Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview

This unit centres on how twentieth-century narratives sought to make sense of the turbulent world in which they were written and produced. The stylistic innovations that characterise twentieth-century culture are of particular interest. It looks at some of the century's major authors and ranges widely across forms (the novel, drama, film, poetry, theory). In the unit, students consider how authors, filmmakers, poets and dramatists 'make it new' in Ezra Pound's phrase. They also examine the interrelations between literary practice and social life. How do these texts represent and critique their contexts—war, genocide, political upheaval, the creation of nation states, economic crises, technological and scientific developments, shifting gender and race relations? What might it mean for the holocaust to be imagined in the form of graphic novel, as is the case with Art Spiegelman's Maus? How does an experimental film such as Hiroshima Mon Amour represent the memory of war? What and how do these texts tell us about the twentieth century, and our own place in history today?
6 points
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate knowledge of some of the major literary movements and texts of the twentieth century; (2) utilise historical and cultural contexts in the comprehension of particular literary movements and texts; (3) independently interpret select twentieth-century literary and cinematic texts independently through analysis of relevant scholarly information and creative material; (4) grapple with radical and experimental modes of writing and cinema; (5) express ideas, information and argument coherently and logically in written and oral forms; (6) work effectively as a member of a collaborative group in a tutorial context; (7) enhance research skills in locating and assessing critical writing in traditional and digital media; (8) have a critical understanding of the role played by ideologies of race, gender and class in literary and cultural contexts; (9) refine and demonstrate highly developed skills of textual analysis and critical reasoning; (10) have an historicised understanding of fundamental critical concepts that allow them to recognise and discuss the relationship between the formal, thematic and functional aspects of any text studied; and (11) further develop and practise enquiry-based learning and research and communication acquired at Level 2 into Level 3 units in English and Cultural Studies, with applications across a broader field of study at UWA.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial presentations and discussions; (2) formative review; and (3) research essay. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Tanya Dalziell and Professor Brenda Walker
Unit rules
any Level 1 ENGL unit
Contact hours
3 hours per teaching week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.