BA English Language and English Literature / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Interdisciplinary Literature and Theology: Empathy, Ethics, Liberation

Course unit fact file
Unit code ENGL35111
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course examines the interdisciplinary conversation between theology and literature by reading and discussing theoretical perspectives from theologians, ethicists, and literary scholars, alongside novels short stories, and poems. We will consider different interdisciplinary approaches to the relationship between theology and literature; and examine how these different disciplines contribute to contemporary debates over empathy, ethical action, and liberative theologies. Central to the course is understanding how liberative perspectives in feminist, womanist, postcolonial, disability, and queer theologies engage with literature to raise questions of how to represent specific lived experiences in literary and theological texts. The class enables students to develop the critical skills to identify theological and ethical questions emerging from different literary modes, as well as perspectives on reading and interpreting literature as a community. Students will be encouraged reflect on how specific texts have shaped their own worldviews and to develop their own theological and ethical readings of literary texts. Students do not need to have studied theology or literature before, as they will be familiarised with relevant secondary material on literary texts and on the interdisciplinary study of literature and theology.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 50%
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%

Essay 1: 50%

Essay 2: 50%

Recommended reading

• Cynthia Wallace, Of Women Borne: A Literary Ethics of Suffering, 2016.

• Heather Walton, Literature and Theology: New Interdisciplinary Spaces, 2011.

• Katie Cannon, Katie’s Canon: Womanism and the Soul of the Black Community, 1995.

• Heather Walton, Literature, Theology, and Feminism, 2007.

• Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987. • Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower, 1993.

• Amal El-Mohtar, Seasons of Glass and Iron, in Uncanny Magazine.

• Eli Clare, Brilliant Imperfection, 2017.

• Lesley Nneka Arimah, What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky, 2015

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Wren Radford Unit coordinator

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