Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Comparative Literature and Religious Studies - BA (Hons)

UCAS code VQ62

This is an archived page and for reference purposes only

2017

Comparative Literature differs from English Literature in that it transcends national and cultural boundaries, offering you a global view of literature. Combining Comparative Literature with Religious Studies enables you to engage with a wide range of texts, literature and systems of belief that cross geographical boundaries.

2017

Overview

In Comparative Literature, you have the opportunity to study texts ranging from Classical Antiquity to the present day in English translation, including works by such famous authors as Homer, Ovid, Dante, Goethe, Dostoevsky, Balzac, Flaubert, Proust and Kafka, as well as British classics such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Joyce and Woolf. 

You gain a broad international perspective on literary history, literary movements and literary genres, comparing themes and figures across different cultural backgrounds. You also compare the works of English and American authors to European ones.

Religion is a vital element in human culture, and today religious issues are everywhere – from current affairs and international events, to the history of ideas, art and literature, and our own immediate experience and environment. Religious Studies at Kent involves investigating and discussing these ideas, experiences, practices and institutions, through texts, films, historical data and directly observing the world today.

Studying Comparative Literature and Religious Studies, you compare and contrast themes and ideas of religiosity that are found in literature and look at other literary themes and manifestations of religion, gaining a strong insight into the complexity of cultures across the globe.

Independent rankings

In the National Student Survey 2016, Comparative Literature at Kent was ranked 3rd for overall satisfaction and quality of teaching.

Comparative Literature at Kent was ranked 2nd in the UK for the percentage of students who found professional jobs after graduation in 2015 (DLHE).

Religious Studies and Theology at Kent was ranked 14th in The Guardian University Guide 2017 and 6th for research quality in The Times Good University Guide 2017. In the National Student Survey 2016, 89% of our students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

Religious Studies students who graduated from Kent in 2015 were the most successful in the UK in finding work or further study opportunities (DLHE).

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

This literary-critical module deals with a wide range of selected international tales ranging from antiquity to the present day. The module addresses issues such as the development of oral folktales and fairytales into written forms, and discusses various short prose genres including Aesopian fables, myths, folktales and fairytales, as well as tales of the fantastic, 19th century art-tales and the modern short story.

The framework of discussion comprises a general survey of the issues that face the comparatist. In the course of the module students practice different methods of literary analysis, including close reading and comparative analysis by examining story-motifs and story-structures, and by considering symbolic meanings in the light of psychoanalytic concepts. Students also explore questions of transmission and transformation (e.g. how stories and motifs travel from one culture to another and alter in shape and emphasis) and questions of genre (for example the fantastic). A selection of critical texts on narrative devices and patterns, on psychoanalytical, structuralist and feminist approaches to the fairytale and on genre theories are studied in conjunction with the primary texts.

Read more
30

The twentieth-century imagination was marked by a spirit of doubt, especially of the Enlightenment faith in reason's capacity to advance mankind to happiness and freedom. In this module will be discussed some classic fictional explorations of freedom and social, political, religious and racial oppression which have had an international impact. These texts will be read as works of literature in their own right as well as contextualised with the ideas they question and propagate: universal happiness, human liberation, and morality without God, personal and political freedom, the self and its responsibility.

Read more
15

The 'knowledge of good and evil' is unique to human beings. It informs the individual's conscience and determines the moral systems on which societies are based. The violation of moral codes is expected to induce the experience of guilt, while the lack of any sense of guilt is considered to be psychopathic. As the manifestation of an internal, and sometimes also external, struggle of varying intensity, guilt is an almost universal concern of literary texts; as is the quest for redemption, the alleviation of guilt and despair – through atonement, forgiveness or denial. In this module, we will analyse and discuss literary texts which explore the frequently fuzzy edges of the experiences of guilt and redemption as a human quandary and as perceived against changing conceptions of morality. Texts included in the reading list engage with questions of personal and collective guilt incurred with hubris, cruelty, the violation of animal rights, and genocide, etc.

Read more
15

Who and what is 'a child', and what is adolescence? This module examines the representation of childhood and adolescence in a cross-section of texts from modern literature within the context of World Literature studies. Students will pay close attention to the rhetoric and techniques of storytelling woven around these themes, as well as to relevant socio-political debates, while also examining how these specific texts function across cultures.

The module encourages students to find innovative approaches to the topic, and at the same time invites them to explore the relationship between literature and childhood and the joy of reading often associated with childhood and adolescence.

Read more
15

This module will introduce students to a wide range of films produced in different European and Latin American countries between the late 1980s and the present day. The module will focus on prevailing trends and dominant themes in contemporary European and Hispanic cinemas. The aim is to make students aware of the place which cinema has played and continues to play in the cultural life of Europe and Latin America, its importance in establishing national and supra-national identity, and the ways in which international relations are expressed through film production. The module will begin with an overview of European and Latin American cinema, and then will be divided into geographically determined sections (United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Mexico and Cuba) before being brought together again in the final conclusive lecture. The course is also designed to provide students with basic film terminology, as well as with basic tools for cultural analysis.

Read more
15

This module focuses on the development of the Romantic movement in Britain, France, Germany and Russia. It begins with the work of eighteenth century writers such as Goethe and Rousseau, and then explores their influence upon British, French and German writers of the early Romantic period (Blake, Chateaubriand, Kleist). The middle part of the module mainly concentrates upon British Romantic poetry, grouped around themes such as art, nature, politics and identity. The final part of the module examines how Russian writers, such as Lermontov and Pushkin, responded to the legacy of their Western counterparts. There will also be exploration during the course of the module of sub-genres such as the Gothic (Walpole, Dacre, M. Shelley), the historical novel (Dumas) and the confession (de Quincey). The work of painters, such as Fuseli, Goya and Turner, will be available as a resource via Moodle.

Read more
30

This module offers students a wide-ranging grounding in classical literature as a basis for the further study of Western literature within a comparative framework. Major works of ancient Greek and Roman literature are studied in order to enable students to appreciate the literary engagement with the following in the classical world: myth (including the stories of the Trojan War, Oedipus, Jason and Medea, and the founding of Rome); the relationship between human beings and the gods, between the sexes, and between the human and the animal; and the journey motif. Themes explored included sexuality, violence, conceptions of justice, metamorphosis, and madness. The module introduces students to some of the major genres of Western literature (tragedy, comedy, the epic), and considers how these were theorized by Aristotle. It also encourages students to reflect on questions of cultural transmission, and on why the myths represented in classical literature should have proved to be such a rich source for the literature of the West.

Read more
15

This module introduces students to some of the most influential theories of World Literature, which are studied alongside a selection of literary examples. The theories include Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's reflections formulated in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Goethe coined the term 'world literature' [Weltliteratur] to describe the international circulation and reception of literary works in Europe. In the course of the module, we reflect on the relationship between national literatures and world literature, and on the ways in which the literary market facilitates and complicates transnational exchanges of ideas. In addition, students are given the opportunity to hone their close reading skills by studying a selection of ancient and modern world creation myths. These include texts from the Near East, Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. The module offers students the unique opportunity to analyse in detail different ways in which cultural backgrounds can shape literary productions, and how stories, motifs and themes travel across national boundaries. In the course of the module, we discuss key literary terms and concepts, including fictionality, literariness, translation, the canon, and the various modes of reception and circulation that shape our understanding of world literature.

Read more
15

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, through a consideration of their key concepts, ideas, texts and practices (such as bhakti, moksha, yoga, dharma). The first half of the module will examine some of the most interesting features of the Vedic and post-Vedic tradition: the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the polytheism of the Mahabharata. The second half will examine the contrasting philosophical positions of the Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions using materials from the Pali canon and several Sanskrit Sutras. Particular attention will be given to the variety of interpretations of the Buddhist 'No-self' doctrine and concept of enlightenment as well as the meaning and function of the Buddha’s career.

Read more
15

This course investigates the beliefs and practices of Jews and Muslims in the world today. Topics in Judaism include the life and work of the Patriarchs, the concept of the 'chosen people', the Promised Land, the Torah, synagogue, Jewish festivals and the Jewish home. In the case of Islam, topics include the life and work of Muhammad, the Five Pillars, the Qur'an and Hadith, Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims, Sufism, the Shariah and the Islamic contribution to the arts and sciences.

Read more
15

This module will introduce students to discussions about the definition of religion and to some of the disciplines in which religion is studied, with special reference to the differences between Theology and Religious Studies. Particular consideration will be given in the initial weeks to the phenomenological approach and to the efficacy of Ninian Smart’s dimensions of religion. In the following weeks, the module will be focused on the comparative study of religion (with reference to Eliade), the sociology of religion (with reference to Durkheim, Weber and Marx) and the psychology of religion (with reference to Otto, James, Freud and Jung). The module will also host a study skills session to be run in conjunction with the Student Learning Advisory Service, the aim of which is to equip students with key study skills in the areas of writing essays, referencing and plagiarism-prevention.

Read more
30

The Bible is not a single book, but ta biblia, the library. At the most modest estimate, the literatures of the Bible span a period of over eight hundred years. If we think of the metaphor of a library, the books in the Bible would not just be shelved in the Religion/Theology section, but also, say, Philosophy, Politics and Cultural History/Myth. The influence of these books on ‘Western’ culture has been immense. This is a course for those seeking basic biblical ‘literacy’, which is profoundly useful for studies in other disciplines (e.g. History, or Literature), as well as for students in Religious Studies. It is a course for those who think they already know the Bible (this course will help you read the Bible in different ways, with new questions) and those who have never read a Bible at all. The course gives a basic overview of the story and contexts of the books of the Bible (Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and New Testament) from Genesis to the Apocalypse of John, or from Eden to the End of the World.

This course provides a basic introduction to different sections of the biblical ‘library’, combining a general overview with in-depth study of selected passages and books.

NB: As with all Biblical Studies courses at the University of Kent, ‘Bible’ is defined in the broadest sense: the Christian and Jewish canons (73 or 66 books, though we won’t be studying all of them!) apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, and also all the ancient and modern intertexts, poems, films and novels, that inform and draw on biblical traditions.

Read more
15

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the study of Christianity, through a consideration of key ideas, texts, symbols, stories, rituals, conflicts and continuities, across contemporary and historical contexts. The course will offer a broad overview of two thousand years of Christian history, and seek to address the question of how the cult surrounding an obscure spiritual teacher from first century Nazareth became the world's largest religion, currently estimated at over two billion adherents. It will address the early church, eastern and western traditions, the medieval church, the Reformation and the relations between Christianity and modernity, as well as focusing on contemporary forms of Christianity, and the rapid growth since the 1970s of churches in the global South. By examining key concepts and practices across a range of historical and contemporary settings, the course will explore how the meaning and significance of these have often been subject to violent contestation, both amongst Christians and in their encounters with other religions. It will therefore encourage students to appreciate how the ideas and convictions that are often used to defend or attack Christianity have themselves been shaped by this history.

Read more
15

This module provides an historical introduction to the philosophical, religious and cultural traditions of East Asia. It will provide a foundation for understanding the historical development, key concepts and important practices of the major worldviews of East Asia with specific reference to traditions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Shinto and other animist traditions.

Read more
15
You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

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. Texts and films to be studied include John Polidori’s The Vampyre (1819), Théophile Gautier’s Clarimonde (1836), J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla (1872), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), F. W. Murnau’s and Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu adaptations (1922 and 1979), Angela Carter’s The Lady of the House of Love (1979), Neil Jordan’s Interview with the Vampire (1994) and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight (2005)

Read more
15

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)

Read more
15

This module looks at a group of politically inspired novels and films, some of which were produced under the totalitarian regimes which held sway in Europe between 1917 and 1989, others deal with Latin American political unrest, the Middle East conflict and the Islamic revolution in Iran. Most explore ways of challenging and subverting authoritarian power structures and of articulating a critique in what Bertolt Brecht called 'dark times'. But we will also focus on less obvious negotiations of fiction with power, especially with respect to the various forms of power to which these texts are subject and in which they participate. The approach is comparative in two senses as the texts range historically and culturally as well as across genres and language barriers (Arab, Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian and Spanish)

Read more
30

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.

Read more
15

This module investigates the representation of love, desire and the body in a selection of texts by women writers from different temporal, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In particular we will look at the way representations of love, desire and the body reflect the respective socio-cultural contexts and the situation of women therein, how these writers deal with themes such as love, desire and eroticism, and what aesthetic strategies they use to tackle them. What models of feminine behaviour are celebrated or criticised? To what extent are relevant representational conventions adhered to or transgressed in these works?

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre for example provides a complex representation of a split and conflicted female identity, torn between demands of the body, passions, rages and desires, and the demands of the mind, the spirit and the intellect. This conflict is externalised in the form of the characters Bertha Mason and Helen Burns, alter egos which Jane has to overcome and reconcile. Jane Eyre will offer a useful touchstone for other representations of female figures caught between social conventions and desires, and their attempts to come to terms with them.

Students will be asked to engage with the siginificance of images and representations of women proliferated through literature. These representations provide or question role models, perpetuate or problematise stereotypical versions of feminine goals and aspirations. Furthermore, emphasis will be placed on close readings of the various works, and students will be asked to pay close attention to cultural differences and variations, and to examine how the conceptions and representations of love and desire changed in the course of time.

The selected fictions allow a comparative examination of a wide range of different perceptions by women writers of the body, of gender, identity, love, desire and sexuality and the way these reflect the respective wider ideological framework. Close readings of these texts are complemented by selected references to a body of feminist literary theory.

Read more
30

The module examines the development of nineteenth-century European fiction against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution and its social and cultural effects. It argues that the emergence of realism, naturalism and decadence as literary movements constituted not only responses to social change but were also artistic revolutions in themselves. A representative selection of writers, including Balzac, Eliot, Zola and Huysmans, will be studied. The module will also make reference to poetry (Baudelaire, Swinburne) where necessary and to the visual arts of the period. Themes will include: modes of literary production, class and economic conditions, gender, sexuality and desire, science and technology, religion and aesthetics, and the social positions of men and women.

Read more
30

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.

Read more
30

This module will enable students to analyze and understand the development of Christian theology over the last two hundred years. We will be critically evaluating the significance and contribution of a number of leading twentieth century theologians from a variety of denominational backgrounds and endeavouring to understand to a sophisticated degree the changes in Christian thought and practice in a variety of situations in the twentieth century. The module will begin by surveying the main strands of post-Enlightenment Christian theology, including the contributions of Kant, Schleiermacher and Feuerbach. There will be a detailed focus of two of the 'Death of God' theologians from the twentieth century, Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton. We will then critically evaluate the significance of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his influence (with particular reference to Harvey Cox and John A.T. Robinson); Liberal Protestantism and the rise of Neo-Orthodoxy, with particular reference to Paul Tillich and Karl Barth; Rudolf Bultmann and his programme of demythologization; and an interrogation of the Christian understanding of 'hope' with specific reference to Jürgen Moltmann. The module also involves a study of key theological movements, in particular Liberation Theology, Black Theology and Feminist Theology.

Read more
30

The purpose of this module is to survey some of the most significant 20th century trends in the dialogue between psychology and religion through the writings of depth-psychologists, philosophers, theologians, anthropologists and phenomenologists of religion. The module begins by exploring the varieties of religious experience, especially through the work of William James and Rudolf Otto, after which it examines the contributions of psychoanalysis and analytical psychology to the study of religion, particularly in the work of Freud, Jung and Hillman. This material provides the basis for subsequent discussion of the interdisciplinary literature comparing religious altered states of consciousness (mystical, visionary and paranormal experiences) with other altered states of consciousness (madness, drug induced experiences etc.). The module concludes by discussing the principle issues addressed by transpersonal psychology (particularly in the work of Wilber and Grof): the relationship between western psychotherapies and eastern religious disciplines of spiritual emancipation; competing models of spiritual transformation.

Read more
30

The aim of this module is to enable students to think sociologically about religious life. Whilst addressing key debates within the sociology of religion (e.g. secularization, subjectivization), it seeks to introduce students to core concepts and methods in sociology that will enable them to understand religious life in terms of broader social structures and processes. Examples of issues covered in the module include: the nature of sociology as a discipline, macro and micro levels of analysis, the agency/structure debate and the nature of social structure, individualization, and sociological perspectives on gender, class, emotion, materiality and belief. The significance of intersectionality between different social structures will also be discussed, and useful sources of secondary data (e.g. BRIN) will be explored. The central assessment task for the module – a case study presenting the sociological analysis of the nature and place of religion in a particular individual's life – brings these theoretical and methodological approaches together into a micro-level analysis of lived religion in a way that is informed by broader social and cultural structures. Examples of good writing in this style of sociological research are presented and explored through the module.

Read more
30

The primary aims of this module are to give you a critical grounding in Islamic sources, thinkers and theories relevant to the development of Islamic liberal and fundamentalist perspectives, and it also explores the ways in which these perspectives bear upon contemporary debates and events. It will equip you with the ability to situate current views within their historical and theological context, critically assess them, and constructively apply them to current phenomena. The module will introduce you to key Islamic debates such as those which address textual interpretation, the relation between revelation and human reason, and the nature of political authority. It will familiarise you with key sources such as the Qur'an, Hadith and treatises of key Islamic theologians and jurists, and it will introduce you to classical and modern theorists from Ibn Taymiyyah to Tariq Ramadan. A range of case studies will allow you to apply these sources and theories to contemporary situations. The module draws lessons for critical thinking about the way in which social context and religious premises affect both religious and political theories. These sources and skills will provide a basis for the analytical work that you undertake in your assessed work.

Read more
30

This module will be divided into two parts. First, it will familiarise students with how Continental philosophy has developed in response to methodological and historical questions. Second, it will then show how Continental philosophy applies to the philosophy of religion by discussing traditional religious problems—e.g., the existence of God, the problem of theodicy, the conception of the good life—and seeing how seminal Continental thinkers engage with these issues in diverse ways. The first part of the module will discuss critical, historical-based methodologies in: philosophical hermeneutics (Gadamer and Ricoeur), phenomenology (Dupré and Marion) and geneaology (Foucault). The second part of the module will utilise contemporary scholarship consisting in contemporary philosophers applying the aforementioned methodological approaches to religious problems.

Read more
30

The aim of the course is to provide students with an understanding of the history and practice of the anthropology of religion through the past 150 years. Students will explore the ‘anthropology of religion’ to provide an historical and contemporary understanding of how anthropological studies of religion enrich knowledge of what it means to be religious. The course will examine and students will practise the anthropological method of rich participant observation and comparative analysis. Course content focuses on foundational and contemporary issues of religious definition, ritual, belief, embodiment, rationality and relationships in both Western and non-western contexts.

Read more
30

This module will explore the theme of ‘Biblical Codes’ from two angles:

1) How has the Bible been read as code?

2) How can we read/ ‘decode’ biblical mysteries (prophecy, apocalyptic, or ‘wisdom’)

Under heading 1) we will be exploring how different writers and groups (some of them inside the Bible, some of them outside it) have read the Bible as temporal or political code. For example, the biblical book of Daniel attempts to decode the book of Jeremiah, which had already become deeply mysterious to ancient readers. Similarly, the New Testament ‘deciphers’ biblical prophecy and motifs by applying them to Jesus or the Roman Empire. At the other end of the time spectrum, we find bestsellers like Michael Drosnin’s The Bible Code (1997), Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye’s attempts to decrypt biblical visions of the end of time by way of contemporary global politics, or recent readings of the book of Ezekiel as prophecies about UFO’s. Techniques of decryption are also built into central developments within Jewish and Christian traditions. In fact, what is often called the history of ‘hermeneutics’ could also be described as the history of ‘How not to read literally’. We will be looking at a range of examples of such developments by focusing on readers like Philo of Alexandria, Augustine of Hippo, or Jewish Kabbalah.

Under heading 2, we will undertake some in-depth readings of prophecy, apocalyptic, or wisdom texts—the ones that readers of the Bible find most difficult to ‘decode’. Texts to be studied will be taken from the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and the Pseudepigrapha. We will be exploring the contexts that produced these literatures and thinking about how to read (decipher?) them across the abyss of time.

Read more
30

Recent cultural and political theories have been haunted by the question of religion, its definitions and functions, its emancipatory capacities, its relation to violence, and its relationship to the history and future of the concept of the secular. The centrality of religion as a topic for these recent interdisciplinary discussions has emerged in relationship to a growing unease about earlier, modern modes of distinguishing public and private life; a ‘return’ of religion as an internationally significant political force in recent decades; and surprising appropriations of religion as a figure for secular Western democracy. Theorists (particularly in the area of postcolonial theory) are questioning naturalized or ahistorical distinctions between religion and the secular (e.g., Talal Asad, Tomoko Masuzawa, Saba Mahmood). Many contemporary thinkers attempt to short-circuit the distinction between ‘religion’ and ‘politics’, making possible surprising paradoxes of a “materialist theology” (Slavoj Žižek), an “emptied” religiosity (Gianni Vattimo), or what Hent de Vries calls simply a “political theology”. Once we get down beneath the easily-rehearsed stereotypes, we find that the old religious archives (like the Bible) model competing forms of politics: from messianic anarchism to theocracy. In our political histories—and presents—these have been used (and now are being re-used) in surprising ways.

This course considers important moments in the Western history of political theology in order to understand modern and contemporary discussions of secular politics. These moments will be considered in relation to comparable instances of politically imagined theology (or theologically imagined politics) from other religious traditions as well. Students will:

- examine key topics in the modern formation of these discussions (e.g., distinctions between public and private; secular spheres; religion as extra-political ideal; fanaticism; politicized evaluations of Western religion as exceptional in relation to the ‘others’; religion and political revolution)

- map important similarities and differences between Western and non-Western modelling of the relationship between religion and politics

- critically evaluate recent presentations of the inherent violence of religions, the inevitability of the clash of civilizations, and the usefulness of religion in ‘making globalization work’

Read more
30

This course explores the central teachings, practices and sacred texts of Mahåyåna Buddhism and will focus upon the first 500 years of its history in India. It will examine the rise and development of Mahåyåna Buddhism in India through analysis of its key sacred literature and philosophical schools as well as its subsequent spread to East and North Asia.

Read more
30

This module will examine the theme 'Global Christianities' through the lenses of the anthropology of Christianity and the sociology of religion. We will explore the ways in which we can see Christianity as a cultural product, and how Christianity has shaped different cultures and societies globally, as well as how the religion has been shaped by and through encounters in different local settings. We will look at the history of the globalization of Christianity, and consider the historical, political and economic effects of local missionary encounters. The course will examine the processes of conversion to Christianity in different contexts, both at the level of individual and broader social group, and how these have been understood in relation to concepts of ‘modernity’.

The course will draw attention to the relatively recent emergence of the anthropology of Christianity in relation to the broader disciplines of anthropology as a discrete area of study and how this relates to the study of Christianity as a global phenomenon within sociology. We will consider the ways in which these disciplines have constructed and objectified ‘religion’ as an object of study in ways that has historically occluded the social scientific study of Christianity in different global contexts.

The course will address some of the main debates in the anthropology of Christianity, deepening understanding of global Christianities through exploring studies of Christian cultures in diverse ethnographic contexts. The topics addressed will include: culture and conversion; globalization and localisation; interrelations between Christianity, subjectivity and language; embodied and emotional forms of different Christianities; concepts and experiences of God; mediation, immanence and transcendence; coherence and fragmentation; gender, sexuality and the family. Through engaging with readings on these areas, we will explore the socio-religious power-dynamics of Christianity in relation to both culturally dominant and marginal traditions.

Read more
30

This module explores the cultural specificity and diversity of Asian cultures, traditions, social and political systems and literature from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The topic of Asia will be approached on a thematic basis but with particular emphasis on an understanding of the historical and interpretive challenges to inter-cultural understanding between Asia and Europe/ the West.

Read more
30

This module will evaluate and critique a range of historical, philosophical, theological and secular perspectives on death and the afterlife, beginning with the way the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, the Qu’ran, the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the Upanishads conceptualize the nature and destiny of humankind, including such concepts as sheol, moksha, purgatory, eternal life, heaven and hell. This will be followed by a discussion of the interplay in western theological and philosophical traditions between competing notions of the resurrection of the flesh and the immortality of the body as well as an evaluation of what various Christian thinkers, including Augustine and Origen, believed that an eternity in heaven or hell might be like. The module will then investigate the range of eschatological teachings that different traditions have offered, including in Christian thought the diversity of realized and future forms of eschatology, as well as the tenability of purported testimony surrounding the possibility of out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and mind-dependent worlds, and the way in which such endeavours have been sustained or critiqued in the light of scientific and historical advances. The module will conclude with a detailed study of the way in which filmmakers and novelists have approached eschatological and apocalyptic teachings and reconceptualised them, with specific reference to Conrad Ostwalt’s work on the desacralization of the apocalypse in Jewish and Christian thought in a range of 1990s Hollywood science fiction movies, and the impact that such attempts have had on the way questions of life after death have conventionally been approached.

Read more
30

This module will examine the main doctrines and practices of early Indian Buddhism as seen through the Theravada Buddhist literature of the Pali canon (in translation). The module will examine what we might know about the figure of the historical Buddha and the central concepts and doctrinal themes in his teachings as represented in these materials, with particular attention paid to their historical and social context and the philosophical, soteriological, ethical and socio-political ideas expressed within early Buddhist literature in the period 500 BCE to 500 CE. The module will also consider the rise of "Theravada" and modern developments within this tradition of Buddhism.

Read more
30
You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Year abroad

Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally.  You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.

You can apply to add a year abroad to your degree programme from your arrival at Kent until the autumn term of your second year.  The year abroad takes place between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities.  Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme.  For a full list, please see Go Abroad.

You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the year abroad.  The year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification.

Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

This module seeks to explore how novels and plays are adapted and interpreted for the screen. We shall be looking at how certain texts lend themselves to multiple reshaping such as Laclos’ 'Dangerous Liasions' and Henry James’ 'The Turn of the Screw', both of which have been adapted for the screen more than once. We shall also analyse lesser known works that have gone on to become feature films, such as Arthur Schnitzler’s short work ‘Dream Story’, filmed as 'Eyes Wide Shut'. Adaptations directed by widely recognised filmmakers such as De Sica, Max Ophuls, Kubrick and Pier Paolo Pasolini will also be examined with a view to eliciting and understanding their particular approach to, and filmic vision of, written texts.

Read more
30

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.

Read more
30

The module will begin with the study of some of the major avant-garde movements (including Expressionism, Futurism, Imagism, Vorticism, Dada, and Surrealism) that sprang up in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Students will read a range of short manifestos and literary works by Tristan Tzara, Filippo Marinetti, T. E. Hulme, Wyndham Lewis, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, André Breton, and others. Once both the diversity and the international nature of modernism have been considered, students will go on to look in depth at a series of major modernist writers from different national backgrounds, and to identify what these writers share, what distinguishes them from one another, and, in some cases, what sets them in violent opposition. The aim here will be to give students a sense of the plurality of modernisms and the conflicts that were internal to the movement. Although the focus will be on some of the most significant individual works of modernist literature (for instance, Proust’s Swann’s Way, Kafka’s The Trial, Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Eliot’s The Waste Land), shorter texts, both literary and critical/theoretical, will also constitute the recommended reading in preparation for seminars. Seminal essays by major commentators on the modernist movement such as Walter Benjamin, Georg Lukács, and Theodor Adorno will constitute part of the primary reading. The aim throughout will be to strike a balance between close reading and the consideration of the more general theoretical and political issues at stake in the modernist ‘revolution of the word’. Students will also be encouraged to explore the ways in which modernism finds expression in the visual arts, particularly in Expressionism, Cubism, and Abstraction.

Read more
30

The module will begin by studying some of the major early postmodern writers such as Charles Olson and Alain Robbe-Grillet. This will be followed by a comparative analysis of second-generation postmodern literature in both Europe and the United States, including writers such as Italo Calvino and Thomas Pynchon. The module will also reference postmodern texts in other media such as film (the ‘Free Cinema’ movement) and the visual arts (most notably, Pop Art). Almost from its inception, postmodernism has been subject to theorization and to a highly charged debate over its status as either a radical and liberating movement or as a mere symptom of ‘late capitalism’ and a media-saturated culture in which ‘the medium is the message’. Students will study some of the key theoretical documents on the postmodern, including extracts from the work of Jean Baudrillard, Fredric Jameson and Jean-François Lyotard.

Read more
15

In the immediate aftermath of the cataclysmic events of the Shoah, the philosopher and sociologist Theodor W. Adorno interrogated the meaning of 'culture' after the failure of culture. In contemporary discourse, the Shoah has long since been turned into a marketable icon of suffering. Indeed, the encroachment on the victims' memory of what has contentiously been called the 'Holocaust industry’ or, with a gruesome pun, ‘Shoah business’, is frequently perceived as threatening to pervert remembrance of this singular event in history. Ever since Adorno’s often quoted and frequently misunderstood ‘dictum’ that it is barbaric to write poetry ‘after Auschwitz’ (1949), a discussion about the value and the significance of the representation of the Shoah in cultural production has been engaged in. Many of the concerns focused on in this debate remain controversial, among them the questions of the memory of the Shoah and its medial representations, and of the potentially therapeutic value of confronting the emotional trauma of genocide in cultural production.

In this module, students will enter into these debates by enquiring into the ability of narrative, in literature, film and other forms of memorialisation, to represent the ‘unrepresentable’, by exploring the use of these narratives as ‘history’, and by investigating the so-called ‘Americanisation’ of the Shoah. In addition, they will enquire into the historical and cultural contexts of the Shoah.

In the first term particular emphasis will therefore be placed on the cultural and historical context of the ‘Jewish question’, including nationalism, race theory and anti-Semitism. Source material to be discussed in seminars will include excerpts from theoretical, (pseudo-)scientific writings, literary and legal texts and films which document the paradigm change from religious anti-Judaism to a primarily racially motivated anti-Semitism. This will be followed by discussions of the literature of testimony by survivors of the Shoah, of poetic responses to the Shoah and of ‘fabricated’ memory. The first term will be concluded by a discussion of early media coverage of the liberation of the concentration camp of Buchenwald and by Allied efforts of representing the Shoah as a means of effecting their policy of re-education in post-war Germany.

The second term will be focused on more recent forms of representation and memorialisation of the Shoah, concentrating especially on formal and medial variety and innovation as well as shifts of perspective.

Read more
30

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)

Read more
30

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)

Read more
15

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 signifers of subjecthood 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.

Read more
15

Since its inception in Ancient Greece and its first theorization by Aristotle in the Poetics, tragedy has been considered the highest literary genre, treating some of the most profound philosophical questions such as the limits of personal and social freedom, the relationship of the individual to society, and the nature of justice. This module will examine how the conventions of the genre were adapted to meet the challenges of representing new social conditions and understandings of reality from the late nineteenth century onwards. It will begin by exploring the innovations of naturalistic drama (Ibsen, Strindberg) before moving onto the 'high' Modernism of writers such as Beckett and Brecht, before concluding with the work of contemporary dramatists such as Churchill and Mamet. The module will also examine the work of modern and contemporary theorists of tragedy including Adorno, Nietzsche, Steiner, Szondi and Williams.

Read more
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.

Read more
15

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.

Read more
15

This module will provide the opportunity for third year undergraduates to gain valuable transferable skills by giving them some first-hand teaching experience in a primary or secondary school classroom. Each student will spend half a day each week for one term in a local school under the supervision of a specific teacher, who will act as a mentor, and decide the tasks and responsibilities of the student. The weekly university sessions and school work will complement each other. Therefore, attendance to university sessions is crucial as it will also give the students the opportunity to discuss aspects related to their weekly placement and receive guidance.

They will observe sessions taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Initially, for these sessions the students will concentrate on specific aspects of the teachers' tasks, and their approach to teaching a whole class. As they progress, their role will be as teaching assistants, by helping individual pupils who are having difficulties or by working with small groups. They may teach brief or whole sessions with the whole class or with a small group of students where they explain a topic related to the school syllabus. They may also talk about aspects of University life. They must keep a weekly journal reflecting on their activities at their designated school.

Read more
30

This module will examine the main doctrines and practices of early Indian Buddhism as seen through the Theravada Buddhist literature of the Pali canon (in translation). The module will examine what we might know about the figure of the historical Buddha and the central concepts and doctrinal themes in his teachings as represented in these materials, with particular attention paid to their historical and social context and the philosophical, soteriological, ethical and socio-political ideas expressed within early Buddhist literature in the period 500 BCE to 500 CE. The module will also consider the rise of "Theravada" and modern developments within this tradition of Buddhism.

Read more
30

This module will evaluate and critique a range of historical, philosophical, theological and secular perspectives on death and the afterlife, beginning with the way the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, the Qu’ran, the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the Upanishads conceptualize the nature and destiny of humankind, including such concepts as sheol, moksha, purgatory, eternal life, heaven and hell. This will be followed by a discussion of the interplay in western theological and philosophical traditions between competing notions of the resurrection of the flesh and the immortality of the body as well as an evaluation of what various Christian thinkers, including Augustine and Origen, believed that an eternity in heaven or hell might be like. The module will then investigate the range of eschatological teachings that different traditions have offered, including in Christian thought the diversity of realized and future forms of eschatology, as well as the tenability of purported testimony surrounding the possibility of out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and mind-dependent worlds, and the way in which such endeavours have been sustained or critiqued in the light of scientific and historical advances. The module will conclude with a detailed study of the way in which filmmakers and novelists have approached eschatological and apocalyptic teachings and reconceptualised them, with specific reference to Conrad Ostwalt’s work on the desacralization of the apocalypse in Jewish and Christian thought in a range of 1990s Hollywood science fiction movies, and the impact that such attempts have had on the way questions of life after death have conventionally been approached.

Read more
30

This module is aimed at those students who would like to follow a career as Primary or Secondary School teachers, but is also suitable to those who would like to combine an academic course with work experience. Placements in a school environment will enhance the students' employment opportunities as they will acquire a range of skills. It will also provide the students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of Religious Education and Philosophy in the primary or secondary school context. The university sessions and weekly school work will complement each other. Therefore, attendance to university sessions is crucial as it will also give the students the opportunity to discuss aspects related to their weekly placement and receive guidance. The student will spend one half-day per week for ten weeks in a school where each student will have a designated teacher-mentor who will guide their work in school. They will observe sessions taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Initially, for these sessions the students will concentrate on specific aspects of the teachers’ tasks, and their approach to teaching a whole class. As they progress, their role will be as teaching assistants, by helping individual pupils who are having difficulties or by working with small groups. They may teach brief or whole sessions with the whole class or with a small group of students where they explain a topic related to the school syllabus. They may also talk about aspects of University life. They must keep a weekly journal reflecting on their activities at their designated school.

Read more
30

This module will examine the theme 'Global Christianities' through the lenses of the anthropology of Christianity and the sociology of religion. We will explore the ways in which we can see Christianity as a cultural product, and how Christianity has shaped different cultures and societies globally, as well as how the religion has been shaped by and through encounters in different local settings. We will look at the history of the globalization of Christianity, and consider the historical, political and economic effects of local missionary encounters. The course will examine the processes of conversion to Christianity in different contexts, both at the level of individual and broader social group, and how these have been understood in relation to concepts of ‘modernity’.

The course will draw attention to the relatively recent emergence of the anthropology of Christianity in relation to the broader disciplines of anthropology as a discrete area of study and how this relates to the study of Christianity as a global phenomenon within sociology. We will consider the ways in which these disciplines have constructed and objectified ‘religion’ as an object of study in ways that has historically occluded the social scientific study of Christianity in different global contexts.

The course will address some of the main debates in the anthropology of Christianity, deepening understanding of global Christianities through exploring studies of Christian cultures in diverse ethnographic contexts. The topics addressed will include: culture and conversion; globalization and localisation; interrelations between Christianity, subjectivity and language; embodied and emotional forms of different Christianities; concepts and experiences of God; mediation, immanence and transcendence; coherence and fragmentation; gender, sexuality and the family. Through engaging with readings on these areas, we will explore the socio-religious power-dynamics of Christianity in relation to both culturally dominant and marginal traditions.

Read more
30

This course explores the central teachings, practices and sacred texts of Mahåyåna Buddhism and will focus upon the first 500 years of its history in India. It will examine the rise and development of Mahåyåna Buddhism in India through analysis of its key sacred literature and philosophical schools as well as its subsequent spread to East and North Asia.

