Media and Cultural Studies BA

Cultural Studies

Key information

Duration:
3 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
ABB
UCAS code:
PR39
Start date:
September 2018

Media and Cultural Studies at Sussex gives you:

  • a unique perspective
  • a diverse set of skills
  • the ability to explore everyday lives in a globalised media world.

We spend as much time examining the attractions of popular and high culture as we do investigating their social worth.

Brighton is a culturally rich hub for digital and creative media, perfect for study, work experience and career opportunities.

And with 24/7 access to our specialist facilities – including a news room, edit suites and a sound-proofed studio – you can access the equipment you need whenever suits you.

The cultural studies degree is highly interdisciplinary, building upon the strengths of several subjects from the humanities and the social sciences.”Sam Scott
Media and Cultural Studies BA

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

ABB

GCSEs

You must have GCSE (or equivalent) in English at grade B (or grade 5 in the new grading scale).

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Extended Project Qualification

We take the EPQ into account when considering your application and it can be useful in the summer when your results are released if you have narrowly missed the conditions of your offer. We do not routinely include the EPQ in the conditions of your offer but we sometimes offer alternative conditions that include the EPQ. If you wish to discuss this further please contact Admissions at ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk

Other UK qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Typical offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma with 45 level 3 credits at Merit or above, including 24 at Distinction.

Subjects

The Access to HE Diploma should be in the humanities or social sciences.

GCSEs

You must have GCSE (or equivalent) in English at grade B (or grade 5 in the new grading scale).

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma)

Typical offer

DDM

Subjects

The BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma would normally be in Creative Digital Media Production ( or the former BTEC level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF) in Creative Media production. 

GCSEs

You must have GCSE (or equivalent) in English at grade B (or grade 5 in the new grading scale).

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Scottish Highers

Typical offer

AABBB

GCSEs

You will also need English at Standard Grade, grade 1 or 2.

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced

Typical offer

Grade B and AB in two A-levels.

GCSEs

You must have GCSE (or equivalent) in English at grade B (or grade 5 in the new grading scale).

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

International baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

European baccalaureate

Typical offer

Overall result of at least 77%

Other international qualifications

Australia

Typical offer

Relevant state (Year 12) High School Certificate, and over 85% in the ATAR or UAI/TER/ENTER. Or a Queensland OP of 5 or below.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Austria

Typical offer

Reifeprüfung or Matura with an overall result of 2.2 or better for first-year entry. A result of 2.5 or better would be considered for Foundation Year entry.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Belgium

Typical offer

Certificat d'Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur (CESS) or Diploma van Hoger Secundair Onderwijs with a good overall average. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Bulgaria

Typical offer

Diploma za Sredno Obrazovanie with excellent final-year scores (normally 5.5 overall with 6 in key subjects).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Canada

Typical offer

High School Graduation Diploma. Specific requirements vary between provinces.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

China

Typical offer

We usually do not accept Senior High School Graduation for direct entry to our undergraduate courses. However, we do consider applicants who have studied 1 or more years of Higher Education in China at a recognised degree awarding institution or who are following a recognised International Foundation Year.

If you are interested in applying for a business related course which requires an academic ability in Mathematics, you will normally also need a grade B in Mathematics from the Huikao or a score of 90 in Mathematics from the Gaokao.

Applicants who have the Senior High School Graduation may be eligible to apply to our International Foundation Year, which if you complete successfully you can progress on to a relevant undergraduate course at Sussex. You can find more information about the qualifications which are accepted by our International Study Centre at  http://isc.sussex.ac.uk/entry-requirements/international-foundation-year .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Croatia

Typical offer

Maturatna Svjedodžba with an overall score of at least 4-5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Cyprus

Typical offer

Apolytirion of Lykeion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Czech Republic

Typical offer

Maturita with a good overall average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Denmark

Typical offer

Højere Forberedelseseksamen (HF) or studentereksamen with an overall average of at least 7 on the new grading scale.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Finland

Typical offer

Finnish Ylioppilastutkinto with an overall average result in the final matriculation examinations of at least 6.0

France

Typical offer

French Baccalauréat with an overall final result of at least 13/20.

Germany

Typical offer

German Abitur with an overall result of 2.0 or better.

Greece

Typical offer

Apolytirion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hong Kong

Typical offer

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) with grades of 5, 4, 4 from three subjects including two electives. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hungary

Typical offer

Erettsegi/Matura with a good average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

India

Typical offer

Standard XII results from Central and Metro Boards with an overall average of 75-80%. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Iran

Typical offer

High School Diploma and Pre-University Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Ireland

Typical offer

Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level) at H1 H2 H2 H3 H3.

 

Additional requirements

You must also have at least grade O5 in English

Israel

Typical offer

Bagrut, with at least 8/10 in at least six subjects, including one five-unit subject.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Italy

Typical offer

Italian Diploma di Maturità or Diploma Pass di Esame di Stato with a Final Diploma mark of at least 81/100.

Japan

Typical offer

Upper Secondary Leaving Certificate is suitable for entry to our Foundation Years. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Latvia

Typical offer

Atestats par Visparejo videjo Izglitibu with very good grades in state exams.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Lithuania

Typical offer

Brandos Atestatas including scores of 80-90% in at least three state examinations (other than English).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Luxembourg

Typical offer

Diplôme de Fin d'Etudes Secondaires.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Malaysia

Typical offer

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM). As well as various two or three-year college or polytechnic certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Netherlands

Typical offer

Voorereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs (VWO), normally with an average of at least 7.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Nigeria

Typical offer

You are expected to have one of the following:

  • Higher National Diploma
  • One year at a recognised Nigerian University
  • Professional Diploma (Part IV) from the Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology of Nigeria
  • Advanced Diploma

You must also have a score of C6 or above in WAEC/SSC English.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Norway

Typical offer

Norwegian Vitnemal Fra Den Videregaende Skole- Pass with an overall average of at least 4.

