Module code: ELIM054

Module Overview

Environmental literature is deeply entwined with queer and intersectional perspectives: Place and race, space and class, feminist and LGBTQIA2s+* issues, all meet in the queer, decolonial and intersectional ecologies we will explore in this module. We will learn about the (queer) history of writing about the environment, about the role of protest in literature and about how describing the world around us in texts actually changes the shape of the natural and built environment. Building on skills and knowledge you have acquired in previous modules on literary history and on theoretical approaches, the module aims to expand your knowledge of global ecocritical and queer writing and theory and to enable you to critically analyse contemporary depictions of climate change dystopias, of human and non-human animal relationships, of protest poetry, and of queer environmental fiction. We will discuss novels, poetry, performances, Youtube videos, as well as the odd social media account, and always combine our readings with a specific theoretical concept to help you learn how to put knowledge into practice. Since the module will also give you some insight into research communication, you will have the option of creating a research-based podcast as your final assessment.

The module will include a workshop on podcasting, which will teach you new digital skills and enable you to develop an independent project, potentially in cooperation with collaborators outside of the seminar room. You will also contribute to a collaborative digital glossary, taking charge of creating a communal knowledge resource with formative feedback from your lecturer and comments and questions from fellow students.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

MATTHEIS Lena (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

Independent Learning Hours: 86

Lecture Hours: 4

Seminar Hours: 18

Guided Learning: 36

Captured Content: 6

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The following areas are indicative of the content that the module may include:

- Climate change fiction and environmental dystopias
- Protest Poetry and the spoken word
- Two spirit narratives and nature writing
- Lesbian doppelgangers and non-human protagonists
- Lesbian and gay contemporary fiction
- Gender and non-human animals in literature
- Hyperobjects in literature
- Literary Urban Studies and apocalyptic cities
- Wildness in literature
- Landscape Poetry
- The Imperial Gaze
- Human affect and the environment
- The Anthropocene 
- Planetary Literature

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Collaborative Glossary 10
Coursework Essay (3500 words) OR Podcast 90

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategies are designed to: 

* Enable students to act as independent thinkers and develop original research output, either in the form of a written essay or as a podcast that is based on scholarly research 
* Allow students to deepen their knowledge on an aspect of environmental writing or queer ecologies that sparks their interest 
* Continuously document their knowledge and situate new terms, texts and contexts within the larger seminar context, by creating a collaborative glossary. While all students benefit from the glossary, individual entries are made by individual students which allows for direct feedback, both in terms of peer feedback and from the lecturer 
* The option of producing a podcast in particular aims to allow students to think about research communication and explore new ways in which to present their knowledge to new audiences 

The summative assessment consists of: 

* An individual entry to the collaborative glossary made by each student (10% of final grade) 
* An essay (3500 words) OR a podcast (90% of final grade) 

Formative assessment and feedback:  

Various forms of feedback will be used throughout the seminar to ensure all students have a positive learning experience. This starts by actively involving students in the seminar planning/text selection as a form of feedforward and is continued by a round of anonymous feedback around week 4 to make sure that student¿s needs are met. Students are continuously invited to provide, in particular again when it comes to essay preparation. 

The essay/podcast plan (consisting of thesis statement, structure, brief exposé, short bibliography) and the detailed feedback the lecturer provides for this plan are part of the formative assessment in this module. The plan, as well as the collaborative glossary, give students a chance to check in and see whether they are on track with the aims of the seminar and the final assessment with no (or very little) pressure with regards to marking. 

Module aims

  • The module aims to: assist students in locating environmental and queer literature in a larger historical, cultural and social context
  • introduce environmental, spatial and non-human centred approaches as theories to engage with literary texts
  • strengthen skills in close reading and analysis of written and oral texts
  • advance students' critical thinking and understanding of how narratives shape the world and respond to current debates
  • strengthen students' ability to undertake independent as well as collaborative research

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 By the end of the module students will be able to: demonstrate knowledge of relevant texts K
002 Apply knowledge of theoretical concepts to different texts and contexts CT
003 Demonstrate the ability to critically analyse and recognise structures, techniques and patterns in both written and oral texts C
004 Dommunicate knowledge and research outcomes to peers and others T
005 Work collaboratively using different digital methods PT
006 Conduct independent research efficiently and document research in an organised manner P

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: 

* Enable students to critically engage with different media (written, oral, visual, etc) and to understand their interplay in a variety of cultural and literary texts and performances by providing them with a wide array of analytical tools and critical theories and concepts and guiding them in bringing theory to practice 
* Produce texts and knowledge with varying degrees of guidance and independence and situate their own work and lines of thought in a global context by reflecting on the positionality of the scholars and authors we study, as well as inviting students to take our own situatedness into account when engaging in seminar discussions and collaborative work 
* Allow students to collaboratively reflect on and document what they learn, while also actively engaging them in the shaping of the syllabus and reading lists, by providing various digital and analog tools and forums for students to interact with and receive feedback from both their peers and the lecturer 
* Prepare students for their final assessment in an organised and personalised manner by providing detailed feedback on thesis statements and essay plans 
* Respond to students' needs and interests and give students agency over their learning experience by including different forms of feedback and active engagement throughout the semester 

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: ELIM054

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:

The module teaches and enhances digital capabilities and skills by training students in various forms of digital communication, including a publicly accessible collaborative glossary, podcasting skills, and social media interaction. These skill sets contribute to employability, especially since the podcasting workshop and the glossary allow students to practice short and long, visual and audio forms of research communication. Empowering students to move beyond familiar forms of assessment, group work and seminar communication will at times be challenging for them. By stepping outside of their comfort zones in a safe setting, students can experience their own resourcefulness and resilience by facing up to that challenge.

With the module’s central focus on environmental writing and ecocriticism, sustainability is a topic in every single session, but, more importantly, we look at sustainability and environmental issues from a global and culturally diverse perspective that allows students to introduce their own background and knowledge bases into the seminar room. By learning how to challenge anthropocentric, white Western positions through the lens of black, queer, or indigenous knowledge production, students will help each other, their lecturers, and the people they interact with in their podcasts and glossary entries build global and cultural capabilities.


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Sex, Gender and Sexualities MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
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

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.