EN3MT-#MeToo: Women’s Writing as Resistance

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Paddy Bullard

Email: p.s.bullard@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Is the #MeToo movement “second wave feminism,” or even, “twitter feminism,” as it’s been dubbed recently by feminist journalist? Or has it been the popular manifestation of a political, social, and aesthetical reckoning, long in the making? 

This module will ask if and how the trending hashtag might find long and sustained echo in the canon of 20th-21st century writing by women across the globe, with a special focus on works from the US, England, Ireland, Caribbean, India, and Middle East. Students will be encouraged to consider the ways in which the women’s movement in literature—at once political and aesthetic—anticipated #MeToo. How has this current reckoning of this social and political epiphany throughout the world been preparing itself over 100 years? As the 20th century witnessed waves of poets and authors, writing together and alone, renovating the literary canon from within the confines of otherwise traditional spaces, these daring women writers have created their contemporary audience, inviting us to consider the ways in which the page has been a place for processing and permitting change.


We will use the “Me Too” movement as a lens through which to read innovative 20th-21st century texts from women throughout the world. Using genre as an organizer, we will pursue broad questions about the ways feminism and the pursuit of equality and justice find form in art, and in turn, politics. Closely reading an array of international short stories, novels, and poems from contemporary poets, novelists, essayists, and artists from around the world, we will focus on the ways that literary forms are universally and uniquely utlized to problematize women’s places in, and throughout, the world.

Students will leave this module with a sense of context for and complications of the #metoo movement. Students will be encouraged to contextualize this movement within the broader 20th century Women’s Movement, and feminist agendas at large.  

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of this module they will be able to:

  • Closely read poetry and prose for the political implications of formal innovation

  • Engage in conversations around feminist debates

  • Construct cogent bifocal responses to “counter-culture” writing

  • Develop arguments that showcase critical mindedness about literary form

  • Showcase awareness (in writing and discussion) of the intricacies and complexities of contemporary cultural movements

  • Develop digital eloquence, which will be a highly transferable skill beyond their coursework.

  • Cogently construct arguments reflecting sophisticated understanding of social and digital media along with trends in critical theory, and aware of a developing canon of women’s writing.

  • Develop a critical sense of  how media digital and written constructs influence shapes of arguments

  • Engage in informed debate

Additional outcomes:

This module will introduce students to a variety of literary genres, and make the close reading of innovative texts possible and accessible through the lens of a popular contemporary cultural movement and moment.

Oratory skills will be developed, along with close-reading skills.

Outline content:

Global context:

This module is derived with the intention of enhancing global awareness and give students of English literature a larger global sense of the international and literary context of a contemporary cultural trend. Readings will not be restricted by region, and students will be actively encouraged to consider the ways in which regional texts speak from or to global discourse. For the sake of organization, selections from a variety of international authors will be covered, but will mostly focus on representations of contemporary (since 1960) feminist movements and moments in the US, UK, Caribbean, and Middle East.

In what ways are these texts in conversation with one another, across time and place? What are the political implications of feminism what does it mean for these implications to be registered as   extra-national? Such questions will inform the term’s ongoing dialogue.  

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This module is taught through structured seminar discussions, for which students are required to read the set texts in advance, and comment on our class blog in advance of seminar meetings. This module focuses on reflective learning methods, with students required to complete the equivalent of a Learning Journal entry each week via the class blog (which will be linked on blackboard), in which they will respond to the ongoing process of reading, analysis and discussion, while also feeling as though they are part of an ongoing and unfolding contemporary critical debate surrounding this particular feminist moment. At the beginning of term students will receive instruction on how these blog “comments” differ from other forms of assessable output (eg. coursework, exams), and on how to compose them in a mode that reflects on the medium while also utilizing it to engage, often uniquely, in contemporary theory.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 20
Tutorials 5
Project Supervision 2
Demonstration 1
Practicals classes and workshops 3
Guided independent study: 169
Total hours by term 200
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Portfolio 50
Set exercise 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Set Exercise

The Set Exercise (web project) will be composed of a series of webpages under the umbrella of a blog-like website (Weebly, wordpress etc), utilizing hyperlinking technology to engage in and probe a field’s intertextuality, from within that field’s dominant, digital, medium. Students will be required to treat at least three two of the term’s primary texts and two additional secondary readings (students will be offered the option of medium for their messages, and if the digital is selected, they will be guided through a template creation of a website). 

More specifically, Requirements: 

—  1. First page should ask a question / state a thesis regarding a writer’s work and its relationship to the #MeToo movement

—  2. There should be at least three poems, or passages from fiction  treated throughout the site, and those should be  linked within the first page. 

—  3. Each example / passage / poem page should involve a close reading, incorporating linking external material (a link should lead to another webpage with a sample from elsewhere, and 100 words of commentary on that sample). There should be at least 5 links per passage /poem page.

—  4. At the bottom of every poem / passage page, a close reading should be conducted. The close reading should consist of 300-400  words which continue to engage with your initial thesis question (from landing page)

—  5. There should be a conclusion page, consisting of a paragraph (between 300 and 400 words) and imagery if you like, explaining your project’s ultimate argument and how it has been complicated / resolved by your close readings.

—  6. There should also be a separate works cited page.

Examples of successful digital projects will be provided in “demonstration class,” and individual guidance will be offered through tutorials and “project” hours.

Students will be assessed according to their effectiveness in fulfilling assignment requirements (above, 20%), the cogency of their writing (20%), the creativity of their “linking thinking” (20%), and their engagement with secondary and independent research (20%).


Alongside our coursework’s primary reading, students will be given a secondary reading list directing them to engage with current new media critical theory. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their mode of reflection, as well as the primary material at hand. More specifically, in offering students the opportunity to reflect, respond, and engage in online debates, a digital literacy will be developed which compliments the shaping effects of the digital platform being considered throughout coursework.

Students will be required to complete a weekly learning journal entry via blog post on the class website. This website will be linked on Blackboard. Journal entries (“comments” in blog form) must address the week’s reading and will be especially encouraged to engage with other student comments in constructive, dialogue building fashion. Comments will also provide springboard for class discussions, which will take place at the beginning of each seminar meeting.

Formative assessment methods:

Formative feedback will be provided on three longer Learning Journal blog posts required throughout the module (2 during first half of term, and 1 in second half in lead up to final project).

Comments which students have chosen for assessment must be linked to Blackboard.

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:

    Opportunity to write 2000 word essay in lieu of blog reflections. Reassessment method will be different from summative assessment method in cases where reassessment arrangements necessary.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):



    1. Required text books

       About £60

    1. Specialist equipment or materials


    1. Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear


    1. Printing and binding


    1. Computers and devices with a particular specification


    1. Travel, accommodation and subsistence


    Last updated: 25 April 2019


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