ENG20780 Critical Theory

Academic Year 2023/2024

This 10-credit module introduces students to key theoretical debates and issues in the Humanities, particularly pertaining to the study of language and literature. It demands careful reading of theoretical texts and close attention to a series of difficult concepts, but in return this module repays students’ efforts by providing an indispensable grounding in the foundational vocabularies and conceptual tools of the most exciting and progressive areas of critical and cultural studies. The module will have a special emphasis on applying the insights of critical theory to the analysis of contemporary political and ethical issues, as well as to literary and cultural texts.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the module, students should be able to:
- Identify the key theoretical debates and issues as addressed in readings, lectures and workshops.
- Analyse the potential uses and applications of particular theoretical approaches to language, culture, and literature.
- Begin to formulate a sense of their own theoretical assumptions and predilections with regard to issues in the humanities, in culture and in society more broadly.
- Engage in informed class discussion about the theoretical concepts and issues introduced in the module.
- Analyse and compare theoretical texts and approaches, identify particular theoretical approaches and concepts in literary and cultural criticism and commentary, and use this theoretical toolbox to enlarge and enrich their understanding and analysis of literary and cultural texts.

Indicative Module Content:

Theoretical texts on the subjects of Marxism, Racism, Postcolonialism, Environmental Humanities, Feminism, Queer Theory, Masculinity, Disability Studies, and Affect Theory.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures, including active/task-based learning
Workshops, including guided discussion, peer and group work, case-based learning, debates, presentations
Critical Writing
Creative Reflection
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
ENG20400 - Critical Theory

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: Take-home Essay-Exam with choice of set questions. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Worksheet 2 - short writing exercises Week 8 n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Worksheet 1 - short writing exercises Week 4 n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: A creative reflection on your learning on the module. Week 10 n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Small group tutors mark the two worksheets, moderated by the module convenor, and offer individual written feedback to students. Small group tutors offer individual written feedback to students on creative reflection task. Small group tutors offer group advisory session to students prior to the final assignment. The module coordinator is available for individual feedback after the final assignment.

Name Role
Dr Hannah Boast Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Treasa De Loughry Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Sharae Deckard Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Diretnan Dikwal-Bot Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Katherine Fama Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Anne Fogarty Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Clare Hayes-Brady Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Anne Mulhall Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Cormac O'Brien Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Katerina Pavlidi Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Maria Stuart Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Mr Loic Wright Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Frank Leahy Tutor
Ms Phoebe O'Leary Tutor
Salome Paul Tutor
Ms Louise Walsh Tutor