Pakistan

Typical offer

Bachelor (Pass) degree in arts, commerce or science.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Poland

Typical offer

Matura with three extended-level written examinations, normally scored within the 7th stanine.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Portugal

Typical offer

Diploma de Ensino Secundario normally with an overall mark of at least 16/20. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Romania

Typical offer

Diploma de Bacalaureat with an overall average of 8.5-9.5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Singapore

Typical offer

A-levels, as well as certain certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovakia

Typical offer

Maturitna Skuska or Maturita with honours, normally including scores of 1 in at least three subjects.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovenia

Typical offer

Secondary School Leaving Diploma or Matura with at least 23 points overall.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

South Africa

Typical offer

National Senior Certificate with very good grades. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Spain

Typical offer

Spanish Título de Bachillerato (LOGSE) with an overall average result of at least 8.0

Sri Lanka

Typical offer

Sri Lankan A-levels.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Sweden

Typical offer

Fullstandigt Slutbetyg with good grades.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Switzerland

Typical offer

Federal Maturity Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Turkey

Typical offer

Devlet Lise Diplomasi or Lise Bitirme is normally only suitable for Foundation Years, but very strong applicants may be considered for first year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

USA

Typical offer

We look at your full profile taking into account everything you are studying. You must have your high school graduation diploma and we will be interested in your Grade 12 GPA. However, we will also want to see evidence of the external tests you have taken. Each application is looked at individually, but you should normally have one or two of the following:

  • APs (where we would expect at least three subject with 4/5 in each)
  • SAT Reasoning Tests (normally with a combined score of 1300) or ACT grades
  • and/or SAT Subject Tests (where generally we expect you to have scores of 600 or higher). 

We would normally require APs or SAT Subject Tests in areas relevant to your chosen degree course.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

My country is not listed

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

6.5 overall, including at least 6.0 in each component

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test.

If you are applying for degree-level study we can consider your IELTS test from any test centre, but if you require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for an English language or pre-sessional English course (not combined with a degree) the test must be taken at a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)-approved IELTS test centre.

Find out more about IELTS.

Other English language requirements

Proficiency tests

Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English (CAE)

For tests taken before January 2015: Grade B or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CAE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Advanced.

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

For tests taken before January 2015: grade C or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CPE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Proficiency.

Pearson (PTE Academic)

62 overall, including at least 56 in all four skills.

PTE (Academic) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Pearson (PTE Academic).

TOEFL (iBT)

88 overall, including at least 20 in Listening, 19 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 23 in Writing.

TOEFL (iBT) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about TOEFL (iBT).

The TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Sussex is 9166.

English language qualifications

AS/A-level (GCE)

Grade C or above in English Language.

Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE)/ AS or A Level: grade C or above in Use of English

French Baccalaureat

A score of 12 or above in English.

GCE O-level

Grade C or above in English.

Brunei/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

Singapore/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

GCSE or IGCSE

Grade C or above in English as a First Language.

Grade B or above in English as a Second Language

German Abitur

A score of 12 or above in English.

Ghana Senior Secondary School Certificate

If awarded before 1993: grades 1-6 in English language.

If awarded between 1993 and 2005: grades A-D in English language.

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)

 Level 4, including at least 3 in each component in English Language.

Indian School Certificate (Standard XII)

The Indian School Certificate is accepted at the grades below when awarded by the following examination boards:

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) – English Core only: 70%

Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) - English: 70% 

International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)

English A or English B at grade 5 or above.

Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) 119/GCE O-level

If taken before the end of 2008: grades 1-5 in English Language.

If taken from 2009 onwards: grade C or above in English Language.

The qualification must be jointly awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES).

West African Senior School Certificate

Grades 1-6 in English language when awarded by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or the National Examinations Council (NECO).

Country exceptions

Select to see the list of exempt English-speaking countries

If you are a national of one of the countries below, or if you have recently completed a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree or higher in one of these countries, you will normally meet our English requirements. Note that qualifications obtained by distance learning or awarded by studying outside these countries cannot be accepted for English language purposes.

You will normally be expected to have completed the qualification within two years before starting your course at Sussex. If the qualification was obtained earlier than this we would expect you to be able to demonstrate that you have maintained a good level of English, for example by living in an English-speaking country or working in an occupation that required you to use English regularly and to a high level.

Please note that this list is determined by the UK’s Home Office, not by the University of Sussex.

List of exempt countries

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada**
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • USA

** Canada: you must be a national of Canada; other nationals not on this list who have a degree from a Canadian institution will not normally be exempt from needing to provide evidence of English.

Admissions information for applicants

Transfers into Year 2

No

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

Why choose this course?

  • Communication and Media Studies at Sussex is ranked in the top 15  in the UK (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018).
  • Social sciences at Sussex is ranked 39th in the world (Times Higher Education World Universty Rankings 2018).
  • 93% of students from the Department of Media and Film were in work or further study six months after graduating (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015).

Course information

How will I study?

Through modules, practical activities, lectures, and seminars you’re introduced to the tools needed to question and investigate media and culture.

You’re introduced to the historical development of media and shifts in the ways scholars think about and research different media.

You put your own culture under the lens in critical and creative learning diaries, and examine different cultures across time and region. You gain insight into the complex nature of shared aspects of life – from celebrity to art, and from the city to the body.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

How will I study?

