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2017/18 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3284 Trial Discourse - The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674 - 1913

20 creditsClass Size: 10

For full module descriptions of our level 2 and 3 undergraduate modules (including details of preparatory reading, texts for purchase and required unassessed work) please see the Undergraduate Module Handbook in the English Organisation on the VLE.

Visiting and Exchange Students must read this information before selecting modules.

Module manager: Dr. Alison Johnson
Email: a.j.johnson@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

Pre-requisite qualifications

Students wishing to take this module must have passed an introduction to language study in the School of English or another department (such modules include 'English Structure and Style', 'Analysing English', 'English: Context, Culture & Style', a Level 1 module in Linguistics and Phonetics, or similar modules in other departments in Modern Languages.) If you do not meet this requirement, but do have a Grade A in English Language A-level, and you wish to take this module, you must consult the module tutor, as should any student who is uncertain whether they meet the pre-requisite requirements.

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module is a specialist module in Forensic Linguistics. It investigates trial discourse in a historical database of trials held at the Old Bailey from 1674 to 1913. The module is related to, but not overlapping with the module: Forensic Approaches to Language ENGL3233. If students take both modules, it is desirable but not necessary to take ENGL3233 first. Each module stands on its own, but with some obvious overlap in the bibliographies and background reading. This module may appeal to students from law, sociology, history, and psychology as well as students in English and linguistics.

Objectives

The module is based around the 127 million word Old Bailey Proceedings, an online digitised resource of trials held at the Old Bailey over two and a half centuries. The module focuses on the records as trial discourse and students will investigate the nature and form of contemporary and historical trial discourse. Focusing on particular periods, a variety of offences, and specific themes, study will concentrate on topics such as rape trials in the 18th century and the testimony of expert medical witnesses in 19th century trials involving an insanity defence, in relation to discourse styles: examination and cross-examination, the discourse of defence advocacy, the expert witness, the interaction of judges, narrative etc. In the earlier period there is also an opportunity to study the discourse of confession in the Ordinary's Accounts, in combination with the associated trial, allowing students to study the way that the crime and the offender is represented in the record across the legal and religious modes. Students will gain an understanding of the interfaces of legal, medical, religious and social discourse in the arena of the historical courtroom and, after undertaking guided analysis of trials in the intial essay, will undertake their own research study in the Proceedings materials or in other historical trial record sites to which they will be directed. The Proceedings are little explored from a forensic linguistic point of view and students therefore have a unique contribution to make to the field in their own research. The second essay is an individual piece of research negotiated in consultation with the tutor.

Learning outcomes
The module will develop skills in: corpus linguistics, discourse analysis, textual analysis of legal trial data and historical forensic linguistics.
Students will work both with extracted data sets from the Proceedings which are provided for them (in relation to the first assessed essay), and with their own selections of data from the Proceedings or another historical trial record site (for a second, lengthier research essay).
Students will understand the complexity of the making of linguistic and historical records and the traces and memories that they leave for scholars to study and interpret.


Syllabus

The module is based around the 127 million word Old Bailey Proceedings, an online digitised resource of trials held at the Old Bailey over two and a half centuries: 1674-1913. The module focuses on the records as trial discourse and students will investigate the nature and form of contemporary and historical trial discourse.

Focusing on particular periods, a variety of offences, and specific themes, study will concentrate on topics such as rape trials in the 18th century and the testimony of expert medical witnesses in 19th century trials involving an insanity defence, and discourse styles: examination and cross-examination, the discourse of defence advocacy, the expert witness, the interaction of judges, narrative etc. In the earlier period there is also an opportunity to study the discourse of confession in the Ordinary's Accounts, in combination with the associated trial, allowing students to study the way that the crime and the offender is represented in the record across the legal and religious modes.

Students will gain an understanding of the interfaces of legal, medical, religious and social discourse in the arena of the historical courtroom and, after undertaking guided analysis of trials in the initial essay, will undertake their own research study in the Proceedings materials. The Proceedings are little explored from a forensic linguistic point of view and students therefore have a unique contribution to make to the field in their own research. The second essay is an individual piece of research negotiated in consultation with the tutor.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Seminars101.0010.00
Lecture51.005.00
Private study hours185.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Reading, seminar preparation, essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

-Attendance at seminars
-Feedback on essay

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1,700 words33.30
EssayIndividual research essay of 2,750 words (excluding data)66.70
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 26/04/2017

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