• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject English
  • Areas of interest Cultural Studies, English, Gender Studies, Digital Humanities, Literature More...

Whether you are watching 'Game of Thrones' on television, downloading the latest episode to your laptop of or discussing it or any other 'longform' series on social media, you are engaging with a narrative form that dominates the contemporary mediascape. ‘Televisual’ invites you to explore the significance of ‘narrative television’ and its impact on how stories are produced and received today. We will do so through closely reading a selection of case studies, moving from the 1950s' 'I Love Lucy' through to 'The Simpsons', 'Twin Peaks' and to a contemporary film that is arguably inspired by contemporary televisual media (Richard Linklater's 'Boyhood'). In doing so, we will engage with some of the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries’ most important theorists of television narrative (including Raymond Williams and Marshall McLuhan). Beginning with television’s first emergence in the 1950s, we will consider the various ways in which television has been produced, transmitted and received. Our investigation will move from television's reliance on studio recording to thinking about the importance of live and cable broadcasting and, more recently, the role of digital devices that can stream or download content. We will ask questions about what makes televisual storytelling distinct and whether or not television has influenced the development of other forms (including novels and films). The course will conclude with our looking at how television has transformed in the contemporary era of so-called convergent or ‘connexionist’ media. 

Learning Outcomes

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

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

  1. Identify and closely analyse distinctive generic and/or formal elements of television narrative.
  2. Draw on and apply relevant theory and critical debate to analysis of television narrative.
  3. Read, write and argue effectively about the emergence and development of television narrative in the late-twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries
  4. Develop a critical stance on the role that televisual forms play in representing contemporary screen culture as well as imagining and shaping that culture.

Indicative Assessment

Close analysis exercise (1000 words) (25%) (LO1)

In class presentation (15 minutes in length) (15%) and submitted critical reflection of 200-250 words in length (10%) (LO1, LO2, LO3)

Major comparative essay (2500 words) (40%) (LO1, LO2, LO3 and LO4)

Class participation (10%) (LO1, LO2 and LO3)

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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 36 hours of contact: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials.

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed ENGL6116

Preliminary Reading

Preliminary reading: (Select chapters from) Raymond Williams, Television: Technology and Cultural Form (1974) Preliminary viewing: Richard Linklater Boyhood (2014)

Assumed Knowledge

First-year ENGL and/or First-year FILM

Areas of Interest

  • Cultural Studies
  • English
  • Gender Studies
  • Digital Humanities
  • Literature
  • Film




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. Tuition fees are indexed annually. 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
2019 $3000
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $4560
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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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
4066 24 Feb 2020 02 Mar 2020 08 May 2020 05 Jun 2020 In Person N/A

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