing and research PT
007 Developed their ability to engage with theoretical and critical texts, and to employ theoretical and critical approaches in their writing CT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to deliver subject knowledge, to develop cognitive/ analytical skills, and to develop in-depth transferable, practical, and professional skills. The delivery of the module through two-hour lecture-seminars places an emphasis on student-led learning to develop cognitive and analytical skills in analysing and critically engaging with fiction in its historical, socio-political and historical contexts, and enables students to develop skills in communicating and debating ideas. The module content is research-led and makes use of an online blog platform to support and advance students’ independent study through the integration of digital resources. The further reading material facilitates students in engaging with theoretical and critical concepts and develops their ability to employ these approaches in their writing.

The learning and teaching methods include:

• 2-hour seminar per week x 11 weeks

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for GEOGRAPHIES OF NATION AND EMPIRE: THE VICTORIAN NOVEL 1850 - 1890 :

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Creative Writing MA 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
English Literature MA 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Creative Writing MFA 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.