Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title The Contemporary
Code ENGL772
Coordinator Professor JP Redmond
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2023-24 Level 7 FHEQ Second Semester 15


The aims of this module are as follows:
- To enable students to engage with a cross-section of literature, theory and criticism to understand the concept of ‘the contemporary’ as a scholarly discipline.
- To enable students to understand and engage with the historical and conceptual connections between ‘the contemporary’ and other periodisations such as ‘the modern’.
- To develop skills in the comparison of literary and critical/theoretical writing, and in the understanding of how to apply theoretical contexts to contemporary literary contexts.
- To develop skills in creative, cross-media approaches to coursework including the opportunity to create a podcast addressing the key ideas of the module.
- To provide students with the materials to develop a critical understanding of how ‘the contemporary’ might vary across diverse authors and writing practices.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will gain the ability to read, analyse, interpret and compare with competence and independence a wide variety of literary texts.

(LO2) Students will acquire an advanced knowledge and systematic understanding of the political and ideological aspects of literary texts and how they can be situated within appropriate cultural and social contexts.

(LO3) Students will gain a critical appreciation of the ways in which texts can be situated within literary history, including issues of genre, influence, and creation and reception.

(LO4) Students will acquire advanced knowledge and critical awareness of current and new literary, critical and theoretical debates.

(LO5) Students will gain new skills fostering continued independent learning and a critical appreciation of complex issues within the broader context of the Arts and Humanities.

(S1) Students will acquire a systematic knowledge and critical awareness of current debates and new insights within the field of literature and its contexts.

(S2) Students will gain advanced critical and analytical skills in relation to diverse forms of discourse.

(S3) Students will gain advanced literacy, interpersonal and communications skills, and the ability to present sustained and persuasive written and oral arguments to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

(S4) Students will gain the ability to comprehensively understand and apply a variety of theoretical approaches to literature.

(S5) Students will gain the ability to handle complex information and argument in a critical, creative and self-reflective manner.

(S6) Students will gain the ability to use IT and other relevant tools and resources to present written and oral work to a professional, scholarly standard.

(S7) Students will acquire advanced skills and experience in selecting and using electronic and/or archival resources for planning and undertaking research and writing.

(S8) Students will gain organisational skills in managing time and workloads, and in meeting deadlines.



Texts/authors on the syllabus may be subject to change - and are intended here to show the kind of reading required for each week.

Subjects studied may include - theories of ‘the contemporary’, legacies of postmodernism, neoliberalism, digital culture, and the anthropocene.

Reading will typically include ‘literary’ reading (a novel, short stories or nonfiction essays) and/or ‘cultural’ reading (scholarly or theoretical essays). Seminars may incorporate both literary and critical reading. The focus will generally be on contextual and comparative readings of shorter texts rather than one novel-length text per week, though students may still be required to read novels occasionally.

Assessment will be via:
- A 500-600w summative assessment 1
-A 1000-1200w formative assessment (a plan for the assessed coursework at the end of the module)
-A 2500-3000w summative assessment which will take the form of a written essa y,

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 – fortnightly 2-hour seminars.
Description: Seminar
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Self-Directed Learning Description: During this time, students will be required to read ahead to fulfil their required weekly reading, and also to read more widely from an extensive list of secondary material which will be provided by the convenor - this will be made available via Canvas and the library e-reading list. Canvas will also give students access to a series of blended learning options (links to cinematic/televisual/documentary/online materials) that will enhance their learning. This time will also be used to write up assessment, both formative and summative.

The majority of teaching will be delivered face to face on campus. Online delivery will be used to complement the on campus delivery and where technology affords a better learning experience.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours   12

Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 138


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Plan for summative assessment no 2.         
Summative assessment no. 2: Coursework Essay/ creative response Anonymous Assessment: Yes Resit opportunity    90       
Summative assessment no. 1. Resit opportunity    10       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.