EL7021 - Critical Contexts

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will learn about some of the key ideas and theories that can help us understand theoretical and conceptual approaches to literary texts. From week to week, readings of primary texts past and present will be informed by selected critical and theoretical work focussed on specific aspects of the material, such as ideological and discursive constructions of gender, race, class, and national identity. This theoretical material will be provided in a Reading Pack of excerpted material, offering a representative sample of a range of thinkers’ work, and motivating further exploration of their ideas. Seminars will allow in-depth discussion of the texts and concepts appropriate to Masters level study.

The module aims to problematise our assumptions about how literary texts are constructed in relation to ideological and discursive practices, and about the relationships between texts, theory and contexts. It enables you to acquire skills necessary to analyse literature at the Masters level, using sophisticated, appropriate, and up-to-date critical and theoretical approaches

How will I learn on this module?

For on-site students, delivery will be primarily via traditional seminars. Distance learning students can complete the module via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), populated with on-line learning materials. Both on-site and distance learning students study the same texts and have access to the same materials. On-site students will be encouraged to take part in the discussion boards by way of building a cohort with the distance learning students. The assessment for both on-site and distance learning students is the same combination of non-assessed and assessed e-tivities (on-line tasks). You will be expected to undertake both directed and independent learning. Directed learning generally will take the form of preparation for seminars for on-site students and weekly reading guidance for the distance learning students, where you will be expected to contribute to discussion. Informal presentations will be used as well as group work to facilitate student engagement. Independent learning generally will take the form of further reading and investigation, the consolidation of seminar notes, and revision/preparation for the assessment of the module. Assessments for all students taking this module will include a portfolio of e-tivities that have two roles. First, e-tivities will include non-assessed assessments that ensure the student has the technological capacity in terms of hardware and digital literacy to complete the module. Second, the e-tivities will include the assessed assessments that test the student’s aptitude in relation to the learning outcomes.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Seminars and on-line material will enable you to interrogate the overarching themes of the module will develop your academic skills as you engage with primary, secondary, theoretical and contextual materials to allow you to attain the module learning outcomes. The module handbook provides details of weekly reading and focus, reading lists and assessment criteria and all material are made available on the VLE. The module tutor is available in the seminars for on-site students and by appointment for on-site students, as well as accessible to all via email to discuss any queries or concerns you have about how to excel academically on the module. In addition, you have a designated Guidance Tutor throughout the entire duration of your programme.
You are advised to see or contact your Guidance Tutor at least twice each semester to review your academic progress. The Guidance Booklet, which you receive at the start of your first year, includes structured materials designed to help you develop your self-reflection skills. These materials underpin the academic side of the regular Guidance meetings, helping you to learn how to best use the feedback you receive on your assignments, how to build on your strengths, and improve in the areas where you could perform better. Distance learning students will also be supported by the on-site cohort, who will engage with the discussion forums and etivities, and an Associate Tutor, who will moderate (rather than facilitate) the online discussions, thereby fulfilling the same role as the seminar tutor.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. an enhanced understanding of issues raised by critical contexts of literature in different literary periods appropriate to Masters level.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
2. augmented intellectual skills in employing theoretical and critical material in relation to literature;
3. developed abilities in close and interdisciplinary textual analysis;

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
4. an improved awareness of critical theory and contexts related to literature, including via discourses of gender, race and class;
5. enhanced skills conforming to relevant standards of good academic conduct in the expression of an informed argument in written forms through completing the various activities prescribed.

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment will take 2 forms:

1.Critical engagement with theoretical concept of your choice that explores developments of concept and debates surrounding it (2000 words) – 40%
This assessment addresses MLOS 2 3 4 6

2. an essay in which you engage with application of critical context to a primary text(s) of your choice (4000 words) – 60%
This assessment addresses MLOS 1 2 3 4 6

Formative assessment
1. A Learning Journal. This formative assessment will be subject to continuous assessment by and feedback from tutors, in tutorials and in written form. This mode of assessment will link directly into the summative assessment by allowing you to reflect on your learning.
This assessment addresses MLOS 1 2 3 4 5 6

Oral and written formative feedback will be provided in tutorials and seminars and via the discussion board on the VLE. Written summative feedback will be provided in writing to you and this will be individual focused feedback. In addition, generic module based feedback will be circulated to you within the same timescale. All feedback will be provided in the context of assessment criteria provided to you at the start of the module.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

Credits 30

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years part-time by distance learning
3 other options available

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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