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Unit information: Texts in a Global Context in 2018/19

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Unit name Texts in a Global Context
Unit code ENGL10044
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Vaccarella
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit aims to introduce students to the richness and diversity of Anglophone writing in a global perspective over the past 300 years. Centring on the twinned concepts of English as a global language and English literature as a global medium, this unit focuses on the notion of travelling in two broad senses (the author as traveller and English as a language which travels) in order to give students a broad understanding of the reach, scope and implications of global Anglophone writing in a transhistorical framework. Organised around the three broad themes of ‘Writing Travel and Exploration’, ‘Writing War, Writing Conflict’ and ‘Writing Across Languages’, and drawing on poetry, prose and memoir, the unit focuses on the following questions: what forms of identification and innovation appear when writers leave their ‘home’ contexts to explore other global locations? How are the experiences of conflict, war and violence translated into the medium of literary writing and what implications does this have for the way literature is produced and disseminated? Why might an author choose to write in English, a global language, rather than their own mother tongue?

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of English literature as a historically global phenomenon;

2. apply understanding of historical, cultural and intellectual contexts to readings of literary writing produced in disparate geographical locations and eras;

3. discriminate between different critical perspectives on English as a global language and English literature as a global medium;

4. identify and present pertinent evidence to develop a cogent argument;

5. demonstrate skills in textual analysis, argumentation, and critical interpretation using evidence from primary texts and secondary sources;

6. contribute to group tasks and discussions and demonstrate skills in an oral presentation.

Teaching details

1 x one-hour Lecture.

1 x one-hour seminar weekly.

Assessment Details

  • 3 x 700 words of short exercises (25% each). [ILOs 1-5].
  • One group presentation (approximate duration 15 minutes; normally 4 students per group) with handout for an individual mark (25%) [ILOs 1-6].

Reading and References

1. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, The Turkish Embassy Letters

2. Rabindranath Tagore, Selected Poems

3. Mulk Raj Anand, Across the Black Waters

4. Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, A Grain of Wheat

5. Vesna Goldsworthy, Chernobyl Strawberries

6. Noo Saro-Wiwa, Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria

Key secondary reading:

- David Damrosch, How to Read World Literature. How to Study Literature. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. - Peter Hulme and Tim Youngs (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. - Kate McLoughlin, The Cambridge Companion to War Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. - Santanu Das. Race, Empire and First World War Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.