[Massey Albany]

Welcome to 139.750: Contemporary New Zealand Writers in an International Context (Contemporary NZ Writers, for short) at Massey Albany.

This year, 2017, the course will be taught by Dr Jack Ross (course coordinator). Here's what's up about it on the Massey University website:

Paper Number:


Paper Coordinators:

Dr Jack Ross


30 credits

Full Title:

Contemporary New Zealand Writers in an International Context


An advanced exploration of contemporary New Zealand fiction and poetry and its relationship to international aesthetic practices, in the context of globalisation and postcoloniality.


Graduate status




Albany 139.795 Special Topic in English in 2008

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this paper should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of globalisation and postcoloniality as theories of transnational cultural flows.

  2. Relate New Zealand literary texts to international creative influences.

  3. Demonstrate the sustained and complex close reading of technical and stylistic innovation in contemporary New Zealand literary texts.

  4. Develop written, spoken, and creative forms of critical inquiry as responses to contemporary New Zealand fiction and poetry.


100% internal assessment comprising:

  1. 20% - Creative response in a genre of the student’s choice (2000 words or equivalent)
    [learning outcome 4]
    • This assignment is developed in discussion with the paper co-ordinator.

  2. 20% - Journal (2,500 words)
    [learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4]
    • A series of critical thoughts and reactions to all of the major authors and ideas studied in the course. The journal receives both formative and summative assessment.

  3. 20% - Seminar (10 minutes)
    [learning outcomes 2, 3, 4]
    • The intention is that this seminar can be developed more formally in your research essay. Your seminar is regarded as equivalent to 1,000 words of formal written output, but you will be assessed only on the quality of your oral delivery.

  4. 40% - Final Assignment (4,000 words)
    [learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4]


This paper extends, updates, and deepens the introductory approaches to New Zealand literature and postcolonial writing students receive in their undergraduate papers. Although papers in New Zealand literature are presently listed in the English postgraduate programme, they tend to focus on mid-twentieth century settler writing or ethnic identities rather than contemporary fiction and poetry.

The course invites students to see “New Zealand” and “World” literature as interrelated categories. Students will be challenged to engage with the innovations and technical demands of some of this country’s most demanding local writers in the light of international influences. In addition to this focus on the formal dimensions of texts, the course also draws students into a critical conversation on globalisation and the postcolonial as key terms in cultural theory. This is a timely debate in a period when New Zealand literature has been conceptualised as part of an export culture, in contrast to the predominant mid-century effort to develop an authentic local voice.

The course assessment includes a substantial formative element (the critical journal) as well as a creative component. These assessments are consistent with the principle that informal and creative responses to literature can act as complements to, and preparation for, the more standard academic mode of expository writing.

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