Credit points


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Unit rationale, description and aim

Thursday, June 16th, 1904 was both an ordinary and extraordinary day. As James Joyce recounts it in his magisterial novel Ulysses, the journeys and enigmas of that single day can offer each of us the chance to investigate the profound complexity of human life.

This unit will offer students the opportunity to engage in a sustained, close reading of Joyce’s Ulysses. This study will allow us to journey to and through June 16th, considering how far 1904 Dublin may be from our contemporary world. Students will explore the complexity of Joyce’s work as a fictive world. Alongside Joyce, we may be aided by such supporting texts as The Odyssey, The Divine Comedy, The Book of Kells, Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Along the way, we will explore such topics as journey, time and space, representation, language, discourse, censorship, the city, and home, amongst others.

The aim of this unit is a slow reading of Joyce’s Ulysses, in which students will have the chance to read a world which offers a reflection on the long history of western thought. In so doing, they may begin to consider the sources and limits of their own contemporary world.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

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

LO1 - Articulate an advanced, integrated, research-based knowledge of Joyce’s Ulysses together with the conceptual, theoretical, and ethical impacts of texts drawn from, and related to, Joyce. (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

LO2: Explain the literary, social, historical, philosophical, political, aesthetic, religious, and ethical implications of texts drawn from, and related to Joyce. (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9)

LO3 - Critically evaluate and synthesise knowledge, concepts, and theories connected to Joyce from diverse sources and communicate complex ideas and findings with sophistication and confidence to a range of audiences in diverse contexts. (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO4 - Research, develop, and apply disciplinary theories and practices to a range of bodies of knowledge drawn from Joyce’s texts (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics and / or texts may include:

  • Joyce and his sources
  • Joyce’s language
  • Journey, time, and space
  • Voice
  • The act of telling and retelling stories
  • How Joyce changes the novel form
  • A literary study of a city

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is designed and delivered in a small-group attendance mode which facilitates the use of the Socratic method. The Socratic method promotes active and receptive dialogue in which students are encouraged to think for themselves rather than passively receive information, doctrines, or positions.  Rather than ratify ideologies, received ideas, and disciplinary norms in an unquestioning manner, the Socratic method potentially opens every ideological, disciplinary, and critical assumption to question.   

In addition to the close reading of a range of texts, narratives, essays, and art objects, students will participate in writing activities, the interpretation and evaluation of texts, and critical and argumentative debates. 

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support learning such as reading, reflection, discussion. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

This 600-level unit is designed to include assessment tasks that build content knowledge and higher-order research and analytic skills. 

The close reading task requires students to demonstrate a capacity to apply considered critical responses to cultural texts in relation to James Joyce’s Ulysses.

The research essay requires students to produce a theoretically acute, graduate-level, interdisciplinary analysis of key texts on a topic proposed in consultation with the instructor. It is intended to develop skills in locating and evaluating sources on Ulysses and related texts, developing a sustained evidence-based argument, and active engagement with key theory debates.

The assessment tasks for this unit have been designed to contribute to high-quality student learning by both helping students learn (assessment for learning), and by measuring explicit evidence of their learning (assessment of learning). Assessments have been developed to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. These have been designed so that they use a variety of tasks to measure the different learning outcomes at a level suitable for graduate studies in the subject area. 

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit all assessment tasks, meet the learning outcomes of the unit and achieve a minimum overall passing grade of 50%.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Close reading: challenging disciplinary norms

This task requires students to produce analyses that challenge disciplinary norms.


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 2: Research Essay

This task requires students to produce a theoretically acute, graduate-level, interdisciplinary analysis of key texts or authors in relation to the unit, on a topic proposed in consultation with the instructor.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Book of Kells

Eliot, T. S., The Waste Land (London: Faber and Faber, 2010).

Ellmann, Richard, James Joyce (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982).

Gifford, Don, Ulysses Annotated: Notes for James Joyce’s Ulysses. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008).

Gilbert, Stuart, James Joyce’s Ulysses: A Study . (New York: Vintage, 1955). 

Homer, Odyssey, trans. by Stanley Lombardo (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2000).

Joyce, James, Ulysses. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022).

 Kitcher, Philip, Joyce’s Ulysses: Philosophical Perspectives. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020).

 Swift, Jonathan, Gulliver’s Travels. (London: Penguin, 2010).

 Wilde, Oscar, The Picture of Dorian Gray. (London: Penguin, 2010).

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