Film and Media

The following modules are available to incoming Study Abroad students interested in Film and Media.

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

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%

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%

LICA150: Introduction to Film Studies

  • Terms Taught: Full Year Course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas term only
    • Lent / Summer terms only.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year - 10 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term Only - 5 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms Only - 5 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year - 20 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term Only - 10 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms Only - 10 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: No Pre-requisite.

Course Description

The syllabus has three key elements: the first provides you with an understanding of the formal and technical composition of a broad variety of films. Through analysis of examples ranging from mainstream entertainment films to experimental texts, and from early cinema through to the present, you will become familiar with the key formal and semantic conventions of cinema. Through a focus on a selection of key films and filmmakers, the second part will explore historically significant movements and themes within international cinema from the 1920s to the present. You will then employ the historical knowledge and analytical/research skills you have developed to undertake an independent research project studying a genre, filmmaker, or film movement of your choice. You will have the opportunity to produce either a written text or a multimedia object or to produce a short film (with the technical support of the LUTV unit). [This option is only available for those students taking the course for the full year or for the Lent and Summer terms.]

Educational Aims

This module aims to develop students':

  • knowledge of selected historically important international films, film-makers and movements
  • understanding of the historically variable social significance of film
  • understanding of the audio-visual cinematic conventions through which meaning is made and conveyed
  • knowledge and understanding of selected critical, theoretical debates on cinema
  • basic skills of close analysis of film texts

Outline Syllabus

Michaelmas term:

  • Film aesthetics: cinematography and the shot
  • Film aesthetics: continuity editing and alternative approaches
  • Film aesthetics: mise-en-scène
  • Film aesthetics: performance
  • Film aesthetics: classical narrative
  • Film aesthetics: narrative and anti-narrative conventions
  • Film aesthetics: sound
  • Film aesthetics: genre

Lent term:

  • Film history: the nouvelle vague - Godard, Truffaut
  • Film history: Hong Kong martial-arts cinema - Bruce Lee, Shaw Brothers
  • Film history: 1980s blockbuster cinema and authorship - Spielberg, Tony Scott
  • Film history: Chinese Fifth Generation cinema - Chen Kaige, Zhang Yimou
  • Film history: Feminist cinema - Jane Campion, Sally Potter
  • Film history: New German cinema - Petzold, Herzog, Fassbinder
  • Film history: British social realism - Loach, Shane Meadows

Summer term:

  • Independent research project

Assessment Proportions

Exam: 40%

Project: 20%

Essay(s): 40%

LICA200: Critical Reflections

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term 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.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Secure background in twentieth century art history with a good understanding of the major movements and their aims. This course can only be taken in the Michaelmas term.

Course Description

This course aims to develop analytical and critical skills in the study of contemporary artworks (buildings, installations, paintings, sculptures; documentaries and films; sound works, scores and musical performances; and dance works, plays and theatre performances) specifically relevant to the Art discipline. Students develop appreciation, knowledge and understanding of key theoretical concepts common to the analysis of all contemporary artworks from a variety of disciplines and forms.

Educational Aims

This module aims to:

  • develop analytical and critical skills in the study of contemporary artworks (buildings, installations, paintings, sculptures; documentaries and films; sound works, scores and musical performances; and dance works,plays and theatre performances) relevant to each students specific subject discipline (Art, Film, Music,Theatre)
  • make students aware of analytical and critical skills specific to other subject disciplines
  • develop appreciation, knowledge and understanding of key theoretical concepts common to the analysis of all contemporary artworks from all artistic disciplines and forms.

Outline Syllabus

This course provides an introduction to critical theory in the arts and its application to aesthetics and art. The first term concentrates on 'structures' in artworks and the second on 'identities'. The structure of the course is six three-week blocks, following an introductory lecture:

