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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MODL3610 Adventures of the Imagination: Crime and the Fantastic Across Continents

20 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: David Platten

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Crime fiction and the fantastic in written and audio-visual forms, are popular in many different parts of the world. Why do so many people enjoy these kinds of story? What can they tell us about the nature of being human? And what do they reveal about the societies in which they are produced? Students will grapple with these questions via the study of an exciting range of material drawn from different cultures and presented by an enthusiastic team of specialists within the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies. The syllabus will include a mixture of literary (short stories, novels, graphic novels) and audio-visual (film, television drama) texts. The literary works will be available in translation, and the foreign language screen productions will be dubbed into, or subtitled in, English.


The module will explore and compare the dynamics of the two most popular forms of cultural expression in modern times: crime fiction and the fantastic. Uniquely, it will provide specialist insight into how such stories have germinated and flourished in different cultural contexts across the globe. Moreover, it will show how these once solely literary narratives have been renewed and reinvigorated through different forms of cultural expression, notably film, television and the graphic novel.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Arrive at critical judgements of examples of crime and the fantastic, ascertaining their value to localised cultures and to the history of popular culture globally;
2. Convey a critical understanding of the elemental features of these dominant forms of cultural expression;
3. Develop an appreciation of how crime and the fantastic have evolved in different cultural settings, with emphasis on their divergent, expansive and pluralistic qualities;
4. Engage in rigorous critiques of narratives of crime and the fantastic, in literature and across audio-visual media;
5. Perform sustained analyses of specific texts and productions, showing how in theme and structure they illuminate important social and political questions;
6. Through contact with the primary material, explore ideas often associated with crime and the fantastic, such as pleasure, the Unconscious and the supernatural, recognising that these representations are complex and may be paradoxical.

Skills outcomes
Intercultural Skills
Research Skills
Analytical Skills
Employability Skills


This field summarises the indicative content and areas which will be taught during the module. Teaching will take place in weekly sessions of two hours’ duration. Initially students will be introduced to brief cultural histories of the genres and to some of the more durable theoretical frameworks, in the light of which they will discuss a sample of short stories drawn from different epochs and cultures. From the outset the students will work in small groups and there will be a commitment to interactive pedagogies. They will then focus on 3 or 4 topics presented in three weekly or fortnightly blocks. An indicative list might include: Utopias and Dystopias; Dracula; South-East Asian Fiction and Film; the Mediterranean Noir; Nordic Noir; Feminist Crime Fiction; Fantasy and Crime in Graphic Form; Narcos; Ghosts; Robots; Machines; Imaginary Futures.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Group learning12.002.00
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Reading lists, which will be divided into ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’, will be issued to students prior to the start of the module. Students will be expected to read/watch the primary material designated for each topic work before that topic is covered in class (40 hours). They will also be expected to read some starred secondary material, which will be available in Learning Resources on Minerva, in preparation for seminars (20 hours). Further independent study will be required in preparation for the student-led seminars (15 hours), for the group presentation (20 hours) and for the summative assessed essay (83 hours).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Regular feedback will be provided on presentations in class or on individual student interventions in seminars. Feedback on the assessed group presentations will also be given in written and oral forms, and students will be invited to submit essay plans for comment, as part of their preparation for the assessed essay.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayAssessed Essay of 3000 Words60.00
PresentationAssessed Podcast (10-12 minutes)40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

As an alternative resit for the small group presentation, students will be required to produce a critical review of 1,000 words on a cultural artefact related to the topics covered during the module.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/08/2020 08:42:52


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