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Unit information: Introduction to the Study of Cultures in 2015/16

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Unit name Introduction to the Study of Cultures
Unit code MODL10011
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Shaw
Open unit status Open




School/department School of Modern Languages
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Since 2010 SML has introduced a series of optional units in Years 2 and 4 which are offered to all students across the School. The broad aim of these units is to facilitate the development of skills of intercultural analysis through comparative thematic study beyond the confines of the language(s) whose culture students study. This proposed unit introduces this practice to SH students at This unit will introduce students to the basic skills of cultural analysis, by study a range of different textual forms (literary, visual, historical) from a variety of cultural contexts and will learn how to engage analytically with different types of source material. Primary material will be in English but students will be encouraged to think comparatively across national boundaries. The aim is to develop skills of formal analysis and an understanding of approaches to different forms of cultural production in an intercultural framework.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of the unit, students will have achieved a sound basic understanding of how to approach different forms of cultural production through an appropriate critical framework.

They will have an appreciation of the diverse properties of each form studied and will be able to engage in its close textual analysis. Students will gain a reflective understanding of intercultural analysis and will be able to deploy this understanding in their extended analysis of specific texts and/or issues in contemporary cultural criticism.

Teaching Information

The unit will be comprised of lectures and seminars, supported by additional material and formative assessment exercises on Blackboard.

Assessment Information

2 x 2000 word writing assignments (each worth 50% unit mark)

Each assignment will test the student’s ability to analyse a different form of cultural production. The assignment will require the student to produce a closely argued and detailed piece of commentary on a particular text. Texts selected for analysis will possess a clear intercultural dimension which students will be required to identify and interpret. A successfully competed assignment will show attention to the specificities of the given cultural form and to the ways in which cultures interact.

Reading and References

  1. Gillian Rose, Visual Methodologies (London: Sage, 2007)
  2. Elizabeth Ezra and Terry Rowden (eds), Transnational Cinema: the film reader (2006)
  3. Joseph Pugliese, Transmediterranean :diasporas, histories, geopolitical spaces (New York: Peter Lang 2010)
  4. Andrew Bennet and Nicholas Royle, An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory ((London: Pearson, 2009)
  5. Adam Budd (ed) The Modern Historiography Reader (London: Routledge, 2008)