- Code ENGL8021
- Unit Value 6 units
- 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, Drama, English, Language Studies, Film
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.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:Upon Successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- 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.
- Understand the key elements of a range of different theoretical approaches and apply these approaches to specific examples;
- 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’.
1 x 10-minute Oral presentation, including questions for discussion, focused on a brief overview and critical evaluation one of the current topics (10%) (LOs 1, 2 & 3)
1 x 2500 word essay on the same topic as the presentation. (40%) (LOs 1, 2 & 3)
1 x 3000 word essay that analyses one of the set primary text/s in terms of one of the theoretical approaches or models set for class discussion. (50%) (LOs 1, 2 & 3)
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 24 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of seminars; b) 106 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsReadings will change according to topics offered.
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- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
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