Contemporary Literature and Culture (Q3306)

30 credits, Level 5

Spring teaching

This module asks how far we are able to identify a distinctive phase in the history of cultural production in the contemporary epoch. The module begins with an overview of theoretical developments and debates in the latter part of the twentieth century. By interrogating the discourses and rhetoric of late capitalism, globalisation, neo-liberalism, postmodernism and imperialism, we ask how they capture certain pre-millennial tensions, as well as post-millennial possibilities.

This provides a conceptual basis from which to explore how new literary and other cultural formations have come into being in response to these developments. In the context of debates about the ‘value’ of the study of humanities, in what ways are our senses of literary possibility being expanded? Given the geo-political turbulence of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, we consider the complex relations between literature, politics and history in flux. This in turn challenges us to develop new conceptual frameworks in order to think through contemporary culture in a period of rapid, often disorientating transition. The module will engage with the work of a wide range of emerging writers, film makers and visual artists, in order to map the contours of peculiarly contemporary ‘structures of feeling.’


50%: Lecture
50%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay, Presentation)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 44 hours of contact time and about 256 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, we are constantly looking to improve and enhance our courses. There may be changes to modules in response to student demand or feedback, changes to staff expertise or updates to our curriculum. We may also need to make changes in response to COVID-19. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: