ENG4324 - Survival of the Fittest: Darwinism and Survival Literature

Year of Study:3 or 4
Credit Units: 3
Duration: 45hours
Prerequisites: ENG1100 Introduction to Literature,
ENG2100 Exploring the Genre of Poetry,
ENG2101 Exploring English Novels,
ENG2102 Drama and Theatre
or with special permission from Instructor and approval by Department Head
Module Description
The module will adopt a new perspective in reading literature. Students will be encouraged to explore literature as a broader spectrum and connect it with various disciplinary as well as social contexts such as scientific, economic, political and anthropological ones. Through the study of (excerpts from) Charles Darwin’s work, the module aims to enhance students’ understanding of themselves as individuals, their relationships with society and with nature. The module sets out not as Darwinian literary studies but rather, its aim is to inspire students to explore literary texts which reflect the Darwinist notions such as ‘human nature’, ‘race’, ‘survival’, ‘religion’ ‘morality and ethics’, ‘colonialism’, ‘dog-eat-dog capitalism’ and ‘free market’, to relate these issues to the contemporary social contexts and to their life. The module is designed to be problem-solving in nature. The ultimate goal of this module is to inspire the students not just to address to, but to come up with their own versions of questions and answers to the above issues.
Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this module, students should be able to:

  1. deploy an initial analytical and critical vocabulary for the basic discussion of natural philosophy and scientific theory;

  2. demonstrate an understanding of, and ability to discuss in an informed way, the social, economic and cultural changes that affect interpretation of Darwinian theory in its time and at present;

  3. demonstrate an ability to generate and articulate personal response, to critique and to apply scientific theory to texts;

  4. apply the above knowledge and skills in constructing and communicating an informed appreciation of the literary value of the texts considered both verbally and in the writing of coherent, informed critical essays;

  5. transfer above skills into intellectual and professional skills to construct and communicate a sustained analysis of texts and to conduct research and evaluate the material acquired both within and outside of literary study context.