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Module QXP-3008:
Cross-Cultural Writing

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Zoë Skoulding

Overall aims and purpose

  1. To examine the particular qualities of fiction, autobiography and poetry in relation cross-cultural theories and approaches.
  2. To explore techniques appropriate to a specific literary form
  3. To develop the ability to edit and revise creative work to a high standard
  4. To reflect critically and conceptually on creative practice in order to sustain and develop it

Course content

This module aims to develop writing techniques and conceptual understanding in fiction and non-fiction by considering different approaches to writing across and between cultures, sub-cultures, languages and cultural identities. The word culture is often taken for granted, but this module questions it by considering a range of international cultural identities, including local and Welsh identity, and the possibilities of literary communication between them. Exploring post-colonial and cross-cultural views of literature and writing, it will examine the experimental techniques they make possible in fiction. Other areas to be explored are the possibilities and challenges of cultural and linguistic translation; bilingualism or multilingualism and its influence on the writing process and text, diaspora, narrating displacement, minority Vs majority cultural experience, the possibilities and limitations of anthropological writing, the political and literary difficulties of writing ‘the other’, and whether we can escape our own cultural identity as writers, and how. Taking a creative-critical approach, students will gain knowledge of key contemporary theories relevant to writers, an enhanced understanding of contemporary fiction and non-fiction, and an expanded practical knowledge of the literary techniques used in cross-cultural writing.

Assessment Criteria


Typically, work graded D- to D+ (or 40 to 49) will show many of the following qualities: • Limited engagement with ideas. • Link between themes and form not always clear. • Limited sense of formal conventions. Inconsistent with regard to linguistic technicalities • Limited awareness of redrafting and editing process. • Work in need of some revision.


Typically, work graded A- to A** (or 70 to 100) will show many of the following qualities:

• Excellent levels of originality, vision and depth; striking and thorough engagement with ideas.

• Excellent understanding and control of form.

• Impressive linguistic control and/or innovation.

• Sophisticated understanding of the creative process and assured control of decisions made in writing.

• Dynamic work approaching publishable standard.


Typically, work graded B- to B+ (or 60 to 69) will show many of the following qualities: • Demonstration of a degree of vitality and originality. • Very good understanding of generic conventions; sound use of structures and forms. • Resourceful use of language • Sound understanding of the creative process and thoughtful control of decisions made in writing. • Very good work, which at times comes close to publishable standard.

Typically, work graded C- to C+ (or 50 to 59) will show many of the following qualities: • Some attempt at serious exploration of ideas. • Some link between themes and form. Good attempt to engage with form, but this may not be entirely sustained. • Use of language technically proficient, but not always focused. • Some awareness of the creative process and of decisions made in writing. • Good work, but its strengths need to be more fully sustained to reach publishable standard.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate independence in planning, carrying out and reviewing a sustained cross-cultural writing project.

  2. Show an ability to reflect critically and conceptually on creative practice in order to sustain and develop it.

  3. A critical understanding of fiction, autobiography or poetry in relation to cross-cultural theory.

  4. Demonstrate high level writing skills through synthesising everyday cultural observation with trans-cultural writing practices.

Assessment Methods

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study 178

Weekly seminars of two hours over one semester.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others


Resource implications for students

Purchase of set texts.

Reading list

Any edition of the following books will be fine. Set texts: Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. 2014. Americanah (Fourth Estate) Hughes, Tristan.2003. The Tower (Parthian Books) McGuiness, Patrick. 2011. The Last Hundred Days (Seren) Rushdie, Salman. 2008. Midnight’s Children (Vintage) Other recommended primary texts: Anzaldua , Gloria Borderlands/La Frontera (Aunt Lute Books, 2007) Lahiri, Jhumpa Interpreter of Maladies (Flamingo, 2000) Lamming, George In the Castle of my Skin (Longman, 1986) Momaday, M Scott. 1989. House Made of Dawn (Perennial Classics) Oyeyemi, Helen The Opposite House (Bloomsbury, 2008)

Recommended theoretical reading: Bassnett, Susan and Lefevre, Andre. 1997. Constructing Culture. (Bristol: Multilingual Matters) Bhabba, Homi K. 1990. The Location of Culture (Routledge) Brydon, Diana and Tiffin, Helen. 1993. Helen Decolonising Fictions (Dangaroo) Clifford, James. 1997. Routes. (Cambridge: Harvard University) Geertz, Clifford. 1977. The Interpretation of Cultures. (New York: Basic Books) Huggan, Graham. 2001. The Postcolonial Exotic: Marketing the margins (Routledge) Katan, David. 2014. Translating Cultures (New York: Routledge) Rushdie, Salman. 1992. Imaginary Homelands (Granta) Sturge, Kate. 2007. Representing Others. (New York: Routledge) Said, Edward W. 2nd Edition 1995 [orig.1978] Orientalism (Penguin) Said, Edward W. 1993. Culture and Imperialism (Vintage) Tiffin, Chris and Lawson, Alan. 1994. De-scribing Empire: post-colonialism and textuality (Routledge)

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: