English and History (with a study abroad year) BA

History

Key information

Duration:
4 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
AAB-ABB
UCAS code:
Q309
Start date:
September 2018

Explore how literature and history have shaped our culture and society. You also have the opportunity to apply for a year studying abroad.

You investigate literature in diverse historical, political and cultural contexts. You'll engage directly with historical evidence of international interest in our special collections including the papers of Virginia Woolf and Rudyard Kipling, and the Mass Observation Archive, housed at The Keep, a state-of-the-art archive conservation building located next to the Sussex campus.

Taught by literary experts and historians working in the field, you have the independence to shape your study and produce your own critical and creative response to the world we live in today.

The emphasis on interdisciplinary learning is what makes English at Sussex so strong.”Mae Losasso
English BA 

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

AAB-ABB

Subjects

A-levels must include English Literature or the combined A-level in English Language and Literature, normally at grade A.

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Other UK qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Typical offer

Pass in the Access to HE Diploma with 45 level 3 credits at Merit or above, including 24 at Distinction.

Subjects

Access to HE Diploma must contain substantial Level 3 credits in Literature. Alternatively, you will need grade A in A-level English Literature or the combined English Language & Literature, normally at grade A, in addition to the Access Diploma.

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.     

Subjects

Higher Level subjects must include English A1 or A2, with a final grade of 6.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma)

Typical offer

DDD

Subjects

You will also need A-level English Literature or the combined A-level in English Language and Literature, normally at grade A, in addition to the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma.

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Scottish Highers

Typical offer

AABBB

Subjects

Highers must include English at grade A. You would normally be expected to offer Advanced Higher English (at grade A) in addition to the Higher.

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced

Typical offer

Obtain grade B and AB in two A-levels

Subjects

Options must include two A-levels, one of which must be English Literature or the combined A-level in English Language & Literature, normally at grade A.

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

International baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.     

Subjects

Higher Level subjects must include English A1 or A2, with a final grade of 6.

European baccalaureate

Typical offer

Overall result of at least 77%

Additional requirements

Successful applicants will need to achieve a final mark of at least 8/10 in English.

Other international qualifications

Australia

Typical offer

Relevant state (Year 12) High School Certificate, and over 85% in the ATAR or UAI/TER/ENTER. Or a Queensland OP of 5 or below.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Austria

Typical offer

Reifeprüfung or Matura with an overall result of 2.2 or better for first-year entry. A result of 2.5 or better would be considered for Foundation Year entry.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Belgium

Typical offer

Certificat d'Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur (CESS) or Diploma van Hoger Secundair Onderwijs with a good overall average. 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Bulgaria

Typical offer

Diploma za Sredno Obrazovanie with excellent final-year scores (normally 5.5 overall with 6 in key subjects).

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Canada

Typical offer

High School Graduation Diploma. Specific requirements vary between provinces.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

China

Typical offer

We usually do not accept Senior High School Graduation for direct entry to our undergraduate courses. However, we do consider applicants who have studied 1 or more years of Higher Education in China at a recognised degree awarding institution or who are following a recognised International Foundation Year.

If you are interested in applying for a business related course which requires an academic ability in Mathematics, you will normally also need a grade B in Mathematics from the Huikao or a score of 90 in Mathematics from the Gaokao.

Applicants who have the Senior High School Graduation may be eligible to apply to our International Foundation Year, which if you complete successfully you can progress on to a relevant undergraduate course at Sussex. You can find more information about the qualifications which are accepted by our International Study Centre at  http://isc.sussex.ac.uk/entry-requirements/international-foundation-year .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Croatia

Typical offer

Maturatna Svjedodžba with an overall score of at least 4-5 depending on your degree choice.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Cyprus

Typical offer

Apolytirion of Lykeion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Czech Republic

Typical offer

Maturita with a good overall average.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Denmark

Typical offer

Højere Forberedelseseksamen (HF) or studentereksamen with an overall average of at least 7 on the new grading scale.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Finland

Typical offer

Finnish Ylioppilastutkinto with an overall average result in the final matriculation examinations of at least 6.

Additional requirements

You will need Laudatur in English.

France

Typical offer

French Baccalauréat with an overall final result of at least 13/20.

Additional requirements

You will need at least 14/20 in English.

Germany

Typical offer

German Abitur with an overall result of 2.0 or better.

Additional requirements

You will need a final result of at least 14/15 in English.

Greece

Typical offer

Apolytirion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hong Kong

Typical offer

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) with grades of 5, 4, 4 from three subjects including two electives. 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hungary

Typical offer

Erettsegi/Matura with a good average.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

India

Typical offer

Standard XII results from Central and Metro Boards with an overall average of 75-80%. 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Iran

Typical offer

High School Diploma and Pre-University Certificate.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Ireland

Typical offer

Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level) at H1,H2,H2,H3,H3.

Additional requirements

Higher Level subjects must include English at grade H1.

Israel

Typical offer

Bagrut, with at least 8/10 in at least six subjects, including one five-unit subject.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Italy

Typical offer

Italian Diploma di Maturità or Diploma Pass di Esame di Stato with a Final Diploma mark of at least 81/100.

Additional requirements

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Japan

Typical offer

Upper Secondary Leaving Certificate is suitable for entry to our Foundation Years. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Latvia

Typical offer

Atestats par Visparejo videjo Izglitibu with very good grades in state exams.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Lithuania

Typical offer

Brandos Atestatas including scores of 80-90% in at least three state examinations (other than English).

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Luxembourg

Typical offer

Diplôme de Fin d'Etudes Secondaires.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Malaysia

Typical offer

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM). As well as various two or three-year college or polytechnic certificates and diplomas.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Netherlands

Typical offer

Voorereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs (VWO), normally with an average of at least 7.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Nigeria

Typical offer

You are expected to have one of the following:

  • Higher National Diploma
  • One year at a recognised Nigerian University
  • Professional Diploma (Part IV) from the Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology of Nigeria
  • Advanced Diploma

You must also have a score of C6 or above in WAEC/SSC English.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Norway

Typical offer

Norwegian Vitnemal Fra Den Videregaende Skole - Pass with an overall average of at least 4.

Additional requirements

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Pakistan

Typical offer

Bachelor (Pass) degree in arts, commerce or science.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Poland

Typical offer

Matura with three extended-level written examinations, normally scored within the 7th stanine.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Portugal

Typical offer

Diploma de Ensino Secundario normally with an overall mark of at least 16/20. 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Romania

Typical offer

Diploma de Bacalaureat with an overall average of 8.5-9.5 depending on your degree choice.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Singapore

Typical offer

A-levels, as well as certain certificates and diplomas.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovakia

Typical offer

Maturitna Skuska or Maturita with honours, normally including scores of 1 in at least three subjects.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovenia

Typical offer

Secondary School Leaving Diploma or Matura with at least 23 points overall.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

South Africa

Typical offer

National Senior Certificate with very good grades. 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Spain

Typical offer

Spanish Título de Bachillerato (LOGSE) with an overall average result of at least 8.0.

Additional requirements

You will need at least 8/10 in English.

Sri Lanka

Typical offer

Sri Lankan A-levels.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Sweden

Typical offer

Fullstandigt Slutbetyg with good grades.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Switzerland

Typical offer

Federal Maturity Certificate.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Turkey

Typical offer

Devlet Lise Diplomasi or Lise Bitirme is normally only suitable for Foundation Years, but very strong applicants may be considered for first year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

USA

Typical offer

We look at your full profile taking into account everything you are studying. You must have your high school graduation diploma and we will be interested in your Grade 12 GPA. However, we will also want to see evidence of the external tests you have taken. Each application is looked at individually, but you should normally have one or two of the following:

  • APs (where we would expect at least three subject with 4/5 in each)
  • SAT Reasoning Tests (normally with a combined score of 1300) or ACT grades
  • and/or SAT Subject Tests (where generally we expect you to have scores of 600 or higher). 

We would normally require APs or SAT Subject Tests in areas relevant to your chosen degree course.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

My country is not listed

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

6.5 overall, including at least 6.0 in each component

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test.

If you are applying for degree-level study we can consider your IELTS test from any test centre, but if you require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for an English language or pre-sessional English course (not combined with a degree) the test must be taken at a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)-approved IELTS test centre.

Find out more about IELTS.

Other English language requirements

Proficiency tests

Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English (CAE)

For tests taken before January 2015: Grade B or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CAE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Advanced.

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

For tests taken before January 2015: grade C or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CPE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Proficiency.

Pearson (PTE Academic)

62 overall, including at least 56 in all four skills.

PTE (Academic) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Pearson (PTE Academic).

TOEFL (iBT)

88 overall, including at least 20 in Listening, 19 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 23 in Writing.

TOEFL (iBT) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about TOEFL (iBT).

The TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Sussex is 9166.

English language qualifications

AS/A-level (GCE)

Grade C or above in English Language.

Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE)/ AS or A Level: grade C or above in Use of English

French Baccalaureat

A score of 12 or above in English.

GCE O-level

Grade C or above in English.

Brunei/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

Singapore/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

GCSE or IGCSE

Grade C or above in English as a First Language.

Grade B or above in English as a Second Language

German Abitur

A score of 12 or above in English.

Ghana Senior Secondary School Certificate

If awarded before 1993: grades 1-6 in English language.

If awarded between 1993 and 2005: grades A-D in English language.

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)

 Level 4, including at least 3 in each component in English Language.

Indian School Certificate (Standard XII)

The Indian School Certificate is accepted at the grades below when awarded by the following examination boards:

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) – English Core only: 70%

Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) - English: 70% 

International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)

English A or English B at grade 5 or above.

Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) 119/GCE O-level

If taken before the end of 2008: grades 1-5 in English Language.

If taken from 2009 onwards: grade C or above in English Language.

The qualification must be jointly awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES).

West African Senior School Certificate

Grades 1-6 in English language when awarded by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or the National Examinations Council (NECO).

Country exceptions

Select to see the list of exempt English-speaking countries

If you are a national of one of the countries below, or if you have recently completed a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree or higher in one of these countries, you will normally meet our English requirements. Note that qualifications obtained by distance learning or awarded by studying outside these countries cannot be accepted for English language purposes.

