Asian Studies and Comparative Literature - BA (Hons)

Overview

Asia is a fast-growing economic region as well as a large and diverse continent encompassing many countries, cultures and languages. On our joint honours programme in Asian Studies & Comparative Literature, you explore the cultural diversity of Asia while developing an appreciation of the literary works and traditions of Europe and beyond.

You are based in Kent’s School of European Culture and Languages (SECL) where you benefit from the wide range of expertise and the interdisciplinary culture within the School.  

Asian Studies at Kent takes a multidisciplinary approach. The broad range of topics and methodologies draws on the humanities and social sciences and develops your understanding of Asian cultures, both historically and today.

Comparative Literature develops your understanding of historical and cross-cultural literary traditions. It crosses the boundaries between literature and other forms of human expression, including film, visual arts and popular culture. You do not need to be able to read a foreign language to study Comparative Literature. While we encourage you to engage with foreign languages, you study translated works alongside literature originally written in English.

Our degree programme

In your first year of study, you are introduced to the philosophical, religious and cultural traditions of East Asia. You also explore the importance of narrative and storytelling to the make-up of societies and culture.

You have the opportunity to gain both written and spoken competency in an Asian language during all stages of your studies. You may also choose specialist modules that suit your interests including topics such as world literature, East Asian politics, Japanese culture, travel, exile and the ethnographic gaze, Chinese philosophy and gender in literature.

Between your second and third years of study you can choose to take a year abroad in an Asian country such as China, Japan or Korea.

In your final year of study, there is an option to take a dissertation module on a subject of your choice. This allows you to focus in detail on an area you are particularly passionate about.

Study resources

Through Kent’s Templeman Library, you have access to a wide range of topical journals and books in hard copy and digital format.

Your designated academic advisor provides guidance for your studies and academic development.

Our Student Learning Advisory Service offers useful workshops on topics like essay writing and academic referencing.

Extra activities

You may want to join one of the many student-led societies at Kent, including:

  • Creative Writing Society
  • Chinese Society
  • Hong Kong Society
  • Japan Society
  • Korea Society.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

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

Please note that meeting this typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee an offer being made.Please also see our general entry requirements.

New GCSE grades

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

  • Certificate

    A level

    BBB

  • Certificate

    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.

  • Certificate

    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. A typical offer would be to achieve DDM.

  • Certificate

    International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 15 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. 

However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

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

Meet our staff in your country

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

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

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

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Course structure

Duration: 3 years full-time (4 with a year abroad), 6 years part-time

Modules

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.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules currently include

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.

Find out more about CP311

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.

Find out more about TH331

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.

Find out more about TH348

Optional modules may include

This module provides a cross-cultural introduction and exploration of philosophical, religious and cultural traditions which have shaped and informed historical and contemporary ethical judgements and notions of the good life. From ancient Asian, Greek, Jewish, Christian and Islamic philosophies inspired by thinkers such as the Buddha, Plato, Jesus and Mohammed, to modern secular philosophies such as humanism and Marxism, humans have articulated a variety of approaches to ethics, politics, spirituality, and the relationship of the individual to society, in many cases developing legal frameworks for the regulation of issues of ethical concern in areas such as human rights, wealth distribution, medical ethics, the environment and human sexuality.

Find out more about TH349

This module provides a thematic introduction to selected topics and debates that span global philosophical, religious and cultural traditions. It will explore issues such as the nature of reality, of the self, and of goodness or value, the foundations of ethics and the ideal society, and the goals of life in a variety of worldviews. Cross-referencing cultural traditions with broader theoretical and philosophical debates, it seeks to provide a foundation for understanding key concepts and themes found within the world's traditions of philosophy and religion, and exploring their implications for fundamental debates about truth, society, psychology and the good life.

Find out more about TH350

This module will build on from Pre-Intermediate level (LA553) where you learned the vocabularies and grammar used in directions, polite requests, hobbies, illness and personal descriptions in complex structures with a full command of Hiragana, Katakana and a basic 100 Kanji. In this module, you will develop the vocabularies, expressions, sentence structures, grammar that are used in university, part-time work and leisure situations and will learn further 60 new Kanji. You will learn the relevant vocabularies and grammar for seminars prior to each seminar and seminars will focus on you practising these in role play, grammar exercise and writing short compositions in a friendly, stimulating atmosphere. You will also gain the relevant cultural information around the course topics whilst developing speaking, listening, writing and reading skills. You will find example of topics in the 'Learning outcomes' section

Find out more about LA561

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.

Find out more about CP325

The curriculum content is intended to give students some familiarity, with everyday life, activities and the culture in Mandarin Chinese speaking countries.

Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing will focus on an introductory level of communication skills used in everyday life including greetings and introductions, talking about oneself and getting to know each other. Basic skills useful to people visiting China will be taught including describing preferred drinks and daily activities. An introductory level of Chinese culture will be covered such as social interaction and geography including major cities.

The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught in seminars, by means of Mandarin Chinese course books, audio materials and online resources and through sharing experiences of a tutor and students. Students will have access to these materials and additional resources on Moodle. A range of resources is also available at the library.

Find out more about LA302

The curriculum content is intended to give students some familiarity with everyday life, activities and the Chinese culture.

Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing will focus on an elementary level of communication skills to explain very simple factual information on personal and very familiar topics such as talking about food, time, asking and giving simple opinions on familiar topics. Basic skills useful to people visiting China will be taught including expressing how to go to/come to somewhere and taking transports. An elementally level of Chinese culture will be covered such as festivals, geography including major cities and famous places.

The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught in seminars, by means of course books, audio materials and online resources and through sharing experiences of a tutor and students.

Students will have access to these materials and additional resources on Moodle. A range of resources is also available at the library.

Find out more about LA303

The module is for students who have never studied Japanese before or have very little knowledge of Japanese. The curriculum content is intended to give students some familiarity, at an introductory level, with everyday life, activities and the culture in Japan. Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing will focus on an introductory level of communication skills used in everyday life. Basic skills useful to people visiting Japan will be taught including describing locations and shopping. An introductory level of Japanese culture will be covered in seminars.

Find out more about LA304

The module is for students who can read and write Japanese letters, Hiragana and Katakana, and have very basic knowledge and skills of Japanese. The curriculum content is intended to give students some familiarity with everyday life, activities and the culture in Japan. Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing will focus on an elementary level of communication skills to explain very simple factual information on personal and very familiar topics. Basic skills useful to people visiting Japan will be taught including ordering food, making very simple enquiries and asking for locations. An introductory level of Japanese culture will be covered in seminars.

Find out more about LA305

This module will build on from Elementary level (LA305) where you can, in a simple way, introduce yourself and family, express daily routine and describe people with a full command of Hiragana, Katakana and basic 50 Kanji. In this module, you will continue to develop the vocabularies, expressions, sentence structures, grammar that are used in your immediate environment and learn further 50 new Kanji. Seminars will focus on 'practising the language' through communicative activities, grammar exercises and writing short compositions in a friendly, stimulating atmosphere. You will also gain the relevant cultural information around the course topics whilst developing speaking, listening, writing and reading skills. You will find example of topics in the 'Learning outcomes' section.

Find out more about LA553

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working knowledge of the target language and a sound level of communicative competence and confidence.

By the end of the module, students will be equipped to understand and use Mandarin Chinese with a degree of flexibility and a range to a lower intermediate language level. Students will be able to discuss topics that are familiar or pertinent to everyday life such as everyday conversational skills and interactions including entertainments, giving and receiving compliments and gifts.

The module will include study of the target language culture and the development of insights into the China. The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught through seminars and the means of Mandarin Chinese language course books, video, audio materials. There will be a balance between communicative activity and understanding of linguistic structure.

Find out more about LA552

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working knowledge of the target language and a sound level of communicative competence and confidence.

By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate the ability to take a more active role in and greater ability to sustain communication. Students will be able to express how they feel and opinions in simple terms; initiate and sustain close simple, routine exchanges without undue effort.

Topics at a pre-intermediate level will include everyday communication skills such as asking and giving directions and shopping, skills useful to describe illness, describing people’s appearance and personalities.

The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught through seminars and the means of mandarin Chinese language course books, video, audio materials.

Find out more about LA551

This module looks at European Romanticism as a cultural-revolutionary movement. Hoping to break free from established hierarchies, norms, and conventions, one cherished goal of the Romantics was to liberate the modern individual from 'society', understood as a self-inflicted state of alienation.

