Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Art History and English and American Literature - BA (Hons)

UCAS code QV33

2018

This new programme offers a critically engaging and expansive approach to the discipline of art history combined with English and American literature. It has been designed to equip you with the key visual, critical and professional skills necessary for a career in the art world and for a range of other employment opportunities.

2018

Overview

In your first year, you are given a firm foundation in some of the aesthetic, interpretative and methodological approaches to the discipline of art history. Throughout your second and third years, there are opportunities for you to develop and expand your engagement with the discipline through a range of specialist modules.

As well as options that explore Renaissance and Baroque art, modernism, contemporary art, French painting, Surrealism, photography and aesthetics, this programme also offers an introduction to work-related skills directly relevant to employment in the visual arts sector, such as visual arts writing and exhibition curation.

Study of the visual arts is complemented by study of literary arts in this joint honours programme. The English and American Literature element of your degree covers both traditional areas (such as Shakespeare or Dickens) and newer fields such as American literature, creative writing, postcolonial literature and recent developments in literary theory. 

Think Kent video series

Dr Grant Pooke, Senior Lecturer in History of Art, discusses the work and legacy of Brij Mohan Anand. A trenchant critic of both British Imperium and Indian militarism, BM Anand fashioned an exceptional range of work, from scratchboards, sketches, genre scenes, pastoral images and starkly modernist figure compositions to a series of late, apocalyptic landscapes.

Independent rankings

History of Art at Kent was ranked 8th for research quality in The Complete University Guide 2018 and 11th for course satisfaction in The Guardian University Guide 2018.

English and Creative Writing at Kent was ranked 7th in The Guardian University Guide 2018 and Creative Writing was ranked 12th in The Complete University Guide 2018. In the National Student Survey 2017, over 92% of our English final-year students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

Teaching Excellence Framework

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

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

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Course structure

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

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

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

This year-long course examines some of the most significant writing of the Romantic period (1780-1830) - a period in which the role and forms of literature were being redefined - alongside recent debates in critical theory. You will study a wide range of literary texts from the poetry of Blake, Wordsworth and Keats to the novels of Jane Austen and Mary Shelley, with reference to contemporary literary and political debates and against the backdrop of the period’s turbulent history. In parallel, this module explores fundamental critical questions about literature: Why read it? What is an author? What is the role of poetry in society? How is literature shaped by culture? What is ‘Art’? Continuities and disjunctions between Romantic writers’ answers to these questions and those provided by more recent literary theorists will be a central concern of the course.

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The module is intended as an introduction to the History of Art, as a body of visual artefacts and as an academic discipline. It is intended to be accessible to those with little or no previous experience, but also stimulating and informative to students with more background knowledge. The approach is chronological, focussing on a sequence of canonical works of art produced within the Western tradition. Such works provide a frame for introducing students to many of the basic analytical concepts and terms routinely deployed by art historians in describing, analysing and interpreting works of art: period, style, iconography, meaning, material/medium, technique, composition, creative process, representation, tradition, social function, patronage, genre etc.

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This module will introduce students to a range of medieval and early modern dramatic genres, from ninth-century Latin church drama to the commercial theatres of Elizabethan London. Students will learn about methods for analysing past performances and existing texts, as well as how drama interacted with and responded to pivotal moments in British history, and the culture, politics and religion of the period. As such, the module will function as an introduction to medieval and early modern studies more broadly and a platform from which to undertake early English literature and drama modules at Years 2 and 3. Students will read and discuss playtexts in modern translations, both as literary objects and live performance events. Regular optional site visits and screenings will contribute to students' understanding of the drama's contexts, how plays might work in performance and to what extent they still speak to twenty-first century audiences.

Lectures and seminars are designed to be varied and interactive, with the opportunity for everyone to participate and to develop academic skills. The module is assessed by seminar contributions, creative and research-based coursework and a final end-of-year project, which will allow students the freedom to explore a topic of their choice creatively.

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This module emphasizes the links between literature, history, and culture. It introduces students to the formative events, debates and struggles of the twentieth century, and how these have been addressed by different modes of creative and critical writing. Topics such as Modernism, the Holocaust, the US culture industry, postcolonial studies and neoliberalism will be considered and discussed in relation to fictional and critical literature, films, photography, graphic novels, music, and other media. Weekly screenings will run alongside lectures and seminar discussions. Literary works across all genres will be read in relation to visual material – such as paintings, photography, feature and documentary films – and a range of selected critical reading. The majority of writing samples are drawn from English, American and more broadly Anglophone writing, though several instances of writing in other languages will also be included (all taught in translation).

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This module aims to emphasize connections between literature and culture in the USA, from early considerations of a distinct American literature to the present day. By way of six key themes or preoccupations, the module will introduce students to some of the major debates and antagonisms, and rhetorical and stylistic modes, that have formed and modified American literary and intellectual culture Questions of Belief, Gender, Race, Economy, Space, and Time will be approached through a range of textual forms set against their historical contexts and within the broader nexus of cultural production including the visual performing arts where appropriate. Students will be encouraged to examine the specific local, regional, and national frameworks within which these texts are produced, but also to look at the ways in which they resist and transcend national boundaries, in the development of an American register in world literatures for instance.

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This course aims to provide students with an introduction to aesthetics and the philosophy of art. The first part of the course focuses on some of the major texts in the history of the philosophy of art in the western tradition (e.g., Plato's Republic, Aristotle’s Poetics, Hume’s Of the Standard of Taste and Kant’s Critique of Judgement). The second part of the course focuses on central contemporary debates in the philosophy of art (e.g., What is Art? Artistic and Aesthetic Evaluation and the problem of forgery, Intention and Interpretation, Ethical criticism of art, Art and Emotion, Art and Feminism.) The student will be encouraged to see connections between the two parts of the module and to understand how contemporary debates (both philosophical and those found in the public opinion and art criticism) can be traced back to or even helpfully illuminated by old and contemporary philosophical debates.

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This course aims to provide students with an introduction to aesthetics and the philosophy of art. The first part of the course focuses on some of the major texts in the history of the philosophy of art in the western tradition (e.g., Plato's Republic, Aristotle’s Poetics, Hume’s Of the Standard of Taste and Kant’s Critique of Judgement). The second part of the course focuses on central contemporary debates in the philosophy of art (e.g., What is Art? Artistic and Aesthetic Evaluation and the problem of forgery, Intention and Interpretation, Ethical criticism of art, Art and Emotion, Art and Feminism.) The student will be encouraged to see connections between the two parts of the module and to understand how contemporary debates (both philosophical and those found in the public opinion and art criticism) can be traced back to or even helpfully illuminated by old and contemporary philosophical debates.

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This module provides students with a broad introduction to the history of photography over the first 150 years of its existence, together with some of the prehistory of the medium. It begins by looking at the origins and invention of photography, as well as reactions to, and early uses of, the medium. Following this background, a number of photographic genre are explored along with key contributors to their development. While the genre explored may change from year to year, the genre covered are likely to include portraiture, documentary photography and landscape photography, but the greatest focus will be given to the various styles and movements giving shape to the history of photographic art.

