Women and the Writing of Violence ENGLIT4139

  • 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

This course explores feminist theorisations of violence, and strategies for the writing and thinking of violence. The seminars take as their starting point novels that pose questions about what it means to think and write violence, from the Second World War to the present. The course links questions of narrative to gender and violence, paying close attention to the style of the novels. Each novel has been chosen for the way in which questions of the psyche are tied to political conditions. Thus, the course also explores the ongoing effects of empire and capitalism across the world.


10 x 2hr seminars over ten weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to honours course

Excluded Courses





■ Seminar Participation 10% (measured through engagement in seminars with the course material and interaction with the thoughts and ideas of the peer group).

■ Creative writing exercise/ short critical commentary (short exercise written in the style of a chosen novel, or a critical commentary on the style of the novel selected, paying particular attention to form. 1000 words) 20%

■ Comparative Essay (3500 words) 70%

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ examine narrative strategies that explore psychic and political violence

■ explore the ethics of the representation of violence

■ consider if violence transformed through thought and representation

■ reflect on the relationship between gender, narrative, and violence 

■ develop critical abilities while exploring key questions in philosophy and gender studies.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ identify contemporary writing by women that addresses questions of violence

■ navigate complex discussions about gender and violence in a nuanced and informed manner, especially while discussing literary and cultural production

■ apply discussions that take place as part of the course to contemporary debates around gendered violence

■ identify relevant sources and construct research questions to write well-researched pieces for both academic and general audiences

■ articulate a considered and historically informed language for discussing gender and violence

■ offer and receive peer feedback and engage respectfully with the work of their cohort.

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.