Critical Debates

Subject 106-361 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2009.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available

Completion of first and second year requirements of the English major.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Justin Clemens

Subject Overview:

This subject will proceed through close examinations of a series of debates that continue to influence literary studies today. The debates have been chosen for both their centrality and their diversity, for their historical force as for their abiding contemporary significance, for their dense particularities as for their global import. The situations, conditions, agents, arguments, concepts and consequences of the debates will be examined in detail. Key figures examined may include Alan Sokal, Jacques Derrida, Jrgen Habermas, Pierre Bourdieu, Judith Butler, Julia Kristeva, Alain Badiou, Jacques RanciÃre, among others. The particular case-studies will also serve to illuminate such general headings as Literature and Science, Literature and History,Literature and Politics, Literature and Philosophy‚ Literature and Society, Literature and Sexuality, Literature and Postcolonialism etc.

Objectives: Students who successfully complete this suject will be able to reflect critically on their experience of the major, and to consolidate the critical and research skills necessary for further professional training, research higher degree study or employment;
acquire a broad familiarity with a number of key theoretical debates that have set the direction and tone for literary discourse today, as well as more detailed knowledge of at least two specific debates;
develop analytic skills in the close reading of the personnel, argumentative strategies, concepts, and institutional bases of such debates, and explanatory skills to deal with the complexity of the aesthetic and political issues raised by such debates.

A 1500 word essay 40% (due mid-semester), and a 2500 word essay 60% (due at the end of semester).

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

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

  • be able to develop persuasive arguments on a given topic;

  • be able to communicate oral and written arguments and ideas effectively and articulately.


This Capstone subject is compulsory for students wishing to complete the English major in the New Gen degree and is only available at 3rd year level.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English

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