This year involves more focused and sustained engagement with particular areas of media and culture.

You take on more responsibility for the direction of your studies. There’s more module choice and opportunities to select your own topics and texts in assessments, which can include essays, presentations, learning diaries and a photographic exercise.

You also begin to develop your research skills as well as learn how to assess academic and commercial research.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options

Study abroad (optional)

Apply to study abroad – you’ll develop an international perspective and gain an edge when it comes to your career. Find out where your course could take you.

“I’m going to Istanbul. It’s such an exciting and culturally complex place. It’ll be a great chance to apply the theory learnt here.” Adithi SreevathsaMedia and Cultural Studies BA, 

Placement (optional)

A placement is a great way to network and gain practical skills. When you leave Sussex, you’ll benefit from having the experience employers are looking for. Find out more about placements and internships.

Please note

If you’re receiving – or applying for – USA federal Direct Loan funds, you can’t transfer to the version of this program with an optional study abroad period in any country or optional placement in the USA. Find out more about American Student Loans and Federal Student Aid

How will I study?

You devise your own route through specialist options, allowing you to develop earlier interests or explore something slightly different. Modules are taught by specialists in Media and Cultural Studies, Sociology, Geography, and Anthropology.

Some possible areas of study include:

  • social media or science
  • gender, race and class
  • the city, alternative societies and globalisation.

Your study will be supported through seminars, workshops and one-to-one supervision with a dedicated tutor. Assessment involves research-based essays or a dissertation.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Options

“I was a BBC documentary-maker, so I’m frequently involved in making programmes about things on which I research and teach.” professor david hendyProfessor of Media and Communications

Fees

UK/EU students:
Fees are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018. The University intends to set fees at the maximum permitted by the UK Government (subject to continued satisfaction of the Teaching Excellence Framework). For the academic year 2017, fees were £9,250 per year.

The UK Government has confirmed that if you’re an EU student applying for entry in September 2018, you’ll pay the same fee rate as UK students for the duration of your course, even if the UK leaves the EU before the end of your course. You’ll also continue to have access to student loans and grants. Find out more on the UK Government website

Channel Islands and Isle of Man students:
The University aligns fees for Channel Islands and Isle of Man students with fees for UK/EU students. These fees are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018. We intend to set fees at the maximum permitted by the UK Government (subject to continued satisfaction of the Teaching Excellence Framework). For the academic year 2017, fees were £9,250 per year.
International students:
£19,200 per year
Study abroad:
Find out about grants and funding, tuition fees and insurance costs for studying abroad
Placement:
Find out about tuition fees for placements

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

Find out about typical living costs for studying at Sussex

Scholarships

Our focus is personal development and social mobility. To help you meet your ambitions to study at Sussex, we deliver one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university.

Careers

Graduate destinations

97% of Department of Media and Film students were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent graduates have started jobs as:

  • copywriter and content strategist, Muse Group Ltd
  • commercial operations assistant, Sky
  • account executive, Starcom MediaVest Group.

(HESA EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

You’ll have the chance to develop real-world skills outside the classroom. You can write for our student newspaper, or present a programme on our television channel or radio station.

Through our expert teaching, and support from our careers team, you develop key skills in:

    • communication and critical thinking
    • understanding human behaviour
    • working to deadlines.

You're prepared for a future in a range of sectors including television, marketing, advertising, public relations, museums and cultural heritage, and festival organisation.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Practising Cultural Studies

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

Learn to use cultural studies' approaches to explore life in the globalised world of the 21st century.

The first few weeks are devoted to describing, debating and historicising some key areas of cultural life – home, work, leisure, city. In the second half of term, you're introduced to contested cultural ideas and debate concepts such as taste, individualism and humanity. Using cross-cultural and historical skills (developed in the first half of the module), you explore issues pertinent to these concepts.

You'll be guided in focused cross-disciplinary study through carefully directed research tasks and reading on these topics.

Questioning the Media A

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module examines ways of questioning media forms, texts and systems. It explores the breadth of media studies through attention to the ways in which media matter in the formation of individual and collective identities and in the practices of everyday life. In the more public world, to what extent are media key to providing knowledge and enabling the debate necessary to the practices of democracy? The module enables you to build on your own experiences of media as consumers, audiences and users. It encourages critical attention to how the field of media studies has historically been forged through its key figures and to the tools for questioning the media they have developed.

The module ranges across media and genres, engaging with both contemporary and historical material. Topics may include: audience pleasure and identity; representations and power; public knowledge; the social impact of the rise of digital media.

Key terms may include: criticism, critical thinking, identity, textual analysis, representation, semiotics, power, public knowledge, institutions.

Embedded in the module is the development of study skills appropriate to the study of media at undergraduate level, including organising study time, note taking, essay writing and referencing, with particular attention being paid to constructing arguments and being critical.

Culture Across Space and Time

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module examines the relationship of culture to place, difference and identity. Drawing on key theoretical debates and case studies, culture will be explored in the context of social change and crises, incorporating topics such as:

  • the impact of globalisation and transnationalism on everyday life
  • the impact of consumption on behaviour and life choices
  • the changing relations of multiculturalism, racism and marginalisation
  • and the representation of culture in public spaces.

Throughout the module cultural issues will be deciphered through the prism of racial, ethnic, class and gender relations at local and global levels.

Culture and the Everyday

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

Explore 'doing culture' in everyday life.

If the 'everyday' refers to the mundane, the unremarkable – to the forms of life routinely taken for granted – it is also through the practices of everyday life that we experience who we are, how our lives are invested with meanings, and how we engage with change.

