Nineteenth-Century Networks: Writing Global Connections 2023-24
School of Arts, Culture And Language
Module - Semester 2
This module studies a selection of nineteenth-century literature in prose and verse to explore how writers envisaged the experience of living in an increasingly networked and globalised world. We will focus on the ways in which literary texts engaged with the political and economic structures, especially colonialism and imperialism, that provided the backdrop for the increasingly global movement of things, ideas, and people. But we will also explore how literary texts were shaped by, and responded creatively to, technologies and media that helped create intricate and far-reaching connections across the globe. We will study how connective infrastructures and technologies influenced the literary imagination, resulting in formal innovation and new plots. In addition to Romantic and Victorian texts, we will read a twenty-first-century historic novel that provides an alternative perspective on the global reach of Britain’s empire during the nineteenth-century, raising exciting and challenging questions about the relationship between literature and history.
While the precise syllabus will be updated on a yearly basis, you can expect to study some of the following topics, texts, and writers:
- Romantic constructions of race
- Romanticism and the idea of Britain
- narratives of enslavement
- abolitionist writing
- Victorian imperialism and its literary expressions (cf. Rudyard Kipling)
- global mobility and travel
- networks and the form of the Victorian novel (Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone)
- contemporary fiction about nineteenth-century global networks
ASSIGNMENT CRITERIA – UNDERGRADUATE WORK
Excellent Typically, work graded A- to A** (or 70 to 100) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas with confidence and precision • Demonstrates maturity and sophistication • Displays deep knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is totally relevant • Shows independent, analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of substantial and relevant reading • Shows great accuracy in expression, displaying total mastery over all aspects of the language • Shows occasional signs of brilliance and originality of thought • In creative work: displays considerable originality • Command over medium; may have potential for publication/production
Good Typically, work graded B- to B+ (or 60 to 69) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas adeptly • Most of the arguments about a specific field are well-aired • Displays knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is relevant • Shows analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of relevant reading • Shows accuracy in expression with mastery over language. • A few minor errors here and there. • Signs of creative thought deserve a higher position within the class • In creative work: shows signs of originality, having understood the requirements of the medium • Plans of well-balanced and full answers, despite some gaps
Satisfactory Typically, work graded C- to C+ (or 50 to 59) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas, but without much confidence • A respectable effort but not showing any unusual talent; a few flashes of originality here and there • Makes reference to the subject in question, but some important matters not mentioned • Fairly clear thought on most occasions, and the arguments relevant on the whole • Evidence of having read some works associated with the field in question • Quite accurate expression, though the points may sometimes be presented clumsily • Signs of conscientious work deserve a higher position within the class • In creative work: not having quite mastered the requirements of the medium • Evidence of planning in the answers, but a lack of coherence at times; undisciplined and unsure at times
Pass Typically, work graded D- to D+ (or 40 to 49) will show many of the following qualities: • Unsure and lacking in confidence when discussing ideas • Referring to the subject in question in a superficial manner • Making an effort to provide fairly balanced answers • Some points in the argument irrelevant to the topic • Little evidence of background reading • Some uncertainty over language and syntax • Strengths and weaknesses fairly balanced; occasionally clumsy and unimaginative • In creative work: superficial • Not succeeding in mastering the requirements of the medium
- To analyse literary expressions of, and responses to, colonialist and imperialist ideas as well the infrastructural of global mobility and connection.
- To describe and discuss some of the political, economic, and technological developments that shaped the movement of things, ideas, and people in the nineteenth century.
- To discuss the impact of globalisation and global mobilities on literary production and consumption
- To examine the connections between nineteenth-century culture and contemporary debates about race, economic justice, and climate crisis.
Students will write an essay answering a pre-released question in response to one or two course texts.
Students will prepare one of the following: a) an article for an online magazine reflecting on the contemporary significance of a nineteenth-century source related to the module topic, accompanied by a brief reflection b) a short creative piece responding to a nineteenth-century source related to the module topic, accompanied by a brief reflection c) a lesson plan on a topic and source related to a nineteenth-century source related to the module topic, accompanied by a brief reflection d) a political speech drawing on a nineteenth-century source related to the module topic, accompanied by a brief reflection