Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Cultural Studies and Film - BA (Hons)

UCAS code VW96

2019

What do we mean by ‘culture’ and why are its many forms so hotly contested? Why is it so important to our sense of identity and belonging? Cultural Studies at Kent is an innovative subject with distinctive perspectives on all forms of present day culture. We explore connections between popular culture, the arts and everyday life by crossing social sciences/humanities boundaries.

2019

Overview

Film at Kent engages with cinema’s rich scope and history, from silent classics and mainstream Hollywood to world cinema and the avant-garde. We have a thriving film culture, with the Gulbenkian Cinema (the regional art cinema) based on campus and a lively student film society.

Discussions of film arise across a wide range of topics in Cultural Studies. This programme gives you access to Film modules not available on other Cultural Studies programmes; this will widen your understanding of film, the history of cinema and the perspectives of specific directors and genres.

The University has a 62-seat cinema named after the pioneering female film director Ida Lupino, which students can enjoy as part of their experience during their studies. The Lupino has state-of-the-art digital projection and sound, and has been created to provide an intimate atmosphere for film viewing.

Independent rankings

Media and Film Studies at Kent was ranked 3rd in The Guardian University Guide 2018.  Sociology* at Kent was ranked 1st for research quality and 11th overall in The Times Good University Guide 2018.

For graduate prospects, Communications and Media at Kent was ranked 1st in The Complete University Guide 2018 and The Times Good University Guide 2018.

Of Sociology students who graduated from Kent in 2016, over 92% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

*Cultural Studies is included in Sociology.

Teaching Excellence Framework

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

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Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

The course introduces students to the language of film, from aspects of mise-en-scène (setting, performance, costumes, props, lighting, frame composition) to framing (camera movement, shot scale, lenses), sound (fidelity, volume, timbre) and editing (from requirements for spatial orientation through matches on action, eyeline matches and shot-reverse-shot structures to temporal manipulations through ellipsis and montage). The study of these elements enables students to understand the spatial and temporal construction of films, as well as the stylistic, expressive and/or dramatic functions of specific strategies

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30

This module approaches the "big questions" that have surrounded film and the moving image and puts them into historical context. Although specific topics will vary, representative topics may address competing definitions of film and its constitutive elements, the effects that cinema has on spectators, the social, cultural and political implications that moving images reproduce, and the status of the medium between art and entertainment. Students will debate seminal writings on the nature of film and bring their arguments to bear on exemplary film productions.

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This module introduces students to discussions and debates surrounding modern culture. It looks at why culture has always been such a contested sphere and has a decisive impact on society at large. Students will look at culture in the widest sense, ranging from ‘the arts’ to the banalities of everyday life in our consumer society; at how culture has expressed and organised the way people think and live from the days of 'protestantism' to those of post-punk. Books, magazines, radio, TV, movies, cartoons, fashion, graffiti, the cult of celebrity, youth subcultures and pop music will be used to understand class, history, sexuality, colonialism, revolution, conflict and globalisation.

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Contemporary culture is 'now-time' culture, but when did 'now’ begin - and, will it be over before the course starts? This module focuses on analysing contemporary culture and media and aims to demonstrate the range of possible interpretations that mediated culture can be open to. It raises questions about how culture can be viewed from aesthetic, political, ethical and economic perspectives. What is culture really for? Is it product or a process? Who owns it? Is it for fun or is it deadly serious? In order to think through contemporary issues such as gender relations, sexuality, multiculturalism and otherness, and what they might imply about our changing perceptions of space, place, and belonging, we'll be taking a case study approach to a range of cultural products and objects, media and institutions, and post-modern practices of communication. This module aims to understand the transformation of culture and media and everyday life we are living through and the way it changes who we are.

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

The module will cover the following topics and issues:

1. The impact of social research upon both social theory and policy-making.

2. The primary epistemological and ontological debates and how these affect the research question, method and design.

3. The steps in designing a qualitative research project and criteria for assessing its quality as applied to positivist as well critical theorists approaches

Ethical considerations in social research, the main problems with establishing valid samples and how different sampling approaches can undermine the validity of the research findings.

4. The variety of qualitative research techniques available to social scientists and their relative advantages and disadvantages in understanding the social world. These include interviewing, visual, comparative/historical, and discourse analytic approaches.

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This module introduces and applies ideas in critical, cultural and communications theory to debates and issues surrounding media and popular culture, focusing on such themes as cultural elitism, power and control, the formation of identities, the politics of representation, and the cultural circuit of production and consumption. It investigates the relationship between the development of contemporary society and societal values and the changing technological basis of mediated culture.

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15

This course examines the mechanisms and conditions that facilitate and enhance transnational cultural flows. We will study how filmmakers actively franchise, adopt and rework film styles and genres. A genre or style initiated in one country can be quickly adopted in another, with filmmakers tailoring the genre or style to the tastes of local audiences. We will both analyse some of the generic conventions that these films foreground and/or transform and isolate some of the national subtleties that are only discernable to local audiences. As the number of co-productions continues to rise, critics and viewers feel perplexed, and sometimes even amused, in their attempts to discern and identify the nationality of a film. We will critically assess whether any limitations exist embedded in such a co-production strategy, which blurs and obscures the specificities of each nation-state involved. Finally, we will explore whether the changing mediascape – one of transnational, multi-media corporate conglomerate involvement in film production.

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This module will offer students the rare opportunity to examine in detail the work of a single director or a group of directors. It will thus enable students to acquire a more complex understanding of the issues at stake in the production, distribution, and reception of a specific body of film work. The module will also develop students' knowledge and understanding of the questions, theories and controversies, which have informed critical issues and theoretical debates on film authorship. It will thus appeal to students who wish to extend their skills in analysing film form, meaning, and practice in both a conceptual and a historical context. Furthermore, as the module will enable detailed consideration of what 'film directing’ is, as an artistic and cultural practice, in given contexts, it will be a very useful course to combine with the practical study of filmmaking.

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This module studies individual genres, which may vary across different academic terms (it may focus on the horror, science-fiction, western, musical, comedy, the noir or the gangster film, among others). It combines aesthetic and narrative analysis with the history of the genre. The theoretical framework draws from traditionally employed methods to study the genre in question (for example, psychoanalytical, postmodern or cognitive theory). The historical portion of the course examines the genre's growing commercial viability, the proliferation of subgenres, and the growing attention of academics. Topics include, but are not restricted to, gender politics, representations of sexuality, political commentary, allegory.

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This module addresses a series of documentary films in their historical context and in relation to the different modes of non-fiction filmmaking. Documentary narrative techniques including the use of archival footage, staged reconstructions of past events, and talking-head interviews, are investigated by means of close textual analysis and through a comparative approach to diverse documentary films. This module also explores the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction and, while articulating a definition of documentary film, it studies film forms that present an interplay between the two, such as Mockumentaries and Essay Films.

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30

Cinema has typically been conceived of as an essentially visual phenomenon – films, it is often said, are essentially moving pictures. Sound has, nevertheless, played an important role from the beginnings of cinema, a fact which has been acknowledged in the detailed historical, theoretical and critical work on film music, and film sound more generally, produced over the last decade. Sound and Cinema will provide an overview of this new field of research, and aim to provide students with a clearer understanding of and greater sensitivity to the soundtrack. The course will begin by setting up an introductory framework for the understanding of sound, which considers the relationship between music and other aspects of film sound (dialogue, voice-over, effects), as well as the nature of the relationship between image and sound. Subsequent sessions will consider the evolution of sound technology and its impact on the aural aesthetics of film; the use of classical and popular music in film scores; the emergence of sound designers, such as Walter Murch and Alan Splet, in contemporary cinema; and the distinctive and innovative use of sound and music by such diverse directors as Wim Wenders, Jean-Luc Godard, David Lynch, and William Raban.

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30

This module examines types of cinematic practice whose principal labels have been 'experimental', ‘avant-garde’, ‘underground’ and ‘independent’ – terms which overlap but which are by no means synonymous. It is concerned with traditions of cinema which have, more or less self-consciously, formulated radically different aesthetics from those of the orthodox feature film, in which narrative is either radically reshaped, or displaced altogether by other concerns. Throughout, the course will juxtapose films deriving from the historical avant-garde movements (like the European avant-garde of the 20s, or the post-war American scene) along with contemporary exponents of related forms of filmmaking. The first part of the course provides a conceptual and historical overview of avant-garde filmmaking in the C20th; subsequent weeks focus on specific topics, for example collage, landscape, experimental narrative, and the interaction between film, video and the new media.

