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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Postgraduate Course: Issues of Religion and Ethics in Literature (DIVI11042)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course explores religious and ethical issues raised by a wide range of twentieth and twenty-first century literary texts.
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 a wide range of literary texts. The texts will be situated in their religious and ethical contexts and their contributions to, and interactions with, wider religious and ethical concerns will be explored.

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:
A lecture will be delivered to the whole class on the key text for the week, and the postgraduate students will have their own seminar hour each week with the lecturer for discussion of the themes raised by the key text and secondary reading. Each student will give a presentation to this seminar on at least one of the week's topics over the course of the semester. Through participation in seminar discussions, as well as through the presentation and written work included in the assessment schedule, 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 Issues of Religion and Ethics in Modern Literature (REST11028)
Other requirements Students who have previously taken the following course MUST NOT enroll: Issues of Religion and Ethics in Modern Literature (REST11028)
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThe course is open to visiting post-graduate students with a background in Religious Studies, Theology or Literature.
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 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 171 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 20% - Seminar Presentation (10 minutes)

80% - Essay (4000 words)
Feedback There will be an opportunity to present an essay outline for feedback from the lecturer in week 6 of the course.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a knowledge of critical issues raised by a range of literary texts in the context of wider contemporary religious debates.
  2. Demonstrate an ability to analyse the narrative significance of ethical issues explored in literary texts.
  3. Engage critically in current debates about cultural identity in the fields of literature, religion and theology.
  4. Develop transferable skills in research, presentation, discussion and communication in a group context.
Reading List
Indicative Bibliography:
Bell, Eleanor. (2004). 'Postmodernism, Nationalism and the Question of Tradition', in Scotland in Theory: Reflections on Culture and Literature ed. by Eleanor Bell and Gavin Miller. Amsterdam; New York: Rodopi. 83-96.

Brauner, D., & Stahler, A. (2015). The Edinburgh companion to modern Jewish fiction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Cammy, J., & Wisse, R. (2008). Arguing the modern Jewish canon : Essays on literature and culture in honor of Ruth R. Wisse. Cambridge, Mass.: Center for Jewish Studies, Harvard University: Distributed by Harvard University Press.

Felch, Susan M. (2016). 'Ethics', in The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Religion ed by Susan M. Felch. Cambridge: CUP. 71-85.

Filmer, Kath. (1992). Scepticism and Hope in Twentieth Century Fantasy Literature. Bowling Green, Ohio; Bowling Green State University Press.

George, Stephen. (2005). Ethics, Literature & Theory: An Introductory Reader. Lanham, Md.; Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.

Hinojosa, Lynne. (2015). 'John Ames as Historiographer: Pacificism, Racial Reconciliation, and Agape in Marilynne Robinson's Gilead'. Religion and Literature 47.2. 117-142.

Hungerford, Amy. (2010). Postmodern Belief: American Literature and Religion since 1960. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Jasper, David. (2009). 'The Study of Literature and Theology', in The Oxford Handbook of English Literature and Theology ed by Andrew Hass, David Jasper and Elisabeth Jay. Oxford: OUP.

Jobling, J'annine. (2010). Fantastic Spiritualities: Monsters, Heroes and the Contemporary Religious Imagination. London; New York: T&T Clark.

MacDougall, Carl. (2004). Writing Scotland: How Scotland's Writers Shaped the Nation. Edinburgh: Polygon.

Nochlin, L., & Garb, T. (1995). The Jew in the text : Modernity and the construction of identity. London: Thames and Hudson.

Omer-Sherman, R., & Harris, R. (2012). Narratives of dissent: War in contemporary Israeli arts and culture. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.

Rothberg, Michael. (2009). Multidirectional memory remembering the Holocaust in the age of decolonization. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

Sollers, Werner. (1986). Beyond Ethnicity: Consent and Descent in American Culture. New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tate, Andrew. (2008). Contemporary Fiction and Christianity. London: Continuum.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Curiosity for learning and openness to different perspectives
- Willingness to engage across disciplinary boundaries and to approach texts in new ways
- Finely-tuned skills of close reading and critical analysis
- Ability to construct an argument concisely
- Ability to communicate effectively with others, both orally and in writing
Course organiserDr Lois Wilson-McFarland
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Dutton
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227
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