Cultural Studies study guide 2023/24

Cultural Studies at Bristol

The study of human cultures has never been as crucial as it is today, in our globalised and networked world. At the School of Modern Languages, we are passionate about the study of culture – particularly the literature, film, societies and shifting worldviews of the non-Anglophone Western world and its cultural relationship with the Global South. We specialise in French, Spanish, Latin American, Italian, German, and Russian culture in particular, with units that engage with Lusophone, Czech, North African, and Islamic culture as well. We cover a diverse range of cultural topics, from fairy tales to visual culture, feminism and queer studies to post-colonialism, the Renaissance to the Cold War. Several of these units fit within the discipline of Comparative Literature. We also teach the languages that shape these cultures – see the Languages and Linguistics study guide for details.

The School of Modern Languages is recognised for its friendly, close-knit community, with a long-established reputation for innovative teaching and excellent research. Learning extends well beyond the classroom, through cultural weeks, seminars and extra-curricular activities. Combined with access to cutting-edge facilities such as the Multimedia Centre, these features make the School of Modern Languages one of the leading centres for language and culture studies in the UK.

Unit structure

The school offers many classes that are based in a single semester, and can therefore accept unit requests from Study Abroad students who want to join Bristol for just the autumn or spring semester.

Unit levels

The school offers units across all undergraduate levels of study – Year 1 (Level C/4), Year 2 (Level I/5), and Year 3 (Level H/6) – and selected postgraduate units (Level M/7). Level M/7 units are normally taken by students who have studied the subject for at least 3 years beforehand and are at an appropriate level of study to take postgraduate units.

Unit codes

For more information about each unit, check the University's unit catalogue for 2023/24. Applicants on all study abroad programmes must review the unit details on the catalogue before listing unit choices on their application form. This includes checking the format of assessment for each unit. The unit catalogue for 2023/24 is expected to be updated by the end of April 2023.

Your unit choices cannot be guaranteed. Some units may not have capacity to accommodate all of the unit requests we receive. Registration on a unit also depends on whether you meet the pre-requisite conditions through prior study at your home university.

Study Abroad (Subject pathway)

If you have been nominated to Bristol on one of the School of Modern Languages subject pathways, you can take units from this guide as part of your programme.

Units available on the study abroad programme in 2023/24

The following units are open to inbound Study Abroad students:

Year 1 (level C/4)


  • Comparative Literature: What is it and how can we practise it? (TB1) – MODL10016
  • Contemporary European Cinema (TB1) – MODL10009
  • French Cultures in Context (TB1) – FREN10030
  • German Literature and Film: Genres, Texts, Contexts (TB1) – GERM10035
  • Key Moments in Lusophone History and Culture (TB1) – HISP10015
  • Medieval and Renaissance Italy (TB1) – ITAL10034
  • The Making of the Hispanic World, from 1492 to the present day (TB1) – HISP10014
  • Understanding Russia: Literature & Visual Culture (TB1) – RUSS10042


  • City Futures: Migration, Citizenship, and Planetary Change (TB2) – UNIV10005
  • Classics of European Cinema (TB2) – MODL10010
  • Critical Concepts in the Study of the Hispanic World (TB2) – HISP10010
  • Introduction to Visual Cultures (TB2) – MODL10018
  • Modern German Thought and Thinkers (TB2) – GERM10038
  • Representations of Francophone Cultures (TB2) – FREN10013
  • Understanding Russia: History & Identity (TB2) – RUSS10041


Year 2 (level I/5)


  • Germany and Austria in Motion: Film, Society, and Identity (TB1) – GERM20054
  • Italian Fascism (TB1) – ITAL20045
  • Migrations of Culture (TB1) - MODL20024
  • Revolutionary Russia, 1881-1917 (TB1) – RUSS20066
  • Russian Orthodox Culture (TB1) – RUSS20044
  • Transforming the Tragic Hero(ine): 1770-1840 (TB1) – GERM20044
  • Women and Nation (TB1) – MODL23017
  • World Cinema: from national to transnational (TB1) - MODL23016


  • Fairy Tales Across Borders (TB2) – MODL20029
  • From Judgement to Trial: Selected Works by Franz Kafka (TB2) – GERM20049
  • Introduction to Francophone African Literature (TB2) – FREN20069
  • Introduction to Latin American Cinema (TB2) – HISP20114
  • Italian Cinema: Genre and Social Change (TB2) – ITAL29007
  • Popular Representation and Institutions of Culture (TB2) - MODL20026
  • Renaissance Italy (TB2) – ITAL20046
  • The Nineteenth-Century Russian Novel (TB2) – RUSS20069


Year 3 (level H/6)


  • Boccaccio's Decameron (TB1) – ITAL30063
  • Communism in Europe (TB1) – MODL30001
  • Dress and Identity in Russia through the Ages (TB1) - RUSS3NEW - this is a new unit. Code to be confirmed soon.
  • Theatre and Theatricality in Russian Society (TB1) – RUSS30085


  • Dante: Purgatorio and Paradiso (TB2) – ITAL30059
  • Decadence, Decay and Rebirth: Russian & Czech Literature (TB2) – RUSS30084
  • Dostoevsky (TB2) – RUSS30073
  • Intermedia Encounters in Poetry (TB2) – HISP30104
  • Propaganda, Politics, and the Islamic Other: Literary Responses to the Crusades (TB2) – FREN30117
  • Studying and Making Early Printed Books (TB2) – MODL30040
  • Transnational Narrative in pre-modern cultures (TB2) – MODL30041
  • Visibility Matters: Identity, Diversity, and Power in the Cultural Marketplace (TB2) – GERM30081


Year 4 (level M/7)

These are postgraduate level units and unsuitable for undergraduate students without three years of experience in a relevant discipline. You are most welcome to apply to be considered for enrolment if you have a strong background in the discipline. Requests for this level of unit will be assessed by the school on a case-by-case basis, and students can take a maximum of one per semester:


  • Institutions of Culture (TB1) – MODLM0022
  • Space, Comparison, and Empire (TB1) – MODLM0051
  • The Rise of the Novel in Nineteenth-Century Europe (TB1) – MODLM2035
  • Theorizing Violence: Colonial Encounters and Anti Colonial Reactions (TB1) – MODLM0025


  • Contemporary Global Chinese Literature and Visual Arts (TB2) – MODLM0050
  • Cultural Encounters (TB2) – MODLM0002
  • Pan-Africanism: ideas and archives (TB2) – MODLM0045
  • Queer Lives (TB2) – MODLM0070
  • Research Skills (TB2) – MODLM0021
  • Tradition and Experimentation in C20th European Fiction (TB2) – MODLM2034

Application queries

Contact the Centre for Study Abroad inbound team if you have any queries about the application process for the study abroad programmes:

Phone: +44 117 39 40207


Students cannot audit units. Study abroad students are fully registered on units for credit purposes and must attend teaching only for classes that they are registered on.

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