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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: English Short Name: ELI2011
Level: HE2 Module Co-ordinator: BLANCH SJ Dr (English)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability
Semester 1
Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment



Weighting Towards Module Mark( %)



Edited Introduction 1500 words (with cover design and 25 word rationale for choice of image)






Exam (response to an unseen extract)






Module Overview

This module sets out to look at how English literature is constructed in a Global context. It does not set out to describe the cultural productions of various countries or continents, but explores what it means to write today in a world-wide frame, how that globalised context affects the content and forms of writing, and how the process of reading is altered. As such, the module addresses prominent global issues and uses these key areas as a way of understanding how literature engages with the major factors in world society today.



It builds upon the level 1 module which allows for thematic linking of world writing via the 1960s, developing students’ ability to think comparatively and creatively. The assessment for the module is designed to draw upon enquiry-based learning in order to reflect the currency of the topic and the way that these issues will change even as students research and write about them.
Module Aims

The module aims to:



  • deepen and widen students’ knowledge of world literatures;


  • increase knowledge and awareness of how literature engages with social and cultural issues;


  • develop an understanding of contemporary literature in a global context;


  • further students’ skills in terms of IT competency, written communication and oral presentations;


  • introduce students to self-reflexive Enquiry Based Learning;


  • strengthen students’ ability to undertake analysis and critical thinking;


  • develop further skills in independent study and group work


  • the ability to work to deadlines via ULearn activities.
Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students will have achieved:



  • a wide and relatively sophisticated understanding of world literatures;


  • knowledge of and ability to analyse how literature engages with social and cultural issues;


  • an understanding of how contemporary literature is contextualised in a global framework;


  • an ability to use group networking resources in an e-learning environment;


  • a good level of oral presentation and written communication skills;


  • ability to undertake self-reflexive enquiry based work;


  • a good level of skill in analysis and critical enquiry, as well as in independent study


  • time management skills.
Module Content

The module runs over ten weeks and is based thematically on issues identified by the English Benchmark Statement as key to the understanding of English Literature. It then frames these in a global context. It is taught with a one-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar each week.





Week 1



Lecture (BP)



Introduction to the module and to the process of understanding how a globalised context affects the content and forms of writing, and how the process of reading is altered.






Gives an overview of the module materials and set texts, putting them into a thematic context. Explains how the assessment will work and provides students with guidance on the enquiry-based learning necessary for the module’s learning and assessment practices.





Theme: Modern Diasporas



Week 2



Lecture (CM)



The lecture will discuss Salman Rushdie’s novel Midnight’s Children with specific reference to hybrid identities and cultural fracturing.   






A close reading of the opening of Midnight’s Children in the context of Rushdie’s critical work will develop a framework for discussing the issues and problems that arise in understanding global literatures.





Week 3



Lecture (MWD)



Focus on Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance (1995) as a counterpoint to Rushdie’s novel. Expanding ideas of national and personal independence through discussion of multiple perspective and narrative scope/tone.






Comparative analysis of extracts from Midnight’s Children and A Fine Balance









Week 4



Lecture (TBC)



This lecture will look at Hanif Kureshi’s The Buddha of Suburbia (1990) and the text’s treatment of sexuality, race and politics through the experiences of a British-Asian teenager.






Discussion of the ways in which identity in the novel is mediated through commodification, consumerism and popular culture





Week 5



Lecture (CM)



In a multicultural world, race is not supposed to be a controversial issue, and this lecture begins by exploring and challenging the 1990s New Labour idea of a ‘happy multiculturalism.’  The idea of racial tensions will then be explored through Monica Ali’s

Brick Lane
. We will focus on both how the narrative attempts to represent postcolonial exploring debates around ‘the burden of representation’, as well as examining the critical and commercial reception of the novel.


We will focus on both how the narrative attempts to represent postcolonial exploring debates around ‘the burden of representation’, as well as examining the critical and commercial reception of the novel.





Introduction and discussion of how contemporary writing engages with racial tensions across the globe. This is a wide issue and small extracts will be used to demonstrate how race has a major impact on the way we write and read.





Theme: Gender and sexuality



Week 6



Lecture (MWD)



Another major controversy for contemporary global society. This lecture will compare reactions and responses to the roles that are deemed to define men and women, as well as reactions to questions of homosexuality. The focus will be on Annie Proulx’s ‘ Brokeback Mountain ’






 Sets out the next stage of enquiry by focussing on gender and sexuality. Understanding of these within a global context will be given through discussion, and close reading.





Week 7



Lecture (MWD)



This lecture will extend the discussion of gender and sexuality by exploring representations of women in Alice Munroe’s Open Secrets. We will focus particularly on the construction of female identities and experiences in the short stories.






A focus for discussion and debate will be the ways in which Western notions of gender can and should be negotiated in terms of wider, global debates around sexual politics and the role and status of women.







Week 8



Lecture (TBC)



The focus here will be on David Mamet’s controversial play Oleanna and its depiction of gender politics and power play in a university setting.






Debating the issues raised by Mamet’s play, in particular the ways in which sexuality and power is being constructed and abused in the play’s central dynamic.





Week 9



Lecture: (CM)



This week the focus will be on gender and, in particular, the role and representation of women. Key text: Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex.






Presentations on ideas and questions concerning gender and sexuality. The seminar will widen students’ understanding of both by developing discussions that place these issues in a world-wide frame.





Week 10



Lecture (CM)



The lecture will develop our reading of Middlesex from last week to explore how travel is used as a metaphor for sexual exploration, especially in terms of gender boundaries and transformations. 






The discussion will cover ideas of travel and sexuality explored in the lecture by  reading them in terms of relevant theoretical texts/contexts





Week 11



Lecture (BP)



The lecture will offer an overview of the key themes and texts explored throughout the module and explore the connections, comparisons and contradictions that have emerged.






Developing the comparative and close reading strategies introduced in the lecture





Week 12 Revision





Week 13 Exams/ Assessment





Week 14 Exams/ Assessment





Week 15 Reading Week – preparing materials for Sem 2







Assessment deadlines





Edited Introduction: 24/11/2010





Exam: tbc



Methods of Teaching/Learning

Teaching will be in a weekly one-hour lecture and a weekly one-hour seminar.



Selected Texts/Journals

Essential Reading



Monica Ali Brick Lane
( London : Black Swan, 2004)



Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex (London: Bloomsbury , 2003)



Hanif Kureshi, The Buddha of Suburbia (London: Faber & Faber, 1991)



David Mamet, Oleanna (Methuen Modern Plays, 1993)



Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance ( London : Faber & Faber, 2006)



Alice Munro, Open Secrets ( London : Vintage, 2005)



Annie Proulx’s ‘ Brokeback Mountain ’ ( London : Harper perennial, 2005)



Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children ( London : Vintage Classics, 2008)





Recommended Reading



Acherson, James and Sarah Ross (eds), The Contemporary British Novel since 1980 ( London : Palgrave, 2006)



Adams, Bella, Amy Tan ( Manchester : MUP, 2005)



Bromley, Roger, Narratives for a New Belonging



Brewster, Anne (2007). "'The Stolen Generations': Doris Pilkington interviewed by Anne Brewster" Journal of Commonwealth Literature 42 143-159.



Bringing them Home Project,



Cranston, , The littoral Zone: Australian Context and their Writers: Australian Contexts and Their Writers (Nature, Culture & Literature) Rodopi B.V. (30 May 2007)



English, James (ed),  A Concise Companion to Contemporary British Fiction [this has an interesting chapter on

Brick Lane




Gurnah, Abdulrazak, Cambridge Companion to Salman Rushdie ( Cambridge : CUP, 2007)



Head,Dominic, The Cambridge Introduction to Modern British Fiction



Howells, Coral Ann, Alice Munro (1998)



Huntley, E.D., Amy Tan: A Critical Companion (London: Greenwood, 1998)



Hussain, Yasmin, Writing Diaspora [looks at writing by female british-asian authors, and has a chapter on

Brick Lane




Kortenaar, Neil Ten, Self, Nation, Text in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children ( Montreal : McGill, 2005)



Lee, Robert A., Other , Other British: Contemporary Multicultural Fiction



Lenz, Millicent and Carole Scott (eds), Illuminated: Critical Essays on Philip Pullman's Trilogy (Wayne State UP, 2005)



Nkosi, Lewis, Nadine Gordimer ( London : Northcote, 2004)



Pilkington, Doris and Christine Olsen, Rabbit-proof Fence: Screenplay Currency Press Pty Ltd (1 Feb 2002)



Procter, James, Dwelling Places [a good overview of Black-British Writing]



Reynolds, Margaret and Jonathan Noakes, Salman Rushdie ( London : Vintage, 2003)



Rood, Karen L., Understanding Annie Proulx ( University of South Carolina Press, 2001)



Rushdie, Salman, Imaginary Homelands (London: Granta, 1991)



Schurer, Norbert, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children ( London : Continuum, 2004)



Stacy, Jim, Reading " Brokeback Mountain ": Essays on the Story and the Film ( New York : McFarland, 2007)



Teverson, Andrew, Salman Rushdie ( Manchester : MUP, 2007)



Thacker, Robert (ed), The Rest of the Story: Critical Readings on Alice Munro (1999)



Waugh, Patricia, Postmodernism: A Reader (London: Hodder Arnold, 1992)



Whitlock, Gillian, "From biography to autobiography' in The Cambridge Companion to Australian Literature (2000) available from ebooks in the library.



Wisker, Gina, Key Concepts in Postcolonial Literature ( London : Palgrave, 2006)



Last Updated
5 July 2010 JG