• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject English
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Debjani Ganguly
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2014
    See Future Offerings

This course will examine how literature has helped to create and critique modern concepts of human rights and humanitarianism. It will focus on the ethical and political questions that arise from this discourse in contemporary works of literature from across the globe. This course will investigate what storytelling can hope to accomplish in the wake of mass violence and examine the new kinds of responsibility that these stories create in a globalizing world. It will analyze different visions of the human that enable these visions and explore how human rights and humanitarian practices relate to the history of Western imperialism. Topics will vary from year to year, but may include refugee narratives, truth commission testimony, aid worker memoirs, and fictions of witnessing.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

1.     Analyse literary and cultural narratives in relation to theories of human rights and humanitarianism

2.     Think critically about cultural discourses of human rights and humanitarianism

3.     Produce close readings of literary and cultural texts

4.     Create coherent analytical arguments with the key concepts of the course

5.     Reflect on and discuss your own learning as it relates to the course 

Indicative Assessment

  • 500-word journal reflection (10%; addresses learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 5)
  • 1500-word research essay (30%; addresses learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4)
  • 2500-word research essay (50%; addresses learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Tutorial participation (10%; addresses learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 5)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The workload will consist of two hours of lectures per week, one hour of tutorial per week, and approximately eight hours per week of independent study.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 Units of 1000 level courses. Alternatively you may gain permission of the Course Convener to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts

Indicative texts may include:

Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

Andrew Miller, The Optimists

Dave Eggers, What Is the What

Sindiwe Magona, Mother to Mother

David Park, The Truth Commissioner

Kenneth Cain et al, Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures

A reading brick and film screenings will also be provided.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1164
2014 $2478
2013 $2472
2012 $2472
2011 $2424
2010 $2358
2009 $2286
2008 $2286
2007 $2286
2006 $2286
2005 $2286
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $2574
2014 $3246
2013 $3240
2012 $3240
2011 $3240
2010 $3240
2009 $3240
2008 $3240
2007 $3132
2006 $3132
2005 $3132
2004 $2916
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4712 17 Feb 2014 07 Mar 2014 31 Mar 2014 30 May 2014 In Person N/A

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions