Critical Debates

Subject ENGL30002 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

On Campus

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2.5 A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: 102
Prerequisites: Completion of 37.5 points of level two subjects in English or Theatre Studies and enrolment inthe Bachelor of Arts or Gradaute Diploma in Arts. Bachelor of Arts students should endeavour to take the capstone in their final semester of study after completion of 25 points at third year.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: Completion of 25 point of at third year Englishs or Theatre Studies
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 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 3Disability Liaison Unit website: 4


Dr Justin Clemens


Justin Clemens

John Frow

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, Jurgen Habermas, Pierre Bourdieu, Judith Butler, Julia Kristeva, Alain Badiou, Jacques Rancire, 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.


Students who complete this subject 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.
Assessment: 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 is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Students who successfully complete this subject will:
  • 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 Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English
English Literary Studies Major
Theatre Studies Major

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