Module title: Narratives of Nature

SCQF level: 09:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: CLP09123
Module leader: Emily Alder
School School of Arts and Creative Industries
Subject area group: Humanities and Culture


2019/0, Trimester 2, Face-to-Face, Edinburgh Napier University
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: Face-to-Face
Location of delivery: MERCHISTON
Partner: Edinburgh Napier University
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Emily Alder
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
One-hour weekly tutorials will give students the opportunity to discuss issues in depth related to the representation of the natural world in narrative texts (LOs 1 & 2). The engagement of narrative literature and film with environmental interests and problems, and ecocritical approaches to analysing such texts, will be explored through interactive weekly two-hour lectures (LOs 1, 2, 3). The emphasis will be on independent learning, reading, viewing and scholarship. Tutorial sessions will mirror the lecture series and will provide a medium for student-centred learning and reflection including through their group presentations which will take place in this time slot (LOs 1, 2, 3, 4). Students will develop their theoretical knowledge of the subject and accompanying themes and apply this knowledge to the preparation of their presentation and portfolio (LOs 3 & 4).

Formative Assessment:
A formative assessment takes place in week 8. Student write and submit a draft or a part of a piece of written work that could contribute to their final portfolio. They will receive written feedback on this piece of work to take into account as they prepare their final portfolio. The draft appears in the final portfolio as an appendix.

Summative Assessment:
Students will undertake two summative assessments during the module. A presentation researched, designed, and delivered in small groups (25%) will take place on a rolling deadline from week 4 onwards, on student-selected aspects of particular texts and themes drawn from the module content (LOs 1&2). The second assignment will take the form of a portfolio submission (LOs2, 3&4) in week 14 (75%). The portfolio fosters student reflection on their own learning and deciding how to demonstrate it; it will be supported by a guiding assessment brief and the formative assessment outlined above.

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

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Oral Presentation 25 1,2 4 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 0
Portfolio 75 2,3,4 14 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 3000
Component 1 subtotal: 25
Component 2 subtotal: 75
Module subtotal: 100

Description of module content:

On this module you will learn about how literature and film represent and interrogate different ideas about ‘nature’. You will take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding how thinking about the natural world has evolved since the nineteenth century, and how modern sciences have helped to shape stories that are told about nature. You will consider some of the urgent environmental debates of the twentieth century, and critically investigate the range of ways in which literature and film engage with them.

You will explore a range of texts from the late nineteenth-century up to the present day. Through Victorian texts such as Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles you will investigate how nineteenth-century science suggested new ways of understanding the natural world and the impact that had on men’s and women’s sense of identity. Non-fiction narratives about nature such as those offered in the essays of Kathleen Jamie and in wildlife films and documentaries will be discussed. In the second half of the module, global challenges of environmental degradation, petroculture, climate change, and social and economic justice will be probed through ecocritical lenses, through environmental films such as Michael Madsen’s Into Eternity and through prose narratives which may include essays by Kathleen Jamie, Helon Habila’s Oil on Water, and Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, for example. You will critically examine such texts for their narrative representation and critiques of these themes and issues, and for the ways of thinking they might offer about how people relate to the natural world and engage with environmentalism and sustainability.

Learning Outcomes for module:

Upon completion of this module you will be able to
LO1: Articulate a well-informed understanding of different meanings or concepts of 'nature' and how they have been culturally and historically constructed.
LO2: Critically analyse how ideas of science, nature and the environment are reflected in, and shaped by, fiction and non-fiction literature and film.
LO3: Identify and evaluate a range of secondary sources that are relevant to environmental issues and representations of nature in literature and film, and use them in written and oral assignments.
LO4: Reflect on your learning during the module and demonstrate how that learning relates to the module’s set texts and assessments.

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
CLP09123 Narratives of Nature (2019/20)