This module will introduce you to the main areas of literary and cultural theory and teach you how to apply them to literary texts as well as teaching you to think critically about just about everything: films, TV, current events, family dinners, you think of it and by the end of this module you’ll be able to crticially analyse it. You’ll learn about Psychoanalysis, Marxism, Postcolonial Theory, and Feminism. You’ll have two sessions on each approach, which will mean you’ll get to grips with the main concepts of the theory, and then work on applying them ‘in practice’.
The assessment for this module is in two parts, a presentation and an essay. For the presentation you’ll be asked to prepare, in small groups, about 10 minutes on one of the theories, demonstrating how you would apply it to a text, film, music video, song, etc, of your choice. For example, you might do a feminist reading of a Shakespeare play, or take a Marxist look at Cosmopolitan magazine or The Lego Movie: the possibilities are endless. The 2000 word essay will ask you to apply one of the theories you’ve studied to Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw.
This is quite a packed module and can be challenging, but that’s the point, and as long as you go to the lectures and seminars, you’ll get to grips with it in no time. Remember that getting a handle on these theories at the beginning of your degree will benefit you in the long run as they’ll come up again and again in most of the modules you take. You’ll get the chance to take another theory module in your second year if you want to build on what you’ve learned here, and there are plenty of modules which relate to the individual theories too. You’ll really be encouraged to express and develop your opinions each week, so don’t be shy, get stuck in!
-Katie and T.E.A