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Upcoming open days

Undergraduate Postgraduate
Colchester Campus
Saturday 21 June 2014 (booking now)
Southend Campus
None upcoming
Colchester Campus
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No open days are available for booking yet. You will be able to book your desired open day online three months before the date.

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Colchester Campus
Southend Campus

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Module details


Year: 2014/15
Department: Various
Essex credit: 30
ECTS credit: 15
Available to year(s) of study:
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: Yes

Supervisor: Colin Samson  
Teaching Staff: Carlos Gigoux & A range of staff from across the university will contribute to the module.  
Contact details: samsc (Non essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create the full email address) 01206 872662 Office Hours Monday 1500:1600 and Thursday 1100:1200 Room 5A.310 

Module is taught during the following terms

Module Description

This module examines the social criticism and subversiveness of writing in the form of the essay and the manifesto. During the year, we will look at several essays and manifestos that challenge dominant ideas, existing social arrangements, and provoke us to explore the many varieties of writing itself. The module seeks to reappraise the essay and follow the important role it has played in the development of the humanities and social sciences from the 17th century to the present. Today the essay is emerging as a critical tool in the examination of all aspects of human experience, both the profound and the ephemeral. Essays may mask themselves as innocent excursions but, as with Jonathan Swifts, A Modest Proposal, or George Orwells, Politics and the English Language,the essay can rapidly overturn accepted opinions and provoke the questioning of values. Likewise, manifestos like Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto, may be written specifically to mobilise opinion and overthrow existing social institutions, while the Surrealist manifesto proposes a change in the way we literally look at the world.

The readings examined on the module are primarily chosen on the basis of their historical impact, current relevance and at the same time selected as models for good writing. It is hoped that a consideration of how ideas are powerfully and succinctly communicated will encourage students to experiment, and thus, broaden the approach of those essays produced by the students who follow the module.

Learning & Teaching Methods

A seminar that will include staff presentations, student-led intellectual discussions.


100 per cent Coursework Mark

Two 4000 - 5000 word essays

Other details:
this module contains a participation mark

Exam Duration and Period

Other information

Core for final year BA Humanities students.

Further information

External Examiner Information

  • Name: Dr Christopher David Belshaw
  • Institution: THE OPEN UNIVERSITY
  • Academic Role: Senior Lecturer

Should you have any queries about the Module Directory pages, please contact the Course Record Team, Systems Administration Office, Academic Section; email: crt (non Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk)