module specification

SJ6004A - Why Literature Matters Part 1 (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Why Literature Matters Part 1
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 85%   2500 words
Coursework 15%   500 words
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Monday Morning

Module summary

This module invites students to discuss how liveable and sustainable our environments might be now that the climate emergency is here, and asks what the conditions for belonging within a given environment might be. Through the study of ecocritical and eco-philosophical texts as well as literary, poetic, ethnographic, critical and nonfiction texts, we discuss the relationship between writers and their worlds, and consider the way imaginative writing can evoke, describe and thematise our environmental sense of who and where we are, of which beings live alongside us, and of what our relationship with them might be. The syllabus invites students to think critically about writing as a way of understanding our interrelatedness to other beings in their worlds, and as a response to our environments and the way they change.

The module will be taught in weekly sessions comprising a lecture and seminar and is assessed by a variety of written coursework and a final presentation.

This module aims to develop students’ understanding of the critical contexts in which literary production, distribution and reception take place; to allow students to contrast modern, contemporary and canonical theories of literary value; to develop students’ critical writing skills about literature together with their personal sense of commitment to literary values.

Prior learning requirements

Completion and pass (120 credits) of previous level.

Available for Study Abroad? YES


Literature, ecology and belonging: critical, decolonial, anthropological, and environmental philosophies of personhood, place and community (LO1-LO5).

Students’ understanding of the syllabus and response to seminar and workshop discussions will be assessed via written submission (LO5).

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students are expected to, and have the opportunity to, continue with their studies outside of scheduled classes. There will be a range of learning strategies deployed and individual learning styles will be accommodated. The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, have been scrutinised and will be regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive approach to pedagogic practice.

The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning, to foster peer-to-peer communication and to facilitate tutorial support for students. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment items and interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

Cognitive Intellectual Abilities
LO1 discuss aspects of literary practice and interpretation in relation to critical or theoretical principles;

Knowledge and Understanding
LO2 discuss the relationship between literary content, author- and/or reader-identity, and ideological commitment;

LO3 outline and appraise accounts of literary value and creative practice;

Subject Specific Skills
LO4 critically appraise a variety of theories of literary signification and value;

Transferable Skills
LO5 articulate own and others’ ideas accurately and persuasively in writing.

Assessment strategy

● Assessment comprises one long essay and a shorter reflective piece.