Cultural Studies

The following modules are available to incoming Study Abroad students interested in Cultural Studies.

Alternatively you may return to the complete list of Study Abroad Subject Areas.

DELC211: Understanding culture

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits

Course Description

'Understanding Culture' aims to give you a background to and insight into the diversity of twentieth and twenty-first century thought and contemporary definitions of culture. Some key questions we explore on the module include: What is 'culture' and how does it work? How do 'art' and 'culture' relate to each other? What do we mean when we talk about the production and consumption of culture? Why does popular culture arouse conflicting responses? What role does the body play in our understanding of culture? How does culture define who we are? Can a work of culture be an act of resistance? With these questions in mind, this module focuses on texts which raise questions about class, race, gender, and subcultures.

Educational Aims

  • give students the necessary background and introduction to major twentieth century approaches to culture
  • equip students with a theoretical and historical framework for understanding and analysing various cultural phenomena
  • strengthen the notion of the diversity of thought and culture by drawing on essential texts by a variety of thinkers
  • provide students with opportunities to read about and reflect upon different approaches to culture
  • promote their understanding of these approaches as well as their ability to present their own interpretations

Outline Syllabus

  • week 1. What do we mean by culture? Terry Eagleton's 'Versions of Culture' and Raymond Williams, Keywords: 'Culture'
  • week 2.  How is culture produced? Theodor Adorno's 'The Culture Industry'
  • week 3. The question of class. Matthew Arnold's Culture and Anarchy, and Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto
  • week 4. Class: A reading of Gosford Park (2001) dir. Robert Altman
  • week 5. Gender and Femininity. Helene Cixous, 'Where is She?'
  • week 6. Gender and cross dressing: Garber, 'Clothes make the Man'
  • week 7. Race and power. Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
  • week 8. Racism. Judith Butler, Schematic Racism and White Paranoia
  • week 9. Subcultures. Dick Hebdige, Subcultures
  • week 10. Counterculture: Naomi Klein, 'No Logo'

 Language: This module is taught in English and all texts are available in English

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

DELC212: Society on Screen: The Language of Film

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits

Course Description

How do films deal with topics like terrorism, immigration, resistance and gender? Do they entertain viewers, instruct them, or both? In what ways do cinematic techniques play a part? This module explores connections between European and Latin American films and their socio-historical contexts. It also considers form and technique: the language of film. To these ends, there will be introductory lectures on cinema and society and on film aesthetics and content in the first week of the module. During the remainder of the module, the connections mentioned will be the focus of seminars and presentations within the four core topic areas: terrorism, migration, resistance, gender.

Educational Aims

Students view and discuss modern European and Latin American films which highlight the core topics. Lectures will situate the films in terms of the social and historical context of the period and countries in which they were made. Terrorism, migration, the city and resistance are differently manifested in each of the countries studied. The course will explore the relationship between cinema, such issues and their representation. Students will acquire a broad understanding of  cinema of the period (1960s-present) together with an ability to analyse, contextualise and compare varying cinematic representations of a number of themes.

Outline Syllabus

The module consists of four two-week strands on cinema and society: Terrorism, Migration, Resistance and Gender. Each strand will be introduced with a lecture and followed by seminars on the set films.  Students will give a presentation on a short sequence within their allocated film.

Introductory Lectures (Cinema and Society; Forms and Contents)

Case Study Film (CSF) for Clip Analysis in Exam (subject to change): Land and Freedom (Ken Loach, 1995)

Terrorism

  • The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (Volker Schlöndorff, 1975)
  • Good Morning, Night  (Marco Bellochio, 2003)  

Migration 

  • The North (Gregory Nava and Anna Thomas, 1984)
  • Blame it on Fidel (Julie Gavras, 2006)

Gender

  • Tony Manero (Pablo Larraín, 2008)
  • Ma vie en rose (Alain Berliner, 1997)

Resistance

  • Mephisto (István Szabó, 1981)
  • The Last Metro (François Truffaut, 1980)

Comparative Dimensions (Workshops)

Note that each separate strand (4 hours) will consist of two weeks of study of two films. In each two-week strand, there will be: i) an introductory lecture on each of the themes (1 hour), a general  seminar on each film (1 hour), a second lecture concentrating on form in the film (1 hour) plus a fourth hour dedicated to student presentations (1 hour).   

Language: This module is taught in English. All films are available with subtitles and the most important critical works for each film are also in English.

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay(s): 30%
  • Presentation: 10%
  • Exam: 60%

DELC214: Economic and Social Change in France, Germany and Spain since 1945

  • Terms Taught: Lent/Summer Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits

Course Description

This module explores how post-war economic change has affected European societies, and how socio-political factors in turn have influenced the patterns and outcomes of economic development, over the second half of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty first century. It compares and contrasts the routes to post-war economic and social change of three core European countries, namely France, Germany and Spain. In spite of their differences (stage of socio-economic development; extent of damage during the war; political context; different impact of international dynamics, etc.), the three countries provide a matrix for understanding how generic challenges shaped the post-war European economic and social parameters. The module will also integrate the analysis of developments in Spain within the wider debate on southern 'modernisation' and EC/EU integration.

The module thus sets economic activity and policy-making in their wider context, and reflects on the complex interaction between economic and social change. The period from the end of the Second World War to approximately the present day is covered, but rather than attempt a generic historical survey, the module is structured on the basis of three country-specific modules (one per country), examining how these countries have confronted key moments of economic change, and what the longer-term consequences of that change have been. While the module emphasis is on broad national developments, discussion also covers examples relating to particular industries and major companies. Lectures consider the context of reconstruction and the pattern of subsequent economic development; the relationship between social and economic policies; the development of the three country's economies; the changes of the 1980s and their impact on subsequent years; and the consequences of specific momentous events, such as the re-unification of Germany and how the financial crisis of 2008 affected, and still affects, France, Germany and Spain.

Educational Aims

The module aims to

  •  introduce students to recent historical events and political developments that have determined the character of France, Germany and Spain's relationship with Europe
  • explain and illustrate the interaction between politics, economics, culture and everyday life in France, Germany and Spain in so far as these have been affected by the three countries' membership of the EU and by the Union's changing structure and priorities
  • demonstrate the effects of this interaction in four specific domains of national life (‘themes') in the three countries
  • familiarise students with sufficient factual and statistical information to understand the interrelationship of European policy and national interests.

Outline Syllabus

  • The module is team-taught and students are actively involved with group presentations and case studies.
  • Language: This module is taught in English and all texts are normally available in English.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

DELC215: Language and Identity in France, Germany and Spain

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits

Course Description

This module will introduce second-year students to the role that the language used by institutions plays in shaping individual perceptions of identity. It will provide them with a basic theoretical framework that allows them to understand the relationship between language and power as reflected in current language policies at regional, national, and supranational levels. It will enable them to recognise forms of prestige and stigma associated with varieties of the three main languages under study. It will therefore raise critical awareness of the portrayal and representation of linguistic variations in the media and in the sphere of literature.

Educational Aims

This module aims to:

  • Familiarise students with the linguistic realities of France, Germany and Spain.
  • Introduce them to country-specific materials and provide them with a better understanding of regional and social variation.
  • Provide students with a theoretical framework that allows them to understand discourses of power that revolve around the concept of nation.
  • Increase their awareness of languages as instruments of social prestige and identity formation.
  • Enable students to make cross-country comparisons involving three major national identities in Europe.
  •  Develop their critical perception of linguistic variation within their home country, and of the role of the media, films and literature in portraying national and sub-national identities.

Outline Syllabus

Topics to include:

  • Language and Power: An Introduction
  • Language, Nation and Standard: An Introduction.
  • European language policies
  • German as a pluricentric language
  • ‘Gastarbeiter’ language and policies
  • An Overview of the linguistic Situation of France: Regional Variations
  • Linguistic Diversity: A threat to French National Identity?
  • The languages of Spain (Castilian Spanish, Catalan, Basque, Galician).
  • Language attitudes in Spain
  • Conclusion: Central and peripheral identities. Interpreting and participating in discourses of power and powerlessness, of subversion and conformity.

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay(s): 30%
  • Written Assessment: 10%
  • Exam: 60%

DELC337: Mirrors across Media: Reflexivity in Literature, Film, Comics and Video Games

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits

Course Description

How do fictions in literature, film, comics, or video games speak about themselves, and why? What happens when characters meet their author or walk off the screen? What happens when a film makes it obvious that it is ‘just’ a film, or a play that it is ‘just’ play? This module explores the manifestations of self-consciousness in arts and popular culture across languages from the Baroque to the contemporary period. 

The original materials are in French, Spanish, German, Italian, or English, and you will be encouraged to read in the original for your specialist language(s), but everything is also available in English translation.

Educational Aims

The aim of this module is to:

  • familiarize students with the key concepts and theoretical issues related to self-reflexivity in art and culture
  • introduce students to the broad history and significance of self-reflexive phenomena in Western culture, both ‘high’ and popular
  • introduce students to a variety of forms of manifestation of self-reflexivity in different media, historical periods, and cultural contexts

Outline Syllabus

The module consists of a combination of weekly lectures and seminars.

The lectures will introduce you to the broad lines of the history of self-reflexive phenomena in Western culture from Renaissance paintings through Baroque literature to the boom of metafiction, metafilm, and metagames in contemporary popular culture.

At the same time, you will learn key concepts such as immersion, the fourth wall and its breaking, metafiction and metanarration, narrative levels, metalepsis, and the way these function in different forms of art.

The seminar discussions will then invite you to put these concepts into practice in the analyses of narrative fiction, films, comics, or a video game. 

Typical topics in any given year might include classics of metafiction in literature (Cervantes, Sterne, Fielding, Diderot, Unamuno, Borges, Calvino, Pirandello, Queneau, Roubaud), film (Charlie Kaufman, Almodóvar, Woody Allen, Marc Forster), comics (Philemon, Animal man, the works of Marc-Antoine Mathieu), and interactive game (The Stanley Parable).

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay(s): 25%
  • Presentation (Assessed): 15%
  • Exam: 60%

DELC344: Contemporary Cities in Literature and Film

  • Terms Taught: Lent/Summer Terms only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits

Course Description

This course draws on film and literature to introduce students to major themes that shape the experience of contemporary city dwellers: gender, social inequality, and practices of citizenship. These - interlinking - themes will be introduced through novels, poetry and films on the following European, North American and Latin American cities: New York, Mexico City, Santiago de Chile, Barcelona, Berlin, and Los Angeles. In the case of the North American cities, emphasis will be placed on immigrant communities within them.

Educational Aims

By comparing the representations of cities from various cultural and national contexts, the course aims to

  • explore aspects of everyday life and the conditions that shape it, such as gender and sexuality, youth and neighbourhood culture, social inequality, practices of citizenship, and the response of city dwellers to their environments.
  • familiarise student through seminars and lectures with the methodology useful for an analysis of urban culture and its representations.
  • conduct independent research around cities by exploiting library and internet resources

Outline Syllabus

Each theme of the course will be explored in three weeks. In the first week, the theme will be introduced through a lecture and a core text, which will be studied by all students. In the second week, students choose one of the optional texts. The tutor will work with students in a workshop-format. In the third week, students will share their findings among each other, with an emphasis on identifying links between the thematic areas studied on the course, and with the aim to encourage discussion within the group.

The format of the course encourages cross-referencing between the themes of the course (for example, gender and sexuality are relevant to an analysis of social inequality, and vice versa).

Texts studied may vary, but will typically include as core texts excerpts from Paco Ignacio Taibo II/Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, The Uncomfortable Dead, the short novelCalling All Heroes: A Manual for Taking Power by Paco Ignacio Taibo II, excerpts from Esmeralda Santiago's autobiography Almost a Woman and selected performed poems by Willie Perdomo, and Alicia Scherson's film Play; as well as the films BarrioLola and BilikidLa ZonaPrincesasBread and RosesSquat! The City is Ours.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

DELC345: Francophone Voices: Literature and Film from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Canada

  • Terms Taught: Lent and Summer Terms only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits

Course Description

This module will provide you with an overview of the range of literature and culture produced in French-speaking countries around the world. We will study a selection of texts and films from Sub-Saharan Africa, the French Caribbean and French Canada to better understand the various relationships between France and these different parts of the Francophone world.

Through close textual analysis of a selection of novels and films, we will identify and discuss themes, language and style, considering a number of issues addressed by writers and film-makers in relation to issues of identity, gender, culture, history, and representation itself. Exploration of la Francophonie, the French mission civilisatrice, and relationships between contemporary France and her former colonies will provide context for our study of these novels and films. Our discussions will be informed by the work of thinkers including Franz Fanon and Edward Said.

