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Political Fictions: Film & the Novel in the Global 21st Century - ENG00078M

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Adam Kelly
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20
    • See module specification for other years: 2018-19

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

  • To introduce students to the advanced study of twenty-first-century narrative, both in literary and filmic form
  • To enable students to compare across form and media, developing their understanding of the possibilities of representation offered by these specific media
  • To develop a critical vocabulary for describing alternative aesthetic and generic approaches within each media or form, from allegory to realism to fantasy to metareference
  • To place these aesthetic and critical insights in the cultural and political context of twenty-first-century global concerns, from the crisis of capitalism to ecological anxiety to political inertia to censorship
  • To view these concerns in a comparative context that questions conventional divisions of nation and region
  • To develop individual and collaborative skills of argument, both oral and written

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module, students should be able to demonstrate:

Subject content

·Familiarity with a number of the most significant films and novels produced since the turn of the century

·Knowledge of the narrative, aesthetic, and political possibilities offered by specific media and modes, including some historical appreciation of the development of film and the novel

·Insights into some of the major global political questions of the 21st century

·a grasp of the formal and technical questions raised by individual texts

·a grasp of the critical field currently engaged in this area of research

Academic and graduate skills

·A working critical vocabulary for discussing the relation between narrative texts, aesthetics, and politics

  • The capacity to identify relevant models of critical and theoretical analysis and to use them to produce sophisticated textual and political readings
  • the ability to carry on individual research in the fields in question, to present it in seminars and to discuss it with seminar members


Task Length % of module mark
4500 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
4500 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

For more information about the feedback you will receive for your work, see section 12 of the department's Guide to Assessment (PDF , 1,244kb).

Indicative reading

Texts will vary from year to year. Indicative texts for 2013: films by Nichols, del Toro, Mungiu, Nolan, Loach, Haneke, Bigelow, Panahi; novels by McCarthy, Bolano, Diaz, Adichie, Spiotta, Eggers, Mo Yan.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students