In the modern world (especially in the developed north), it's difficult to think about cultures of everyday life without also considering the media and its contribution to the structuring of daily life, its varied use in daily life, and its discursive construction and engagement with aspects of everyday life. We introduce you to critical approaches to everyday life, including those engaging with media, before concentrating on a series of case studies.

Topics are likely to be organised around 'embodiment' and 'mobility' and could include getting dressed, meal times, time for love, driving and shopping. We provide historical and cross-cultural material and encourage study of other cultures. You'll also have the opportunity to reflect on your own experiences.

Debates in Media Studies A

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

Throughout this module, you'll encounter some of the most well-known and widely regarded theoretical and critical approaches used in the study of media today. It will help you to identify and analyse the debates circulating around those approaches. In asking ‘what is the subject of media’ and ‘how should we study it?’, different approaches come up with very different answers. Media can be approached as ritual, (global) industry, meaning-maker, technology, dreamworld, everyday life, work place and sensual pleasure machine. Focus can switch from media production and organisation to analysis of media output, from exploration of consumption and use to the bigger issue of media in society.

In carving a way through this complexity, the module will introduce you to a few key frameworks – for example ‘political economy’, ‘critical race studies’, ‘psychoanalysis’, ‘feminist media theory’ – and alert you to how differences of approach have emerged depending on the specific medium or cultural form (radio, TV, cinema, internet, newspaper, advertising, music etc). However, a repeated reference point for the module is the cultural output of media and methods analysis, especially modes of textual analysis.

News, Politics and Power A

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module explores media and politics and, more broadly, the media and questions of power. It focuses on current affairs with a stress on news; although other forms of factual content (for instance TV docudrama, web blogs, broadsheet lifestyle spin-offs) are also covered. This module considers the role media can play in producing our understanding of the globalizing world in which we live. It asks how media frames, organises, and contextualises events, both as they take place, and in relation to the collective memories that emerge after the event. It also asks how the media themselves are managed, manipulated, and influenced – variously by governments, media owners, professional newsrooms codes, and/or by public pressure.

You will examine the role the media play in relation to the citizen and the state. It is through the optic of citizenship, particularly in relation to the public sphere, that questions concerning the power of the media are addressed. You will also explore how a wide range of media contribute to the maintenance or erosion of a democratic society and an informed citizenship.

Theory Taste and Trash A

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module introduces cultural studies students to theories of good taste and popular culture. It gives a historically-­rooted account of how the study of popular culture came to be established in British higher education, and considers the key theoretical approaches that helped to shape those studies. The module explores the meeting of popular culture and 'the academy', and the intriguing questions it continues to pose concerning hierarchies of taste, questions of value, and definitions of educational worth.

A series of lectures will offer you a historical overview and an introduction to the influence of key writers, theorists and approaches, while the module seminars will encourage you to engage critically with significant texts in the field (from writers such as Hall, Bourdieu and Bakhtin). You will test the interpretive frameworks these texts offer by undertaking some case study analyses of contemporary popular cultural texts and practices (in fields such as television, music, the leisure industries and youth culture).

Advertising and Social Change B

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The module engages with the historical development of advertising and opens up a critical understanding of its contemporary place within media economies, culture and society. In the 21st century, advertising has been transformed by the rise of branding, the maturing of the internet and the emergence of new media forms like social media. Traditional advertising forms and the funding model for media which advertising has provided are under threat.

It asks questions about advertising in relation to (social) change, considering whether it is quite the conservative force it is sometimes believed to be reproducing 'dominant ideologies', trading in 'stereotypes', blocking or hiding change, and whether it is perhaps scapegoated when blamed for causing undesirable social changes, such as obesity. To think of advertising in another way, we explore how advertising as an institution and commercial tool is tied into the dynamics of capitalist modernity so that it also trades in the 'new': forever trying to capture the 'mood' of the moment or articulate the current 'state of play'. We consider how some scholars argue that advertising can be therapeutic, managing change and resolving the tensions of modern life rather than simply inciting anxieties for which capitalism has the remedy: go shopping.

We also explore the contradictions of advertising, as both commercial tool for capitalism helping to sustain consumer expansion and a cultural communicative artefact, offering pleasures and irritations, provoking memories, constructing multiple identities and like other cultural output contributing to how we feel, think, talk and culturally connect and disconnect from others.

Through lectures and seminars, group work and independent study, the module engages with these questions and issues through the study of historical and contemporary ad examples, scrutinising both commercial ads and those geared to social marketing, eg. charity ads. It equips you with the tools of analysis to engage with the 'work' of ad campaigns and the broader phenomenon of branding and promotion. But it also provides you with knowledge of the ad industry and the work that ad agencies do. Through engagement with a wide scholarship, you will be introduced to theorisations which give you ways to understand why and how advertising has changed and how it can be thought about in relation to broader developments in society.

Culture and Representation

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you focus on the anthropological master trope of 'culture' and on the political dimensions of representing culture or 'cultures'.

You consider how anthropological understandings of 'culture', as well as anthropologists' modes of analysing and representing it in anthropological work, developed over the 20th century, partially in conversation with other disciplines.

You also examine how 'culture' operates as a key idea in the public domain, used by politicians, community and human rights activists, artists, scientists, museum curators and others, in relation to a wide range of issues and debates when distinctions between 'ourselves' and 'others' are at stake.

Finally, you look at some activities within the cultural domain (such as music, dance, theatre, verbal artistry), which have a performative dimension. You consider how anthropologists have approached these activities to address questions about structure and agency, embodiment, experience, art and aesthetics, creativity, power and protest.