Language: The module is taught in English and all texts are available in English translation.

Educational Aims

DELC345 aims to:

  • Provide you with an overview of literature from the francophone world
  • Enable you to analyse significant literary and critical works in this field
  • Trace the development of francophone literature from its roots in colonial experience to expressions of disillusionment in the aftermath of official decolonisation
  • Examine the changing relationship between France and her former colonies, with particular attention to the ways in which writers highlight and challenge polarities of Self and Other that continue to define this relationship
  • Provoke discussion of colonial and postcolonial conceptions of language, identity, gender, culture, history, and literature itself
  • Explore a range of appropriate critical tools with which to analyse the work of these writers

Outline Syllabus

Core texts:

  • Marie-Claire Blais, Une saison dans la vie d'Emmanuel (1965)
  • Maryse Cond, Traverse de la Mangrove (1989)
  • Ferdinand Oyono, Une vie de boy (1956)
  • Ousmane Sembne, Les Bouts de bois de Dieu (1960)
  • Jean-Marc Valle, C.R.A.Z.Y (film available to view in the Resource Centre)
  • Frederick Cooper, Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History (2005)
  • Patrick Corcoran, The Cambridge Introduction to Francophone Literature (2007)
  • Frantz Fanon, Peau noire, masques blancs (1952)
  • Edward Said, Orientalism (1978)

Language: This module is taught in English and all texts are available in English 

Assessment Proportions

  • Assessed seminar presentation: 10%
  • 2500 word essay: 30%
  • Exam: 60%

DELC351: Literature and Fame in Contemporary Germany

  • Terms Taught: Lent/Summer Terms only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS

Course Description

What’s it like to be a famous author in today's media-driven world? This module examines the different cultural and political expectations placed on high-profile German authors from the 1960s to the present. It analyses a range of sources from press-cuttings (both the gutter press and intellectual weeklies) to the internet. Alongside these, it considers the different strategies developed by well-known authors for responding to this interest in both their private personae and their public function. Discussion will focus on the strategies of self-presentation they have developed: in the spheres of the media and in their writing. The module examines relevant theories of media and literary communication (dealing with ideas of fame and cultural capital) and develops a methodological framework to underpin our critical analysis of the authors and their work.

Language: This module is taught in English, but most texts are only available in German, so a working knowledge of the language is required.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • discuss fame as a critical concept in the post-war German realm;
  • discuss authorship as a critical concept in the post-war German realm;
  • analyse how key post-war German-language authors have dealt with their fame and the concept of fame more generally;
  • discuss the wider context in which literary celebrity exists in Germany and explain how this context has changed over the last fifty years.
  • engage at an in-depth level with a range of contemporary German literary texts;
  • engage at an in-depth level with a range of critical theory
  • construct detailed arguments about literary texts that allow for historical change
  • conceptualise authorship

Outline Syllabus

Indicative syllabus:

  • Wk 1: The Gruppe 47 and the Author as Media Event
  • Wks 2/3: Elfriede Jelinek and the Author as Fetish Böll-prize speech, 1983; Nobel prize speech, 2007
  • Wks 4/5: Günter Grass and the Author as Nobel Winner Im Krebsgang (Crabwalk, 2002)
  • Wks 6/7: Daniel Kehlmann and the Author as Shooting Star Die Vermessung der Welt (Measuring the World, 2005); Ruhm (2009)
  • Wks 8/9: Herta Müller and the Author as Contested National Celebrity Cristina und ihre Attrappe; Nobel prize speech
  • Wk 10: Revision

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework 40%
  • Exam 60%

DELC352: Images of Austria: National Identity and Cultural Representation

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: Language: this module is taught in English, but since primary texts are in German, a good level of German is required  

Course Description

Is Austrian national identity really best understood by listening to Mozart, watching The Sound of Music, or holidaying in the Alps?This module examines Austrian national identity as manifested and debated in cultural representations. Against a backdrop of post-war Austrian history, you will analyse ways in which texts and cultural phenomena endorse, promote, or criticise and undercut accepted notions of Austrian identity. The module will familiarise you with a range of what might be called ‘flashpoints’ in the history of the Second Republic – spanning its baptism as the ‘first victim of Hitlerite aggression’ in 1943, to its international pariah status following the 2000 coalition government with an extreme right political party.

Educational Aims

  • Students will have acquired outline factual knowledge and understanding of Austrian postwar politics, culture and society. 
  • They will have studied a number of representative cultural 'texts' in more detail and have developed an understanding of how these represent, criticise, or simply help to construct particular dimensions of Austrian national identity and history. 
  • In addition to engaging with cultural material as manifestations of a national identity, students will continue to apply traditional critical tools of interpretation. 
  • A further group of learning outcomes will therefore include the assimilation of secondary source materials, the development of appropriate research skills and the practice of oral and written communication skills.

Outline Syllabus

This module examines Austrian national identity as manifested and debated in cultural representations. Students will analyse ways in which texts and cultural phenomena present and critique accepted notions of Austrian identity. Material will be considered for its intervention in key debates in Austrian history and will be drawn from the following media: drama, essay and journalistic articles, as well as websites and secondary literature on topics such as sport, food, music, and Austrian German. 

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay(s): 30%
  • Presentation (Assessed): 10%
  • Exam: 60%

DELC364: Latin America and Spain on Film: Violence and Masculinities

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits

Course Description

Violence is a consistent feature of the cinemas of Spain and Latin America. The vast majority of violent acts in Latin American and Spanish films are carried out by men, raising specific concerns about the representation of links between men and violence on film. This module looks at key motifs as well as broader themes such as the absent patriarch and depictions of the male body. Students will examine representations of different kinds of violence, including structural, psychological and political violence. You will be expected to discuss the connections made between these and the masculinities with which they are associated. To this end, theoretical support will be given throughout towards current ideas about masculinities and violence in both sociology and cultural studies. 

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to...

