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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL2030 Writing Environments: Literature, Nature, Culture

20 creditsClass Size: 300

School of English

Module manager: Dr David Higgins

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module examines what it means to live on a more-than-human planet. We’ll investigate how literary texts from different times and places have understood the relationship between nature and culture. We’ll address human impacts on the environment in relation to historical phenomena such as colonialism. And we’ll explore the insights that literature can offer at a time of concern about climate change and other environmental issues.


This module aims to develop student understanding of how literature represents the entanglements of nature and culture. Through lectures and small-group seminars, students will be introduced to a range of perspectives on literature and the environment. They will be helped to interpret module texts in relation to their cultural, political, and ethical contexts. They will improve their understanding of historical approaches to literary studies and be better prepared for independent research at level three.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:
1. Conduct close analysis of literary texts concerned with the relationship between nature and culture.
2. Apply and evaluate key concepts and methodologies for analysing literature in its historical and critical contexts.
3. Effectively analyse the social, cultural, and ethical importance of literature, in relation to areas such as climate change, legacies of colonialism, and our responsibilities to the more-than-human world.
4. Demonstrate developing research skills, including identifying and locating relevant scholarship and conducting independent research into selected texts, theories, and/or concepts. 


This module will explore different literary genres, which may include fiction, poetry, drama, nature writing, and memoir. It will include texts from a range of periods and places and be organised around three interlinked topics:
- Natural Histories. How do ideas and representations of nature change over time? What is the role of literature in this process? And how does the more-than-human world shape the literary?
- Changing Places. How does literature imagine place in relation to processes such as enclosure, biodiversity loss, and migration?
- Creaturely Life. How do literary texts understand the relationship between humans and other entities? What are the aesthetic and ethical challenges of writing about the more-than-human?

Critical materials studied will address the relationship between nature and culture through attention to topics such as: place, the Anthropocene, colonialism, globalisation, climate change, and more-than-human agency.

Teaching methods

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

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Weekly dialogue in small-group seminars; opportunities for one to one meetings in tutors’ weekly support hours; opportunities to meet with departmental Writing Mentors; individual written feedback on mid-semester assignment.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentWritten work: 1000 words25.00
Essay2500 words75.00
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: 29/04/2024 16:13:46


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