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This module provides students with a broad introduction to the history of photography over the first 150 years of its existence, together with some of the prehistory of the medium. It begins by looking at the origins and invention of photography, as well as reactions to, and early uses of, the medium. Following this background, a number of photographic genre are explored along with key contributors to their development. While the genre explored may change from year to year, the genre covered are likely to include portraiture, documentary photography and landscape photography, but the greatest focus will be given to the various styles and movements giving shape to the history of photographic art.

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Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

The development of Abstract Art is one of the distinctive features of the 20th Century. This module examines the roots of the aspiration to allow ‘the object to evaporate like smoke’ in European and Russian art, and the establishment of Constructivism as a central force in artistic practice in 20th century art. The spiritual, philosophical and social ideas (and ideals) of key artists (such as Malevich, Tatlin, Kandinsky, Mondrian and Klee) are considered in relation to their artistic practice; the work and ideas of American abstractionists are addressed through an examination of legendary figures such as Rothko, Pollock and Stella; discussion of Nicholson, Moore, and de Staël, among others, enables us to think about the response of the British and European artworld to the challenges and opportunities of abstraction and construction. Finally, we will explore how contemporary artists make use of this ‘radical tradition’. Throughout the module we will raise the question of how to make, think about and respond to an ‘art without objects’.

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This module aims to introduce second and third year students to the key aesthetic concepts of the sublime, disgust and humour, and to their application in the analysis of art and visual culture. Through a sustained focus on these key theories and a range of case studies, the module will also facilitate the development of students' subject-specific and key skills.

The module will be typically be divided into three parts which focus separately on the sublime, disgust and humour; although general issues confronting the study of experience in art history and theory will be discussed throughout. The first part of the module will focus on the historical origins of the concept of the sublime in the works of Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant. Their theories will be discussed in relation to eighteenth and nineteenth century visual culture, and in relation to instances of the sublime in modern and contemporary culture, including representations of nature and the cosmos, religious experiences and ascetic practices. The second part of the module will examine theories of disgust, including Charles Darwin’s evolutionary approach and Julia Kristeva’s account of 'the abject’. The vogue for the disgusting in contemporary art, beginning during the 1990s will be critically discussed, and the relation of disgust to shock and horror will also be considered. The third part of the module will examine theories of humour, including the ‘incongruity’ and ‘release’ theories, and Sigmund Freud’s theory of jokes. Various uses artists have found for humour, from Marcel Duchamp to postmodern irony, will be discussed. While focusing on the visual arts, the module will also consider case studies from literature and popular visual culture, including film and television.

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This module will pursue three interrelated aims through the use and study of drawing:

Firstly, it will introduce students to the range of drawing techniques used by the Old Masters, the different types of drawings they produced and their function in the process of designing and executing works of art. It will equip students with the tools for analysing and identifying drawings, providing the foundations for effective connoisseurship. Working with collections of Old Master drawings such as those at the British Museum, the Courtauld Institute, the Strang Print Room and the Victoria & Albert Museum it will familiarise students with a representative range of graphic art from the European tradition by such artists as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Dürer, Annibale Carracci, Rubens and Van Dyck.

Secondly, it will equip students with a practice-based understanding of the role of drawing in artistic training and of its importance as a tool for creative work. Students will participate in drawing seminars where they will carry out exercises modelled on artistic practice during the period 1400-1700 and illustrated with examples of Old Master drawings to provide guidance. These will begin with rudimentary conventions for drawing eyes and ears, through copy drawings to mechanical drawing methods like perspective and shadow projection, tracing and the use of the grid. The exercises will then build on these simple beginnings and develop towards portrait drawing informed by anatomical analysis of the skull, drawing from sculptural casts, from the draped and nude figure, sketching the landscape, and finally working towards the compositional drawing and methods for enlarging it. Drawing exercises will clarify for students the processes of artistic visualization and design, and make available to them an important tool of visual and art historical analysis.

Thirdly, the module will provide students with historical insights into the importance of drawing for art in the Western tradition, and of the theoretical expression of this importance in the concept of 'disegno'. It will explore theories defining drawing as an intellectual process of design (as well as a graphic technique), and related debates concerning the relative importance of drawing and colour, and painting and sculpture.

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This module explores a range of neo-avant-garde and post-war art practice from the 1960s through to the contemporary; from the Minimalism & Pop Art of the 1960s through to the YBAs and after. It will introduce and discuss some of the key artistic figures within the period, exploring their practice, critical contexts and legacy. Taking a thematic approach to one of the most innovative and stylistically diverse art historical periods, we will consider a range of genres – painting, sculpture, installation, performance and land art – exploring how artists have re-defined and developed their practice in the cultural period following Modernism. Artists exampled will typically include Jake and Dinos Chapman, Gilbert & George, Eva Hesse, Jenny Saville, Yinka Shonibare, Gerhard Richter and Rachel Whiteread.

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The organising principle of this course is derived from Giovanni Pietro Bellori’s Vite de’ Pittori et Architetti Moderni (1672). In selecting a small group of twelve exemplary artists for his history, Bellori was employing artistic biography to expound his theory of art based on the Idea. This charted a middle way between naturalism and mannerism, through which the imitation of nature informed by the principles of antique art produced works which surpassed nature. Among the artists included in Bellori’s corpus are Annibale and Agostino Carracci, Michelangelo da Caravaggio, and the non-Italian artists Nicolas Poussin, Peter Paul Rubens, and Anthony Van Dyck. Several of the leading artists of the period were excluded from the canon, notably Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini and Pietro da Cortona. Bellori presumably had these artists in mind when he condemned his contemporaries who “juggle madly with corners, gaps and twirling lines, discompose bases, capitals and columns with stucco nonsense, trivial ornament and disproportions”. The aesthetic and theoretical judgements which informed Bellori’s exclusion of artists from his book can be glimpsed in this quote. In the art historical literature on this period such critical judgements are explained in terms of the dichotomy between “classicism” and “the baroque” (although these were not terms used in the period). Following Riegl and Wölfflin the baroque has been defined in opposition to classic art, as an art of becoming rather than of being, addressing the emotions, rather than the intellect, through a tactile evocation of appearances. Often the theoretical writing of the period has been characterised as reacting against, or irrelevant to, what was truly innovative about the work of baroque artists like Bernini and Borromini. These generalisations will be tested through close study of the works of the artists named above, and also by exploring how they might relate to contemporary artistic debates, such as those at the French Académie Royale about the relative merits of Poussin and Rubens, or between Andrea Sacchi and Pietro da Cortona in Rome over the number of figures which should be included in a narrative painting. In addition to exploring the acute interest in stylistic criticism during the seventeenth century, the study of individual artists will also involve consideration of the role played by their patrons, especially their ideological, religious and antiquarian concerns. Although the course will progress by studying individual artists in roughly chronological order, the treatment will be thematic rather than monographic. Lectures at the beginning and end of the course will introduce and summarise the more general historiographical themes; the remaining lectures will be on artists including Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, Bernini, Borromini, Pietro da Cortona, Poussin, Rubens and Van Dyck.

