Right/Write to the World: Displacement, Social Movements, Political Action - ENGL3380

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


To have the right to the world, is to have the right to write, read and construct the world, the right to make a different world.

Travelling across all parts of the globe and spanning 500 years, this module introduces a range of literatures and arts that focus on the right to the world as related to displacement, movements and actions. Drawing on Henri Lefebvre's 'right to the city' and 'right to difference', the module provides a platform to interrogate who has the right to write, read and construct the world, and explores ways authors and artists of diverse backgrounds have struggled to claim the right to write, read and construct the world (social, physical and mental places and spaces, which may include: buildings, borders, camps, cities, countries, homes, kitchens, lands, nations, maps, States, streets, seas, villages, and so on) they are living in. These authors and artists are instrumental in providing an understanding of the world we are living in, mainly through highlighting the relationship between the right to the world and internal and external displacement, alongside social movements and political action that relate to local, national and global practices of activism. To demonstrate the relationship between the right to the world and creative activism, the module introduces works in diverse forms, including fiction and non-fiction, written, performative and audio-visuals, and archival. To equip an understanding of the relationship between contemporary and past struggles for the right to the world, the module transitions between key moments, movements and mobilities – including from medieval Western woman on a pilgrimage, to feminist Arab women border-crossing to postcolonial Europe; from 18th Century Abolition to Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter; from Spanish, Ottoman, British Colonialism to Windrush Scandal, Indigenous Rights, Islamophobia, Hostile Environment; from Romantism to an Environmental Crisis. To demonstrate how literature and arts has socio-political and economic potential, the module provides access to various organisations (e.g. charities, grassroot organisations, and activist networks) related to the specific rights, social movements and political action. All of these topics will culminate into the creation of a project that writes to the world, raising public awareness of a specific right to the world that can make a different world.


Contact hours

This module will be taught through lectures and seminars.

Contact hours: 42
Private Study Hours: 258
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

100% coursework:
Research Essay (2,500 words) (35%)
Project (2,500 words or 15-20 minutes) (45%)
Seminar Participation. This will also include a presentation on the final project. (20%)

Indicative reading

Armstrong, Louis, 1930 Jazz Music
Dangarembga, Tsitsi.1988. Nervous Conditions. Ayebia Clarke edition (2004).
Equiano, Olaudah. 1789. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (extracts)
Kempe, Margery, 1430s. The Book of Margery Kempe (extracts)
Lefebvre, Henri The Production of Space (1974) and Right to the City
Miranda, Deborah, 1999. Indian Cartographies
Kingsley, Patrick. 2016 The New Odyssey: The Story of Europe's Refugee Crisis (extracts)
The Scene from Bekaa (2018) Audio-Visual Art Exhibition

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 identify social, political, economic, spiritual, sexual, and biological categories of rights which are determined by place, space and displacement, movement and action, and the potential complexities of a range of literary and artistic approaches;
2 understand the relationship between rights and the reading and construction of place and space (mainly material/physical, psychological/mental, and social spaces)
3 understand the political, historical and cultural specificity of textual forms addressed to a range rights, displacement, movement and action
4 write critically about the relationships between text, rights, displacement, movement and action.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 identify and apply strategies of reading relevant to the material they encounter;
2 apply close reading techniques to a range of literary texts, and to make complex comparisons between them;
3 effectively communicate using a variety of methods;
4 begin self-directed research and discuss, evaluate, and creatively deploy secondary critical and theoretical perspectives;
5 construct original, articulate, and well-substantiated arguments;
6 manage their time and workload effectively.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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