This programme offers you the chance to study a range of theories in depth. It engages with modern literary theory, psychoanalytical theory, political theory and theories of visual and aesthetic experience.
You reflect on these areas of thinking in themselves and as they relate to particular literary texts, to post-enlightenment philosophy and to other relevant areas of culture and experience. It is for those interested in writing, reading, language, art, the self, literature and discovering more about the relations between literature and philosophy.
The MA in Critical Theory offers a choice of two core courses that survey a wide range of modern theoretical approaches, and a range of taught options covering postcolonial theory, theories of art, modern approaches to comparative literature, deconstruction and a chance to work in depth on a single key theoretical text and the writings it refers to.
The School of English has a strong international reputation and global perspective, apparent both in the background of its staff and in the diversity of our teaching and research interests.
Our expertise ranges from the medieval to the postmodern, including British, American and Irish literature, postcolonial writing, 18th-century studies, Shakespeare, early modern literature and culture, Victorian studies, modern poetry, critical theory and cultural history. The international standing of the School ensures that we have a lively, confident research culture, sustained by a vibrant, ambitious intellectual community. We also count a number of distinguished creative writers among our staff, and we actively explore crossovers between critical and creative writing in all our areas of teaching and research.
The Research Excellence Framework 2014 has produced very strong results for the School of English at Kent. With 74% of our work graded as world-leading or internationally excellent, the School is ranked 10th out of 89 English departments in terms of Research Intensity (Times Higher Education). The School also received an outstanding assessment of the quality of its research environment and public impact work.
You take two modules in the autumn term and two in the spring term; one core module (FR866: Literature and Theory) and three optional modules. You are also expected to attend the Faculty and School Research Methods Programmes.
You then write a theory-based dissertation between the start of the Summer Term and the end of August.
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.
FR866 - Literature and Theory (30 credits) FR807 - Postmodern French Detective Fiction (30 credits) EN889 - Literary Theory (30 credits) EN897 - Advanced Critical Reading (30 credits) FR872 - Theories of Art in Modern French Thought (30 credits) CP808 - Writing the Self: Autobiography in the Modern Period (30 credits) CP810 - Comparative Literature in Theory and Practice (30 credits) EN852 - Colonial and Postcolonial Discourses (30 credits) EN857 - Body and Place in the Postcolonial Text (30 credits) TH831 - Spirituality and Therapy (30 credits) TH833 - Contemporary Critical Approaches to the Study of Religion (30 credits) EN876 - Dickens and the Condition of England (30 credits) EN888 - Extremes of Feeling: Literature and Empire in the Eighteenth Century (30 credits) EN818 - American Modernism 1900-1930 (Teaching Period I) (30 credits) EN832 - Hacks, Dunces and Scribblers: Authorship and the Marketplace in the Eig (30 credits) EN835 - Dickens, The Victorians and the Body (30 credits) EN842 - Reading the Contemporary (30 credits) EN850 - Centres and Edges: Modernist and PostcolonialQuest Literature (30 credits) MT864 - Reading the Medieval Town: Canterbury, an International City (30 credits)
The course is assessed by coursework for each module and by the dissertation which accounts for a third of the final grade.
This programme aims to:
- extend and deepen through coursework and research your understanding of modern literary and critical theory
- study the reading-practices, analytic tools and vocabularies of modern critical thought
- develop your independent critical thinking and judgement
- introduce you to the research methods that facilitate advanced theoretical study of literature
- provide a basis in knowledge and skills if you intend to teach critical theory, especially in higher education
- develop your understanding and critical awareness of the expressive and analytical resources of language
- offer scope for the study of critical theory within an interdisciplinary context, notably that provided by philosophy
- develop your ability to argue a point of view with clarity and cogency, both orally and in written form
- examine this writing in the wider context of literature, culture and philosophy
- provide teaching which is informed by current research and scholarship and which requires you to engage with aspects of work at the frontiers of knowledge
- develop your research skills to the point where you are ready to undertake a research degree, should you so wish.
Many career paths can benefit from the writing and analytical skills that you develop as a postgraduate student in the School of English. Our students have gone on to work in academia, journalism, broadcasting and media, publishing, writing and teaching; as well as more general areas such as banking, marketing analysis and project management.