  • Block 1. Form and Structure- Composition  the Pleasures of Form: The lectures and workshops in this block will look at how we describe and analyse works of art, especially inrelation to different art forms, and how different disciplines can learn from each other. Students are also introduced to the main developments in aesthetics, from Plato to Kant and onto various kinds of formalism and contemporary means of analysing artworks.
  • Block 2. Semiotics and Authorship - the art work as a sign system that critiques authorial authority: The lectures and workshops in this block look at the idea of the artwork as a system of signification, using the principles of semiology (i.e. the science of signs). Originally applied to linguistics and anthropology, semiology offers a powerful set of tools with which to understand and engage with works of art in everydiscipline from the visual arts to music to dance and performance. More recently it has also come to inform the work of practitioners in all fields. No attempt to understand the debates and issues in contemporary arts can take place without a basic grasp of this area.
  • Block 3. Phenomenology and Spectatorship - Structures of lived experience: The lectures and workshops in this block celebrate and consider the lived experience that artists and audiences have of an artwork, and in particular places bodily experience at the heart of the ways in which artworks attempt to understand the world. The sessions ask: what is the relationship between the viewer or listener who experiences an artwork and the artwork itself? What is the relation between intuition and concept? Is it possible to reflect on the prereflective sensations that a listener or viewer has of an artwork asit unfolds through time in the gallery, performance space or concert hall? The sessions test methods by which it is possible to describe how an artwork might distil the essential qualities of its source material, how it is possible to describe the viewers or listeners consciousness of that artwork, and the hidden meanings which are disclosed through both processes of description.
  • Block 4. Sexuality and Gender - Feminism, Queer Theory and the Deconstruction of Gender and Sexuality: Among the more pressing questions asked by theorists in relation to art is how our experience of artworks, whether as producer or consumer, is inflected by gender and sexuality. Some of the most powerful analyses of art have been motivated by such questions. The lectures and workshops in this block will introduce students to the basic concepts underlying those analyses as well as some of the ways they have been mobilised in relation to art and culture.
  • Block 5. Race and Ethnicity - the arts in a post-colonial and multi-racial society: Questions of race and ethnicity, like those of gender and sexuality, have also become a means by which some of the presumptions underlying the arts have been questioned and deconstructed, especially as a reaction to the dominance of white, western cultural ideals. The lectures and workshops in this block engage with some of the principle debates and ideas in this area, especially as they relate to art and culture.
  • Block 6. Class and Society - Marxist, Post-Marxist and other materialist critiques of art works: No attempt to understand contemporary culture and the arts can take place without engaging with the workand influence of Karl Marx. Though originally concerned mainly with questions of economics and politics, Marxs ideas have been employed in powerful ways as means of understanding the relation between art and broader social structures and relations. The lectures and workshops in this block introduce the most relevant concepts of Marxism and looks at some of the ways in which they have been used in relation to the arts.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

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%

LICA251: Hollywood and beyond: Global cinema

  • 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 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 8 ECTS Credits.

Course Description

This core module is designed to further develop your analytical skills in order to examine individual films in close detail and to encourage you to understand global cinema in a variety of social, cultural, political and industrial contexts. The module will explore such issues as the relationship between film form and modes of production, theories of film style and aesthetics, the political function of cinema. In the first term, we focus wholly on various modes of American film production and in the second term we explore some broader theoretical questions through an analysis of films from a number of different national traditions. Across the whole module you will gain a thorough grasp not only of the historical factors shaping various national cinemas, but also of some key critical and theoretical concepts within the field of film studies.

Assessment is by two 2,500-word essays (30% each) and examination (40%).

Educational Aims

This module aims to:

  • develop your analytical and critical skills in the study of film
  • develop your knowledge about the relationship between films and their cultural contexts
  • develop your knowledge about the history of world cinema
  • develop your knowledge of key theoretical concepts in Film Studies

Outline Syllabus

This core module has two main objectives. Firstly, it is designed to develop your analytical skills in order to examine individual films in close detail. The seminars and assignments will require you to explore and develop these critical skills. Secondly, it is intended to encourage you to understand world cinema in relation to a variety of social, cultural, political and industrial contexts. The lectures, screenings and readings will explore and illustrate such issues as the relationship between film form and modes of production, theories of film style and aesthetics, the political function of cinema. In studying this material and exploring these analytical approaches it is hoped that you will have not only a greater access to a variety of Film Cultures across the world, but also a greater understanding of the theoretical, conceptual and cross-cultural linkages that this course foregrounds. In the Michaelmas term, we focus wholly on various modes of American film production; in Lent term we explore some broader theoretical questions through an analysis of films from a number of different national traditions. Across the whole course, you will gain a thorough grasp not only of the historical factors shaping various national and international cinemas, but also of some key critical and theoretical concepts within the field of film studies.

Syllabus

In the Michaelmas Term, you will develop an understanding of a number of industrial, aesthetic, social and cultural trends marking American feature films since the studio era. Beginning with an account of the Hollywood studio system and the classical Hollywood style, the course goes on to explore the significant changes that affected the American film industry in the post-war era. As well as considering the emergence of a so-called post-classical Hollywood cinema, the course explores modulated alternatives to classical Hollywood storytelling  e.g. films included under the rubrics of the New Hollywood, the New American Cinema, and the American independent cinema  and examines the cultural and aesthetic consequences of these alternative historical modes.

In the Lent term, you will explore the key concepts of film authorship  the idea that films are artworks produced by a creative author  and realism  one of the central philosophical, political and theoretical problems for film theory. You will go on to study a number of films by important international directors many of which are engaged in a critical dialogue with Hollywood cinema, reworking stylistic and thematic features of Hollywood cinema. These diverse films and the work of their directors raise questions about the varied political and cultural significance of film in the past and in contemporary culture.

  1. Introduction to the module: Film analysis- Avatar (Cameron, 2009)
  2. The Hollywood Studio System - Dracula (Browning, 1930)
  3. Classical Hollywood cinema - Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942)
  4. Post-classical Hollywood cinema - Raiders of the Lost Ark (Spielberg, 1981)
  5. The New American Cinema and Underground cinema - Shadows (Cassavetes, 1955)
  6. New Hollywood Cinema The Long Goodbye (Altman, 1973)
  7. American independent cinema - Slacker (Linklater, 1991)
  8. Films after Film - Gamer (Taylor, Neveldine, 2009)
  9. Writing a Film Studies essay.
  10. Authorship I: Hollywood - All that Heaven Allows (Sirk, 1955)
  11. Authorship II: art cinema - The Tango Lesson (Potter, 1997)
  12. Realism - The Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948)
  13. Critiques of realism - Performance (Roeg, Cammell, 1970)
  14. Spaghetti Westerns - Fistful of Dollars (Leone, 1964)
  15. Bollywood cinema - Sholay (Sippy, 1975)
  16. The New German cinema - fear eats the Soul (Fassbinder, 1974)
  17. The New Spanish cinema - All About my Mother (Almodóvar, 1999)
  18. Hong Kong action cinema - The Killer (Woo, 1989)
  19. The 'cinema du look' - Nikita (Besson, 1990)
  20. Japanese horror cinema (Miike, 1999)

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 60%
  • Exam: 40%

LICA255: European New Wave Cinema

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

Course Description

The module demonstrates the many influences that informed filmmakers during this period, especially as they relate to the history of aesthetics in the twentieth century, theories of modernism in the arts, the influence of the Second World War, and the impact of existential philosophy. The module focuses on the contributions of French and Italian filmmakers, those of the French New Wave (Jena-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, Eric Rohmer) and the Italian filmmakers who inherited the legacy of Neorealism (Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini), though other significant filmmakers are also studied (Ingmar Bergman, Werner Herzog).

Educational Aims

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

  • demonstrate knowledge of European cinema c.1950-1980
  • demonstrate knowledge of historically significant periodisation of filmmaking
  • demonstrate knowledge of key filmmakers in film history
  • critically analyse cinematic texts according to formal, contextual and historical criteria
  • reflect critically on selected critical concepts and theoretical debates on cinema
  • analyse film texts in detail

Outline Syllabus

Topics studied will typically include:

  • Before the new wave: Jean Renoirs Rules of the Game (1939)
  • Into the new wave: Last Year in Mariendbad (Alain Resnais, 1960)
  • The view from Italy: Leclisse (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1962)
  • Feminism and colour: Le bonheur (Agns Varda, 1965)
  • The French New Wave: Pierrot le fou (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965)
  • The influence of Ingmar Bergman: Persona (1966)
  • Francois Truffaut and the Antoine Doinel cycle: Stolen Kisses (1968)
  • Claude Chabrol: Le boucher (1970)
  • Italy beyond the 1960s: Amarcord (Federico Fellini: 1973)
  • The new wave in Germany: Heart of Glass (Werner Herzog, 1976)
  • Beyond the new wave: Pauline at the Beach (Eric Rohmer, 1983)

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework 100%

LICA257: Documentary Film Practice

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term Only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Students must have done LICA250.

Course Description

Documentary Film Practice is a practice-based module in which small groups of students (3-7 students) make a short documentary video (between 5-7 minutes in length). The module builds on knowledge acquired in LICA250 Documentary Cultures, which focuses on the history, theory and stylistic qualities of documentary. By undertaking a practical video project in Documentary Film Practice students are expected to apply theoretical knowledge gained in LICA250 to a practical project. As well as applying theory to practice, the module aims to enhance students' video-making skills, with specific training provided for camera operation, sound recording and editing skills. Students will also gain skills in terms of working in groups

Week 1: a 2-hour training session on video camera operation, lighting and sound training + 2-hour workshop on documentary theory (on Documentary Modes of Representation) and initial project planning. Lecture content in these workshops will draw on material taught in LICA250 but with an emphasis on filmmaking practice. Groups will be formed in this workshop via a 2-stage selection process: (1) via a survey of specific interests according to camera operation, sound recording, scriptwriting or editing (computer software) skills, so that a range of skills can be distributed across groups; and (2) where no specific individual skills are determined, via a random ballot.

