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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: Scottish Literature and the Religious Imagination (DIVI10046)

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
SummaryScottish Literature and the Religious Imagination introduces students to the work of some of the key writers dealing with faith and fiction in Scotland from the Romantic period to the late twentieth century. Students are encouraged to explore the connections between a varied range of Scottish poets, authors, and dramatists in their evolving national, historical, social and theological contexts.
Course description Academic Description:
This interdisciplinary course will enable students to trace and examine the rich and constantly evolving nature of religious thought in Scotland through selected literary texts published from the Romantic period to the late-twentieth century. In order to achieve this, the work of a variety of writers from different religious (and non-religious) perspectives is considered in historical, theological and social contexts. By analysing key critical terms and concepts which inform Scottish literary texts, including plays, poetry, novels, and short stories, students will relate texts to the religious environments which shaped them. In this way, they will gain a fuller and more enriched understanding of the relationship between Scottish literature and religion.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
This course will begin with consideration of how national literatures are constructed, before moving on to explore selected Scottish texts, religious voices, and literary forms each week in their historical and theological contexts. The course is chronological in structure, and moves through writing reflecting romantic supernaturalism, themes of social and religious change, and Victorian religious pessimism, to twentieth-century reconstructions of Scotland's early religious history and conflict. The course's final weeks reflect the growing religious pluralism and diversity of modern Scotland in selected texts, which nonetheless draw on earlier Scottish literary forms and themes in their exploration of the nation's religious imagination.

Student Learning Experience Information:
This course has a programme of a weekly lecture and seminar. On the basis of students' preparatory reading of a range of literary texts and other writings, seminars will be used to explore and compare the connections between Scottish authors, poets, and dramatists in their evolving religious and social milieus. Preparation for seminars will also depend on student discussion in advance in autonomous learning groups. These groups will discuss key theological, ethical and religious themes in the texts. Groups will present the findings of their discussions in the forms of written reports on Learn, informal class discussion, and formal presentations in the seminar.

The structure for this course is chronological, and though these texts respond to the age in which they are written, many also deal with historical religious conflicts, developments and devotions. As such, students will be encouraged to explore the connections between historical periods, and they will be guided through the examination of concepts such as national literature and religious change. Students will also be offered formative feedback as the course progresses. This will help them to develop the knowledge and analytical skills that will be assessed in the course's assignments.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Scottish Literature and the Religious Imagination (THET10066)
Other requirements Students who have previously taken the following course MUST NOT enroll: Scottish Literature and the Religious Imagination (THET10066)
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students who want to learn more about Scotland's religious history and literary production would benefit from this course. Visiting 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:  23
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 11, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 173 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 90 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 10% - Class presentation

30% - Creative writing exercise (1500 words)

60% - Final essay (2500 words)
Feedback Students will have the opportunity to submit and receive feedback on a plan for their extended essay.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify and examine developing literary responses to religion in Scotland over the last two hundred years.
  2. Compare the literary responses and emphases of different religious traditions in Scotland.
  3. Critically evaluate the construction of a national canon of literature with reference to religion.
  4. Interrogate the theological and ethical questions that the course's texts propose.
  5. Critique secondary literature on the relationship between literature and religion.
Reading List
In the past, texts have included Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Thrawn Janet', Margaret Oliphant's A Beleaguered City, James BV Thomson's The City of Dreadful Night, John Buchan's Witch Wood, George Mackay Brown's Magnus, Muriel Spark's The Mandelbaum Gate, David Greig's The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, and Anne Donovan's Buddha Da.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Critical thinking and reflection (developed through reflection on lectures, the seminar, in the creative writing exercise and extended essay)
- Working within a team (developed through contribution to the autonomous learning group tasks)
- Research skills (developed through preparation for the presentation, the creative writing exercise and the extended essay)
- Effective communication skills (developed through contribution to the autonomous learning group tasks and group discussion in seminars)
KeywordsLiterature,poetry,drama,short stories,fiction,theology,religion,Bible
Course organiserDr Linden Bicket
Tel: (0131 6)50 8946
Course secretaryMr Andre Johnson Hall E Vasconcelos
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