The Art & Practice of the Personal Essay

Subject MULT90044 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 6.25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

September, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Sep-2016 to 07-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 04-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 29-Sep-2016
Census Date 07-Oct-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 21-Oct-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 12 hours - 4 x 3 hour seminars
Total Time Commitment:

85 Hours


Admission into 101AA Ph.D.- Arts or DR-PHILART Doctor of Philosophy in Arts.

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:


Dr Maria Tumarkin, Prof Kevin Brophy


Kevin Brophy -
Maria Tumarkin -

Subject Overview:

This 12-hour seminar series will examine writing that explores complex ideas and issues in personal, engaging, and creative ways. These seminars will examine rhetorical, narrative, and poetic strategies of the personal essay as a contribution to public intellectual discourse, as well as the kinds of occasions that give rise to the essay (personal crises, social issues, shifts in sensibility in a society, ethical dilemmas). Some essayists we might read: Montaigne, Swift, A.D. Hope, Annie Dillard, Kate Jennings, Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace. Possible texts: Best Australian Essays: a ten year collection (black Inc 2011), The New New Journalism (Vintage 2005). This is relevant to humanities researchers directly, but could be useful to science and social science researchers who wish to explore and extend their prose techniques.

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • show enhanced knowledge of the topic or area of scholarship taught in the module;
  • have a grasp of techniques and skills required to reflect upon their own research work in relation to the content of the module; and
  • engage with relevant leading-edge research in Arts today.

1. One 2,500-word essay (100%), due within four weeks of completion of teaching.

Hurdle Requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 80% of classes in order to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Doctor of Philosophy - Arts
Ph.D.- Arts

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