This research colloquium provides students in Anglophone Modernities with the opportunity to study and critically engage with various current approaches to literary and cultural studies. Advanced students can also present their own MA projects and receive feedback. In addition, we will make time to discuss the process of writing an MA thesis. Attention: the central approaches discussed in this particular colloquium are marxism, feminism, and queer studies: Do not choose this colloquium if you have taken one with this focus before.

The state-of-the-nation novel is a name given to a specifically British type of political prose narrative, modelled on a certain strand of Victorian novels – most notably, works by Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell and Anthony Trollope – and generally featuring a complex constellation of various characters in an urban setting, typically conveying a modern sense of alienation and moral confusion. While one might dismiss this traditional approach to probing into the structure of feeling of a nation at a specific time (including its political elites and the larger society) as somewhat dated and overcome, the state-of-the-nation novel has had a recent revival with the so-called Brexit Fiction associated with writers like Jonathan Coe, Anthony Cartwright, Ali Smith and Amanda Craig.

This course will look at the state-of-the-nation novel in various historical contexts, paying special attention to its most recent figuration after the Brexit referendum. A general question will be how this national approach to literature writing can nonetheless be understood as a kind of world literature engaging with the effects of globalisation.