Culture, Race and Ethnicity

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

In this module, you examine the relationship between ideas of culture, race and ethnicity, both historically and in contemporary society.

You'll study a range of empirical examples that demonstrate how the concepts have been used - sometimes separately, sometimes in interlocking ways - in political projects or movements. Particular focus will be placed on the construction of 'whiteness'.

Examples may include:

  • the use of race in nineteenth century colonial administration
  • the politics of ethnicity in post-war London
  • the rise of the new right in contemporary Europe.

Debates in Screen Documentary A

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module will introduce you to the major debates in documentary film studies, a burgeoning field within the discipline of film studies. The documentary is notoriously difficult to categorize or define, but John Grierson’s provisional definition as ‘the creative treatment of actuality’ is as good a place as any to start the investigation of this shapeshifting form.

Gaining in popularity and expanding in form well beyond its traditional televisual format, documentary studies has become an exciting area of research with a literature that is expanding exponentially. A survey of the field will include (but is not limited to) interrogations into questions of:

  • representation of reality
  • documentary authorship
  • objectivity and subjectivity
  • the essayistic and experimental modes
  • other key themes.

Movements and trends in documentary will be covered including a range of practices that have spurred heated debate, such as the mockumentary, the interactive documentary, and the incursion of documentary into the art world. Case studies from international documentary will be integrated into the module, depending on the specialism of the convenor.

Debates in Screen Documentary B

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module will introduce you to the major debates in documentary film studies, a burgeoning field within the discipline of film studies. The documentary is notoriously difficult to categorize or define, but John Grierson’s provisional definition as ‘the creative treatment of actuality’ is as good a place as any to start the investigation of this shapeshifting form.

Gaining in popularity and expanding in form well beyond its traditional televisual format, documentary studies has become an exciting area of research with a literature that is expanding exponentially. A survey of the field will include (but is not limited to) interrogations into questions of:

  • representation of reality
  • documentary authorship
  • objectivity and subjectivity
  • the essayistic and experimental modes
  • other key themes.

Movements and trends in documentary will be covered including a range of practices that have spurred heated debate, such as the mockumentary, the interactive documentary, and the incursion of documentary into the art world. Case studies from international documentary will be integrated into the module, depending on the specialism of the convenor.

Digital Cultures B

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module examines interactive leisure forms and practices based on digital technologies. It understands digital media as a significant and expanding new media formation; one that is transforming both the content and economics of the culture industries. The module will consider the cultural, political and social implications of new forms of interactive media designed for leisure and entertainment. Areas covered will include computer gaming, networked new media such as networked games, networked social spaces, pornography and other on-line entertainment. In addition the module will consider new forms of convergence between previously discrete media forms - for instance Net-TV collaboration and net-served films.

Gender, Space and Culture

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Why is space important to our understanding of communication? How do subjects travel through space in order to construct narratives of identity? How are spaces moralised, sexed and gendered? How do they accrue significance or symbolism?

In the last decade there has been a convergence across many academic disciplines to comprehend spatiality. Social spaces are never empty or static, they are full of the shifting dynamics of power and politics. On this module you will study to what extent gender is articulated in public and private spaces, so that they may be considered to be predominantly feminine, masculine, queer or transgendered. You will also examine how spaces and places are dynamic, unstable and mutable in relation to competing social differences. We will look at a variety of sites of the everyday, from the domestic to the visual, from bodies to landscape and virtual realities using key theoretical concepts such as 'performativity', 'representation' and 'transectionality' to interpret how our culture is thoroughly imbued with gendered and spatialized assumptions.

Topics may include: thinking about gendered journeys such as package holidays or migration; the boundaries and borders of the self; the national and the global; social inclusion and exclusion; and representations of the feminized underclass, or the masculinized professional. We will also consider queer cultural geographies as represented in films; 'freaky bodies' and transexuality online; and the spatial politics of protest on the streets and in the home.

Journalism in Crisis A

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Journalism and Crisis offers a diversity of approaches for studying journalists and journalism around the world. It charts the opportunities, challenges and crises facing journalism in an increasingly global field. The module examines the impact of developments in journalism that have resulted in it becoming an international phenomenon operating in global networks as opposed to within national or cultural borders. It looks at journalism in crisis (as a practice) and journalism as it responds to and communicates crises in the world. It explores the blurring between entertainment and news, as well as the formerly clear division between journalism, public relations and business communication. The module draws on specific examples of global media events to examine these issues and enables students to creatively and critically explore the challenges of consuming and producing globalised stories.

Journalism in Crisis B

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module offers a diversity of approaches for studying journalists and journalism around the world, and charts the opportunities, challenges and crises facing journalism in an increasingly global field.

The module examines the impact of developments in journalism that have resulted in it becoming an international phenomenon operating in global networks as opposed to within national or cultural borders. It looks at journalism in crisis (as a practice) and journalism as it responds to and communicates crises in the world. It explores the blurring between entertainment and news, as well as the formerly clear division between journalism, public relations and business communication. The module draws on specific examples of global media events to examine these issues and enables you to creatively and critically explore the challenges of consuming and producing globalised stories.

TV: Fictions and Entertainments B

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module focuses on the textual and contextual study of television's key fiction and entertainment genres - soap operas, sitcoms and other styles of comedy, game shows, lifestyle television, daytime television, and music television among others. You will be encouraged to explore the defining generic characteristics of these televisual categories, their representational strategies, their ideological implications, their particular pleasures and their relationship with audiences. The primary focus will be on British television, although material from other broadcasting contexts will be used where appropriate for comparative purposes. Most of the primary material will be drawn from current or recent TV, but students will also be required to investigate the history of popular TV genres to understand their evolution over time.

