University of Surrey - Guildford

Registry > Module Catalogue
View Module List by A.O.U. and Level  Alphabetical Module Code List  Alphabetical Module Title List  Alphabetical Old Short Name List  View Menu 
2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: English Short Name: ELI1003
Level: HE1 Module Co-ordinator: MAHN CK Dr (English)
Number of credits: 30 Number of ECTS credits: 15
Module Availability

Semester 2.

Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment


Weighting Towards Module Mark( %)


Portfolio (2000 words)








Module Overview

This module introduces students to the concept of world literatures written in English and also studied in translation; it incorporates analysis of key works and simultaneously encourages students to think comparatively across period and theme. In order to do this the module focusses on a specific period - the 1960s - that is sufficiently distant for students to be able to historicise and contextualise material, as well as being relatively recent thereby encouraging a sense of inherited cultural knowledge. The focus on themes - identity, politics, gender and race - will ensure that students analyse material comparatively, rather than focus on specific world areas of cultural production; the use of a portfolio in assessment reinforces this outcome.



The Sixties has been chosen as a specific focus because it was a decade of global change and political upheaval. These include amongst others: the May 1968 student protests in Paris, the Vietnam War, post-independence struggles in former Commonwealth countries, the legalisation of homosexuality, the abortion act,  the introduction of the pill, the rise of  the women's movement, the Civil Rights Movement, as well as major technological changes, such as space exploration, and innovations in media and film. The period also saw a breaking down of barriers between formal and popular cultures, the rise of alternative cultural paradigms, a challenge to accepted generic forms and an embracing of taboo subjects.



The assessment is intended to develop students' skills through continuous work and to ensure that they have a good coverage of world literatures that will enable them to make informed choices about specialist study at levels 2 and 3. The Portfolio will enable students to develop opinions with regard to the key themes and global/historical contextualisation that will feed into their portfolio submission. The examination provides necessary formative experience. 

Module Aims
The Module Aims to:
  • introduce students to a range of world literatures
  • develop an understanding of how literatures may be treated comparatively; 
  • encourage students to be aware of a range of interconnected cultural productions, including, text, media, film and music;
  • develop an understanding of how literature may be contextualised both historically and thematically;
  • introduce skills in close reading, analysis and critical thinking via a focus on specific texts; 
  • introduce IT skills via the use of ULearn Discussion Board 
  • develop written skills via the portfolio, and examination, as well as oral skills in group discussions in seminars; 
  • develop students’ abilities to work independently and together, both in class discussions and via ULearn.
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the module students will have: 
  • a basic knowledge of a range of world literatures and other forms of cultural production;
  • an understanding of how to compare these materials;
  • a basis for developing skills in close reading, analysis and critical thinking;
  • IT skills in using ULearn
  • skills in written and oral communication;
  • the ability to work indepndently and as a group. 
Module Content

The module will cover a range of world literatures and other forms of cultural production from the 1960s. It will be divided into three cognate thematic strands in order to facilitate comparison: the changing nature of identity, political upheavals and social change.



All seminars will focus on the set text discussed in the lecture of the same week.



Theme A: 1960s: the decade of worldwide revolution



Week 1


The module will begin with an introduction to the 1960s in terms of historical and cultural contextualisation. Initial historical contextualisation will be provided by reference to the European revolutions of May 1968 and their impact in North America . In the first week there will be no set text, but students will be expected to discuss the ways in which change in a political frame interacted with cultural production via discussion of Jean-Luc Godard's A bout de souffle/ Breathless (1960). The way in which the Nouvelle Vague (French New Wave) challenged stylistic conventions will be related to the film's thematic dealing with anarchy and social change. DA



Week 2


Introduces the concept of world-wide challenges to received political discourses and the way in which these may be identified not only in the narrative content of texts but also in the way that conventional generic expectations were underlined. The set text is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Colombian author and political activist Gabriel Garcia Marquez; the novel engages with concepts of self/family in relation and opposition to social and political expectations, in particular, in terms of concepts of history and time. The session will also look at the development of magic realism. CM


Set text: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967)



Week 3


Continues to expand the way in which attempts to undermine political hierarchies may be identified across world literatures by exploring the changes in the . It uses Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch (1962) to demonstrate how Stalinist power structures were openly challenged by the novel and its author who had himself been imprisoned in a gulag. The session also continues the exploration of how style is used to shock via a discussion of the one-day narrative and the description of horrific scenes in an understated style. MC


Set text: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch (1962)



Week 4


Concludes the way dominant political hierarchies were challenged in political terms during the 1960s by turning to and investigating the impact of the Vietnam War and the protests against it. The historical context describes the history of the 's involvement and the country-wide anti-war demonstrations, as well as referring to media coverage, Noam Chomsky's The Responsibility of Intellectuals (1967), and the anti-war songs of the time including those by Dylan and The Doors. The set work for this session is Apocalypse Now directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Although the film was finally produced in 1979 it was written in the late sixties and was initially intended to be filmed in during the conflict; it interrogates attitudes towards the war from the perspective of the individual psyche. The film is also placed in this session as it leads to a questioning of colonial and race issues in Theme B, partly through its reworking of Conrad's Heart of Darkness. CM



Theme B: Race and Gender



Week 5


This thematic block aims to develop an understanding of how race and gender stereotypes began to be reconfigured during the sixties with the breakdown of colonial identities and the beginnings of the Civil Rights and Women's Movements.  This session focuses on the way in which former colonies across the globe were gaining independence and the fraught political consequences that ensued. This was particularly true of African states and the set text for this week is Ngugi wa Thiong'o's A Grain of Wheat (1967). The novel investigates 's struggle for independence and the violence involved in national and racial liberation. The session also looks at Frantz Fanon's influence upon Thiong'o and engages with the development of post-colonialist theory. TBC


