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Convenor: Roxanne Douglas

Week 1 Lecture:

Part 1 (Introduction to Modes of Reading - Roxanne Douglas):
NB: Seminars start in Week 1 with an introductory session - please see Tabula for details.

Part 2 (The Gathering 1/2 - Paulo de Medeiros):

Part 3 (The Gathering 2/2 - Paulo de Medeiros):

Required texts:

  • Anne Enright, The Gathering (2007)
  • Jay Bernard, Surge (2019)
  • Janelle Monae, The ArchAndroid (2010)
  • Saadallah Wannous, Soiree for the 5th of June (1967 - available online)
  • Richard McGuire, Here (1989 - either as hardback or e-book)

Students are required to get the Enright, Bernard, and McGuire (either by buying or borrowing them) and to access the Monae (whether via cd, vinyl, streaming service, etc..). Books can be read in either print or e-book format and can be obtained from various bookstores and platforms ( or see a discounted bundleLink opens in a new window). Students might also benefit from using the two critical companions, below, which can be purchased in hard copy or downloaded as e-copies via the library (see links below)



Lectures: Thursday 10-11 (recorded lectures will be released weekly, usually on Mondays by 10 am and no later than Tuesday evenings and can be accessed hereLink opens in a new window)

This module offers an introduction to the practices of criticism. Form, genre and literary inheritance will be among the topics addressed. The module aims to enable students to work with a variety of critical approaches, and to develop an informed awareness of the possibilities available to them as readers and critics. Thematically organised lectures provide a frame of cultural reference on which the students will draw in their close readings in seminars. The module is taught in four units of four lectures each.

The Digital Reading List (Talis Aspire) for the below can be found here


Syllabus, 2021-22

Term 1

Week 1: Introduction to the course (Roxanne Douglas and Paulo de Medeiros)

Unit I: Narrative

*** Text to read over the summer for this unit, Anne Enright The Gathering (2007) ***

Week 2: Karl Marx, excerpt from The German Ideology (1845) (Nick Lawrence)

Week 3: Sigmund Freud “The Method of Interpreting Dreams: An Analysis of a Specimen Dream" (1899) and “Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming” (1907) (Daniel Katz)

Week 4: Louis Althusser “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (excerpted)” (1970) and Fredric Jameson, “On Interpretation” (excerpted, The Political Unconscious (1-7 and 85-88) ([1981] 2002) (Paulo de Medeiros)

Week 5: Helene Cixous, "Laugh of the Medusa" (1976) (Rashmi Varma)


Unit II: Poetics

Week 7: Comparative Poetry: Mahmood Darwish "Sonnet V"; W.B. Yeats "No Second Troy"; Lorna Goodison "Mother, the Great Stones Got To Move" Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren, "Poetry as a Way of Saying," in Understanding Poetry (1938) (Jonathan Skinner)

Week 8: Poetry and Poetics:

Édouard Glissant, "For Opacity" (Poetics of Relation, pp. 189-194); Audre Lorde, "Poetry is Not a Luxury" (anthologized in Sister Outsider: essays and speeches, Crossing Press, [2007]); Adonis, "Poetics and Modernity" (An Introduction to Arab Poetics, pp. 75-102) (Jonathan Skinner)

Week 9 Contemporary Poetics I: Elegy

Jay Bernard, Surge (Chatto & Windus 2019)

Stephen Regan, 'The Elegy', A Companion to Contemporary British and Irish poetry, ed. Wolfgang Görtschacher and David Malcolm (2020), 119-27. (Stacey McDowell)

Week 10 Contemporary Poetics II: Janelle Monae, The ArchAndroid (2010) and selected poems
Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto" (1985) (Emma Mason)
[Note: for "A Cyborg Manifesto, please focus on the following sections. 1/ Page 8 (from "The cyborg is a creature in a postgender world') to page 10 ("Their fathers, after all, are inessential.") 2/ Page 33 (from "Communications technologies and biotechnologies are the crucial tools recrafting our bodies.") to page 34 ("The fundamentals of this technology can be condensed into the metaphor C3 I, command-control-communication-intelligence, the military’s symbol for its operations theory.")]


Term 2

Unit III: Performance

*** Text to be read alongside material for weeks 1-3: Saadallah Wannous, Soiree for the 5th of June (1967)

Please see the overview of the play, "Critique After the 1967 Defeat" by Elizabeth Suzanne Kassab, that also provides an introduction to both the author’s work as well as the larger context (namely, the June 1967 war).

Week 1: Ric Knowles, "Chapter 2: Theatre" from How Theatre Means (2014) (Stephen Purcell)

Week 2: Antonin Artaud "The Theatre of Cruelty: First Manifesto" in The Theatre and Its Double (1938) (Matt Franks)

Week 3: Augusto Boal, "Preface to the 1974 Edition" and "Poetics of the Oppressed" in Theatre of the Oppressed (1970) (Stephen Purcell)

Week 4: To read: Judith Butler "Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory" Theatre Journal (1988) and Nicole Rachelle Fleetwood ‘Excess Flesh: Black Women Performing Hypervisibility’ in Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality and Blackness, 105-145 (2011). To watch: Martha Rosler

 (1975) (Paulo de Medeiros)

Week 5: Black Performance

Frantz Fanon "The Fact of Blackness" Black Skin White Masks (1952) (PDF extract from last year)

To listen to/watch: Kendrick Lamar, Alright (2015)

To look at: Carrie Mae Weems "The Louisiana Project" (2003), Adrian Piper Mythic Being (1972-1975)

and (Roxanne Douglas and Paulo de Medeiros)


Unit IV: Image

Week 7 Photography: Selected images from Sophie Riestelhuber. Details of the World (2001) and WB: West Bank (2005). Selected Images from Ammal Said ( Susan Sontag. “In Plato’s Cave” from On Photography (1977), 1-26; and Marvin Heifermann. “Photography Changes Everything” in Photography Changes Everything (2012), 11-21. (Paulo de Medeiros)

Week 8 Spectacle: To watch: Xin Xin “” (excerpt, 2015) and ipod ads and ipod ads culturejammed
To read: Guy Debord "Separation Perfected" Society of the Spectacle (1967) (Caitlin Vandertop)

Week 9 Graphic: Richard McGuire, Here (1989). Andreas Malm, 'Introduction: Theory for the Warming Condition', The Progress of This Storm: on society and nature in a warming world (Verso, 2018). Roy Scranton, 'Introduction: Coming Home', Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: reflections on the end of a civilisation (City Lights Books 2015). David Farrier, 'Deep Time', The Atlantic October 31, 2016. (Graeme Macdonald)

Week 10 Film: Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles. (dirs.). Bacurau. (2019). DVD. Stephanie Dennison and Song Hwee Lim. “Situating World Cinema as a Theoretical Problem” in Remapping World Cinema: Identity, Culture and Politics in Film. 2006. 1-15. (Paulo de Medeiros)