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This module examines different forms of narrative and storytelling in cinema in order to place film narration within the tradition of the 'popular' arts. Understanding a film involves making sense not only of its story, its events and actions, but also of its storytelling, of the way in which we come to learn of these events and actions. This module examines the ways in which the specific means of representation of cinema transform a showing into a telling. It looks at theories of narrative in literature and film in relation to the different forms of narration and storytelling in cinema, focusing on questions of structure, reliability and temporality. The psychological and aesthetic role of narrative may be explored through a range of theories and analyses from within film studies and from other disciplines such as anthropology, literary studies, psychology and philosophy. The course will be taught through a series of case-studies using a wide range of films within American and world cinema.

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This module provides an introduction to some key current industry practice surrounding working with actors. Students will explore the practice and ethics of the casting, as well as examining current UK and US industry trends and debates. The module also explores the role and expectations of the professional actor working in film. By practical and theoretical exploration of mainstream acting methodologies, and practitioners such as Stanislavski, Mamet and Meisner, students will develop practical skills and vocabularies for engaging productively with actors on shoots and in rehearsal. The module will also examine the practice of working with non-actors as performers, and scrutinise some more unconventional working methods espoused by directors who may include, but are not limited to, Mike Leigh, John Cassavetes, Ken Loach, Roberto Rossellini etc.

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30

Television is the most pervasive media form in daily life. In this introductory module students will look at the various historical, institutional and cultural factors that influence television production and programming. The module will examine a range of formats and genres (such as soap operas, sitcoms and 'reality TV') and students will gain critical understanding of the theoretical frameworks developed for their study. In addition, questions of target audiences (for example, children's programmes) and key debates (such as the role of a public service broadcaster) will be addressed.

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The module will focus on postwar American cinema. The cinema of the period will be placed within the historical, cultural, political and artistic developments taking place around it. Students will be encouraged to explore the generative relationships between cinema and these other phenomena. Topics to be discussed will include (but are not limited to) cinema and the Vietnam War, Watergate, the birth of American performance art, rise in popular culture, the influence of European art cinema, the growth of American independent filmmaking. Films will be chosen from those made inside and on the edges of Hollywood (Independent and avant-garde).

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In a country with a very strong literary and theatrical tradition, the British have also had a long-standing love of "going to the pictures." For more than a century, British filmmakers have been forging a rich and diverse national cinema in the face of Hollywood's dominance on British screens for most of that time. This course will offer an introductory historical overview of British cinema from its beginnings to the present day, assessing its role in the construction of British national identity, evaluating its major directors—including Carol Reed, Humphrey Jennings, Ken Loach, Mike Leigh and Terrence Davies. The films will be approached through multiple frameworks, including consideration of aesthetics (e.g. the question of realism), culture (e.g. gender and class), and history (e.g. questions of empire and modernity). The institution of cinema and film culture in a larger sense will be considered through the exploration of British film exhibition, criticism, cultural policy, and industry. Both fiction films and documentaries will be addressed with a particular focus on the urban experience. The cinematic city – London, in particular – will be discussed in relation to issues of memory and historicity.

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This module seeks to investigate some of the most pressing ethical issues in contemporary media culture and the mediated arts. Topics may include: violence in video games, nudity on the screen and in advertising, anti-heroes and villains in fiction, propaganda and manipulation, sexism and racism in humor, shock value in the news and in contemporary art. To answer the many moral questions that arise in this context students will examine basic notions such as truth, objectification, voyeurism, exploitation, offence, harm, gender, and stereotype.

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This module will look at disability in the arts, covering theatre, film and visual art. The students will engage with the historical representation of disability within the arts and the way in which disability scholars have critically engaged with it. The students will also look at arts institutions (i.e. theatres, cinemas and galleries) and the disabling barriers within those institutions that prevent the full participation of people with impairments in the arts. This will culminate in an 'accessibility review', whereby the students analyse the adjustments made by arts institutions for people with impairments and the extent to which they are effective. Finally, the students will engage with examples of contemporary disabled artists whose impairments informs the aesthetic qualities of their work.

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This module is designed to give a theoretically-grounded understanding of Comparative Literature and its methods. Students will have an overview of the brief history, fundamental debates, theories and different areas of focus of the discipline of Comparative Literature, as well as learning about the important schools of literary theory that are relevant to Comparative Literature.

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This module looks at a group of politically inspired literary texts, comics and films, some of which were produced under the totalitarian regimes which held sway in Europe between 1917 and 1989. Others deal with the Middle East conflict, and the Islamic revolution in Iran and Mao's Cultural Revolution in China, or power relations in other contexts. Most explore ways of challenging and subverting authoritarian power structures and of articulating a critique in what Bertolt Brecht called 'dark times’. But we also focus on less obvious negotiations of fiction and power, especially with respect to the various forms of power to which these texts are subject, in which they participate, and on which they reflect metafictionally. The approach is comparative in various ways as the texts range historically and culturally, as well as across genres and language barriers (Arab, Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Greek, Polish, Russian and Chinese).

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This course introduces students to the fiction (novels, novellas, and short stories) of some of the most influential twentieth- and twenty-first- century Latin American writers. The module ranges from Borges to the extraordinary literary phenomenon or explosion of the 'Boom generation', the post-Boom novel, and the recently acclaimed Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño (all studied in English translation). The course offers students the unique opportunity to study a fascinating corpus of literature celebrated for its creative innovation, fictional games, puzzles, labyrinths, fabulous and supernatural events, multiple storytellers, and magical realist writing. The course also addresses questions of gender, class, and social, cultural, and technological changes, as well as representations of identity, subjectivity, time, space, and landscape.

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This module investigates representations of gender and identity in a selection of texts by women writers from different temporal, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds. In particular, it seeks to explore the way in which representations of "self" and "other", love and desire, madness and motherhood reflect the respective socio-cultural contexts and the situation of women therein. Corporeal aesthetics, patterns of behaviour labelled as feminine or masculine, representations of transgressive conduct, and relations of power will be investigated, drawing on classic feminist theory and historiography (Wollstonecraft, Beauvoir, Irigaray, Butler, Moi, Badinter), psychoanalytical thought (Freud), narratology (Genette), genre-theory (Bakhtin) subject-theory (Sartre, Levinas, Derrida) and studies in visual culture (Barthes, Sontag, Mulvey).

Students will be asked to engage with the significance of images and representations of women and men proliferated through literature. These representations provide or question role models and perpetuate or problematise stereotypical versions of female/male goals and aspirations. Furthermore, emphasis will be placed on close readings of the selected literary works, on cultural differences and variations, and on how conceptions of sex and gender are changing in the course of time.

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This module introduces students to a range of nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first-century literary and cinematic representations of vampires from different cultural backgrounds. It explores the reasons for the abiding allure of the figure of the vampire both in popular culture and in literary fiction. The module examines the ways in which vampires function as polyvalent symbols of specifically modern preoccupations, for the emergence and popularity of vampire tales is intricately bound up with the advent and wider cultural ramifications of modernity. What do vampires represent in each of the works discussed, and what hidden desires and anxieties do they allow authors and filmmakers to express? The vampire is an allegorically highly potent figure which is suspended between life and death and between animal and human existence. Vampires frequently serve as foils to discuss more contentious matters, in particular questions relating to sexuality, gender roles, class, immortality and the desire for everlasting youth, being an outsider, and addiction.

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The award of literary prizes is a highly potent tool of cultural policy that frequently determines the wider national and international impact of a literary work. As such it is of crucial relevance to the study of comparative literature in a number of ways: the award of literary prizes reflects the beginnings of the successful or, as the case may be, the (ultimately) abortive formation of literary canons; moreover, it affords insights into processes of cultural production and marketing and reveals in which ways political and economic agendas are tied up with these processes; it also offers a perspective on transnational and transcultural aspects of the production and reception of literature and indicates shifting notions of the social function of literature and the writer; literature is thus understood as a cultural product in ever changing contexts which is frequently subject to external forces of which literary prizes become indicators or even 'enforcers'.