Between weeks 1 and 2 all groups are expected to meet independently for at least one hour to discuss and plan their video projects.

Week 2: a 2-hour training session on video editing + 2-hour workshop on documentary theory (Anthropological and Archival trends in documentary) and project planning. Lecture content in these workshops will draw on material taught in LICA250 but with an emphasis on filmmaking practice. Progress of projects will be discussed, with emphasis placed on scriptwriting, background research, location scouting and contacting of potential participants prioritised at this stage of the process. All group supervisors must attend the project planning element of the workshop (this will occur during the second hour of the workshop). Finally, aspects of ethics will be covered during this week, and students will be advised on the necessary use of a permissions questionnaire when making their videos.

Between weeks 2 and 3 all groups are expected to meet independently for at least one hour to discuss and plan their video projects.

Week 3: A short filming and editing exercise + 2-hour workshop on documentary theory (Experimental Film and Documentary) and project planning. Lecture content in these workshops will draw on material taught in LICA250 but with an emphasis on filmmaking practice. The lecture will also include guidance on the final written projects of the module (a 2000 word evaluative essay). This will make clear to students that their practical projects must have a basis in theory and that their final essays will involve a reflection on the integration between theory and practice. Progress of projects will be discussed in the workshop session, with emphasis again placed on scriptwriting, background research, location scouting and contacting of potential participants prioritised. Groups must be made aware that they are expected to begin filming their projects in the following week. All group supervisors must attend the project planning element of the workshop (this will occur during the second hour of the workshop). Each group's short video exercise for this week will be formatively assessed by the group's supervisor at the end of week 3 (rooms will need to be booked for this assessment to occur).

Weeks 4-7: Filming of video: in groups of between 3 and 7 students, filming of video projects will be undertaken over four weeks under the supervision of a member of LICA's academic staff. Groups must meet with their supervisor for a minimum of 1 hour each week. Video and sound recording equipment can be booked from LUTV.

Weeks 8-10: Editing of video: in groups, students will edit their videos in the editing suites at LUTV. This will be carried out under the supervision of a member of LICA's academic staff. Groups must meet with their supervisor for a minimum of 1 hour per week.

Group video projects are to be submitted at the end of week 10 of the Lent term.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework 50%
  • Project 50%

LICA274: Introduction to Sound

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Terms Only
  • US Credits: 4 US Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits

Course Description

This module designed to cover a focused area of sound studies and enable students to take sound as a component of a single major or joint degree in LICA.  The course will be offered to students LICA-wide because it has an important role to play in dance/theatre, film and fine art.  Students are asked to engage with the coalescing body of discourse engaging with sound across many disciplines. This module seeks to provide students with knowledge of the production and theory of sound art across multiple disciplines; it will include an introduction to the history and development of sound art practice and theory, including sound within the disciplines of dance, theatre, fine art, film and music (electro acoustic sound and performance). 

Educational Aims

The aim of this course is for the students to develop a conceptual and contextual understanding of sound arts in practice and in theory.  A part of the process of understanding sound is the practice of listening.  The module will look at practical techniques to the art of listening, exploring the soundscape and documenting sound using a series of methods such as deep listening, sound walking and recording. (The soundscape is any environment, which contains sound-includes the natural world, cinema, theatres and gallery spaces). They will apply this knowledge of sound and sounding to an awareness of the role of sound in media spaces such as film and theatre.

Outline Syllabus

Each week the class is broken in to two hours, one hour seminar and one hour practice. The practice element will include, outdoor recording, sound walking and sound mapping, deep listening techniques, sound editing, live performance-vocal and digital. Week 8 will include the screening of film material. Each week will incorporate the learning of a new audio technique, a technical and non technical one.

Topics covered will normally include:

 Soundwalking and recording the soundscape as practice: A practice of walking and documenting different sound environments through various means, from field notes to audio recording.

Deep listening as practice:A practice of learning to listen through a series of workshops developed by the Deep Listening organisation, these workshops are intended to heighten awareness of sound, silence and sounding.

Building piezo microphones:Contact or piezo microphones are a strong component of creating sounding objects and building new instruments. They introduce the student to the concept of sound as a material with basic structural properties that may be manipulated.

Use of distribution technologies such as radio, Internet, and others: they will explore presence (the voicing body) and absence (the disembodied voice); voices of authority; uses of text -- communication, propaganda, seduction, translation, misinformation, poeticization, interruption, etc.; language as a malleable material; simulacra and appropriation; scales of transmission (broadcast and narrowcast).

Live performance, improvisation, and audio installation: This class will focus on the ambiguous relationship of the body as an agent of meaning and control in live audio visual art.

