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SEL3406 : Making Ireland: Kingdom, Colony and Nation in Text and Performance

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ruth Connolly
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module asks students to analyse the representation of Ireland in the Irish and British literary traditions. The module focuses on the early modern period as the point of origin for modern imaginings of Ireland. It begins with the staging of Ireland in the Renaissance theatre. We look at the presence of Ireland and Irishness in works such as Shakespeare's Henry V, a play concerned with questions of nation, identity and belonging in times of conflict and with issues of speech and silence, translation and power. These will become core themes in the module asking how writing from the island of Ireland addresses these questions from the early modern period onwards. Course content will draw on work from all the communities on the island of Ireland, from a range of literary and non-literary genres including drama, poetry, prose, folklore and testimony and will explore the enduring influence of these issues for Irish writing through work such as of Seamus Heaney and Eavan Boland, the drama of Brian Friel, or the novels of Elizabeth Bowen and John McGahern.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. What is a nation? Identity, Nation and Literature
2. Staging Ireland: reading Ireland on the early modern English stage
3. The News from Ireland: Eye-witness testimony, trauma and atrocity in the 1641 rebellion.
4. Modern Irish poetry and its relationship to the early modern past.
5. Famine and post-famine Ireland: Memory, commemoration and folklore
6. Staging Ireland II: Ireland and the English language.
7. The Irish novel in postcolonial Ireland.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical17:007:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1100:00100:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery24:008:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will introduce the key concepts and historiography. The seminars will enable close discussion and analysis of the module texts. A workshop session in Special Collections will introduce students to early modern and modern materials about Ireland which will support their choice of final assessment.

A practical session will introduce students who have chosen to do exhibitions to the skills to use an online web-publishing platform. Drop-in surgeries are scheduled in key weeks to support students with their learning and assessment on the course.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M15An outline of the portfolio - 300-750 words
Portfolio1A70Students choose to do one of the five options available. All options are equally weighted.
Report1M15A media profile - 1-3 items plus narrative of 1000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The first mid-module assessment asks students to use pictures, images or headlines from newspapers and magazines to illustrate the public perception/profile of a particular aspect of Ireland's representation. The texts used may be drawn from any period's popular media.

The second mid-module assessment asks students to outline their final portfolio assessment allowing for feedback on the final assessment.

Students select one of these options for their final portfolio assessment. The options are:
1. To write a critical analysis based on a self-created question.
2. To create an online exhibition.
3. To write an introduction to an exhibition.
4. Deliver a conference paper using visual and/or other aides. Students must deliver the paper either in person or they may film/recap themselves delivering the paper.
5. A creative response to a text or concept encountered on the module.

Reading Lists