Module title: Critical Contexts: Introduction to Literary Criticism and Cultural Theory

SCQF level: 07:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: CLP07116
Module leader: Elsa Bouet
School School of Arts and Creative Industries
Subject area group: Humanities and Culture


2019/0, Trimester 1, Face-to-Face,
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: Face-to-Face
Location of delivery: MERCHISTON
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Elsa Bouet
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
Teaching will take place in the form of a weekly lecture, which includes an interactive part, and smaller tutorial meetings. The lectures will provide the necessary input and framework of reference (LO 1, 2, 3) for further, more interactive activities (LO 4, 5). Learning will occur in a variety of formats in order to allow for different student learning styles. Tutorial activities will range from listening, individual oral contributions and small group work (LO 2, 4, 5), to independent research, reading and writing assignments (LO 1, 3, 6). Specific attention will also be given to developing research, referencing and writing skills (LO 6).

The module facilitates the development of personal and scholarly skills relevant to a range of employment sectors. You will develop your ability to read and write critically and analytically, and articulate arguments in both verbal and written form. Group exercises will train you in collective work.

Lecture notes and additional material will be available on Moodle, which will enable all learners to access the module with ease. A list of relevant online resources will be provided. International students will be pointed in the direction of tailored resources available to them (such as language tutorials for written assignments, if desired and necessary). Primary and secondary texts studied on this module address the question of historical transformations in English Studies’ place in the world, thus situating the discipline within a critical and international perspective.

Formative Assessment:
Formative assessment will take place in the form of learning tasks and exercises, as well as other critical-analytical activities in the classroom, to support the written summative assignments. This will include a group activity involving a library search and referencing skills before the first essay assignment in week 4. The second summative assignment will be supported by structured formative tasks in the second half of the module (around weeks 9-10), helping students to build on their first piece of coursework and work with their feedback.
You will be able to obtain formative feedback on your class participation from your tutor during office hours.

Summative Assessment:
Summative assessment will take the form of one essay and one reading diary. Regular, active participation in classroom exercises is required on this module and forms part of the summative assessment. Your tutors will evaluate your contributions to class and small group discussions throughout the term and an average will be taken at the end. You will also be encouraged to make contributions to the module’s online discussion forum on Moodle, especially if you are finding it difficult to speak in class. Online contributions will be taken into account when it comes to your class participation mark. The essay will be based on a critical commentary on selected passages from a literary and/or critical text; the reading diary will ask you to reflect on a number of literary and theoretical texts.

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Tutorial 10
Face To Face Lecture 20
Independent Learning Groupwork (Independent Study) 170
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Essay 40 1,2,4,6 5 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 1000
Discussion/Participation 10 1,2,3,4,5,6 2 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 0
Essay 50 2,3,4,5,6 13 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 1500
Component 1 subtotal: 40
Component 2 subtotal: 60
Module subtotal: 100

Description of module content:

This module serves as a broad introduction to some of the key theoretical questions relevant to literary and cultural studies today. Whilst asking you to engage with a range of texts from different periods, genres and national traditions, the emphasis is on methodological and critical issues in Literary Studies. The module invites you to reflect on the process of reading. How are texts read? Why may they be read differently in different historical contexts? How and why are certain texts assigned a higher cultural value than others (i.e. ‘canonised’)?

The module aims to equip you with the conceptual frameworks necessary to independently approach texts at this and subsequent levels. The module’s main objective is to help you become an attentive, self-reflexive and critical reader and to develop the ability to engage with scholarly debates that are relevant to the study of literature and culture. Some of the themes covered include: definitions of literature; English Studies as a discipline and institution; the literary canon; authors and readers; genre; literature and history; questions of identity in literature (class, gender/sexuality, race/ethnicity/nationality).

Learning Outcomes for module:

Upon completion of this module you will be able to:
LO1: Outline how literary value is constructed and how literary canons are formed
LO2: Recognise that texts are read differently in varying historical contexts
LO3: Recount the formation of English Studies as a discipline and some of the critical debates of what this discipline should entail
LO4: Critically analyse texts from different genres and periods and integrate such readings within contemporary critical debates
LO5: Work independently and as part of a group
LO6: Deploy research, referencing and writing skills

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:

Please contact your Module Leader for details
Click here to view the LibrarySearch.