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123422 SE Literary & Cultural Studies Seminar / BA Paper / MA British/Irish/New English (2021S)

Lockdown! Writing Brexit-Britain after COVID-19

11.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first serve).


max. 18 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Thursday 8:15-9:45
Starts on: 11.03.2021

Thursday 11.03. 08:15 - 09:45 Digital
Thursday 18.03. 08:15 - 09:45 Digital
Thursday 25.03. 08:15 - 09:45 Digital
Thursday 15.04. 08:15 - 09:45 Digital
Thursday 22.04. 08:15 - 09:45 Digital
Thursday 29.04. 08:15 - 09:45 Digital
Thursday 06.05. 08:15 - 09:45 Digital
Thursday 20.05. 08:15 - 09:45 Digital
Thursday 27.05. 08:15 - 09:45 Digital
Thursday 10.06. 08:15 - 09:45 Digital
Thursday 17.06. 08:15 - 09:45 Digital
Thursday 24.06. 08:15 - 09:45 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

When COVID-19 started to spread at the beginning of 2020, most governments reacted by imposing a range of restrictions to slow the spread of the virus. Chief among these restrictions was putting societies into lockdown. Slightly later than their neighbouring European countries and amidst a hot debate about their necessity, the UK installed lockdown measures starting on 23 March 2020.

One effect of staying at home in self-isolation was that people turned to reading, specifically fiction titles, an activity that enabled those affected to both escape their four walls and “understand what is happening around us, how to overcome this and how to make our lives better in the future” (Charlton). It is no surprise, then, that authors rushed to publish the first novel dealing with the pandemic. Peter May’s thriller Lockdown, published in April 2020 and set in a London under strict curfew, allegedly is the first English COVID-19 novel.

In the seminar, we will explore this new genre of the lockdown narrative and connect it with a second recent genre emerging in Britain, BrexLit, i.e. fiction titles that deal with the Brexit referendum and its aftermath. In our discussion, we will ask:

  1. Read alongside each other, what are similarities and differences in these two corpora when it comes to the experience of Britain as a home space?
  2. How do these two genres employ metaphors of enclosure, contagion, isolation, or defence in their narratives?
  3. How do these narratives connect Britain as a homeland with new experiences of the private home during the lockdown, given that home turned into a space which people were forced not to leave rather than being a cosy space of retreat?
  4. Who is included, who is excluded in these home spaces?

The seminar will also include our own experiences with lockdown measures and new experiences of home in sessions that include creative writing, so be prepared to engage in creative methods of analysis and exploration in the course.

Assessment and permitted materials

a) Regular attendance and preparation of session material (students may miss two sessions)
b) General participation in class, including individual contributions, work with a partner as well as work in groups
c) Expert work on assigned readings: each student will be assigned to one source material of the syllabus and provide expert input in the respective session
d) A portfolio of three short writing task that prepare you for your term paper
e) A formal paper of 6.500-8.000 words

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

a) Active participation and contributions in class (including your expert input in your respective session): 20%
b) Portfolio Tasks: 30%
c) Term paper: 50%
Students must attain at least 60% of each to pass the course.

Marks in %:
1 (very good): 90-100%
2 (good): 80-89%
3 (satisfactory): 70-79%
4 (pass): 60-69%
5 (fail): 0-59%

Examination topics

- Input phases combined with group work and classroom discussion
- Student input from your expert session
- Students' written research projects (term paper and portfolio)

Reading list

Primary Texts:
Hamid, Mohsin. Exit West. Hamish Hamilton, 2016.
May, Peter. Lockdown. Riverrun, 2020.
Smith, Ali. Summer. Hamish Hamilton, 2020.

Secondary Texts and Theory will be announced in the seminar.

Association in the course directory

Studium: BA 612, MA 844; MA 844(2)
Code/Modul: BA09.2, 10.2, MA4, MA6, MA7; MA 4.1, 4.2
Lehrinhalt: 12-0373

Last modified: We 21.04.2021 11:26