 The age of technology: the impact of recording on listening: This class will explore the history of audio technologies and the impact this has had on mediated performances, electroacoustic music and digital processes including live coding and audio editing.

Audio cultures and sound design: This class examines how listening, despite its obvious physiological basis, is a practice inflected by cultural, historical, sociological and contextual factors. We will examine the writings of Leppert, Drobnyck and Feld. We will also examine how this has shaped acoustic architecture-Blesser and Salter.

Film and sound art: This class examines (briefly) the changes in cinematic sound since the invention of sound for film, working from the text of Michel Chion's Film, A Sound Art.

Soundscape studies and the art of listening: This class will examine the work of acoustic ecologist Murray Schafer, it will explore sound mapping, sound ecologies and noise. The class will be theory and practice based.

The soundscape of the stage: This class explores sound for theatre, including sound design, performance and the stage.

Assessment Proportions

Practical: 60%

Essay: 40%

LICA275: Sound Synthesis and Design

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS.
  • Pre-requisites: There are no fixed pre-requisites but students must be comfortable in using technical computer software and in using basic mathematics. The work involved is somewhat like computer programming. If you have no prior experience of this kind of work you might find the module difficult.

Course Description

The module provides an introduction to sound synthesis and design by computer. Students learn about the digital representation and manipulation of sound, and the properties of natural sounds. Techniques of sound synthesis are studied both from a practical perspective--how to use the techniques to produce a particular sonic result--and from a theoretical perspective--how digital signals are generated and processed to produce the result. The software used (all ‘free software’) is principally Pure Data (Pd) though students are also introduced to other software for sound synthesis and may use this if they prefer.

Educational Aims

The aim of this module is for students to develop the skill and understanding to allow them to create sounds for use in particular circumstances. Ideally, by the end of the course a student will be able to synthesise a sound which is described to them, or which they can imagine, in a way which enables it to be controlled effectively. Specifically, students will learn to:

  • develop programming practice for the purposes of sound synthesis and design,

  • recognise and identify by ear essential components of qualities of sound,

  • select and apply an appropriate audio synthesis or processing algorithm to produce a particular sound property,

  • assess the success of a particular sound-processing result.

Outline Syllabus

The course is taught in weekly one-hour lectures plus two-hour practicals. The curriculum covers a number of synthesis techniques, including additive, subtractive, modulation and granular synthesis. It also provides an introduction to sound spatialisation, to the synthesis of vocal sounds, to synthesising sound through the modelling of physical processes, and to data sonification. In the early part of the term, the practicals consist of exercises to deepen understanding of the concepts and techniques presented in the lectures. In the latter part of the term, the practicals provide advice and support in the development of students’ portfolios for assessment.

Assessment Proportions

Portfolio consisting of synthesised sounds, source software and commentary: 100%

LICA350: Film Theory

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: No Pre-requisite.

Course Description

This module focuses closely on the challenging aesthetic and critical debates surrounding the concept of modernity. It will look at films made in the silent era, in post-war Europe and the US. Key writings on film will be considered in conjunction with viewings of particular films, close analysis of specific filmic techniques and methods, and historical and theoretical approaches to film. The course will also pay attention to the debates within classical and contemporary film theory, feminist approaches and other critical traditions (semiotics, structuralism, formalism, cognitivism). Assessment is by a 3,000-word coursework essay and a two hour exam.

Educational Aims

  • To facilitate students analysis of, and critical use of key theoretical concepts in the study ofworld cinema,with particular focus upondebates around cinematic modernism and its relationship to contemporaryfilm and film theory.
  • To facilitate an understanding of the ways in which the notions of modernity has been reassessed in recent years in the light of cinema
  • To introduce and analyse historically important academic writers and critical texts in film theory.
  • To introduce and analyse historically important films from world cinema history.
  • To explore critically relationships between film, cultural and political change and identity.

Outline Syllabus

This third-year core course will add to the theoretical, historical and cultural aspects of film investigated in Years 1 and 2, while focusing more closely on the challenging aesthetic and critical debates surrounding the concept of modernity. It will look at films made in the silent era, in post-war Europe and in Britain and the US. Key writings on film will be considered in conjunction with viewings of particular films, close analysis of specific filmic techniques and methods, and historical and theoretical approaches to film. The course will alsopay attention to the debates of classical and contemporary film theory, feminist approaches and other critical traditions (semiotics, structuralism, formalism, cognitivism). Building on the approach to film taken in LICA251 (Hollywood and Beyond: Global Cinema), this course focuses on film theory asstudents are introduced to key debates in classical and contemporary film theory, with topics exploring the relations between film and art, cinema and politics, cinema and psychoanalysis, and, above all, the question of how films produce meaning(s).

Indicative film list:

  • The Last Laugh
  • Rebel Without a Cause
  • The Departed
  • The Lady from Shanghai
  • Vertigo
  • Now, Voyager
  • Stella Dallas
  • Letter from an Unknown Woman

 Learning, teaching and assessment strategy:

Teaching takes place in lectures and seminars with additional screening slots for film-viewing timetabledduring the week.

Teaching and learning methods:

  • Lectures: these are used to map broad ranges of material and to introduce key themes, approaches and points of debate
  • Screenings: students will be exposed to a wide range of films
  • Readings: students are expected to pursue material covered in lectures through their own independent reading, both of specific readings set for each course, and also through independent study
  • Viewings: alongside the required screenings, students are expected to view independently as much additional film material as they can.
  • Seminars: these provide an opportunity for students to explore further material covered in lectures and independent reading; they are often based on student-led presentations, leading on to student or staff-led discussion and debate
  • Essays: in their written work, students will analyse, synthesise and critically assess material they havecovered in their classes and through independent study

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 60%
  • Exam: 40%

LICA356: Apocalypse Then: New Hollywood Cinema

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: No Pre-requisite.

Course Description

This module introduces students to one of the most turbulent periods in American film history. So-called New Hollywood emerged out of dramatic changes in the organisational infrastructure of American commercial film-making in the late 1960s, a time also of profound socio-cultural crisis and transformation. The module examines the complex development of creative, technological, and industrial opportunities for American film during the 1970s. It asks how and why a moment that afforded chances for considerable aesthetic, non-commercial and personal experimentation also provided the basis for the blockbuster production policy that has subsequently dominated international commercial cinema. To this end, students are asked to engage critically with the way key films and film-makers of the period mediated the concerns of movie-goers. Given that this is a time when, according to some film scholars, movies became film, students are challenged to assess New Hollywood's development in relationship to the consolidation of film studies and film theory in the 1970s. Assessment is by a 3,000 word coursework essay and a 2 hour exam.

Educational Aims

  • To facilitate students analysis of, and critical use of key concepts in the study of popular narrative cinema.
  • To introduce and analyse key academic writers and critical texts in the study of both Hollywood cinema and marginal American film movements
  • To introduce and analyse historically important films from the New Hollywood period
  • To explore critically relationships between film and cultural and political change.

Outline Syllabus

Topics studied will normally include:

  1. Introduction  Hollywood breakdown (Easy Rider, Medium Cool)
  2. The future of allusion: New Hollywood's nostalgic mode (The Godfather)
  3. Popular feminism (Klute, Woman Under the Influence)
  4. Politics and conspiracy (The Parallax View, All The Presidents Men)
  5. Disaster movies (The Poseidon Adventure)
  6. Comedy (Annie Hall)
  7. Exploitation cinema I: blaxploitation (Coffy, Foxy Brown)
  8. Exploitation cinema II: horror/body genres (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
  9. Blockbuster cinema and the franchise film (Star Wars)
  10. The end of the New (Apocalypse Now)

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 60%
  • Exam: 40%

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.204: Viral Video Production

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

Course Description

Want to ‘go viral’? In this module we will make stuff: tweets, blogs, videos, GIFs, wikis, music mash-ups, photo essays, machinima, memes. We will hang out in social media worlds such as Your Meme and tumblr. We will learn to tie all of these media and platforms together into a viral video and social media campaign. We will become digitally literate; while learning how to make most types of simple digital media, you will also be taught how to make most types of simple digital media. You will develop a portfolio of content that may assist you in entrepreneurial work in the new media industries, and most importantly you will understand how new media is challenging existing forms of culture, politics, law, and business.

Educational Aims

Students will learn how to make an internet video and conduct a social media campaign to promote it. This will provide students with opportunities to have first hand experience using the tools and platforms (YouTube,Twitter, etc.) theorized in the module readings. This type of mental and physical training will prepare students for critical practice in the media industries.

Students will learn critical thinking, collaborative working skills, project planning, search and research capacities, and the integration of theory and practice.

Outline Syllabus

This module will combine theory and practice and will address the major attributes of present internet-based participatory culture. These elements include the following.