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The module will focus on selected aspects of the development of art in France, during the period when Paris was widely seen as the powerhouse of innovation and achievement in the Western art world. The underlying structure will be chronological. Relevant tendencies and movements include Neo-classicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Symbolism and Cubism. Prominent artists to be considered include David, Géricault, Delacroix, Courbet, Manet, Monet, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, Rodin, Matisse, and Picasso. Such visual material will be considered in the context of: wider political and social history; the evolution of exhibiting institutions and the art world; current art theory and criticism; attitudes towards artistic tradition and the visual cultures of non-western societies (e.g. the phenomenon of 'primitivism'; the impact and evolution of photography, launched in 1839; the emergence of the idea of the artistic avant-garde; the reinterpretation of specific genres, such as the portrait, landscape, the nude, history painting; patterns and shifts within art-historical scholarship on the material. The importance of studying original art objects will be embedded in the module through the scheduling of a visit to relevant galleries in London (e.g. National Gallery, Tate Modern, Courtauld Gallery) and/or Paris (subject to funding). Chronological coverage may vary between successive iterations of the module.

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This module addresses the influence of the early avant-garde on later experimental performance forms such as performance art and multimedia performance. It examines the impact of new technologies on performance and representation throughout the last century, and explores the relationship between media culture and theatre practice. Key modernist and postmodernist practitioners are discussed as the module traces the evolution of multimedia theatre and performance art. Students analyse how time, space and bodies manifest within a diversity of contemporary media art and performance art, and focus is placed on the nature of audience engagement. The module also considers questions concerning the live and mediated aspects of performance, and explores concepts such as 'liveness', ‘the body’, ‘intermediality’, ‘posthumanism’ ‘public space’ and ‘participation’.

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The art historian Aby Warburg – an avid reader of Thomas Carlyle's philosophical novel about clothes Sartor Resartus (1836) – said that a good costume, like a good symbol, should conceal as much as it reveals. This module will take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of costume and fashion – the art that can be worn – in order to explore their roles in drama, film and the visual arts. The social values encoded by clothes, their relation to class or sexual identity, will be discussed, along with how these assumptions inform the use of costume in adaptations or stagings of texts, or how they colour our view of a character, or of a director’s interpretation (for example, using deliberate anachronism). The role of clothing and costume in the history of art will be analysed from artists’ representation of clothes, contemporary or otherwise, to their involvement in fashion design.

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This module aims to introduce students to a wide range of Victorian literature. It will equip students with critical ideas that will help them become more skilful and confident readers of texts in and beyond this period. Students will be encouraged to read texts in a number of contexts: environmental (for example, considering the effects of urbanisation and the Industrial Revolution); imaginative (examining a variety of genres: for example fable, dream-vision, novel); political (class conflicts, changing gender roles, ideas of nation and empire); and psychological (representations of growing up, courtship, sibling and parent-child relationships, dreams and madness). Students will be made aware of such critical concepts as realism and allegory and will be encouraged to think about various developments of literary form in the period.

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When the Long Island-born poet Walt Whitman proclaimed in 1855 that the “United States” were history’s “greatest poem” he made an important connection between national political culture and literary expression. In some ways this was no exaggeration. As a new experiment in politics and culture, the United States had to be literally written into existence. Beginning with Thomas Jefferson’s dramatic Declaration of Independence in 1776, followed by the drafting of the Constitution after the Revolutionary War with Britain, the project of shaping the new United States in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was essentially a literary one.

In this module we will explore how American writers in this period tried in numerous, diverse ways to locate an original literary voice through which to express their newfound independence. At the same time, the module includes the work of writers who had legitimate grievances against the developing character of a new nation that still saw fit to cling to such “Old World” traditions as racialized slavery, class conflict and gender inequality.

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This module aims to introduce students to a wide range of contemporary literature written in English, where 'contemporary' is taken to refer to twenty-first century work. It will equip students with critical ideas and theoretical concepts that will help them to understand the literature of their own time. Students will consider examples of a range of genres: poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction and the essay. They will also be selectively introduced to key ideas in contemporary theory and philosophy. Over the course of the module, students will be encouraged to read texts in a number of contexts. They will consider writers’ responses to, for instance, questions of migration, environmental change, and financial crisis. They will also consider a range of aesthetic developments and departures, for example: new conceptualism and the claim to unoriginality; archival poetics; the turn to creative non-fiction; the re-emergence of the political essay. The module will not focus on a given national context. Instead it will set contemporary writing against the background of identifiably international issues and concerns. In so doing it will draw attention to non-national publishing strategies and audiences. Overall, the module will aim to show how writers are responding to the present period, how their work illuminates and reflects current cultural concerns. The weekly topics will often alternate between thematic and formal concerns.

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Before 1660 there was no English novel, and by the end of the eighteenth century there was Jane Austen. This module asks how such a literary revolution was possible. It investigates the rise of professional authorship in an increasingly open marketplace for books. With commercial expansion came experiment and novelty. Genres unheard of in the Renaissance emerged for the first time: they include the periodical essay, autobiography, the oriental tale, amatory fiction, slave narratives and, most remarkably, the modern novel. Ancient modes such as satire, pastoral and romance underwent surprising transformations. Many eighteenth-century men and women felt that they lived in an age of reason and emancipation – although others warned of enlightenment’s darker aspect. Seminar reading reflects the fact that an increasing number of women, members of the labouring classes, and African slaves wrote for publication; that readers themselves became more socially varied; and that Britain was growing to understand itself as an imperial nation within a shifting global context. It asks students to reflect, as eighteenth-century writers did, upon the literary, cultural and political implications of these developments

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This module is a study of twentieth-century American literature and culture organized conceptually around the idea of modernity. Students will explore the interconnections between modernity in the United States and the literary and philosophical ideas that shaped it (and were shaped by it) from the start of the century to its close. At the core of the module will be a necessary focus on two versions of American modernity, broadly represented by New York and Los Angeles respectively. Novels, works of art and critical texts will be read alongside one another to explore how these major regional hubs of aesthetic and cultural output developed competing conceptions of "modernity", “American culture” and the place of “the urban” in twentieth-century life, with important effects on contemporary perceptions of the USA. Moving beyond a sense of “modernism” as simply an aesthetic challenge to nineteenth-century modes of romanticism and realism, to consider the embeddedness of “modernist” literature within the particularities of its cultural and historical moment, students will be asked to develop a more nuanced approach to critical reading that pays close attention to the role of differing conceptions of modernity in the USA. The rise of mass culture, the L.A. film industry, the importance of Harlem to the history of race, the role of the intellectual, the urban challenges of the automobile, the birth of the modern American magazine, and questions of conservation and “creative destruction” in cities will all be considered through readings of key novels and critical texts from what Time Magazine editor Henry Luce famously called “The American Century”.

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This module features key modernist texts, for example the work of Ezra Pound, H.D., T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and Jean Rhys. It also makes substantial reference to key philosophical theories of modernity and textuality. The literary works are taken mostly from a restricted period 1910-1930. One focus in the module will be the notion of the artist as applied to the writer as an art-practitioner. Other texts which might form part of the curriculum may include a limited selection of works by Mina Loy, Wyndham Lewis,, Elizabeth Bowen, F.T. Marinetti, Samuel Beckett, Georg Lukács, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Walter Benjamin, Theodor W. Adorno, Jacques Derrida and Paul De Man. Other topics include modes of representation, language and experience, colonialism and modernism, textuality and identity, war and democracy, class and politics, cosmopolitanism and bohemianism, sex, morality and city life. This material requires both theoretical and historical orientation, as well as skill in distilling significance from complex literary artefacts with regard to the network of mediations which both bind such works to their apparent context and appear to dislocate them.

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This module offers a survey of early modern literature from 1500 to 1700. Looking at a wide range of literature including poetry, prose and drama, students will consider the relationship between literary debate and form on the one hand, and political change, social identity and religious transformation on the other. We will consider how important debates surrounding political, social, gender and religious identity inflect and are reflected in the literature of the period, including works by Baldwin, Shakespeare, Donne, Lanyer, Marvell, Milton, Katherine Phillips, Behn and Pepys. Students will explore the boundaries of the literary canon, encountering pamphlets, petitions, sermons and conduct books, for example and consider the ways in which literary and non-literary texts both mirror and influence culture and society.

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The drama of early modern England broke new literary and dramatic ground. This module will focus on key plays across the period. It will explore the development of dramatic writing, the status of playing companies within the London theatres, drama's links to court entertainment and its relationship to the provinces. Dramatic and literary form will be a central preoccupation alongside issues of characterisation, culture, politics, and gender. Shakespeare's work will be put into context in relation to the plays of his contemporary dramatists as well as the various cultural, historical and material circumstances that influenced the composition, performance and publication of drama in early modern England.

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This course will introduce students to the field of postcolonial literature, focusing on the period from the late nineteenth century to the present day. The module will be divided into three consecutive areas: empire and colonisation (three weeks); liberation movements and the processes of decolonisation (either three or four weeks); and migration and diaspora (either three or four weeks). Centred primarily on canonical British colonial texts, the first part of the course may also involve comparison with other less familiar texts and contexts, such as those of Zionist nationalism and settler colonialism, or more popular twentieth-century imperial fantasy and adventure genres. The texts in the second part of the module will be drawn primarily from Africa, the Carribean, the Middle East, and South Asia. The intention is to allow students to bring these disparate regions and texts into a productive dialogue with each other by reflecting on their shared history of decolonisation and their common engagement with colonial and liberation discourses. The course further aims to sketch a narrative of empire and decolonisation that is in part relevant to contemporary postcolonial Britain, to which the final section on migration and diaspora then returns. Some brief extracts from theoretical material on colonial discourse analysis, decolonisation, postcoloniality and migration will be considered alongside a single primary text each week. Students will be introduced to key ideas from the work of (among others) Edward Said, Frantz Fanon, Homi Bhabha, Stuart Hall and Gayatri Spivak. Together with a broad primary textual arc stretching from the British empire to postcolonial Britain, the course will thus give students a cohesive intellectual narrative with which to explore changing conceptions of culture, history, and postcolonial identity across the modern world.

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This course introduces students to a range of writings from the late medieval and Tudor period. It focuses on a number of central genres in English writing that emerge between the late fourteenth and early sixteenth centuries, including romance, fabliaux, satirical, and religious writing. The course is designed to introduce a genre or theme with reference to Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and his other writings, especially his lyrics and shorter poetry, thus allowing this accessible author to initiate the students in issues that will be pertinent in respect of less familiar writers and writings.

The themes and theories covered by the course will vary from year to year in response to the lecture programme and to the emphases made by individual teachers, but they will include such topics as authorship, reading, patronage, translation, gender, sexuality, iconography, piety, personal identity, imagination, historicism, legend, medievalism, representation, audience, and the move from manuscript to print.

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Year abroad

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

All students within the Faculty of Humanities can apply to spend a Term or Year Abroad as part of their degree at one of our partner universities in North America, Asia or Europe. You are expected to adhere to any progression requirements including achieving a merit at Stage 1 and Stage 2 to proceed to the Term or Year Abroad. 

The Term or Year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification. Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme. To find out more, please see Go Abroad.

Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

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

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On application, students may take this 30 Credit Year Long module. Admission is subject to approval of a project proposal. Proposals must be submitted to the Module Convenor by 07/04/2017. Within your proposal you must state a preferred supervisor with whom you should have consulted. The proposal form can be downloaded from the School of Arts website, see www.kent.ac.uk/arts/current-students/undergraduates.html and click on module availability. Alternatively you can request a copy at Jarman Reception. The Module Convenor will contact you in the summer term to confirm whether your proposal has been accepted. Students wanting to change into ART500 at a later stage maybe permitted to do so (subject to the suitability of the application and the availability of the supervisor) but should contact the Module Convenor and submit a proposal at the earliest opportunity. Proposals will not be accepted after 12/06/2017 unless there are exceptional circumstances, for which there is a separate procedure and timetable in September. If students wish to make an exceptional application for consideration in September, prior to the start of term, this needs to be submitted through the potential supervisor who will write an accompanying supporting statement. This would need to verify the proposal, confirm supervisory responsibility and endorse the student's ability to complete the project on time. Students should expect to undertake preliminary research over the summer and to see their supervisor before the summer vacation begins. Hence, late applications will only be accepted if supervisors are convinced that students are sufficiently prepared for the independent study and have already undertaken prior research. Applications for consideration as exceptional circumstances in September need to be submitted between 04/09/17 and 18/09/17. Students cannot transfer onto ART 500 after the start of term. For more information please speak to the Module Convenor at the School Fair."

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

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The module will focus on selected aspects of the development of art in France, during the period when Paris was widely seen as the powerhouse of innovation and achievement in the Western art world. The underlying structure will be chronological. Relevant tendencies and movements include Neo-classicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Symbolism and Cubism. Prominent artists to be considered include David, Géricault, Delacroix, Courbet, Manet, Monet, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, Rodin, Matisse, and Picasso. Such visual material will be considered in the context of: wider political and social history; the evolution of exhibiting institutions and the art world; current art theory and criticism; attitudes towards artistic tradition and the visual cultures of non-western societies (e.g. the phenomenon of 'primitivism'; the impact and evolution of photography, launched in 1839; the emergence of the idea of the artistic avant-garde; the reinterpretation of specific genres, such as the portrait, landscape, the nude, history painting; patterns and shifts within art-historical scholarship on the material. The importance of studying original art objects will be embedded in the module through the scheduling of a visit to relevant galleries in London (e.g. National Gallery, Tate Modern, Courtauld Gallery) and/or Paris (subject to funding). Chronological coverage may vary between successive iterations of the module.

