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Unit of study_

ICLS3631: What is Literature? Crosscultural Views

Adopting a comparative cross-cultural approach, this unit considers different cultures' responses to the questions: what is literature? what is its purpose? what value does it have? Drawing upon literatures in both English and translation from different parts of the world and different periods in history, this unit explores conceptions of literary theory, criticism and interpretation within traditional, modern and postmodern settings. Notions such as authorship, textual integrity, literature and identity, and literature and history, will be considered.


Academic unit International Comparative Literature and Translation Studies
Unit code ICLS3631
Unit name What is Literature? Crosscultural Views
Session, year
Semester 2, 2020
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

12 credit points at 2000 level from the International and Comparative Literary Studies major
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Bruce Gardiner,
Lecturer(s) Nanda Jarosz ,
Bruce Gardiner,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Second Essay
Short research essay
45% Formal exam period 2,500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Assignment First Essay
Short research essay
45% Week 07 2,500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3
Online task In-class activities, brief class-focussed tasks
Tutorial participation; written discussion contributions; quiz answers.
10% Week 12 Equivalent to 1,000 word assignment.
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO5

Tutorial participation; written discussion contributions; quiz answers: to establish mastery of facts, argumentation, and textual analytical skills.

Assessment criteria

This unit uses standards-based assessment for award of assessment marks. Your assessments will be evakuated solely on the basis of your individual performance.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Goethe Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1
Week 02 Schiller Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1
Week 03 Novalis Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1
Week 04 F. Schlegel Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1
Week 05 Schelling Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1
Week 06 Hoffmann Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1
Week 07 Herder Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1
Week 08 Arnold Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 09 Fitzgerald Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 10 Fanon Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO2
Week 11 Said Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 12 Salih Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. The Sorrows of Young Werther

Kant, Immanuel. Critique of the Power of Judgment. Introduction.

Schiller, Friedrich. On Naïve and Sentimental Poetry. Parts I and II. 

Novalis. Hymns to the Night

Schlegel, Friedrich von. Dialogue on Poetry

Schelling, F.W.J. Philosophy of Art. General Section on the Philosophy of Art.

Hoffmann. E.T.A. The Golden Pot and Other Tales. Introduction; The Golden Pot; The Sandman.

Herder, Johann Gottfried von. Philosophical Writings. Excerpts.

Arnold, Matthew. Sohrab and Rustum.

Fitzgerald, Edward. The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. Chapters 1, 3, and 5.

Said, Edward. Orientalism. Chapters 1.3; 2.4; 3.1; and 3.3. 


Salih, Tayeb [Ṣāliḥ, al-Ṭayyib]. Season of Migration to the North




Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. master the skills of reading literary texts meticulously and circumspectly in relation their historical and cultural specificity and susceptibility to intercultural scrutiny and translation.
  • LO2. grasp firmly the literary relations among neighbouring language communities and cultures.
  • LO3. acquire proficiency in discovering, evaluating, and benefitting from diverse primary and scholarly sources of fact and of opinion founded securely on fact.
  • LO4. deal intelligently and generously with fellow scholars working in any fields of knowledge however remote from one other.
  • LO5. master the skills of communicating expertly, clearly, and aptly for the benefit of scholarly and public inquiry into inter-cultural matters, especially those currently in dispute and in need of conciliation.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
Although the unit this year deals with different texts and topics and is taught by different teachers, it follows the practices of past versions of the unit that have proved of most benefit to students, judged in part by their responses to unit surveys.


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