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EL45KP: ALL TOO HUMAN: ANIMAL AND POSTHUMAN RELATIONS (2017-2018)

Last modified: 12 Apr 2017 16:50


Course Overview

The question of the human is at the forefront of contemporary philosophical and cultural enquiry. Looking at a range of popular and literary texts, as well as recent theoretical writings, this course investigates the relation between the human and animal and the representation of human transformation and adaptation in order to study contemporary approaches to the body, language, and suffering.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Dr Tim Baker

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either English (EL) or Literature In A World Context (LW)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Programme Level 4

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

None.

Are there a limited number of places available?

Yes

One or more of these courses have a limited number of places. Priority access will be given to students for whom this course is compulsory. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for more details on this process.


Course Description

The questions of what it means to be human, and of where the boundaries between the human, the animal, and the machine might lie, have grown ever more pressing in contemporary fiction. Looking at a wide range of texts and genres, including realist fiction, science fiction, crime fiction, and graphic novels, as well as at a substantial number of relevant philosophical and theoretical texts, this course will explore how the question of the human has been handled in recent literature. Themes considered will include: the relation between human and animal suffering; the role of language in shaping identity; the ethics of human transformation and improvement (clones, cyborgs, and genetic tinkering), and the relation between body and self. Authors to be studied may include Kazuo Ishiguro, Ali Smith, Michel Faber, and Patrick Ness.

Further Information & Notes

The aims of the course are:
- To enhance understanding of contemporary fiction through a focus on the question of the human
- To introduce students to a range of genres and styles in contemporary literature
- To examine the relationship between literary and popular fiction
- To consider the relation between recent theoretical and philosophical studies of the human and contemporary fiction
- To delineate the relationships between animals and humans in a variety of texts
- To compare various stylistic strategies used by contemporary writers to examine the concept of the human
- To explore the use of fiction as a means of commenting on current philosophical and scientific debates

By the end of the course, students should be able to:
- think in a sophisticated way about contemporary fiction through the study of specific texts
- demonstrate an understanding of key themes and issues relating to the human
- reflect critically on the relationship between human and animal embodiment, suffering, and transformation
- discuss critically and cogently themes of language and ethics as they are articulated in a range of contemporary texts
- write in a sophisticated way about contemporary fiction, and in particular the way it reflects wider cultural, social, philosophical, and aesthetic developments
- demonstrate a critical understanding of key issues in their contribution to discussion, in their oral presentations, and in their written work

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed

None.

Contact Teaching Time

22 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown


Assessment

1st Attempt: Essay 1 (2500 words): 35%; Essay 2 (3500 words): 45%; Presentation: 10%; Seminar participation: 10% Resit: For honours students only: candidates achieving a CAS mark of 6-8 may be awarded compensatory level 1 credit. Candidates achieving a CAS mark of less than 6 will be required to submit a new essay.

Formative Assessment

Students will be asked to keep a course journal, to be submitted at the end of the course.

Feedback

Students will receive prompt oral feedback in seminars, and will receive formal written feedback on essays within three weeks of submission.

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