ENG-30084 - Literature and Society
Coordinator: Rachel C Adcock Tel: +44 1782 7 33144
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733147

Programme/Approved Electives for 2019/20

English Combined Honours (Level 6)
English Major (Level 6)
English Minor (Level 6)
English Single Honours (Level 6)
English and American Literatures Single Honours (Level 6)
English with Creative Writing Single Honours (Level 6)
Liberal Arts Single Honours (Level 6)
Liberal Arts Single Honours (Masters) (Level 6)

Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2019/20

Why do we study humanities? What benefits are there in reading English at university, and how does the study of literary texts help us to engage with the wider world? How might literary texts themselves not only reflect but also potentially work to shape and change that world? Over the course of this module, we will explore these questions. We will consider the ways in which literature can be political, reflecting or challenging established ideologies. We will examine current debates surrounding the public role of the humanities, and look at how traditional approaches to literary studies have recently been called into question, through such movements as the 'decolonising the curriculum' campaign. We will discuss the power of language and argument, and explore the ways in which these can be used to distort and manipulate as well as to lead towards truth. And, finally, we will also think practically about the value you have gained from your literary studies, the skills you have achieved, and how those skills might be put to use in your future career.

This module is designed to lead students nearing the end of their undergraduate degrees to reflect on what they have learned and the value they have gained from studying literature. It will explore the role of the humanities within society, and the ways in which literary texts engage with the wider world. It will teach students to think about the importance of language use and logical argument, and help them to recognise how language and argument can be misused. It will also help students to reflect on how the skills they have gained in their degree will be of benefit in a variety of professional contexts.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Conceive and formulate arguments about how a degree in literary studies will aid in students' employability.: 1,2
Communicate the value of an education in literary studies to a wider public.: 1
Demonstrate a critical understanding of how both literature and literary study engages with political and social change and the construction of cultural identities.: 1,2
Recognise the importance of careful language use, and understand the ways in which language may be used for different purposes.: 2
Reflect on the qualities that make an effective argument, and be able to recognise also what makes an argument flawed.: 2

Study hours

20 hours classes
60 hours seminar preparation
70 hours assessment preparation

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Short Paper weighted 20%
Students will be asked to record and submit a short (c. 5-minute) individual podcast on the role of literature/literary studies in the world and/or the public role of the humanities. They will also submit a transcript.

2: Portfolio weighted 80%
Students will submit a portfolio consisting of one short (c. 1000-word) essay on how students expect that the skills they have gained from their degree will help them in a professional context, and two short (c.1000-word) thematic essays (on e.g. the relationship between literature and race; the relationship between literature and economics), based on topics covered on the module. A list of possible topics will be provided for the latter two essays, though students will be encouraged to construct their own questions.