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This module is assessed with formative and summative essays and assignments. You will also be required to complete an online research skills task. Submission of all essays is required to achieve a pass. There is no exam component for this module.

Please note that the department will apply substantial penalties for missed deadlines and for failure to submit essays.

Further information about the penalties for late submission of formative essays is provided below. For information on the penalties for late submission of assessed essays, and for the process of applying for an extension, please see your relevant Undergraduate Handbook and the Essays page.

All essays must be original and cannot duplicate previous ones. If there is a need to refer to one of your previous essays (including formative ones) that must be done as a citation with a proper reference. Given the varied choice of questions it is advisable to choose different questions for different essays.

Titles for assessed essays will be posted on these webpages at least 6 weeks before the submission deadline.

Formative Assessment 1: Writing a Précis

1000 words / Due Term 1, Week 5 in Class

This assessment will consist of two parts. For the first 750 words, you will write a brief précis of one of the theoretical texts studied in the first unit. For this précis you will summarise what you see as the main argument or claim the text is making and then briefly outline how the critic makes their argument and how they position themselves in the critical field (i.e. who or what are they arguing against? What is the scholarly debate with which they are engaging). For the second 250 words, you will reflect on the connection between your secondary text and Chris Krauss’ I Love Dick. You might reflect on how Dick takes up or engages in the theoretical issues raised by your critic or reflect on how your theoretical text might open up new and interesting ways of thinking about Dick.

Formative Assessment 2: Researching Contemporary Culture and/or Cultures in Translation

1000 words/ Due Term 1, Week 8 in class

Much of this module explores contemporary cultural works, or works in translation, which have very little or even no academic criticism written about them, or written about them in English. This assessment, which requires you to complete the moodle course on how to do research on contemporary culture, is meant to help you think about how you do academic research when you’re one of the first scholars to study a text.

For this assessment, you will choose either one contemporary text from Term 1 of the module (e.g. written after 1990) or one translated text on the module and conduct research into the text as if you were preparing to write an essay for it.

The assessment will consist of two parts. The first part is an annotated bibliography consisting of between 5 and 7 sources (key: at least four sources need to be peer-reviewed; only one source can be directly about your text). Each entry in your bibliography should be between 5-8 sentences long and should summarise the key argument of the article and briefly explain its relevance to your thinking about the text.

The second part is a brief 300 word narrative of how you decided what sources to look at and what key terms to use in order to choose your sources.

First Assessed Essay

2500 words / weighted as 50% of your module
Due: Week 2 of Term 2

For the first essay you will write an essay that brings together the four distinct skills we've been developing thus far: learning how to read, summarise, and engage with theoretical texts; learning how to close read and analyse novels and poetry (broadly conceived to include music and other poetic texts) ; learning how to “apply” theory to texts; and learning how to use literary texts to open up, interrogate, and challenge theoretical texts and concepts. You can either answer one of the questions provided, or develop your own question in consultation with your tutor.

Second Assessed Essay

2500 words / weighted as 50% of your module
Due: Week 2 of Term 3

For the second essay, you will write an essay on genre by comparing one work from the syllabus with one of your own choosing. You want to make sure that you consult with your tutor with regards to the genre and supplementary text you are choosing.

Honours Students

Honours students do the same formative and assessed work as first-year students, except the for Second Year Students, both essays are 3000 words in length and for Third Year Students, both essays are 3500 words in length

Visiting Students (including Erasmus students)

If you are here for the full year, you can select which assessment pattern you wish to be assessed by.

If you are here for 1 or 2 terms only, you will write 2,000-word essays for each term, based either on existing essay assignments or, if you wish, on a topic of your own choosing (confirm with your tutor beforehand); these essays are due Tuesday, week 2, term 2 by 12 noon and Tuesday, week 2, term 3 by 12 noon respectively.

For students visiting during terms 2 and 3, the deadlines are:

  • Term 2: Assessed Essay 1 (2,000 words); Submission deadline Tuesday, week 12, term 2, by 12 noon.
  • Term 3: Assessed Essay 2 (2,000 words); Submission deadline Tuesday, week 9, term 3, by 12 noon.

Titles for the essays will be the same as for those students taking the module by standard assessment. Students arriving in term 2 will write both essays on topics and texts covered during seminars and lectures in term 2.

Unassessed essays are optional for Erasmus / Part-Year Visiting students.