  • contextualise Spanish and Latin American films by placing them in their appropriate historical settings and by understanding the relationship between those historical settings and the films concerned. 
  • apply their historical contextualisation with an understanding of theories of violence and masculinities.   
  • analyse these films with due reference to the cinematic contexts for each country (eg. censorship, strength of film industry, availability and sources of capital etc.), using appropriate film terminology and critically engaging with existing interpretations of the corpus of films 
  • present material on film, learning to juggle effectively stills, secondary sources, dialogue and their own analyses.  
  • examine cultural products or texts in socio-historical contexts 

Outline Syllabus

The module will consist of two introductory weeks, the first consisting of two lectures on the main themes of the module, the second a case study of a film by a Spanish director on street violence amongst children in Mexico City (Los olvidados).

There will then be 8 weeks of study of four separate strands, each strand consisting of two weeks study of two films. The strands are:

  • Structural Violence,
  • Crash Cinemas,
  • Gender Violence,
  • Boys and Men.

The second hour of the second week of each strand will consist of presentations by students either individually, in pairs or in groups of three. The films are in Spanish or Portuguese with English subtitles. The vast majority of secondary texts are in English and the teaching is also in English. 

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay(s): 30%
  • Presentation (Assessed): 10%
  • Exam: 60%

DELC365: Game of (Spanish) Thrones: Treachery, War and Exile in Spanish Poetry (13th-20th c.)

  • Terms Taught: Lent/Summer Terms only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS

Course Description

This final year module will be driven by the comparison of masterpieces of Spanish poetry from the 13th to the 20th century with the events of a current TV show, Game of Thrones (HBO), which in turn is based on George R. R. Martin's contemporary epic fantasy narrative, Song of Ice and Fire. The purpose of this comparison is to consider how some patterns and stereotypes related to the past, some of which are achieving success in both the TV show and the contemporary novels by Martin, have also been responsible for the success of a number of works that today are considered as classics of Spanish poetry. Students need not have watched Game of Thrones previously, nor have read Martin’s novels. Time will be dedicated in class to explaining the visual elements of this show and considering how these must be compared with the assigned readings.

The outline below gives the general parameters of the material to be covered, indicating texts and secondary sources that students are required to read each week. Articles and texts for this module will be provided by the module tutor via Moodle. Students will engage in the study of the socio-historical events and features of Spanish society, as well as the literary mechanisms of each one of the texts. It is essential to understand the dynamic of these events in order to better understand the texts we shall read during this module.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Identify historically and culturally significant influences on Spain
  • Describe past and current political and social problems of Spain
  • Analyse poetic works in depth
  • Understand the cultural, social and historical context of the literary works and periods studied
  • Be aware of the profound transformations of Spanish culture and their impact in Spanish poetry
  • Achieve the knowledge and skills needed in order to analyse Spanish worldview in comparison and contrast with their own

Outline Syllabus

Topics and texts may include:

Week 1

  • 1.1.- Introduction to the Module: A Quick Survey of Works and Authors (Gómez Moreno, “Literatura española”)
  • 1.2- How to Analyse Spanish Poetry: Verses, Stanzas and Rhymes (Perea Rodríguez, “Literary Analysis”)

Week 2

  • 2.1.- Treachery to Lord Stark: The Legend of La Cava and Count Don Julián (Alfonso X, Estoria de España)
  • 2.2.- Text: Romance de La Cava

Week 3

  • 3.1.- The Hand of the King has been Beheaded: Álvaro de Luna and his fate (Perea Rodríguez, “Álvaro de Luna”)
  • 3.2.- Text: Coplas de la muerte de su padre, by Jorge Manrique

Week 4

  • 4.1.- Medieval Minstrels’ Dangerous Life: Hernando de Vera’s Poem against King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella (Perea Rodríguez “Conversos en los cancioneros” 204-10)
  • 4.2.- Text: Coplas del tabefe (Anonymous)

Week 5

  • 5.1.- “I’m no lady”: Brienne of Tarth’s Sword and Saint Teresa’s Pen (Ramos López, “Mysticism as a Key Concept”)
  • 5.2.- Text: Santa Teresa de Jesús, “Vivo sin vivir en mí”

Week 6

  • 6.1.- Winterfell Has Been Taken! The Fall of the Spanish Empire (Rodríguez Rodríguez, “Observaciones a la poesía de Quevedo”)
  • 6.2.- Text: Francisco de Quevedo, “Miré los muros de la patria mía”

Week 7

  • 7.1.- The World Beyond the Wall: John Snow and Federico García Lorca (Alonso, “Lorca’s Life in New York”)
  • 7.2.- Text: García Lorca, “La aurora de Nueva York”

Week 8

  • 8.1.- Special workshop: How to write a good essay
  • 8.2.- Peer-to-Peer Review Session

Week 9

  • 9.1.- What’s So Civil About War Anyway?: Medieval Westeros and Contemporary Spain (Perea Rodríguez, “Cultural Approach to the Spanish Civil War”)
  • 9.2.- Text: Miguel Hernández, “Para la libertad”

Week 10

  • 10.1.- The Winding Road of Exile (Ugarte, Shifting Ground, 78-95)
  • 10.2.- Text: Antonio Machado, “Proverbios y cantares”

Assessment Proportions

  • Discussion Forum: 10%
  • Essay: 30%

  • Exam: 60%

FREN233: Shaping Contemporary France: Culture, Politics and the Legacy of History

  • Terms Taught: Full Year module
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ETCS credits

Course Description

This module is designed to help students deepen their understanding of the culture, history and politics of the contexts in which French is spoken. It will provide an overview of key aspects of French culture and will introduce students to influential thinkers and cultural products (films, novels, poetry) and invite reflection on how contemporary France has been shaped by its past.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • read fluently and understand a variety of French texts
  • show understanding of the major political, social and cultural events of French history, and their significance in relation to contemporary French, Francophone and European culture
  • demonstrate awareness of how social, political and cultural factors have interacted in the module of French history, shaping contemporary French society
  • demonstrate the capacity to synthesise, analyse and present, orally and in writing, in relation to France, Europe and the Francophone world
  • demonstrate the ability to apply what they have learned to the analysis of texts other than the ones that form an integral part of the module (e.g. texts studied in DELC option modules)

Outline Syllabus

This module is divided into four topic areas comprising of the following: 

  • Language and linguistic heritage- this topic covers the evolution of French language from a dialect to a national language, explains the relationship between written and spoken language, and shows language variety: argot, verlan and francophonie
  • Urban Space - This topic explains how the Situationists, Dadaists, Surrealists, Le Corbusier and Henri Lefebvre influenced urbanism.