You will normally be expected to have completed the qualification within two years before starting your course at Sussex. If the qualification was obtained earlier than this we would expect you to be able to demonstrate that you have maintained a good level of English, for example by living in an English-speaking country or working in an occupation that required you to use English regularly and to a high level.

Please note that this list is determined by the UK’s Home Office, not by the University of Sussex.

List of exempt countries

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada**
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • USA

** Canada: you must be a national of Canada; other nationals not on this list who have a degree from a Canadian institution will not normally be exempt from needing to provide evidence of English.

Admissions information for applicants

Transfers into Year 2

Yes. Find out more about transferring into Year 2 of this course. We don’t accept transfers into the third or final year.

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

Why choose this course?

  • In the top 15 in the UK for English (The Guardian University Guide 2018, The Complete University Guide 2018 and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
  • Ranked 9th in the UK in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014 REF) and in the top 100 in the world for English (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017).
  • Our teaching is informed by the latest research: History at Sussex is ranked 1st for the quality of its research outputs (2014 Research Excellence Framework).

Course information

How will I study?

You learn through lectures, seminars and workshops.

In English, we introduce you to cultural contexts, critical methods and the importance of literary form.  You develop as a reader and writer by exploring a variety of literature, including classic texts, graphic novels and experimental poetry.

History group projects evaluate historical perspectives for understanding the contemporary world. You cover world history from 1500 to 1900, tackling key areas of continuity and change. You explore how to use evidence to look at areas of controversy and debate.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules


Customise your course

Our courses are designed to broaden your horizons and give you the skills and experience necessary to have the sort of career that has an impact.

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

How will I study?

English core modules focus on the novel and the historical periods that shape our understanding of the discipline. You can choose from a range of options on writing spanning centuries, continents and genres.

You develop critical skills in how to understand and present knowledge of the past.

You study global history and the histories of human rights, democracy and migration. You undertake a research-based project tackling historical debates about times and places, such as Thatcher’s Britain or the American Civil War.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options


Customise your course

Our courses are designed to broaden your horizons and give you the skills and experience necessary to have the sort of career that has an impact.

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

Apply to study abroad – you’ll develop an international perspective and gain an edge when it comes to your career. Find out where your course could take you.

Studying abroad boosts your confidence, gaining language skills, international connections, and a totally fresh perspective on life (and literature!).”Josephine Mortimer
English (with a study abroad year) BA, studied abroad in Munich

Please note

Programs with a study abroad year are not eligible for USA federal Direct Loan funds. Find out more about American Student Loans and Federal Student Aid

How will I study?

English core modules underpin your development as a critical reader. These modules extend your knowledge of crucial historical periods. You choose two authors and a subject to study in detail – your understanding of literature deepens as you become a confident researcher.

In History, you explore different approaches to the past. You handle a range of primary sources and relevant conceptual material.

You also write your dissertation. This is an extended piece of individual research on a topic of your choosing.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options

The approach to English here is interdisciplinary, with a strong theoretical foundation, and encourages creative, daring thinking that challenges the status quo.Katie Walter
Lecturer in Medieval English Literature

Fees

Fees are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018. Note that your fees, once they’re set, may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

The UK Government has confirmed that if you’re an EU student applying for entry in September 2018, you'll pay the same fee rate as UK students for the duration of your course, even if the UK leaves the EU before the end of your course. You'll also continue to have access to student loans and grants. Find out more on the UK Government website.

Find out about typical living costs for studying at Sussex

Scholarships

Our focus is personal development and social mobility. To help you meet your ambitions to study at Sussex, we deliver one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university.

Careers

Graduate destinations

English and English Language at Sussex is ranked 1st in the UK for graduate prospects (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017). 

97% of Department of English students were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent Department of English and Department of History graduates have found jobs as:

  • editorial assistant, Taylor and Francis
  • analyst, Interbrand
  • research intern, Finders – International Probate Genealogists.

(HESA EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

Studying English and History at Sussex gives you transferable skills in researching, critical analysis, communication, independent thinking and problem-solving.

You can attend tailored careers events, including workshops, talks and drop-in sessions, throughout your time at Sussex. You continue to receive careers support after graduation.

You could go on to further study, or use your English and History degree in fields such as:

  • the arts, libraries and museums sectors
  • publishing, media and journalism
  • civil service, teaching and higher education.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Scoping strengths and interests – Amy Drayton, English BA

Critical Approaches 1

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

How do we go about reading and interpreting a literary text? What are we trying to do when we analyse a work of literature: are we trying to establish one correct interpretation? How do we decide that some interpretations are more valuable than others? Do we need to understand the original intentions of the author to understand what something means? Is it necessary to understand the historical or political situation from which a work emerged? Do readers interpret texts differently at different historical moments? Could our interpretations of texts be affected by forces beyond our control, forces such as the workings of language, unconscious desires, class, race, gender, sexuality or nationality? How is it that some texts, Shakespeare's plays, for instance, are highly valued by our culture, while others have been lost or devalued? Who or what decides which literature will survive to be read and studied on English modules?

This module will suggest some ways of answering these large and difficult questions about interpretation, and aims to make you think in new ways about the work you do for your English degree at Sussex. The module is divided up into five parts: two five-week lecture blocks in the autumn, and three four-week blocks in the spring. In the autumn you will study two themes: "The Author/Authority" and "The Word"; in the spring you will study "Class and Culture," "Desire and Pleasure," and "Difference." Throughout the module you will read critical and theoretical essays and literary works that contribute to your understanding of these themes. The module will examine many different aspects of literary theory including new criticism, Marxism, structuralism, post-structuralism, deconstruction, feminism, post-colonial theory, psychoanalysis and queer theory. We will also ask you to reflect on the relationship between the theoretical reading and literature through simultaneously reading several literary texts.

Reading Genre 1

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

How do texts locate themselves in literary conventions to develop their own expression and meaning? How do other media such as film transform literary genre? How does genre act to shape a text and a reader's understanding of it? How do we identify and understand genre?

These are some of the questions that we shall approach in these two interlinked modules by focusing on five genres: epic, comedy (in teaching block 1) lyric, tragedy, horror (in teaching block 2). In each instance we shall concentrate on either one or a small number of representative examples, allowing us to widen our understanding of genre while we deepen our acquaintance with key illustrations from it. These two modules may be taken in consort or independently of one another.

A crucial aspect of the module is to develop close reading skills, so seminars and lectures will combine larger ideas about genre (e.g. ideas of imitation; politics of genre; tragic theory) with detailed explorations of examples.

The Early Modern World

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module introduces you to what may be an unfamiliar period of history by exploring some of the central themes of early modern history, and the various ways in which they have been debated by historians. It also equips you with the writing and research skills essential for a successful university career.

Focusing on the period between 1500 and 1700, debates over social polarisation, cultural differentiation, cultures of Protestantism, the context of the English civil war, issues of gender, and the meanings of monarchy and republicanism will be examined.

Critical Approaches 2

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1
  • How do we go about reading and interpreting a literary text?
  • What are we trying to do when we analyse a work of literature - are we trying to establish one correct interpretation?
  • How do we decide that some interpretations are more valuable than others?
  • Do we need to understand the original intentions of the author to understand what something means?
  • Is it necessary to understand the historical or political situation from which a work emerged?
  • Do readers interpret texts differently at different historical moments?
  • Could our interpretations of texts be affected by forces beyond our control, forces such as the workings of language, unconscious desires, class, race, gender, sexuality or nationality?
  • How is it that some texts, Shakespeare's plays, for instance, are highly valued by our culture, while others have been lost or devalued?
  • Who or what decides which literature will survive to be read and studied on English courses?

In this module, Critical Approaches 2, you explore some ways of answering these large and difficult questions about interpretation. The aim of the module is to help you think in new ways about the work you do for your English degree at Sussex.

In the spring, you study three themes:

  • Theories of Subjectivity, Identity, and Desire
  • Postcolonial Studies
  • The Contemporary Moment.

Throughout the module, you read critical and theoretical essays and literary works that contribute to your understanding of these themes.

You examine many different aspects of literary theory including:

  • new criticism
  • Marxism
  • structuralism
  • post-structuralism
  • deconstruction
  • feminism
  • post-colonial theory
  • psychoanalysis
  • queer theory.

Reading Genre 2

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

How do texts locate themselves in literary conventions to develop their own expression and meaning? How do other media such as film transform literary genre? How does genre act to shape a text and a reader's understanding of it? How do we identify and understand genre?

These are some of the questions that we shall approach in these two interlinked modules by focusing on five genres: epic, comedy (in teaching block 1) lyric, tragedy, horror (in teaching block 2). In each instance we shall concentrate on either one or a small number of representative examples, allowing us to widen our understanding of genre while we deepen our acquaintance with key illustrations from it. These two modules may be taken in consort or independently of one another.

A crucial aspect of the module is to develop close reading skills, so seminars and lectures will combine larger ideas about genre (e.g. ideas of imitation; politics of genre; tragic theory) with detailed explorations of examples.

The Making of the Modern World

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module will introduce a period of momentous social, political and cultural change in British and European history by focusing on some of the key debates that have preoccupied its historians.

Historical controversies over events such as the British Union, the Industrial Revolution, the Enlightenment, and the French Revolution will be examined and used to introduce various historiographical approaches.

You will consider central themes such as gender, popular culture, conceptions of the state (from absolutism to democracy), sociostructural and demographic change, and empire and nationalism, which will give you a range of perspectives on the past and issues of continuity and change.

Ideas of History

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you learn about the revival of classical ideas and politics during the Renaissance and Reformation, the debate between ancients and moderns in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the nature of modern political thought as it developed from the middle of the 19th century to the present day.

The aim is to give you an ability to place modern ideas about politics in their historical context, through the study of central figures and themes whose writings continue to be cited in political argument.

The authors considered include: Machiavelli, Milton, Hobbes, Locke, Harrington, Mandeville, Montesquieu, Hume, Rousseau, Smith, Bentham, Hegel, Constant, Tocqueville, Marx, Weber, Lenin, Gramsci, Schmitt, Arendt, Chomsky, and Rawls.

You look at:

  • virtue and security
  • the origins of democracy
  • absolutism and empire
  • perpetual peace
  • reason of state and amoral politics
  • the debate about commerce, luxury and markets
  • the size of the state and its form of government
  • the nature of liberty and the means of maintaining it
  • totalitarianism and slavery in politics
  • modern democracy, philosophy and the modern state
  • civil liberty, war and empire.

Global History 1500-2000: Trade, Science, Environment and Empire

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you look at how global history has helped us understand the past, the present and the future.

You'll study how societies and communities have interacted with each other through history, and explore the emergence of an integrated global society.

You look at:

  • communication and war
  • race, slavery and anti-slavery
  • colonial encounters and environments
  • civil and human rights
  • global order and disorder
  • empire, science, trade and environment.

You also study the emergence of the 'great divergence,' the widening gap in the 19th century between living standards in the Atlantic basin and those in the rest of the world, and the global expansion of European empires.

History Short Period: America in the 20th Century

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module probes the social, political and economic development of the United States since the end of the Reconstruction era. It is organised on a broadly chronological basis with primary stress on key topics such as:

  • the emergence of racial segregation in the south
  • the construction of a modern, industrial society
  • the emergence of the United States as a 'great power'
  • progressive reform
  • the economic crisis of the 1930s
  • the American experience in World War II and the ensuing Cold War
  • the civil rights and 'New Left' movements of the 1960s, and the concomitant rise of conservativism.

Notable themes include the growth of federal power, the steady erosion of localism, the development of a corporate-dominated consumer society, the limitations of modern liberalism and the political influence of American religion.

The module will apprise you with landmark political change, such as the failure of populism and the changing Republican party constituency in the South, as well as important legal rulings such as Brown v Board of Education, and Roe v Wade. A close analysis of the New Deal, a transformational moment in 20th-century US history, frames an extended assessment of the rise and fall of the so-called 'New Deal order'.

In addition, you will become familiarised with critical historiographical debates over the role of American labour, the impact of war on American society and culture, and the growth of the imperial presidency.

Although the focus is primarily on domestic events and structural trends, the United States' growing engagement with the wider world receives full attention.

History Short Period: Britain in the 20th Century

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module concentrates on British history since 1914. You will be introduced to some of the major themes in the social, cultural and to a lesser extent, economic and political, history of 20th-century Britain, and will critically examine the most important contributions and debates within the historiography of each topic.

You will also be introduced to some of the sources available to the historian of this period. We will cover a number of topics including war, work, leisure, youth culture, and immigration, in a broadly chronological fashion.

Fundamentally, the module aims to equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to a historical understanding of Britain across the 20th century.

History Short Period: England in the 16th Century

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

History Short Period: Europe in the 20th Century

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The module addresses the long sweep of European history from the First World War to the present.

While essentially chronological in structure, it hinges around the apparent contrast between the two halves of the century. On the one hand, the history of 20th-century Europe in particular has been overshadowed by the disastrous events of the first half of the century. On the other, and from a bird's eye point of view, the second half of the century seemingly forms the prosperous 'happy ending' to what has sometimes been called the 'Age of Extremes'. The extent to which Europe has escaped the influence of the first part of the century will therefore be one of the key questions of the module.

Alongside this consideration of the overall narrative structure of 20th-century European history, you are invited to take a broad comparative approach. The module identifies specific themes of overall importance and explores how they emerge within particular national trajectories. The module therefore ranges across Europe as a whole, cutting across distinctions of east and west, north and south, and encompasses a way of approaching certain events that is designed to draw out common features across the continent over the last century.

History Short Period: South Asia Since 1880

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This second-year module examines the history of South Asia since 1880. It concentrates on the impact of colonialism on the Indian subcontinent and on the formation of the modern South Asian states of India and Pakistan.

The culture of colonialism, the nature of the colonial state and the emergence of nationalism are themes which are explored. Gandhi and his nonviolent struggle for Indian independence emerges as one of the defining moments of Indian nationalism.

The key themes of the module are colonialism, nationalism and the emergence of the postcolonial nation states of India and Pakistan. The module is taught by lectures and seminars.

History Short Period: The Middle East and North Africa since 1908

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you examine the key political, social, cultural and economic themes in Middle Eastern and North African history since 1908.

You look at the:

  • politics of reformism
  • impact of World War One
  • rise of pan-Arab nationalism
  • impact of World War Two
  • foundation of Israel
  • end of British and French Empires
  • Suez and the politics of pan-Arabism
  • rise of political Islam.

Period of Literature: 1500-1625

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

In this module you will examine literature from the reigns of Henry VIII to James I. The volume, variety and quality of writing produced in this period are astonishing. The 16th century saw the impact of an unprecedented expansion of England's capital city, which produced a thriving environment for professional writing, prompting the birth of commercial theatre in London and a flourishing book trade.

You will consider how literature came to be produced historically, looking at writing in its cultural setting with the help of visual texts such as paintings and architecture. You will address questions of literary history and theory, form and rhetoric within the network of institutions, practices and beliefs that constitute a culture as a whole. The module does not confine itself to major authors, but involves the consideration of appropriate themes and material drawn from various literary genres - drama, poetry and prose.

Topics explored include the rise of the commercial stage; sexualities and the transvestite stage; writing history; popular pamphlet culture; representations of the body; exploration and early colonialism; the sonnet; erotic writing; devotional writing; the city of London and money; religion; gender; death; representations of monarchy; the political stage; revenge tragedy; witchcraft and the birth of science.

Period of Literature: 1625-1750

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module examines the literary production of the period from the autocratic reign of the Stuart king Charles I to the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. At its centre lies the regicide of Charles I in January 1649 - an event T. S. Eliot argued still divided British political society 300 years later. Even now it is a matter of some controversy to refer to the period between 1642 and 1649 as a rebellion or as the English Revolution, and between 1649 and 1660 as the Commonwealth or else as the Interregnum. However it is described, the extraordinary 125 years covered by this module have some claim to be the decisive period in the creation of what we think of as modern politics.

It is also a period of astonishing literary creativity. This is true both in terms of the volume, variety and quality of writing produced, and in terms of radical innovations in styles, in readerships, and in media. This module will include the study of a wide range of poetry, prose and play-texts. At the same time, it will involve trying to understand how this writing came to be produced historically. In particular, it will be concerned with the social life of texts, placing literary artifacts within the network of institutions, practices and beliefs that constitute a culture as a whole.

Period of Literature: 1750-1880

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The module, taught in seminars supported by a weekly lecture series, will address a selection of authors and themes prominent between 1750 and 1880. The actual content will vary from year to year depending on the expertise of those available to teach it in any given year.

Authors to be studied will be selected from but not necessarily confined to: Johnson, Gray, Sterne, Goldsmith, Blake, Lewis, Austen, Wollstonecraft, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Carlyle, De Quincey, Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, Ruskin, Dickens, Gaskell, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, W.M. Thackeray, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy.

Themes to be considered may includ sentimentalism and sensibility; slavery and empire; Romantic aesthetics and Romantic poetry; theories of the sublime and the imagination; the Gothic; responses to the French Revolution and the oppression of women; images of women; the condition of England question; progress and evolution; art and society; mind and spirit: the inner life; and culture in crisis

Period of Literature: 1860-1945

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

On this module you will study one of the truly momentous and troubling periods of British and world history. Imperialist conflict, the growth of nationalism, war, migration, feminism and the struggle for women's suffrage, the development of consumerism and of new forms of economic organisation, the emergence of anarchism, socialism, communism and fascism, the creation of the mass press, the radio and cinema: these are some of the contextual forces out of which emerged some of the most challenging, demanding, fascinating, rich and bewildering works of literature in English.

You will examine the links between modernity and modern/modernist literature in a range of texts, genres and authors. You will investigate notions of the avant-garde and the experimental in writing, and explore the ways in which literary texts participated in and responded to the revolutionary intellectual changes that marked this period, from Darwinism to psychoanalysis. Some of the topics we will investigate include: the consequences of science and technology (modernisation, urbanisation, sub-urbanisation); definitions and re-definitions of Englishness; the invention of traditions; the critique of modernity; the fate of liberalism; the impact of photography, the mass media and new forms of communication from the telephone to the motor car.

1953: Monarchs and Murders

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In 1953 the British press and public were fixated on two events unfolding in the nation's capital. The first was the coronation of the new monarch, Elizabeth II. The second was the discovery of serial killer, John Christie's, murder victims at a house in North Kensington.

In this module, you explore what these two parallel events tell us about society and culture in Britain in the 'New Elizabethan Age.' 

You look at: 

  • the tension between tradition and modernity in Britain
  • concerns about sexuality, race and national decline
  • the resilience of the British monarchy
  • the status of empire in Britain during the mid-century
  • the press coverage of the Christie murders
  • the impact of Commonwealth immigration on British society in this period.

American Drama

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Literature and Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Tristram Shandy, the protagonist of Laurence Sterne’s novel of the same title, says that a man’s body and his mind are like a jacket and its lining: ‘rumple the one—you rumple the other’. This joke riffs on a long-running philosophical debate about the relation between mind and body; it is just one example of how eighteenth-century literature engages philosophy.

This module examines the relationship between literature and philosophy during the Enlightenment – a period equally marked by an emphasis on rationality as by a turn to feeling – by considering how some of the major questions that preoccupy eighteenth-century authors are philosophical questions about the mind, the body, the self, and one’s responsibility to others. Literature from this period is full of scenes in which characters find themselves impersonated, or hurt others by accident, or have incomplete control of their bodies. Such scenes address topics that continue to preoccupy us today concerning identity (what makes us ourselves?), responsibility (are we responsible for things we do in altered states?), and social and political obligation (how should we respond when we see others suffer?).

We will discuss works of literature that raise philosophical issues in their own right, and we will read them alongside short selections from contemporary philosophical writings. Though we will be working across disciplines, our primary focus will be on the literary works, and this module assumes no prior knowledge of philosophy.

Primitivism at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module introduces you to the range of literary productions of the Romantic Period (approximately, 1780-1830) at the same time as considering the extent to which primitivism is the key motif of the period's thought. Primitivism is defined as a preference for what is 'natural' ('in the sense of that which exists prior to or independently of human culture and contrivance') over what is 'artificial' (that which is technologically constructed, or associated with the complex institutions of civilised society).

