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2011/12 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3379 Representing Contemporary Conflict

20 creditsClass Size: 30


Module manager: Professor Stuart Murray

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2011/12

Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

‘Representing Contemporary Conflict’ will look at the representation of rebellion, violence and terror in a range of postcolonial narratives, but with a particular concentration on Palestine and Iraq. Its focus will be on moments of crisis, trauma and social upheaval, and the way such moments are conveyed through prose fiction, film and photography (we will have a class on the Abu Ghraib photographs). Its chief subjects are ideas of war, terrorism, armed resistance, organised protest, the state responses with which these are met, and the individual and collective consequences that flow from moments of emergency.The module aims to look at current fears about terrorism and the 'war on terror', especially in the wake of 9/11. The model of the postcolonial the module uses is broad, seeing the climate of terror and fear in which we currently live as being one that can be understood through ideas of Empire and resistance.


The high-level objectives of the module are to provide students with critical skills with which they can discuss the issues surrounding the representation of conflict in Palestine and Iraq, whether these are in narrative fiction, film or the media.

Learning outcomes
The planned outcomes revolve around leaving students with a broad-based knowledge of the methods buy which contemporary conflict is portrayed: what are the processes by which an outside audience is led to engage with conflict? What questions of narrative are engaged in assessing issues of the very contemporary and of violence? The largest frame of all possible outcomes lies in producing students who are more aware of the global community they inhabit.

Skills outcomes
- Skills for effective communication, oral and written.
- Capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse.
- Ability to acquire quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way.
- Capacity for independent thought and judgement.
- Critical reasoning.
- Research skills, including information retrieval skills, the organisation of material, and the evaluation of its importance.
- IT skills.
- Time management and organisational skills.
- Independent learning.


The following are the central texts that will be covered across the 10 weeks:

Frantz Fanon - Concerning Violence (2008, Penguin)
Sahar Khalifeh – Wild Thorns (1976; 1985, Saqi)
Yasmina Khadra – The Attack (2006, Heinemann)
Joe Sacco, Palestine (2003, Jonathan Cape)
Mohsin Hamed – The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007, Hamish Hamilton/Penguin)

Paradise Now (2006, d. Hany Abu-Assad)
Battle for Haditha (2007, d. Nick Broomfield)
The Hurt Locker (2008, d. Kathryn Bigelow)
Green Zone (2010, d. Paul Greengrass).

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
Private study hours185.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- Teaching will be through weekly seminars (10 x 1 hour) plus up to 5 additional hours (content to be determined by the module tutor).
- The 5 additional hours may include lectures, plenary sessions, film showings, or the return of unassessed/assessed essays.

Private Study: Reading, seminar preparation, essay writing.

Material will be provided on the VLE to enable students to link work undertaken in seminars to other, more general topics, especially media representation.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Seminar contribution.
- 1st 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
Essay1,700 words33.30
Essay2,750 words66.70
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: 07/03/2012


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