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Study information

Citizens of the World

Module titleCitizens of the World
Module codeEAS3234
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Chris Ewers (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

What did it mean to be a citizen of the world in the eighteenth century and Romantic period? This module, designed for specialist and non-specialists, explores the shift from the cosmopolitan view that the enlightened person was at home everywhere to the Romantic view that one may be an exile even in one’s own country. The module examines major works by writers such as Austen, Voltaire, Wollstonecraft, Polidori and Keats, as well as lesser-known texts, to build up a detailed view of eighteenth-century and Romantic literary culture. We will explore themes such as nation, empire, slavery, identity and literature’s evolving role in mediating between the self and the wider world.

Module aims - intentions of the module

  • The module is designed to advance knowledge of eighteenth-century and Romantic period literature, with an emphasis on the national and international contexts in which it was produced. The module will enable you to bring a wide range of critical and theoretical techniques to bear on literary texts and other cultural artefacts and to develop individual expertise leading towards further study, including at postgraduate level.
  • The module begins with foundational texts of the cosmopolitan tradition, such as Voltaire’s Candide, before considering questions of travel, mobility, colonialism, slavery, national identity, ideas of citizenship, animal rights, landscape and the anthropocene, and the Gothic ‘other’ of the vampire. Texts may include Laurence Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey, Samuel Johnson’s Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland, the poetry of Phillis Wheatley, the slavery narrative of Olaudah Equiano, John William Polidori’s The Vampyre, and writing by Mary Wollstonecraft, Oliver Goldsmith and John Keats.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate an advanced appreciation of specific authors and texts from the eighteenth century and Romantic period
  • 2. Demonstrate an advanced appreciation of the literary history and cultural context of the eighteenth century and Romantic period
  • 3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of some of the key themes, topics and debates that emerge in eighteenth-century and Romantic texts

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Demonstrate an advanced ability to analyse the literature and visual art of an earlier era and to relate aesthetic concerns and modes of expression to historical context
  • 5. Demonstrate an advanced ability to interrelate texts and discourses specific to your own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history
  • 6. Demonstrate an advanced ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to literary texts and visual culture

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, an advanced capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose
  • 8. Through research for seminars, essays, and presentations demonstrate advanced proficiency in information retrieval and analysis

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

• The module begins with an examination of key literary texts of the eighteenth-century cosmopolitan tradition, as well as some of the ways in which that tradition can be questioned. It moves on to explore various geographical locales that represented examples of human civilisation and progress (or lack thereof). Lastly, it turns to Romantic period texts where cosmopolitanism was combined with an interest in the workings of imagination and, for some, the recasting of freedom of movement as fear of contagion.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching11Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Seminars
Guided Independent Study33Study group preparation and meetings
Guided Independent Study70Individual seminar preparation
Guided Independent Study164Reading, research and essay preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1000 words1-8Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial meeting

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay402500 words1-8Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial meeting
Essay453000 words1-8Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial meeting
Presentation and module participation15Group presentation and general module engagement1-6, 8Feedback sheet

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay (2500 words)Essay (2500 words)1-8Referral/Deferral period
Essay (3000 words)Essay (3000 words)1-8Referral/Deferral period
Presentation1,000 word powerpoint presentation, written or recorded1-6, 8Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Core reading:

  •  Voltaire, Candide and Other Stories, trans. Roger Pearson (Oxford World’s Classics).
  • Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, Journey to the Western Isles and the Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, ed. Peter Levi (Penguin Classics).
  • Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings, ed. Vincent Carretta (Penguin Classics).
  • Mary Wollstonecraft, Letters Written in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, ed. Tone Brekke and Jon Mee (Oxford World’s Classics).

 Secondary reading:

  • Robert Fine, Cosmopolitanism (2007).
  • David Higgins, Romantic Englishness: Nation, Empire, and Autobiography, 1780-1850 (2014).
  • Nigel Leask, Curiosity and the Aesthetics of Travel Writing (2002).
  • Esther Wohlgemut, Romantic Cosmopolitanism (2009).
  • Christina Sharpe, In the Wake (2016).

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Cosmopolitanism, eighteenth century, Romanticism, nation, empire, slavery

Credit value30
Module ECTS


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