Typical core modules
This module offers an introduction to key issues and skills in the discipline for those making the transition to studying English at university level in the School of English at UNM. Whereas the other modules necessarily concentrate your attention within closely-defined disciplinary boundaries (with a focus that is essential to learning specific skills and acquiring specialist knowledge), this module emphasizes points of intersection between the diverse disciplines contained within the study of English. Taught in small groups, students are encouraged to explore critically and reflexively what it means to be a student of English, and are supported in developing a toolkit of study, writing, critical thinking, theory, research and communication skills which can be transferred to other modules.
Introduction to Linguistics
This introductory module allows students to gain a broad and basic understanding of linguistics as an academic discipline. It is designed to equip students for further studies in the field of linguistics as a whole, and to develop individual specialisms in the future. Ideally, students should be well prepared to become more specialised in any of the areas covered, and take initial interests further. At the end of this module, students should be able to define the discipline, and the main pre-occupations of its sub-fields. Students will be expected to have developed an understanding of linguistic contrasts, from the phonological to the pragmatic level, and of the types of analyses open to students of those fields. This module introduces students to the core areas of linguistics, discourse, language acquisition, and pragmatics, focusing on several broad areas pertaining to linguistics and its methodological issues in phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.
This module introduces students to some of the core skills for literary studies, including skills in reading, writing, researching and presentation. The module addresses topics including close reading, constructing an argument, and handling critical material, as well as introducing students to key critical questions about literary genres, production and reception. These elements are linked to readings of specific literary texts, focused on poetry and prose selected from the 20th and 21st century literature.
The Influence of English
This module examines the influence of English as an international language. It provides students with an overview of the historical, literary, and social development of English including its spread as a global language through the processes of colonisation and globalisation. It also considers how English continues to evolve in the 20th and 21st Century as an international lingua franca and focuses on its prominent role in global communications and as a resource for the shaping of identities and knowledge across the world. This module draws from a range of analytical approaches including historical linguistics, stylistics, sociolinguistics, multimodality, and globalisation theories.
The Survey of English Literature and Drama
This is a full-year module that introduces students to a range of core texts in the literary canon from medieval till 21st century. It aims to provide students with a background to the history of English literature and drama, and provide a broad overview of the key developments in terms of genre, subject matter, style and reception. Students will explore a range of texts including Beowulf and Dream of the Rood, and works from authors including Chaucer, Shakespeare, Wycherley, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Wordsworth, Jane Austen, Dickens, Wilde, and Virginia Woolf to twenty-first century novel and poetry. The authors will be situated within their socio-historic context, and we will consider the relationship between culture, history and literature.
Typical core modules
Discourse and Society
This module explores the relationship between discourse and society. It considers the vital role that discourse plays in various communicative domains including healthcare, business, politics, law, the media, advertising and education. You will be introduced to frameworks for examining various types of discourse and communication strategies, including multi-modal approaches that examine the visual aspects of texts, as well as a range of contemporary approaches to discourse analysis. The domains of law, politics, healthcare, advertising, the media, business and education offer a rich resource for discourse-based studies of society and enable you to discover the uses of communicative strategies in specific social settings. For example, you will have the opportunity to analyse a range of socially-situated texts, including political speeches, police interrogations, classroom meetings, business and medical communication.
Language, Gender, and Sexuality
This module provides students with knowledge of the interplay between language and gender in a wide range of linguistic contexts. Students will engage with a range of analytical approaches to language, including conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, and interactional sociolinguistics. Students will respond to and critically engage with contemporary real-world problems associated with gender and sexuality through the consideration of discourse-based texts. Topics will include gender and sexual identity construction in a range of interactive contexts, as well as sexist, misogynistic, homophobic and heteronormative representations in texts. Students will engage with theories of gender from the 1970s to the current day, with particular focus on contemporary approaches to gender theory. The assessment will include collaborative group work in which students actively engage with a current political issue, and an individual theoretical essay or analytical project.
This module bridges the study of literature and the study of language, and offers a training in the discipline of literary linguistics, also known as stylistics. The emphasis is on the analysis of linguistic and narratological aspects of literary texts in order to show their linguistic patterns and provide an account of their readerly effects, significance, meaning and value. The module offers an opportunity for specialisation in preparation for level 3 modules in modern English language, particularly in the areas of stylistics, cognitive poetics and narratology.
Modern and Contemporary Literature
This module will familiarise students with relevant aesthetic, generic, and literary-historical strategies for tracing formal and thematic transformations in literature from 1910 to 1960. Moving between genres, the module will unfold chronologically from modernism, through the inter-war and post-war years. Lectures and seminars will address some key phases of creative transition, while also focusing on the work of representative novelists, poets, and dramatists. This combination of overview and textual scrutiny will encourage students to explore influences and affinities between writers working in different modes and periods. Weekly topics will primarily be concerned with mapping literary formations and innovations within the artistic and cultural contexts from which they emerge, while also addressing the wider aesthetic and ideological significances of issues such as class reformation, gender identity, racial integration, and social belonging.
Victorian and Fin de Siecle Literature
This module enables the students to explore the wide variety of Victorian and fin-de-siècle literature, with examples from fiction (both novels and short stories), critical writing, poetry and drama. It examines changes in literary forms and genres over this period. It pays some attention to the contested transition between Victorianism and Modernism. The module is organised in terms of a number of interrelated themes, which may include empire and race, class and labor relations, gender and sexuality, decadence and aestheticism, religious faith and doubt, and evolution and degeneration. Students are encouraged to consider issues of genre and make connections between the ways these themes are represented and explored in specific literary works, and larger changes in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century social, political, intellectual and publishing culture.
World Literatures in English
This module aims to introduce the global varieties of modern and contemporary literature translated into English language. It will offer an insight into some of the theoretical frameworks that have been used to interpret and critique texts in the world literature. We mainly read texts which are not typically considered as British or American literature. By looking at what is considered a key ‘classical’ text in different literary traditions, the module investigates relations between different literary and cultural contexts, including some of the difficulties of translation. This course will also introduce students to some of the intellectual aspects of literary analysis and criticism associated with world literatures translated into English Language. The module is taught in English and the texts will be read in translation. The texts are selected from a wide range of languages and cultures, written, for example, by Arab, African, Russian, Latin-American, Iberian, Indian, French, and Turkish authors.
Typical core modules
English Dissertation (Optional)
This module allows students to carry out a major piece of supervised independently researched work in an area relating to English Language and Literature. Work for this module is based upon a research topic chosen by the student. The dissertation encourages students to develop a critical argument within a sustained piece of writing, as well as demonstrate the necessary skills of planning and presenting a research project.
Malaysian English (Optional)
This module explores the Malaysian variety of English sometimes colloquially referred to as Manglish. However, it recognises that the variety under study is extremely heterogeneous, comprising in fact several potential varieties with a number of different substrates. The data are taken from a number of sources in Malaysia, including advertisements, literature, radio broadcasts, television shows and plays. The module encourages students to directly engage in data collection and analysis. In so doing, the participants directly add to the existing literature on Malaysian English, while also situating their study in the general field of World Englishes. This can be done particularly via the rather more extensive work on Singapore English, which while not identical, nevertheless shares a number of features. The students directly engage with the debates surrounding good English and the accompanying movement of that name; they also explore questions of language convergence and divergence.
Malaysian Literature in English (Optional)
This module explores the writings of several Malaysian writers who have emerged since mid-20th century, and especially after Malaysian Independence. The module encourages students to directly engage in literary analysis of the poetry and fiction produced by several Malaysian authors and poets. In so doing, the students directly contribute to the existing critical research on Malaysian literature in English, while also situating their studies in the general field of World Englishes.
Modern British Fiction since 1950
British’ is here conceived as an inclusive concept, open to contestation and available for appropriation (as in ‘Black British’). Key texts from the 1950s up to the present day will be selected for study. Particular issues will set the agenda, including: representations of history, gender, ethnicity, the state-of-the-nation, national identity, formal innovation etc. Discussion will concentrate on the formal operations and innovations of selected novelists, and will be underpinned by a consideration of how the contemporary context influences these questions of form.
Patterns, Functions, and the Description of English
This module examines approaches to the description of patterns and structures of the English language. It introduces grammatical models with a focus on the relationship between patterns and meanings in context. The module will explore differences between grammatical descriptions of spoken and written language, it will investigate the interplay of lexis and grammar, and it will ask what kind of generalisations about the English language can usefully form the basis for reference grammars. The module gives particular emphasis to approaches that are informed by evidence of language use and it will explore the applicability of these approaches to examples of language in context, particularly in terms of varieties of World English in the local context.
Shakespeare and His Contemporaries on the Stage
This module offers an in-depth exploration of the historical and theatrical contexts of early modern English drama. Drawing on the most innovative and provocative works by Shakespeare and some of his key contemporaries (Marlowe, Kyd, Middleton, Jonson, Webster, and others), this module invites students to explore the three-dimensional stagecraft of these writers. Lectures will introduce the physical environments of the first professional indoor and outdoor theatres, the political and institutional contexts that shaped dramatic production, and the conditions of performance for which dramatists wrote, seeing early modern playwriting as a vibrant and collaborative process. Through a combination of historical research, close reading and creative exploration in workshops, students will build confidence in analysing the ways in which the extant texts imply and provoke performance, and draw on these knowledge bases in written assessments. The module will be delivered through lectures and seminars: the seminars will, on the one hand, give further practice in close reading and equip students with the skills necessary for reading early modern material fluently, and on the other, encourage examination of the assumptions made in contextual readings, to enable students to develop their own critical voice and authority.
This module aims to provide students with a thorough grounding in sociolinguistics, a wide-ranging knowledge of approaches to and theories of sociolinguistic phenomena, and the opportunity to engage in their own investigations of these issues with skills of practical investigation, data-collection, processing, and the presentation and interpretation of data in a sociolinguistic context.