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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: English Short Name: ELI2012
Level: HE2 Module Co-ordinator: PALMER BL Dr (English)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability
Semester 2
Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment


Weighting Towards Module Mark( %)


Comparative Essay (2000 words)




Exam: (one critical response to an extract; one open-book essay question) 3 hours




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 word 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 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.



Theme: Nationhood



Week 1


Lecture (BP)


This lecture expands the understanding of multiracial concerns by looking at material beyond the . The focus for this lecture is Yann Martel’s novel Life of Pi (2001) and we will consider questions of transformation, survival and story-telling in a postcolonial and postmodern context.




We will look at the different interpretations and ‘meanings’ of the text, the role of the reader  in postcolonial fiction, and difficulties posed by an ‘unreliable narrator’



Week 2


Lecture: (MWD)


While this has been a much-disputed issue for centuries, the lecture will focus on the way the development of national identity in the latter part of the twentieth century has been questioned and challenged by twenty-first century authors. The theme has two strands: one which looks at the development of the Asian ‘giants’, in particular, China; and two the breakdown of the commonwealth, subsequent postcolonial writing and the challenges to that still imperial-centred approach demanded by today’s global framework. The focus will be on Amy Tan’s discovery of the ‘real’ in The Bonesetter’s Daughter (2001).




Discussions of nationhood and what it means today in a global context.




Week 3


Lecture: (MWD)


This week the lecture turns to the changing understanding of commonwealth/ postcolonial writing, questioning these categories within an Australian context. The lecture will discuss the 'Stolen Generations' through a reading of Doris Pilkington Garimara's Follow the Rabbit-proof Fence (1996) and the film adaptation, Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002); it will trace the way in which the policy of removing Aboriginal and mixed-race children from their families and relocating them in white environments has both fractured and interrogated Australian identity as well as highlighting key postcolonial changes in our understanding of nationhood and responsibility.  




Discussions of nationhood and the role of children in constructions of national identity and cultural legacies.



Week 4


Lecture (TBC)


We will focus on Michael Ondaatje’s novel Anil’s Ghost (2000) to consider national, cultural and philosophical differences between East and West as they are magnified by war.




Close reading and discussion exploring use of genre, symbol and allusion in the re-telling of “real events”



Theme: Faith



Week 5


Lecture (DA)


This lecture explores questions of atheism and the conflict between faith and secularism in American culture & society. The focus for discussion will be Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s graphic novel, Watchmen.




We will discuss the ways in which different cultural forms respond to and reflect issues of faith and morality. 




Week 6


Lecture (MWD)


Stresses that controversies over faith are not always the ones we expect. Looks at the history of Christianity in the and across the globe, dealing with conflicts and challenges. The focus will be on Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials Trilogy.




Looking at faith in a wider context and dealing with comparison of religions themselves and of national and global responses to the concerns the writers engaged with.




Week 7


Lecture (TBC)


David Mitchell’s ambitious Cloud Atlas (2004) will be the subject of this lecture. We will focus on the way that narrative form and style (time-shifts, sci-fi, fragments etc) are used to comment on the nature of humanity and systems of ‘belief’




Close reading of key stories from the text and discussion of the relationship between genre, style and substance in contemporary fiction



Theme: Writing the Post 9/11 World



Week 8:


Lecture:  (tbc)


The lecture will discuss Ian McEwan’s novel, Saturday (2005) and its engagement with personal and political responses to global terrorism and the Invasion of Iraq.




Discussion on role of literature & culture in global and political protest



Week 9


Lecture (tbc)


Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007). This lecture explores the novel’s depiction of a complex and contradictory meeting of Islamic fundamentalism and American “freedoms” in Post 9/11 New York .




Group debate focused on te challenges of reading provocative, contextually specific writing



Week 10


Lecture: (AF)


In this lecture we will read Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005). We will return to see how the debates set up by Hamid’s novel are articulated from a self-consciously American perspective.




Comparative analysis of The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Falling Man. How convincing is the idea of Post 9/11 fiction as a generic category?



Week 11


Lecture (BP)


Overview of themes, texts and contexts explored on the module in preparation for final exam




Discussion on status of contemporary fiction: how to begin identifying a contemporary canon. Revision preparation and practice questions.



Week 12 Revision



Week 13 Exams



Week 14 Exams



Week 15 Exams




Assessment deadlines



Comparative Essay: 30/03/2011



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


Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incrediby Close (Penguin, 2006)


Doris Pilkington Garimara, Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence (1996) available miramax books 2002


Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen (London: Titan Books, 1986)


Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Hamish Hamilton, 2007)


Yann Martel, Life of Pi ( Edinburgh : Canongate, 2001)


Ian McEwan, Saturday ( London : Vintage, 2006)


David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas (Sceptre, 2004)


Michael Ondaatje, Anil’s Ghost (Picador, 2001)


Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials Trilogy( London : Scholastic, 2007)


Amy Tan, The Bonesetter’s Daughter ( New York : Flamingo, 2001)



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