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The organising principle of this course is derived from Giovanni Pietro Bellori’s Vite de’ Pittori et Architetti Moderni (1672). In selecting a small group of twelve exemplary artists for his history, Bellori was employing artistic biography to expound his theory of art based on the Idea. This charted a middle way between naturalism and mannerism, through which the imitation of nature informed by the principles of antique art produced works which surpassed nature. Among the artists included in Bellori’s corpus are Annibale and Agostino Carracci, Michelangelo da Caravaggio, and the non-Italian artists Nicolas Poussin, Peter Paul Rubens, and Anthony Van Dyck. Several of the leading artists of the period were excluded from the canon, notably Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini and Pietro da Cortona. Bellori presumably had these artists in mind when he condemned his contemporaries who “juggle madly with corners, gaps and twirling lines, discompose bases, capitals and columns with stucco nonsense, trivial ornament and disproportions”. The aesthetic and theoretical judgements which informed Bellori’s exclusion of artists from his book can be glimpsed in this quote. In the art historical literature on this period such critical judgements are explained in terms of the dichotomy between “classicism” and “the baroque” (although these were not terms used in the period). Following Riegl and Wölfflin the baroque has been defined in opposition to classic art, as an art of becoming rather than of being, addressing the emotions, rather than the intellect, through a tactile evocation of appearances. Often the theoretical writing of the period has been characterised as reacting against, or irrelevant to, what was truly innovative about the work of baroque artists like Bernini and Borromini. These generalisations will be tested through close study of the works of the artists named above, and also by exploring how they might relate to contemporary artistic debates, such as those at the French Académie Royale about the relative merits of Poussin and Rubens, or between Andrea Sacchi and Pietro da Cortona in Rome over the number of figures which should be included in a narrative painting. In addition to exploring the acute interest in stylistic criticism during the seventeenth century, the study of individual artists will also involve consideration of the role played by their patrons, especially their ideological, religious and antiquarian concerns. Although the course will progress by studying individual artists in roughly chronological order, the treatment will be thematic rather than monographic. Lectures at the beginning and end of the course will introduce and summarise the more general historiographical themes; the remaining lectures will be on artists including Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, Bernini, Borromini, Pietro da Cortona, Poussin, Rubens and Van Dyck.

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This module explores a range of neo-avant-garde and post-war art practice from the 1960s through to the contemporary; from the Minimalism & Pop Art of the 1960s through to the YBAs and after. It will introduce and discuss some of the key artistic figures within the period, exploring their practice, critical contexts and legacy. Taking a thematic approach to one of the most innovative and stylistically diverse art historical periods, we will consider a range of genres – painting, sculpture, installation, performance and land art – exploring how artists have re-defined and developed their practice in the cultural period following Modernism. Artists exampled will typically include Jake and Dinos Chapman, Gilbert & George, Eva Hesse, Jenny Saville, Yinka Shonibare, Gerhard Richter and Rachel Whiteread.

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The development of Abstract Art is one of the distinctive features of the 20th Century. This module examines the roots of the aspiration to allow 'the object to evaporate like smoke' in European and Russian art, and the establishment of Constructivism as a central force in artistic practice in 20th century art. The spiritual, philosophical and social ideas (and ideals) of key artists (such as Malevich, Tatlin, Kandinsky, Mondrian and Klee) are considered in relation to their artistic practice; the work and ideas of American abstractionists are addressed through an examination of legendary figures such as Rothko, Pollock and Stella; discussion of Nicholson, Moore, and de Staël, among others, enables us to think about the response of the British and European artworld to the challenges and opportunities of abstraction and construction. Finally, we will explore how contemporary artists make use of this ‘radical tradition’. Throughout the module we will raise the question of how to make, think about and respond to an ‘art without objects’.

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• This module will be for final year students who are interested in gaining employment within the art and heritage press and/or marketing sectors. It will complement the vocational and work-based emphasis of the existing HPA Internship module (HA579). It will comprise a series of taught seminars supplemented by visiting speakers from the art/trade press, and from across the marketing and heritage sectors [6-8 speakers per module delivery].

• NB: This is not an NCTJ validated course and makes no pretence at providing the full competencies of such. What it will provide will be an introduction to a range of press and related activities within the visual arts and heritage sectors. It will be of relevance for those students considering the possibility of working within these areas and for those who wish to explore some of the practicalities of researching and submitting copy and undertaking related promotional and marketing activities.

• The module will start by considering examples from the range of trade, specialist and institutionally affiliated publications which service the art and heritage markets. It will consider their target readerships, commissioning practices and particular subject and industry angles. Publications such as The Antiques Trade Gazette, The Art Newspaper, Tate Magazine and Art Monthly will be among those evaluated.

• Seminars will introduce some of the basic principles of trade writing: standing up and presenting copy proposals for commissioning; adapting copy to differing house-styles; preparing for and undertaking interviews for writing briefs and useful sources of information for generating ideas for prospective writing projects. Seminars will also consider the arts-related promotional work typically undertaken by press and marketing departments within auction houses, public art galleries and within government-funded organisations such as the British Council, and those local and regional authorities with heritage related responsibilities and sections (Canterbury City Council, Medway Unitary Authority etc).

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This module aims to introduce second and third year students to the key aesthetic concepts of the sublime, disgust and humour, and to their application in the analysis of art and visual culture. Through a sustained focus on these key theories and a range of case studies, the module will also facilitate the development of students' subject-specific and key skills.

The module will be divided into three parts which focus separately on the sublime, disgust and humour; although general issues confronting the study of experience in art history and theory will be discussed throughout. The first part of the module will focus on the historical origins of the concept of the sublime in the works of Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant. Their theories will be discussed in relation to eighteenth and nineteenth century visual culture, and in relation to instances of the sublime in modern and contemporary culture, including representations of nature and the cosmos, religious experiences and ascetic practices. The use of the sublime in promoting political and ideological ends, as in the Nazi propaganda films of Leni Riefenstahl, will also receive attention. The second part of the module will examine theories of disgust, including Charles Darwin’s evolutionary approach and Julia Kristeva’s account of 'the abject’. The vogue for the disgusting in contemporary art, beginning during the 1990s in the work of artists such as Cindy Sherman, Paul McCarthy, Gilbert & George, Tracey Emin, David Falconer and Jake & Dinos Chapman, will be critically discussed, and the relation of disgust to shock and horror will also be considered. The third part of the module will examine theories of humour, including the ‘incongruity’ and ‘release’ theories, and Sigmund Freud’s theory of jokes. Various uses artists have found for humour, from Marcel Duchamp to postmodern irony, will be discussed. ‘Gross-out’ humour and ‘black’ humour will also be a topic of attention, and examples from contemporary popular culture, including The League of Gentlemen and the films of the Farrelly brothers, will be considered. While focusing on the visual arts, the module will also consider case studies from literature and popular visual culture, including film and television, and so should also prove an attractive option to students within the Humanities Faculty as a whole.

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This module will pursue three interrelated aims through the use and study of drawing:

Firstly, it will introduce students to the range of drawing techniques used by the Old Masters, the different types of drawings they produced and their function in the process of designing and executing works of art. It will equip students with the tools for analysing and identifying drawings, providing the foundations for effective connoisseurship. Working with collections of Old Master drawings such as those at the British Museum, the Courtauld Institute, the Strang Print Room and the Victoria & Albert Museum it will familiarise students with a representative range of graphic art from the European tradition by such artists as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Dürer, Annibale Carracci, Rubens and Van Dyck.

Secondly, it will equip students with a practice-based understanding of the role of drawing in artistic training and of its importance as a tool for creative work. Students will participate in drawing seminars where they will carry out exercises modelled on artistic practice during the period 1400-1700 and illustrated with examples of Old Master drawings to provide guidance. These will begin with rudimentary conventions for drawing eyes and ears, through copy drawings to mechanical drawing methods like perspective and shadow projection, tracing and the use of the grid. The exercises will then build on these simple beginnings and develop towards portrait drawing informed by anatomical analysis of the skull, drawing from sculptural casts, from the draped and nude figure, sketching the landscape, and finally working towards the compositional drawing and methods for enlarging it. Drawing exercises will clarify for students the processes of artistic visualization and design, and make available to them an important tool of visual and art historical analysis.

