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Mappings and crossings

  • Module code: EL7012
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module examines the ways literature has helped to imagine, construct and reconceive spaces, places, and populations, from those at home and in the city, to ones of exploration and empire. The module approaches diverse literary material of the colonial period – from travel writing to adventure fiction – through theoretical frameworks derived from critical geography, postcolonial criticism and cultural studies. Key concepts such as the contact zone, transculturation, hybridity, mimicry, and borderland are examined and debated in order to develop a critical understanding of how literature maps territories, represents places, and transgresses spatial and subjective boundaries. The module also pays particular attention to how gender, race, class and national identity intersect and inform the ways in which writers engage with particular spaces.

Aims

  • To investigate      critically the conception and construction of spaces, places and      populations in various literary forms.
  • To examine theoretically      the representation of specific spaces, places and populations.
  • To reflect on      the complex ways in which writers explore, map and cross through      territories, identities and ideas.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a      critical understanding of the representation of places, spaces and populations
  • Show a sophisticated understanding of key theoretical concepts and debates relating to space and place
  • Produce      critically-informed, incisive responses to texts that draw upon relevant      conceptual frameworks

Curriculum content

This module will examine the literature of empire and exploration during the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries and engages closely with postcolonial theory. The module will cover topics such as:

 

Writing the City – students will consider how British cities were represented as the epicentre of the British Empire, exemplifying progress and modernity; but at the same time these spaces were increasingly troubled by fears of decline and degeneration.

 

Imagining India – students will examine how various writers from Britain represented the Indian subcontinent to readers at home, considering how gender affected representations of race and national identity.

 

The Dark Continent – students will look at how travellers and writers explored and mapped the African continent during the colonial period. Students will consider how particular spaces became a repository for the fears and desires of the British nation.

 

Crossing Boundaries – students will analyse the ways in which colonial spaces enabled the transgression of certain borders and boundaries. These acts of transgression were physical, metaphorical and subjective as travellers and writers crossed geographical borders and moved between different racial and gendered identities.

Teaching and learning strategy

The module will be taught in a series of two-hour seminars. These fortnightly sessions are flexible so as to allow detailed exploration of both texts and critical debates which engage with aspects of writing and representing places, spaces and populations. The sessions may include presentations by the module leader, short student presentations and peer-led discussions.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Seminars 22
Guided independent study 278
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Assessment for this module comprises two elements.

The first (30%) is a 2,000-word ‘conference paper’ which will be delivered in seminar and submitted for assessment. Topics, to be chosen in conjunction with the module leader, allow students to demonstrate their knowledge of at least one of the critical and theoretical approaches to the representation of places, spaces and populations in relation to one of the module’s set literary texts. The second (70%) is a 4,000-word critical essay which will focus on one or more key concerns of the module, and in-depth knowledge of one or more of the set literary texts. In addition to weekly seminar discussion and formal presentations, drafting and preparation of the critical essay will provide explicit opportunities for formative feedback.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Demonstrate a critical understanding of the representation of places, spaces and populations Assessed formatively by class discussion and in-class presentation of conference paper. Assessed summatively by a critical essay and shorter conference paper.
Show a sophisticated understanding of key theoretical concepts and debates relating to space and place Assessed formatively by class discussion and in-class presentation of conference paper. Assessed summatively by a critical essay and shorter conference paper.
Produce critically-informed, incisive responses to texts that draw upon relevant conceptual frameworks Assessed formatively by class discussion and in-class presentation of conference paper. Assessed summatively by a critical essay and shorter conference paper.

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
CWK 2000 word conference paper 30
CWK 4000 word essay 70
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Burton, Richard, A Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Medinah and Meccah (1855)

               

          Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Penguin, (1860) 2004.

 

          Dickens, Charles. Night Walks. Penguin, (1860) 2010.

 

Haggard, H. Rider, King Solomon’s Mines. Oxford World Classics, (1885) 2008.

 

Forster, E. M. A Passage to India. Penguin, (1924) 2005.

 

          Joyce, James, Dubliners. Penguin, (1914) 2000.

 

Kingsley, Mary. Travels in West Africa (1897) National Geographic Adventure Classic, 2002.

 

Kipling, Rudyard, Kim. Wordsworth Classics, (1900) 1994.

 

Lawrence, T. E. Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Penguin, (1922) 2000.

 

Parkes, Fanny. Begums, Thugs and White Mughals. Sickle Moon, (1850) 2002.

 

Schreiner, Olive. The Story of an African Farm. Oxford World Classics, (1883) 2008.

         

          Steel, Flora Annie and Grace Gardiner. The Complete Indian Housekeeper and Cook. Oxford University Press, (1890) 2011.

 

Stanley, Henry Morton, How I Found Livingstone; travels, adventures, and discoveries in Central Africa. Wordsworth Editions, (1872) 2010.

Bibliography recommended reading

Pratt, Mary Louise. Imperial Eyes and Transculturation. Routledge, 2007.

 

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. Verson Books, 2006.

 

Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things. Routledge, 2001.

 

Blunt, Alison, Gender, Travel, Gender and Imperialism: Mary Kingsley and West Africa. Guilford Press, 1994.

 

Hulme, Peter and Tim Youngs, eds, The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing.

Cambridge University Press, 2002.

 

Lefebvre, Henri, Writings on Cities. Blackwell Publishers, 1996.

 

Mills, Sara, Gender and Colonial Space. Manchester University Press, 2009.

 

Paxton, Nancy. Writing Under the Raj: Gender, Race and Rape in the Colonial Imagination 1830-1947. Rutgers University Press, 1999.

 

Richards, Thomas, The Imperial Archive: Knowledge and the Fantasy of Empire. Verso, 1996.

 

Youngs, Tim, ed., Travel Writing in the Nineteenth Century: Filling in the Blanks

Anthem Press, 2006.

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