English and Media Studies (with a study abroad year) BA

English

Key information

Duration:
4 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
AAB-ABB
UCAS code:
Q306
Start date:
September 2018

Explore how literature and the media shape our culture and society. You also have the opportunity to apply for a year studying abroad.

At Sussex, you examine the relationship between literary work and other cultural forms and analyse different media. You are taught by researchers who produce documentaries, films and books – and have the flexibility to shape your own studies to produce your own critical and creative response to the world we live in today.

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

I’ve considered the universality of the modern song lyric, produced short fiction, explored literary theory, discovered modernism and pondered female sexuality.”Camilla Davies
English BA

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

AAB-ABB

Subjects

A-levels must include English Literature or the combined A-level in English Language and Literature, normally at grade A.

GCSEs

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 in the Access to HE Diploma with 45 level 3 credits at Merit or above, including 30 at Distinction.

Subjects

Access to HE Diploma must contain substantial Level 3 credits in Literature. Alternatively, you will need grade A in A-level English Literature or the combined English Language & Literature, normally at grade A, in addition to the Access Diploma.

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from full IB Diploma.

Subjects

Higher Level subjects must include English A1 or A2, with a final grade of 6.

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

Typical offer

DDD

Subjects

You will also need A-level English Literature or the combined A-level in English Language and Literature, normally at grade A, in addition to the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma.

GCSEs

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

Scottish Highers

Typical offer

AABBB

Subjects

Highers must include English at grade A. You would normally be expected to offer Advanced Higher English (at grade A) in addition to the Higher.

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced

Typical offer

Grade B and AB in two A-levels.

Subjects

Options must include two A-levels, one of which must be English Literature or the combined A-level in English Language & Literature, normally at grade A.

GCSEs

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 full IB Diploma.

Subjects

Higher Level subjects must include English A1 or A2, with a final grade of 6.

European baccalaureate

Typical offer

Overall result of at least 77%

Additional requirements

Successful applicants will need to achieve a final mark of at least 8/10 in English.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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. 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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).

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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 .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Additional requirements

You will need Laudatur in English.

France

Typical offer

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

Additional requirements

You will need at least 14/20 in English.

Germany

Typical offer

German Abitur with an overall result of 2.0 or better.

Additional requirements

You will need a final result of at least 14/15 in English.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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. 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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%. 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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

Higher Level subjects must include English at grade H1.

Israel

Typical offer

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

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Additional requirements

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Japan

Typical offer

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

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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).

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Additional requirements

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Pakistan

Typical offer

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

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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. 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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. 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Additional requirements

You will need at least 8/10 in English.

Sri Lanka

Typical offer

Sri Lankan A-levels.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

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

Switzerland

Typical offer

Federal Maturity Certificate.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

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?

  • Ranked in the top 15 in the UK for English (The Guardian University Guide 2018 and The Complete University Guide 2018) and Communication and Media Studies (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018).
  • Ranked 9th in the UK in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014 REF) and in the top 100 in the world for English (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017).
  • Brighton is one of the UK’s fastest growing hubs for digital and creative media – perfect for your work experience and career opportunities.

Course information

How will I study?

In lectures and seminars, we introduce you to cultural contexts, critical methods and the literary form.

Exploring a variety of literature – including classic texts, graphic novels and experimental poetry – helps you develop as a reader and writer.

You study theoretical tools and key approaches used to investigate a range of media. You learn to analyse and reflect on institutions, texts and audiences. You also choose options from film, music and cultural studies, or practice-based options in video, sound or photography.

Modules

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

Core modules


Customise your course

Our courses are designed to broaden your horizons and give you the skills and experience necessary to have the sort of career that has an impact.

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

How will I study?

In English core modules, you focus on the novel and the historical periods that shape our understanding of the discipline. You can choose from a range of options on writing spanning centuries, continents and genres.

In Media Studies, you can follow your own interests and ideas, supported by our focus on developing your research skills. You could explore media history, popular culture, journalism studies, advertising or digital media. You can also take a short work placement and continue your studies in media practice.

Modules

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

Core modules

Options


Customise your course

Our courses are designed to broaden your horizons and give you the skills and experience necessary to have the sort of career that has an impact.

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

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.

Studying abroad boosts your confidence, gaining language skills, international connections, and a totally fresh perspective on life (and literature!).”Josephine Mortimer
English (with a study abroad year) BA

Please note

Programs with a study abroad year are not eligible for USA federal Direct Loan funds. Find out more about American Student Loans and Federal Student Aid

How will I study?

English core modules underpin your development as a critical reader and extend your knowledge of crucial historical periods. Your understanding of literature grows as you become a confident researcher, and you choose two authors and a subject to study in detail.

In Media Studies, your final year focuses on developing and researching essays and a dissertation, shaped by your interests. You prepare for this through seminars and workshops.

Modules

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

Options

Our faculty – distinguished scholars, many of whom have won academic prizes and research awards – continue to challenge conventional critical and cultural models.Professor Carol Watts
Head of the School of English

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

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

English and English Language at Sussex is ranked 1st in the UK for graduate prospects (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017). 

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

  • editorial assistant, Taylor and Francis
  • account executive, Starcom MediaVest
  • film publicist, Way To Blue.

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

Your future career

Studying English and Media Studies at Sussex means you develop transferable skills in critical analysis, verbal and written communication, independent thinking and creativity.

Sussex hosts tailored careers events, including workshops, talks and regular drop-in sessions. You continue to receive careers support after graduation.

You can go on to further study, or use your degree for a career in:

  • the arts, libraries and museums
  • media, journalism and advertising
  • civil service, teaching and higher education.

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

Scoping strengths and interests – Amy Drayton, English BA

Critical Approaches 1

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

How do we go about reading and interpreting a literary text? What are we trying to do when we analyse a work of literature: are we trying to establish one correct interpretation? How do we decide that some interpretations are more valuable than others? Do we need to understand the original intentions of the author to understand what something means? Is it necessary to understand the historical or political situation from which a work emerged? Do readers interpret texts differently at different historical moments? Could our interpretations of texts be affected by forces beyond our control, forces such as the workings of language, unconscious desires, class, race, gender, sexuality or nationality? How is it that some texts, Shakespeare's plays, for instance, are highly valued by our culture, while others have been lost or devalued? Who or what decides which literature will survive to be read and studied on English modules?

This module will suggest some ways of answering these large and difficult questions about interpretation, and aims to make you think in new ways about the work you do for your English degree at Sussex. The module is divided up into five parts: two five-week lecture blocks in the autumn, and three four-week blocks in the spring. In the autumn you will study two themes: "The Author/Authority" and "The Word"; in the spring you will study "Class and Culture," "Desire and Pleasure," and "Difference." Throughout the module you will read critical and theoretical essays and literary works that contribute to your understanding of these themes. The module will examine many different aspects of literary theory including new criticism, Marxism, structuralism, post-structuralism, deconstruction, feminism, post-colonial theory, psychoanalysis and queer theory. We will also ask you to reflect on the relationship between the theoretical reading and literature through simultaneously reading several literary texts.

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.

Reading Genre 1

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

How do texts locate themselves in literary conventions to develop their own expression and meaning? How do other media such as film transform literary genre? How does genre act to shape a text and a reader's understanding of it? How do we identify and understand genre?

These are some of the questions that we shall approach in these two interlinked modules by focusing on five genres: epic, comedy (in teaching block 1) lyric, tragedy, horror (in teaching block 2). In each instance we shall concentrate on either one or a small number of representative examples, allowing us to widen our understanding of genre while we deepen our acquaintance with key illustrations from it. These two modules may be taken in consort or independently of one another.

A crucial aspect of the module is to develop close reading skills, so seminars and lectures will combine larger ideas about genre (e.g. ideas of imitation; politics of genre; tragic theory) with detailed explorations of examples.

Critical Approaches 2

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1
  • How do we go about reading and interpreting a literary text?
  • What are we trying to do when we analyse a work of literature - are we trying to establish one correct interpretation?
  • How do we decide that some interpretations are more valuable than others?
  • Do we need to understand the original intentions of the author to understand what something means?
  • Is it necessary to understand the historical or political situation from which a work emerged?
  • Do readers interpret texts differently at different historical moments?
  • Could our interpretations of texts be affected by forces beyond our control, forces such as the workings of language, unconscious desires, class, race, gender, sexuality or nationality?
  • How is it that some texts, Shakespeare's plays, for instance, are highly valued by our culture, while others have been lost or devalued?
  • Who or what decides which literature will survive to be read and studied on English courses?

In this module, Critical Approaches 2, you explore some ways of answering these large and difficult questions about interpretation. The aim of the module is to help you think in new ways about the work you do for your English degree at Sussex.

In the spring, you study three themes:

  • Theories of Subjectivity, Identity, and Desire
  • Postcolonial Studies
  • The Contemporary Moment.

Throughout the module, you read critical and theoretical essays and literary works that contribute to your understanding of these themes.