This module traces the manifold manifestations of Romantic thought within their specific cultural-historical contexts. Our discussion will focus on a selection of French, German, and British Romantic writers (for example: Rousseau, Chateaubriand, Goethe, the Brothers Schlegel, Kleist, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats, and Mary Shelley). We will critically analyse their works in close alignment with a selection of Romantic and more recent theoretical works (for example by: Freud, Todorov, and de Man) to gauge their significance within their own cultural-historical framework, and to consider their potential legacy in literature and society today.

Find out more about CP327

The period between the decline of the Western Roman Empire and the Renaissance, roughly embracing the fifth to the fifteenth centuries, is generally referred to as the Middle Ages. The intermediary character suggested by this term reflects the frequently pejorative evaluation this period has received. However, the medieval period produced many lasting material monuments, such as the great European cathedrals (including Canterbury Cathedral) and castles, and literary monuments, such as Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Boccaccio's Decameron,, the saints' lives, the Physiologus tradition, and the many Arthurian legends.

This module is designed to introduce students to a range of important literary works from the period, alongside highly influential religious and philosophical works. These works are placed in their historical context, and are explored through a focus on topics such as book and manuscript production, the allegorical tradition, perceptions of the (black) other, art and architecture, and religious experience. Particular attention will also be given from a historical perspective to successive medievalisms from the early modern period to the present day (e.g., films, video games) and to the respective attempts of appropriation and reinterpretation of which they are indicators. The module typically also includes an excursion to Canterbury Cathedral and the Cathedral Archive in order to enable students to experience the material culture of the Middle Ages first hand.

Find out more about CP328

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.

Find out more about CP317

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 theorised 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.

Find out more about CP324

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.

Find out more about CP305

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.

Find out more about CP306

Stage 2

Compulsory modules currently include

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.

Find out more about TH640

Optional modules may include

This module is for students who can communicate in Japanese comfortably on familiar topics encountered in everyday life and read and write Japanese including around 200 Kanji. The curriculum will focus on communication in a real life of university student studying in Japan, by using complex expressions in an appropriate style of speaking. Various styles of readings are given such as formal letter, article and website providing factual information. Discussions take place in the class on the topic areas covered in the module.

Find out more about LA559

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working and flexible knowledge of the target language and a firm level of communicative competence and confidence.

By the end of the module students will be equipped to understand and use mandarin Chinese with a degree of flexibility and a range to an intermediate language level.

The curriculum will focus on real-life communication as a university student studying in China, by using complex expressions in an appropriate style of speaking. This includes expressing general culture related customs such as weddings traditions, Chinese traditional clothes, and Chinese cuisines, renting accommodation, describing a room and negotiating prices.

Students also read and listen to some simple news articles to understand relatively familiar topics in newspapers. Students will be exposed to the grammar that are useful when communicating with Mandarin Chinese native speakers for these topic areas.

Find out more about LA560

This module will build on from Pre-Intermediate level (LA553) where you learned the vocabularies and grammar used in directions, polite requests, hobbies, illness and personal descriptions in complex structures with a full command of Hiragana, Katakana and a basic 100 Kanji. In this module, you will develop the vocabularies, expressions, sentence structures, grammar that are used in university, part-time work and leisure situations and will learn further 60 new Kanji. You will learn the relevant vocabularies and grammar for seminars prior to each seminar and seminars will focus on you practising these in role play, grammar exercise and writing short compositions in a friendly, stimulating atmosphere. You will also gain the relevant cultural information around the course topics whilst developing speaking, listening, writing and reading skills. You will find example of topics in the 'Learning outcomes' section

Find out more about LA561

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working knowledge of the target language and a sound level of communicative competence and confidence.

By the end of the module, students will be equipped to understand and use Mandarin Chinese demonstrating a range of simple and complex structures and vocabulary to an upper-intermediate language level and language skills to adapt to the situation.

By the end of the module, students will be able to communicate with a developed degree of effectiveness, fluency and spontaneity. Students also gains communicative skills in requesting course details from a university, registering on a University course, understanding Chinese higher education system and Chinese festivals and traditions. Various styles of readings are given such as job description and curriculum vitae. Discussions take place in the class on the topic areas covered in the module.

The module will include study of the target language culture and the development of insights into the culture and civilisation of the countries where the language is spoken.

Find out more about LA562

A thread running through this module is a belief that to understand today's China we have to know how it has come to the present. Present-day China is a product of its deep imperial past and of its revolutions in the 20th century, the Republican, the Nationalist and the Communist. Before studying the 'rise' of contemporary China, we must therefore understand the collapse of imperial China in the early 20th century. We can perceive the said rise of China as the process of regaining its rightful place in the Western-dominated international system and of mutual accommodation between China and the rest of the world.

Also, for many students of international relations, China's entry and integration into the international society since the 1970s has been strikingly non-violent. A secondary focus of this module will be on how China and other key members of the world have been mutually accommodating to each other and whether the 'peaceful rise' can continue.

Overall, the module is built on a historical study of China’s foreign relations and theoretical study of International Relations concepts/theories of hegemony, hierarchy, (social) legitimacy and national identity.

Find out more about PO658

This module will address the politics and international relations of East Asia since 1945. We will analyse the causes and significance of events such as the Korean War, the Cultural Revolution, the economic take-off of both Japan and South Korea, China's economic reforms, democratisation and violence across the region, and the growing importance of populism and nationalism.

A central theme of the module will be uncovering the decisions that leaders take in order to hold onto power – from conflict to corruption, purges to propaganda – and how these decisions continue to influence the domestic and international politics of this vitally important region. We will explore differences in the countries’ domestic political systems and their economic and security considerations to shine a light on major historical and contemporary policies.

In seminars and their policy report, students will develop their own expertise on one East Asian country, in order to provide cutting-edge political analysis of the policy challenges that East Asian leaders face today.

Please note that this course covers a wide range of countries and time periods, so to succeed students will need to spend time engaging fully with the readings, lectures, and seminars. Students are expected to read at least two articles/chapters per week, and seminar grades will depend on having carried out these readings.

Find out more about PO683

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working knowledge of the target language and a sound level of communicative competence and confidence.

By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate the ability to take a more active role in and greater ability to sustain communication. Students will be able to express how they feel and opinions in simple terms; initiate and sustain close simple, routine exchanges without undue effort.

Topics at a pre-intermediate level will include everyday communication skills such as asking and giving directions and shopping, skills useful to describe illness, describing people’s appearance and personalities.

The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught through seminars and the means of mandarin Chinese language course books, video, audio materials.

Find out more about LA551

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working knowledge of the target language and a sound level of communicative competence and confidence.

By the end of the module, students will be equipped to understand and use Mandarin Chinese with a degree of flexibility and a range to a lower intermediate language level. Students will be able to discuss topics that are familiar or pertinent to everyday life such as everyday conversational skills and interactions including entertainments, giving and receiving compliments and gifts.

The module will include study of the target language culture and the development of insights into the China. The cultural aspects of the above topic areas will be taught through seminars and the means of Mandarin Chinese language course books, video, audio materials. There will be a balance between communicative activity and understanding of linguistic structure.

Find out more about LA552

This module will build on from Elementary level (LA305) where you can, in a simple way, introduce yourself and family, express daily routine and describe people with a full command of Hiragana, Katakana and basic 50 Kanji. In this module, you will continue to develop the vocabularies, expressions, sentence structures, grammar that are used in your immediate environment and learn further 50 new Kanji. Seminars will focus on 'practising the language' through communicative activities, grammar exercises and writing short compositions in a friendly, stimulating atmosphere. You will also gain the relevant cultural information around the course topics whilst developing speaking, listening, writing and reading skills. You will find example of topics in the 'Learning outcomes' section.

Find out more about LA553

This module is for students who can deal with most situations likely to arise in everyday life in Japan, and read and write Japanese including around 300 Kanji. The curriculum will focus on living in Japan, by using complex expressions in an appropriate style of speaking. Topics covered in this module vary, including job hunting, a CV in the Japanese style, making a complaint in a shop, and expressing one's opinion in a discussion on formal topics. Students also read and listen to news articles to gain knowledge of social issues and current affairs. Discussions take place in the class on the topic areas covered in the module.

Find out more about LA558

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).

Find out more about CP524

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.

Find out more about CP532

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.

Find out more about CP629

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.

Find out more about CP644

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.

Find out more about CP646

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.

Find out more about CP510

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

Find out more about CP662

You have the opportunity to select elective 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

Optional modules may include

This module is for students who can deal with most situations likely to arise in everyday life in Japan, and read and write Japanese including around 300 Kanji. The curriculum will focus on living in Japan, by using complex expressions in an appropriate style of speaking. Topics covered in this module vary, including job hunting, a CV in the Japanese style, making a complaint in a shop, and expressing one's opinion in a discussion on formal topics. Students also read and listen to news articles to gain knowledge of social issues and current affairs. Discussions take place in the class on the topic areas covered in the module.

Find out more about LA558

The curriculum will focus on ordinary people's lives in China and current affairs and issues around the world.

One topic is covered each week or every two weeks, focusing on:

• new phrases and expressions which are practiced during seminars to improve students understanding of the language and the embedded culture elements.

• formal and colloquial expressions will be introduced to help students to be able to confidently understand and convey information about themselves and their environment, and express their feelings and wishes, across the four linguistic skills.

• topics relevant to the modern world and contemporary Chinese society will be studied in depth to improve students’ language ability to account for and sustain views clearly by providing relevant explanations and arguments for and against particular points of view.

Find out more about LA538

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.

Find out more about CP652

The Asia-Pacific is one of the world's most economically and politically dynamic regions. But despite nuclear, territorial, and historical tensions, growing superpower competition, and cross-border threats from crime to the environment, the region has remained relatively peaceful and stable since 1945.

In this module we will begin by explore the puzzle of the region’s stability using approaches drawn from Western and non-Western international relations theories. We will then use these theories to help understand the causes of the region’s most pressing security and development concerns, analyse the likelihood that they will lead to instability and conflict, and evaluate policy measures that might resolve them. We will look at the risk of war over the Taiwan Straits, a nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula, territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and historical grievances with Japan, before analysing regional solutions to cross-national security and economic challenges. The module will conclude by examining whether the region’s stability is likely to continue in the face of major shifts in the regional balance of power.

Please note that to succeed in this course students will need to spend time engaging fully with the readings, lectures, and seminars. Students are expected to read at least two articles/chapters per week, and seminar grades will depend on having carried out these readings.

Find out more about PO684

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working knowledge of the target language and a sound level of communicative competence and confidence.

By the end of the module, students will be equipped to understand and use Mandarin Chinese demonstrating a range of simple and complex structures and vocabulary to an upper-intermediate language level and language skills to adapt to the situation.

By the end of the module, students will be able to communicate with a developed degree of effectiveness, fluency and spontaneity. Students also gains communicative skills in requesting course details from a university, registering on a University course, understanding Chinese higher education system and Chinese festivals and traditions. Various styles of readings are given such as job description and curriculum vitae. Discussions take place in the class on the topic areas covered in the module.

The module will include study of the target language culture and the development of insights into the culture and civilisation of the countries where the language is spoken.

Find out more about LA562

Language modules focus on developing students' communicative competence in four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) to equip students with a working and flexible knowledge of the target language and a firm level of communicative competence and confidence.

By the end of the module students will be equipped to understand and use mandarin Chinese with a degree of flexibility and a range to an intermediate language level.

The curriculum will focus on real-life communication as a university student studying in China, by using complex expressions in an appropriate style of speaking. This includes expressing general culture related customs such as weddings traditions, Chinese traditional clothes, and Chinese cuisines, renting accommodation, describing a room and negotiating prices.

Students also read and listen to some simple news articles to understand relatively familiar topics in newspapers. Students will be exposed to the grammar that are useful when communicating with Mandarin Chinese native speakers for these topic areas.

Find out more about LA560

This module is for students who can communicate in Japanese comfortably on familiar topics encountered in everyday life and read and write Japanese including around 200 Kanji. The curriculum will focus on communication in a real life of university student studying in Japan, by using complex expressions in an appropriate style of speaking. Various styles of readings are given such as formal letter, article and website providing factual information. Discussions take place in the class on the topic areas covered in the module.

Find out more about LA559

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.

Find out more about TH515

This module explores the cultural specificity and diversity of Japanese culture, traditions, social and political systems and literature from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The topic of Japan 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 Japan and Europe/the West.

Find out more about TH649

Traditional Chinese Medicine and other forms East Asian medicine have become available to patients everywhere in the world as Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), but their cultural backgrounds are mostly misunderstood by patients, providers and adversaries. This module explores the historical emergence of East Asian medical systems, their relations to philosophical and religious worldviews and practices, their trajectories from the East to the West, and their relations, interactions and clashes with bio-medicine.

In this module, we read passages from foundational literature such as the Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor (in English translation) and discuss key texts in which Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese doctors argue about the nature of health and medical ethics. We also compare different views of the body, illnesses and therapeutic intervention, and examine the importance of "tradition" in East Asian medicine, Early Modern exchanges with Western medicine and the transformation and globalisation of East Asian medical systems in the twentieth and twenty-first century. Applying comparative and genealogical methods, we discuss East Asian medicines in terms of efficacy, culture, politics and economics and reflect on healthcare, in general, from (multi)cultural perspectives.

Find out more about TH653

The current refugee crisis has brought widespread attention to the precarious situation of the refugee. While representations of refugees and migrants in literary texts can be traced back to antiquity, the current era of globalisation and international conflict has created a sense of urgency, resulting in an abundance of new literary works that are devoted to the figure of the refugee. Focusing on themes including forced displacement, home and hospitality, this module examines literature by and about refugees from as far afield as Lebanon, Iraq, Korea, Palestine and Vietnam.

This module explores the complexities associated with forced migration and refugee populations. It analyses tensions between the global and the local in the age of globalisation and considers whether we might view the current crisis as an articulation of the religious, cultural and racial tensions between East and West. Perhaps most importantly, the module will consider how literature might be an appropriate vehicle for articulating the humanity of those affected. Finally, students will consider the role of the refugee-as-author and question whether and how personal experiences of the authors might affect both narrative form and reader response.

The current crisis has led to the formation of new fields of study. Over the course of the module, students will engage with key theoretical concepts from mobility studies and border studies; they will also be introduced to the emerging field of refugee and forced migration studies, which examines the phenomenon of the refugee from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including anthropology, law, human rights, politics, literature and film.

Find out more about CP666

The module is predicated on independent research activity. It builds on the skills and experiences acquired through stages 1 and 2. Students 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 final-year 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 discuss their and their fellow students' work and to test some of their ideas in a larger context.

Find out more about CP513

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.

Find out more about CP518

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).

Find out more about CP502

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.

Find out more about CP647

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.

Find out more about CP655

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

Find out more about CP656

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Fees

The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home/EU full-time £9250
  • International full-time £16200
  • Home/EU part-time £4625
  • International part-time £8100

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £9,250.

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

Your fee status

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

Fees for Year in Industry

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £1,385.

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Additional costs

General additional costs

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

Funding

University funding

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

Government funding

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

Scholarships

General scholarships

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

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

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

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

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either mathematics or a modern foreign language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching for all the non-language modules is through a combination of lectures and seminars. Assessment is by continuous assessment, coursework (essays and presentations) and written examination. Continuous assessment involves essays, assignments done in class, group presentations and contributions to seminar discussion.  

If you are studying a language as part of your Asian Studies programme, language assessment is through a combination of coursework (essays, presentations, projects, translations), unseen written examinations, oral examinations, dissertation, extended essay, and computer-assisted language learning tests.

In addition, independent study is enhanced by the final-year dissertation option, which enables students to pursue a topic in greater depth, linking the different pathways of the degree programme.

Contact Hours

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.

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:

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

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

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

Independent rankings

100% of Comparative Literature graduates who responded to the most recent national survey of graduate destinations were in work or further study within six months (DLHE, 2017).

Careers

Graduate destinations

As part of your degree, you develop critical thinking, transferable knowledge and skills that enable you to work in a variety of professions.

Our graduates have gone on to work in:

  • museums
  • journalism
  • copywriting
  • the Civil Service
  • teaching
  • publishing
  • television and film
  • international institutions and NGOs.

A number of our students also continue to postgraduate study.

Help finding a job

The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which can give you advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Career-enhancing skills

Alongside specialist skills, you also develop the transferable skills graduate employers are looking for, including the ability to:

  • think critically
  • communicate your ideas and opinions
  • manage your time effectively
  • work independently or as part of a team.

You can also gain additional skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Apply for Asian Studies and Comparative Literature - BA (Hons)

Full-time study through Clearing

The Start now button below takes you to Kent's short form, which you need to fill in and submit. We'll review your application and let you know if we can offer you a place. If you wish to accept our offer, you need to confirm this via UCAS Track. To do so, you'll need the following:

  • Your UCAS Track login details
  • UCAS code TQ42
  • Institution ID K24
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Discover Uni is jointly owned by the Office for Students, the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Scottish Funding Council.

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