Set text: Ngugi wa Thiong'o, A Grain of Wheat (1967)



Week 6


This session returns to the United States and the Civil Rights Movement and begins with the recording of Martin Luther King Jr's 'I have a dream speech' delivered in Washington in 1963 and discusses the Movement's aim of abolishing racial discrimination, particularly in the south. The set text is Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird (1960) which is set in a small town in Alabama and deals thematically with prejudice and racial hatred. TBC


Set text: Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)



Week 7


Looks at the development of the Women's Movement and the beginnings of feminist criticism, particularly with Betty Freidan's The Feminine Mystique (1963). This session also contextualises the way women were represented and deals with issues such as abortion rights and the pill. The set text is Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman (1969), which appears to be a classic feminist novel tracing the protagonist's movement from repression to independence and yet Atwood has denied this interpretation claiming that it focuses on human rights and not specifically women's rights. This opens up questions about feminist theory and the dangers of claiming marginal or repressed identities. MWD


Set text: Margaret Atwood, The Edible Woman (1969)



Theme C: Changing Identity



Week 8


Counterculture is a way of contextualising, in terms of alternative identities, many of the changes that have already been discussed in the module: race relations, politics, sexual freedom, and women's rights. It developed in the 1960s in the and is closely linked with the development of music; for example, reference will be made to The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and the Beatles. The session will focus on the way in which Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange (1962) presented a violent version of British counterculture. DA


Set Text: Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962)



Week 9


This session continues with the interface between literature and other media by taking the theme of identity to extremes through a focus upon aliens, mutants and the challenge of science. In 1969 the first man walked on the moon; the 60s is the age of Marvel Comic's mutant heroes - a major shift from Superman to the Fantastic Four and Spiderman; and the decade saw the beginning of science's double role as saviour and curse. This session explores questions of transformed, minority and non-human identity through Philip K Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968) and the film version Bladerunner (not made until 1982). DA


Set Text: Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968)



Week 10


Course overview and revision.  TD



Week 11


Exam Prep. TD



Week 12





Week 13


Exam/ Assessment



Week 14


Exam/ Assessment



Week 15
Exam/ Assessment



Assessment deadlines:



Portfolio:  12pm Wednesday 25th May 2011


Exam: tbc

Methods of Teaching/Learning

One weekly on-hour lecture, one weekly two-hour workshop


Selected Texts/Journals

Essential Reading / Viewing


Margaret Atwood, The Edible Woman (1969)


Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962)


Francis Ford Coppola (dir), Apocalypse Now 


Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep


Jean-Luc Godard's A bout de souffle/ Breathless (1960)


Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)


Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967)


Ridley Scott (dir), Bladerunner (1982)


Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch (1962)


Ngugi wa Thiong'o, A Grain of Wheat (1967)




Recommended Reading


Bell-Villada, Gene, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude": A Casebook ( Oxford : OUP, 2001)


Bloch, Avital, Impossible to Hold: women and culture in the 1960’s ( New York : NY University Press, 2005)


Bobo, Jacqueline, he Black Studies Reader ( London : Routledge, 2004)


Cantalupo, Charles, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o: Texts and Contexts (Africa Research and Publications, 1995)


Chomsky, Noam, The Responsibility of Intellectuals (1967)


Contemporary (


Doggett, Peter There’s a riot going on: the rise and fall of ‘60s counter-culture (Canongate, 2007)


Fanon, Frantz, Black Skins, White Masks (2000)


Feinstein, Stephen, The 1960s from the Vietnam War to Flower Power ( New York : Enslow, 2000)


Flannery, Kathryn, Feminist Literacies, 1968-75 ( University of Illinois Press, 2005)


Friedan, Betty, The Feminine Mystique (1963)


Going, William Thornbury  and Alice Hall Petry, On Harper Lee: Essays and Reflections ( University of Tennessee press, 2007)


Howells, Coral Ann (ed), The Cambridge Companion to Margaret Atwood ( Cambridge : CUP, 2007)


Janes, Regina . Modes of Reading : One Hundred Years of Solitude  (New York: Twayne, 1991)


Karang, Harish, Politics as Fiction: Novels of Ngugi Wa Thiong'o  (London: Creative Books, 1998)


Kerman , Judith, Retrofitting Blade Runner: Issues in Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" and Philip K. Dick's "Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep?" (Bowling Green University Press, 1991)


King, Martin Luther ,  'I have a dream speech' (available online)


McComb, Judith (ed), Critical Essays on Margaret Atwood (1988)


Medina, Loreta, Readings on "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" ( New York : Greenhaven, 2001)


Nicholson, Colin (ed.), Margaret Atwood: Writing and Subjectivity (1994)


Nischik, Reingard, Margaret Atwood: Works and Impact (2000)


Porter, Robert, Solzhenitsyn's "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" (Bristol Classical press, 1998)


Rudnick, Lois, American Identities ( Oxford : Blackwell, 2005)


Sander, Reinhard W. and Bernth Lindfors, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o Speaks: Interviews with the Kenyan Writer ( London : James Currey, 2006)


Street, Joe,  The Culture War in the Civil Rights Movement (University Press of Florida , 2007)


Stevenson, Randall, The Last of ? ( Oxford : OUP, 2005)


Warner, Simon, Text, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll (Continuum, 2008)


Williams, Patrick, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (Manchester: MUP, 1999)


Williams, Patrick, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o (Manchester: MUP, 1999)

Last Updated

5 July 2010 JG