Contemporary Literature - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: Sem1
  • Availability for 2018: Sem1
  • Assessment: Assignment - Criticism in Public (50%) , Essay - Short Research Essay (30%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

This unit looks at how literature is alive in the world today, and how it responds to the new challenges and opportunities afforded to it by the twenty-first century. The premise of this unit is that literature plays an active role in the contemporary public sphere, and that writers are developing exciting and innovative ways of responding both to contemporary debates on matters including race, immigration, gender, terrorism and globalisation, and to new contexts for their work, including the Internet, new forms of literary celebrity, and the rise of creative writing programmes. You will be encouraged to see how the essays you write and the literary analysis you perform can help to create links between the so-called “real world” and the texts you read. We will reflect on how we read literature now, and how we can best write about literature to capture its presence and power in our lives.

Students are expected to:

  1. analyse and compare literary texts across a range of genres, including the novel, the essay, poetry, and hybrid genres, using a sound critical vocabulary and scholarly research
  2. explain and reflect on key features of the contemporary literary field, including the role of literary celebrity, creative writing programmes, and digital media, and analyse how these features impact on literary texts
  3. reflect on the role of critical writing and essays in the contemporary literary field
  4. explain and analyse how literature participates in debates in the public sphere, including discussions over race, immigration, ethics, history, and the representation of disasters
  5. develop well-reasoned arguments about literary texts, and support these arguments orally and in writing.
  • Assignment — Criticism in Public (50%)
  • Essay — Short Research Essay (30%)
  • Participation — Forum Participation (20%)

Mandatory prerequisites

You must have successfully completed the following unit(s) before starting this unit:

If you have completed equivalent study at another university, please contact a Student Advisor for advice.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Institutions of Literature (Weeks 1-3)
2The Burden of History (Weeks 4-6)
3Global Movements (Weeks 7-9)
4Poetry and Disaster (Weeks 10-12)
5Essay Workshop (Week 13)

Each unit offered through OUA provides students with unit information that includes assessment topics and due dates, policy information and contact numbers for university support and academic staff. Study materials will also clearly outline each week's topic, readings, student activities and the format of all assessment.

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a unit.

Click on the titles of the listed books below to find out more:

Required textbooks

  • Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao


    ISBN: 9780571239733


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Leaving the Atocha Station

    By:Ben Lerner

    ISBN: 9781847086914


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Americanah

    By:Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi

    ISBN: 9780007356348


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Lives of Animals

    By:Coetzee, J M

    ISBN: 9780691173900


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

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