Literature at Brighton is framed by an awareness of contexts and the social production of texts. As a product of this culture, the Literature MA offers a distinctive combination of practice-based literary studies and critical textual analysis. One of the original aspects of the course lies in its approach to marrying critical approaches to literary studies with an awareness of writing as a creative and critical practice. This course enjoys a distinct identity in its pronounced focus on the practice of writing as a craft, one best understood through both engaging in practice and studying the practice of others. Combining critical, experimental, historical and philosophical approaches in and beyond academia, the study of textual practices - the questioning of representations, tensions and innovations - forms a discursive framework around which understandings of the place and function of writing in contemporary society take place. Core modules address texts, theories and cultures, practising rhetoric and location-focused literary studies: option modules offer experience in the emerging fields of twenty-first century literature, gender and performance, literature and conflict, American fiction and poetry, Victorian journalism, screenwriting and writing as a creative craft. Founded on the belief that good writers also make good readers, the Literature MA makes the necessary connections between critical and creative approaches to the discipline in the twenty-first century.
Areas of study The course is structured around essential core modules, a research skills module and the dissertation. Options allow you to explore areas of personal interest in literature and further afield in the arts.
Practising Rhetoric Rhetoric and rhetoric studies offer a distinctive third way between creative and critical approaches to the theory and practice of writing, and enables students to see their own and others writing within a long and valued tradition on the form, place(s) and functions of effective communication. Students are encouraged to assess and analyse a wide variety of genres and modes of writing (from conventional literary texts to political speeches and advertisements), and to practice their own writing in critical, creative or professional outputs through placing language use and affect as central to their writing and speaking practice.
Cultural Theory This core module offers an advanced introduction to the field of cultural theory and its application to literary texts. Based around close readings of key texts, the course critically interrogates central cultural concepts and thematics in the work of key cultural theorists working in the last half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. More generally, the course aims to examine and assess the nature and purpose of cultural theory in the contemporary world, and does so by tracing theoretical shifts and reconceptualisations of culture in relation to social, political, and geographical contexts.
Writing the City This module uses Brighton as a case study to move from a local to a global understanding of the relationship between texts and contexts, literature and location. The module is a celebration and critical review of representations of the city, as well as a space to consider some familiar and some lesser-known cultural responses. Examining representations of cities as well as work from their communities of writers and artists, students are encouraged to theorise texts in terms of space and place as well as reframe political topographies and geographies. Developing students? understanding of the ways in which texts engage with socio-cultural contexts and enter into dialogue with representations of the past, present and future, the module will encourage critical and creative reflection on student experience of the city and promote their active role in (re)presenting location in literature.
Research Skills and Training Studies are framed around the broad question what is research?, and seeks to place the student?s own practice and academic work in this context. Having considered the value of research into the arts and culture a series of seminars and workshops will introduce students to the key research methods. These will be discussed throughout in the context of the student?s own plans for research. As these discussions develop students move towards direct consideration of a research proposal which will in turn form the basis of the assessment.
Dissertation The dissertation is the culmination of the degree and provides an opportunity for students to explore their research in a focused and organised fashion through a project of their own design. Building upon the learning students have benefited from throughout the programme they will be encouraged to develop their thinking on the dissertation. The intention is for students to develop a reflexive and critically engaged dissertation that makes a genuine contribution to debates in literature.
Options Students can choose literature options and from across the faculty?s disciplines including performing gender, the ethics of fiction, creative writing, screenwriting and humanities.
Syllabus Three literature core modules Practising Rhetoric Cultural Theory Writing The City Two research modules Research Skills and Training Dissertation Two options Students may choose from literature option modules: Twenty-first Century Literature Performing Gender American Poetry in Twentieth Century History The Ethics of FictionLiterature and Conflict Knowing Through Writing Victorian Journalism Screenwriting: Craft and Creative Practices And/or from a suite of wider subjects including: Holocaust Memory Gender, Family and Empire Visual Narrative Critical and Media Concepts