Read more
30

Recent cultural and political theories have been haunted by the question of religion, its definitions and functions, its emancipatory capacities, its relation to violence, and its relationship to the history and future of the concept of the secular. The centrality of religion as a topic for these recent interdisciplinary discussions has emerged in relationship to a growing unease about earlier, modern modes of distinguishing public and private life; a ‘return’ of religion as an internationally significant political force in recent decades; and surprising appropriations of religion as a figure for secular Western democracy. Theorists (particularly in the area of postcolonial theory) are questioning naturalized or ahistorical distinctions between religion and the secular (e.g., Talal Asad, Tomoko Masuzawa, Saba Mahmood). Many contemporary thinkers attempt to short-circuit the distinction between ‘religion’ and ‘politics’, making possible surprising paradoxes of a “materialist theology” (Slavoj Žižek), an “emptied” religiosity (Gianni Vattimo), or what Hent de Vries calls simply a “political theology”. Once we get down beneath the easily-rehearsed stereotypes, we find that the old religious archives (like the Bible) model competing forms of politics: from messianic anarchism to theocracy. In our political histories—and presents—these have been used (and now are being re-used) in surprising ways.

This course considers important moments in the Western history of political theology in order to understand modern and contemporary discussions of secular politics. These moments will be considered in relation to comparable instances of politically imagined theology (or theologically imagined politics) from other religious traditions as well. Students will:

- examine key topics in the modern formation of these discussions (e.g., distinctions between public and private; secular spheres; religion as extra-political ideal; fanaticism; politicized evaluations of Western religion as exceptional in relation to the ‘others’; religion and political revolution)

- map important similarities and differences between Western and non-Western modelling of the relationship between religion and politics

- critically evaluate recent presentations of the inherent violence of religions, the inevitability of the clash of civilizations, and the usefulness of religion in ‘making globalization work’

Read more
30

This module will explore the theme of ‘Biblical Codes’ from two angles:

1) How has the Bible been read as code?

2) How can we read/ ‘decode’ biblical mysteries (prophecy, apocalyptic, or ‘wisdom’)

Under heading 1) we will be exploring how different writers and groups (some of them inside the Bible, some of them outside it) have read the Bible as temporal or political code. For example, the biblical book of Daniel attempts to decode the book of Jeremiah, which had already become deeply mysterious to ancient readers. Similarly, the New Testament ‘deciphers’ biblical prophecy and motifs by applying them to Jesus or the Roman Empire. At the other end of the time spectrum, we find bestsellers like Michael Drosnin’s The Bible Code (1997), Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye’s attempts to decrypt biblical visions of the end of time by way of contemporary global politics, or recent readings of the book of Ezekiel as prophecies about UFO’s. Techniques of decryption are also built into central developments within Jewish and Christian traditions. In fact, what is often called the history of ‘hermeneutics’ could also be described as the history of ‘How not to read literally’. We will be looking at a range of examples of such developments by focusing on readers like Philo of Alexandria, Augustine of Hippo, or Jewish Kabbalah.

Under heading 2, we will undertake some in-depth readings of prophecy, apocalyptic, or wisdom texts—the ones that readers of the Bible find most difficult to ‘decode’. Texts to be studied will be taken from the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and the Pseudepigrapha. We will be exploring the contexts that produced these literatures and thinking about how to read (decipher?) them across the abyss of time.

Read more
30

The aim of the course is to provide students with an understanding of the history and practice of the anthropology of religion through the past 150 years. Students will explore the ‘anthropology of religion’ to provide an historical and contemporary understanding of how anthropological studies of religion enrich knowledge of what it means to be religious. The course will examine and students will practise the anthropological method of rich participant observation and comparative analysis. Course content focuses on foundational and contemporary issues of religious definition, ritual, belief, embodiment, rationality and relationships in both Western and non-western contexts.

Read more
30

The primary aims of this module are to give you a critical grounding in Islamic sources, thinkers and theories relevant to the development of Islamic liberal and fundamentalist perspectives, and it also explores the ways in which these perspectives bear upon contemporary debates and events. It will equip you with the ability to situate current views within their historical and theological context, critically assess them, and constructively apply them to current phenomena. The module will introduce you to key Islamic debates such as those which address textual interpretation, the relation between revelation and human reason, and the nature of political authority. It will familiarise you with key sources such as the Qur'an, Hadith and treatises of key Islamic theologians and jurists, and it will introduce you to classical and modern theorists from Ibn Taymiyyah to Tariq Ramadan. A range of case studies will allow you to apply these sources and theories to contemporary situations. The module draws lessons for critical thinking about the way in which social context and religious premises affect both religious and political theories. These sources and skills will provide a basis for the analytical work that you undertake in your assessed work.

Read more
30

This module will be divided into two parts. First, it will familiarise students with how Continental philosophy has developed in response to methodological and historical questions. Second, it will then show how Continental philosophy applies to the philosophy of religion by discussing traditional religious problems—e.g., the existence of God, the problem of theodicy, the conception of the good life—and seeing how seminal Continental thinkers engage with these issues in diverse ways. The first part of the module will discuss critical, historical-based methodologies in: philosophical hermeneutics (Gadamer and Ricoeur), phenomenology (Dupré and Marion) and geneaology (Foucault). The second part of the module will utilise contemporary scholarship consisting in contemporary philosophers applying the aforementioned methodological approaches to religious problems.

Read more
30

This module will enable students to analyze and understand the development of Christian theology over the last two hundred years. We will be critically evaluating the significance and contribution of a number of leading twentieth century theologians from a variety of denominational backgrounds and endeavouring to understand to a sophisticated degree the changes in Christian thought and practice in a variety of situations in the twentieth century. The module will begin by surveying the main strands of post-Enlightenment Christian theology, including the contributions of Kant, Schleiermacher and Feuerbach. There will be a detailed focus of two of the 'Death of God' theologians from the twentieth century, Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton. We will then critically evaluate the significance of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his influence (with particular reference to Harvey Cox and John A.T. Robinson); Liberal Protestantism and the rise of Neo-Orthodoxy, with particular reference to Paul Tillich and Karl Barth; Rudolf Bultmann and his programme of demythologization; and an interrogation of the Christian understanding of ‘hope’ with specific reference to Jürgen Moltmann. The module also involves a study of key theological movements, in particular Liberation Theology, Black Theology and Feminist Theology.

Read more
30

The purpose of this module is to survey some of the most significant 20th century trends in the dialogue between psychology and religion through the writings of depth-psychologists, philosophers, theologians, anthropologists and phenomenologists of religion. The module begins by exploring the varieties of religious experience, especially through the work of William James and Rudolf Otto, after which it examines the contributions of psychoanalysis and analytical psychology to the study of religion, particularly in the work of Freud, Jung and Hillman. This material provides the basis for subsequent discussion of the interdisciplinary literature comparing religious altered states of consciousness (mystical, visionary and paranormal experiences) with other altered states of consciousness (madness, drug induced experiences etc.). The module concludes by discussing the principle issues addressed by transpersonal psychology (particularly in the work of Wilber and Grof): the relationship between western psychotherapies and eastern religious disciplines of spiritual emancipation; competing models of spiritual transformation.

Read more
30

Students are required to identify a viable research focus or question for their project which they will then pursue, with supervisory support, in order to submit their final dissertation. In the summer before joining the module, students will be given advice on how to identify their research focus, and by the start of the autumn term in which the module begins they will be expected to have produced a single side of A4 summarising key literature or other sources relevant to their specific project. Individual supervision will begin from the autumn term onwards. Initially this is likely to focus on clarifying the research focus or question, and situating it more deeply in existing literature and debates. Following this a clearer outline plan for conducting the research will be developed, with students then undertaking work necessary to meet each phase of this plan. If the project involves original fieldwork, the student will be expected to submit a research ethics application form for Faculty approval. As the project develops, chapter drafts will be submitted for review and discussion with the supervisor. Supervision contact time is likely to vary according to the project and student need, but will not exceed a total of 6 hours per student (including face to face supervision or time spent writing written feedback to electronically-submitted drafts). Supervisors will provide feedback on chapter drafts, which will need to be submitted to supervisors in good time before supervision meetings, but will not provide feedback on whole draft manuscripts once chapters are completed.

Supervisors will only provide supervisory support during term-time. Once the project has been agreed and a supervisor allocated in the autumn term, students will not normally be allowed to change their fundamental focus of their project (although their specific questions are likely to change as the project develops) or change their supervisor unless in highly exceptional circumstances.

Read more
30

The aim of this module is to enable students to think sociologically about religious life. Whilst addressing key debates within the sociology of religion (e.g. secularization, subjectivization), it seeks to introduce students to core concepts and methods in sociology that will enable them to understand religious life in terms of broader social structures and processes. Examples of issues covered in the module include: the nature of sociology as a discipline, macro and micro levels of analysis, the agency/structure debate and the nature of social structure, individualization, and sociological perspectives on gender, class, emotion, materiality and belief. The significance of intersectionality between different social structures will also be discussed, and useful sources of secondary data (e.g. BRIN) will be explored. The central assessment task for the module – a case study presenting the sociological analysis of the nature and place of religion in a particular individual’s life – brings these theoretical and methodological approaches together into a micro-level analysis of lived religion in a way that is informed by broader social and cultural structures. Examples of good writing in this style of sociological research are presented and explored through the module.

Read more
30
You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Teaching and assessment

Comparative Literature

For most modules, you have one two-hour seminar per week. The final-year dissertation is based entirely on your private research but is supervised by a tutor and includes workshops and the chance to participate in an undergraduate conference. Assessment varies from 100% coursework to a combination of examination and coursework, usually in the ratio 50:50 or 40:60.

Comparative Literature students can also choose to take a module that is linked to our SWIPE (Student Work in Progress Exposition) conference. SWIPE is an annual one-day conference organised by Comparative Literature students: it is a platform for our third-year students who give 15-minute presentations on their final-year dissertation projects. SWIPE is a great experience for students, as they learn everything about planning, organising and running a conference, as well as about the art of preparing and giving professional conference presentations.

We also offer a module designed specifically for students who are planning to embark on a career in teaching: Comparative Literature and English & Linguistics in the Classroom.

Religious Studies

You are usually taught in small groups, with most modules involving either two or three hours per week in class, plus individual consultations with teachers as well as sessions on computing and library skills.

Stage 1 modules are normally assessed by 100% coursework. At Stages 2 and 3, some modules are assessed by 100% coursework (such as essays), others by a combination of formal examination and coursework.

Programme aims

For programme aims and learning outcomes please see the programmes specification for each subject below. Please note that outcomes will depend on your specific module selection:

Careers

Studying Comparative Literature and Religious Studies you learn to think critically, develop the skills of close reading and effective communication, and gain confidence and experience in expressing your ideas, both in writing and orally (including experience of presenting in public). You learn to absorb ideas from a wide range of different sources, organise these into a meaningful pattern, and develop your own critical discussion of them. These key transferable skills are essential for graduates as they move into the job market.

Our graduates have found jobs in diverse areas including journalism, broadcasting and media, publishing, writing and teaching, as well as in banking, marketing analysis and project management. 

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. 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

ABB

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)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 16 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 advise 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 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £13810
Part-time £4625 £6920

UK/EU fee paying students

The Government has announced changes to allow undergraduate tuition fees to rise in line with inflation from 2017/18.

In accordance with changes announced by the UK Government, we are increasing our 2017/18 regulated full-time tuition fees for new and returning UK/EU fee paying undergraduates from £9,000 to £9,250. The equivalent part-time fees for these courses will also rise from £4,500 to £4,625. This was subject to us satisfying the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework and the access regulator's requirements. This fee will ensure the continued provision of high-quality education.

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.* 

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.

Fees for Year Abroad/Industry

As a guide only, UK/EU/International students on an approved year abroad for the full 2017/18 academic year pay an annual fee of £1,350 to Kent for that year. Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Please note that for 2017/18 entrants the University will increase the standard year in industry fee for home/EU/international students to £1,350.

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.

The Government has confirmed that EU students applying for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will still have access to student funding support for the duration of their course.

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.

Full-time

Part-time

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.