This module will investigate with the methods of literary and cultural studies the development of a number of major literary awards which have achieved global significance, among them the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Man Booker Prize, the Pulitzer Prize (for Fiction), the Prix Goncourt, and the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels. (This list may be modified according to precedent to accommodate the topical relevance of individual award winners in the future.) Seminars will develop a historical perspective by scrutinising and analysing award winners of the past and their most recent counterparts in their different production and marketing contexts as well as in changing reception contexts: seminars will include the close reading of individual works as well as their critical reception, and the analysis of marketing strategies in various media (e.g. reports in culture magazines, reviews, displays in book shops, translations, etc.); final winners will be interpreted in the context of the respective long and short lists from which they emerged; historical developments will be taken into account, for instance by investigating 'forgotten' prize winners in comparison with those who, largely through the agency of academic intervention, ‘made it’ into the canon; the module thus also offers an insight into the history of the discipline of literary studies.

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15

Among the capital cities of Europe, Paris has a particularly rich and interesting history. In the revolution of 1789 and subsequent political upheavals in the course of the nineteenth century (1830, 1848, 1870-71), the city played a key role in deciding the fate of the nation. In the same period, it grew dramatically in size and emerged as a modern metropolis. Widely divergent views were expressed as to the wholesomeness of city living; opinion differed equally violently among writers as to the benefits to be derived from the explosive growth of the city. The module will examine conditions of life in the real Paris of the 19th Century and in particular the radical and highly controversial changes to the face of the city brought about during the Second Empire under the direction of Baron Haussmann. The main focus of the module, however, will be the images of the city as mediated in contemporary fiction (Balzac and Zola amongst others), poetry (Baudelaire) and painting (Manet's vision of city life).

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15

Among the capital cities of Europe, Paris has a particularly rich and exciting history. It played, for example, a key role during the revolution of 1789 and subsequent political upheavals in the course of the 19th century. This module explores the different and evolving representations of Paris of the 20th century in the context of modernity and postmodernity. Although the main focus of the course will be literary, including poetry and fiction, there will also be examination of the changing landscape of the capital as mediated through film and in visual art (Cubist paintings of Paris). Thematic focuses of the module include: immigrant experience in Paris; young protagonists' quest for identity in Paris; social and urban change.

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This module combines theoretical and methodological approaches from sociology, cultural and media studies, history and literature to examine how our understandings of the past, present and future are formed, framed, mediated and remediated in a variety of social, cultural and political contexts. It aims to introduce students to key themes and issues related to the social experience of time. It will encourage them to reflect on how this experience informs our approaches to social problems, relationships of power and inequality, and the formation of collective identities. Over the course of the term, we will debate and critically explore the roles of heritage, nostalgia, the imagination, narrative and imagery at the heart of both processes of social change and cultural continuity. We will question what it is that forms the constitutive narrative of a cultural identity, its foundations, expression and trajectory. We will also examine the material and symbolic construction of social groups such as generations, classes and communities.

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15

This module will examine the impact of digital technology on our social and cultural lives. It will concentrate on how the Internet in particular has challenged some of our more traditional notions of identity and self, the body, relationships, community, privacy, politics, friendship, war and crime, economics, among others. Lectures will show how some of the basic components of culture such as notions of identity, space, the body, community, and even the very notion of what it is to be human, have been complicated by the rise of virtuality and cyberspace. We will also examine these issues through case study phenomena unique to digital culture, currently including gaming, music, cybersex and social networking.

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15

Environmental issues have become central matters of public concern and political contention. In this module we shall consider explanations for the rise and social distribution of environmental concern as well as the forms of organisation that have been adopted to address environmental questions, including the emergence of global environmental issues and the responses to them. The development of environmental protest, environmental movements and Green parties are central concerns, but we shall also consider the ‘greening’ of established political parties and political agenda. Is it realistic to expect the development of a global environmental movement adequate to the task of tackling global environmental problems. The approach is broadly comparative and examples will be taken from Europe (east and west), North America, Australasia and south-east Asia.

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15

This module will provide a critical survey of the problematic position of sculpture within the history of art: sculpture has often been seen as a lesser art form, subsidiary to architecture or inferior to painting, and lacking theoretical definition. Sculpture's monumental or cultic functions place it nearer to the idol or votive offering than to the 'work of art’ conceived of by aesthetic theories. At the beginning of the modern era Baudelaire dismissed sculpture as ‘boring’, and yet since the Second World War various developments have led to a situation where sculpture, more broadly conceived (often in relation to performance), is leading artistic developments. The module will explore this dynamic while also touching on several of the themes which have characterised the study and appreciation of sculpture (such as the relation of sight to touch, the absence or presence of colour, the materials of sculpture etc.). The work of a number of key artists will be discussed as representative case studies from across the history of art.

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Many pictures, still and moving, in Western society and globally, in high art and demotic culture, incorporate sexual imagery and themes. This module will explore different aesthetic perspectives and theoretical approaches to such images, including those typically classified as pornography and erotica around which much of the existing philosophical literature focuses.

Here are some of the indicative questions this module will investigate:

• What is erotic art?

• In which respect and to what extent is it different from pornography?

• Is 'pornographic art' an oxymoron?

• What is the relation between erotic experience and aesthetic experience and are they at all compatible?

• What are the differences and similarities between voyeurism and aesthetic interest?

• What is the role of transgression in art?

• Are obscenity and art mutually exclusive?

To answer these questions certain fundamental issues in the philosophy of art will need to be addressed. We will therefore engage with current research on the definition of art, the nature of aesthetic value, aesthetic experience, aesthetic properties, the relation between art and morality, the psychology of picture perception, and the role of imagination in art. However, more is involved than just an abstract philosophical problem. The sexual and the erotic have often caused controversy in the history of art, and especially in the contemporary world of art (construed in the broadest sense) there are many works that consciously explore the boundaries between erotic art and pornography. Any investigation of our central theme would not be complete without a careful examination of such works. Thus, the module will draw on a variety of sources and disciplines (art history, film studies, literary theory, sociology and cultural theory) to study the sexually charged work of traditional, modern and contemporary artists, such as: Titian, Boucher, Courbet, Hokusai, Schiele, John Currin, Robert Mapplethorpe, Thomas Ruff, Nan Goldin, Larry Clark, Nagisa Oshima, Michael Winterbottom, Virginie Despentes, Nicholson Baker, Catherine Millet, Alan Moore.

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This module raises questions about the relationship between western and non-western cultural traditions. The course revolves around a series of discussions about 'encounters' between western and non-western traditions, as well as the appropriations from and differences between their traditions of representational and non-representational art. In examining the influences, appropriations and cross-fertilizations of western and non-western art and culture the course will also place these issues in a broader political and social history of the rise of nationalism, continental trade relations, advents of war, tourism, colonialism and imperialism.

It will look at the nature of 'dialogue' from a critical and art historical perspective, and thus also consider the terms and even the failures of dialogue between the west and non-western traditions; the exclusions, altercations, violations and marginalization of other cultures and their traditions.

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The course begins with an analysis of Raphael's frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura of the Vatican Palace, as a means of introducing the key themes which will be considered throughout: proportion in architecture, the body and the geometry of vision; rhetoric, both verbal and visual, and the related concepts of variety, decorum, and composition; poetic inspiration, emulation and imitation; and the revival of antiquity. These themes are then reviewed as they occur in the writings of Leon Battista Alberti, the most evolved theoretical texts on the visual arts of the period. Alberti’s works raises the question of whether he was describing current practice or setting out an ideal, and also whether he was writing principally for artists or for their patrons? Alberti’s elevated claims for painting, architecture and, to a lesser extent, sculpture as liberal arts, are then compared with the contemporary status of artists, whether operating from a workshop or employed at court. The course continues by looking in detail at the works of four key Italian artists – Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian – to assess how far they engaged with, or departed from, the Albertian paradigm. Albrecht Dürer, a northern European artist excelling in the less "noble" medium of printmaking, but also profoundly interested in issues of perspective and proportion, is considered to provide a non-Italian point of view on the Renaissance. Interspersed with these studies of single artists lectures may consider in greater detail particular themes raised by these artists’ works, such as the extent of artists’ knowledge of anatomy, the influence of the ruins of Rome, the Renaissance ideal of love, the creation of new styles by transgressing architectural rules for playful effect or to achieve “grace”, and the development in Venice of the genre of pastoral landscape. Alternatively, the work of other major artists may be considered such as Correggio, Parmigianino, Bandinelli etc. Having, broadly speaking, covered the period 1470-1550 chronologically, the course concludes by looking at the mid sixteenth-century reassessment of these artistic achievements in the writings of Dolce, Varchi and Vasari.

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This innovative module examines artistic creation from historical, philosophical and practice-based perspectives. It examines topics such as the development of the idea of genius in ancient Greece and Renaissance Italy, the Romantic and Kantian conceptions of genius, and the "democratisation" of the notion, culminating in the idea that everyone has the capacity for artistic creativity, as expressed in the work of mid-twentieth century thinkers such as John Dewey and Erich Fromm. It looks at how the concepts of genius and creativity came under attack from “theory” later in the twentieth century, and considers the recent resurgence of interest in creativity, in academia and the broader culture. Students will also take part in exercises designed to foster artistic creativity. These will include a selection of approaches such as Surrealist, Bauhaus and Oulipo methods for encouraging creativity. These different perspectives will allow students to develop a well-rounded, critical and active understanding of the topic, and to understand – and perhaps develop – their own capacity for creativity.

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This module encourages students to establish connections between the critical analysis of literary texts and creative writing practice. Adopting a 'learning by doing'-driven analytical approach, students will engage both theoretically and practically with a selection of literary features and techniques. By reading closely a wide-ranging selection of short literary sample texts that encompass older and contemporary texts originally written in English as well as translations of texts written in languages other than English, we will analyse topics including character, point of view, setting, voice, style, structure, openings, and endings. We will also pay close attention to questions of translation and cultural specificity, and to the challenges of working with translations in a creative writing context.

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15

How is literature playful, and how does literary playfulness relate to the experience of play that is embedded in everyday life and across different cultures? By considering comparatively a broad selection of literary texts ranging from antiquity to contemporary times, we examine diverse themes and strategies relating to play. These include the humorous and ironic eroticism in Ovid's ars amatoria, masquerade and transvestism in Chinese poetry, language games and 'nonsense' writing in Lewis Carroll, Dada collages and Surrealist automatic writing, postwar Oulipo writers' formal experimentation, the integration of games such as chess and riddles in literary creation, and contemporary digital texts and conceptual artworks that provide a gaming experience to their audience. We will read these texts with specific questions about ludic writing techniques and the reader's experience of ludic literature in mind.

Throughout the module we will consider different notions and forms of play: as the negation of work, free and spontaneous action, technical games with rules, ritualistic spectacle, theatrical role-playing, or a mode of aesthetic experience. Drawing upon key theories about play and games offered by thinkers such as Huizinga, Caillois, and Bateson to articulate the different aspects of playful literature, we will also explore how the question of play provides a conceptual framework for comparison across different cultures and historical periods. Students will also gain insight into contemporary debates about playful participatory modes of literary production, gaming culture, and the exercise of one's creativity and imagination when navigating through a plethora of information and resources in daily life.

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15

This module is concerned with the principles and practice of digital photography and photographic image editing. Topics will include: basic optics, lighting, cameras and imaging, composition and colour, files and processing, historical developments, image correction and manipulation. Theory is followed by practicals and workshops.

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This module will explore the impact of Surrealism on the visual arts. It will focus in detail on a small group of key surrealist artists, such as Man Ray, Max Ernst, and Salvador Dali; while also, in order to understand the scope and definition of Surrealism, considering further artists in some detail who were associated with Surrealism but who denied that they were indeed surrealists, such as Frida Kahlo or Pavel Tchelitchew. In addition the module will survey the work of those artists formally associated with the Surrealist group, and the contribution of Dadaist precursors and contemporary artists who exercised a profound influence on Surrealism. While hardly feminist, Surrealism did provide a supportive forum for a number of innovative female artists, arguably enabling the artistic careers of more women than other avant-garde movements in the first half of the Twentieth Century. The relationship of women artists to Surrealism will, therefore, be a key theme of the course. Surrealism was not, however, principally a phenomenon of the visual arts, or a conventional artistic movement: the surrealists sought to reconnect moral and artistic forces, to achieve liberation through emotional intensification ('a systematic derangement of the senses'), and by this means to revolutionize society. They drew inspiration from Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical theories to explore the workings of the unconscious and the ‘over-determined’ symbolism of dreams, and also what Gaston Bachelard called the new scientific spirit of the ‘why not’. Characteristic methods included pure psychic automatism, objective chance, the paranoiac-critical method, the double image, dislocation, and collage. Particularly at Level 6, this module will explore the broader implications of these surrealist themes, for example the question of whether myth is an expression of society, or constitutive of it, which was a key concern for the Surrealists. Indeed, André Breton described Surrealism as ‘a method of creating a collective myth’ in 1933. These thematic aspects of the module should make it an interesting wild option for students studying literature, twentieth-century history or cultural history, in addition to history of art students.

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Images of ‘trim, taut and terrific’ bodies surround us in contemporary consumer culture. They look down on us from billboards, are increasingly central to advertisers’ attempts to sell us clothes, cosmetics, cars, and other products, and pervade reality television programmes based on diet, exercise and ‘extreme’ makeovers. These trends have occurred at the same time that science, technology, genetic engineering and medicine have achieved unprecedented levels of control over the body: there are now few parts of the body which cannot be remoulded, supplemented or transplanted in one way or another. In this course we explore how culture represents and shapes bodies, and also examine how embodied subjects are themselves able to act on and influence the culture in which they live. We will seek to understand the relationship between the body and self-identity, embodiment and inequalities, and will explore various theories of the body. In doing this we range far and wide by looking at such issues as cyberbodies, religion, food, film, transgenderism, sport, music, work and sleep. Embodiment is the enduring theme of this course, though, and we will explore its many dimensions via a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, and by asking and addressing a range of questions such as ‘How and why has the body become increasingly commodified?’, ‘Why has the body become increasingly central to so many people’s sense of self-identity?’, ‘If we live in a culture that has been able to intervene in the sizes, shapes and contents of the body like never before, have people have become less sure about what is ‘natural’ about the body, and about how we should care for and treat our bodily selves?’.

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The course discusses the main approaches which have developed in urban sociology through an exploration of some of the major themes. These themes include urbanisation under capitalism, planning, post-industrialism, globalisation, social differentiation, multiculturalism, protest and social movements, and comparative urbanism (Asian and African contexts). Approaches considered within these will include Marx, Weber, the Chicago School, the Manchester school, and post-modernism.

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This is an optional module for Cultural Studies programmes, but is open to and suitable for students on other programmes in the Social Sciences and Humanities. It may also be taken as a 'wild' option.

The module invites students to explore the critical links between emotion, media and culture in the context of contemporay cultural, socio-political and economic relations. It examines what is meant by ‘the affective turn’ within the humanities and social sciences and introduces students to a range of interdisciplinary literatures concerned with theorising the cultural politics of emotion and the mediation of affect. Through various case studies and examples, the module investigates how social, cultural and media theorists have addressed the relationships between emotion, affect, power and identity in the context of postcoloniality, multiculturalism, neoliberalism and various social justice movements.

Attending to contemporary cultural debates concerning happiness, empathy, hope, fear, hate, disgust and melancholia, it explores how personal feelings are linked to social norms and power structures and considers how we might disrupt an assumed division between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ emotions. The module explores how emotions, feelings and affects are produced, mediated and circulated through a range of cultural forms, practices and technologies, paying particular attention to the role of film, television, news media, digital culture, literature and popular science.

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This module aims to develop basic quantitative research skills (to the level of regression) to understand more advanced issues in making causal claims. Learning will be oriented towards:

• Understanding the limitations of simple (OLS) regression for making causal claims, with particular emphasis on endogeneity/confounding and causal heterogeneity;

• Learning a small number of advanced methods for investigating causality through quantitative research (e.g. experiments, instrumental variable approaches, matching methods, longitudinal analysis). For each method, students will first consider the rationale for the method (its strengths and limitations), and then use the method in hands-on statistical analysis sessions using appropriate statistical software (e.g. Stata);

• Towards the end of the module, students will learn how to decide the relative strengths and merits of each approach, and how to select the appropriate research design given the particular features of real-world scenarios

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This module aims to develop students' skills in actively engaging with, critically assessing and communicating quantitative and quantitative research to a range of different audiences both within and outside of the realms of academia. Students will actively develop skills in explaining and visualising research and will also reflect on the challenges in communicating research and also on how research is used in practice and policy.

• The first part of the module will focus on giving students the basic understanding of how and when to make use of a range of data visualisation tools, how to construct arguments both in writing and orally as well as how to assess how others communicate and carry out research.

• The second part of the module will focus on applying these skills by creating both a group presentation and an individual report where students make use of the skills learnt in the first part.

• Students will develop these skills by working in groups where they are asked to use quantitative data and to communicate results to either

(i) teaching A-level students, and either (ii) setting up a public event, or

(iii) producing a short TV/radio feature using secondary data for substantive topics on e.g. single parenthood .

This means that part of the module will include engaging with a range of audiences to shape relevant projects focusing on topics that are important to the particular audience students are working with. The latter meaning that students will apply their acquired skills in interpreting and choosing data for then to apply them and present them in a persuasive manner.

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Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

The module explores storytelling in fictional television series, and how the long duration of these series changes the spectator's engagement, as compared to engagement in the relatively short fiction film. Furthermore, this module focuses on case studies in order to investigate their narrative, stylistic and thematic characteristics, their specific genre conventions and their background in television history. Case studies may include The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad and Madmen in an inquiry into the narrative as well as moral complexity of this recent, so-called quality trend of American drama television series, and the emerging genre convention of the antihero. The module also addresses how various types of television series have been valued in critical reception through the history of television. For example, in relation to the case studies mentioned above, the module may examine critically the implications of the oft-used label 'Quality TV’ and the HBO slogan ‘It’s not TV, it’s HBO’. In addition to introducing the students to current developments in television studies, this module takes a film theoretical, narratological approach to current television series, and trains students in various approaches to the study of television series in and beyond television studies proper.

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This module will investigate "the Gothic" as a significant and recurring cycle within Hollywood film with recognisable tropes and themes, and a dominant tone and style. Beginning with the 1940s cycle of “Women's Gothic” which emerged at the same time as Film Noir, and visually and thematically overlapped with it, the module will explore the particularly filmic ways that such texts manage to evoke the menacing atmosphere and the tone of sexualised danger and suspense achieved by the Gothic’s source novels and short stories. Continuing from the original cycle of films, the module will examine later Hollywood films that have employed the themes and imagery of the Gothic to tap into similar complex anxieties and desires, before inspecting films from other cinemas (for example, those of Europe or Asia) which also make use of the dominant Gothic tropes.

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This course introduces students to the history and theory of film criticism, emphasising the coexistence of different approaches to the analysis, evaluation and appreciation of film. The module will also have a practical aspect, offering students the opportunity to write critical pieces on the films screened for the class. In addition to traditional lectures and seminars, some sessions will be devoted to writing and to analysing fellow students' work. Participants will also be encouraged to reflect critically on different media of film criticism (newspapers, magazines, academic journals, the internet, television) and on the current state of film criticism.

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This course probes issues of extreme cinema, i.e., ‘arthouse’ films which, because of violent, sexual, or other iconoclastic content, form or style, have created critical or popular controversy. Representative topics include the aesthetics of violence and the ethics of representing and viewing pain, boundaries between erotic art and exploitation, disgust and the ‘unwatchable’, authorial performance and resistant spectatorship, reception studies and censorship.

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A huge number of films and television programmes are adapted from other sources, and adaptation frequently arouses powerful responses from viewers and critics. This course explores the phenomenon of screen adaptations. There will be an emphasis on adaptations of literature to film and television, but the course also covers adaptations from theatre and other media. Students will watch a variety of film and television adaptations taken from classic novels, short stories, plays, modern novels and other sources, and in many cases we will also discuss the sources themselves. Therefore this course will appeal to students with eclectic interests, particularly those who enjoy literature, film and television. This course will provide an overview of adaptation studies, by addressing the particular questions that relate to adaptation, considering different approaches to the subject and debating the most contentious questions in the field. It will also open up discussion about the specificity and aesthetics of film and television as they are compared with other media. Students will investigate the connections and differences between distinct media, focusing on key features such as the manipulation of time and space, characterisation, point of view, style, voice, interpretation and evaluation. The course will also give them the chance to explore how film and television deal with 'literary' devices such as syntax, allusion, metaphor and tense. Students will thus be exploring aspects of filmic and televisual representation that are ordinarily overlooked in the mainstream of film studies, enhancing our understanding of those media. Within the remit of the course, there will be opportunities for students to develop their own interests within the subject area, and to address new questions and problems in the field.

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The module primarily focuses on contemporary digital filmmaking practices and film viewing. The first section of the module introduces trick cinema, special effects, the digital intermediate, and a range of computer generated images to explore the different opportunities these offer for manipulating space, constructing narratives and aesthetic innovation. The second section of the module more explicitly engages with a range of theoretical frameworks in order to think about how digital technologies alter our understanding of film, its relationships with other media, and the ways in which we participate in film culture.

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Animation is a term covering a diverse range of forms, and this module introduces cel-

animation, stop-motion puppetry, abstract animation, as well as computer-generated cartoons and features (including animated documentaries) to explore the animated form. The first section of the module introduces different styles through a study of Disney and Warner Bros cartoons, the stop-motion animations of the Quay Bros, TV Anime, abstract music animation and web-based animation. The second section of the module uses a range of critical approaches to explore contemporary feature length animations from different national contexts.

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This module explores the contribution made to the study of film, and related artforms such as still photography, music and multimedia, by the cluster of disciplines commonly put under the umbrella of 'cognitive theory.' Cognitive theory emerged in the 1950s with the groundbreaking linguistic research of Noam Chomsky, who demonstrated that linguistic competence depended on innate mental capacities, and that certain universal grammatical norms underlie and unify the variety of languages. Since then, research on a wide variety of aspects of human cognition has been undertaken, taking its cue from Chomsky – on emotion, visual and aural perception, metaphor, and narrative understanding, among many other areas. And since the 1980s, a distinct approach within film studies – cognitive film theory – has emerged, which sets the study of film within this context. The module examines the way in which cognitive film theorists have taken up and developed ideas from the wider tradition of cognitive research, and the debates and controversies that have subsequently arisen betweeen cognitive film theorists and exponents of other approaches to film.

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This module examines the way New York has been used as a site for filmmaking, looking at the history of the production of films in and about the city, and as a vital centre of film culture -- not just of filmmaking, but also exhibition and film criticism. The module considers questions of modernity, the avant-garde practice in New York during the 1950s and 60s, and the city's representation in mainstream Hollywood productions. The work on New York and film will be contextualised within a cultural history of the city, with a dual emphasis on narratives of immigration and the city as the post-war centre of the world art market.

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From mainstream media franchises to experimental video, contemporary moving images are now typically transmedial, existing in different forms and across different platforms: for example, the Marvel universe includes comic books, films (released in cinemas and VoD), games, and VR experiences. The multiplicity of platforms on which consumers now engage with media provides multiple opportunities for mainstream media to monetize content. But it also provides individual media-makers with the opportunity to reach new audiences and create media that can be experienced across multiple devices. The module explores different models for transmedial content, and offers a critical perspective on how media exist across different formats. It also introduces students to various practical techniques for extending their media work into a transmedia context (for example, by engaging with social media or developing interactive websites).

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This interdisciplinary course will examine historical and current theoretical ideas and research on the ways in which art is created and perceived. Artforms that will be considered include visual arts (painting, sculpture, architecture, popular art), performing arts (dance and theater), music, and film. Readings will interface with subdisciplines of psychology such as perception, psychoaesthetics, neurophysiology, social psychology, and studies of emotion. Principal areas of focus will include aesthetics, arts-experimental design, perception of art, meaning in art, the psychology of the creative process, social and cultural issues, and the ramifications of arts-sciences research. The primary focus will be on Western art forms, though other world art traditions and aesthetics will be discussed. Assessment methods will test understanding through a summary and critical reflection on a selected text and the proposal, research, and design and oral presentation of a potential interdisciplinary research project.

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The module gives School of Arts students across a range undergraduate programmes the opportunity to undertake a written independent research project at stage 3.

Students who wish to take the module must approach a permanent academic member of staff with a proposal, typically in advance of module registration, during the Spring term of the previous year. Students pick a research topic of their choice; however, students are only allowed to register for the module with the permission of a staff member who has agreed to supervise the project, and who has the expertise to do so. Potential supervisors must also ensure before they agree to supervise a project that the resources required to complete the project will be available to the student, and that adequate supervisory support will be available to the student throughout their study on the module.

Students will be supported in the preparation and submission of their work by their supervisor, although a central expectation of the module is that students will take increasing responsibility for their learning, consistent with expectations of Level 6 study.

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Students will engage in a work-based situation of their choice. The student will be responsible for finding the work-based situation, though support from the School and CES will be available. The internship should bear relevance to their subject of study or a career they expect to pursue upon graduation. The total of 300 hours will be divided as required for purposes of preparation, attendance of work placement and reflection/completion of required assessment.

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Films in certain genres, such as the Western, action film and martial arts film, are often gendered masculine, their powerful, active and typically violent male protagonists seen as representing masculinity. There is, however, also a long tradition of transgressive female protagonists in "male" genres, and this module investigates such characters. In addition to giving an overview of various types of transgressive female protagonists, the module explores in depth one or a few type(s) of transgressive female protagonist depending on the convenor's research interests. Case studies may include American action film, martial arts film, Blaxploitation/exploitation film, rape-revenge film, Western, crime film/television, film noir and horror in film and television. For example, in the action film the female protagonist’s display of power and strength may be seen as masculine, but she is often also portrayed with stereotypically feminine traits such as beauty and a sexy appearance. The female protagonist is thus often perceived as standing between the masculine and the feminine. Among the many questions triggered by transgressive female protagonists, this module might explore whether this character can and should be perceived as feminist or merely as exploitative, and how and why such protagonists may appeal to a female audience in particular.

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This module will look at arts funding policy and public funding structures for the arts, including the formation of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and the Arts Council and its various models of operation since 1947 through to the present. This will serve to place productions from across the arts within the context of who makes policy and how it is formed, while acting as an introduction to arts funding and the application and measurement process. Students will gain an understanding of the structure of central, regional and local government in as much as they affect the arts. Trust and Foundations that support and nurture the arts are also explored in the context of how these can supplement and develop productions. Sponsorship and commercial involvement is looked at in the ways that this can be integrated into the package.

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This module looks at a group of politically inspired literary texts, comics and films, some of which were produced under the totalitarian regimes which held sway in Europe between 1917 and 1989. Others deal with the Middle East conflict, and the Islamic revolution in Iran and Mao's Cultural Revolution in China, or power relations in other contexts. Most explore ways of challenging and subverting authoritarian power structures and of articulating a critique in what Bertolt Brecht called 'dark times’. But we also focus on less obvious negotiations of fiction and power, especially with respect to the various forms of power to which these texts are subject, in which they participate, and on which they reflect metafictionally. The approach is comparative in various ways as the texts range historically and culturally, as well as across genres and language barriers (Arab, Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Greek, Polish, Russian and Chinese).

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This module explores the notions of exile, travel, migration, and displacement by focusing on an international corpus of nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts that concern the transnational movement of European and non-European writers across the globe. Migratory trajectories will be studied in relation to the specific historical and cultural contexts out of which the texts originated and that concern complex issues of race, identity, gender, and imperial history. Writers examined include Gustave Flaubert, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, D.H. Lawrence, Joseph Conrad, Marguerite Duras, Henri Michaux, Roberto Bolaño, Jack Kerouac, Gao Xingjian, and Ernesto 'Che' Guevara. The course aims to provide students with an international and comparative methodology for studying the phenomenon of travel, migration, and exile. Students will also be equipped with a critical framework that will allow them to interrogate and problematise Eurocentric and exoticizing perspectives of Asian, African, and Latin American countries, particularly what the critics Mary Louise Pratt and Edward Said have theorised as 'imperial eyes' and 'Orientalism' respectively.

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The module seeks to explore how novels and plays are adapted and interpreted for the screen. We will analyse how certain texts lend themselves to multiple reshaping, such as Laclos' Dangerous Liaisons. We will also analyse lesser-known works that have gone on to become feature films, such as Arthur Schnitzler’s Dream Story, filmed as Eyes Wide Shut. Adaptations directed by internationally recognized filmmakers such as Roman Polanski, Vittorio De Sica, Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, and Pier Paolo Pasolini will be examined with a view to eliciting and understanding their particular approach to, and filmic vision of, written texts.

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The award of literary prizes is a highly potent tool of cultural policy that frequently determines the wider national and international impact of a literary work. As such it is of crucial relevance to the study of comparative literature in a number of ways: the award of literary prizes reflects the beginnings of the successful or, as the case may be, the (ultimately) abortive formation of literary canons; moreover, it affords insights into processes of cultural production and marketing and reveals in which ways political and economic agendas are tied up with these processes; it also offers a perspective on transnational and transcultural aspects of the production and reception of literature and indicates shifting notions of the social function of literature and the writer; literature is thus understood as a cultural product in ever changing contexts which is frequently subject to external forces of which literary prizes become indicators or even 'enforcers'.

This module will investigate with the methods of literary and cultural studies the development of a number of major literary awards which have achieved global significance, among them the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Man Booker Prize the Prix Goncourt (This list may be modified according to precedent to accommodate the topical relevance of individual award winners in the future.) Seminars will develop a historical perspective by scrutinising and analysing award winners of the past and their most recent counterparts in their different production and marketing contexts as well as in changing reception contexts: seminars will include the close reading of individual works as well as their critical reception, and the analysis of marketing strategies in various media (e.g. reports in culture magazines, reviews, displays in book shops, translations, etc.); final winners will be interpreted in the context of the respective long and short lists from which they emerged; historical developments will be taken into account, for instance by investigating 'forgotten' prize winners in comparison with those who, largely through the agency of academic intervention, 'made it' into the canon; the module thus also offers an insight into the history of the discipline of literary studies. (It links up logically with the C-level module CP321 Literature and Nationhood)

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This is a module about the intersection of colonial power relations, anti-colonialism, postcolonialism, feminism, and identity politics in literature from 1940 to 2010 which interrogates the influence of imperialism on a sense of self. It considers the writing of a number of women and men from Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, India and Sri Lanka in a range of genres from the Francophone and Anglophone traditions (short story, essay, novel, autobiography). In light of the complex relationship between coloniser and colonised, we consider the political activism of many of these writers, as well as the ways in which their politics are articulated in their writing, whether fiction or non-fiction. We also examine to what extent this literature is representative of other postcolonial concerns such as nationhood and national consciousness, hybridity and assimilation, and exile and alienation within the larger context of cultural theory. Particularly significant is our interrogation of the violence inscribed in both the colonial system and the colonised's fight for independence as seen from the psychoanalytical perspectives of Frantz Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks (1952), A Dying Colonialism (1959), The Wretched of the Earth (1961).

Studying the primary and secondary texts in English, we bring awareness to the reading scene of the translation process as an important development in the transnational study of comparative literature in our global world. In so doing, we acknowledge the significance of indigenous languages and dialects as signifiers of subject-hood in conflict with the coloniser's language. By exploring a variety of anti-colonial resistance and liberation discourses in relation to the development of current postcolonial thinking, the module also offers an insight into the history of the discipline of Colonial and Postcolonial studies.

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15

Don Juan and Casanova are archetypes of the male seducer who, in the Western European tradition, stand for different interpretations of excessive passion. Don Juan hunts for virgins, nuns, and other women who are difficult to get (in that they belong to other men). Meticulously, he keeps record of his conquests. Casanova, in turn, was attracted to the easy accessibility of moments of intense pleasure, which, although within potential reach to all, only few knew how to enjoy. While Casanova slept with everyone but took interest in nobody, Don Juan's quest is also motivated by the hidden desire to find a woman that would be his equal.

In this module we shall chart the metamorphoses of these two almost mythical figures since their emergence in seventeenth-century Spain and eighteenth-century Italy to explore the relationship between literature, music, film, and the erotic within different cultural and historical contexts. In our close analyses of plays, novellas, poems, philosophical texts, opera, and film, we will focus on notions of modern individualism in relation to narcissism and solitude. In addition, we shall also engage with theoretical concepts related to speech act theory (J.L. Austin's How to do Things with Words), Judith Butler's thoughts on gender as performance, Sigmund Freud’s observations on sexuality, and Jacques Lacan’s description of ego-constitution.

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How have twentieth-century writers across the world negotiated and appropriated Shakespeare's omnipresent cultural influence? How have they revised, reinvented, and reimagined his legacy in Europe, Asia, and the Americas (North, Central, and South)? This module focuses on a selection of Shakespeare's most influential plays (Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and The Tempest) in order to examine how their thematic, historical, and cultural concerns have been transplanted to a wide range of global locations including the Caribbean, Germany, Japan, a farm in the USA, and the Argentine Pampas. The module also engages with theoretical notions related to the act of appropriating Shakespeare, including the theory of intertextuality, the Benjaminian concept of the 'afterlife' of a text, and Genette's study of the 'palimpsest’ as a text derived from a pre-existent text. In addition, the module will reflect on issues of race, gender, and cultural identity embedded in the adaptations of the bard in the various world contexts in which his work has been complexly modernized and redeployed.Borges, J.L. 'Everything and Nothing’, 'Shakespeare’s Memory’, and ‘The Pattern’.