Alternative Societies (Aut)

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Socologists often analyse and criticise the world, and this module examines the alternative societies implied by sociological assessments and criticisms. We will look at alternative societies such as:

  • communist and other kinds of non-capitalist and non-market societies
  • libertarian and decentralised societies
  • communes and alternative types of living.

The module will cover areas such as alternative education, alternative economies and co-ops, participatory types of political organisation, non-patriarchal society, non-racist society, alternative societies for developing countries, green and sustainable societies, societies without work, society without borders, media, technology and alternative societies, and the politics of transition to alternatives. We will look at the role of sociology as critical, utopian and normative.

Consuming Passions

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module explores consumption practices within specific social, cultural and historical contexts. It will build upon other modules you have undertaken throughout your degree and enable you to draw interim conclusions to processes through which people make sense of objects – and other culturally significant things – and how they are appropriated into everyday life. It also explores consumption as a basic human activity through which people engage with and understand their position in the world. It will locate social, historical and culturally specific consumption practices within wider processes of identity-creation and differentiation. Finally, consumption will be discussed in the context of the development of 'consumer cultures' and globalisation.

'Consuming Passions' will take a dynamic and deliberately interdisciplinary approach to a number of key concepts central to the study of 'culture'. It will draw upon and critically examine the variety of ways in which cultural and sub-cultural groups acquire, interpret, use and develop such things as film, music, food, sexuality, fashion, literature and art, and include the study of material and visual cultures.

The weekly topics are related and have been chosen deliberately to interact with one another in intriguing and unexpected ways. You are strongly encouraged to make original and imaginative leaps and connections during seminar discussions and in both your coursework and your extended essays, in which you may also re-examine, in greater depth, some of the topics you may have encountered in earlier modules.

Cultures of Colonialism

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Documentary, Reality TV and 'Real Lives'

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

During this documentary module you'll analyse documentary production in its historical and cultural context and focuses on new developments in documentary production, reality TV formats, feature documentary and alternative documentary production. In addition we'll address emerging documentary production in the developing world.

The module covers foundational thinking in documentary; theorisations of different modes of documentary; reality TV; debates over documentary's truth claims; the boundary between documentary and fiction; dramatisation and reconstructions; and international independent documentary production.

Globalisation and Communication

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module studies the role of the media (broadly understood to include all forms of telecommunications, the Internet and computers, print and televisual journalism, the music industry and all forms of visual media) in the era of globalisation. It will begin by investigating various forms of globalisation and by asking how it is explored through various registers.

We will focus on the relations between globalisation and the media regarded through the lens of global political-economies, through culture and its flows, and through the register of the symbolic. We will then address the specific role of the various media forms/formations in initiating, consolidating and sustaining both the idea and the practice of globalisation.

The module will also consider the risks, possibilities, hopes and anxieties circulating around the figure of accelerating globalisation, as it operates in the arena of media culture. This module will deliver the necessary information and theoretical background for you to understand the key processes and dynamics of globalisation. More specifically, you will be asked to come to terms with the meaning of our current historical moment as it is expressed through the use of the term globalisation in a number of disciplinary fields (politics, economics, cultural studies, media studies, etc). The module is designed to encourage you to then relate the general conception of globalisation to particular case studies in media and culture.

Identity and Interaction

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module explores microsociological theories of the self, social identity and social interaction, drawing particularly on Symbolic Interactionism and Goffman's dramaturgical theory. The aim is to show how the ostensibly private world of individual selfhood is created and shaped by social processes, culture and interaction order.

The first half of the module examines different approaches to understanding identity: from the philosophy of mind and personhood, through theories of group membership and categorisation; narrative and biographical models of the 'storied self'; performativity; and poststructuralist ideas about identity fragmentation, multiplicity and the discursive constitution of subjectivities.

The second part of the module looks in detail at two related theories of social interaction - Symbolic Interactionism and Goffman's dramaturgy - and their empirical applications, using illustrative examples from published studies. Topics covered here include: role-making, taking, play and conflict; meanings, gestures and symbols; strangers and outsiders; Goffman's theatrical analogy; behaviour in public places (etiquette, civility and interaction rituals); deviant and stigmatised identities; the negotiated order of institutional life; and secrecy, lies, betrayal and deception.

The module will be assessed by a 6,000 word essay, in the form of either a critical commentary on the social formation of one type of social identity or a reflexive portfolio of self-identity.

Landscape, Nature and Representation

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Media and Communications Dissertation Preparation

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Media, War and Terrorism

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module explores in depth the complex role of modern media in the conduct and public understanding of contemporary war and conflict. It seeks to foster an understanding of the methods used by militaries, journalists and film makers and in the shaping of discourses around war and conflict in both the past and present.

It will provide you with interests in film, television and journalism with an indepth overview of the main historical and theoretical thinking around the subject of war and media. The approach is global and interdisciplinary, combining historical perspectives with textual analysis of contemporary media including news, documentary, film and emerging online media in both ‘Western’ and non-Western parts of the world.

