Contemporary Struggles - EN907

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Paris Autumn
View Timetable
7 30 (15) DR J Virtanen







This module covers the multifarious struggles of the last ten years as manifested, enacted and expressed in literary texts from the US, the UK, Ireland, Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere. Students will consider the ways in which contemporary literature is informed by, reflects upon, and intervenes in the political struggles unfolding in our historical moment. Anchoring the discussion in contemporary struggle in Paris, the module will then broaden out geographically and conceptually to elaborate the interconnections between immediate sites of resistance and more global phenomena.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 280
Total Study Hours: 300


This module is only available to students in Paris autumn term

Method of assessment

Assignment (5,000 words) – 100%

Indicative reading

Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually

Paolo Bacigalupi. (2015). The Water Knife. London: Orbit
Alain Badiou. (2010). The Meaning of Sarkozy. London: Verso
Sean Bonney. (2015). Letters Against the Firmament. London: Enitharmon
Han Kang. (2015). The Vegetarian. London: Portobello Books
Juliana Spahr. (2015). That Winter the Wolf Came. Oakland: Commune Editions

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate a wide-ranging knowledge of contemporary literature from several aesthetic and national contexts, including key works of prose, poetry, and graphic novels;

2 Demonstrate an advanced ability to relate the literary works from this period to relevant political, cultural, historical and philosophical contexts;

3 Demonstrate a sophisticated range of analytic skills, including close textual analysis;

4 Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the political struggles (via supplementary reading) that informs and reflects upon the literature from this period;

5 Demonstrate an advanced, critical comprehension of the relationship between art and activism.

6 Utilise sophisticated close reading skills to a range of literary texts and to develop erudite and complex comparisons between them.

7 Demonstrate an advanced set of presentation skills, as well as an ability to participate actively and constructively within group discussions.

8 Display an advanced ability to conduct individual research, including the ability to analyse, discuss and deploy secondary texts (both critical and theoretical) from appropriate scholarly resources.

9 Identify and evaluate advanced research questions and an ability to develop clear, reasoned and original arguments.

10 Demonstrate an ability to relate literature to the development and practices of other art forms.

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