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The University of Southampton

HUMA1040 Humanities, the Human and the Non-Human

Module Overview

This module both challenges and enriches the idea of ‘the human’ as an idea for ‘the humanities’. You will reflect upon ‘the human’ as a concept that exceeds the individual person in literary, artistic, historical and political texts. Taking this challenge even further, the module will enable you to understand how the work of ‘the humanities’ is critically attuned to the non-human and the more-than-human in various forms. You may encounter monsters, ghosts, animals, aliens, deities: solar-systems, ecosystems, cyber-worlds, parallel universes, hidden worlds. The module allow you to work in small groups, to make collective decisions, to work collaboratively to formulate a unique group project, and to join humanities scholarship to public discussion.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • of different practices of collective-authorship.
  • of historical and ethical contexts of narratives about the non-human.
  • of some important questions raised for humans by focusing on the non-human.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • to use an engagement with collectively-authored texts to reflect on your own writing practice.
  • to draw on theoretical, historical and/or political arguments in your writing
  • to think and write critically about the relationship between the human and the non-human.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • to plan and develop projects both singly and in a group.
  • to debate questions about the relevance of the Humanities to public life.
  • to respond to questions of public concern.


Weekly readings will frame questions about the relationship of individuals to collectives; and about the relationship of the human to the non-human. Further readings will be determined by student groups with advice from module tutors. Each group (comprised of 4-6 students) will select a public facing organisation and will analyse the narratives that constitute, are produced, and/or are preserved by that organisation. Examples of organisations you may choose to investigate include: humanitarian, conservation, heritage, and environmental charities; museums, libraries, archives, and galleries; newspapers, magazines and other media outlets; governmental and non-governmental organisations producing strategic or legal documents. This list is not exhaustive, and the organisation may be historical or current.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module is delivered through a mix of formal lectures and seminars, but with an emphasis on group activities in which tutors have an important advisory although non-directional role to help facilitate self-directed learning and promote a good understanding amongst students of different methods for conceiving and fulfilling projects, and receiving and giving feedback.

Independent Study40
Wider reading or practice10
Preparation for scheduled sessions20
Completion of assessment task60
Project supervision10
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Elizabeth DeLoughrey. Allegories of the Anthropocene. 

Jason Moore. Capitalism in the Web of Life. 

Andreas Malm. Fossil Capital. 

Adeline Johns-Putra. Climate and Literature. 

Timothy Morton. Being Ecological. 

((Winter 2009)). 'The Climate of History', . Critical Inquiry . ,35 , pp. pp. 197-222 .


Assessment Strategy

You will present your group work, and write a reflective piece on the process of working as a group. You will also complete either a critical essay or a creative project.


Group project presentation


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2200 words) 65%
Reflective essay  (1100 words) 35%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2200 words) 65%
Reflective essay  (1100 words) 35%


MethodPercentage contribution
Written assignment, including essay  (3300 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

You will be told of any books you need to borrow or buy before the start of term.

Optional Visits (e.g. museums, galleries)

There may be some costs (food and travel) associated with the group work leading to the group presentation.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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