EN2WGI-Writing, Gender, Identity

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: English Part 1 or A-Level (A*, A or B)
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Debbie Bark

Email: d.l.bark@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

This module introduces students to a range of texts and critical approaches which address the relationship between writing and identity. Set texts cover a broad chronological sweep and include letters, novels, short stories and autobiographical works. We explore questions around the constructions of gender, sexuality, race and class in the set texts and more broadly. We discuss and debate assumptions embedded in the texts and our own assumptions as readers of these texts. We explore the power dynamics at play in a text and consider the implications. Lectures provide a contextual framing for the set texts and begin to open out critical questions around writing and identity; seminars are focussed on detailed analysis of the set texts and the recommended secondary reading.


The module encourages students to: analyse texts through critical perspectives informed by ideas of gender, sexuality, race and class; explore, debate and articulate the relationship between writing and identity.  

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of this module it is expected that students will be able to:

  • Read and discuss texts through critical perspectives informed by ideas of gender, sexuality, race and class

  • Identify and analyse distinctive literary characteristics in the set texts to open out questions around the relationship between writing and identity

  • Engage critically with set texts and secondary material, and with ideas presented in lectures, seminars and study groups

  • Organize and articulate a coherent written argument, both in coursework essays and under timed examination conditions

Additional outcomes:
Oral and written communication skills will be developed, together with critical, interpretative and analytical abilities. Students will also enhance their IT competence through the use of relevant web resources in a critically informed manner. Students will develop increased familiarity with a range of critical and theoretical resources.

Outline content:

This module works with a group of set texts, which could include: Lady Mary W. Montagu’s Turkish Embassy Letters (1720s); Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789) and Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince (1831); Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847); Henry James, ‘The Beast in the Jungle’ (1903); D.H. Lawrence, The Fox (1922); Philip Roth, The Ghost-Writer (1979); Jackie Kay, Trumpet (1998); Meera Syal, Anita and Me (1996). In addition to the set texts, recommended secondary reading is required for seminar preparation. A specific critical essay is set each week, with an extensive secondary reading list provided for independent and further research.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
A combination of lectures and structured seminar discussion, for which students are required to do preparatory reading. Students are also entitled to a half-hour tutorial on their formative essay. With the consent of the module convenor, students may also undertake a placement, through which they will learn how to apply the knowledge and skills gained in studying for this module in a professional context outside the University.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 1
Seminars 10
Tutorials 0.5
Practicals classes and workshops 2
Guided independent study 139.5 37
Total hours by term 160.00 40.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 67
Written assignment including essay 33

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

Students write one formative essay, of approximately 2000 words. Feedback will also be provided on the assessed essay of 2000 words, or the equivalent placement report. Feedback on written exams will be available on request from the Director of Teaching and Learning.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of at least 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-examination in August. Coursework will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Otherwise it must be resubmitted by 25 August 2018 

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Key Readings List:
    You can view a Key Readings list for this module here: http://readinglists.reading.ac.uk/lists/607E9D72-C431-8413-6C50-731349B5A086
    N.B. Reading lists may change before the module starts.

    Last updated: 11 April 2017

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