Critical Approaches 1 (Q3120)

15 credits, Level 4

Autumn teaching

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? Do we need to understand the original intentions of the author to understand what something means? 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? Over the year, Critical Approaches 1 & 2 will bring literary cultures and theoretical insights together from perspectives including psychoanalysis, Marxism, deconstruction, intersectional feminism, queer theory, and more.  

Sussex has blazed a trail in many of these fields, changing the landscape of university study, and making a difference to people’s lived experiences. Sussex was, for example, at the forefront of developing postcolonial studies, and the understanding of sexual difference with our Centre for Sexual Dissidence.  

Critical Approaches 1 & 2 will help you contemplate and articulate new ideas and ground you for the degree at Sussex. We will read fascinating literary works and theoretical essays that will change the way each of us thinks.


33%: Lecture
67%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay, Portfolio)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 117 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.