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57162 Memory and Life Writing

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Communication: Creative Writing
Credit points: 8 cp
Result type: Grade, no marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.

Description

The study and writing of a life is now one of the most popular and dynamic fields in non-fiction scholarship. This subject introduces students to the interdisciplinary study of life writing in forms such as biography, autobiography, family history, oral history, memoir and engages with the critical and methodological issues raised by these various approaches. In scoping the field, this subject engages with central issues of memory, agency, identity, self-representation, and so on. Life writing can encapsulate the relation between the individual and society, the local and the national, the past and present, and the public and private experience. Through its various activities, the subject aims to air such topics for both academic and 'general' audiences, especially through a consideration of how life writing contributes to our broader cultural heritage.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

a. Critically appraise the range of approaches and literature in the field of study
b. Critically analyse relevant secondary works in the field
c. Develop understanding about the nature of primary archival research
d. Articulate relevant conceptual issues informing their research
e. Communicate their ideas and experiences through their own written work effectively
f. Reflect on their own practice

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject engages with the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs), which are tailored to the Graduate Attributes set for all graduates of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:

  • Critically analyse their work and the work of others, acquiring high-level professional editorial skills (1.3)
  • Understand, reproduce and experiment with genre and form (2.1)
  • Locate and evaluate an extensive range of sources in literary practice (2.2)
  • Convey complex ideas in writing clearly and effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences, across a range of media formats (6.1)
  • Explain the importance of drafting and rewriting in the writing process (6.3)

Teaching and learning strategies

Face-to-face classes will incorporate a range of teaching and learning strategies including lectures, short presentations, videos, discussion of readings and case studies and workshops of student’s own work. These will be complemented by independent student reading and separate visits by experts in the field.

Mode of Offering

3 hour weekly seminar format on campus

Content (topics)

  • Introduction to forms of life writing. The history of biography, autobiography and its popularity and audiences; types and genres as well as hybrid forms such as oral life histories
  • Secrets and Lies examining the methods: imaginative reconstruction, context and the gaps in a life; confession and expose
  • The Ethics of Life Writing
  • Relationship between the life and work: biographies of artists, novelists, journalists, scientists, composers, celebrities, sport stars
  • Transnational lives - travellers, explorers, adventurers
  • Final presentations and discussion

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Review

Objective(s):

a, b and c

Weight: 25%
Length: 1,000 words
Criteria:
  • extent of research context in the field of their chosen author how does this text fit into the life writing spectrum
  • quality of critique of both writing and concept of works chosen
  • evidence of growing understanding of concepts relevant to subject
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
extent of sources covered in the field of their chosen subject and form 33 a 2.3
quality of critique for both writing and concept of works chosen 33 b 1.4
evidence of growing understanding of concepts relevant to subject 34 c 1.2
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Seminar Presentation

Objective(s):

a and d

Weight: 25%
Criteria:
  • Clear outline of assigned reading context
  • Effective communication as a spoken assignment to the group
  • Nature and quality of concepts underpinning presentation, including discussion of writing elements employed and their effect
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Clear outline of assigned reading context 33 a 1.3
Effective communication as a spoken assignment to the group 33 d 6.3
Nature and quality of concepts underpinning presentation, including discussion of writing elements employed and their effect 34 a, d 2.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Major project

Objective(s):

e and f

Weight: 50%
Length:

2,000 words

Criteria:
  • Degree of clarity of writing, including narrative arc and structure
  • Application of creative ideas to writing; nature and quality of creative ideas
  • Clarity of expression; effective use of language and life writing techniques and elements

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Degree of clarity of writing, including narrative arc and structure 33 e 6.3
Application of creative ideas to writing; nature and quality of creative ideas 34 f 2.2
Clarity of expression; effective use of language and life writing techniques and elements 33 e 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

Attendance is essential in this subject. Classes are based on a collaborative approach that involves essential work-shopping and interchange of ideas with other students and the tutor. A roll will be taken at each class. Students who have more than two absences from class will be refused final assessment (see Rule 3.8).?

It is essential to attempt all assessment tasks to pass the subject as each assessment meets unique subject learning objectives.

References

References and texts:

William Zinsser, Inventing the Truth: the art and craft of memoir. Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1998

Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story: the art of personal narrative. New York; Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2002

Sondra Perl, Writing true: the art and craft of creative nonfiction. Boston; Houghton Mifflin, 2006.

Paul John Eakin, Living Autobiographically: how we create identity in narrative. Cornell University Press, 2008.