EL4006 - Concepts in Criticism and Culture

What will I learn on this module?

This module introduces you to key critical concepts in literary studies and asks how those concepts may be applied to the study of less canonical forms of writing and other media.

You will be introduced to theoretical and critical material, addressing key issues about literature and culture such as:
• how is the literary canon is constructed
• how might our gender, race or class background affect how we value and understand literature and popular culture

During the module you will be encouraged to evaluate the significance of debates about authorship, identity and literary value. You will be asked to read a range of key academic essays, discussing them in relation to a range of examples from popular culture as well as literature. You will be asked to think about the values attached to these different forms of cultural production. The module aims to foster your skills in close textual analysis, informed by key theoretical perspectives and independent reflective practice.

How will I learn on this module?

The module is taught via a combination of lectures and seminars:
1 x 1 hour lecture on alternate weeks
1 x 1 hour seminar every week

Lectures provide an overview of the field together with straightforward explanations of complex issues.

Seminars allow you to work through challenging material with other students under the guidance of the module tutor. These sessions encourage you to debate the set reading and to bring in your own examples to illuminate or challenge critical concepts. Seminar discussions and presentations develop intellectual, practical and transferable skills.
The aim of this introductory module is to create a supportive environment in which your knowledge, confidence, analytic and communication skills can develop.
The module makes appropriate use of technology enhanced learning through use of the Blackboard electronic learning platform and the online support offered by Northumbria’s SkillsPlus programme.

In addition to the scheduled lectures and seminars, you are expected to undertake both directed and independent learning. Directed learning includes preparation for seminars (including both reading and written work) individually or in small groups. Independent learning includes further reading and investigation, the consolidation of seminar materials, and revision/preparation for the module assignments.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Lectures, seminars and your preparation for taught sessions will develop your academic skills as you engage with primary, secondary, theoretical and contextual material. You will be directed to relevant aspects of the university SkillsPlus site to help you prepare, understand and develop key skills which support your studies across the degree programme. This work will help you to attain the module learning outcomes, and, more importantly perhaps, to enjoy reading and thinking about critical concepts.
The module handbook provides details of lectures, seminars, reading lists and assessment criteria; lecture PowerPoint slides are made available on the e-learning platform, together with links to relevant skills materials in the library.
The module tutor is available in lectures and seminars, as well as during office hours, to discuss any queries or concerns you have.
Feedback on the first summative assessment serves as ‘feed forward’, giving guidance on how to improve during the module. The second piece of assessment encourages you to reflect on feedback from the first as you are working on the third and final assessment.
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 best use the feedback you receive on your assignments, how to build on your strengths, and 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. To have developed an understanding of different theoretical approaches to literature and other media.
2. To have increased your ability to think critically and reflectively when encountering new material across a range of media.
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. To have enhanced your skills in close critical analysis of texts and other media informed by theoretical approaches.
4. To have developed skills in presenting an argued case in written form
Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. To have fostered confidence in reading and understanding complex academic writing

How will I be assessed?

1. 1x1000 word close analysis (40%)
2. 1x500 word Reflective piece (Formative)
3. 1X1500 word essay (60%)

The summative assessment strategy is closely related to learning outcomes and the teaching and learning strategy.

1. The first assignment is a 1,000 word close analysis of a text extract which will assess your skills in applying concepts studied on the module to texts. This will contribute 40% of the overall assessment and addresses KU 1 and IPSA 3 & 4.
2. The second assignment is a reflective piece submitted at the same time as the third assignment. This reflection requires you to consider your tutor’s feedback on the first assignment and to indicate how you have attempted to address the feedback in your longer essay. The strength of this assignment lies in its value for formative learning and developing study skills in using feedback to develop your work. This is a Formative assignment.
3. This is a 1,500 word essay where you are offered the opportunity to analyse a text from any media of your choosing from an informed perspective and a specific knowledge of the issues outlined in the learning outcomes. This will include generic intellectual, practical and other study skills appropriate for Level 4.
This is worth 60% of the overall module mark and addresses KU 1 & 2, IPSA 3 & 4 and PVA 5.

The assessment tasks 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.
The assessment of the first assignment acts as formative assessment for the second more demanding piece of work and this process is made explicit in the interim reflective piece.

Feedback will be provided using the Departmental template and comments on the script.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code Q320

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

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

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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