EL6047 - Twenty First Century Literature: Writing in the Present

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What will I learn on this module?

From Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) and its popular television adaptation (2017) to Yorgos Lanthimos’ film The Lobster (2015), this module invites you to explore a wide and diverse range of novels, short stories and other media in order to promote and analyse the study of contemporary theoretical debates on gender, love, the body and sexuality.

Through the theoretical lens of feminism, psychoanalysis, queer theory and postmodernism, the module aims to develop your critical thinking and your existing knowledge of literature, film and television, from 1985 to the present day. It will encourage you to explore the complex issues raised by diverse critical theory and close analysis of a range of late twentieth and twenty-first century literature, film and television adaptation. By doing so, you will reflect on the ways that twenty-first literature and other media engages with, interrogates and often offers alternative narratives on present debates about gender, love, the body and sexuality.

How will I learn on this module?

1 x weekly 1.5-hour lecture
1 x weekly 1.5-hour seminar

This module will be delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars. Each week, a 1.5-hour lecture will establish the critical and contextual framework for the text or texts under discussion, a framework which will be both reinforced and queried in a 1.5-hour seminar. The seminar will then provide you with the opportunity to explore the texts discursively through small-group exercises, presentations, and debate.

In addition to learning during contact hours with the module tutor, you will be expected to undertake both directed and independent learning. Directed learning will usually take the form of preparation for seminars, where you will be expected to contribute to discussion. Informal presentations, as well as group work, will be used in order to facilitate your engagement with the module texts. Independent learning generally will take the form of further reading and investigation, the consolidation of seminar notes, and revision/preparation for the module assessments.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Through lectures, seminars and the preparatory tasks for these taught sessions you will be encouraged to engage with the primary, secondary, theoretical and contextual material covered on the module in ways that will enable you to meet the learning aims and outcomes of Twentieth First Century Literature: Writing in the Present. The module handbook provides details of lectures, seminars, reading lists, and assessment criteria; lecture PowerPoint slides are available on the e-learning portal. The module tutor will be available in lectures and seminars, as well as in office hours and on email/phone, to discuss any queries or concerns you have about how to excel academically on the module.
Moreover, feedback in seminars, on formative work, and on the first summative assessment will also serve as ‘feed forward’, giving you guidance on how to improve during the module. In addition, you have a designated Guidance Tutor throughout the entire duration of your programme. The academic side of the Guidance Tutor’s role includes:
• monitoring your ongoing academic progress
• helping you to develop self-reflection skills necessary for continuous academic development
• directing you to further available services which can help them with their academic skills (e.g. Library’s Skills Plus)

You are advised to see your Guidance Tutor at least twice each semester to review your academic progress. The Guidance Booklet, which you receive at the start of your first year, includes structured materials designed to help you develop your self-reflection skills. These materials underpin the academic side of the regular Guidance meetings, helping you to learn how to use the feedback you receive on your assignments, how to build on your strengths, and how to improve in the areas where you could perform better.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1 an advanced knowledge of the critical and cultural issues that surround twenty- first century literature and other media

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
2 the ability to have practised and developed skills in close textual analysis of material from literature, film and television adaptation
3 the ability to employ theoretical and critical material to investigate and interpret a range of literary texts and other media.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
4 an enhanced understanding of cultural debates about gender, love, the body and sexuality, and the ways in which twenty-first century literature and other media both shape and questions these debates.
5 the ability to express an informed argument in oral and written forms.

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment

Essay Plan and Bibliography
In this formative assessment, you will begin to source and organise the primary and secondary materials that will form the basis of your 3000-word essay assignment. You will produce a 500-word essay plan and bibliography that outlines the argument you plan to advance in the final essay assignment. This task will enable you to develop key skills in literary analysis, research methods, and essay writing, and to prepare and test your ideas before committing yourself to an argument or position. This assessment addresses KU1 and IPSA 2 & 3.

Summative (graded) Assessment

1. 1000-word critical comparison exercise (30%)
You will conduct a comparative analysis of two scholarly articles, both of which will deal directly with one of the module texts. This exercise will assess your ability to engage with and evaluate different critical approaches to a key set text, and challenge you to present your own argument in clear and convincing terms. It will also provide you with the opportunity to develop your skills in research, textual analysis, and communication. Feedback will be provided using the Departmental template and comments on the script, and before the submission date for the second summative piece, allowing ‘feed forward’. This assessment addresses KU1, IPSA 3 and PVA 5.

2. 3000-word essay (70%)
This summative assessment will provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of twenty-first century texts and contexts in light of recent theoretical approaches. It is designed to build on skills and knowledge acquired during the formative work, and will enable you to respond positively to feedback and to reflect critically upon your academic practices. Feedback will be provided using the Departmental template and comments on the script. This assessment addresses KU 1, IPSA 2 and PVA 4 & 5.

Together, the assessment tasks are designed to ensure that you engage in a range of guided and semi-independent tasks, address a range of sources, and refer to all parts of the syllabus.

Pre-requisite(s)

NA

Co-requisite(s)

NA

Module abstract

From Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) and its popular television adaptation (2017) to Yorgos Lanthimos’ film The Lobster (2015), this module invites you to explore contemporary theories of gender, love, the body and sexuality, taken from a wide and diverse range of novels, short stories and other media.
Through the theoretical lens of feminism, psychoanalysis, queer theory and postmodernism, the module aims to develop your critical thinking and your existing knowledge of literature, film and television, from 1985 to the present day. It will encourage you to explore the complex issues raised by diverse critical theory and close analysis of a range of late twentieth and twenty-first century literature, film and television adaptation. By doing so, you will reflect on the ways that twenty-first literature and other media engages with, interrogates and often offers alternative narratives on present debates about gender, love, the body and sexuality.

Course info

UCAS Code PQ53

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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