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EL2055 - Literature, Print and Society in Comparative Contexts 1920-50

Credit points: 3
Year: 2022
Student Contribution Band: Band 1
Administered by: College of Arts, Society & Education

Offered in even-numbered years, next offered in 2020

The study of print culture is an exciting interdisciplinary field that considers texts in their broad material, cultural and social contexts. Comparative print cultures expands the traditional study of comparative literature to consider the historical and social conditions of authorship, writing, printing, publishing, circulating, and reading in two or more national contexts. In this subject, students with a background in English or History will receive an introduction to print culture studies, and draw from these fields to develop a broad and applied understanding of texts and their contexts in a wide range of print material ranging from famous authors to best-sellers of their time now forgotten. Students will receive training in using primary sources such as newspapers, periodicals, and personal and institutional materials housed in Special Collections at James Cook University Library and in using digital tools in their research. A focus on the interwar period and its immediate aftermath (1920-50) will frame an exploration of our tropical region in a world context. While the 1920s and 30s are commonly associated with either The Great Gatsby or The Great Depression, the period between the wars embodies spectacular tensions and cultural changes that came to characterise modernity in the first half of the twentieth century. The North Queensland region was connected to these global changes in fascinating ways that this subject considers. A thematic approach will allow students to explore a variety of issues during this period in print cultures from Anglophone nations such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA. Themes include literature and mass culture; art and entertainment; work and leisure; mobility and insularity; home and travel; urban and rural development; technology and the environment; and nationalism and cosmopolitanism. The interdisciplinary and transnational approach of this subject fosters new perspectives on national history and literature that can lead into innovative projects for future honours and postgraduate research.

Learning Outcomes

  • develop an understanding of comparative literature;
  • possess a deeper historical understanding of our tropical region in a world context;
  • understand fundamental approaches to print culture studies;
  • access a variety of primary sources to evaluate and link findings with a wider body of research;
  • use digital tools to locate, sort, or showcase findings.

Subject Assessment

  • Oral > Presentation 1 - (30%) - Individual
  • Participation > Class participation - (25%) - Group & Individual
  • Field notes/proposal/essay - (45%) - Individual.
Students enrolling in this subject should possess a basic understanding of English literature or History. They will be expected to undertake close analysis of primary sources and locate their findings within a broader context of disciplinary understanding and secondary research. Students must possess research and academic writing skills at or beyond the basic expectations of level 2 Arts subjects.


Townsville, Study Period 2, Internal
Census Date 25-Aug-2022
Coord/Lect: Assoc. Professor Victoria Kuttainen.
Workload expectations:

The student workload for this 3 credit point subject is approximately 130 hours.

  • 18 hours workshops
  • 13 hours online content
  • assessment and self-directed study

Cairns, Study Period 2, External
Census Date 25-Aug-2022
Workload expectations:

The student workload for this 3 credit point subject is approximately 130 hours.

  • 18 hours - Online Activities
  • 13 hours online content
  • assessment and self-directed study
Method of Delivery: WWW - LearnJCU

Note: Minor variations might occur due to the continuous Subject quality improvement process, and in case of minor variation(s) in assessment details, the Subject Outline represents the latest official information.