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Discover Literary Studies

Karina Smith, Senior Lecturer, Literary Studies Minor

Karina Smith

My name is Karina Smith. I'm a senior lecturer in Literary Studies and Gender Studies.

Literary Studies is a very interesting discipline because we get to look at a variety of different literary texts, and we analyse them; not just in terms of how they've been written or the craft of the writer, but also the context in which the texts have been produced, which actually makes it a very interesting area because it really looks at text in quite a lot of depth.

Literature is a dynamic area to teach. There are lots of texts from many different places that provide an insight into culture and class and gender sexuality and also give us an insight into the craft of different writers.

All the units in Literary Studies are interconnected and students, if they're doing the minor, will study four main units which look at Reading Contemporary Fiction and also Studying Poetry and Poetics. The other two units are Australian Literature and Romance and Realism. So those four units actually give students a grounding in text written in different time periods, from different places, with a focus on quite different themes and also very different approaches to writing.

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Karina Smith, Senior Lecturer, Literary Studies Minor

Karina Smith

In the major, we also add other units such as Children's Literature and Working Class Writing which again provides students with different perspectives and different motivations for writing literary texts.

VU takes a different approach to teaching literature and in two main areas we actually teach texts that are generally not taught at other universities, particularly in the areas of Australian literature and working-class writing, and that is what makes literary studies distinctive at this university.

Students get lots of skills from studying Literary Studies. Many of our students are actually training to be English teachers and they get a grounding in all different types of literature, which then they can use in schools depending on what their curriculum asks of them. But even though they may teach texts that are not the same as the ones we've looked at, they will know the different genres of literature and different styles of writing which actually allows them to teach high school and primary school children in a different way. In other ways students get skills in terms of writing, improving their writing skills and their reading skills and their ability to critically analyse literary works.

Students walk away with knowledge of a body of literature and they walk away with the skills to read it and analyse it and think critically about it. The study of literature is important for people to have a greater sense of their own humanity and also to be able to step into the shoes of somebody else, because you are always looking at the world through the eyes of different characters in situations that can be completely different from your own, and so writers actually provide that opportunity to people and that's why the study of literature is so important.

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