You examine many different aspects of literary theory including:

  • new criticism
  • Marxism
  • structuralism
  • post-structuralism
  • deconstruction
  • feminism
  • post-colonial theory
  • psychoanalysis
  • queer theory.

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.

Reading Genre 2

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

How do texts locate themselves in literary conventions to develop their own expression and meaning? How do other media such as film transform literary genre? How does genre act to shape a text and a reader's understanding of it? How do we identify and understand genre?

These are some of the questions that we shall approach in these two interlinked modules by focusing on five genres: epic, comedy (in teaching block 1) lyric, tragedy, horror (in teaching block 2). In each instance we shall concentrate on either one or a small number of representative examples, allowing us to widen our understanding of genre while we deepen our acquaintance with key illustrations from it. These two modules may be taken in consort or independently of one another.

A crucial aspect of the module is to develop close reading skills, so seminars and lectures will combine larger ideas about genre (e.g. ideas of imitation; politics of genre; tragic theory) with detailed explorations of examples.

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.

Globalisation and Communication

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

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.

Media, War and Terrorism

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

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.

Period of Literature: 1500-1625

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

In this module you will examine literature from the reigns of Henry VIII to James I. The volume, variety and quality of writing produced in this period are astonishing. The 16th century saw the impact of an unprecedented expansion of England's capital city, which produced a thriving environment for professional writing, prompting the birth of commercial theatre in London and a flourishing book trade.

You will consider how literature came to be produced historically, looking at writing in its cultural setting with the help of visual texts such as paintings and architecture. You will address questions of literary history and theory, form and rhetoric within the network of institutions, practices and beliefs that constitute a culture as a whole. The module does not confine itself to major authors, but involves the consideration of appropriate themes and material drawn from various literary genres - drama, poetry and prose.

Topics explored include the rise of the commercial stage; sexualities and the transvestite stage; writing history; popular pamphlet culture; representations of the body; exploration and early colonialism; the sonnet; erotic writing; devotional writing; the city of London and money; religion; gender; death; representations of monarchy; the political stage; revenge tragedy; witchcraft and the birth of science.

Period of Literature: 1625-1750

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module examines the literary production of the period from the autocratic reign of the Stuart king Charles I to the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. At its centre lies the regicide of Charles I in January 1649 - an event T. S. Eliot argued still divided British political society 300 years later. Even now it is a matter of some controversy to refer to the period between 1642 and 1649 as a rebellion or as the English Revolution, and between 1649 and 1660 as the Commonwealth or else as the Interregnum. However it is described, the extraordinary 125 years covered by this module have some claim to be the decisive period in the creation of what we think of as modern politics.

It is also a period of astonishing literary creativity. This is true both in terms of the volume, variety and quality of writing produced, and in terms of radical innovations in styles, in readerships, and in media. This module will include the study of a wide range of poetry, prose and play-texts. At the same time, it will involve trying to understand how this writing came to be produced historically. In particular, it will be concerned with the social life of texts, placing literary artifacts within the network of institutions, practices and beliefs that constitute a culture as a whole.

Period of Literature: 1750-1880

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The module, taught in seminars supported by a weekly lecture series, will address a selection of authors and themes prominent between 1750 and 1880. The actual content will vary from year to year depending on the expertise of those available to teach it in any given year.

Authors to be studied will be selected from but not necessarily confined to: Johnson, Gray, Sterne, Goldsmith, Blake, Lewis, Austen, Wollstonecraft, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Carlyle, De Quincey, Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, Ruskin, Dickens, Gaskell, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, W.M. Thackeray, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy.

Themes to be considered may includ sentimentalism and sensibility; slavery and empire; Romantic aesthetics and Romantic poetry; theories of the sublime and the imagination; the Gothic; responses to the French Revolution and the oppression of women; images of women; the condition of England question; progress and evolution; art and society; mind and spirit: the inner life; and culture in crisis

Period of Literature: 1860-1945

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

On this module you will study one of the truly momentous and troubling periods of British and world history. Imperialist conflict, the growth of nationalism, war, migration, feminism and the struggle for women's suffrage, the development of consumerism and of new forms of economic organisation, the emergence of anarchism, socialism, communism and fascism, the creation of the mass press, the radio and cinema: these are some of the contextual forces out of which emerged some of the most challenging, demanding, fascinating, rich and bewildering works of literature in English.

You will examine the links between modernity and modern/modernist literature in a range of texts, genres and authors. You will investigate notions of the avant-garde and the experimental in writing, and explore the ways in which literary texts participated in and responded to the revolutionary intellectual changes that marked this period, from Darwinism to psychoanalysis. Some of the topics we will investigate include: the consequences of science and technology (modernisation, urbanisation, sub-urbanisation); definitions and re-definitions of Englishness; the invention of traditions; the critique of modernity; the fate of liberalism; the impact of photography, the mass media and new forms of communication from the telephone to the motor car.

Social Media and Critical Practice

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

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.

Sound, Culture & Society B

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module introduces you to the role of sound in human culture and society. It seeks to foster an understanding of aurality in the past and present and the relationship of sound to various modern media. It provides you with interests in film, television, radio, music and journalism with a solid and wide-ranging introduction of the main historical, theoretical and practical thinking around the subject of sound. It encompasses music and speech but places them in the context of sound and listening more broadly. The approach is global and interdisciplinary combining historical perspectives with textual analysis of contemporary films, programmes and soundscapes with emerging work on auditory cultures and online media in both 'Western' and 'non-Western' parts of the world.

Subjects covered would include:

  • Hearing and the senses (including perception, mood, and memory)
  • The concept and history of the 'soundscape'
  • Sound before and after modernity (including the concept of 'oral culture', the role of sound in political and social struggles through history, the electrification and recording of sound)
  • Sound and ethnography (eg sound in everyday life in varous cultures)
  • The voice (including styles of speech and the ways in which 'personality' is supposedly revealed through voice and gender)
  • Cinema and sound (including film sound design in the past and present)
  • Music and new media (including new forms of music production and reception, and the production of taste).

You will also be introduced to some of the key terms and concepts used in analysing sound, both in the study of soundscapes and in the study of soundtracks.

The Politics of Representation

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

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.

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.

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.

Primitivism at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module introduces you to the range of literary productions of the Romantic Period (approximately, 1780-1830) at the same time as considering the extent to which primitivism is the key motif of the period's thought. Primitivism is defined as a preference for what is 'natural' ('in the sense of that which exists prior to or independently of human culture and contrivance') over what is 'artificial' (that which is technologically constructed, or associated with the complex institutions of civilised society).

The module begins with a detailed examination of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's On the Origin of Inequality (1754) taught alongside modern theorists of primitivism such as Susan Hiller and Michael Bell and then goes on to examine the echoes of, and departures from, Rousseau's ideas over the course of the rest of the module's texts. The turn of the 19th century is particularly suited to this approach because cultural primitivism, in various forms, stands at the heart of many of its literary phenomena. The Gothic proposes that key human passions and ideas can only exist outside of stultifying commercial society, hence its frequent pretence that its texts are ancient 'found' manuscripts of various sorts. Wordsworth and Coleridge's lyrical ballads project celebrates a rural simplicity under threat in contemporary urban life and under pressure from the spectacular and world-historical nature of recent politics. And abolitionist literature and thought mobilises the cult of the noble savage to challenge the brutal reality of economic expansion. The module will consider these and other related literary phenomena with the ideas of primitivism as a critical template.

Romance

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

You study the history of romance, focusing on medieval literature. You trace the genre's importance to English literary history, and to its readers and writers. 

You also examine how male writers thought about and adapted the genre, in an age where it was assumed to be focused towards female readers. 

During the Middle Ages, romance was the most popular form of secular literature, and has influenced later works from The Faerie Queene to Bridget Jones' Diar - making it one of the most important genres in English literary history. 

Sense and Sexuality: Women and Writing in the Eighteenth Century

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module explores the representation of women and the construction of female sexuality and feeling in a wide range of 18th-century writing. Addressing fictional and non-fictional writing by both women and men in novels, medical works, advice books for women and erotic literature, the module explores contemporary debates about the place of women in society, (including personal conduct), and the place of sexuality (both socially-sanctioned and otherwise). A central concern will be attitudes to female feeling, from sexual passion to sensibility, and the ways in which feeling of various kinds enables conformity to, or critical interrogation of, a larger social and cultural order. Attention will also be paid to the relationship between bodies and passion, the social disciplining of feeling, and the relationship between emotion and gender. Your focus on literary works will be supplemented with a range of additional sources that will enable you to contextualise the novels and poems and link them into contemporary debates and attitudes.

 

Staging the Renaissance: Shakespeare

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module considers a range of Shakespeare's plays (comedies, tragedies, tragi-comedies and romances) from different stages of his career, analysing the playwright's stagecraft, his use of language, and his reworking of traditional forms for the
commercial stage. