• Class Number 3431
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Russell Smith
    • Dr Russell Smith
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

There are many different ways to ‘read’ texts. Some of the most exciting contemporary debates concern not just what to read, but how and why. In the process, the meanings of ‘reading’ and ‘text’ have been thrown wide open, and these meanings have ramifications for research writing. What does it mean to ‘read’  20,000 novels using an electronic database? Can we ‘read’ performing bodies, or emotions, ‘as if’ they were texts?

This course seeks to introduce students to a range of current theories and methods in humanities scholarship, with a particular focus on literary and cultural studies, drama and creative writing. Although it builds on skills and knowledge students will have developed through their undergraduate study, this course begins with an introductory or ‘refresher’ segment which provides an overview of the major developments in literary criticism and theory over the course of the twentieth century, including humanism, formalism, structuralism and post-structuralism, Marxism, feminism, psychoanalysis, historicism and postcolonialism. Informed by this foundation, students will examine in turn 3 or 4 current topics in literary and cultural studies, each running over 2-3 weeks and paired with a primary text (a novel, play, film, case study etc.). Topics might include: new theories of reading, such as ‘distant reading’, ‘surface reading’, ‘reparative reading’ etc.; animal studies; ecocriticism; theories of performance; practice-led research; theories of affect and emotion; trauma studies; memory studies; neuroscience and ‘plasticity’; each taught by scholars focusing on these areas.

The course will not provide a comprehensive overview, but an exciting and varied sample of current debates. Its aim is to stimulate students to think of reading as a creative process, and of research writing as itself a form of creative reading.

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon Successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Understand and critically evaluate the influence of a range of intellectual developments on the theory and practice of the discipline of literary and cultural studies, drama and creative writing.
  2. Understand the key elements of a range of different theoretical approaches and apply these approaches to specific examples;
  3. Identify, contextualize and critically evaluate which critical approaches and scholarly debates are best suited to particular research projects, or that will best enable sophisticated analysis of particular kinds of ‘texts’.

Required Resources

Theory texts

Weekly readings will be made available on Wattle.

Literary texts

Anna Sewell, Black Beauty

Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

Eva Hornung, Dog Boy

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • verbal feedback from tutor and peers, and written feedback from tutor, on the oral presentations;
  • written comments on work submitted in hard copy for Task 3 and Task 4;
  • summary feedback during seminars throughout the course.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Referencing requirements

All sources directly quoted, paraphrased, or consulted as part of background reading, should be cited according to the academic conventions as outlined in EITHER the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th Edition), or the Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition). Helpful guides to both referencing formats are available here:

MLA Formatting and Style Guide


Chicago Manual of Style 16th Edition


Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Details will be available on Wattle

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Oral presentation 1: Summary of theory reading 10 % 01/01/2029 02/02/2029 1
Oral presentation 2: Creative application of theory reading 10 % 01/01/2029 02/02/2029 1,2
Short Essay (based on ONE of the Oral Presentations) 30 % 18/04/2019 09/05/2019 1,2
Long Essay 50 % 05/06/2019 24/06/2019 1,2,3

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 01/01/2029
Return of Assessment: 02/02/2029
Learning Outcomes: 1

Oral presentation 1: Summary of theory reading

Details: 10 minute presentation

Due date: In class, weeks 2-12

Value: 10%

Details of task:

Give a brief presentation on (one of) the theory readings set for the week (see the list above). You are encouraged to use powerpoint slides, handouts, or other audiovisual materials where relevant. Your presentation should include the following components (in any order):

  1. An outline of the main argument of the essay, including an overview of its structure and its key points.
  2. A brief discussion of the intellectual context of the essay. What is the key problem the essay addresses? What are its key intellectual reference points? What intervention does the essay make?
  3. EITHER:
  4. Focus in detail on a key passage, outlining your interpretation of the main points and why they are important; OR:
  5. Outline briefly how a theoretical concept or argument from the reading might be productively applied to your own research; OR:
  6. Present a brief critical engagement with one of the central claims in the essay, based on your own ideas and/or drawing on other scholars’ engagements with the essay.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 01/01/2029
Return of Assessment: 02/02/2029
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Oral presentation 2: Creative application of theory reading

Details: 10 minute presentation

Due date: In class, weeks 2-12

Value: 10%

Details of task:

Give a brief presentation outlining a ‘creative reading’ of one of the set literary or film texts for the course. You should demonstrate how your analysis draws on concepts, arguments or ideas from ANY of the theoretical material studied in the course (that is, you may use material from one or more weeks other than the week in which you give your presentation).

Your presentation should take the form of a preliminary sketch of a longer piece, and emphasis should be on using the theoretical material creatively to develop an unusual or unexpected ‘angle’ on the text. You are encouraged to use powerpoint slides, handouts, or other audiovisual materials where relevant.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 18/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 09/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Short Essay (based on ONE of the Oral Presentations)

Details: 1500 words

Due date: 11:55pm, Thursday 18 April 2019

Value: 30%

Details of task:

Drawing on feedback in class from your tutor and fellow students, revise and expand one of your class presentations into a 1500-word essay. It could take the form of


1. a summary and critical engagement with one or more of the set readings (Oral Presentation 1);


2. a ‘creative reading’ applying ideas from one or more of the set readings to one of the set literary or film texts (Oral Presentation 2).

You may reproduce material from the relevant Oral Presentation in your essay, but it is expected that your essay will present a more in-depth critical engagement with the theoretical and/or literary/film material, based on a degree of independent research (e.g. 3-6 secondary sources).

Assessment Task 4

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 05/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 24/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Long Essay

Details: 3000 words

Due date: 11:55pm, Wednesday 5 June 2019

Value: 50%

Details of task: Write a 3000-word essay in response to ONE of the Essay Questions. Long Essay Questions are available on Wattle. Your essay may take the form of:


1. a detailed critical engagement with a theoretical topic based on, but not limited to, the material in the set readings;


2. an extended discussion and analysis of one of the literary or film texts in the course, drawing on the theoretical material from the course, as well as material from your own research.

PLEASE NOTE?: you may not write on the same theoretical material in the Long Essay as you did in either the Oral Presentations or the Short Essay.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

We will discuss and finalize assessment arrangements in class in Week 1. Detailed assessment rubrics will be available on Wattle when they have been finalized.

Feedback on Tasks 1 and 2 will take the form of verbal feedback during class, with a written summary and further comments to be provided by email before class the following week. Feedback on Tasks 3 and 4 will be in written form, and will be returned via email within 3 weeks of submission.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Russell Smith

Research Interests

Dr Russell Smith

Wednesday 14:00 15:00
Wednesday 14:00 15:00
Dr Russell Smith

Research Interests

Dr Russell Smith

Wednesday 14:00 15:00
Wednesday 14:00 15:00

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