  • Education - This topic covers the development of education in France and the Francophone world, and the challenges facing the contemporary French education system.

  • Digital space – This topic focuses on the impact of digital technology on French society in the context of a globalised world.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

GERM233: Becoming German: Post-War German-language, Culture and Identities

  • Terms Taught: Full Year module
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits

Course Description

This module explores selected aspects of modern German identity-formation through different kinds of text. Each of the four themes focuses on a specific topic and a specific text-type; each set of texts will be located in their social and historical contexts. The timeframe is predominantly twentieth/twenty-first century. Occasionally, themes can take us back to the late eighteenth or nineteenth century to explore some of the roots of contemporary German identity. Lectures and seminars will be mainly conducted in English. Texts will be studied in German as far as possible but will also be available in English translation, where necessary. Detailed language work on text extracts will also be incorporated into GERM 200/201 and GERM 200i/201i. 

Educational Aims

The module aims to:

  • develop students' knowledge and understanding of the written and spoken German language
  • provide students with an insight into some of the major social and cultural factors shaping the development of German identity (collective and individual) over the last century
  • introduce students to key concepts and methods in the interpretation of different kinds of text in their socio-historical context
  • develop students' capacity to reflect on the relationship between present-day Germany and its recent past

Outline Syllabus

What has it meant to be German since the country was left in ruins at the end of World War II? Introducing students to key debates about the country's fascist past, East-West relations, and the changing understanding of gender roles from the 1950s to the present, this module is designed to help deepen students understanding of the contemporary German-speaking world while systematically enhancing their skills of cultural analysis in diverse media. The module will introduce students to the prose fiction of two highly controversial Nobel laureates, Günter Grass and Elfriede Jelinek, as well as exploring ways of analysing newspaper texts, popular ballads, short stories, and film. The texts we will study are united by their common concern with the identity issues raised by the fast-changing society in which they are set, and they use a fascinating array of techniques to provoke, challenge, and entertain. The main aim of the module is twofold: to build students reading knowledge of German while giving them a flavour of the rich cultural output that has defined the German-speaking realm over the past sixty years.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

HIST290: Culture and Society in England, 1500-1750

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Terms only  
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits    
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits  
  • Pre-requisites: Has previously taken a History module  

Course Description

The period from around 1500 to 1750 saw enormous change. The population of England and Wales nearly doubled, leading to inflation and poverty as well as commercial expansion. Urbanization increased, spectacularly so in the case of London, which grew to become by 1700 the largest capital in Europe. At the same time literacy and education developed and a print culture rapidly expanded. This was a period of religious reformation, which affected not only the lives of individuals but the culture of governance and the fabric of local communities.

By the end of the period, England had emerged from being a backwater state to a rising world power, which brought about a new set of cultural and social challenges. Hierarchies of gender and status, however, remained pervasive throughout, and in some ways became even more pronounced. The module examines these central themes during a very important and formative period in English history.

Educational Aims

The module aims to teach students about an important period in English history and come to grips with central arguments concerning historical change and continuity. It aims to introduce them to an array of themes in cultural, social, and economic history and to equip them with the means to assess critically historical arguments. By focusing on particular themes, and on the relations between them, students will acquire not only a broad understanding but also sharpen their comparative, analytical, and critical subject skills. The module will encourage students to read broadly and engage with secondary and primary sources, including textual sources (diary extracts, legal records, or literary works) and pictorial evidence. Deep engagement with the history of earlier centuries will also give students a better understanding  of the more recent past

Assessment Proportions

  • 60% - exam
  • 40% - coursework

LEC.224: Globalizing Food: A Field Course of Food Politics and Culture in Paris

  • Terms Taught: Weeks 2-5 Lent term and Easter vacation
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: LEC.114 and LEC.115

Course Description

This field module takes students to the historical European city of Paris where we investigate the social, political and environmental impacts which are globalizing food. Students engage in a geographic inquiry into the temporal and spatial links between production and consumption and discover how food, culture and politics are interwoven into daily life and that of the dinner table.

The module will allow you to build on and apply conceptual skills acquired from LEC.114 Society and Space, LEC.210 Geographical Skills and Concepts, LEC.218 Development, Geography and the Majority World and will prepare you for the third year modules, LEC.329 Global Consumption and LEC.331 Food and Agriculture in the 21st century. Some of the skills you will acquire can be used for the methods that you might use for the data collection for your dissertation.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Recognize the economic, cultural, political and culinary complexity of Paris as a result of the layering of historical, local and global influences.
  • Illustrate the relevance of doing first hand observation and interviews to formulate a critical understanding of the political, socio-economic and cultural context.
  • Demonstrate the ability to synthesise culinary history, current food trends and link it to contemporary economic, social, and food policies.
  • Appraise the relevance of selected theoretical approaches to global and local food regimes for the analysis of web based material, literature and data collected during the field excursion.
  • Conduct interviews, observations, debates, group discussions and presentations.
  • Demonstrate reflective skills in both written and oral presentations.
  • Develop a strong critical argument based on evidence (academic literature, web based material, observations and interviews).

Outline Syllabus

Pre-Field Excursion Seminars

There will be 4 x 2 hour seminars during the Lent Term before the residential field component of the module. Each of these will have a different purpose.

  • Session 1: General orientation seminar and introduction to the history of urban culinary traditions and ‘globalizing food’ concept and theories; overview of main course concepts. Some issues we will cover include (non-exhaustive):
  1. Fast food versus slow food
  2. Capitals of cultural accumulation - how Paris has become a focus point of cultural diffusion
  3. Commodity chains of production and consumption
  4. Regionalization and cultural protectionism
  5. Genetic modification of food
  6. Green economies
  • Session 2: Introduction to the global economy, and French and EU agriculture. This will take a cultural and political ecological approach
  • Session 3: Theoretical framing (materialism and cultural theory)
  • Session 4: Basic language and cultural sensitivity training; methods to be used in the course

Paris Field Excursion

This seven-day field excursion will include visits to urban food settings (e.g. meat, fruit and vegetable markets); industrial food production sites (e.g. cold chain storage, dairy/cheese processing), and ethnic foodstands. We will conduct qualitative research with different actors in selected sites. We will also visit a regional viticulturalist outside Paris. In Paris we will meet and discuss labour issues with migrant workers and union associations for fruit and vegetable growers.  Each day will start with a short lecture which outlines the day’s theme and learning objectives. These lectures will be hosted by host-country scholars and by LEC's academic staff.