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The course begins with an analysis of Raphael's frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura of the Vatican Palace, as a means of introducing the key themes which will be considered throughout: proportion in architecture, the body and the geometry of vision; rhetoric, both verbal and visual, and the related concepts of variety, decorum, and composition; poetic inspiration, emulation and imitation; and the revival of antiquity. These themes are then reviewed as they occur in the writings of Leon Battista Alberti, the most evolved theoretical texts on the visual arts of the period. Alberti’s works raises the question of whether he was describing current practice or setting out an ideal, and also whether he was writing principally for artists or for their patrons? Alberti’s elevated claims for painting, architecture and, to a lesser extent, sculpture as liberal arts, are then compared with the contemporary status of artists, whether operating from a workshop or employed at court. The course continues by looking in detail at the works of four key Italian artists – Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian – to assess how far they engaged with, or departed from, the Albertian paradigm. Albrecht Dürer, a northern European artist excelling in the less "noble" medium of printmaking, but also profoundly interested in issues of perspective and proportion, is considered to provide a non-Italian point of view on the Renaissance. Interspersed with these studies of single artists lectures may consider in greater detail particular themes raised by these artists’ works, such as the extent of artists’ knowledge of anatomy, the influence of the ruins of Rome, the Renaissance ideal of love, the creation of new styles by transgressing architectural rules for playful effect or to achieve “grace”, and the development in Venice of the genre of pastoral landscape. Alternatively, the work of other major artists may be considered such as Correggio, Parmigianino, Bandinelli etc. Having, broadly speaking, covered the period 1470-1550 chronologically, the course concludes by looking at the mid sixteenth-century reassessment of these artistic achievements in the writings of Dolce, Varchi and Vasari.

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The module provides a practice-based approach to art history to complement the academic approach of other modules in the History of Art programmes. By focusing on prints it will aim to provide students with an "apprenticeship" in two practical areas of art history, namely collecting and curating. The module will involve students in the full cycle of these two interrelated processes: from identifying and acquiring a print, to cataloguing and curating it, to making sense of it to a wider public by placing it in the context of a themed exhibition. In the first assessment task each student will submit an “exhibition bid” proposing an idea for an exhibition based on the existing collection and suggesting new acquisitions (and possibly loans) to realise the idea. The concepts for exhibitions could derive from the subject matter or techniques of prints in the collection, or they could involve focussing on a particular artist or period. The best conceived bid will then be adopted by the group who will work collectively to put on the exhibition. At this stage students will visit dealers and auction houses and carry out object-based research in order to secure new acquisitions. A study diary will be kept by each student to record this process and will be submitted at the end of the module as part of the overall assessment. As prints are acquired they will be catalogued to a professional standard format and these entries will form the basis of a catalogue to accompany the exhibition that will be the culmination of the module. Putting on the exhibition will require practical team-work to frame and hang the prints, to write and produce labels and illustrative material, and to staff and publicise the exhibition.

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This module raises questions about the relationship between western and non-western cultural traditions. The course revolves around a series of discussions about 'encounters' between western and non-western traditions, as well as the appropriations from and differences between their traditions of representational and non-representational art. In examining the influences, appropriations and cross-fertilizations of western and non-western art and culture the course will also place these issues in a broader political and social history of the rise of nationalism, continental trade relations, advents of war, tourism, colonialism and imperialism.

It will look at the nature of 'dialogue' from a critical and art historical perspective, and thus also consider the terms and even the failures of dialogue between the west and non-western traditions; the exclusions, altercations, violations and marginalization of other cultures and their traditions.

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Many pictures, still and moving, in Western society and globally, in high art and demotic culture, incorporate sexual imagery and themes. This module will explore different aesthetic perspectives and theoretical approaches to such images, including those typically classified as pornography and erotica around which much of the existing philosophical literature focuses.

Here are some of the indicative questions this module will investigate:

• What is erotic art?

• In which respect and to what extent is it different from pornography?

• Is 'pornographic art' an oxymoron?

• What is the relation between erotic experience and aesthetic experience and are they at all compatible?

• What are the differences and similarities between voyeurism and aesthetic interest?

• What is the role of transgression in art?

• Are obscenity and art mutually exclusive?

To answer these questions certain fundamental issues in the philosophy of art will need to be addressed. We will therefore engage with current research on the definition of art, the nature of aesthetic value, aesthetic experience, aesthetic properties, the relation between art and morality, the psychology of picture perception, and the role of imagination in art. However, more is involved than just an abstract philosophical problem. The sexual and the erotic have often caused controversy in the history of art, and especially in the contemporary world of art (construed in the broadest sense) there are many works that consciously explore the boundaries between erotic art and pornography. Any investigation of our central theme would not be complete without a careful examination of such works. Thus, the module will draw on a variety of sources and disciplines (art history, film studies, literary theory, sociology and cultural theory) to study the sexually charged work of traditional, modern and contemporary artists, such as: Titian, Boucher, Courbet, Hokusai, Schiele, John Currin, Robert Mapplethorpe, Thomas Ruff, Nan Goldin, Larry Clark, Nagisa Oshima, Michael Winterbottom, Virginie Despentes, Nicholson Baker, Catherine Millet, Alan Moore.

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This module will explore the impact of Surrealism on the visual arts. It will focus in detail on a small group of key surrealist artists, such as Man Ray, Max Ernst, and Salvador Dali; while also, in order to understand the scope and definition of Surrealism, considering further artists in some detail who were associated with Surrealism but who denied that they were indeed surrealists, such as Frida Kahlo or Pavel Tchelitchew. In addition the module will survey the work of those artists formally associated with the Surrealist group, and the contribution of Dadaist precursors and contemporary artists who exercised a profound influence on Surrealism. While hardly feminist, Surrealism did provide a supportive forum for a number of innovative female artists, arguably enabling the artistic careers of more women than other avant-garde movements in the first half of the Twentieth Century. The relationship of women artists to Surrealism will, therefore, be a key theme of the course. Surrealism was not, however, principally a phenomenon of the visual arts, or a conventional artistic movement: the surrealists sought to reconnect moral and artistic forces, to achieve liberation through emotional intensification ('a systematic derangement of the senses'), and by this means to revolutionize society. They drew inspiration from Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical theories to explore the workings of the unconscious and the ‘over-determined’ symbolism of dreams, and also what Gaston Bachelard called the new scientific spirit of the ‘why not’. Characteristic methods included pure psychic automatism, objective chance, the paranoiac-critical method, the double image, dislocation, and collage. Particularly at Level 6, this module will explore the broader implications of these surrealist themes, for example the question of whether myth is an expression of society, or constitutive of it, which was a key concern for the Surrealists. Indeed, André Breton described Surrealism as ‘a method of creating a collective myth’ in 1933. These thematic aspects of the module should make it an interesting wild option for students studying literature, twentieth-century history or cultural history, in addition to history of art students.

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This innovative module examines artistic creation from historical, philosophical and practice-based perspectives. It examines topics such as the development of the idea of genius in ancient Greece and Renaissance Italy, the Romantic and Kantian conceptions of genius, and the "democratisation" of the notion, culminating in the idea that everyone has the capacity for artistic creativity, as expressed in the work of mid-twentieth century thinkers such as John Dewey and Erich Fromm. It looks at how the concepts of genius and creativity came under attack from “theory” later in the twentieth century, and considers the recent resurgence of interest in creativity, in academia and the broader culture. Students will also take part in exercises designed to foster artistic creativity. These will include a selection of approaches such as Surrealist, Bauhaus and Oulipo methods for encouraging creativity. These different perspectives will allow students to develop a well-rounded, critical and active understanding of the topic, and to understand – and perhaps develop – their own capacity for creativity.

