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SML2013 : Surveying East Asian Literatures

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Michael Tsang
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module introduces students to contemporary (post-1980) English-written or English-translated literary works (and, where possible, some of their derivative adaptations such as films) from and on different East Asian societies, such as Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, etc. The primary texts aim to capture East Asian regions in their ever-changing aspects, from their processes of hypercapitalised globalisation and transmedia exchanges, to traumatic national histories and gender issues.

Outline Of Syllabus

- The syllabus consists of one introduction meeting (in Week 1), followed by a lecture on theoretical discussions on the complexities that Asia represents. The readings in this week will provide students with a theoretical anchor on East Asia, to which they are encouraged to draw relation as they begin reading the literary texts.

- Each of the nine remaining meetings in the rest of the year will focus on an East Asian literary work, exploring key issues pertaining to Asia, such as modernity, globalization, cultural flows, censorship, gender representation, class representation, and others. The syllabus is designed with flexibility in mind, so that a different combination of texts and East Asian societies can be introduced every year.

- Two essay surgery sessions will be scheduled, one in Semester 1 and the other at the end of Semester 2, to prepare students for the formative exercise due in Week 11 of Semester 1 and the assessed essay due in the Assessment period of Semester 2.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00Student-led seminar
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery22:004:00Essay surgery
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SML2113Surveying East Asian Literatures - Part 1
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

A typical meeting will consist of a lecture and a student-led seminar. The seminar provides students with an opportunity to develop their presentation and leadership skills by presenting their independent ideas on specific literary works and chairing an ensuing collaborative discussion with the class. Formative feedback will be provided by the lecturer.

The lectures provide crucial knowledge to the historical, cultural, social and political backdrop to both the Asian society concerned and the corresponding literary text. Such information not only familiarises the students with the context of the work, but also alerts them to the aesthetic ways the text engages with the relevant themes. The lecture therefore may contain an interactive element such as small-group discussion exercises, inviting students to exchange interpretations with each other and consolidate their interpretation of the text.

Students are required to have carefully read the primary texts before coming to the lectures; it is to allow ample reading time that the meetings are spread across the two semesters of an academic year. In addition, they are also expected to have consulted the suggested readings from the module handbook.

The two essay surgery sessions allow students to seek advice on coursework requirements. Workshops on how to do a presentation and write an academic essay will be scheduled as part of the lectures.

This module is taught and assessed in English.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation202M3020-minute oral presentation on the week’s primary reading to take place in Sem 1 or 2. Timing to be agreed early in Sem 1.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A702500 words. A choice of questions will be provided.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MCommentary on theoretical readings on Asia in Lecture 2, due in Week 11, Semester 1.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The module assessment will have three components, two assessed and one formative.

The assessed essay of 2,500 words at the end of the module evaluates students’ development of key transferable skills, including argument planning and organising, independent research and critical analysis, creativity and innovation, word-processing, and referencing and bibliographical work. A choice of questions covering lecture themes will be provided.

The oral presentation and ensuing discussion, which take place at every student-led seminar, aim to test students’ skills in presenting a coherent and supported reading of literary texts in a defined time period, and their leadership ability in taking charge in peer discussion. These are also important transferable skills that students can develop during the module.

There will also be a formative assessment due close to the end of Semester 1, in the form of a 1,000-1,500-word commentary that will ask students to comment critically on the theoretical reading on Asia from Lecture 2. By this point students will already have studied a few Asian literary texts, and therefore the commentary is designed to give them an exercise opportunity to make use of their knowledge on Asia to critically reflect on how Asia is imagined in other scholarly writings. It also allows formative feedback from the lecturer on students’ writing abilities.

Reading Lists