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ENH2225 - Heroes' Twilight: Representations of War and Conflict

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Robin Gerster


Not offered in 2007


The unit examines the centrality of war and conflict to contemporary cultural history. Using a variety of literary (and non-literary) sources, the subject seeks to analyse how discursive representations of war have played a fundamental role in disseminating the ideas of modernity and postmodernity; redefined traditional concepts of heroism, racial virtue and the fixed gender roles which sustain them; entrenched the importance of the mass media in contributing to public knowledge about conflicts; how they have impacted on the notions of racial, ethnic and national identity; and how the Holocaust and subsequent acts of genocide have posed a range of moral and representational challenges.


Students completing this unit will have gained:

  1. Critical knowledge of the major representational elements of war literature since the First World War.
  2. An understanding of concepts of heroism and racial virtue, as they have been invoked (and revised) in modern war writing.
  3. The importance of gender to critical perspectives on war.
  4. An understanding the relationship of war writing to the ideas and practices of modernity and postmodernity.
  5. An understanding of the significant role of the global media in disseminating kinds of public knowledge about war and conflict.


Short essay (1000 words): 20%
Long essay (2000 words): 50%
Test (1.5 hours): 20%
Seminar participation: 10%

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour seminar) per week