The module will bring to students some of the most recent critical debates about world literature and theorization of the world-literary system. It will bind together questions of physical exertion including sporting exertions, with concerns about resource extraction, thereby linking human and non-human forms of exhaustion.
Module will run
Spring Term 2020-21
To introduce students to thinking about the world-literary system, and specifically the intellectual and theoretical developments necessary to approach the systemic attributes of thinking in ‘worlded’ terms.
To help students consider different forms of human and non-human ‘energy’, and to consider their interactions
To enable students to approach resource-related fiction and writing and to use related critical debates to reconfigure or deepen their thinking about postcoloniality, globalisation and the capitalist world system
To move students further into debates about eco-criticism and resource imaginaries that will be familiar to them from contemporary political debates but may be new to them in literary-critical terms. And, in doing so, move beyond the ground laid by postcolonial eco-criticism in the 2000s
To encourage students to think across geographic boundaries and through relational inequalities, and to do so by concentrating on literary and other cultural depictions of resources.
To enable students to develop new ways of approaching comparative literary studies, and to get to grips with new developments in what might be called ‘Energy Humanities’
Module learning outcomes
Knowledge of the recent World Literature debates as well as background and on-going critical and theoretical debates about energy, resources and the humanities
Conceptualisation of a world-literary system and what a systemic approach to literary studies might bring to debates about World Literature
Close examination of a range of novels, and other literary and cultural texts, that are bound to resource management (e.g. Food, Water, Oil/Petrol as well as labouring, sporting and suffering human bodies)
Familiarity with debates about literary and other cultural texts as ‘resources’ produced within specific energy regimes
Critical appreciation of a range of resource-related texts
Ability to contextualise such texts in advanced theoretical terms, specifically in relation to debates about World Literature
Development of advanced, analytical and research based writing skills
Other learning outcomes (if applicable)
Direct engagement with current political events and debates and a growing, nuanced and thoughtful bridging of the current political landscape and the field of literary studies
The module will use a wide range of primary texts, and these will include poems, prose fiction, graphic narratives, films and documentaries. Students would benefit from having existing knowledge of debates about imperial, postcolonial and/or world literature (including previous modules in these areas). However, keen new comers to these debates are also welcome. Humans are energetic creatures, increasingly bound to endangered and endangering forms of energy provision. For this module you’ll need to be energetic and recognize the literary-critical energetics coming at you.
% of module mark
Essay/coursework 3000 Word Essay
Special assessment rules
Additional assessment information
You will be given the opportunity to hand in a 1000 word formative essay in the term in which the module is taught (usually in the week 7 seminar). Material from this essay may be re-visited in your summative essay and it is therefore an early chance to work through material that might be used in assessed work. This essay will be submitted in hard copy and your tutor will annotate it and return it two weeks later (usually in your week 9 seminar). Summary feedback will be uploaded to your eVision account.
All students will have the opportunity to give an in-class individual presentation during a seminar in weeks 2-9.
% of module mark
Essay/coursework 3000 Word Essay
You will receive feedback on all assessed work within the University deadline, and will often receive it more quickly. The purpose of feedback is to inform your future work; it is designed to help you to improve your work, and the Department also offers you help in learning from your feedback. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further you can discuss it with your tutor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours
For more information about the feedback you will receive for your work, see the department's Guide to Assessment
Week 2 Cricket & Sugar
Michael Anthony, ‘Cricket in the Road’ (1973)
Raywat Deonandan, ‘King Rice’ (1999)
Elahi Baksh, ‘The Propagandist’, (2000)
Week 3 Bananas & Bio-political hazards
Miguel Angel Asturias, The Banana Trilogy (1950-60)
i.e. Viento fuerte (Strong Wind; 1950), El Papa Verde (The Green Pope; 1954), and Los ojos de los enterrados (The Eyes of the Interred; 1960)