Comparative Literature and Film enables you to broaden your understanding of narratives written on the page and across the silver screen. You study literature from Classical Antiquity to the present day and film from its silent beginnings to 3D CGI blockbusters. Studying literature and film from across the world, you develop an international perspective on the arts.
Comparative Literature transcends national and cultural boundaries offering students a global view of literature. You study texts 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 develop a broad international perspective on literary history, literary movements and literary genres, comparing literary themes and figures across different cultural backgrounds. You also explore the impact of other art forms on literary works and vice versa. For example, you also study literary adaptations of films.
Kent is one of the three major universities for film in the UK. You study film theory and history and learn about the language of film (framing, sound, editing, performance, lighting). There are a huge range of modules to choose from covering everything from avant-garde to animation, including documentary film and modules that help you to develop the skills of a film critic.
We have a thriving film culture, with 10-15 films screened on our courses each week, the Gulbenkian Cinema (the regional arts cinema) based on campus and a lively student film society. There are excellent resources to support your studies, including: 8,000 DVDs and videos and individual and group viewing facilities in the library, as well as an extensive collection of books and journals and online resources.
This degree programme enables you to develop a multidisciplinary appreciation of the arts, covering theory, history and practice that crosses disciplines and cultures.
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*exceptions apply. Please note that we are unable to offer The Kent Guarantee to those who have already been given a reduced or contextual offer.
The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. All applications are assessed on an individual basis but some of our typical requirements are listed below. Students offering qualifications not listed are welcome to contact our Admissions Team for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.
The University welcomes applications from Access to Higher Education Diploma candidates for consideration. A typical offer may require you to obtain a proportion of Level 3 credits in relevant subjects at merit grade or above.
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30 points overall or 15 points at HL
Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average including 60% in Academic Skills Development.
The University will consider applicants holding T level qualifications in subjects closely aligned to the course.
If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes. Please note that international fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.
Please note that meeting the typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.
Please see our English language entry requirements web page.
Please note that if you do not meet our English language requirements, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.
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Duration: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
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 ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.
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 fairy tales into written forms, and discusses various short prose genres including Aesopian fables, myths, folktales and fairy tales, as well as tales of the fantastic, nineteenth-century literary fairy 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 practise 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 fairy tale and on genre theories are studied in conjunction with the primary texts.
This module will introduce students to some of the most influential theories of world literature, which are studied alongside a selection of literary examples. The theories range from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's reflections on world literature (Weltliteratur) to describe the international circulation and reception of literary works in Europe to Rabindranath Tagore's renaming of world literature (visva-sahitya) in his native Bengali as a model for global interconnectedness that would help foster peaceful worldwide alliances.
Throughout the module students will 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 will be 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.
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.
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 literary engagement with the classical world: for example, myth; the relationship between human beings and the gods, between the sexes, and between the human and the animal; and the journey motif. Themes explored may include sexuality, violence, conceptions of justice, and metamorphosis.
The module introduces students to some of the major genres of Western literature (tragedy, comedy, the epic), and considers how these were theorised in antiquity. It also encourages students to reflect on questions of cultural transmission, and on why the myths represented in classical literature have proved to be such a rich source for the literature of the West.
The twentieth-century imagination was marked by a spirit of doubt, especially of the Enlightenment faith in reason's capacity to advance humankind 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.
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 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.
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.
This module introduces students to a selection of famous femmes fatales in literary works from biblical times to the present day, as well as in film noir. We will closely analyse representations of women who bring about the downfall of men, with a particular emphasis on the gender-political and wider ideological implications of specific representational choices. Students will critically analyse the functions and features of specific fatal female figures by looking closely at the socio-cultural backgrounds from which these representations emerge.
The module commences with an introduction to some archetypal fatal women in the Bible (including Eve, Judith and Delilah) and in classical Greek mythology (including Helen, Circe and the Sirens). We then proceed to study representations of femmes fatales in various historical periods and movements, including the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Romanticism, Decadence and the twentieth century. By drawing on relevant concepts from feminist and queer theory, as well as historical and psychoanalytical approaches, the module aims to foster an awareness of the ideological and psychological issues that are at stake in all representations of gendered conflicts.
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.
This course examines film history and historiography through a series of case studies. In carrying out this investigation students will be invited to work with secondary and primary sources held in the library and will be encouraged to evaluate the aesthetic, technological, economic, social and political histories presented in this module. Students will understand the role and value of the contextual study of film and will be given the opportunity to research and write on selected aspects of film historiography. The choice of case studies will depend upon the expertise of the module convenor and is not restricted to a particular national cinema or period; case studies may include, for instance, the history of film by means of the study of a particular theme and cultural context in the history of film.
You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.
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.
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.
This is a practice-based module exploring the photographic medium and the contexts of its use through the production of photographs in response to a project brief and group-based critical discussion of the work produced. Students investigate how the context in which photographs are made affect how the world is represented, and how in turn these images shape perception. Students choose two practical project briefs that are designed to enable them to explore the medium creatively and through informed and reflective practice. The emphasis of the module is upon this creative practice rather than the acquisition of specific technical skills, and as such students are at liberty to use any photographic production and post-production technologies they wish to experiment with or find appropriate. A camera phone and access to a computer and printer are all that is needed for this module, though students who wish to make use of digital image processing or analogue processes, including use of a darkroom, are encouraged to do so. Each of the practical project briefs will be supported through a series of lectures closely examining various genres, styles and other contexts of photographic production through the work of those who have shaped them. In addition students will present the work they have produced in response to their project briefs, and engage in a broad critical discussion or their own and other's work.
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.
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.
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 will examine 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? What hidden desires and anxieties do they allow authors and filmmakers to express? The vampire is an allegorically highly potent figure that 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.
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.
This module gives students the opportunity to examine literature and film that is politically and ideologically orientated. The central focus will be on the ways in which literature represents, reflects on, and participates in structures of power.
Examples will be taken from around the world. Over the course of the module, we may read accounts of slavery in America, the rise and fall of Fascism in Europe, the postcolonial politics of Nigeria, the subsumption of Tibet, and the fall out of Russian Communism.
This approach will allow us to think about dynamics of power from a global perspective and will give us the chance to think about the role of literature and film in a world framed by competing ideologies and seemingly endless political tensions.
For much of film history and in most of the world, Hollywood productions have dominated the market share of film consumption. Nevertheless, film production is a worldwide phenomenon and these 'world' or 'national' cinemas have significant cultural, social and economic functions both within domestic contexts and abroad. This module investigates cinema from one world country or region. The case study will vary from year to year: for example, Latin America; Scandinavia; Eastern Europe; China, Korea and/or Japan. In introducing films from the case-study nation or region, the module aims to study how filmmakers actively franchise, adopt and rework film styles and genres; respond to the (film) culture and history of the domestic country and also to 'Hollywood' and international cultures; and/or tailor their practice to tastes of local and foreign audiences and gatekeepers. Above and beyond, the module will investigate the funding structures, distribution strategies and/or other industrial structures and norms that incentivise certain topics and representation styles. We will critically assess transnational aspects of the 'national' cinema in question, in the context of international multi-media corporate conglomerates' involvement in creative industries.
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.
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. Sound, Music and Cinema will provide an overview of this 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 (speech, ambient sound, sound effects), as well as the nature of the relationship between sound and image. 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, in contemporary cinema; and the distinctive and innovative use of sound and music by a number of 'sound stylists'.
This module offers students an introduction to the terms, ideas and craft, involved in the creation of screenplays. Screenwriting is a unique form of writing with very different concerns from the novel, theatre and radio. Although the screenplay is a vital component of a film's success, it tends to be neglected as a separate art form.
In this module we explore the conventions of dramatic structure, new narrative forms and short film variations. Students are encouraged to think critically about screenplay writing and will have an opportunity to write their own screenplay. A selection of writing exercises have been designed to take them through the writing process; from preparation and initial concept to final draft.
The emphasis here will be on practical knowledge and support as students uncover their creative voice. This module does not aim to provide vocational training for students wishing to pursue careers in the feature film or television industries.
The module studies the emergence and consolidation of the studio system in Hollywood, between the coming of sound in 1929 until the collapse of the studios in 1960. Indicative topics include the rise of the star system; the emergence of genres; self-regulation and censorship; developments in technology; and changes in audience. Examination will be made of the development of the 'classic Hollywood cinema' style of film against the backdrop of varying contexts of production, distribution, exhibition and regulation. A focus on genres (such as the gangster film, western and musical) in their various phases of development and permutation will be a lens for student understanding of the importance of standardization. Studio development and collapse are also seen in broader historical and political contexts, enabling students to appreciate the forces that motivated film production, distribution and exhibition during the period.
The course will begin by looking at various philosophical problems, as presented in films. This will involve discussing a range of different philosophical topics, from different areas of philosophy. Film here is presented as a way into the philosophical discussion, which will be supplemented by appropriate primary and secondary texts. The course will then consider ways in which the medium of film itself presents philosophical problems.
Topics to be covered will vary from year to year, in light of the expertise of the person convening it and student feedback from previous years. Philosophical issues presented through film will include, but will not be restricted to, time travel, existentialism and Philosophy of art. Philosophical Issues concerning film will include, but will not be restricted to 'is film art?', 'what is film?' and 'can film be philosophy?'
Through these and related topics, students will gain a good understanding of both a number of issues in philosophy, and the way that the medium in which philosophy is done is potentially a constraint on or a complement to the aims of the philosophy. The module will enable students to evaluate issues, both timely and timeless, in a manner that's informed by an interdisciplinary approach to philosophy.
You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.
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 does not count towards your final degree classification.
The module gives School of Arts students across a range of 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.
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.
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 also 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.
The module is predicated on independent research activity. It will build on the skills and experiences acquired through Stages 1 and 2. Students will write a dissertation on a topic of their own choice. The topic must be on a literary or related subject and must have a comparative element. The dissertation gives students the opportunity to satisfy their intellectual curiosity by individually and independently researching a large-scale project of their own choice. Throughout autumn and spring terms students will be given guidance by a chosen supervisor, but the rhythm of research, the writing and frequency of meetings between supervisor and student is left to the individual student to determine. The SWIPE undergraduate conference will give students a chance to present their own work, discuss their and their fellow students' work and to test some of their ideas in a larger context.
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.
This is a module about the intersection of colonial power relations, anti-colonialism, postcolonialism, feminism, and identity politics in literature that interrogates the influence of imperialism on a sense of self. It considers the writing of a number of authors from Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Cuba and India. In light of the complex relationship between coloniser and colonised, we consider the ideology 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 perspective of Frantz Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks (1952), A Dying Colonialism (1959), and 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 a globalised 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 Postcolonial studies.
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). 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.
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, opera, and film, we will engage with the works of Freud and Jung, and we will consider gender as both a structure of power and, for Casanova, as a potentially fluid construct. More broadly, we will consider the historical, social and political contexts that frame various incarnations of Don Juan and Casanova, and we will use these central figures to answer important questions about the depiction of society, religion, sexuality, and morality.
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.
From the time of the Bible, the figure of the devil has haunted the Western cultural landscape. Understood as the embodiment of evil, a figure of temptation, and a potential foil to God, the Devil works as a complex ethical symbol. Far from being limited to their biblical origins, Satanic characters are often used as symbolic currency, employed as a means of critiquing existing social structures and, often, challenging the status quo.
The fascination sparked by the notion of pure evil and unbridled malevolence has resulted in an abundance of literary and artistic accounts. Maximilian Rudwin goes so far as to claim that 'Lacking the devil, there would simply be no literature.' (1931) This module will explore the religious, moral and political meanings behind the appearance of the Devil across a range of literary texts and films; the aim is to trace the ways in which the figure has evolved over time and across cultures. Come and join us on a journey into hell!
A significant number of films and television programmes are adapted from other sources, and adaptation frequently arouses powerful responses from viewers and critics. This course explores this phenomenon, providing the close study of screen adaptations taken from a variety of other media which may include theatre, classic novels, short stories and comics. This course will provide an overview of adaptation studies, by addressing the particular questions that relate to adaptation, considering 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. Students will be encouraged to consider adaptation within an industrial context and the creative and practical implications of adapting works for the screen. Within the remit of the course, there will be opportunities for students to develop their own creative interests within adaptation studies in conjunction with a deeper understanding of the key theoretical concepts underpinning the discipline.
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.
Although both secondary schools and universities are institutions devoted to the distribution of knowledge, universities distinguish themselves crucially: uniquely, they are also sites dedicated to the production of original knowledge. In this module students will engage with cutting-edge research in one topic of film studies. The specific topic of the module varies from year to year according to the expertise of the convenor. (For the year's specific topic, please get in touch with the module convenor.)
Throughout its history, film has functioned as a powerful sociopolitical engine. Individuals and groups have used this medium to express their identities (whether gender, sexual, ethnic, class, political, national, taste or intersectional constellations thereof) to various audiences, to portray their histories and current realities, to interrogate social norms, to agitate for civil rights and to imagine more equal futures. By the same token, film's unique capacities to reflect, refract and represent has also meant that individuals and groups have also used the medium to exert power or subjugate, create and reinforce stereotypes about the Other or justify their own dominance in the social order. This module focusses on this vital aspect of cinema. Each year the convenor will focus on one case study or series of case studies, for example: how the portrayal of violent women protagonists in action film and television series challenge notions of femininity; the interrelation between gender representation and genre more widely; the use of film as tool for politically/ideologically motivated State-run cinemas (e.g. USSR, Nazi Germany); cinema’s role in the identity wars of post-Vietnam 1970s America; the History of African American cinema; the construction and interrogation of sexuality and queer identities.
This module introduces students to the academic analysis of screen space as well as to the professional careers and practical applications of film and television space in the industry, including location scouting, shooting and production design. Screen Space and Location Scouting investigates films and/or television series shot on location and the staging of real spaces in studio. With a focus on cityscapes and rural landscapes, the module looks both at topographically accurate uses of specific spaces and at creative geographies where cities, towns and streets are made to 'play' the role of other places. This module also introduces students to mapping spatial film data (e.g., using software such as geographic information system, QGIS). Assessments include both an academic analysis of film space as well as a practice-based component focussing on real-world processes of location scouting.
Content producers - especially actors and directors – are the most publicly visible representatives of the film industry. However, these individuals stand in for only a tiny fraction of the jobs, roles and institutions that ultimately shape films and frame their horizons of expectations for audiences: e.g. funding bodies, festivals, critics, exhibitors and regulators. This module delves into one such vital value-adding institution, film marketing and distribution, regarding it as much more than a neutral 'pipeline' for delivering films and making audiences aware of them. Using a range of case studies that will vary from year to year, the module illuminates, for example, how marketing is used to mitigate risk and maximise revenue; the various purposes, forms and formats of film publicity; how distributors purchase rights and assemble lists; how distributors and marketers position individual films to certain target audiences and territories; how film audiences select which films to view; how cinematic exhibition fits within multi-platform distribution strategies; and the rise of ‘non-traditional’ distribution portals (e.g. Netflix and Amazon).
In mainstream media franchises, 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) and games. This multiplicity of platforms generates new, and takes further existing, forms of fan culture as media-makers use transmedial platforms to reach new audiences and create media that can be experienced across multiple devices. The module explores fan culture and its engagement with different media content, and offers a critical and creative perspective on how media exist across different formats.
This module examines the concepts of stardom and celebrity. Often used as synonyms, the two terms in fact relate to different types of media constructs. The module will consider the history of the rise of stardom within the Hollywood context, exploring how the establishment of 'the star' became an integral part of the industry. Students will examine the ‘star system’ and its relationship to a range of topics which may include: performance; genre; the representation of gender and gendered bodies; audiences and fan studies; stars within dominant cultures and subcultural groups; and acting as labour. The topic will be illuminated through the analysis of key theoretical texts – many of which laid the foundations for star studies within film, media and cultural studies – as well as via opportunities for students to explore primary sources, such as movie magazines. The module also traces how the stardom industry described above became a component within a larger network of celebrity culture. Often characterised as a more contemporary phenomenon, the notion of ‘celebrity’ incorporates prominent figures in the public eye to whom the extension of fame is not necessarily based on any specific skill, talent or achievement. The module explores this context in conjunction with the apparent decline of the dominance of Hollywood stars, as a variety of mediated identities are promoted, consumed and commodified within diverse media landscapes. Using scholarship from within the interdisciplinary field of celebrity studies, students analyse how celebrities can take on many forms including actors, TV personalities and influencers, using different media platforms such as film, television, online streaming and social media. The importance of media technologies within both the study of stars and celebrity culture is stressed throughout the course.
You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.
The 2023/24 annual tuition fees for this course are:
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
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 Home undergraduates are £1,385.
Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.
Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status.
Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details.
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 A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.
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 fantastic 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.
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.
All modules involve lectures, small group seminars and film screenings (where relevant). Depending on the modules you select, assessment varies from 100% coursework (extended essays or dissertation), to a combination of examination and coursework.
For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours. The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules. Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.
Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules. Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.
For programme aims and learning outcomes please see the programme specification for each subject below. Please note that outcomes depend on your specific module selection:
Drama and Cinematics at Kent scored 89% overall and was ranked 7th for research quality in The Complete University Guide 2023.
Our graduates have found jobs in diverse areas including:
A significant percentage of our students choose to go on to study for postgraduate qualifications.
Both the School of European Culture and Languages and the School of Arts provide support as you start to think about future careers.
The School of European Culture and Languages' Employability programme, includes work-related modules and work placements. Both of these are a key part of the ‘Comparative Literature and English & Linguistics in the Classroom’ module, designed for budding teachers, which combines traditional learning methods with practical teaching experience.
The School of Arts has many links to professional practices, a network which is very useful to students when looking for work.
The University also has a friendly Careers and Employability Service which can give you advice on how to:
As well as gaining skills and knowledge in your subject areas, you also learn the key transferable skills that are essential for all graduates. These include the ability to:
You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.
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