Futures: Unbundling the Now ENGLIT4134

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Futures exist in the current moment as potent narratives, drawing on rhetorical, aesthetic, and symbolic strategies for their persuasive power. They shape the trajectory of the present and determine who gets to inhabit the future and under what conditions. This course interrogates the variety of present futures: how they are made, by whom and for whom. Across ten weeks we will examine black radical, queer, feminist, indigenous and dominant futures and the ways they engage with different modes of imagining futures from infrastructure and scenario planning to Afropessimism and counter-apocalypse.


8 x 1hr lectures; 8 x 1.5hr seminars over ten weeks as scheduled on MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in English Literature and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Successful completion of Junior Honours English Literature, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses

ENGLIT5121 Futures: Unbundling the Now (PGT)




2 x 7 min presentations, each accompanied by a mini-archival collection - 40%

Seminar Contribution - 10%

Essay (3000 words) - 50%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Map, compare and contrast existing narratives of the future.

■ Engage critically and practically with narratives of the future and their methods and contexts of construction.

■ Interrogate how narratives of the future draw on and shape narrative techniques of realism, speculation, plausibility, and agency.

■ Investigate the impact of narratives of the future on contemporary society and culture with a particular focus on the themes of gender, race, climate, and justice. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

■ Identify and critically assess discourses of futurity in popular culture and policy.

■ Situate narratives of futurity within their relevant historical trajectory.

■ Engage critically with important theoretical approaches to the future, including critical race studies, queer theory, infrastructure studies, and critical futures studies.

■ Conduct independent research and develop key academic skills in analysis, writing, editing, and argumentation through written and oral assessment. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.