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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: Religion and Ethics in Literature (DIVI10016)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will explore the influence of contemporary religious and ethical debates on literature of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It will consider the differences between texts exploring different religions and none across the field of literatures in English.
Course description Academic Description:
The aim of this interdisciplinary course is to enable students from a variety of academic backgrounds to engage in religious and ethical debates as these are embodied in literary texts. A range of texts from the field of literatures in English are discussed and their contributions to, and interactions with, wider religious and ethical concerns are explored. In its widest sense, the context of these texts and their authors is established and this includes both the faith perspective and the ethical stance promoted, implied or critiqued in the text.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
The course draws on the diverse academic backgrounds of both staff and students as it offers opportunities to reflect on contemporary texts from a range of religious and secular traditions. After a session which introduces the approach to be taken, each week a text is set in its context and its contribution to religious and ethical debates of its time is explored. The course concludes with a review of material covered, and an opportunity to prepare for the final essay. As this is a team-taught course, a wide range of texts will be covered, and the specific texts will vary each year according to staff availability. In the past, these have included Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory; James Robertson's The Testament of Gideon Mack; Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials; Ruth Kluger's Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered; Jackie Kay's Fiere; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus.

Student Learning Experience Information:
Teaching input will involve a lecture and seminar discussion each week. There will be reading set for each week, which will include the key literary text plus secondary literature. Preparation for seminars will also depend on students meeting in advance in autonomous learning groups to discuss issues raised by the set texts. Through participation in seminar discussion, and the coursework essay and final essay, students will demonstrate their achievement of the intended learning outcomes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Modern Religious and Ethical Debates in Contemporary Literature (REST10049)
Other requirements Students who have previously taken the following course MUST NOT enroll: Modern Religious and Ethical Debates in Contemporary Literature (REST10049)
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least three introductory level Divinity/Religious Studies/English Literature courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  38
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 11, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 170 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 40% - Coursework Essay (2000 words)

60% - Final Essay (3000 words)
Feedback The formative feedback event will be an opportunity to have a draft of the essay commented upon in advance of submission.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of selected contemporary literary texts and of their interaction with a range of modern religious and ethical issues.
  2. Engage in current debates in the field of literature, religion and theology.
  3. Discuss the differences in religious and literary themes between texts exploring different religions and none across the field of literatures in English.
Reading List
Wayne C. Booth, The Company We Keep: An Ethics of Fiction (University of California Press, 1988).

David Brauner and Axel Stahler. The Edinburgh Companion to Modern Jewish Fiction (EUP, 2015).

Mark Knight, The Routledge Companion to Religion and Literature (Routledge, 2019)Andrew Tate, Contemporary Fiction and Christianity (Continuum, 2008).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Empathy and imaginative insight, with a tolerance of diverse positions
- Ability to attend to others and respect others' views
- Analytical ability and the capacity to formulate questions and solve problems
- Writing skills, including clear expression and citing relevant evidence
- Awareness of the importance of contemporary media as both a study resource and a discussion medium
- Ability to engage critically with the meaning of documents and recognise that meanings may be multiple
KeywordsModern Literature,Theology,Ethics,Religious Debate
Course organiserDr Lois Wilson-McFarland
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Dutton
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227
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