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Unit information: The Art of Writing in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name The Art of Writing
Unit code AFAC10016
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Cleo Hanaway-Oakley
Open unit status Not open




School/department Arts Faculty Office
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Throughout your Liberal Arts degree you will encounter a variety of texts and be asked to write about them clearly, persuasively, and imaginatively. This unit gives you the opportunity to develop your skills and confidence in critical writing, reading, and thinking, in order to help you successfully engage with words and ideas from across the humanities.

The art of deciphering and critiquing texts will be learnt via exploration of a particular theme or set of interrelated themes – such as identity, gender, disability, nationalism, atheism, gender, beauty, and politics – that can be usefully approached from an interdisciplinary perspective. You will analyse texts produced by a diverse range of writers, from Ancient orators to twentieth-century essayists and twenty-first century social media stars.

Over the course of the unit, you will learn the skills needed to write well, to help evaluate others’ writing and your own, and to understand the links between writing and the social context of communication.

Unit Aims:

  • To enhance students’ ability to analyse and evaluate the writing they will encounter throughout their degree.
  • To develop good practice in planning and revising written work, with a twin emphasis on self-scrutiny and peer review.
  • To enable students to gain skills and confidence in essay writing.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit, successful students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate skills in textual analysis;
  2. Present a persuasive, appropriately evidenced argument;
  3. Plan, draft, and revise writing in response to peer-review, tutor feedback, and self-scrutiny.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities, including discussion sessions, lectures, and writing and reading exercises. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. There will be opportunities for tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Information

One x 1500-word portfolio (50%) [ILOs 1 & 3]

One x 1500-word essay (50%) [ILOs 1-2]

Reading and References

Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein, They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, Fourth Edition (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2018).

Hayot, Eric, The Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014).

Goatly, Andrew, and Preet Hiradhar, Critical Reading and Writing in the Digital Age: An Introductory Coursebook, Second Edition (London: Routledge, 2016).