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Contemporary Women’s Writing: Bodies, Health, Voices - ENG00135M

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Alice Hall
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23
    • See module specification for other years: 2021-22

Module summary

This module explores contemporary American women’s writing. It examines the relationship between fiction and life writing and the ways in which certain female writers have experimented with new literary forms in order to represent bodily experience. We will read short stories, essays, novels, memoirs and poems and examine theoretical texts that engage with shifting ideas about gender, health, care, voice and embodiment drawn primarily from the fields of feminism and medical humanities.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

This module aims to introduce you to some important and influential contemporary American women’s writing. It will encourage you to analyse closely a number of key primary texts by female authors who write about the body and health. We will pay particular attention to questions of genre, form and voice. The module aims to give you the opportunity to discuss important theoretical works from the fields of feminism and medical humanities and to use these to build rigorous, creative arguments about your chosen primary texts in your own written work and through oral presentations.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with some key examples of contemporary women’s writing
  2. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with theories of embodiment, health and voice
  3. Evaluate key debates within the relevant critical fields of feminism and medical humanities
  4. Produce independent arguments and ideas which demonstrate an advanced proficiency in critical thinking, research, and writing skills.


Task Length % of module mark
4,500 Word Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
4,500 Word Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

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 module tutor, the MA Convenor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours.

Indicative reading

  • Siri Hustvedt, The Blindfold (1993)
  • Eula Biss, On Immunity (2014)
  • Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts (2015)
  • Ada Limon, The Carrying (2018)
  • Leni Zumas, Red Clocks (2019)
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “Zikora” (2019).
  • Sigrid Nunez, What Are you Going Through? (2020)

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.