Paris: Psychogeography - ENGL9190

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 7 30 (15) Heather Ungvari-Hartley checkmark-circle


'Paris: Psychogeography' contributes to the MA in Creative Writing in Paris. The objective of ‘Paris: Psychogeography’ is to produce work across genres inspired by the practice and theory of psychogeography and associated modes and schools of thought (the Situationist International, Dadaism, ‘Pataphysics, urbanism, etc), and associated practices such as the ‘dérive’ and ‘détournement’, in the place of its birth: Paris. As a part of their seminars students, with their tutors, will take into ‘the field’ regular writing exercises, trips and prompts as a starting point, encouraging play, experiment and both collaborative and individual methods. This module aims to enable students to develop their practice of writing through both the study of a range of twentieth century and contemporary examples and psychogeographic practices, and constructive feedback on their own work. Each week, students read a selection of work, in a variety of forms (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, prose poetry, hybrid texts; as well as artworks, TV, film and other media). Students will work on focused, practical exercises to submit for workshopping each week, which they can draw upon to produce a portfolio of creative work for the main assessment. They will be encouraged to read as independent writers, to apply appropriate writing techniques to their own practice and to experiment with voice, form and content. The approach to the exemplary texts will be technical and practical as well as historical; students will be expected to engage with, and critique the limitations of, the conceptual underpinnings of psychogeography as a theory and practice. At every point in the module, priority will be given to students’ own development as writers. It is an assumption of the module that students will already have a basic competence in the writing of poetry or prose, including a grasp of essential craft and techniques. The purpose of this module will be to stimulate students towards development and honing of their emerging voices and styles through engaging with various literary texts and techniques, and to consider how their work can develop with large chunks of time for independent study, wondering and wandering as well as in exploration and dialogue with place embodied in the City of Paris.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 30
Private Study Hours: 270
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

A portfolio of texts inspired by psychogeographic experiments and fieldwork: original prose (5,000 words) or 8 poems/150 lines of Poetry, or a proportionate combination of the two – 100%

Reassessment methods:

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Baudelaire, Charles. (1989, 2012). Paris Blues. Translated by Francis Scarfe. London: Anvil Press
Benjamin, Walter. The Writer of Modern Life: Essays on Charles Baudelaire (The Belknap Press, 2006)
Césaire, Aimé. (2013). The Original 1939 Notebook of a Return to the Native Land. Translated by A. James Arnold and Clayton Eshleman. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press
Debord, Guy. (1994). Society of the Spectacle. Translated by Ken Knabb. London: Rebel Press
Elkin, Lauren. (2016). Flâneuse. London: Vintage
Oliver, Douglas. (2003). Arrondissements. Cambridge: Salt

Learning outcomes

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

1 Demonstrate their capacity for close reading and critical analysis and apply these skills to their creative writing practice;
2 Identify, undertake, critically evaluate and interrogate particular literary and psychogeographic techniques found in modern and contemporary poetry and prose to develop their creative/critical writing practice;
3 Understand and reflect on the history, context and development of the field of psychogeography in theory and practice, including writing exercises in the field;
4 Reflect on the wide range of stylistic practices open to the contemporary writer and demonstrate an understanding of how these relate to their own creative writing practice;
5 Confidently apply advanced poetry, prose and/or fiction psychogeographic techniques within their work;
6 Understand through drafting, editing and other creative writing practice the value of these skills in realising their best work;
7 Plan and undertake a portfolio of poems and/or prose which demonstrates a developed sense of their relationship between their work and its audience;
8 Demonstrate understanding of how working in a specific location (Paris) can inform and shape their writing;
9 Demonstrate confidence and the ability to discipline their own writing and work habits, and gain a mature level of independent learning.

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

1 Demonstrate a critical language;
2 Apply that language to their own work, through collective and self-criticism;
3 Demonstrate sympathy with new and various writing practices;
4 Demonstrate confidence and ability to work in group situations and as an individual, independent writer;
5 Demonstrate sophisticated communicative and collaborative skills;
6 Gather and evaluate a range of materials from diverse contexts.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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