Module title: C21 Literature: Writing the Unfolding Present

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

Module code: CLP09128
Module leader: Arin Keeble
School School of Arts and Creative Industries
Subject area group: Humanities and Culture

Any SCQF 8 module in literature, film studies, cultural studies, or related discipline (at discretion of module leader)

2018/9, 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: Arin Keeble
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
Teaching will take place in the form of a weekly two-hour lecture / workshop which will include an element of interactive activity, and smaller one-hour tutorials. The lectures (Los 1-3) will introduce the primary literary texts, outline key critical debates and a range of approaches for independent research. The tutorials (LOs 1-5) will consolidate and deepen learning that takes place during the lectures. The tutorials will offer the opportunity for students to have real autonomy over the direction of discussion and analysis. Having said this, learning will occur in a variety of formats to allow for a range of learning styles. Typically this will include group work, presentations, independent research, peer-review, close reading and analysis, individual oral contributions, reading and writing assignments and the production of original written material. These activities will include opportunities for students to receive formative feedback on their ideas and progress in advance of the summative assessments.

Formative Assessment:

Summative Assessment:
This module will include two written assessments – both summative.

The first assessment will be a short essay of 1000 words which asks students to both examine scholarly definitions of ‘the contemporary’ and to define it themselves. This is designed to establish an understanding of key critical debates and to clarify key issues in contemporary literary studies. It will require students to analyse the way leading scholars such as Peter Boxall, Robert Eagleston and Amy Hungerford conceptualise ‘the contemporary’ and ‘contemporary literature’, and will also require them to make an argument for what they believe are the definitive issues. Doing this will provide a valuable base of knowledge and critical framework that can then be applied to their final project essays. This assignment will be due in week 4.

The summative assignment will be a 3,000-word ‘project essay’ relating to one of the module’s four major themes (globalization, identity, power and neoliberalism) and include comparative analysis of at least two of the primary texts. Within this rubric students will develop their own titles which will be approved by the module leader. This will give students a real sense of ownership and autonomy with the work, and allow them to investigate areas of specific interest.

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
Essay 30 1-3 4 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 1000
Essay 70 1-5 14 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 0
Component 1 subtotal: 30
Component 2 subtotal: 70
Module subtotal: 100

Description of module content:

This module gives you the chance to work in what Amy Hungerford has called ‘the archive of the unfolding present’. It looks at the way writers are responding to our contemporary moment and examines the extents to which we can map out a new phase in the production of literature. C21 Literature has four key thematic threads that will intersect and develop over the course of the module: ‘power’, ‘identity’, ‘neoliberalism’ and ‘the global’. These are the key contexts for the module and students will have the opportunity to compare the way major and emerging authors have dealt with these themes across several important works. It will also consider new poetics, movements and literary genres, many of which allow for analysis that is not strictly textual but which also incorporates investigation of the production, circulation and dissemination of literary texts. These will include the ‘neoliberal novel’, as theorized in a recent special issue of Textual Practice; the ‘global systems’ novel as defined by the Warwick Research Collective, as well as the ‘cosmopolitan novel’ and ‘9/11 novel’.

The syllabus for this module includes eight texts from major and emerging authors of poetry, short fiction and the novel. It covers a period from 2000 to the present and the texts to be studied deal with definitive contemporary themes. It is global in scope in the sense that it includes authors from around the world, but also in that it includes texts such as Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) and Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge (2013) which are interested in ‘global systems’, the ‘world narrative’ and the far-reaching effects of neoliberalism. This module also includes texts that engage powerfully with contemporary formulations of identity from Zadie Smith’s White Teeth (2000) to Marilyn Robinson’s Gilead (2004) and texts that deal with power, like George Saunders’ celebrated short story ‘The Semplica Girl Diaries’ (2012) and Faber poet Toby Martinez de las Rivas’ celebrated collection, Terror (2014).

Learning Outcomes for module:

Upon completion of this module you will be able to:
LO1: Critically reflect on debates about what is ‘contemporary’ in relation to twenty-first century global literatures and cultures.
LO2: Demonstrate a well-informed understanding of theoretical, political, and cultural developments associated with the twenty-first century.
LO3: Identify and examines key literary practices, movements and trends emerging across different literary forms at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
LO4: Undertake close reading and analysis of works that have been written recently, and for which there is not a significant body of critical work.
LO5: Critically evaluate texts in ways that move beyond, strictly, textual analysis and consider production, dissemination and technologies.

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
CLP09128 C21 Literature: Writing the unfolding present