Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module MELA46130: Selected Topics of World Literature

Department: Modern Languages and Cultures

MELA46130: Selected Topics of World Literature

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap None.
Tied to R9T207


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide students with a brief overview of debates in comparative and world literary studies.
  • To equip them with methodologies and critical tools for the study of literatures and cultures.
  • To train students to engage critically with literatures from across different cultures.


  • "World Literature" has in recent years emerged as the most visible and most highly debated successor to "comparative literature." This module will briefly introduce these debates. The module as a whole will focus on literatures from around the world, organized around topics that recur in different literatures as they speak to the experience of living in the pre-modern and/or modern world. Texts will be read in translation, but students will be encouraged to engage with texts in their original language if they are able to do so. Topics may include (but are not limited to) a number of the following: "Literature of the City"; "Gothic and Monstrous Narratives"; "Literature and the Sacred"; "Revolution and Aesthetics"; "Environments"; "Justice and Rights"; "Transnational Imaginaries;" "Gender, Sexuality and Literature;" "Literature and the Visual."

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of this module students should be able to demonstrate:
  • Critical understanding of different debates around comparative literary studies.
  • Advanced understanding of a range of different topics in world literature.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of this module students should be able to demonstrate:
  • An advanced ability to engage critically with cultural texts within their specific context.
  • An advanced ability to engage critically with different world literary topics.
Key Skills:
  • By the end of this module students should be able to demonstrate:
  • An advanced ability to engage cultural analysis.
  • Developing independent research skills, using a wide range of subject-specific search tools and sources.
  • An advanced ability to synthesise complex material from a wide range of sources in order to produce effective written documents.
  • Demonstrate competence in appropriate information technology skills. • Demonstrate professional conduct through observation of professional and academic standards, including correct editorial referencing of sources.
  • Demonstrate problem-solving skills.
  • Demonstrate organisational skills, including time management.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be taught by means of 10 sessions which will be a combination of lectures, seminars and students’ presentations. Students will be required to prepare for each seminar by set reading, and to play an active role in discussing issues that arise. Summative assessment will consist of a multimedia essay.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 10 weekly 2 hours 20
Student preparation and reading time 280

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 5000 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment will take place throughout the course, and feedback will be provided on presentations and class discussion.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University