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

Teaching is by one two-hour seminar per week and one one-hour workshop. Students will be expected to participate in class discussion and individually present to the class theories and theorists of their choice. They will also present their individually-chosen paper topics and be given collective feedback on them before submitting their essays.

Seminars will be devoted to explication and debate of key texts in cultural and social theory. While these will be read in the form of excerpts from much more substantial works, as excerpted in the module reader, each student will focus on a theory, theorist, or an application of a theory to a work of their choice and will be expected to read extensively in their chosen area. Students choose their own topics, and will have the opportunity to get feedback from the group before submitting their final papers.




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