Assessment Proportions

  • 100% coursework

LICA250: Documentary Cultures

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.

Course Description

The course traces the broad impact that documentary cinema has had on contemporary culture, examining a variety of documentary forms from the origins of cinema to the present.  Assessment is by essays and class presentations.

Educational Aims

To successfully complete this course you must be able to demonstrate:

  • knowledge of documentary aesthetics, conventions and characteristic modes of address in documentary film;
  • the ability to apply realist and other critical theory to the analysis and evaluation of documentary texts;
  • a clear understanding of the context of documentary production and the ethical, institutional and technological considerations that inform it;
  • fluency and skill in the research, planning and presentation of ideas in both academic writing and verbal presentation.
  • a critical understanding of key theoretical readings and films in relation to documentary film.?Demonstrate an understanding of the aesthetic, social, cultural and ethical contexts which inform documentary film.

Outline Syllabus

Indicative module content:

  1. What is Documentary?
  2. Performative Documentary
  3. Observational Cinema
  4. Political and Social Rhetoric in Documentary
  5. Documenting History
  6. Fake Documentary
  7. Documentary and the archive
  8. Art and Documentary: intersections
  9. Documentary and portraiture
  10. Subjective documentary

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

MCS.101: Introduction to Media and Cultural Studies

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term only.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 10 Semester Credits
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 6 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 20 ECTS Credits
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 12 ECTS Credits

Course Description

You will consider competing definitions of the terms ‘culture’ and ‘media’, engage with a wide range of academic writings on culture and media, and analyse a diverse range of cultural material from different media: television, films, photography, newspapers and magazines, video games and the world wide web.  You will explore the ways in which our identities, aspirations, beliefs and value systems are shaped by the cultural environment in which we live.

Educational Aims

Specific aims include enabling students to:

  • Be able to identify and explore a range of theoretical approaches to the study of culture, media and communication
  • Employ key theoretical and critical approaches in the analysis of various media texts, particularly visual  and popular cultural texts
  • Develop analytical and critical skills in relation to theoretical texts and media texts and practices
  • Develop understanding of the audio, visual and verbal conventions through which sounds, images and words make meaning
  • Develop understanding of the ways in which people engage with cultural texts and practices and make meaning from them
  • Develop understanding of the narrative processes, generic forms and modes of representation at work  in media and cultural texts
  • Develop an understanding of the material conditions of media and cultural consumption, and of the cultural contexts in which people appropriate, use and make sense of media and cultural products
  • Develop an awareness of how media products might be understood within broader concepts of culture.
  • Have a critical appreciation of the complexity of the terms culture and media
  • Understand the ways in which identities are constructed and contested through engagements with culture
  • Understand how social divisions play key roles in modes of representation in media texts
  • Have opportunities for the development of a range of transferable skills that include: working as a member of a team; written and oral communication skills; and foundation skills in Audio visual and ICT technique
  • Develop a range of independent research skills, presentation skills and organisational/time management skills

Outline Syllabus

Blocks will present and examine themes such as (indicative content):

  • key perspectives in Media and Cultural Studies (definitions, concepts, themes, examples)
  • popular and everyday cultures
  • visual culture
  • mediation and technology (from mass to digital media)
  • representation, ideology and politics
  • consumer culture
  • resistant cultures and subcultures
  • media audiences
  • embodied cultures
  • fashion and style

In these blocks, students will be introduced to the complex relations between cultural forms and practices, media technologies and constructions of class, gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, national identity, and age.  Students will look at how culture is a domain of contestation and the ways in which media are bound up with asymmetrical forms of power. As part of the programme, students will undertake a group project with the guidance of their seminar tutor, exploring a topic covered on the course involving the production of a cultural artefact (poster, website, photographic collage/album, film etc.).

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 60%
  • Exam: 40%

MCS.224: Media and Visual Culture

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Two semesters of sociology.

Course Description

Everyday life is often described as bombarding us with images, and contemporary culture is therefore frequently understood as a visual culture. But what do such statements actually mean? How far is our culture a visual culture? What role does media play in a visual culture? How is vision linked to practices – including representation, the gaze and embodiment – of power and inequality? In what ways might these practices be challenged or resisted? Does vision only involve seeing, or is visual culture multi-sensory? This course will introduce theories and practices that have addressed these questions.

Educational Aims

The aim of this module is to introduce and examine recent and ongoing themes in Media and Cultural Studies and Sociology.  It will provide students with an opportunity to:

  • compare and contrast competing and complementary critical perspectives on vision and visuality, media and culture;
  • to develop a sophisticated understanding of theories and practices of visual culture;
  • to express, discuss and debate complex ideas and abstractions in a confident and coherent manner; 
  • to develop a sophisticated understanding of studies of visual culture.

Outline Syllabus

This module will cover topics  including:

  • the relationship between vision and knowledge;
  • the gaze and power (eg the gaze as gendered and  raced); 
  • media, representation and identity;
  • technologies of vision;
  • material practices of vision;
  • vision as multi-sensory.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 75%
  • Group montage: 25%

MCS.303: Social Media and Activism

  • Terms Taught: Lent term only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits
  • Pre-requisites: Five semesters of sociology; two may be from cognate disciplines such as anthropology or social psychology.

Course Description

Pro-democracy revolutionaries, internet freedom hackers, feminist mediasmiths, anti-capitalists, anti-corporate globalization activists, racial equality actors, indigenous rights workers, data leakers, and others use the internet to distribute their ideals and organize their social movements. In this fast-paced, participatory, and creative module students will execute their own social movement. This hands-on course invites students to work together and design, implement, and reflect upon their own political campaign. Each week we will discuss social movement theories and student social movement experiences to better understand how social movements form and use communication technologies. Students will interrogate their efforts to make political change through two group presentations, group website creation, group social media use, group video production, and a group-written annual report

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • explain how the basic architecture of the internet and the affordances of social media impact the organization of social movements;
  • understand the role of the nation state in internet policy
  • explain how business expectations for the internet and social media help or hinder the development of social movements.

Outline Syllabus

The module sessions cover the background and overview of the internet as a socio-technical system and looks at some of the tensions and contradictions that structure the cultural and politics of the internet. The module draws on specific, often ethnographically informed, cases of cultures using the internet in forms of political actions.

