Undergraduate Autumn term optional modules

Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Literature, Dr Juha Virtanen, gives an insight into two of the Autumn term optional modules for undergraduate students.

Other Worlds: Dystopias and Futures

If you choose this optional module in the Autumn term, you will have the opportunity to learn how our engagement with narratives of dystopias and other speculative realities can help us gain some clarity and deepen our understanding of the pressing issues we face in the world today. We will think about societies; about apocalypses; about bodies; about futures; and about natures and climates. Throughout, we’ll draw links between these ‘other worlds’ and our own.

For the Autumn Term 2021, the set texts in Other Worlds are as follows:

  • Margaret Atwood, Handmaid’s Tale (Vintage, 2017)
  • Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen (DC Comics, 2019)
  • Jeff Vandermeer, Borne (4th Estate, 2017)
  • Colson Whitehead, Zone One (Vintage, 2012)
  • Nnedi Okorafor, The Book of Phoenix (Hodder & Stoughton, 2015)
  • Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (Faber & Faber, 2005)
  • Cherie Dimaline, The Marrow Thieves (Cormorant Books, 2017)
  • Deji Bryce Olukotun, After the Flare (Unnamed Press 2017)
  • Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower (Headline Publishing,1993)
  • Ursula Le Guin, The Word for World is Forest (Gateway, 2015)

All these books will be available in the on-campus branch of Blackwell’s bookstore, with special discounts available for School of English students. More information about the special discounts will be made available on the module’s Moodle page.

The module’s teaching team is excited to explore other worlds with you this Autumn Term.

American Power, American Protest

If you choose this optional module in the Autumn term, you will have the opportunity to learn how words can shape the world through examining the long history of oratorical performance in the USA. You will study a range of different speeches — ranging from presidential speeches to university debates, from Native American orature to political activism. You will also discover the deep connections between historical and political events and the activists and advocates that give voice to them.

There are no texts required for purchase on this module. Instead, you will be provided with a free module reader that features a range of transcriptions of speeches by figures such as former presidents of the USA, African American and Native American leaders and advocates, anti-war protestors, anti-capitalist activists, as well as renowned authors.

The module’s teaching team look forward to our discussions with you. Together, we will explore the tools that help us understand and critique the rhetorical choices of a range of speakers. We will learn to understand the specific historical and cultural factors that give rise both to the speeches we encounter and the rhetorical choices of their delivery.