• Class Number 3600
  • Term Code 3430
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Russell Smith
    • Dr Rosanne Kennedy
    • Dr Russell Smith
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 19/02/2024
  • Class End Date 24/05/2024
  • Census Date 05/04/2024
  • Last Date to Enrol 26/02/2024
SELT Survey Results

This course investigates a diversity of texts—which may include literary texts, plays, films, and graphic novels—from the nineteenth century to the present, in order to examine the different “truth claims” that these texts make, and the different ways that they purport to represent reality. Such texts inevitably confront questions of gender, sexuality, race and class, and often seek to address issues of inequality, exploitation and injustice. This course prompts students to examine the relation between reality and its narrative representation by asking questions such as: What are the different techniques for evoking a “reality effect” in the realist novel, naturalist drama, historical fiction, documentary film, autobiography, biofiction or memoir? What are the social and political claims characteristic of narrative modes such as realism, naturalism, biography and autobiography, testimony and memoir? How have writers sought to position the truth claims of these modes among other competing modes and genres of literary, dramatic and film narrative? How have the truth claims of these modes been assessed and judged in the public sphere?

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. demonstrate knowledge of key authors and texts in literary modes such as realism, naturalism, historical fiction, testimony and autobiography;
  2. demonstrate an understanding of key debates about the claims to truth or authenticity of various fictional and non-fictional literary modes and genres;
  3. critically analyse realist texts, including the relation between different narrative forms and their truth claims; and
  4. demonstrate an understanding of the broad cultural and historical contexts behind the various literary and artistic realist movements.

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Constructing 'Reality': Image, Text, History Tutorial participation
2 Testimony: Hayden White and Primo Levi Tutorial participation, tutorial presentations
3 Spiegelman, Maus, part 1 Tutorial participation, tutorial presentations
4 Spiegelman, Maus, part 2 Tutorial participation, tutorial presentations
5 Contemporary Realism: Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun, part 1 Tutorial participation, tutorial presentations
6 Contemporary Realism: Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun, part 2 Tutorial participation, tutorial presentations, Essay 1 due 9 April
7 Naturalism: George Moore, Esther Waters, part 1 Tutorial participation, tutorial presentations
8 Naturalism: George Moore, Esther Waters, part 2 Tutorial participation, tutorial presentations
9 Realism and Modernism: James Joyce, Dubliners Tutorial participation, tutorial presentations
10 Realism and Modernism: Marjorie Barnard, The Persimmon Tree Tutorial participation, tutorial presentations
11 Contemporary Realism: Jessica Au, Cold Enough for Snow Tutorial participation, tutorial presentations
12 Summing Up Tutorial participation, Essay 2 due 28 May

Tutorial Registration

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Tutorial participation 10% 10 % * 1,2,4
Tutorial presentation 10% 10 % * 1,2
First Essay 40% (due 9 April 2024) 40 % 09/04/2024 1,2,3,4
Second Essay 40% (due 28 May 2024) 40 % 28/05/2024 1,2,3,4

* 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 Integrity 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 Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Tutorial participation 10%

Participation will be assessed throughout the semester, and includes not only attendance at tutorials but preparation, quality participation in class activities and demonstrated active engagement with all forms of the course.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Tutorial presentation 10%

In-class presentation (maximum 7 minutes) - or online equivalent - on concepts, debates and texts studied in the course (Weeks 2-11)

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 09/04/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

First Essay 40% (due 9 April 2024)

Write a 2000-word essay in response to one of the Essay Questions posted on Wattle

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 28/05/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Second Essay 40% (due 28 May 2024)

Write a 2000-word essay in response to one of the Essay Questions posted on Wattle

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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) 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

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. 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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Rosanne Kennedy

Research Interests

Dr Rosanne Kennedy

By Appointment
Dr Russell Smith

Research Interests

Dr Russell Smith

By Appointment
By Appointment

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