Module code: ELIM045

Module Overview

This module introduces students to some of the major debates, theories and methodologies currently shaping 21st century literary studies and scholarship. It builds on but also moves significantly beyond the more traditional introductions to Literary Theory that most students receive at undergraduate level (covering for example, Marxism, feminism, post-structuralism etc), to focus specifically on the approaches currently driving new, cutting-edge scholarship – approaches which will accordingly be of most use to graduate students seeking to make their own original contributions to intellectual debate.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

KILNER-JOHNSON Allan (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 2

Independent Learning Hours: 126

Seminar Hours: 22

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The following areas are indicative of topics to be covered:

• Ecocriticism and Animal Studies
• The New History of the Book/Bibliographical studies
• New Formalism
• The Digital Humanities and ‘Distance’ Reading
• Objects, Material Culture and Thing Theory
• The Spatial Turn: Space, Place and Mobility
• Affect Theory
• Sensory Studies
• Memory and Trauma
• Ethical Criticism

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 750 word Report 30
Coursework 4000 word Essay 70

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate
• the development in their critical writing skills in analyzing and comparing a broad range of current theoretical approaches and intellectual debates
• their understanding of the context of their work in historical, cultural and theoretical terms, and to familiarize themselves with key debates currently animating the scholarly community
• their development of research and writing skills
• productive and informed critical reflection on both critical and political agendas of literary studies and on their own place within theoretical positions
Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

• 750 word report on one theory studied to date (to be set early in semester as diagnostic of essay writing skills) (30%)
• End of semester 4000 word Essay (70%)

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative ‘feed forward’ is provided through seminar discussions, tutor feedback in seminars, and a range of other feedback mechanisms agreed between tutor and students in week 1 of the module, such as seminar contribution and writing exercises. The first assignment (750 word report) also has a formative element as it will allow us to diagnose early in the course any problems in writing style or essay organization, and if necessary direct students to study support services. In addition, during Week 7 students will be expected to submit for formative assessment:
• 1000-word essay plan and annotated bibliography
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.

Module aims

  • • An advanced overview of current debates, theories and methodologies in 21st century literary studies
  • • An appreciation of issues in contemporary writing and scholarship

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Have a knowledge of major themes, approaches and methodologies in contemporary literary studies KP
002 Be able to develop critically informed arguments about 21st century literary theories
003 Be able to situate their own research projects within the most relevant and useful discursive contexts

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:
• Expand and develop students’ theoretical understanding of both literary texts and the larger field of literary studies, thereby enabling them to develop more critically informed research projects
• Assist students in locating literary texts in the theoretical and intellectual contexts most relevant to current scholarly enquiry
• Equip students with the research and writing skills they will need to produce critically informed analyses of literary texts and engage with contemporary literary criticism and theory
• Facilitate students’ productive reflection on both the critical and political agendas of literary studies and on their own place within theoretical positions by effectively editing, revising and redrafting their written work, and developing an extended, coherent and compelling argument or narrative

The learning and teaching methods include:

• 2 hour seminar 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

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ELIM045

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 Compulsory 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 2020/1 academic year.