The module begins with a detailed examination of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's On the Origin of Inequality (1754) taught alongside modern theorists of primitivism such as Susan Hiller and Michael Bell and then goes on to examine the echoes of, and departures from, Rousseau's ideas over the course of the rest of the module's texts. The turn of the 19th century is particularly suited to this approach because cultural primitivism, in various forms, stands at the heart of many of its literary phenomena. The Gothic proposes that key human passions and ideas can only exist outside of stultifying commercial society, hence its frequent pretence that its texts are ancient 'found' manuscripts of various sorts. Wordsworth and Coleridge's lyrical ballads project celebrates a rural simplicity under threat in contemporary urban life and under pressure from the spectacular and world-historical nature of recent politics. And abolitionist literature and thought mobilises the cult of the noble savage to challenge the brutal reality of economic expansion. The module will consider these and other related literary phenomena with the ideas of primitivism as a critical template.

Romance

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

You study the history of romance, focusing on medieval literature. You trace the genre's importance to English literary history, and to its readers and writers. 

You also examine how male writers thought about and adapted the genre, in an age where it was assumed to be focused towards female readers. 

During the Middle Ages, romance was the most popular form of secular literature, and has influenced later works from The Faerie Queene to Bridget Jones' Diar - making it one of the most important genres in English literary history. 

Sense and Sexuality: Women and Writing in the Eighteenth Century

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module explores the representation of women and the construction of female sexuality and feeling in a wide range of 18th-century writing. Addressing fictional and non-fictional writing by both women and men in novels, medical works, advice books for women and erotic literature, the module explores contemporary debates about the place of women in society, (including personal conduct), and the place of sexuality (both socially-sanctioned and otherwise). A central concern will be attitudes to female feeling, from sexual passion to sensibility, and the ways in which feeling of various kinds enables conformity to, or critical interrogation of, a larger social and cultural order. Attention will also be paid to the relationship between bodies and passion, the social disciplining of feeling, and the relationship between emotion and gender. Your focus on literary works will be supplemented with a range of additional sources that will enable you to contextualise the novels and poems and link them into contemporary debates and attitudes.

 

Staging the Renaissance: Shakespeare

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module considers a range of Shakespeare's plays (comedies, tragedies, tragi-comedies and romances) from different stages of his career, analysing the playwright's stagecraft, his use of language, and his reworking of traditional forms for the
commercial stage. Although you will explore some recent adaptations for stage and screen, you wil focus particularly on the plays as produced in their original historical and cultural contexts.

The module will familiarise you with Renaissance drama's negotiation of contested social and political issues at the turn of the 17th century. You will investigate the social processes of the theatre - notably the playhouses used by Shakespeare's company (the Theatre, the Globe and Blackfriars) - and focus on the interplay of Shakespearean texts and their performance in the production of meaning.

The Arts and Literature of Satire

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module takes you through some of the major developments from the birth of literary satire in the works of Horace and Juvenal, to the survival of satire in literature and the visual arts. You will become familiar with some of the basic concepts central to the workings of satire: including parody, burlesque, mimicry, travesty, comedy and humour, and laughter. The module will also maintain a focus upon the interaction of visual and verbal satire. Some of the later seminars are consequently devoted to a consideration of the operations of semiotics, symbolism and visual narrative. The major figures of 18th- and 19th-century literary satire (Dryden, Pope, Swift, Hone, Byron) will consequently be studied alongside the giants of print satire (Hogarth, Gillray and Cruikshank). The emphasis throughout is interdisciplinary and will enable you to develop basic skills in the areas of aesthetics and cultural history, as well as strategies for discussing the operations of genre and narrative in the context of satire.

The Nineteenth-Century American Short Story

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module will be an in-depth examination of the nineteenth-century American short story. In the wake of Washington Irving’s influential 1820-1 The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., writers such as Catherine Maria Sedgwick, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville quickly developed the short story into a potent and enduring American literary form.

In addition to these writers, we will read a wide range of authors who used the genre:

  • to creatively examine the nation’s colonial past and to articulate new possibilities for American individual and collective identity
  • to question the often violent exclusion of women, African Americans, Native Americans and immigrants from public life
  • to end slavery and improve working conditions
  • to describe the alienation of urban and frontier life
  • to confront the demands of industrialization and mass culture
  • to orient themselves within intellectual terrain shaken by new movements in philosophy, religion and science.

At the same time, we will pay close attention to how these writers cultivated the art of the short story itself. They undertook bold stylistic experiments in narrative form, characterization, and tone, accented their work with words from foreign languages or regional dialects, wrote with journalistic clarity or created densely allusive arabesques. They often became the sharpest theoreticians and critics of the genre in their essays and reviews. In short, whether these writers sought to educate their readers concerning social inequities, to horrify or to titillate them, they opened new, dynamic possibilities for the short story within a growing nation and an emerging literary marketplace.

The Novel

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module explores the complex history of the novel as a form, from the 17th century to the modern period. The aim of the module is to describe the development of different traditions of novel writing, examine innovations to the novel as a form made since the 17th century, place the English novel in the context of the European novel, and introduce you to a range of important discussions about the novel as a genre, its audiences, its cultural functions and its relation to the social world. Novelists discussed will include Aphra Behn, Madame de Lafayette, Daniel Defoe, Johann Goethe, Charles Dickens, Gustave Flaubert, Henry James, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and Marcel Proust. At the end of the module, you will be able to  understand and apply the concept of genre in literary analysis; think creatively and critically about the ways in which specific generic conventions have been used in the novels you are reading; and synthesise formal, cultural and historical levels of analysis.

Time and Place 1851: Science, Empire and Exhibitionism

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In 1851, the census results revealed that Britain's population stood at about 20 million, having more than doubled in the first half of the century. But what was more astonishing was that the majority of the British people now lived in towns and cities. At mid-century, Britons were living in what one contemporary observer called 'the age of great cities'.

This course will examine life in Victorian town and cities by using contemporary poetry, novels and journalism to analyse people's experiences of modernity. The Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace was, in many ways, an exhibition of the things the Victorians perceived as having changed their world, from cheap, manufactured consumer goods, to the latest scientific discoveries and devices, and above all the wealth of the expanding empire.

The sciences and technologies that were exhibited in 1851, and which made the exhibition itself possible, are central topics for this course. However, the Exhibition put the Victorians themselves on display, allowing large crowds from diverse classes to meet in public and celebrate their sense of themselves as a unified, modern nation. This course will subject the Victorians' self-congratulatory sense of themselves to close critical scrutiny.

Time and Place 1957: Ghana's Independence and Africa's Postcolonial Dream

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

You explore African economic, political and intellectual history and examine influential writings by economists, anthropologists and political scientists. You also look at key texts in postcolonial thought and literature. 

In this module you study topics, including: 

  • paths to decolonisation and the heritage of colonialism
  • African capitalism and socialism
  • military governments and dictatorships in the 1970s
  • capitalism and apartheid in South Africa
  • the uneven trajectory of Pan-Africanism
  • agriculture, industry and economic growth
  • the World Bank, neoliberalism and structural adjustment policies in the 1980s
  • the political economy of war and state failure
  • the challenges of HIV and Ebola.

Time and Place 2008: The Spectacle of the Beijing Olympics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you explore the socio-spatial transformation of Chinese cities, with particular emphasis on Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai.

You analyse each city's history, its multi-layered society, its distinctive culture, its politics and economics, and its evolving position in national, regional and global frameworks. 

You look at major Chinese events including the Beijing Olympics.

You also examine how Beijing's political power has been constructed, how it is expressed, maintained and reproduced, and will also analyse how citizenship is defined, investigating the relationship between Beijing citizens, migrants and foreign settlers.

Time and Place: 1517: Self, Sex and Emotions in Early Modern Europe

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Time and Place: 1831: Slave Revolts

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In August 1831, Nat Turner launched the most significant slave revolt in American history. Murdering 60 whites in a bloody spree, Turner's revolt convulsed the region. Seventy two hours later, militia units crushed the revolt. The backlash was frenzied with at least one hundred enslaved people executed by local militiamen. Yet despite Turner's subsequent execution, neither the rebel slave nor the insurrection he initiated could be entirely exorcized from the minds of contemporary southerners.

In December 1831, 60,000 enslaved people in western Jamaica rebelled against the island's slaveholding elite. It was the final, and one of the largest, revolts in the history of Caribbean slavery.

These revolts laid bare the revolutionary capability of enslaved people, they exposed the enmity that most slaves bore toward their masters, and they visibly revealed that enslaved people would adopt desperate means to secure their freedom. They also demonstrated how enslaved peoples utilized evangelical and small-scale trading networks to mobilize communities. And the revolts exposed how rebel leaders exploited national and transatlantic tensions over the future of slavery and harnessed direct action to the political tide of anti-slavery in Britain and America. But the frenzied backlash also revealed white anxieties over slavery, the nature of race, and the longeveity of slavery. As enslaved rebels demonstrated their rage against slaveholders and their aspirations for freedom, whites responded with fear, resentment, and paranoia to the rebel threat. Some condemned outside agitators, notably vocal abolitionists and evangelical liberals, while others redoubled their commitment to racialized slavery.

This module will address:

  1. the role of enslaved peoples (and the concept of 'agency') in shaping liberation movements in a comparative context
  2. the factors underpinning the disintegration of Jamaican slavery and its defense in America
  3. the growth of anti-slavery in the Anglophone Atlantic and the expansion of abolitionist sentiment in Britain and the USA
  4. white slaveholding identities and meanings attached to slave ownership, including anxieties surrounding the loss of white racial authority during and after the revolts
  5. the value of comparative methodologies for understanding historical change.

In short, the module examines the material, political, psychological, and gendered parameters to racial slavery and emancipation within the early nineteenth-century Atlantic world and considers the rise and fall of slavery in two key settings.

Time and Place: 1861: The Coming of the American Civil War

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In this module you explore the causes of the American Civil War.

You study:

  • President Polk's decision to go to war against Mexico in 1846
  • the Compromise of 1850
  • the demise of a national party system that had held the Union together since the 1830s
  • the rise of North-South tensions in the wake of the Kansas-Nebraska Act
  • the sources of southern proslavery nationalism in the 1850s
  • the rise of the antislavery Republican Party
  • the South's response to Lincoln's election.

Time and Place: 1938: Kristallnacht

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

During the night of 9 November 1938, SS and SA forces launched an assault on German Jews, their property, their synagogues, and their businesses. This so-called ‘Kristallnacht’ can be understood as a violent rehearsal for the Holocaust, which Nazi Germany implemented three years later. It also marks the end of over a century of a prolific and (mostly) peaceful co-existence between Jews and Christian non-Jews.

In this module, you learn about the relationship between Jews and Christian non-Jews since the early 19th century. You look at the complex processes of political emancipation, of social integration, and of cultural adaptation through which Jews became an integral part of the German political, social and cultural life. At the same time, these processes changed Jewish religious, economic, social and cultural life.

You'll focus on the period from the mid-19th century to the beginning of the Holocaust, emphasising Jewish life in Imperial and Weimar Germany, as well as under Nazism. You'll discuss issues of Jewish identity along with aspects of modern anti-Semitism.

Time and Place: 1942: Holocaust

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module offers an opportunity to study the attempt by the Nazis to create a new world order by annihilating the Jews of Europe and targeting other groups – including gay people, gypsies and people with disabilities – for discrimination and death. It provides a multilayered examination of the transition from prejudice to exclusion, to extermination, placing the Holocaust within the broader conceptual framework of genocide in the 20th century. 

The module will consider issues such as: how was the so-called 'Final Solution to the Jewish problem' put into effect? Why is 1942 a key year in the development of the Final Solution? What part was played by the perpetrators across occupied Europe? It will deal with the reaction of the victim, and explore possibilities of resistance. It will ask whether is it accurate to characterise most people as bystanders, and will discuss the rescue options. The module will also deal with question of justice and memory.

Studying what happened will inevitably raise many questions about why it happened. The module will pay close attention to how it was possible for such a plan of mass murder to be carried out so effectively in such a short time at the hub of western civilisation; a plan which relied on the active involvement of many people and the acquiescence of even more.

Time and Place: 1984: Thatcher's Britain (Observing the 1980s)

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

George Orwell's 1949 novel 1984 describes a totalitarian government bent on total manipulation. For many on the left, Margaret Thatcher's government represented elements of an 'Orwellian' state, in which the social democratic consensus established after the end of the Second World War was replaced by a free-enterprise economy and a centralised state. For those on the political right, the 1980s Thatcher governments championed the reassertion of individualism, British nationalism and a retreat from the so-called 'nanny state' in which the fight against the 'enemy within' was as important as the fight against the enemy without. In cultural terms, most writers point to the 1980s as being marked by creative pessimism, with 'anti-Thatcherism' the dominant cultural theme.

This course will examine key events of the 1980s and reflect upon whether Margaret Thatcher's most famous quote, 'There is no such thing as society', is a suitable epitaph for the 1980s. Topic studied include: the 1982 Falklands War; the 1984 miners' strike; the reemergence of mass unemployment, peaking in 1986 at over 3.5 million; privatisation of industry and challenge to trade union power; and the violent mass protest against the Community Charge in 1990.

Rather than producing a top-down political history of the period, this course is interested in exploring the wide variety of evidence available to the contemporary historian. It is built around the 'Observing the Eighties' project which includes oral histories from the British Library and holdings of the Mass Observation Archive and ephemera from the University of Sussex.

Transatlantic Rhetoric: Public Speech and Anglo-American Writing 1750-1900

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module explores the role that practices and ideas of rhetoric played in the development of literary expression in Britain and the US during the long nineteenth century.

The aims of this comparative transatlantic module are twofold. First, to develop an awareness of the importance of rhetoric as both concept and practice in the literary and cultural imagination of the period. Second, to train you in the skills of practical rhetorical analysis, through a range of assessed class and take-home close-reading assignments.

Organised chronologically, it explores a range of literary and non-literary texts to consider how ideas about persuasion, plain style and verbal ornamentation offer a unique linguistic means of thinking about the cultural, theological and political history of this period. The fortunes of rhetoric, we will discover, tell us a great deal about the character of cultural and literary change.

Authors that will be covered will include: Addison; Pope; Franklin; Wordsworth; Jefferson; Brockden Brown; Carlyle; Emerson; Eliot; Dickens; Douglass; Whitman; Disraeli; Twain; Tennyson; Wilde. Topics for discussion and analysis will include: rhetorical poetics; republicanism and nationalism; classical form; speech and oratory; rhetoric and gender; the rhetoric of theology; rhetoric and commerce; rhetorical dialogue and the novel; the rhetoric of reform and revolution.

These texts will be accompanied each week by a set of theoretical readings that take us from classical (Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian) and early modern texts relevant to our period (Erasmus, Bacon); through the Scottish Enlightenment (Blair, Campbell); nineteenth century (Adams, Webster); to twentieth century rhetorical criticism (Burke, Richards, McLuhan, Whitman) and theory (Barthes, Jakobson, Derrida, Vickers).

Throughout this module, we will focus closely on a number of central questions. What is rhetoric and why? What is its relation to language and literary change? What role does it have in nationalism? What does it mean to think of literary texts as 'rhetorical'? What is at stake in 'rhetorical analysis'?

Victorian Things

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module reads Victorian literature through the lens of material objects. From toys, to textiles, to wax flowers, to industrial machinery—the material culture of the Victorian period was incomparably rich.

What formal and generic strategies did writers find for depicting this plethora of objects? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of the various scholarly methodologies that use things to tell us about literature and culture?

The module also investigates the book itself as a material object, via hands-on archival sessions using Sussex’s Special Collections. Central themes include realism, childhood, consumerism and the commodity, femininity, collecting, and empire.

Word & Image

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Writing Poetry

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module is a seminar and workshop for aspiring poets. You will read poetry and essays in preparation for class, but the chief activity will be original creative work. Everyone will be asked to write a poem per week, and to circulate the poem online to the whole group in advance of class.

Seminars will comprise a short introductory discussion of a set text, followed by a more extended discussion of your own work and the work of other students. For the purposes of this module, lively and respectful participation in group discussion is an essential part of our work, and you will be assessed partly on the basis of your generosity of attention to other students' work. By the end of the semester, everyone on the course will have produced a short collection of poems, with the benefit of regular critical attention from fellow students and from the tutor.

The module will conclude with a public poetry reading event on campus in which all students will be invited to participate.

History Special Dissertation

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 4

This is a final-year module, which will require you to address an historical problem in depth. You will set your own research project and its questions, resolve those questions by means of a module involving the design of a research outline and the carrying out of your own research on primary historical sources. You will also develop the skills necessary to write an extended piece of written work based on this (usually archival) research.

Special Author(s): Emerson and Thoreau

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

This module will examine the works of two nineteenth-century American writers, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, through a close reading of a selection of their major published writings, lectures, letters, and journals.

We will pay detailed attention to a number of critical and interdisciplinary issues that animate their work: religion and philosophy, friendship and love, politics and slavery, scientific knowledge and ecology, aesthetics and poetics, form and representation, women's rights and native American culture.

Our readings will be punctuated by considerations of how Emerson and Thoreau's work has been appropriated by nineteenth-century contemporaries such as Margaret Fuller, Walt Whitman, Friedrich Nietzsche, or William James, by American culture at large, as well as by recent literary critics and philosophers such as Hannah Arendt, Stanley Cavell, Sharon Cameron, Jane Bennett, Branka Arsic, or Jacques Rancière.

Special Author(s): Jean Rhys, Jamaica Kincaid and the Postcolonial Caribbean

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

This module introduces you to the literature of the Caribbean and its diaspora and to some key cultural debates in Caribbean, postcolonial and feminist literary discourses through reading the work of Jean Rhys and Jamaica Kincaid, two of the most prominent women writers from the Caribbean.

The module addresses issues such as:

  • race and literary constructions of the nation
  • authenticity, orality and questions of voice
  • gender, sexuality and resistance
  • home and belonging
  • servants and madams
  • life writing
  • reception and literary reputations
  • questions of literary belonging and cultural identity
  • and writing and authorship after colonialism.

The selection of texts includes: Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, Voyage in the Dark, Tigers Are Better Looking, and Smile Please; and Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John, Autobiography of My Mother, My Brother, Mr Potter, and Talk Story.

 

Special Author: Christopher Marlowe

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

Variously demonised and celebrated as an atheist, sodomite, spy, poetic innovator and dramatic phenomenon, ­and violently killed at the age of 29, ­ Christopher Marlowe and his work still have the power to shock and surprise in the 21st century.

This module will offer the opportunity to explore his extraordinary poetry and drama in its entirety, from his remarkable debut on the professional stage with Tamburlaine, to his invention of the English history play with Edward II, to his development of Ovidian narrative verse and the lyric in English (and their erotic preoccupations).

Exploring the career of this poet and playwright alongside the contexts, content and form of the work he produced, this module will offer a chance to consider in detail this 'most enigmatic genius of the English literary Renaissance'.

Special Author: Edgar Allan Poe

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

This module will examine the works of the 19th century American writer Edgar Allan Poe in terms of cultural and intellectual history. During this module we will read a wide selection of Poe's short fiction, poetry and criticism in order to explore his place within the 19 century literary world and life of the mind and his subsequent role in American and global culture. We will pay detailed attention to a number of critical and interdisciplinary issues, which animate his work including the senses, the gothic, detection, terror and race. Our readings will be punctuated by considerations of how Poe has been appropriated both by the culture at large and by recent literary critics and philosophers such as DH Lawrence, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, John Carlos Rowe and Liahna Armstrong.

Special Author: Geoffrey Chaucer

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

It is almost impossible to understand English literature without an understanding of Chaucer. His works provide us with a range of subjects, modes of literary representation and styles that not only enable us to understand literary culture in the late Middle Ages but determine the subsequent course of English literature. In Dryden's inaugural work of literary history The Preface to Fables, Ancient and Modern (1700) Chaucer is described as the father of English poetry. It is his soul that is 'transfused' into Spenser, Spenser's into Milton and so on and it is with his poetry that the refinement of English language begins.

This module will explore some of the great works of Chaucer in depth looking at a broad spectrum of the tales making up The Canterbury Tales, several of his dream vision poems as well as some of his ballads and lyrics. It will also consider the place of Chaucer in literary history and the formation of the Chaucerian canon, as well as something of the fragility and instability of that canon. A variety of themes and subjects will be explored: marriage, gender and sexual relations; fate and foreknowledge; dreams and their significance; Chaucer's literary theory; ideas of authority and authorship; and religion and the nature of religious experience in the late 14th century. 