Thirdly, the module will provide students with historical insights into the importance of drawing for art in the Western tradition, and of the theoretical expression of this importance in the concept of 'disegno'. It will explore theories defining drawing as an intellectual process of design (as well as a graphic technique), and related debates concerning the relative importance of drawing and colour, and painting and sculpture.

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This module encourages exploration of British interactions with the world beyond Europe during the eighteenth century. The so-called Orient and the New World became sites of exchange but also domination. New hybrid cultural forms emerged from these exchanges and appropriations. We will investigate a variety of texts that depict non-European people and places, as well as texts written by foreign and colonial peoples, to arrive at a critical understanding of cross-cultural and transnational influences at home and abroad. We will address and debate such topics as 'Cosmopolitanism in the Eighteenth Century', ‘Foreign Influence on British Identity’, ‘Sympathy and Sensibility’, ‘The Material Culture of Empire’, ‘Exoticism’, ‘Poetics of Slavery’, ‘The Black Atlantic’, and ‘Transatlantic Culture’. Students taking this module will gain a firm grounding in the postcolonial study of eighteenth-century literature and the ethical and political implications of these texts and the ways in which we choose to approach them.

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This module examines the development of Virginia Woolf's writing across the span of her life. It explores Woolf’s most important modernist texts alongside some of her lesser-known writings, and considers a range of literary genres she wrote in (novels, essays, short stories, auto/biography). As well as paying close attention to the distinct style of modernist literature, there will be consideration of various historical, cultural, philosophical, political and artistic contexts that influenced, and were influenced by, Woolf’s writing. Students will be introduced to the key critical debates on Woolf, featuring discussion of topics as diverse as feminism, visual art, the everyday, war, sexuality, gender, class, empire, science, nature and animality. With Woolf as its central focus, this module therefore seeks to understand the lasting significance of modernist literature.

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What is the relationship between 'animal' and 'human', and how is this explored through writing? This module seeks to examine creaturely relations by focusing on literature from the early 19th century up to the present, alongside key theoretical and contextual material that engages with questions concerning animality and humanity. We will focus on how writers imagine distinct animal worlds as well as how they understand the role of animals in human cultures. A range of novels, short stories and poems will raise questions about how we look at, think with, and try to give voice to animals, and topics covered will include 'Becoming Animal', 'Listening to Animals', 'Animal Experiments' and 'Tasting Animals'. Students taking this module will gain a firm grounding in the diverse critical field known as 'animal studies', whilst also considering the broader cultural, philosophical and ethical implications of how we think about the relationship between humans and animals.

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The New Woman, a controversial figure who became prominent in British literature in the late nineteenth century, challenged traditional views of femininity and represented a more radical understanding of women's nature and role in society. She was associated with a range of unconventional behaviour – from smoking and bicycle-riding to sexuality outside marriage and political activism. This module will examine some of the key literary texts identified with the New Woman phenomenon including women's journalism in the period. The module's reading will be organised around central thematic concerns such as: sexuality and motherhood; suffrage and politics; career and creativity. We will consider to what extent the New Woman was a media construction or whether the term reflected the lives of progressive women in the period. This module will also examine how the New Woman became a global phenomenon, beginning with the plays of Henrik Ibsen, before spreading to literature produced around the world by writers from Britain (eg Amy Levy, Evelyn Sharp) America (Charlotte Perkins Gilman), Australia (George Egerton), and New Zealand (Katherine Mansfield). The module will also consider the legacy of the New Woman into the early modernist period, through studying Virginia Woolf’s novel that depicts the suffrage movement, Night and Day.

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The module examines some key texts in the theory and literary presentation of utopia. In the first part of the module we will examine classic early utopian texts (Plato, More) and will set these in the context of the modern theory of historical progress (Hegel) the failure of that progress to materialise (Agamben) and the nature of hope for the future (Bloch). In the second part of the module, we will examine modern classics which look at the failure of the communist utopia (Zamyatin, Huxley, Orwell) and at later texts which revived the genre of utopia (LeGuin, Atwood).

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This module focuses on the exploration of the graphic novel as a visual and literary medium. The module will interpret the term ‘graphic novel’ broadly, and incorporate discussions of comic books, political cartoons, as well as film and television adaptations as a part of its curriculum. The module will begin with an examination of the more mature aesthetic that became increasingly popular for graphic novels during the late 1980s, and examine how these developments have continued to evolve to the present day. Strong emphasis will be placed on readings informed by sociological and political discourses. Students will be encouraged to relate their close analysis of texts to topics such as the distinctions between art and popular culture, and the connections between literary and social history, as well as contemporary concerns such as identity politics, neo-liberal capitalism, protest, and anarchy. As such, the module will demonstrate how the study of graphic novels directly relates to several key concerns in the study of undergraduate English.

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This module gives an opportunity for intensive study of one of the major novelists of Victorian England. There are many different views and interpretations of Dickens circulating in our culture. He has been dismissed as a writer of cosy sentimentality, celebrated as a radical critic of his age, and admired for his prodigious output and creative innovation.

Studying a selection of his fiction, we will consider a wide variety of interpretations, in the light of the most current literary criticism of Dickens's works. We will analyse Dickens’s texts in terms of narrative method, genre, characterisation, imagery and book history and – in the process – we will examine how the novels respond to, or challenge, significant aspects of Victorian culture and society such as class, gender, family, nation, childhood, the city, empire, industrialisation, and modernity.

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The module raises students' awareness of contemporary issues in postcolonial writing, and the debates around them. This includes a selection of important postcolonial texts (which often happen to be major contemporary writing in English) and studies their narrative practice and their reading of contemporary culture. It focuses on issues such as the construction of historical narratives of nation, on identity and gender in the aftermath of globalisation and 'diaspora’, and on the problems associated with creating a discourse about these texts.

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The module is structured around poetry and fiction produced in New York since the Second World War. The emphasis is on New York's experimental and avant-garde traditions, and one organising principle is the inter-connectedness of the arts in New York. The module introduces students to some of the main areas of culture in the city, from the New York school of poetry through Abstract Expressionism, early Punk and on to post-modern fiction. Writers to be studied will include John Cage, Barbara Guest, William Burroughs, John Ashbery, Patti Smith and Paul Auster.

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The Unknown asks you to think creatively and analytically and to learn by a combination of careful reading and experimental writing. You will be able to read a variety of important literary and critical texts published over the last 200 years – mostly in the last 50 years. You will be asked to use the skills of critical analysis and close reading developed elsewhere in your degree in new ways and to take a fresh look at the study of literature. The course draws on the ideas writers have about writing, as well as on psychoanalysis, literary theory, fiction, poetry, drama and film. It asks you to think deeply about how, and why, you read and write.