Subjects covered might include:

  • an analysis of the key theoretical perspectives through which the relationship between media and war can be examined
  • the history, development and debates around military-media management strategies (for example, official and un-official censorship, access clauses, embedding, public relations and strategic communications) through which the military attempt to manage (predominantly mainstream) media coverage of their activities
  • an critical exploration of the ways militaries utilise their own media in the conduct and strategizing of contemporary war and conflict where media (leaflets, radio, social media) is integrated into battlefield strategy, particularly in counter-insurgency warfare. These strategies might include, for example, psychological operations; influencing activities, target audience analysis
  • current debates around war (and peace) journalism as a distinct practice (including war journalism and objectivity, peace journalism)
  • current theoretical and political understandings of the cumulative effects of military management and journalistic practice on the conduct of war and conflict (including the debates around the CNN effect, media and conflict generation, mediatisation)
  • the role of media actors (war correspondents and film makers in particular) in representing war and implications for public understandings
  • war, media and memory including ongoing debates and theorization of the relationship between media, memory and history in specific relation to war and conflict.

Science and the Media

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Scientific controversy makes for a good story but it is also an important site of enquiry for media and science students. From human cloning to the internet, science and technology make up a central aspect of the form and content of the contemporary media. Science communication, public engagement with science, and scientific imaginaries, are key components of both factual and fictional genres from the press and the cinema, to the arts and science policy. Understanding the media as a central feature of contemporary science and techno cultures, and science and technology as central to media cultures, equips successful students with the ability to evaluate some of the key contemporary issues in society.

Using historical and contemporary case studies such as nuclear energy and biotechnology, the module might include any of the following issues:

  • fact and fraud
  • hypes and hopes
  • media publics and science
  • science and art
  • science communication and public engagement with science
  • relationships between science practice and science fiction
  • cultures of news production and science reporting
  • science as culture

The module considers the relationship between scientific cultures and key institutions in the UK and globally. These include (for example) Hollywood, the Wellcome Trust and the Science Media Centre. The role of science fiction and feminist interventions in science and technology studies also provide cross cutting aspects of the course.

Social Media and Critical Practice

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Social media has become the way of framing much internet and mobile media and the implications of this turn are important. We use social media platforms in our everyday life and they have become influential in journalism, promotional culture, education and across the media industries. However, their pervasiveness and significance goes unchallenged and largely celebrated through the language of participation, communication and freedom. This module aims to stand back from the everyday ubiquity of these forms to question and analyse them by using them critically and creatively.

The module examines a range of social media platforms by engaging and using them and by equipping students to critically analyse this. We look at the promise and perils of these new forms, the histories of their emergence, their institutional and structural shape and power, and the politics, economics, aesthetics and pleasures attached to them.

You will engage social media platforms to create a small practical project and interrogate this engagement through an extended critique of use and practice.

Sociology of Fun (Aut)

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module introduces you to the idea of a sociology of fun, where fun will be treated as a key component of modern social relations. This is a completely new area of sociological enquiry – you will be involved in social science as it is being developed.

Whilst there is a large literature on well-being, psychological and physical health and leisure – addressed in the module – there is almost no social scientific literature on experiences of fun. Early work on 'fun morality' disappeared by the end of the 1950s, as concerns about the longer term implications of good health, well-being and (more recently) happiness – related to discourses of the productive worker – came to dominate writing on the positive and negative aspects of our socio-emotional lives.

This module addresses a central theme – that the under representation of fun in literature is because of a social representation of it as frivolous and fleeting. Throughout the module this is counterpoised with data illustrating the importance placed on fun by a variety of people in a variety of settings.

Here fun will be presented as something distinct from well-being and happiness due to the temporal impermanence of the phenomenal experience. But fun resonates through the telling and re-telling of the experience of having fun – which in itself stimulates fun.

The Politics of Representation

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

The aim of this module is to examine the ways in which representations (in the broadest sense) both orchestrate and animate our social and cultural worlds. By representation we mean the texts, institutions and practices that are circulated via various forms of mediation (mainly through the written, the visual, and the auditory forms that circulate in culture). Identity has been a key issue here and the representation of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, class, age, disability, religion (and so on) will be one theme for investigation.

Similarly the use of representation to articulate political forms of life (for instance neo-liberalism and its associated agendas) will be a key concern. The module will provide a thorough exploration of a number of key approaches to contemporary and historical representational forms and will endeavour to place these approaches within wider political, cultural and social contexts.

Celebrity, Media and Culture

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Celebrities are an enduring feature of popular culture, from cinema to the news. Spectacular individuals permeate our media landscape via social media, high fashion and internet gossip.

This module encourages you to engage with historical and contemporary cultures of celebrity. It fosters a critical understanding of the construction of stardom, and of the political and cultural climates in which different kinds of celebrities and their fans emerge. In looking across the spectrum of celebrity in transnational and local contexts, you will engage with notions of:

  • intimacy and distance
  • authenticity and performance
  • intertextuality and emotion
  • glamour and disgust
  • labour and identity.

Comedy and Cultural Belonging

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Comedy is, above all, a cultural form that invites its audiences to feel that they belong – to a social community, a class, a locality, a nation, a subculture, a gender, a sexual identity, an ethnic group, a community of interest, or a complex intersection of several of these.

This module explores the relationship between comedy and belonging by considering a number of conceptual fields, such as:

  • theories of the comedic
  • questions of identity formation
  • notions of representation and stereotyping
  • structures of power and resistance
  • the sexual politics of jokes
  • concepts of carnival and excess
  • the idea of a 'national sense of humour'
  • the use of comic strategies by 'minority' groups
  • the complexities of camp
  • the role of class in cultural consumption.

The initial focus is on 20th-century British popular comedy. The comic texts and practitioners studied might include Alan Bennett, Mike Leigh, Victoria Wood, the music hall tradition, the Ealing comedies, the Carry On films, Morecambe and Wise, The League of Gentlemen and The Royle Family.