In addition to a weekly seminar there will be four lectures given across the module on 'Authority', 'Agency', 'Dream' and 'Text and Canon', which will introduce some of the key contexts for understanding Chaucer's works. As part of this module we will visit Canterbury (the destination of Chaucer's pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales), where you will be given a guided tour. You will learn how a medieval city was organised; the nature of everyday life in the Middle Ages; the significance of religion, religious buildings and institutions, all of which will aid your understanding of Chaucer's place in the English Middle Ages.

You will develop competence in reading and analysing Middle English. Support will be offered in acquiring and developing the basic skills needed to do this through a reading group that will meet for five workshops across the module.

Special Author: George Eliot

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

Special Author: Henry James

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

Henry James is an author who exists on many borderlines: an American who lived and worked in Europe for much of his adult life, an author who is claimed both as a Victorian and a Modern; a famously reticent and opaque writer whose main topics are sex and money, and who has recently been claimed as an important queer author.

In this module you will read a cross section of James's novels, short stories and essays including The American (1877), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Bostonians (1886), The Ambassadors (1903), 'Daisy Miller' (1878), What Maisie Knew (1897) and other works. We will discuss James as an American author and as a documenter of American-European relations, as a stylist, as a psychological writer and as a proto-Modernist. We will think about James in relation to his historical context (as subtle documenter of the American scene and as ex-patriate), and also look at his work in relation to his fascinating family (the philosopher and psychologist William James was Henry's older brother). We will think hard about the difficulty of James's late style. We will consider recent critical work on James in feminist and queer studies, and his influence on 20th and 21st century literary culture through films of his work such as The Wings of a Dove (1997) or The Golden Bowl (2000).

Special Author: Mary Wollstonecraft

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

This module offers you the opportunity for in-depth study of the work of Mary Wollstonecraft, the influential writer and thinker who is widely regarded as the founder of modern feminism, as well as an important radical woman novelist. It will examine her novels Mary and The Wrongs of Woman and her travel writings, in addition to her famous polemical tracts, A Vindication of the Rights of Men and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Wollstonecraft's writing participated in the heated literary and political debates of her time and exerts from the writings of her contemporaries, including Mary Robinson's Letter to the Women of England, Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France and Mary Hays' Appeal to the Men of Great Britain will also feature on the module to illuminate such contexts.

Topics addressed in seminars will include the debates over female conduct, sentiment and sensibility, political revolution, sex and love, marriage, female friendship, commerce and the Gothic. Particular attention will be paid to the debates over the novel in the 1790s and Wollstonecraft's fiction will be considered alongside works by other radical female novelists in this context. Wollstonecraft's unconventional life made her notorious in her own time. The fact that she was not married to the father of her daughter, Fanny, was exposed when she later married the radical philosopher William Godwin. The module concludes by considering the question of female reputation by addressing Wollstonecraft's afterlife in the various representations of her after her death, including the infamous memoirs written by Godwin, and in the Mrs Freke character in Maria Edgeworth's novel Belinda.

Special Author: Salman Rushdie

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

Rushdie is a complex and challenging writer whose work not only intersects with, but actively influences and informs, a range of cultural and literary debates. Indeed, because his novels, stories and essays have consistently challenged the boundaries of culture, they have tended to generate polarised and often partisan critical responses. On this module, you will venture into the highly contested field of Rushdie criticism by evaluating his key literary texts using a variety of reading strategies and theoretical methodologies. For example, you will explore postmodernist debates on the construction of history and identity as well as postcolonial concerns with race, hybridity and political power. You will address core issues such as intertextuality, cinematic montage and narrative authority. And you will engage with wider cultural concerns relating to representation, performativity and documentation. These diverse critical perspectives will provide you with a sound knowledge of the social, cultural and political influences informing Rushdie’s work, and give you the analytical tools to develop your own lines of enquiry.

Special Author: Samuel Beckett

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

Beckett's work lies in a bleak but utopian space between art and popular culture, at the heart of debates about modernist and postmodernist writing. The module reads Beckett's fictions and plays, and his work for theatre, radio, television and film in detail, and as a critique of approaches from Marx to the Marx Brothers.

Special Author: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

In this module, you examine the literary works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, exploring how his poetry was influenced by politics and religion.

You study his:

  • proto-Marxist philosophy and how this influenced his Pantisocracy letters and poems
  • lectures on the slave trade delivered at Bristol
  • meditative poetry
  • gothic and opium-inspired writing
  • literary criticism and notebooks
  • final work of political philosophy - On the Constitution of Church and State. 

Special Author: Thomas Hardy

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

This module explores the range of Hardy's work – novels, short fiction, poetry, plays and essays – in the light of late 19th-century culture and the emergence of modernism. You will explore topics such as Hardy's position as a writer and his shifting position in relation to forms of readership and literary production; his development of narrative and concepts of history and memory; his use of visual culture; the representation of social and economic change and the emergence of heritage; his representation of class, sexual difference and social mobility; his use of evolutionary theory and concepts of degeneration; and his position as a poet in the early 20th century.

Special Author: Virginia Woolf

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

This module concentrates on the work of one of the best-known and most widely-read women writers of the 20th century, Virginia Woolf. Most students will already have encountered Woolf's work in your Year 2 modules; it is also very likely that you will come to the module with some knowledge of Woolf's life and that of her friends and family. This module will deepen your knowledge and understanding of Woolf's work, both in its historical context and in terms of the kind of conceptual and theoretical questions that her work raises. The module is designed to challenge what you think you already know about Woolf, and the kinds of preconceptions that readers often bring to Woolf and her work, and whether those are positive or negative. You think you may know who Virginia Woolf was, or what she wrote, but what about Virginia Stephen? What would happen if you stopped reading Woolf as a modernist and a woman writer? What other conceptual or historical frames could illuminate her work in new ways? What does Woolf have to do with the development of cinema, or the history of photography and the visual arts?

These are some of the questions that the module will address and encourage you to pursue through independent study. At the end of the module, you will: have read most of Woolf's novels and sampled some of her writing in other genres; have familiarised yourself with the history of the reception of that work; have learnt to challenge your own preconceptions about her work and its historical and conceptual contexts; and have learnt how to devise, structure, pursue and realise an independent research project, following detailed advice from your module tutor.

Special Author: Vladimir Nabokov

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

It is the major aim of this module to give you a deep understanding of the entire range of Nabokov's creative output and to place Lolita fairly and squarely within the context of Nabokov's remarkable achievements across a whole range of experimental writing. Vladimir Nabokov's popular celebrity rests upon what is generally regarded as his greatest as well as his most controversial, not to say scurrilous, novel Lolita. This peculiar work deserves its literary celebrity but Nabokov's oeuvre remains in danger of being obscured and deformed by an over emphasis upon a single novel. The vast and continuing fallout of Lolita in popular culture including films, graphic novels, pornography and even niche teen-marketing in the areas of fashion (those sunglasses!) and music continue to make a full understanding of Nabokov's literary genius difficult and problematic.

Nabokov not only wrote many other great novels, he was also a formal experimentalist who produced screenplays, drama and a substantial body of shorter fictions including novellas and short stories. He was a committed poet, a translator and literary scholar of genius. We shall be examining the full range of his poetic output, which will involve consideration not only of the material formally published as poetry but Nabokov's remarkable abilities to conflate and to parody poetic forms in the fiction. Pale Fire for example is a novel in the form of an extended commentary upon a long initial poem and of course the ritualised punishment of Quilty at the end of Lolita is focused on and extended parody of Eliot's The Hollow Men which Humbert makes Quilty read aloud. We shall also be considering Nabokov's quirky but superb translation of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. The module will also encourage you to think about the manner in which Nabokov's work has been translated into forms of popular culture including film, drama, advertising and visual art. We shall also be thinking about the exploitation of Nabokov's work as pornography in the popular market place.

Special Author: William Blake

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

As one of the most idiosyncratic writers and artists in British history William Blake has had an outstanding influence on global creative cultures today. In this module you will read many of Blake's illuminated books learning about your experimental material form and how they emerged from the literary and visual cultures of late 18th century London. You will have the chance to examine Blake's original illuminations in the British Museum. We will consider the creative contributions made by Catherine Blake (married to William) and the challenges to researchers of interpreting this collaboration. In the second half of the module we discuss the reception of Blake exploring his influence on later writers and artists from popular culture to experimental literature. This is likely to include poetry by Elizabeth Bishop, Allen Ginsberg and Iain Sinclair, fiction by Philip Pullman, Alastair Gray and Angela Carter, a film directed by Jim Jarmusch and a graphic novel by Alan Moore. There will be a writing workshop in which you are invited to explore creative reception in practice (a creative-critical option will allow those who wish to develop this in the mid-term assessment).

Special Subject: Britain and the Second World War

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 4

This module concentrates on the impact of the Second World War on social, cultural, economic and political relations in Britain 1938-45. The extent to which the war had a profound impact on British society is the subject of vigorous debate among historians in secondary literature. A complicated historiography exists for many of the topics included in this module, and the reasons for this changing interpretation of the past will be explored.

The topics covered by this module include:

  • 1930s appeasement
  • civil defence and preparation for war
  • civilian evacuation
  • the Blitz
  • the fall of Chamberlain and the Churchill coalition government
  • Dunkirk evacuation
  • war economy
  • rationing
  • agriculture
  • women in factories and auxiliary services
  • combatants' experience
  • D-Day landings
  • American service personnel in Britain
  • Beveridge report and the post-war welfare state
  • the General Election of 1945.

The emphasis of 'Special Subjects' is to examine a particular period in detail using primary sources and subsequent monographs and articles.

Primary sources include: Parliamentary Papers, government publications, contemporary social investigation and comment, contemporaneous essays and monographs, oral historical accounts, memoirs and diaries, films, paintings, poems, photographs, etc. Subsequent analysis focuses on secondary sources, in the form of books and articles.

