This assignment combined my passion for conflict journalism with my English Literature degree. Through analysing three texts, I identify the raw and tragic cost of the war on terror. The Iraqi Christ by Hassan Blasim, Home fire by Kamila Shamsie and Exit West by Moshin Hamid allow a western audience to see the human cost of the war on terror on a personal and emotional level; a perspective often overlooked by mainstream media. As America withdraw from Afghanistan, there is no better time to reflect on the lasting impact of the war on terror and the many nations targeted by America and the West in general.
This is a thoughtful and focused discussion of literary treatments of the 'war on terror', which explores both the politics of the war and the human cost. The learning outcomes have been met with success, with a knowledgeable discussion of the history of contemporary conflict and an insightful study of the three chosen texts.
The work is well structured and includes a clear introduction and conclusion, with the latter rounding off the argument extremely well. Regarding the primary texts, there is a high level of knowledge and comprehension on display - the interpretation is good, the level of primary quotation high and the analysis mostly pertinent (although close reading of passages could have expanded on occasion with more discussion of diction, imagery and symbolism). The level of critical quotation is very good and the discussion of the 'war on terror' reveals a keen interest in the topic, backed up by an extensive bibliography (although more articles on your chosen texts/authors could have been located in Onesearch and the electronic reading list). The work is also well written, with an expressive, formal prose and good referencing and bibliographic layout (although a few errors appear in the former).
Overall, this is a strong piece of writing, with an informed and detailed approach to the question topic.
A strong analysis of a set of complex and distressing primary texts. Good contextualisation and good references to secondary sources.
I now officially have a first degree in English Literature! The decision to go to university changed my life unimaginably. At the age of 16, I left school and spent a year working because I was told that I wasn’t ‘academic’. After deciding, I could and would do more, I went back to sixth form and got my A levels. Again, I was told that I wasn’t ‘academic’ enough and that I wouldn’t achieve at university. So, I ended up working for another year until the drive to learn pulled me back to education and university. This decision led to being estranged for first year as my family disagreed with this decision; however, my life began to flourish across the board year after year! The university even paid for me to study in Athens for a year! University may not be for all people but don’t let anyone else make that decision for you. I have thrived at Brighton University and had the best four years of my life… so far!
For this assignment, I had to create a program for one of Shakespeare’s plays. I have always loved Othello, from the first time I studied it in GCSE, then again in A-Level and finally for my degree. This 2015 production of Othello is outstanding. Casting Iago black allows the genuine, toxic relationship between Othello and Iago to be exposed in-depth, without race offering a simplistic answer to the betrayal. The program delves into the history of the Moors in relation to Othello and a man that inspired Shakespeare to write the play, along with interviews with actors and the director. If you are a fan of Othello, I would 100% recommend watching the 2015 RSC production, directed by Iqbal Khan.
On this assignment I received a first, this is the markers comments: ‘Great looking programme, well though out, and lucidly argued. The choice of different perspectives is well done, and the serious focalisation on Leo Africanus well researched and a good counterpoint to the way in which many viewers might think about the play.’
For my dissertation, I combined my interests in conflict and history with my degree in English literature. I decided to focus on the first time the British invaded Afghanistan (1839) and the subsequent withdrawal from the country (1842). One hundred and seventy years later, and again we see a withdrawal from Afghanistan. The fate of the country is unknown, however, it isn’t looking great. The Taliban have already re-taken many districts and captured a considerable amount of military equipment. It is hugely frustrating to see the West make the same mistakes continuously in regards to Afghanistan. If you are interested in Afghanistan's current affairs, I would recommend reading my dissertation to understand where the relationship between the British and the country/people of Afghanistan began. I am confident that if politicians studied past engagements in a little more detail, conflicts such as the most recent invasion of Afghanistan could and would be avoided. I am proud to announce that I achieved a first on this dissertation. A massive thank you goes out to my supervisor, who supported me through my study and research, despite the topic not being taught on my course.
Feedback from marker: This is a strong piece of work that shows a real engagement with imperial literature and history (a topic not extensively covered on the course). The argument - on the changing paradigm of British representation of Afghanistan in the mid-nineteenth century - is a fascinating one, well supported by literary, historical and biographical research.
Overall, the work is well ordered and focused throughout, with a clear introduction and a powerful conclusion, drawing links to the Western discourses on Afghanistan in the contemporary period. At times, the shift in paradigm that each chapter explores could have been flagged up more clearly, and the structure of each chapter could have been tightened, reducing the small instances of repetition that occur. At the same time, analysis of some of the longer quotations could have expanded with a wider range of diction and imagery commented upon, and more research into imperial discourse would have improved the theoretical underpinning of the dissertation. Still, the use of Said and Spurr is effective, the historical context is clearly detailed and the biographies of the writers are drawn in usefully, with some excellent commentary on reception, readership and national loyalty. The work is also engagingly written, with expressive prose and proficient referencing and bibliographic layout.
Overall, an intelligent and informed piece of work that clearly communicates your historical interests, as evidenced in the very impressive bibliography.
Feedback from secondary marker: Very good dissertation. The focus on representations and their analysis demonstrating the paradigm shift is very good all through.
Formative comment: It would have been interesting to reflect on the motivations for the British to go to Afghanistan and to compare those then and now.
Overall a well informed and solidly documented piece of work with good contextualisation and pertinent analysis.
Director Simon Godwin has produced a production of Hamlet unlike any other, with Paapa Essiedu taking centre stage as the RSC’s first black Hamlet. Breathing new life into the classic Shakespeare play, Godwin’s interpretation reimagines the cast and modernizes the costumes to bring a refreshing energy to the stage of the Royal Shakespeare theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon. (see full review below)
In this production of one of Shakespeare’s early works, director Justin Audibert substituted the patriarchal society of 1590 for a matriarchal system. Shakespeare’s original play was intended as a Comedy; however, with the blatant expression of domestic and emotional abuse, it is challenging to portray it as such today. Audibert’s reimagining of the tale, swapping gender roles, shined a powerful light on domestic abuse. (See link below for full review)
The brutality of the World Wars exposed the fraudulent concept of European ‘civilisation’. Having used perceptions of Europe's sophisticated and cultured societies to justify systems of global dominance and oppression, the spectacle of war, destroying the monuments of ‘civilised’ cities and butchering their subjects in barbaric scenes of violence and depravity, showed that 'civilisation' was only ever an illusion. (Click on the link below to read full essay)