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Unit information: Institutions of Culture in 2021/22

Unit name Institutions of Culture
Unit code MODLM0022
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Rhiannon Daniels
Open unit status Not open



MODLM0002 Cultural Encounters

School/department School of Modern Languages
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

What is culture? This unit introduces students to the key ideas and institutions (national, socio-economic, political and commercial) that have shaped our understandings of the cultural ‘canon’, from the advent of ‘belles lettres’ and the emergence of literature as both a practice and a discipline to the contemporary commercial pressures of the film industry. The unit examines the institutional dynamics – and the conceptions which underlie them – that shape how culture is produced, received, and understood. Students will engage with major theorists of culture (such as Matthew Arnold, Karl Marx, and Michel Foucault), and gain awareness of how these theorists’ work emerged from, and engaged with, historical experiences and expressions of culture and cultural institutions. They will develop a historical knowledge and context of understanding with which to interrogate culture in their other, optional units. Through their discussions, students will be able to analyse the institutionalisation of culture and problematise how culture is defined, thus reflecting on the discipline of cultural studies. This will also prepare them for the TB2 unit 'Cultural Encounters', which will take these ideas in new directions by foregrounding the idea of instability and exchange within and between cultures.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate:

a) a detailed understanding of the emergence of cultural models, through key ideas and institutions (national, socio-economic, political, commercial).

b) an ability to assess and challenge the theoretical frameworks applied to cultural criticism, and engage in debates about the nature of culture and literature.

c) an ability to respond to questions or problems by presenting their independent judgements in an appropriate style and at a high level of complexity.

d) an ability to apply this knowledge to the discussion of texts and case studies and build extended arguments and comparative analyses, in seminar discussions and their summative assessment, in both oral and written form.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered online through a combination of synchronous sessions and asynchronous activities, including seminars, lectures, and collaborative as well as self-directed learning opportunities supported by tutor consultation.

Assessment Information

Three summative reflective writing pieces: two 1000-word commentaries (ILOs a-d) and a final 3000-word essay (ILOs a-d)

the best mark from the two commentaries as 30% of the summative assessment; essay = 70% of summative assessment.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. MODLM0022).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.