Working Class Writing

Unit code: ACL3016 | Study level: Undergraduate
(Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
Footscray Park
ACL2001 - Reading Contemporary Fiction
ACL2002 - Studying Poetry and Poetics
(Or equivalent to be determined by unit coordinator)


Working Class Writing describes a vast body of literary and other writings produced around the world over the last 200 years. It is a diverse body which includes writings across a range of forms and genres, represents differences of race, gender and class, and varies tremendously in terms of political purposes and effects. What these writings have in common, however, is their acceptance and celebration of the working class and class difference as important issues for exploration. Students are introduced to a range of texts which exemplify both the diverse and singular aspects of working class writing. Verse, prose fiction, plays, criticism and journalism from Australia and around the world may be studied. Students engage with two underlying theoretical issues: the definition of the working class and the question of whether working class writing is written by, about or for the working class. The unit also pays attention to questions of critical perspectives and forms of critical responsibility towards working class people, culture and politics.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Analyse and present key concepts drawn from critical readings that define working class writing;
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of critical readings and creative texts;
  3. Engage with and critique different genres of working class writing, in both local and global contexts;
  4. Interrogate perspectives of working class writers and writing about working class issues; and
  5. Discuss cultural and political issues pertinent to the lives of working class people.


For Melbourne campuses

Assessment type: Test
Grade: 15%
Online test
Assessment type: Presentation
Grade: 30%
Literary Dialogue and Discussion Questions
Assessment type: Essay
Grade: 40%
Critical Essay
Assessment type: Exercise
Grade: 15%
Online Exercise

Required reading

A variety of readings and resources will be provided via VU Collaborate.

As part of a course

This unit is not compulsory for any specific course. Depending on the course you study, this unit may be taken as an elective.

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