LN252GC      Half Unit
Contemporary Literature and Global Society (Spring Semester)

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Olga Sobolev PEL 6.01a and Dr Angus Wrenn PEL 6.01a


This course is available to General Course ‘Spring Semester’ students.


Although an A-level pass or equivalent in Literature is useful, it is not an absolute requirement (especially for General Course students).

Course content

(a) Study of contemporary (chiefly post 2000) literature and films in the context of modern globalised society, covering prose, poetry, drama and cinematic works; (b) Focus on cultural postmodernism, including such aspects as: decline of national cultural frameworks; 'commodification' of culture; 'media-driven' society; gender issues; the problem of identity and social fragmentation; (c) study of films and individual authors in English translation (where relevant). (d) several related trips to galleries, film festivals and theatre productions during the year; (e) extensive use of archive recordings of authors, and video; (f) students are encouraged to draw upon their background in their main discipline, and to read widely.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of lectures and 1 hour of classes in the ST.

Structured activities during the reading week in the LT. Revision workshops and tutorals in the ST.

This course has a reading week in week 6 of the Lent term.


Formative coursework

One essay per term; topically based research presentations.

Indicative reading

Literature: Vaclav Havel Leaving (Shakespeare King Lear); Milan Kundera, Ignorance; Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist; Marina Lewicka A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian; Jonathan S. Foer Everything  Is Illuminated; ; Zadie Smith, White Teeth; Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Gloria

Films: Good Bye, Lenin! (2003, dir. W. Becker); Everything Is Illuminated (2005, L. Schreiber); Loveless (2018, dir, A. Zvyagintsev);


Exam (80%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.
Presentation (20%) in the LT.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Language Centre

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills