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Unit information: Representing HIV/AIDS in 2021/22

Unit name Representing HIV/AIDS
Unit code ENGL30141
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Baden-Daintree
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit explores the representation of HIV/AIDS across four decades in a range of media, which may include poetry, fiction, film, visual art, memoir, journalism, theatre and television. It considers the ways in which creative representation of HIV/AIDS is informed by social and cultural context, as well as developments in medicine. Comparative work will take place on works of first-wave artists and writers with more recent work, across geographical and cultural boundaries, and between different media. While the focus is mainly on Anglo-American art and literature, there is also some reflection of a wider global perspective. A range of theoretical perspectives will be brought to bear on these works, including recent critical work in medical humanities as well as discipline-specific criticism on film, visual art, literature and other genres.

This unit therefore aims to:

  • Introduce students to the representation of HIV/ AIDS across a range of different genres and media.
  • Encourage them to compare these representations, and relate them to the contexts in which they were produced.
  • Develop their skills of textual analysis.
  • Develop their ability to express their ideas orally and in writing.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of some key primary sources representing HIV/AIDS in their social, historical, and cultural contexts.
  2. Identify and evaluate some key critical concepts in the medical humanities.
  3. Apply understanding of historical, cultural, social and medical contexts to readings of literary texts and other primary sources.
  4. Evaluate the different creative responses to illness across a range of different genres and media.
  5. Demonstrate skills in textual analysis, argumentation, and critical interpretation, using evidence from a range of primary and secondary sources.

Teaching Information

Teaching will involve asynchronous and synchronous elements, which may include long- and short-form lectures, group discussion, research and writing activities, and peer dialogue. Students are expected to engage with the reading and participate fully with the weekly tasks and topics. Learning will be further supported through the opportunity for individual consultation.

Students will be given the opportunity to submit a draft or outline of their final, summative essay of up to 1,500 words and to receive feedback on this.

Assessment Information

1 x 3500-word essay (100%) [ILOs 1-5]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. ENGL30141).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.