AD3034 - Trigger-happy: The Language and Literature of Offence and Discrimination

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What will I learn on this module?

This module challenges you to analyse the themes of ‘offence’, ‘discrimination’ and ‘censorship’ across the disciplines of English Language and Linguistics, Literature and Creative Writing. From Shakespearean insults to the language of hip-hop, from banned books to non-standard language, this module explores the question of what is ‘offensive’ language and literature, and asks what responses, if any, offensive language and literature provoke in society?

Using theories drawn from language and linguistic study, and from critical and cultural theory, and through reference to a range of cultural forms – including drama, novels, poetry, pop music and ‘everyday discourse’ – this module interrogates the concept of offence from a variety of perspectives. What is offence? Why are certain terms, aspects of language-in-use, and texts deemed offensive? How do ideas about what is offensive change over time and in different contexts?

In asking these questions, this module will provide you with an exciting opportunity to explore language, and a range of canonical and non-canonical texts, in relation to broader debates about what is deemed acceptable – and unacceptable – in language and literature at particular historical moments.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn on the module through a stimulating range of lectures, seminars, workshops, film screenings and field trips. Your learning will be supported by the excellent library facilities, and by resources made available to you through the e-learning portal. Each week you will be given a preparatory activity (e.g. set reading or a data analysis task) which will form the basis of your discussions in class for that week. Sessions will be delivered by the module team to ensure you benefit from their particular expertise across a range of disciplines.

By attending the lectures and seminars and undertaking the assignments you will be supported to achieve the module learning outcomes. Through your studies on this module you will develop foundational knowledge in research skills, time management, IT skills, critical thinking and evaluation as well as academic communication skills.

In addition to learning during contact hours with the module tutors, you will undertake the directed learning of the preparatory activities as well as independent learning. Independent learning generally will take the form of further reading and research, the consolidation of session materials and the completion of the assessment.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module handbook provides details of sessions, reading lists and assessment criteria; lecture PowerPoint slides are made available on the e-learning portal. The module tutors will be available in taught sessions, as well as in feedback and consultation hours and on email/phone, to discuss any queries or concerns you have about how to fulfil your academic potential on the module. Moreover, feedback on formative work and the first summative assessments will also serve as ‘feed forward’, giving guidance on how to improve during the module. In addition, you have a designated Personal Guidance Tutor throughout the entire duration of your programme. The academic side of the Personal Guidance Tutor’s role includes:

• monitoring your ongoing academic progress
• helping you to develop self-reflection skills necessary for continuous academic development
• directing you to further available services which can help them with their academic skills (e.g. Library’s Skills Plus)

You are advised to see your Personal Guidance Tutor three times each semester to review your academic progress.

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. demonstrate a capacity to understand, analyse and evaluate competing arguments.
2. demonstrate knowledge of key debates about offence in relation to particular texts (literary and linguistic) and theories.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. demonstrate skills in structuring and presenting a cogent argument in both oral and written forms.
4. demonstrate a capacity to evaluate a range of primary and secondary sources, including linguistic data, novels, plays, poetry, and critical scholarship.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. demonstrate an awareness of the importance of clear academic writing and accurate citation.

How will I be assessed?

Formative
Essay Plan:
You will write a 500-word plan outlining which essay question you will address, the argument and structure of your essay, and the secondary research materials that you will use.
(MLO 1-5)


Summative
Presentation: (40%)
You will give an individual presentation focusing on one topical aspect covered on the module, to be confirmed by your tutor.
(MLO 1-5)

Essay: (60%)
You will write a 1500-word essay on a topic chosen from a list supplied by your tutor. (MLO 1-5)

Pre-requisite(s)

N/A

Co-requisite(s)

N/A

Module abstract

This module challenges you to analyse the themes of ‘offence’, ‘discrimination’ and ‘censorship’ across the disciplines of English Language and Linguistics, Literature and Creative Writing. From Shakespearean insults to the language of hip-hop, from banned books to non-standard language, this module asks what constitutes ‘offensive’ language and literature, and queries what responses, if any, offensive language and literature provoke in society?

Using theories drawn from language and linguistic study, and from critical and cultural theory, and through reference to a range of cultural forms – including drama, novels, poetry, pop music and ‘everyday discourse’ – this module interrogates the concept of offence from a variety of perspectives. What is offence? Why are certain terms and texts deemed offensive? How do ideas about what is offensive change over time and in different contexts?

In asking these questions, this module will provide you with an exciting opportunity to explore language, and a range of canonical and non-canonical texts, in relation to broader debates about what is deemed acceptable – and unacceptable – at particular historical moments.

Course info

UCAS Code L8L9

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time followed by a further 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2021

Fee Information

Module Information

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