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This module explores the eighteenth century fascination with bodies and the truths (or lies) bodies were supposed to reveal. Our focus will be on the ways in which the body is read and constructed in eighteenth-century literature and how these readings and constructions reflect various concerns about class, race, gender and sexuality. Efforts to regulate the body (particularly the female, plebeian and racialised body) became the focus of many reformers and philanthropists in the period who sought to recuperate the productive (and reproductive) labour of idle or transgressive bodies to serve the nation's moral and financial economies. Other writers, however, emphasised the body's potential to work against social and cultural norms, focusing on events such as the masquerade, in which women dressed as men and aristocrat’s as chimney sweeps.

Through the course of this module we will examine a range of literary representations of the body which seek both the control the body and to celebrate its disruptive potential. We will read texts from a variety of genres including medical literature, misogynist satire, sentimental novels, popular fiction, travel writing and pornography. Primary texts will be read alongside recent critical work by Thomas Lacquer, Michel Foucault, Roy Porter, and Peter Stallybrass and Allon White, which illuminate the ideological stakes writers played for when writing about the body. Topics for discussion will include disability and deformity, race, the sentimental body, dress and the body, the body as text and the relationship between the body and the body politic. The primary focus of this option will be literature, but we will also examine visual representations of the body in caricature and satire as well as in the portraiture.

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This module explores places and journeys shaped by key modern historical processes: migration, travel, immigration, dispossession, colonial conquest, and post-colonial independence. From immigrant arrival and dislocation to national journeys and political fantasy, the course explores connections between journeys, locations, and literary production. The main objective is to think about places and journeys as sites and processes of negotiation and contradiction, convergence and discord, clash and reconciliation. Specific locations include: London, East Africa, and the Caribbean. Writers and texts include: Merle Collins (Angel), Naguib Mahfouz (Cairo Modern), Jean Rhys (Voyage in the Dark), and Sam Selvon (The Lonely Londoners).

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While the so-called ‘Brontë myth’ remains potent in popular culture today, the lives-and-works model associated with it continues to encourage readers to seek partially concealed Brontë sisters in their fictions. Beginning and ending with the problematic of mythmaking – its origins in Gaskell’s 'Life of Charlotte Brontë' and its subsequent perpetuation in film and other rewritings - this module will restore attention to the rich literary contribution made by the sisters through an intensive focus on their novels and selected poetry in the context of Victorian debates about gender and the woman question. Situating the Brontë myth in relation to other forms of mythmaking in the period (for example, ideologies of class, gender and empire), it will consider a small selection of film adaptations and go on to examine the Brontës’s experiments with narrative voice and form, their variations upon the novel of education, the tensions between romance and realism in their writing and their engagement with religious and philosophical questions as well with the political, economic and social conditions of women in mid-Victorian culture. We will also consider a range of modern creative and critical engagements with the Brontës' literary works..

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This module explores the history and practice of crime fiction in the United States from Edgar Allan Poe in the 1840s through to the present day. Crime fiction will be understood broadly to encompass a range of generic categories such as detective, hardboiled and police procedural novels and stories. Attention will also be paid to developments in cinema and television which parallel those in fiction, such as film noir and the contemporary cop

series. Strong emphasis will be placed on historically informed reading and students will be encouraged to relate the close analysis of texts to shifts in narrative form as well as the establishment and transgression of generic conventions.

The study of American crime fiction reaches directly into the heart of many of the key concerns of undergraduate English. Questions about the distinctions between high and low culture, the seductiveness of particular narrative forms, and dialectic relations between literary and social history will all be addressed. Students will have the opportunity to read crime fiction alongside elements of Marxist, narrative and genre theory. Eventually they will

be able to consider how crime fiction has evolved in its engagement with questions of race, gender and sexuality in the United States, from the construction of white masculinity in the hardboiled genre to the policing of black communities in the neoliberal city.

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Much Irish writing in the 20th and 21st centuries has been torn between tradition and innovation, between the need to define a national identity in opposition to Britain and the desire to transcend national boundaries and embrace a cosmopolitan modernity. With four nobel laureates in the 20th century (Yeats, Shaw, Beckett, Heaney), modern Irish literature has gained international recognition. In recent years, Irish Literature has undergone surprising changes in theme and content, moving from the insularity of parochialism to the emergence of the 'Global Irish novel". The charting of this development will provide an important framework for the discussion in this module of recurrent issues in Irish writing, such as history, cultural memory, violence and society, queer sexualities and gender relations, national and cultural identities, and the negotiation of what the historian Roy Foster has called the 'varieties of Irishness'. The module will consider a broad variety of Irish writing from 1975 to 2014: sampling significant developments in poetry, drama and prose.

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This course explores the intersections between nation, narration and globalisation in the twentieth and twenty-first century novel. It will focus this exploration through textual representations of 'the stranger', a figure theorised since the beginning of the twentieth century as symptomatic of modernity in European cultures, and more recently by postcolonial critics as the paradigm through which the effects of globalisation are ‘encountered’ in contemporary ‘multicultural’ national and transnational spaces. Students will be encouraged to analyse the historical and conceptual relations between novel and nation and the particular ways in which the body of ‘the stranger’ has been reified through them. At the same time, they will be invited to consider ‘the stranger’ as a disorientating embodiment of distance and proximity, and to evaluate how this dynamic constructs and deconstructs the form and boundaries of the novel as a genre, and the surrounding familial, national and racial paradigms of belonging. Through discussions of the theoretical work of writers such as Georg Simmel, Freud, Fanon, Edward Said, Judith Butler, Zygmunt Bauman, and Homi Bhabha, students will be asked especially to consider the mutual effects of estrangement across gendered, racial, and colonial divides. The broad aims of the course are to problematise ‘the stranger’ as a literary means of orientating the individual and the nation; to situate the twentieth and twenty-first century novel as a symptomatic site for ‘strange encounters’; and to understand the extent to which it poses ‘strangeness’ and ‘homeliness’ as inseparable, necessary and possible acts of narration.

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This module will bring together works of poetry and fiction by a number of black writers in the USA and Canada in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. With a particular emphasis on migration, music, and urban space, we will explore the intellectual, political, and aesthetic imperatives that drive these writers to address questions of race, ethnicity, gender, belonging, representation, poverty, privilege, and trauma.

Beginning in Harlem in the 1920s, the moment when “the Negro was in vogue”, students will examine the ways in which black Americans and Canadians have sought to make their impact on the literary landscape, by turns exposing and employing the power structures of the dominant culture. This comparative look at US and Canadian literatures, however, also challenges students to scrutinize the construction of literary and other categories, and to consider the commonality and distinctive difference between black experience north and south of the 49th parallel.

Lectures/workshops will emphasise discussion of key moments and movements in African American / African Canadian arts; the significance of linguistic distinctiveness; the cultural self-categorisation of black, African American, Africadian and Halfrican identities; and the rise of African American literary theory.

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This module introduces students to the drama of Shakespeare's time, thinking in particular about the new theatrical buildings and the discoveries they made possible. The module encourages independent study and is consequently built around student interests as they develop their own research questions and essay topic.

