Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POC3125: Writing to Change the World: Pamphlets, Blogs and Manifestos

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.

Please note that this module is only delivered on the Penryn Campus.


NQF Level
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr James Muldoon (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


Writing has the power to shape how we perceive the world. After reading a captivating text, we never see things the same again. In this module, you will examine how writing can be used as a tool for social justice. It takes up the position of the social critic, an unflinching iconoclast who exposes hypocrisy, injustice and oppression. From Thomas Paine’s Common Sense to Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists, writing provides a catalyst to change and offers a vision of a new world. The gift of the writer is to articulate precisely what we were thinking but were never able to put in words. In this module, you will undertake historical research on an emancipatory text that challenged the status quo, and will also learn how to frame their ideas, use evocative language and create compelling narrative. It will appeal to students interested in journalism, political activism and social change. We examine the effectiveness of different formats of writings and the changing conditions for the production of political texts. We trace the evolution of political writing from revolutionary pamphlets to party manifestos, opinion pages, blogs and YouTube channels. In addition to historical analysis, we will learn practical skills of writing opinion and examine contemporary masters of the craft from Roxane Gay to Jessica Valenti and George Monbiot. Students will finish the module with a portfolio of work and a greater appreciation for the tenor and force of persuasive writing.


No prior knowledge skills or experience are required to take this module and it is suitable for specialist and non-specialist students. The module is suitable for students studying Politics and History.

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