Advanced Critical Theory (EAS3131)

StaffProfessor Regenia Gagnier - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level
Pre-requisitesCulture and Criticism in Year 1 or Equivalent
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module aims to prepare students to go to graduate school or work in the culture industries equipped with high level and up to date tools and methods of critical cultural analysis. Depending on the seminar participants' level of collective knowledge, it will cover both classic problems of genre (e.g., Plato on the role of the poet, Longinus on the Sublime, Kant on the Beautiful) and more recent critique in social theory (e.g., cultural production and consumption, theories of globalization, gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity). The module should be stimulating irrespective of a student's particular specialism, from medieval to contemporary, and should be particularly attractive to students who enjoyed studying cultural theory in their first year.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate sophistication and articulateness in contemporary cultural theory and history of aesthetics.
  • 2. present critical theory and its applications within a critical group
  • 3. through clear thinking and writing, and sustained concentration on difficult material, develop mental flexibility, tolerance, ability to deal with change and changing perspectives, and independence in thought, planning, and research

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. demonstrate an advanced ability to analyse critical theories and to relate their concerns and modes of expression to their historical contexts
  • 5. demonstrate an advanced ability to apply critical theory to texts and media of their choice
  • 6. demonstrate an advanced ability to use logical argumentation to critique—explore the scope and limits—of any particular theory

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. through seminar work and presentations, demonstrate advanced communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups
  • 8. through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, an advanced capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose
  • 9. through research for seminars, essays, and presentations demonstrate advanced proficiency in information retrieval and analysis
  • 10. through research and writing, demonstrate an advanced capacity to make critical use of secondary material, to question assumptions, and to reflect on their own learning process

Syllabus plan

N.B. This is indicative only of the kind of topics we may discuss, which will be based on topics of current interest and on more classic readings from The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism 2010 edition. In the Introductory session, we shall determine the final syllabus based on students’ experience, needs, and enthusiasms.

1.Introduction and construction of syllabus

2. Genders and Sexualities

3. Empire, Postcolonial Studies, Globalization

4. Foucault

5. Digital identities

6. Biosocial identities

7. Science and Technology: Transhumanism and Enhancement

8. World Literatures and Reading Practices

9. Eco-criticism and Ecology without Nature

10. Ways of Reading

11.Review session to present final paper topics

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities33 hoursSeminars
Guided Independent Study267reading, research and essay preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Oral Presentation3-5 Minutes2,3,4,5,6,7Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Literature Review402000 words1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10Written
Essay603000 words1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Literature ReviewLiterature Review1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10Referral/deferral period
EssayEssay1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading: Students are required to purchase the following: The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, ed. Vincent Leitch et al (2010 or most recent edition). All more recent readings are electronically linked on ELE and are also in the Library and Ready Text


ELE – Advanced Critical Theory


Other resources: Reading for week 1. Please prepare for this by considering the contents and alternative contents tables in the Norton Anthology and the readings on ELE. You will be asked to make selections of the kinds of readings you wish to study in the module. We shall confirm the syllabus during this Introductory meeting

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Last revision date


Key words search

Critical Theory