Undergraduate prospectus

Course Information

International Bestsellers

Module summary

Module code: COML1091
Level: 5
Credits: 30
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Humanities and Social Sciences
Module Coordinator(s): Andrew King

Specification

Aims

The aims of this course are to:
1. engender in students an awareness of the political, economic, social and technological factors in enabling the global circulation of popular narrative texts;
2. enable students to gain an advanced critical appreciation of specific texts by locating them in their historical, economic, social and political contexts;
3. pinpoint key past and present formal and informal policies and regulations regarding the international and national circulation of narrative;
4. enhance student knowledge and understanding of concepts and definitions related to narrative transmission and associated theoretical approaches
5. extend student skills in written and oral electronic communication
6. increase student skills in group communication and work

This interdisciplinary course is designed to appeal to students of English, Languages and International Studies.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1 communicate an understanding of the political, economic, social and technological factors involved in the global circulation of narrative in general
2 be able to relate specific texts to their social, economic, political and historical contexts
3 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the possibilities and limitations of a variety of theoretical approaches to narrative transmission
4 Write and speak in a variety of styles appropriate to specific audiences and situations, using relevant electronic tools
5 articulate the advantages and disadvantages of group work for them as individuals

Indicative content

This course examines the production and distribution of popular narratives mainly in written texts but also in film, television, theatre and on-line media that have been circulated globally from the mid-nineteenth-century to today. Questions that the course will seek to address include: what have been and are the conditions necessary for such circulation? what are the constants and what the historical and geographical differences in the global circulation of narrative? why do some narratives achieve global spread and others remain local? Besides examining texts using a variety of methodologies (not only the close reading of texts familiar since the 1930s but the much more recent quantitative data mining exemplified by Franco Moretti’s “distant” reading and the recent turn of attention to the reader’s emotion) the course covers the changing landscape of the narrative industries themselves and culminates in an extended group project lasting 5 or 6 weeks to create an online open-access resource that over time is intended to grow into a substantial web resource on the global circulation of popular narrative.

Teaching and learning activity

The course will comprise a combination of lecture, seminar and flipped classroom with workshops on the processing of big (literary) data sets, presentations, blog-writing, how to work effectively in groups and how to create effective web-resources.

Assessment

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Individual reading reflection
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment (Please use the numbers above to refer to these): 2, 3, 4
Grading Mode:Numeric
Weighting: 25%
Pass Mark: 40%
Word Length: 1500
Outline Details:Students outline their own thought processes and research activities when trying to understand two different set theoretical, historical or fictional texts.

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Individual series of blogs covering set topics
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment (Please use the numbers above to refer to these): 1, 2, 3, 4
Grading Mode:Numeric
Weighting: 25%
Pass Mark: 40%
Word Length: 3 x 500
Outline Details:Students compose 3 blogs.

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Group creation of web resource
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment (Please use the numbers above to refer to these): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting: 50%
Pass Mark :40%
Word Length: 3000 equivalent
Outline Details:Students in groups generate a digital edition of (sections of) an out-of-copyright text, with group-written 2000-word introduction specifying and explaining the global circulation and significance of the text.