Special Subject: Domesticity and its Discontents: Women in Post-War Britain

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 4

This module explores the history of women in Britain from the end of the Second World War to the rise of Second Wave Feminism, with a particular focus on the 1950s. The fifties have been associated with the 'new look' in fashion, a movement back into the home and the efflorescence of women's and girls' magazines. Recent historiography, however, points to more complex social and economic experiences: the period is increasingly seen as one of contradiction and instability. Historians are beginning to ask new questions about femininity, desire and representation in the period, and there is a wealth of comparatively unexplored source material available allowing ample opportunities for original essay and dissertation research.

This module will cover a number of topics including girlhood, sexuality, prostitution, crime, migration, motherhood, employment, domesticity, politics and pleasure, locating these within the wider context of post-war British history.

You will be introduced to a range of source material including social surveys, film, parliamentary papers, magazines, oral history, autobiographies and the Mass Observation Archive, and will be instructed in the use of these sources.

The module aims to equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to a historical understanding of the complex social position of women in the period, the broader context of postwar Britain and the nature of historical representation and change. Our key focus is upon the ways in which historians set about interpreting and understanding the past. What kinds of 'evidence' do they use, and what are the problems involved in using these various kinds of evidence?

Special Subject: End of Empire: Nationalism, Decolonisation and the British Raj in India 1937-1950

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 4

You will examine the national movement in late colonial India in the context of decolonisation. Concentrating on the last phase of colonial rule you will examine the changing relationship between the Indian National Congress and the Raj and discuss the different imaginings of the Indian nation both by political parties such as the Congress and the Muslim league and also peasants, workers and women. Gandhi and his non-violence movement emerges as a key feature of the period. His ultimate failure and the resulting partition of India is an important focus of the module. Partition violence and the upheaval of the years leading up to the creation of the democratic Republic of India in 1950 will also form part of the study.

In seeking to redress the elitist bias in Indian history the module draws upon subaltern historiography in order to understand popular consciousness at the time of decolonisation. The perspectives of colonial policy makers such as Lord Mountbatten, Viceroy at the time of independence and other important government functionaries will also be considered. Decolonisation was presaged on may things, but most importantly on Britain's role in the changing world. The creation of the Republic of India was to make India into the largest democracy in the world. The first term will concentrate on general issues related to the subject while in the second term emphasis will be placed on the use of primary sources that throw light on the issues raised in the first term.

Special Subject: Genocide

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 4

Genocide, the term and the concept, was invented by Raphael Lemkin at the end of the Second World War in an attempt to intellectually grasp the horrors of what Churchill called a 'crime without a name': the Shoah. And it was Raphael Lemkin who in 1948 succeeded to get the UN General Assembly to ratify the Genocide Convention to prevent similar crimes in the future. Since then the term has become widely used in public and in academic scholarship describing mass murders as far back as the Assyrian Empire, but the practice did not come to an end with the Shoah turning the concept of genocide into a pivotal analytical tool in understanding the violent history of the 20th century.

Throughout the module you will combine an in-depth analysis of various genocides with an investigation of genocide as a generic concept. In the first part, you will examine the international discussion leading up to the adoption of the Genocide Convention and the Shoah as the event which not only shaped the specific content of the convention but also guaranteed the necessary support at the General Assembly. In the second part you will analyse case studies ranging from the killing of the Herero and Nama in German South West Africa to Darfur focussing mainly but not only on the social dynamics that lead to mass killings, the motivation of the perpetrators and the construction of the victim groups. In the last part, you will examine and contrasts various recent definitions of what constitutes genocide, exploring their merits and limitations and discussing alternative concepts.

Special Subject: Gone with the Wind? The Civil War in American Memory

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 4

The ongoing sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War in the United States highlights the continuing capacity of that sanguinary conflict to generate controversy in the present.

This module provides you with a detailed examination of the war's impact on generations of Americans since 1865. It focuses specifically on the construction of southern white, African American and official unionist memories of the Civil War. These three key strains of historical memory evolved in the late nineteenth century under the press of postbellum reconciliation between North and South and the concomitant growth of a segregated society. They took a variety of forms, notably the potent and profoundly racist 'Lost Cause' memory of the Confederate cause which underpinned the Jim Crow South for more than half a century, a marginalised African-American 'counter-memory' which sought to keep alive remembrance of emancipation and black military service in the armed forces of the United States, and an official national memory which depicted the Civil War as a tragic brothers' war which nevertheless had the effect of unifying and strengthening the United States in preparation for its emergence on the world stage as a Great Power.

The module will focus on the impersonal social and economic forces at work in the construction of these distinctive and frequently intertwined memories as well as the inherently political activities of different groups involved in the memory-making process. These groups include southern white women who founded the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the veterans themselves who contributed significantly to sectional reconciliation, novelists, poets and historians of all kinds, filmmakers and dramatists, and politicians with a wide range of vested interests. The module will introduce students to a broad range of illustrative 'texts' in order to familiarise them with the diverse manifestations of Civil War memory – not only writings by Ulysses S. Grant, Carl Sandburg, and Douglas Southall Freeman but also monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC; movies like Gone With the Wind and Glory; and commemorative events including the ill-fated centennial of the 1960s which was moulded by both the Cold War and the modern civil rights movement.

In many respects the module functions as a detailed case study in historical memory, a concept of growing interest to historians and one that has already generated a rich secondary literature. You will be encouraged to engage closely with this broader literature in order to make cross-national comparisons and to apply at least a modicum of theory to the primary and secondary texts at their disposal.

Special Subject: Modernism

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 4

This module looks at the history of political and aesthetic modernism. Particular attention is paid to the relation between demands for political revolution on the one hand, and demands for cultural innovation and artistic experimentation on the other.

Authors and artists include Baudelaire, Marx, Rimbaud, Kafka, Cezanne, Adorno and Beckett. Movements include impressionism, postimpressionism, anarchism, communism, surrealism and situationism.

No detailed prior knowledge of art or literature is required; slides, AV material, and films will be used where appropriate.

Special Subject: Religion and the Emergence of Modern Science, 1620-1880

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 4

In this module, you analyse religion and examine how the emergence of modern science effected faith between 1620 and 1880. 

You question whether religion and science are incompatible, and gain an insight into the history of science, the history of religious thought and the connection between historical events and key debates in modern times.

Special Subject: The Century of the Gene

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 4

At the beginning of the 20th century no-one knew anything about genetics (the word itself had yet to be coined), yet by the century's end you could buy cheap, do-it-yourself genetic tests on the internet. You will investigate the ways in which advances in scientific knowledge have affected our sense of ourselves, so that the very phrase 'human nature' has increasingly come to mean something fixed by our genes.

The language of genetics has had a powerful effect on political dismodule; the eugenic ideal of creating a superior type of human was supposed to have died with Hitler, yet seems to live on in routine genetic testing and screening, and in the fantasy of 'designer babies'. The idea of a genetic blueprint, and of being able to read, and perhaps edit and re-write, the DNA 'code', has shaped popular culture from television and cinema to novels and computer games.

You will examine a broad and diverse range of primary sources, from accessible scientific texts to science fiction (novels, TV and movies), to examples of how the mass media report science, in order to track the often imaginative uses of ideas like cloning, mutation and genetic engineering.

No knowledge of biology is needed for this module.

The goal is for you to understand the ways in which non-expert publics have understood genetics. Biology's grip on the public imagination helped it become the defining science of the 20th century. Genetics redefined the public sphere in 20th century because of the promise, or threat, that it would reshape humans and the world we live in.

Special Subject: The Civil Rights Movement

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 4

The civil rights movement was one of the most remarkable and important developments in twentieth century American history.

Focusing primarily on the period from the Second World War up until the end of the 1970s, you chart the course of African Americans’ fight against racial discrimination and segregation across the nation as a whole, and its impact upon American society and politics.

From the beaches of northern France to the Supreme Court, from the National Mall to the wooden shacks of the black rural South and urban ghetto streets, African Americans’ fight for racial equality and economic justice transformed many of the nation’s key institutions.

You also explore the various developments that shaped the course of black protest, including:

  • migration and urbanization
  • domestic anticommunism and anticolonial struggles worldwide
  • suburbanization and the white conservative resurgence
  • divisive struggles over foreign policy at home
  • the fight over affirmative action and busing in the 1970s.

Throughout the module, you learn about the key organisations, debates, events, and leaders of the civil rights movement, and the Black Power movement that followed it. You also engage with the major historiographical debates concerning the period.

The course concludes by considering the relationship between the historical reputation of Martin Luther King and ‘master’ narrative of the period, and conservatives’ efforts to roll back the gains made by African Americans in the decades since.

Special Subject: The European Experience of the First World War

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 4

The First World War was a pivotal event in 20th century history, which, on the eve of its centenary, provokes intense public interest and academic inquiry. This 'Special Subject' module is inspired by the vibrant cultural history in the field of First World War studies and takes a thematic approach in order to examine the European experience of the conflict in a comparative and transnational manner. Within the context of the larger political and military framework the module will explore the physical and emotional dimension of the war experience of both soldiers and civilians across Europe.

Weekly themes will include:

  • the myth and reality of war enthusiasm
  • combat and killing in industrial war
  • fear and trauma in the trenches
  • religious faith and rituals in war
  • mass death and bereavement
  • artistic responses to the conflict
  • motherhood and marriage in war
  • notions of courage and heroism
  • labour and forced labour
  • the dynamics of violence
  • atrocities, rape and genocide
  • and also the controversial issue of the memory of the war across Europe.

This module offers a fresh and challenging analysis of the conflict with a particluar emphasis on the human experience of war between 1914 and 1918.

Special Subject: War, Atrocities and the Making of International Humanitarian Law

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 4

Capital Culture: Money, Commerce and Writing

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

This module offers you the opportunity to explore the interconnections between literature and commercial capitalism in a wide variety of literary and other texts drawn largely, but not exclusively, from the period 1710-1820, which saw the rise of modern capitalism. The module traces the responses of writers to the emergence of modern commercial society including the celebration of trade and empire, concerns about social change, the representation of labour and the critique of capitalism from Romantic poets and other writers. Topics addressed include the commodity and the fetish; property and the 'it-narrative'; labour, literary labour, and idleness; slavery; sex and money; consumption and consumerism; the role of art and the artist in commercial society; and different ideas of value (economic and aesthetic). Texts studied will include visual art, alongside novels, poetry, short stories, autobiography, journalism, essays and economic writings. Short extracts from the works of Adam Smith and Karl Marx will provide theoretical perspectives.

