EN3CM-Class Matters

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:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Nicola Wilson

Email: n.l.wilson@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
What is class and why does it matter? This module considers both the idea of ‘working-class writing’ and the representation of the working classes in cultural forms. Structured chronologically and moving from the work of Robert Tressell and D.H. Lawrence through to the literature of the 1984 Miners’ Strike, the module introduces a variety of twentieth-century working-class writings including novels, short stories, essays, poetry and autobiography. Broadening our understanding of the literary and cultural history of the twentieth century, we consider the impact of unemployment, economic depression, im/migration, and changes in patterns of consumption and leisure on the production and reception of working-class writing.

The module will enhance students’ awareness of the role of class in literature and cultural production, and of the various ways in which class is intersected by other categories of identity including race, place, nation and gender. It aims to inform students of the rich and varied history of working-class writing in Britain and will enhance their critical understanding of twentieth-century literature, cultural history and literary movements. It will equip students’ with the critical and historical framework to understand social and media debates about class and its representations today in Britain, including the discourses of im/migration and poverty.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
-Provide rigorous readings and analysis of the selected primary texts
-Recognize the diversity of the ‘working-class writer’ and working-class writing, as well as how class intersects with other categories like race, gender and place
-Conceptualize the ways in which writers from a working-class background respond to cultural, social, economic and political shifts
- Discuss the interconnections between working-class writing and other literary groups and movements including modernism, social realism, ‘Anger’ and black British writing
-Engage critically with the ideas presented in lectures, seminars and secondary materials
-Work together in small groups to produce a rigorous and informative oral presentation
-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. Planning, time management, co-operation and group work skills will also be developed through managing and conducting the assessed oral presentation.

Outline content:

Texts studied may include D.H. Lawrence, ‘The Odour of Chrysanthemums’; Robert Tressell, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists; Ethel Carnie Holdsworth, This Slavery; James Hanley, Boy; Walter Greenwood, Love on the Dole; Alan Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning; Shelagh Delaney, A Taste of Honey; Buchi Emecheta, Second-class citizen. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Three seminar hours weekly, for which students are required to do preparatory reading. Students are also entitled to a tutorial on their formative written work and will be offered group rehearsal time in class in preparation for the assessed oral presentation. 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
Seminars 29 1
Tutorials 0.5
Practicals classes and workshops 1
Guided independent study 129.5 39
Total hours by term 160.00 40.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 30
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:
Students write one formative essay, of between 1500 and 2000 words, and give one formative seminar presentation. Feedback will also be provided on the assessed essay of 2000 words, or the equivalent placement report, and on the assessed oral presentation.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

    Assessment 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 in 25 August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    1) Required text books

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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