ATS3502 - Contemporary literature - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Literary Studies


Dr Melinda Harvey

Not offered in 2017


This unit examines literature produced since WWII. We will be especially interested in tracking formal experiments and thematic developments in this period in light of world-historical events and shifts in the relationship of writers and readers. There will be a focus on 21st century literature, with the aim of asking questions about how canons get made, movements establish themselves and interpretations become standard. Topics and themes might include: irony and sincerity; metafiction; maximalism and minimalism; 9/11 literature; the death and return of the author; the rise of creative nonfiction;; the impact of 'Theory' and Creative Writing programs on literature and criticism; book ends and book futures.


  1. To develop a working knowledge of some of the most influential writers and texts of the second half of the 20th century to now.
  2. To recognise what makes contemporary literature distinctive.
  3. To understand the set texts in their social, political and cultural landscape.
  4. To produce high level criticism and commentary in oral and written form on literature.


Within semester assessment: 60%

Exam: 40%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units.