Acts of Writing - Literature and Film 1953 to Present (EAS3145)

StaffDr Florian Stadtler - Lecturer
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

Acts of Writing will engage with a range of literature, film and critical theory from 1953 to the present. The texts studied on the module come from around the English-speaking world, including the United Kingdom, India and Pakistan, Ireland, the USA, Canada, and South Africa. This module considers whether literature and film require new modes of expression to accommodate the socio-historical events of the period. Students will be expected to read literary and filmic texts in light of twentieth- and twenty-first-century political and ethical debates, and in relation to critical theory.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. identify and discuss at an advanced level literary and filmic modes of the period including confession and autobiographical writing, postmodernism, literary postcolonialism and feminism;
  • 2. apply at an advanced level current debates in critical, cultural and literary theory to the modes of writing and film production of the period;
  • 3. confidently relate these literary modes to the relevant contexts of the period;
  • 4. identify and discuss at an advanced level continuities and discontinuities of the period with earlier debates in literary studies, particularly from the first half of the twentieth century;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. demonstrate an advanced ability to analyse the literature and film of different cultures and genres and to relate its concerns and its modes of expression to its historical context;
  • 6. demonstrate an advanced ability to interrelate texts and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history;
  • 7. demonstrate an advanced ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to literary and film texts;

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. through seminar work and presentations, demonstrate advanced communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups;
  • 9. 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;
  • 10. through research for seminars, essays and presentations demonstrate advanced proficiency in information retrieval and analysis;
  • 11. through sitting their final examination, demonstrate advanced proficiency in the use of memory and in the development, organization, and expression of ideas under pressure of time.

Syllabus plan


Introducing Acts of Writing

Writing selfhood in the post-imperial novel

Feminism and postmodernity


Rewriting Histories – three case studies

Ireland; South Africa; Pakistan


The Politics of Private Lives

Articulating ‘queer’ subjectivities

Writing female subjectivities

Cultures of Confession and the Limits of Autobiography


New Subjectivities and the Environment in post-millennial contexts

From Dystopia to “Us-topia”

Mapping Urban Space

Diasporic identities and productions of the self

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 Activities 22seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities 11lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities 6film screenings
Guided independent study33study group preparation and meetings
Guided independent study70seminar preparation (individual)
Guided independent study154reading, research and essay preparation
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities4Workshops

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
Essay503000 words1-4, 5-7, 8-9Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up.
Exam502 hours1-4, 5-7, 11Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up.

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-4, 5-7, 8-9Referral/deferral period
ExamExam1-4, 5-7, 11Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Graham Greene, The Quiet American (1955)

Angela Carter, The Magic Toyshop (1967)

Seamus Heaney, North (1975)

J. M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians (1980)

Salman Rushdie, Shame (1983)

My Beautiful Laundrette, dir. Stephen Frears (1985)

Paris is Burning, dir. Jennie Livingston (1990)

Jamaica Kincaid, The Autobiography of My Mother (1996)

Ted Hughes, Birthday Letters (1998)

Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake (2003)

I for India, dir. Sandhya Suri (2005)

Ivan Vladislavic, Portrait with Keys: The City of Johannesburg Unlocked (2006)

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Other resources:

Laurence Buell, Writing for an Endangered World (2001) 

Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (1993)

Vivek Chibber, Postcolonial Theory and the Spectre of Capital (2013)

Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (1984)

Leigh Gilmore, The Limits of Autobiography: trauma and testimony (2001)

Paul Gilroy, After Empire (2004) 

Naomi Klein, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies (1999) 

Deborah Nelson, Pursuing Privacy in Cold War America (2002) 

Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism (1993)

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Film, literature, Britain, Ireland, North America, South Asia, South Africa, post-colonies, contemporary cultures