THINKING LIKE A CRITIC II - 2024/5

Module code: ELI1034

Module Overview

The module builds on ELI1033, continuing to give students the necessary methodologies for undertaking close reading of literary texts and a self-aware understanding of their own subject positions in doing so. It provides wide coverage of different forms of literary theory and sets this alongside discussions of how to carry out critical analyses on literary texts. The module acts as a basis for levels 5 and 6, where the theoretical knowledge and application skills will be reinforced. Together with a rigorous study of a wide range of theoretical traditions, students will also analyse, through collaborative exercises and seminar discussions, short texts and cultural phenomena. In this way, they will develop the critical skills necessary to appreciate how theoretical texts can provide us with powerful tools to discuss important social questions that affect contemporary societies.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

LAZZARI Gabriele (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 100

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 66

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 55

Captured Content: 7

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None.

Module content

The module introduces students to a wide range of critical and theoretical traditions in literary criticism and cultural studies. Students will draw into conversation schools of thoughts that have been foundational for literary and cultural studies, such as poststructuralism, reader response theory, and postmodern thought, with theoretical approaches focusing on historically oppressed and marginalised communities, such as theories of gender and sexuality, postcolonial and decolonial studies, critical race theory, and ecocriticism.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation PARTICIPATION 10
Coursework GROUP PRESENTATION AND REPORT 20
Examination Online 4-HOUR TAKE-HOME EXAM (2 HOURS) 70

Alternative Assessment

Students unable to participate in the group presentation should contact the module leader to discuss alternative forms of assessment.

Assessment Strategy

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

Seminar discussion and participation with ongoing tutor feedback is designed mainly to assess transferable skills in working as part of a group and practical/professional skills in expressing ideas and critical analysis in oral communication.

The oral presentation with written report assesses practical/professional skills in expressing ideas and critical analysis in oral communication and, as a group presentation, it assesses transferable and professional skills in working as part of a group and presenting idea effectively and concisely.

The exam assesses practical/professional skills in expressing ideas and critical analysis in written communication and transferable skills in working independently.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


  • Participation during our seminars: small group discussions, individual exercises, small group activities, and/or general class discussion (10%)

  • Oral presentation with collaborative written report (normally, students are allocated presentation slots in weekly seminars and reports are due the week after a presentation) (20%)

  • 24 Hour Take-Home Exam (2 hours), in which students critically analyse and compare two theoretical concepts or schools of thought (70%)



The formative assessment consists in seminar discussions with ongoing feedback, small group activities, and short collaborative exercises. Students receive oral and written feedback about the presentation and report, which informs the final summative assessment, i.e. the exam.

Module aims

  • The module aims to: introduce students to a range of critical theory and provide students with the skills necessary for using
    that theory in the analysis of literary texts
  • Establish connections among different critical traditions and broaden students' understanding of how theories relate to
    social, political, and cultural processes
  • Advance students' ability to apply theory to literary texts, in particular through the process of interpretive analysis, close
    reading, and connective thinking
  • Develop skills in oral and written communication
  • Improve presentation and communication skills in synthesising and presenting a large body of knowledge

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 By the end of the module students will be able to: understand the different forms of theory used in literary and cultural studies through the study of diverse theoretical traditions K
002 Apply theories to the close reading of literary texts and to the discussion of relevant social and cultural phenomena C
003 Carry out analysis and critical thinking both independently and collaboratively through oral presentations and written reports C
004 Express ideas and critical analysis in both oral and written communication P
005 Work independently and as part of a seminar group PT
006 Develop professional skills in exposing ideas clearly, concisely, and effectively PT

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 deliver subject knowledge related to diverse theoretical traditions, with a particular attention to innovative theories that have been traditionally excluded from Western academia through weekly lectures.

This will help students build awareness about a wide range of cultural, literary, and social phenomena. Throughout the semester, students will develop cognitive/analytical skills in using theory for the close reading of literary texts and for the analysis of relevant social and cultural phenomena. These skills will be foundational for the analysis of global and postcolonial texts in level-5 modules.

The weekly seminars offer student-led discussions that develop skills in expressing ideas and critical analysis in oral communication, and in working as part of a seminar group. Seminars are also aimed at practicing active and empathetic listening through collaborative discussions and seminar activities and exercises (both individual and collaborative).

Seminars, in which students are expected to have done core reading and to discuss this in class, serve to ground this subject knowledge further and to give students tools to position themselves in relation to the theories discussed and to the social, political, and cultural questions they raise.

Tutor feed forward and collaborative work using a wide range of resources help students to build resourcefulness and resilience in locating and analysing resources and in learning from setbacks when discussing dense theoretical texts. Discussions in seminars and workshops aim to give students further practical and transferable skills in working with others and in using rhetorical skills for argument.

The learning and teaching methods include a combination of lecture materials, seminar discussions, captured content, guided learning and independent learning.

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

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ELI1034

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: students will acquire transferable and professional skills by practicing critical thinking, by carefully analysing theoretical texts, and by applying these skills in small group discussion and in the oral presentation. The presentation and the written report will allow students to develop skills in presenting ideas effectively and concisely, and in summarising and synthesising a large body of knowledge. These are highly sought skills in a wide range of professional environments where clear and compelling communication is paramount.

Sustainability: students will be able to understand what it means to be ethically, culturally, and environmentally responsible by reading works that address the social, cultural, and historical causes of contemporary inequalities. They will develop critical skills in addressing and discussing a wide range of theoretical and practical issues from a wide and evidence-based perspective. In this way, they will be encouraged to reflect on solutions for building a more just and sustainable future.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: students will actively participate in seminar discussions and explore a wide range of resources both individually and through group work. Through the collaboratively written report and presentation, students will gain expertise in working as a part of a group and in learning from others. They will also practice effective communication and connective critical thinking. Throughout the module, students will have the opportunity to receive feedback, learn from setbacks, and reflect on their progress.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature and Spanish BA (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and French BA (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature BA (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and Creative Writing BA (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% 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 2024/5 academic year.