This module is not available to short term/exchange students.
OverviewConnections is an innovative module that aims to provide a 'diagnosis of the present' informed by an interdisciplinary variety of approaches such as historical narratives, life writings (auto-biography), literature, photography and data analysis. A key question to be discussed is: what are the themes and issues that define our contemporary era, and how are they connected and impact on each other? In previous years, the module explored issues of class, peace(-keeping) and violence, borders and imagination, exile, media and democracy, and others. The module further aims to make connections with current events as they are unfolding, and depending on circumstances may include sessions on topics of particular relevance at the time that the module is being taught.
This module appears in:
Seminars: 48 hours; Computing and Quantitative workshops: 24 hours.
Available to Liberal Arts and Politics and International Relations Students
Method of assessment
Assessment will be 100% coursework: 50% from two extended essays (2000 words each) evaluating a particular contemporary topic linked to in class readings and evaluating its resonances and ramifications across a range of disciplinary discourses; 20% from seminar performance (reflecting on the quality of students' participation in and contribution to the seminar series as a whole, one element of which will be oral presentations on readings (two individual – 6% each) and group exercises (two group presentations of 4% each – collective mark determined by presenters' self evaluation)), 18% from three exercises (6% each) in quantitative analysis linked to the Nuffield programme, and 12% from a reflective diary/log maintained through the year.
Alan Badiou, The Century. London: Polity. 2007.
Susan Buck-Morss, Thinking Past Terror: Islamism and Critical Theory on the Left. London: Verso 2003.
Nessa Carey, The Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology is Rewriting our Understanding of Genetics, Disease and Inheritance. London: Icon Books. 2012.
T. J. Clark, Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism. New Haven: Yale. 1999.
Sheila Jasanoff, States of Knowledge: the Co-production of Science and Social Order. London: Routledge. 2004.
Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern (trans. Catherine Porter). London: Harvester Wheatsheaf. 1993.
Donald Mackenzie, An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets. Cambridge: MIT. 2008.
David P. Mindell, The Evolving World Evolution: Evolution in Everyday Life. Cambridge: Harvard. 2006.
Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism. London: Vintage. 1994.
On completion of this module students will be, as appropriate to this level, able to:
a. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key discourses within the sciences, humanities and social sciences, how they were implemented, and their impact on broader society
b. Understand how to develop and test hypotheses across a disciplinary range spanning social sciences, natural sciences and humanities using study design approaches appropriate to the disciplines
c. Understand the utility and interpretation of qualitative and quantitative data
d. Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate primary and secondary literature across a disciplinary range spanning social sciences, natural sciences and humanities appropriate to the disciplines
e. Demonstrate an ability to comprehend, and debate, as appropriate topics across a disciplinary range spanning social sciences, natural sciences and humanities