Documentary America: Non-Fiction Writing

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

You explore the development of iconic non-fiction American literature and compare it to other forms of documentary such as film and photography, from the 19th and 20th century. 

You look at the style, content and circulation of non-fictional forms and examine their relationship within wider discourses of cultural, social and political representation in America.

 

Experimental Writing

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

This module considers why and how writers produce new forms. We will explore the historical and current uses of a variety of names for writing that defies generic expectations ('innovative', 'avant-garde', 'experimental', 'difficult' and 'cross-genre' to name a few).

You are required to read a wide range of exemplary texts (likely but not necessarily chosen from the modern and contemporary periods) that eschew easy generic categorisation. A particular theme or problem may be selected by the tutor each year (e.g. cross-genre writing, innovative poetics, documentary writing orspeculative fiction). Readings might include work by Walter Benjamin, Andrea Brady, Anne Carson, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Renee Gladman, Bernadette Mayer, Fred Moten, Harryette Mullen, Maggie Nelson, Raymond Queneau, Charles Resnikoff, Sophie Robinson, Fran Ross, Muriel Rukeyser and Monique Wittig.

Critical inquiry will focus on the effects of formal techniques within specific literary historical and social contexts. You will also develop your own writing and up to 50% of class time may be devoted to workshopping student work. As a writer you may be asked to identify the tensions or contradictions that animate your writing and to work up in structured, experimental or procedural fashion a set of formal mechanisms for reframing these tensions.

The module will help you to bring creative writing and critical practice together in order to best navigate your aims and objectives for writing. Final assessment will involve a critical/creative dissertation of 6,000 words.

Islam, Literature and the 'West'

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

In both domestic and international contemporary politics, few issues are more urgent than the widely perceived 'clash' between the ideologies of Western European capitalism and Islamic radicalism. This module will offer you the opportunity to examine in detail the shifting terms in which the encounter between a Christian 'West' and an Islamic 'East' has been conducted in predominantly English literatures, from the rhetoric of the early crusades to the present day.

Covering a broad range of texts and genres, and including some journalism and film, emphasis will be placed upon:

  • concepts of Holy War
  • Islam on the early modern English stage
  • the emerging study of the 'Orient' in the 17th century and the first English Qur'an
  • Enlightenment fantasies of the 'East' and Muhammad
  • the Romantics and the 'East'
  • the Rushdie 'Affair'
  • and more recent developments of this encounter both before and after 11 September 2001.

Queer Literatures

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

You explore key ideas in contemporary queer theory alongside analysis of literary works.

You develop an up to date and in-depth understanding of key queer theoretical developments that may include: 

  • the queer child
  • queerness and temporality
  • queer affects
  • life writing
  • intersectionality and identity
  • queer negativity
  • queer utopianism
  • queerness and diaspora.

At the same time, you will consider diverse works of modern and contemporary literature that offer a range of perspectives on identity, race, nation, gender, and sexuality. Overall, the module will explore how to bring theoretical concepts into conversation with literary texts.

Spectacular Imaginings: Renaissance Drama and the Stage 1580-1640

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

This module explores English Renaissance drama and its staging between the advent of the commercial theatres in London (circa 1580) and their closure during the early 1640s as a consequence of the English Civil War. This new module has been developed with, and will be co-taught by, scholars and theatre practitioners at London's Globe Theatre. The Globe's programme at both its new indoor Jacobean theatre (the Sam Wannamaker theatre) as well as its main outdoor theatre will form an important part of this module with you attending performances at both venues.

The module will focus on a selection of plays from this period exploring them in their original social, cultural and aesthetic contexts. It will also reflect upon why plays from this era are so frequently and successfully re-produced for the modern stage and screen. What roles did theatre play in London during the Renaissance and why was England virtually unique in Europe (Spain is the only counterpart) in creating a large-scale commercial theatre that generated a vast corpus of new plays? The module examines many of the most significant themes with which this theatre engages, among them unruly sexualities (incest, adultery and rape); violence and eloquence; London and city commerce; domestic tragedy; marriage and divorce; the place of the court; the foreign and the exotic; and the supernatural. It considers the roles of genre, acting styles, theatre companies, star actors, boy players, audiences and the varying physical spaces of the theatres in mediating these themes.

You will have access to the unique Globe archives when researching your dissertation project. Four of the plays will be determined by the Globe's season (including at least one by Shakespeare). The tragedies, comedies, histories and tragi-comedies studied will include works by Marlowe, Webster, Ford, Middleton, Dekker, Beaumont and Fletcher, Cary, Marston and Shakespeare.

Technologies of Capture: Photography and Nineteenth Century Literature

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

The photographic image is ubiquitous, its presence has morphed into many 21st century cultural manifestations. Most obviously, in digital form, the photograph has become a staple of social networking sites and other visual modes of communication. Yet at its invention in 1839, the status and future of photography was far from clear-cut. Known as 'the black art from France' owing to its miraculous transcription of the visual world photography was frequently aligned with magic. Indeed, owing to its causal connection to its referent, a photograph had the status of an imprint as well as an image. People also delighted in seeing themselves the right way round as the photograph corrected the lateral inversion of the familiar mirror image. At the other end of the spectrum, however, photography's 'birth' was considered by some enough to bring about the 'death' of painting. In the nineteenth century, the presence of the camera radically affected major social, aesthetic and philosophical categories. 

While photographs revolutionised representation, their relationship to existing visual and verbal forms was rich and complex and raised many questions. What did it mean to speak about literary 'realism' in the context of Fox-Talbot's new negative/positive process? How did post-mortem photographs affect literary portrayals of death and the spirit world? What was the impact upon Victorian institutions such as the asylum of the new genre of the photographic 'mug-shot'? What form of translation occurred when a two-dimensional photograph recorded the three-dimensional form of sculpture? This module explores the emergence and development of the photographic medium in relationship to a range of literary texts. Beginning with the 'pre-history' of photography as manifest in a range of optical toys, gadgets and visual spectacles it traces the emergence of various photographic forms as they intersect with literary ones. You have the opportunity to engage, in the context of 19th century fiction, poetry and non-fictional prose, fascinating material and conceptual changes that occur in the wake of the advent and popularisation of photography. 

Topics for discussion include: the Picturesque; photographing sculpture (the case of the Parthenon Marbles); Pre-Raphaelitism; post-mortem photographs; spirit photography; photography and science; collecting and cartes de visite; the camera in colonial encounters; photography and disciplinary institutions; detective fiction; and photographing children. 


No prior experience of photography or other visual media is required simply a readiness to engage visual technologies and images in addition to literary texts.

The Literatures of Africa

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

This module will sample the literary and intellectual work of a range of African authors: some writers endorse the concept of 'African identity' in their work and explore hard-hitting topics such as slavery, (post)colonial history and political corruption; other authors question the idea of 'Africa' itself and challenge unified identities; other writers bypass continental models and focus on more mundane but equally significant topics such as family life, gender identity, urbanisation and migration.

Current debates about African identity, postcolonialism, homosexuality, the 'Black Atlantic' and African cultural history will be studied alongside the primary texts, and emphasis will be placed upon the different political and cultural contexts of the material. We will look at the ways in which the selected authors construct a locale in their texts to explore geographical and cultural difference, as well as questions of sexual, economic and political power.

Topics to be considered include the following: 

  • nationalism and cultural identity
  • writing the body, sexual identities and gender subversion
  • African oral cultures and art forms 
  • cultural flows within African-defined spaces
  • the literary representations of migration, displacement and diaspora
  • the literature of post-Apartheid South Africa.

Canonical novels from Africa, such as Ngugi wa Thiongo's The River Between and Bessie Head's A Question of Power will be studied alongside poems and novels by new African writers and black British writers. Taken together, the authors on this module will reveal the multiple, dynamic languages and styles of modern African writers.

The Uncanny

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

The uncanny is difficult to define: it is mysterious, eerie, at once strange and familiar. It offers especially productive possibilities for exploring issues of identity and liminality, boundaries and interdisciplinarity. This module will engage with the uncanny across a wide range of texts and contexts, extending from literature (novels, short stories, drama and poetry) to film. Discussion will focus on a number of linked topics, including repetition, doubles, strange coincidences, animism, live burial, telepathy, death and laughter. 

The module aims to develop your engagement with the notion of the uncanny across a broad range of literary and other texts; to develop your skills of reading and critical analysis, especially insofar as the uncanny by its nature engenders intellectual uncertainty and calls for an unusual critical patience; to enhance your capacity for critical reflection on their experience of the familiar and the strange, the ordinary and the extraordinary.

Utopias and Dystopias

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

This module explores the production of utopian and dystopian fictions from the 16th century (Thomas More's publication in 1516 of Utopia) to the present day. It examines the production of utopian images and thought in a number of specific cultural and historical contexts. These include:

  • the 16th-century context in which More originally developed the concept of utopia
  • the production in the 18th century of utopian and dystopian responses to the enlightenment (particularly those of Swift and Voltaire)
  • the 19th-century utopian tradition in the US (Hawthorne, Thoreau)
  • the explosion of utopian thinking at the end of the 19th century (with writers such as Bellamy, Wells and Morris)
  • the relationship between modernism and utopia (particularly in relation to Woolf and Kafka)
  • the growth of dystopian responses to modernity in the 1930s and '40s (Orwell, Huxley)
  • the importance of utopian thinking in relation to feminism, from Sarah Scott to Wollstonecraft to Shelley to Atwood
  • and the shifting role of utopian and dystopian thinking in marshalling the political possibilities of literature from the '60s to the present day (from Beckett to Cormac McCarthy).

Throughout this wide-ranging module, we will focus closely on a number of central questions:

  • How far is it possible for literary works to imagine a better or a perfect world?
  • How far is it possible for such imaginings to effect actual social change?
  • Are utopian fantasies politically regressive, an opiate to distract us from material social inequality?
  • What is the role of dystopian thinking?
  • Does dystopian fiction contradict utopian thought forms, or can dystopian writing produce utopian possibilities?
  • What is the relationship between utopian thinking and hope?
  • Is there a theological dimension to utopian thought?
  • What is the relation between science and utopia?

In addressing these questions, the module will offer a means of thinking broadly but rigorously about the role of literature in transforming social conditions, and making the world a better place.

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