Criticism and Theory: Critical and Literary Theory in a Global Context (EASM152)

StaffDr John Bolin - Convenor
Dr Paul Young - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level7
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

Drawing upon Routledge’s recently published Global Literary Theory: An Anthology, this module introduces students to a wealth of really important critical material from around the world, including but also going beyond the work of writers and thinkers who have been influential within the Western Academy. In so doing, it aims to show how thinking globally can expand, reorient and enrich the way in which we read and practice literary criticism and cultural theory. Participants on the module will explore different world traditions of literary and cultural interpretation; they will be introduced to new theories and problems for reading literature and culture in an international context; and they will reflect on how writers situated in different historical and geographical positions have responded to the heightened global connectivity and intensified world-level forces we associate variously with the modern world system, imperialism and ‘globalization’.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of key questions and debates concerning the study of literature and culture in a global context.
  • 2. demonstrate an advanced capacity to develop a reflexive critical position in relation to such questions and debates.
  • 3. demonstrate an advanced ability to grasp the applicability of such concerns to the analysis of cultural texts

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. demonstrate an advanced and autonomous ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to literary and other cultural forms
  • 5. demonstrate an advanced ability to digest, select and organise interdisciplinary material and to trace the development of debate across disciplinary boundaries
  • 6. demonstrate an ability to make a contribution to the study of literature and culture
  • 7. demonstrate an ability to devise, research and execute a programme of critical research

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. through seminar work and presentations, demonstrate advanced communication skills and an ability to articulate their views convincingly both individually and in groups
  • 9. through essay-writing, demonstrate advanced research and bibliographic skills, an advanced and intellectually mature capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument and to write clear and correct prose
  • 10. through research for seminars, essays and presentations demonstrate an advanced proficiency in information retrieval and analysis
  • 11. through the planning and organisation of independent research projects, demonstrate independence of thought and confidence in developing ideas and formulating questions
  • 12. through the writing of independent research projects, demonstrate an ability to construct work of substantial length, detail and some originality

Syllabus plan

Global Literary Theory: An Anthology is divided into different theoretical sections, each of which has a clear introduction. This allows us to revise the syllabus according to the particular interests of the students, following a discussion in the initial seminar. As such the following outline is indicative only:


  1. Formalism, Structuralism
  2. Deconstruction and Poststructuralism
  3. Media, Culture and Postmodernism
  4. Psychoanalysis and its Critics
  5. Marxism, Critical Theory and New Historicism
  6. Race and Ethnicity
  7. Postcolonial Studies
  8. Gender and Queer Theory
  9. Feminism
  10. New Textualities
  11. Globalization and Global Studies

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 activities20Seminars
Guided Independent33Study group preparation and meetings
Guided Independent70Seminar participation (individual)
Guided Independent176Reading, research and essay preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
2 Oral presentations10 minutes each1-8, 10Cohort feedback via seminars

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
Research Report252500 words1-7, 9-12Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow up. Cohort feedback via seminars.
Formal Essay755000 words1-7, 9-12Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow up. Cohort feedback via seminars

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Research ReportResearch Report1-7, 9-12Referral/Deferral Period
Formal EssayFormal Essay1-7, 9-12Referral/Deferral Period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Core Reading

Global Literary Theory: An Anthology, ed. Richard J. Lane (London: Routledge, 2013)

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Origin date

February 2012

Last revision date

June 2013

Key words search

Criticism, theory, global, globalization