Genre Fiction/Popular Fiction

Subject ENGL30007 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 70-hours across the semester, including class time.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

670-322 Genre Fiction/Popular Fiction

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Sarah Balkin


Dr Sarah Balkin

Subject Overview:

This subject takes popular fiction as a specific field of cultural production. Students will analyse various definitive features of that field: popular fiction's relations to "literature", genre and identity, gender and sexuality, the role of the author profile, cinematic and TV adaptations, readerships and fan interests, and processing venues. The subject is built around a number of genres: sensation fiction, detective fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance, pornography, the thriller, and fan fiction. On completion of the subject students should be familiar with some important genres of popular fiction, and some representative examples of each genre and have a developed sense of the role of popular fiction in the broader field of cultural production.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject will achieve:

  • a detailed knowledge and understanding of some important genres of popular fiction, and some representative examples of each genre;
  • an ability to apply theoretical concepts of form, ideology and readership to popular novels in order to create new knowledge;
  • an understanding of the role of popular fiction in the social, historical, and cultural contexts that produced it;
  • a sustained engagement with cultural production as it relates to authorship and fan communities in print and digital media;
  • an ability to apply new research skills, high level analysis, and critical thinking to a field of inquiry;
  • effective communication of arguments and ideas, independently and collaboratively, in written and oral formats;
  • an understanding of how to act as critically informed participants within a community of literature scholars, as citizens, and in professional life.

One essay of 1500 words 40% (due mid semester) and a second essay of 2500 words 60% (due in the examination period). A class presentation will form the basis of one of the essays. This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 80% attendance and regular participation in tutorials. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

  • Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret
  • Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • H.G. Wells, The Time Machine
  • Tolkien, The Hobbit
  • Ian Fleming, Dr No
  • Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire
  • Phillip Pullman, The Ruby in the Smoke
  • Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
  • E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey
  • G. Willow Wilson, Alif the Unsee
Recommended Texts:
  • Popular Fiction, Ken Gelder, Routledge
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • be able to apply new research skills and critical methods to a field of inquiry;

  • develop critical self-awareness and shape and strengthen persuasive arguments;

  • communicate arguments and ideas effectively and articulately, both in writing and to others.


Students who have completed 106-035 Popular Fiction or 106-035 Genre Fiction/Popular Fiction are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English and Theatre Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts - English and Theatre Studies
Graduate Diploma in Arts - English and Theatre Studies
Related Breadth Track(s): English

Download PDF version.