• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Gender Studies
  • Areas of interest English, Gender Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Rosanne Kennedy
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

This course introduces students to a range of genres of life writing, including autobiography, memoir, autobiographical fiction, graphic memoir, testimony and biography. Students will become familiar with critical concepts, terms and approaches used to analyse life narratives, and with debates relating to authenticity, identity, truth, memory and self-representation. Special attention will be paid gender and sexuality, place and memory, and the representation of traumatic personal and historical events in life narrative. The class will explore individualist and relational modes of life writing. Confessional and testimonial paradigms, and the socio-cultural contexts in which authors deploy particular rhetorical modes of address will also be considered.

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 features and characteristics of different genres of life-writing;
  2. explain and apply critical concepts used in analyzing autobiography, memoir, testimonial and autobiographical fiction;
  3. identify confessional and testimonial paradigms and explain their relevance to life writing
  4. present detailed textual analysis of life writing narratives, including verbal and visual features of graphic memoir;
  5. explain current debates relating to authenticity, truth, and self-representation in life writing

Indicative Assessment

Short response answers, 2400 words (8 assessments x 300 words each) (40%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, and 3]
Final essay, 1750 words (40%) [Learning Outcomes1, 2, 3, 4 and 5]
In-class presentation, 5 min duration (10%)  [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, and 5]
Tutorial preparation and participation (10%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, and 5]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of workshop and workshop-like activities, and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed GEND1001 or GEND1002 or ENGL1013 or ENGL1014, or you may gain the permission of the course convener.

Preliminary Reading

Alison Bechdel, Fun Home (2006)
Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis (2000)


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
2020 $3120
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4800
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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
4071 24 Feb 2020 02 Mar 2020 08 May 2020 05 Jun 2020 In Person N/A

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