  • Video: Students will be introduced to the basics of internet video production, theory, and industry
  • Mash-ups: Student will learn about remix culture, its legalities, including intellectual property rights issues, and alternative licencing agreements such as Creative Commons while producing a mash-up video or sound collage
  • Gifs: Student will investigate the culture of Gifs, and internet memes, learning about how the internet facilitates the production of rapidly scalable "viral media." To learn these facets of participatory culture they will produce a Gif and upload it to a number of online video platforms.  
  • Montage: Extending their earlier study of mash-up culture, while exploring the history of montage in film studies, students will read key texts in the theory of montage from Russian formalism, cut-up culture, to DJ culture, to conclude this teaching students will produce a mash-up inclusive of the theories from montage
  • Virality: The theory of virality has much cultural purchase in digital culture. Students will be exposed to new theories to explain the scalability made possible by the decentralized internet. They will be asked to produce a social media campaign that responds to the theories of virality.
  • Platforms: The term platform is use to describe both the economic and political possibilities of social media "platforms." Students will explore the various theorized notions of 'platforms' while investigating what these various options and ways of imagining social media can provide them as politically active and creatively focused media producers.
  • Social Media: All forms or communication are inherently social, so what makes the present iteration of media social. With a socio-technical focus on the affordances or design ideologies of the internet what makes the present manifestation of social media distinct? How can these affordances be exploited?
  • Affordance: A term that has developed quite the mystique, affordances is the way scholars and practitioners discuss what is possible with social media today. For students hoping to go into social media marketing or social media based activism consciousness of affordances is necessary. This lesson will introduce to students this concept and invite them to invent an optimal assortment of affordances for a design project.
  • Monetization and Professionalization: While the theory of participatory culture has celebrated the arrival of amateur production, the emerging trends recognize the development of professionisation and new career opportunities from the once-amateur participatory culture. This session will investigate the consequences of the emergence of new forms professionalization and monetization.
  • Free Speech, Network Activism, and Intellectual Property Rights: Finally, this module will continue themes throughout the course to ascertain the future of free speech online and what role the students want for themselves as producers of media in the internet age. Will it be an age of big business or people politics?

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 100%

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.226: Gender and Media

  • 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 ECTS Credits
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 8 ECTS Credits
  • Pre-requisites: Two semesters of sociology.

Course Description

The media is hugely influential in shaping, reflecting and challenging gender power relations.  Feminist theories have been attentive to the ways in which our lives are mediated, suggesting that we construct and perform our identities in relation to media representations of gender, sexuality and the body.  This module focuses on these issues, exploring some of the key cultural, social and political questions surrounding gender and sexuality. The course draws on key concepts in feminist theory, queer theory, body image, Marxist feminism, masculinity studies and feminist activism to explore how gender works across a wide range of media platforms. Specific media studied include film, advertising, fashion media and celebrity culture, politics, television genres such as reality television and soap opera, and gaming and digital media.

Educational Aims

This course gives a comprehensive introduction to debates about representations of gender in the media. Students will learn to use a range of feminist theoretical and methodological tools to think critically about changing representations of femininity, masculinity and trans identities in contemporary media, to explore changing representations of gender, and to explore the ways in which gendered representations intersect with discourses of class, race, age, ethnicity and disability. We will also ask whether feminist critique has changed the way men and women are represented in contemporary culture. 

Specific aims include enabling students to:

  • be able to identify and explore a range of theoretical approaches to the study of gender, media and representation.
  •  employ key theoretical and critical approaches in the analysis of various media texts, particularly visual and  popular cultural texts, drawing on key debates in feminist theory, queer theory and media studies.
  •  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 construct representations of gender and sexuality.
  •  develop understanding of the ways in which people engage with cultural texts and practices and negotiate gendered and sexual identities in relation to the media. 
  •  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 ‘gender’ and ‘media’

Outline Syllabus

  • Block 1: Feminism, gender and the media
  • Block 2: Representing Femininities
  • Block 3: Masculinity, media and representation
  • Block 4: Figuring queer and trans subjects
  • Block 5: New media, gender activism and change

Assessment Proportions

  • Groupwork: 20%
  • Critical Media analysis 30%
  • EITHER a. 3000 word essay (50%) OR b. creative project (blog, vlog, zine, photo essay or art project) (25%) with 1500 word written commentary (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%

MKTG232: Advertising

  • Terms Taught: Lent Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites: You must show evidence of previous studies in Marketing.

Course Description

The overall aim of this course is to develop an appreciation and understanding of the fast-moving and multi-faceted world of advertising from both a theoretical and managerial perspective. This course will focus on advertising within the private sector and will cover a number of contemporary issues in advertising, including social and ethical issues, international advertising and advertising regulation. On completion of this course, students should be able to demonstrate a clear understanding of advertising theory, strategy and execution. You will meet in a series of 5 workshops over the term.

Educational Aims

  • A clear and strategic understanding of advertising
  • The ability to deconstruct advertising communication in order to identify the strategy behind it
  • A detailed knowledge of media planning
  • A clear cultural and ethical context to advertising
  • An understanding of the persuasion process and techniques for different types of product

Outline Syllabus

The study of advertising theory and strategy. This module will introduce the student to the critical study of advertising from both a theoretical and managerial perspective. 