This period saw the emergence of the first permanent purpose built playhouses, and the development of the theatre industry. We will consider how the conditions of performance and production – such as playhouse architecture, the reportorial system, printing, censorship and London's changing urban environment – affected playwrights, actors and audiences. Reading a range of playwrights, students will get a sense of the main trends which shaped the drama of the time, contextualising their understanding of canonical writers such as Shakespeare. Students will also engage with the current developments in early modern theatre history and the ways in which thinking about authorship, staging, printing and other key concepts from the period has altered over the last fifty years. As part of this work, we will examine the phenomena of modern 'reconstructed’ playhouses such as Shakespeare’s Globe, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and the American Shakespeare Centre’s Blackfriars, asking what - if anything - modern performance in these spaces can tell us about early modern practices.

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This module focuses on the theory and practice of marriage and divorce in early modern England and its treatment in the literature of the period. Examining a wide range of texts (drama, poetry, prose works and domestic handbooks alongside documentary sources such as wills, legal records and letters), it will explore the ways in which representations of marriage and its breakdown both reflected and informed the roles of men and women in early modern society. The relationships between discourses about gender, politics and the historical evidence about men and women's married lives in the period will be explored both through reading in the extensive secondary literature of gender, women's history and masculinity as well as through the study of primary sources such as wills, court records, advice books, popular literature (ballads and pamphlets, for example), literary texts (poems, plays and tracts), diaries and personal memoirs and material objects such as wedding rings and scold’s bridles, for example. From Shakespeare and Fletcher's dramas of happy and unhappy marriage and Spenser's poetry of marital bliss, to argument surrounding men and women's roles in marriage in the poetry and pamphlets of Milton and his contemporaries, we will also go in search of the personal accounts of women and men's experiences of marriage and its breakdown and the material artefacts which are testament to them.

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This module examines the relationship between global capitalism and the novel since the 1980s. By arguing for the centrality of capital and class in the understanding of contemporary post-colonial literature, it reveals how a vibrant global realism has emerged that speaks to the new urban realities of massive rural migration to the city, exploding slum life, and more polarized class inequalities in the global South. It will explore how neoliberal globalization both makes possible and is critiqued by new realist narratives of abjection and resistance from across the global South, especially from India, Nigeria, South Africa, Martinique, Chile, and Egypt.

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This module explores the Gothic from its eighteenth-century origins to its present-day incarnations, examining in particular the conventions that have allowed this diverse and evolving genre to remain at once relevant and recognisable. The course focuses on the elements of terror, hauntings and transgressions and how these conventions are deployed and reworked by writers in key literary and historical moments in the genre's development, such as at the end of the end of the eighteenth century, the fin de siècle, post-war America and the millennium. It asks students to consider the Gothic within the social, political and cultural contexts that inform the novel’s various concerns about gender, sexuality, race, class and the law. There will be a strong emphasis on examining and exploring the theoretical discourses underpinning the shifts and developments in the major critical debates and trends. Students will be encouraged to relate textual and critical analysis to topics such as aesthetics, popular culture and literature, religion, social and political history as well as contemporary concerns such as marginalization, queer identity, the body and immigration. The module will demonstrate the ongoing significance of the Gothic as an experimental and evolving form that functions as a vehicle for political and social critiques and, as such, relates to concerns central to the study of undergraduate English and American literature.

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The module provides students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of the important medieval genre of hagiography, and to place it within changing contexts of scholarly reception. While the main focus will be upon written saints' lives, students will also be encouraged to consider visual and material evidence (wall paintings, stained glass, manuscript illustrations, the cult of relics). Materials from across Europe (where written, in translation) may be studied for comparative purposes. The module will be structured around a series of themes, which might include: local (Kentish) saints; gender; miracle-working; and patronage. These may vary from year to year.

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If the Bildungsroman has been criticised for being outmoded and conservative, how do contemporary writers interrogate and expand its scope and importance? Are coming-of-age narratives merely private stories or can they be read in ways which highlight their social functions, and what kind of theoretical, aesthetic and cultural perspectives can we apply to scrutinise these functions? This module will bring together a range of texts and films from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that can be read within and against the literary tradition of the Bildungsroman or the coming-of-age narrative. Drawing on material from the US, the Caribbean, Asia and Europe, we will spend time analysing the representation of the coming-of-age experience in terms of content and form and assess the ideological functions of the Bildungsroman in a cross-cultural context. Particular attention will be given to questions of racial and ethnic identity, migration, colonialism, memory, trauma, belonging and sexuality. We will also explore the connection of the Bildungsroman with genres such as autobiography, family memoir, young adult fiction, graphic novel, and film. Writers studied in this module include Richard Wright, Jamaica Kincaid, Sandra Cisneros, Sherman Alexie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Marjane Satrapi, and we will watch films including My Beautiful Laundrette and Bend it Like Beckham.

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Teaching and assessment

Art History modules include weekly lectures and small group seminars; a distinctive feature is that many modules involve visits to London galleries, overseas visits to museums and other out-of-classroom activities. Helping students to acquire independence of thought and the skills of autonomous study are central to our teaching ethos.

All Art History modules are assessed by coursework – essays, presentations, image or text analyses and other module-related activities. This approach to assessment helps you to develop an in-depth knowledge of topics within modules that are most interesting and relevant to your study, and to acquire a wide range of generic and transferable skills.

English and American literature modules are taught by weekly seminars. Compulsory modules include a weekly lecture, with individual supervision offered for the Long Essay. Assessment at Stage 1 is by a mixture of coursework and examination. Some modules may include an optional practical element.

Our programmes emphasise a close working relationship with students. The academic adviser system ensures that all of our students have access to a designated tutor for pastoral support and academic guidance throughout their time at Kent.

Programme aims

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

Careers

At Kent, we take the commitment to supporting and preparing our students for life after university very seriously. A degree in Art History enables you to explore the history, meaning and nature of the visual arts, while also providing the skills for a career in the arts industries and elsewhere.

Career options include museum curation, options in heritage and tourism, working as an archivist and art historian; art librarianship; arts shipping and insurance; arts therapy; auctioneering; craft studio workshop management; community arts/project development work; art dealing and brokerage; gallery work; heritage management; independent curation/art consulting; journalism; picture/provenance researching and photography.

You have the opportunity to undertake an internship and we offer all our students support with their CVs and personal statements. In this way, the degree offers both a strong grounding in the foundations of art historical study and an expansive approach to developing career skills.

English and Amercian Literature graduates have gone into: journalism, broadcasting and media, publishing, writing and teaching; more general areas such as banking, marketing analysis and project management; or on to further study for postgraduate qualifications.

Independent rankings

For graduate prospects, History of Art at Kent was ranked 9th in The Complete University Guide 2018.

For graduate prospects, English and Creative Writing at Kent was ranked 15th in The Guardian University Guide 2018.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

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

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

New GCSE grades

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

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

BBB including English Literature or English language and Literature at grade B

Access to HE Diploma

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

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

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

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

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 15 points at HL. HL English A1/A2/B at 5/6/6

International students

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

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

Meet our staff in your country

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

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

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

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Fees

The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £15200
Part-time £4625 £7600

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

For 2018/19 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,385

Fees for Year Abroad

UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2018/19 academic year pay £1,385 for that year. 

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

Additional costs

There may be some additional costs related to the subjects studied in this programme. Please see the Additional costs section for each subject below. Please note that these may vary depending on your specific module selection:

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. 

For 2018/19 entry, the scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

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

Full-time

Part-time

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

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

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