• Class Number 4391
  • Term Code 3330
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Rosanne Kennedy
    • Dr Rosanne Kennedy
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 20/02/2023
  • Class End Date 26/05/2023
  • Census Date 31/03/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 27/02/2023
SELT Survey Results

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

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

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.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction: self, identity, narrative concepts: identity, family secrets, ethics of storytelling
2 Foundations: Rousseau and Woolf Concepts: autonomous self; relational self; gender and identity; narrative form Short response
3 Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation Concepts: mediation, metaphor, cultural form, transmission, Short response
4 Syliva Plath, The Bell Jar Concepts: voice, genre, metaphor Short response
5 Syliva Plath, selections from letters, journals & poetry and from Ted Hughes, Birthday Letters Concepts: voice, genre, biography, legacy Short response
6 Selections: Saidiya Hartman, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments; Natalie Harkin, Archival Poetics Concepts: perverse archives, critical fabulation Short response
7 Megan Stack, Women's Work Concepts: precarity, privilege, implicated subject Short response
8 Thi Bui, The Best We Could Do Concepts: graphic narrative, trauma, post-memory Short response
9 Hannah Gadsby, Ten Steps to Nanette concepts: comedy, confession, critique Short response
10 Chanel Miller, Know My Name concepts: jurisdictions, #MeToo, testimonial justice Short response
11 Diana Reid, Love and Virtue concepts: ethics: whose story to tell? Short response
12 Course Wrap-Up No tutorials

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Short Response 35 % 1, 2, 4, 5 & 6
Final Essay 45 % 1, 2, 3, 2, 5 & 6
In-Class Presentation (once in semester) 10 % 4, 5 & 6
Tutorial Participation 10 % 5&6

* 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: 35 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4, 5 & 6

Short Response

7 x 300 words each. You must answer one of a selection of questions that is posed each week, asking you to explain a critical concept and relate it to the text being studied. It must be submitted before the tutorial and you must be present at relevant lectorial to receive credit for your response.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 45 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 2, 5 & 6

Final Essay

2000 words. Due June 2, 11pm. You must respond to one of the questions. There will be creative options as well as academic essays.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 4, 5 & 6

In-Class Presentation (once in semester)

You will be asked to:

1 – Introduce a critical concept or

2 - present a secondary reading

3 – or do something creative – ie, link text to something in (social) media, to a podcast, a song, a poem, a critical review, make up a crossword about text, etc 

linking this to the text being studied. You will be expected to use powerpoint or similar to share presentation with the class.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 5&6

Tutorial Participation

There will be 11 lectorials in the semester. You are expected to attend all lectorials throughout the semester, and will be assessed on attendance and active participation.

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

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.

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

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded. OR 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.

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 Rosanne Kennedy

Research Interests

Memory Studies, Trauma Studies, Human Rights, Feminist Theory, Testimony and Life Narrative 

Dr Rosanne Kennedy

By Appointment
Dr Rosanne Kennedy

Research Interests

Dr Rosanne Kennedy

By Appointment

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