Critical Issues

University of Reading

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Critical Issues

  • Host University

    University of Reading

  • Location

    Reading, England

  • Area of Study

    American Studies, English, Literature

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Module Provider: English Literature
    Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
    Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
    Non-modular pre-requisites: English Part 1 or A-Level (A*, A or B)
    Modules excluded:
    Module version for: 2016/7

    Summary module description:
    This module investigates some of the most important concepts in modern literary study, through an examination of theoretical and critical debates. It explores ideas of structure, history, race and the uncanny. Lectures will outline some of the ways in which these concepts have been interpreted, with reference to works by specific critics and theorists from a variety of historical periods.

    Building on the critical and theoretical work undertaken in Part 1, this module aims to develop students? understanding of some of the most important concepts in modern literary study, through an examination of critical debates and the way some recent critics and theorists have responded to them.

    Assessable learning outcomes:
    By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:

    ? demonstrate an understanding of key concepts, issues and debates in the contemporary study of literature
    ? offer detailed and comparative close analysis of texts studied on the module
    ? engage critically with the ideas presented in lectures, seminars, or secondary materials
    ? organize and articulate a coherent written argument, both in coursework essays and under timed examination conditions.
    Additional outcomes:
    Students will be encouraged to develop skills of oral communication and effective participation in group work. They will also enhance their IT competence through the use of relevant web resources and databases and the word-processing of assessed work. Students will also gain a more confident and discriminating awareness of their own critical procedures, which should carry over into their literary studies elsewhere on the degree programme.

    Outline content:
    The module will explore ideas of History, Race, Structure and The Uncanny. Lectures will outline some of the ways in which these concepts have been interpreted, with reference to works by specific critics and theorists, including Hayden White, Barbara Smith, Boris Tomashevsky and Sigmund Freud. An anthology of critical theory will provide 12 extracts selected for study (three for each theme), although this can be supplemented by additional material if necessary. In seminar discussion students will examine and debate the views of particular critics or theorists as they are represented in individual essays or extracts. Bennett and Royle?s An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory will be used to situate the debate within the context of wider critical issues.

    Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
    A combination of lectures and structured seminar discussion, for which students are required to do preparatory reading. Students are also entitled to a half-hour tutorial on their formative essay. With the consent of the module convenor, students may also undertake a placement, through which they will learn how to apply the knowledge and skills gained in studying for this module in a professional context outside the University.

    Contact hours:
    Lectures 10
    Seminars 10
    Tutorials 0.5
    Guided independent study 139.5
    Total hours by term 160

    Summative Assessment Methods:
    Written exam 67
    Written assignment including essay 33

    Other information on summative assessment:
    Summative Assessment Methods (%) - work which always contributes towards the overall module mark:

    Formative assessment methods:
    Formative Assessment Methods - work which provides opportunities to improve performance (e.g. through feedback provided) but which does not necessarily always contribute towards the overall module mark:

    Students write one formative essay, of approximately 1500 words. Feedback will also be provided on the assessed essay of 1800-2000 words, or the equivalent placement report. Feedback on written exams will be available on request from the Director of Teaching and Learning.

    Length of examination:
    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of at least 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August. Coursework will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Otherwise it must be resubmitted by 22 August.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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