ML1COMP-What is Comparative Literature?

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr John McKeane


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module will introduce students to some of the major critical and theoretical issues in the study of Comparative Literature, as well as to important methodologies for studying literature in a comparative context. Approaching a cluster of texts from different cultural and historical traditions, students will be encouraged to reflect on the practices and consequences of reading transnationally. 


This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the history of the discipline of Comparative Literature and an overview of current developments in transnational literary study. Students will engage in a sustained reflection on the questions (1) what is comparative literature? and (2) how can literature be read transnationally? These questions will help to guide students as they examine a diverse selection of texts that differ as to their national origin, historical periodisation, and generic affiliation. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module students will be able to:

• assess the primary critical and methodological approaches to literary study in a transnational context

-  articulate critically the history of Comparative Literature as an academic discipline

• analyse the treatment of key themes and the techniques used in the works studied

• express clearly constructed, soundly based arguments about the works in question, making effective use both of published critical studies and of their own independent judgement

Additional outcomes:

This module also aims to encourage the development of:

• oral communication skills

• research skills, including scholarly information retrieval (using secondary works, the internet, and disciplinary databases)

- The module and the wider degree programme are committed to developing a broad range of graduate attributes. These include knowledge and understanding of the subject matter, independent cognitive capacity, and transferable skills including personal efficiency and communication.  


Outline content:

This module will rigorously intertwine the reading of literature with literary theory and criticism. Representative texts will be chosen to reflect the latest developments in Comparative Literature, as well as to allow students to put into practice the critical methodologies that guide transnational literary study. The texts chosen for study will come from a variety of cultures, historic periods, and genres. All discussion will be conducted in English and all texts will be available in English translation.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Class meetings will consist of a combination of lectures and seminars Autumn and Spring Terms. Students will be expected to read and reflect on primary and secondary literature in preparation for class, and to participate in class discussions when appropriate.

Students may also undertake an academic 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 10
Seminars 10 10
Guided independent study 80 80
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students will be required to submit a 1,500-2,000 word essay (word count does not include bibliography) by Summer term, based on topics studied during each term. Students cannot resubmit the Autumn Term formative essay for this task. The mark received for the Summer Term essay will form 50% of the students' assessment mark. One piece of assessment worth no more than 50% of the module mark can be replaced by a report produced after an academic placement. The placement must be agreed in advance by the module convenor; the length of the report is to be equivalent to standard departmental practice for coursework. 

Formative assessment methods:

Students will write one non-summative essay (1,500 words excluding bibliography) but compulsory assignment to be submitted at the end of the Autumn Term.

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:
    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 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Reassessment in August, in the event of failure in Part 1 as a whole, or (for compulsory modules only) of failure to qualify in Part 1.

    Coursework bearing a confirmed mark of 40% or more can be carried forward; all other coursework to be resubmitted by 12 NOON on the third Friday of August or, if the University is closed, by 12 NOON on the first working day thereafter.


    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 26 April 2018


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