Current Feminist Literatures

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Module code


  • Level 4
  • Semester 2
  • 24 places
  • English - School of Humanities
  • Coursework 100%


On this course, you will read and discuss a range of recent work by contemporary female-identifying writers in a variety of literary, cultural, and theoretical contexts.

The focus of the course is primarily literary, but through this, you will gain an appreciation for the diverse styles and forms used by feminine writing in both fiction and theory today (in any case, and often, the boundaries here are blurred; you will begin to think about why this might be).

Additionally, although the focus of the course is on the current - our contemporary - and the writing that you study as primary texts will be resolutely so (i.e. written by living thinkers, and published as much as possible within the last 5, and certainly last 10 years), a key part of the course is discussion of how these current articulations situate themselves in the aftermath of, for instance, the different feminist 'waves' and revolutions, the advent and codification of écriture féminine, the female avant-garde, the development of different modes of psychoanalytic, gender, critical race and mobility studies, and ideas of transnational and world literatures.

The course is designed to equip you fully to (1) explore and productively critique different lived and ideological stances on current feminisms and contemporary writing; to (2) read both deeply and widely in contemporary feminist writing in order to accomplish a final research essay and (3) live a fully articulate feminist life!


Assessment for the course is 100% course work, broken down as follows:

  • 5x300 word research paper abstracts (25%)
  • 5x300 word personal critical reflections (25%)
  • 3,000 word research paper (50%)


Reading (for the first iteration of the course) may include the following:

Alexis Paul Gumbs, M Archive (2018) || J.R. Carpenter, An Ocean of Static (2018)  || Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties (2017)  ||  Bhanu Kapil, Ban en Banlieue (2015)  ||  Carol Guess and Kelly Magee, With Animal (2015)  ||  Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts (2015)  ||  Harryette Mullen, Urban Tumbleweed (2013) ||  Kate Zambreno,  Heroines (2012)  ||  Anne Carson, Nox (2010)  ||  M. NoubeSe Philip, Zong! (2008-present)

+ theoretical texts including: Sara Ahmed ‘Killjoy Manifesto’ (2017) || J. Jack Halberstam ‘Trans*feminisms’ (2018) || Helen Hester ‘What is Xenofeminism?’ (2018)

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding.

Upon completion of the module students will be able to:

▫   Analyse a range of current feminist writing, spanning conventional and innovative work, combining theoretical focus and close analysis

▫   Engage in-depth with a series of critical debates surrounding the theory/practice of current feminist writing

▫   Identify the ways, from accretion through subversion to explosion, in which feminist authors use traditional genres, tropes, and the idea of the literary canon, to write feminine voice + space, and discuss what is at stake, even now, in their so doing.

 Subject-specific practical and intellectual skills and attributes.

Upon completion of the module students will be able to:

▫   Combine practical, theoretical, critical, and personal knowledge in evaluation of current feminist writing across a series of discrete and hybrid literary genres

▫   Identify key cultural, theoretical, and literary issues regarding current feminist writing and theories, engaging in discussion of different feminist literary works and how they relate to, articulate, and/or critique issues with which feminism engages, such as embodiment, physical ability, sexuality, gender identity and gender violence, reproduction, family, tradition, class, race, labour (the home + the workplace).

▫   Develop an ability to read and write about aesthetic and social, textual and embodied forms of writing and social critique; develop a flexible and ethical feminism through the practice of reading and writing about the work with attention, compassion, and on its terms.

Transferable, employability and enterprise skills and attributes

Upon completion of the module students will be able to:

▫   Communicate complex theoretical issues at an advanced level both verbally and in writing, using appropriate media to support and enhance this communication

▫   Communicate effectively across literary sectors (theory – criticism – practice) in order to advance understanding of a range of complex problems

▫   Self-manage their work and time in order to plan, edit, and complete a substantial piece of research