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However you think about the outsider - as artist, as outlaw or anarchist, as hero or scapegoat, as criminal or critic - it is clear that this figure is a constant in the study of literature. In this course we shall investigate the way the figure of the outsider has been represented in the traditions of American and New Zealand literature. Furthermore, we will bring to bear on this figure three key critical contexts: romanticism, modernism and post-colonialism.
However you think about the outsider – as artist, as outlaw or anarchist, as hero or scapegoat, as criminal or critic – it is clear that this figure is a constant in the study of literature. Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost, Shakespeare’s Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, the exilic wanderers of the Romantic tradition all remind us of the enduring power of a conceit that continues today in our fascination with superheroes and teenaged supernaturals. In all cases the outsider is that figure who can never settle or be settled, who finds themselves between states, forms, conventions and laws, either embodying or initiating some form of transformation. In accounting for such figures we are often required to re-evaluate ideas about justice and morality, truth and representation, similarity and difference, privilege and power; in short, the figure of the outsider offers us a way to think critically about the ways in which a culture conceives of individuality and, in turn, how the individual can be said to reflect the culture’s imagining of identity and nation.In this course we shall investigate the way the figure of the outsider has been represented in the traditions of American and New Zealand literature and popular culture.This course can be used towards an English major or minor. BA students who major in English would normally take at least two 100-level 15 point ENGL courses (which must include at least one of the following: ENGL117, ENGL102 or ENGL103), at least three 200-level 15 point ENGL courses, and at least two 300-level 30 point ENGL courses. Please see the BA regulations or a student advisor for more information.
In this course you will learn:Development of critical reading skills Understanding of key historical and critical contexts crucial to the study of literature and cultureCritical introduction to some of the key texts in the fields of American and New Zealand literatureDevelopment of written rhetorical skills through essay writingAn appreciation of the value of the study of literature and culture
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
Employable, innovative and enterprising
Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.
Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
Course Content• J. D. Salinger – Catcher in the Rye• Janet Frame – Owls Do Cry• Alex Garland - Ex Machina (film)• Pasifka Poetry Supplement: Hone Tuwhare; Tusiata Avia; Karlo Mila; Sia Figiel.• Toni Morrison – Sula• Get Out (film) • What We Do in the Shadows (film) (Image: "Wanderer above the sea of fog" by Caspar David Friedrick, licensed under public domain.)
Domestic fee $785.00
International fee $3,500.00
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see
Humanities and Creative Arts.