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Unit information: Cultural Encounters in 2020/21

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Unit name Cultural Encounters
Unit code MODLM0002
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. King
Open unit status Not open

MODLM0022 Institutions of Culture



School/department School of Modern Languages
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Building on the TB1 unit 'Institutions of Culture', this unit allows students to explore the notion of the ‘encounter’ as a dominant force in contemporary experiences and understandings of culture. Students will explore the ways in which cultures interact and are in dialogue with each other, by examining practices such as translation, adaptation, imitation and reception within and across borders. Encounters happen through displacement and mobility (e.g. travel and exile, in addition to the circulation of ideas and works), but also occur within cultures (e.g. between the rural and the industrial, and between high and low cultures). The encounter is characteristic of a globalised, transnational world; as such, students will be introduced to contemporary cultural theories such as post-modernism, post-colonialism and globalisation. Yet they will also use the knowledge gained from 'Institutions of Culture' to reflect on the historical precedents for these cultural practices, such as the movement of ideas across borders in the Romantic period. By fracturing the cultural ‘canon’ in this way, students will be introduced to some of the cutting-edge debates in academic discourse, such as those on world literature and transnational cinema.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will:

a) develop an understanding of how cultures interact, either between or within cultures, or across time periods.

b) be able to evaluate the impact of encounters between national cultures and time periods on the development of culture and literature.

c) be able to assess and challenge the theoretical frameworks applied to cultural criticism, and engage in debates about the nature of culture and literature in national, transnational and global contexts.

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

e) be adept at applying this knowledge to the discussion of texts and building extended arguments and comparative analyses, both in seminar discussions and their writing.

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

1 x Group Presentation (30%) and 1 x 3000-word essay (70%); both assessments cover all ILOs.

Reading and References

Lawrence Venuti, The Translator's Invisibility (1995)

Achille Mbembe, On the Postcolony (2001)

Gayarti Chakravorty Spivak, Death of a Discipline (2003)

Pascale Casanova, The World Republic of Letters (2007)

David Damrosch, Natalie Melas & Mbongiseni Buthelezi (eds.), The Princeton Sourcebook in Comparative Literature: From the European Enlightenment to the Global Present (2009)

Paul Wake and Simon Malpas (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Critical and Cultural Theory (2013)