This module would include weekly topics that draw from the following.

  • Who Built the Internet
  • Hippies Built the Internet
  • Hackers Built the Internet
  • Reinterpreting the History of the Internet
  • Cool Start-Up Work
  • Geographies of the Internet
  • Digital Labour: You are working while you are on Facebook?
  • The Social and Ecological Cost of Convergence
  • Politics or Profit of Platforms
  • What the Internet is Hiding From Us
  • Myth of Digital Democracy
  • Leaks and Spins: WikiLeaks
  • Anonymous and Hackivist
  • The Internet and Arab Spring Revolutions
  • Occupy Movement and Media
  • Pirate Culture, Twitter, Hacktivist, and WikiLeaks

Assessment Proportions

  • Practical 40%
  • Essay 40%
  • Presentation 20%

SOCL209: Consumer Culture and Advertising

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term only.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 8 Semester Credits
  • Pre-requisites: Two semesters of sociology.

Course Description

Consumption and advertising are critical in the understanding of contemporary society – they mediate how we think about ourselves and others and how we form social structures. This course introduces a range of theoretical perspectives on consumer culture and advertising and includes various case studies. Topics include: commodities and exchange; shopping and identity; class and lifestyle; advertising agencies’ gender and advertising images; anti-consumerism and protest.

Educational Aims

Consumer culture and advertising are key to understanding contemporary culture - they mediate how we think about ourselves and others, and form important economic institutions. This unit introduces a range of theoretical perspectives on consumer culture in the Michaelmas term, and advertising in the Lent term, and applies them to case studies of consumption, the advertising industry, advertising texts and broader social  contexts. The course examines the role of consumerism and advertising in cultural change and in shaping identities.

Aims:

  • to introduce a range of sociological perspectives on consumer culture and advertising
  • to introduce methods of analysing advertising
  • to analyse the role of advertising and discourses of consumerism in shaping identities

Outline Syllabus

Consumption and advertising are key to understanding contemporary society ? they mediate how we think about ourselves and others, form social structures, and they organise resources and ideas. This course introduces a range of theoretical perspectives on consumer culture and advertising and includes various case studies.  Topics include: commodities and exchange; shopping and identity; class and lifestyle; advertising agencies' gender and advertising images; anti-consumerism and protest.

Assessment Proportions

  • 2 x 3000 word essays: 50%
  • Analytic exercise: 20%
  • Exam: 30%

SOCL210: Virtual Cultures

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Terms only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Two semesters of sociology.

Course Description

This course explores the question of how information and communications technologies, in their multiple forms, figure in our everyday lives. The aim of the course is to develop an appreciation of the range of experiences affected by digital media, including the progressive expansion of life online and the increasingly intimate relations between life online and offline. We’ll explore global divisions of digital labour; the rise of the military entertainment complex; e-waste; social media, social movements and hactivism. The course will consider the new possibilities that the changing social infrastructure of digital technologies afford, while also learning to look at the rhetoric and practices of the ‘network society’ with a questioning and critical eye. Throughout the course we’ll be attentive to issues of gender, race and other marks of ‘sameness and difference’ as they operate among humans, and between humans and machines.

Educational Aims

This course aims to give students:

  • a better understanding of sociological analysis of information cultures and on-line sociality
  • familiarity with key theoretical debates on cybercultures
  • improved skills in reading and applying various theoretical approaches to information cultures
  • improved skills and confidence in contributing effectively and positively in academic debate.

Outline Syllabus

The course has four parts: introduction, identities, communities and transnational contextualising. These themes will introduce you to some key debates on information cultures in Western societies.

  • Introduction (weeks 1-3): The first three weeks will be dedicated to looking at the history and the development of concepts such as cyberspace, cyberbody, virtuality and life on-line.
  •  Identities (weeks 4-6): The next three lectures will look at the ways gender, race, ethnicity and sexuality are constituted on-line.
  • Communities (weeks 7-8): These two lectures will look at the ways a sense of community can be created, negotiated, disrupted or ruined in various forms of on-line interaction.
  • Transnational contextualising (weeks 9-10): The last two weeks will contextualise internet cultures in a transnational perspective.

Assessment Proportions

  • Dissertation: 80%
  • Written Assessment: 20%

or

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 30%
  • Written Assessment: 20%

SOCL310: Nation, Migration, Multiculturalism

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Five semesters of sociology; two may be from cognate disciplines such as anthropology or social psychology.

Course Description

‘Belonging’ to a nation is widely seen to be as ‘natural’ as ‘belonging’ to a family or a home. This course explores how such assumptions about national belonging come about, by introducing students to a range of theoretical approaches and debates.

  • How are the nation and national belonging socially constructed?
  • How is the nation defined?
  • Who belongs, who doesn’t?

The course addresses these questions by examining what everyday practices, discourses and representations reveal about the ways we think about, and inhabit, the ‘nation’.

In the second part, the course pays particular attention to nation formation in relation to debates about multiculturalism, diversity and migration and asks:

  • What are the impacts of migration and multiculture on definitions of the nation?
  • How is multiculturalism defined and perceived?

Although we will focus on the example of Britain, the issues raised will be of interest to all students concerned with the effects of nationalisms and ideas of belonging and entitlement, which many countries of the contemporary  world are presently debating in the context of the ‘Age of migration’ (Castles and Miller 1998)

Educational Aims

This course aims:

  • To introduce sociological issues surrounding the concepts of nation, migration and multiculturalism
  • To develop an understanding of discourse analysis
  • To introduce questions of power and politics surrounding the processes of identity formation

Outline Syllabus

Lecture topics include:

  • 'We the people': the forging of nations;
  • A country idyll;
  • Migrant belongings and transnational connections;
  • Consumer culture, diversity and 'eating the other';
  • Multiculturalism and the hybrid nation.

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay: 70%
  • Compilation of reflective pieces: 30%

SOCL329: Classic Encounters

  • Terms Taught: Lent and Summer terms only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Five semesters of sociology; two may be from cognate disciplines such as anthropology or social psychology.

