Module title: Crime in Text and Film

SCQF level: 11:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: CLP11145
Module leader: Anne Schwan
School School of Arts and Creative Industries
Subject area group: Humanities and Culture

There are no pre-requisites for this module to be added

2019/0, Trimester 2, Face-to-Face,
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: Face-to-Face
Location of delivery: MERCHISTON
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Anne Schwan
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
Teaching will take place in the form of a weekly lecture (LOs 2,3,5) and tutorial (LOs 1,4,5) which may be combined into a 3-hour block. Weekly sessions will combine formal lecture elements with more interactive activities. Formal input from the lecturer will offer you a frame of reference in terms of socio-historical contexts and theoretical approaches to individual texts. Class activities will range from listening (LOs 2,3,5), individual oral contributions and group work (LOs 1,4,5), to independent research, reading and writing assignments (LOs 1,2,3,4,5,6). In weekly seminars, MA students will be joined by honours-level undergraduate students enrolled on the concurrent 4th-year version of this module. You will also be offered two additional seminars specific to MA-level guidance on learning outcomes and assessments (LO6). Independent learning will be facilitated through structured reading activities and an extensive course bibliography. Coursework consultation sessions will be available to help you plan your assessments.

You will develop your ability to read and write critically and analytically, and to articulate arguments in both oral and written form. In-class activities will give you an opportunity to improve your team working skills, thus facilitating the development of personal and scholarly skills relevant to a range of employment sectors. You will receive guidance on advanced research methods to support you in your own research. Staff research interests inform the ways in which this course is taught and provide a model for research practice.

Formative Assessment:
Although there are no formal formative assessments on this module, we employ in-class formative feedback to help you prepare for summative assignments. You will be asked to engage in textual analysis of selected passages and/or critically assess scholarly debates on the subject matter to model the kinds of work you will be expected to perform in the summative assessments. You will have opportunities to consult with your tutor during preparations for your summative assessment.

Summative Assessment:
Summative assessment consists of one final essay or final project due in week 14 (Los 1,2,3,4,5,6). You will produce a piece of work informed by scholarly debates in the module’s subject area while bringing these in conversation with developments and methods in either the digital or public humanities. You will agree the scope and content of your essay or project in consultation with your tutor. You have the option to choose either a 4,000-word critical scholarly research essay or a digital or public engagement project accompanied by a 2,000-3,000-word written critical commentary with research. The project could, for example, consist of a series of visual artefacts or interviews. The specific length and scope of the project will be agreed with your tutor in advance of the assessment.

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 100 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,6 14 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 4000
Component 1 subtotal: 100
Component 2 subtotal: 0
Module subtotal: 100

Description of module content:

Crime, its causes and possible remedies have preoccupied commentators from all classes and backgrounds throughout history. This module introduces you to representations of crime, punishment and the convicted from the nineteenth century onwards—in a range of literary texts and other media—giving you an opportunity to explore changing definitions of criminality. Whilst the module asks you to think about depictions of crime and punishment within their specific cultural-historical context, you are also encouraged to consider differences and continuities in the ‘criminal imagination’ between different historical periods. The module aims to provide you with the ability to critically analyse and compare representations of people who commit crimes in literature, the media, film and TV and to examine the relationship between these representations and wider social concerns. By using a range of media, including online resources, the module offers you the opportunity to engage with a variety of cultural products and to develop a number of advanced research and transferable skills.

Beginning with the nineteenth century, you will read popular execution broadsides that were sold to the crowds at public executions, comparing and contrasting such early cultural representations of the death penalty with contemporary writings from death row in the American context. You will also study murder poems by canonical Victorian writers like Robert Browning and consider how such texts engaged with emerging theories of criminal psychology. In these writings from the nineteenth century and moving on to the contemporary period, you will be encouraged to consider how representations of criminality intersect with ideas about deviance from dominant class, racial, ethnic, gender and sexual identities. The module offers you an opportunity to engage with a range of genres, from poetry, street literature and historical fiction to film and TV series (such as Orange is the New Black). Brief overviews of contemporary debates on prison education and US mass incarceration will complement our textual work to broaden your perspective and encourage interdisciplinary engagement with sociological and criminological debates in this area.

Throughout the module, you will also be asked to think about the importance of self-representation as a response to debates about law-breakers, and you will therefore look at a number of textual spaces where the voices of so-called delinquents themselves emerge. The weekly lectures will provide an introduction and set the context for group and individual work. Interactive exercises will focus on close reading and analysis of the assigned material. You will also be asked to engage with recent scholarly and wider public debates on the material in question.

Learning Outcomes for module:

Upon completion of this module you will be able to

LO1: Critically assess a range of literary texts and other cultural products in oral and written form
LO2: Conceptualise the relationship between these cultural products and their cultural-historical context
LO3: Critically appraise representations of criminality and punishment in different genres and historical periods
LO4: Evaluate how individual texts relate to each other and/or to common themes
LO5: Critically engage with relevant scholarly and public debates around crime and penal practices in society, text and film
LO6: Generate ideas independently to produce written or project work that synthesises module content with developments at the forefront of digital or public humanities

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
Contact your module leader