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This module will provide a critical survey of the problematic position of sculpture within the history of art: sculpture has often been seen as a lesser art form, subsidiary to architecture or inferior to painting, and lacking theoretical definition. Sculpture's monumental or cultic functions place it nearer to the idol or votive offering than to the 'work of art’ conceived of by aesthetic theories. At the beginning of the modern era Baudelaire dismissed sculpture as ‘boring’, and yet since the Second World War various developments have led to a situation where sculpture, more broadly conceived (often in relation to performance), is leading artistic developments. The module will explore this dynamic while also touching on several of the themes which have characterised the study and appreciation of sculpture (such as the relation of sight to touch, the absence or presence of colour, the materials of sculpture etc.). The work of a number of key artists will be discussed as representative case studies from across the history of art.

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This module will examine the impact of digital technology on our social and cultural lives. It will concentrate on how the Internet in particular has challenged some of our more traditional notions of identity and self, the body, relationships, community, privacy, politics, friendship, war and crime, economics, among others. Lectures will show how some of the basic components of culture such as notions of identity, space, the body, community, and even the very notion of what it is to be human, have been complicated by the rise of virtuality and cyberspace. We will also examine these issues through case study phenomena unique to digital culture, currently including gaming, music, cybersex and social networking.

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This is an optional module for Cultural Studies programmes, but is open to and suitable for students on other programmes in the Social Sciences and Humanities. It may also be taken as a 'wild' option.

The module invites students to explore the critical links between emotion, media and culture in the context of contemporay cultural, socio-political and economic relations. It examines what is meant by ‘the affective turn’ within the humanities and social sciences and introduces students to a range of interdisciplinary literatures concerned with theorising the cultural politics of emotion and the mediation of affect. Through various case studies and examples, the module investigates how social, cultural and media theorists have addressed the relationships between emotion, affect, power and identity in the context of postcoloniality, multiculturalism, neoliberalism and various social justice movements.

Attending to contemporary cultural debates concerning happiness, empathy, hope, fear, hate, disgust and melancholia, it explores how personal feelings are linked to social norms and power structures and considers how we might disrupt an assumed division between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ emotions. The module explores how emotions, feelings and affects are produced, mediated and circulated through a range of cultural forms, practices and technologies, paying particular attention to the role of film, television, news media, digital culture, literature and popular science.

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The course discusses the main approaches which have developed in urban sociology through an exploration of some of the major themes. These themes include urbanisation under capitalism, planning, post-industrialism, globalisation, social differentiation, multiculturalism, protest and social movements, and comparative urbanism (Asian and African contexts). Approaches considered within these will include Marx, Weber, the Chicago School, the Manchester school, and post-modernism.

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Images of ‘trim, taut and terrific’ bodies surround us in contemporary consumer culture. They look down on us from billboards, are increasingly central to advertisers’ attempts to sell us clothes, cosmetics, cars, and other products, and pervade reality television programmes based on diet, exercise and ‘extreme’ makeovers. These trends have occurred at the same time that science, technology, genetic engineering and medicine have achieved unprecedented levels of control over the body: there are now few parts of the body which cannot be remoulded, supplemented or transplanted in one way or another. In this course we explore how culture represents and shapes bodies, and also examine how embodied subjects are themselves able to act on and influence the culture in which they live. We will seek to understand the relationship between the body and self-identity, embodiment and inequalities, and will explore various theories of the body. In doing this we range far and wide by looking at such issues as cyberbodies, religion, food, film, transgenderism, sport, music, work and sleep. Embodiment is the enduring theme of this course, though, and we will explore its many dimensions via a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, and by asking and addressing a range of questions such as ‘How and why has the body become increasingly commodified?’, ‘Why has the body become increasingly central to so many people’s sense of self-identity?’, ‘If we live in a culture that has been able to intervene in the sizes, shapes and contents of the body like never before, have people have become less sure about what is ‘natural’ about the body, and about how we should care for and treat our bodily selves?’.

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The module aims to enable students to conceive and execute a major research project in the field of cultural studies. Students attend a Summer term group meeting with the module convenor to explore and discuss ideas for research and the submission of a draft title and plan, which is to be completed during the long vacation prior to the module beginning. In the Autumn term they will receive feedback on this plan and proposal from their supervisor and/or the module convenor. They will then be required to attend a series of meetings with their assigned supervisor throughout the Autumn term and at the end of that term submit a Literature Review for assessment. In the spring term, research and writing of the dissertation continue under the guidance of the supervisor and at the end of the term, the completed assignment is submitted.

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Teaching and assessment

Cultural Studies

We use a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, case study analysis, group projects and presentations, and individual and group tutorials. Many module convenors also offer additional ‘clinic’ hours to help with the preparation of coursework and for exams.

Film

All modules involve lectures, small group seminars and film screenings (where relevant). On average, you have two lectures and three hours of seminars each week, plus four to six hours film viewing.

Depending on the modules you select, assessment varies from 100% coursework (extended essays or dissertation), to a combination of examination and coursework.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • develop students' ability to undertake critical analysis in film and cultural studies
  • provide teaching informed by current research in the fields of film and culture
  • provide a coherent, flexible and progressive curriculum which includes options from a wide range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary areas, particularly in the study of film and culture
  • provide broad knowledge of relevant concepts, debates and theoretical approaches in the study of film and culture
  • develop students' awareness of, and sensitivity to, the contexts of production and consumption involved in film and culture
  • provide opportunities for the development of personal, communication, research and other key skills appropriate to graduate employment in a range of cultural, media and education-related spheres, and for further research in the fields of film and cultural studies.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • aesthetic judgement
  • particular forms of film and culture, including the way they organise understanding and meaning
  • the historical evolution of particular genres, aesthetic traditions and forms
  • cultural and social contexts that affect the meaning of film and television works
  • conceptualisations of meaning, pleasure and identification in film and culture
  • how the modes of production/consumption of film and cultural texts and products shape contemporary life
  • the nature and impact of new technologies
  • major theories of film and cultural studies.

Intellectual skills

You gain intellectual abilities in how to:

  • analyse critically a wide range of film and cultural forms
  • understand forms of film and culture as they have emerged historically
  • clearly express your own ideas in oral and written presentations
  • evaluate and draw upon sources and conceptual frameworks appropriate to research in relevant areas
  • apply film, and cultural, theory to familiar and unfamiliar contexts, products and milieu
  • draw and reflect upon the relevance and impact of your own cultural assumptions to the practice of research and evaluation.

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific skills:

  • conception and application of cross-disciplinary strategies of investigation of film and cultural issues, themes and topics
  • drawing upon and bringing together ideas, knowledge of narrative and stylistic forms and structures in film and culture
  • the ability to articulate understanding of visual and oral media in a written medium
  • the ability to evaluate theoretical models and paradigms of cultural production, consumption and reception
  • effectively deploying terms and concepts specific to the study of film and television
  • the ability to integrate diverse sources of cultural information and produce new knowledge.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • working in flexible, creative and independent ways
  • showing self-discipline, including time management, as well as self-direction and the ability to reflect on one’s own practices
  • sustaining focus and applying attention to detail
  • organising and managing supervised, self-directed projects
  • researching and evaluating sources in the process of carrying out independent study
  • communicating effectively and appropriately orally and in writing, and (where undertaken) in other media
  • working productively in a group or team, showing abilities at different times to listen, contribute and lead effectively
  • showing insight in and understanding of the social and ethical issues surrounding contemporary communications, media, culture and society; demonstrating the ability to draw on this understanding and knowledge in your engagement and contribution to contemporary society as workers and citizens
  • draw upon IT skills, including (where taken) skills in digital technology in relation to practice.

Careers

Our graduates work in advertising and design, journalism, broadcasting, film-making, teaching, arts organisations, marketing and distribution, publishing, public relations, research, information services, leisure industry management, tourism and heritage, personnel, local government, and the organisation of social and community projects. Others have chosen to pursue postgraduate academic and practical courses.

On this programme, you develop key transferable skills including organisational and research skills; expressing your opinions orally and in writing; the ability to analyse complex information and make it accessible to non-specialist readers, write reports and use data analysis computer programs.

These key skills are essential for graduates as they move into the employment market.

Independent rankings

For graduate prospects, Sociology* at Kent was ranked 2nd in The Times Good University Guide 2018 and 8th in The Complete University Guide 2018Of Sociology students who graduated from Kent in 2016, over 92% of were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

Communications and Media Studies at Kent was ranked 1st for graduate prospects in The Complete University Guide 2018 and The Times Good University Guide 2018.

*Cultural Studies is included in Sociology.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

BBB

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

Distinction, Distinction, Merit. 

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 15 points at HL

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £15700

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.