The key areas covered will be:

  • Understanding advertising effectiveness from a psychological perspective and the role of memory. This will be taught from a case study perspective.
  • Advertising response models
  • Advertising creativity
  • Media planning and strategy
  • Advertising regulation and ethics
  • Advertising across cultures

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

PPR.363: Media, Religion and Politics

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: You must have undertaken relevant previous studies in Religion and/or Politics.

Course Description

At one time, there was considered to be a radical separation between religion and public life. Over the next ten weeks we will examine the cultural, political, religious relationships and intersections between media, religion and politics in national and global contexts. The module focuses on how religious and political authority is communicated, transformed and challenged through differing types of media. This phenomenon raises several key questions:

We will begin by introducing key theoretical perspectives on the media and the public sphere. We will focus on developing a critical understanding of key concepts and themes appropriate to the mediatisation of religion and politics. Using scholarly arguments, the major themes of our unit include: fandom, gender and the Enlightenment’s contested role of religion in the public sphere; parody, fundamentalism and transforming Christian traditions of the apocalypse;  Islam, free speech and devotional prophetic traditions; social media and traditions of Jihad in Daesh (‘Islamic State’); changing media portrayals of politics and religion in Britain; popular films and their significance in transforming Christian Charismatic traditions; Hinduism, authority in worship and God-Posters; and popular religious music and political controversy in Sikh and Islamic traditions.

Educational Aims

There is no religion or politics without mediation. Media and communication issues are central to the operation of religious groups and political parties, to people’s everyday religious and political lives and to the formation and transmission of ideological beliefs and practices. Religion is a key subject for media portrayal, whether in newspapers or magazines, on the web, on TV, film and radio. Political subjects are debated and aired constantly in old and new media. Most major media events relate either to religion/the sacred or to politics. This module aims to provide students with:

  • A knowledge of the variety of ways in which religion, politics and media co-exist and interact, including the  processes of media and mediatisation, the treatment and representation of religion and politics in the media, religious and political broadcasting, religious and political participation and activism online.
  • An introduction to the methods used to analyse political and religious content and discourse in the media.
  • A better understanding of the research process, and will have been introduced to recent research on media, religion and politics.

Outline Syllabus

The module will examine the cultural and political relationships and intersections between media, religion and politics in national and global contexts. Both old and new media will be considered, and consideration will be given to the transformative potential of the latter for participation and activism in religion and politics. The research methods used for analysing media content and discourse will be introduced and applied. Typically, the syllabus will be drawn from the following topics:

1. Religion and Politics: media, mediation and mediatisation

2. Media, Islam, Islamophobia

3. Global religious and political issues through the media

4. Political and religious ritual and media rituals

5. Changing media portrayals of religion in Britain

6. Media analysis (introduction to content, discourse, and visual analyses)

7. Politics, political engagement and the media in Britain

8. Religious and political broadcasting

9. New media and religious and political activism

10.Secularism and atheism in the media.

In addition to the 10 week syllabus a two hour workshop will be held to discuss and prepare for assessment and examination.

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay(s): 40%
  • Exam: 60%

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%

SOCL325: Media, Mediation and Crises

  • Terms Taught: Lent and Summer terms only
  • US Credits: 4 US 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

How are crises visually and discursively represented? How do these mediations shape everyday practices and public concerns? This course examines practices of mediation – such as news, photography, popular film, financial modelling, cultural narratives, crowdsourced crisis mapping, celebrity humanitarianism – and explores what they reveal about community, society, threats, technology and nature. Such mediations affect political decisions, ethical values, scientific research, and social action. Focusing on theories of mediation, students will learn techniques through which to analyse how different representational forms shape how we come to understand and act on the world around us. Through readings, real world examples, and case studies, this course will address diverse historical and contemporary forms of crisis (from Y2K to the 2008 global financial crisis, political crises, refugee crises, disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti Earthquake or the 2015 UK floods, and slow motion crises such as climate change, air pollution, antimicrobial resistance, environmental displacement) to explore how we come to know crises through media, in crisis response, in government planning, and in activist communities.

Educational Aims

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

  • Explain how various media shape the meaning of crises, the narratives of their causes and implictations, including the cultural and ethical responsibility of such meanings.
  • Express how crises are situated in large complex socio-technical assemblages.
  • Identify the importance of discourse, language, and art in crisis policy and priorities.

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 30%
  • Coursework: 10%
  • Essay(s): 40%
  • Groupwork: 20%