Everyday Life and Technology

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The module investigates the overlapping technological, cultural and social dimensions of technology (particularly communication technologies, but also other domestic technologies) as they are encountered in everyday life. It explores these issues through an investigation of historical and contemporary examples (the telephone, the radio, the television, the mp3 player, the fridge, the computer and the internet) and discusses how domestic technologies are socially shaped, re-shaped, experienced and consumed. During the module you will consider major theoretical approaches to the study of everyday technologies as well as debates about their consequences and significance.

Feminism and Digital Culture

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Media and Communications Dissertation

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This dissertation module allows you to draw upon material taught in your third year autumn modules in order to write and research your 8,000 word dissertation.

It is aimed to build upon appropriate critical, theoretical and methodological approaches encountered in those modules. As such the course will enable you to draw together and reflect upon the skills and knowledge acquired not just in Year 3, but throughout your degree course.

The module is largely self-directed permitting them to focus upon their specific and individual  topic of research. Introductory lectures, tutorials both group and individual and research workshops will guide students through the process of planning, researching and writing their dissertation.

Performing the Urban: postcolonial perspectives

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Performance cultures provide a unique insight into urban and social transformation. Addressing urban dance, music and language scenes, among other things, this module opens up a range of debates on the relationship between performance cultures and the urban. This in-depth exploration engages critically with theoretical perspectives on performance and and addresses the main frames through which performing the urban can be understood. You will, for example, consider the history of urban performance cultures and how they are made in different places. Developing these intellectual tools, you will enter into a series of applied discussions on performance culture’s relation to youth politics, multiculture and cosmopolitanism, and cultural technologies whilst considering the intersection of these topics with race, class and gender. You will consider how we might understand contemporary urban politics and perhaps even counter stories of its demise. You will discuss the multicultural and diasporic formation of urban performances, and how the use of YouTube by urban musicians might be similar or different to the use of sound systems or pirate radio. In the final session, you will look out to consider the future of performance cultures in the context of the urban, and indeed how the weeks’ prevision discussions prefigure different futurities.

This module will engage with a range of materials of interest to UK, EU and international students. Discussions on the relation of time to performance culture will draw on examples of changing language use in urban places. Analyses of space will engage with performances of the ‘hood, ghetto and post-code. The evaluation of struggle will consider the politics of riots/uprisings in addition to more mundane expressions of racialised, classed and gendered resistance drawn form urban ethnographies. The analysis of multiculture and cosmopolitanism will engage with the biographies of singer songwriters such as Prince, MIA and Wiley in addition to South Asian dance music. The analysis of transforming relationships between performance culture and technology will include a comparative exploration of sound systems, pirate radio and online music videos.

The module’s engagement with music, digital media, film, and everyday cultural practices, will be of interest to undergraduate students in cultural studies, media and communications, and music and film, in addition to students from wider social science and humanities disciplines. In particular it will build on MFM second year modules on ‘culture, race and ethnicity’, ‘digital cultures’, ‘gender, space and culture’, ‘media, memory, history’ and ‘sound culture and society’; and joint second-year cultural studies modules such as ‘cities and urban lives’ and ‘culture and performance’.

Overall, the module will provide you with the substantive, historical and theoretical means to analyse and engage with the complexities inherent in performing urban culture.

Subjects covered include:

  1. An introduction to urban performance culture, including an outline of foundational studies on urban culture.
  2. Key theoretical perspectives through which urban performance culture has been addressed, in particular focusing on ‘performativity’, vernacular and dialogue.
  3. A discussion of performance cultures in time, their relation to the past and the creative transformations they undergo.
  4. An evaluation of how performance culture is constituted in space (in particular urban space).
  5. An critical discussion of performance culture as a site of political struggle and how this intersects with class, race and gender.
  6. An analysis of performance culture as a manifestation of multiculture and cosmopolitanism.
  7. An analysis of the transforming relationships between urban culture and technology.
  8. An evaluation of the future of urban culture.

Political Communication

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module will present a critical review of key aspects of contemporary theory, research and practice in political communications. It will allow you to explore how these may be challenged by and transformed by new technologies and by sophisticated methods for shaping personalised messages. Using an interdisciplinary perspective, you will examine the key theoretical concepts pertaining to political communication as normally understood in the West, then pose normative and empirical questions on how they can be assessed outside those contexts.

The module will provide you with the ability to assess the role and function of communication in the public sphere and to evaluate the management and practice of communication within the political process. Throughout, you'll be encouraged to consider and reflect on political communication within and across different national and regional contexts.

Race, Ethnicity and Identity

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module focuses on theories of race, ethnicity and identity. You will apply diverse approaches to race, ethnicitiy and identity to historical and contemporary ethnographic contexts.

As well as examining the ways in which racial and ethnic identities have been constructed across time and space, we interrogate these constructions with specific reference to:

  • the development of anthropology
  • slavery and colonialism
  • scientific racism
  • postcolonial political regimes
  • postcolonial feminism
  • conflict and genocide
  • identity-based mass violence
  • diaspora, transnationalism and the Black Atlantic
  • contemporary understandings of race and racism in its myriad forms
  • multicultural lives and hybridity.

You are assessed by a 7,000-word dissertation.

Sexualities and the Cinema

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module centres on the critical study of sexualities and how they are represented in a range of film texts. Through screenings, lectures, seminars and self-directed study, you will be introduced to the various ways in which sexualities have been both theorised and represented in a range of film texts.

Debates considered in the module may include:

  • the politics of sexual identification
  • the idea of sexual ‘perversity’
  • sexual stereotyping (especially of lesbians and gays)
  • and the critical concept of ‘queer’ in theory
  • identity politics and cinematic genre (queer cinema).
Return to top of page