Course Description

All sociologists are supposed to know their classics but most only know them from second or third hand summaries. In this course we offer the opportunity for advanced students to have an intimate encounter with one of the core texts by one of the classics, texts that are referred to all the time in the social sciences.  Our choice is Karl Marx’s ‘Capital’, a huge book which has influence social science, economic thought and philosophy ever since it was first published. Regarding the recent rise of interest in Marx’ analysis and critique of modern capitalism it is worth the while of every budding social scientist to become acquainted with this highly complex text, widely praised and renowned for its analytical insights. ‘Capital’ is far more than a book on ‘the economy’, it is a critique of modern capitalism and modern, bourgeois society, as well as a critique of the mystifications and myths of everyday life and thought in modern times.

Educational Aims

  •  Analyse critically a highly complex classic sociological text comprising different, competing and complementary perspectives;
  •  Reflect upon the historical context and the history of a large sociological research project, comprising history, theory and empirical research;
  •  Reflect upon the development of “big theories” and big concepts and their impact in the social sciences;
  •  Develop an advanced, highly sophisticated understanding of the importance, the complexity and the variability of modern social and economic processes in time and space.
  •  Evaluate competing claims, arguments, perspectives and theories about modern capitalism and modern society;

Researching, summarising and critically assessing a challenging and highly complex text;

  • Advanced academic writing (including referencing skills);
  • Oral presentation and debate during seminars and workshops;
  • Appreciation of and confidence in interdisciplinary work.

Outline Syllabus

The exact syllabus will be different according to the choice of the classical text and author the module/s will focus upon. However, the following main themes will always be covered for every text: The classical text will be presented together with its author in its historical context, regarding major intellectual influences, links to other authors in the field, main sources, philosophical background, empirical base, state of the art in the discipline or disciplines involved.

The text will be assessed regarding its general outlook, tasks, achievements and impacts – which conceptual and theoretical and methodological innovations, which new vista’s, which old or new problems settled or left unsettled, which debates triggered at the time of publication, which legacy for the following generations of scholars.

 What follows is an example based on Karl Marx’s Capital. Outline and bibliography will be different depending upon each year’s choice of the classical author to become acquainted with (e.g. Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, Georg Simmel and others). Marx’s Capital, published for the first time in 1867, 1885 and 1894 (the three volumes, respectively) has become one of the most influential texts of all times for all the social sciences. In sociology, in political economy in particular, it is hardly possible to engage in any major debate on modern economies and societies without at least some firsthand knowledge of it. Capital and its analysis of the modern world has served as a model, as a starting point or as a bone of contest for many theorists of modern capitalism, it can be regarded as the basic and most widely spread theory of capitalism. Capital is not easily accessible. We will study the major parts and key concepts of the work, explain its context, its history and familiarize ourselves with the debates it has triggered and the tremendous impacts it has had upon the social sciences. We will present and study it as an example for a peculiar kind of theorizing and social research, by the same token as an unfinished project and work in progress.

The following topics will typically be tackled in the course:

  • The meaning of the basic categories of commodity, money, capital, wage labour, modern industry, accumulation, development and growth
  • The concept and the theory of value
  • Exchange, markets and prices
  • The analysis of the labour market
  • Labour relations in modern industry
  • The development and the logic of the factory system
  • Hidden or less well known theories in Capital; The theory of ideology, the theory of fetishism, the theory of innovation and social change
  • The historical context of the critique of political economy
  • The range and scope of Marx’ research project
  • Marx’ famous method in Capital
  • The overall structure of Marx’ theory as presented in the three volumes of Capital
  • Debates on the unsettled problems of Marxian economics
  • Where Marx was right and where Marx was wrong
  • The impact of Capital as a classical text of the social sciences

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay (s): 80%
  • Presentation: 20%

SOCL330: Living with Capitalism: Class, Distribution and Recognition

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Five semesters of sociology; two may be from cognative disciplines such as anthropology or social psychology.

Course Description

Economic inequalities have widened in advanced capitalist countries and yet many people are reluctant even to acknowledge the existence of class.  The course analyses how inequalities of class and status are generated, how they relate to other kinds of inequality, and how they are experienced.  It explores how the social forms and mechanisms of capitalist economic organisation interact with other sources of inequality, not only producing an unequal distribution of resources and opportunities but affecting the ways in which people value themselves and others.  Linking social structure to personal experience, the course applies social theory, including that of Pierre Bourdieu and Henri Lefebvre, to the ‘common sense’ about class and to their people’s everyday experiences.

Educational Aims

The aims of this module are:

  •  to allow you to explore recent work in sociology on class in relation to economic inequalities and recognition, particularly through the work of Pierre Bourdieu;
  •  to understand how inequalities of class and status are generated and how they relate to other kinds of inequality;
  •  to apply social theory relating to these matters to the interpretation of everyday life and the experience of class.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 70%
  • Exam: 30%

SPAN233: Power and Resistance in Spain and Spanish America: From the Spanish Empire to the 21st Century

  • Terms Taught: Full Year module.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits

Course Description

This  module is divided into three topic areas comprising of the following:

  • Power and Resistance in Spanish America from the Colony to the 21st Century; 
  • War, Dictatorship and Transition in Spain in the 20th and 21st Century; 
  • Culture and Resistance in Catalunya in the 20th and 21st Century.

The students will study texts which both encourage an engaged reading of Spanish and open up alternative avenues towards traditional fields of study in Hispanism (empire and colonialism, nineteenth-century nation-building, revolution, dictatorship, Francoism, regionalism, neo-liberalism and globalisation.) These disparate fields of study are conceptually unified and made more accessible for the students in two ways. Firstly, we refer students to the theme of power and resistance which concerns them all in various ways. Secondly, we divide the module by geographical region which, given the array of varying cultures and histories in the Spanish-speaking world, represents the least mystifying and most logical method of study. We will employ a text-based approach in which the texts chosen allow us to operate within certain very specific historical and geographical parameters whilst never losing sight of the main theme. Throughout, students will be encouraged to interrogate the meanings of terms such as colony, revolution, rebellion, republic, empire, dictatorship and democracy with close readings of cultural texts which themselves question the assumptions which underpin these terms.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • read fluently and understand a variety of Spanish and Spanish American texts
  • show understanding of the major political, social and cultural events of Spanish and Spanish America history and their significance in relation to contemporary Spanish, Spanish American and European culture
  • demonstrate awareness of how social, political and cultural factors have interacted in the module of Spanish and Spanish American history
  • apply relevant concepts, theories and methods to the study of Spain and Spanish America and apply what they have learned to the analysis of texts other than the ones that form an integral part of the module (e.g. texts studied in DELC option modules)

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%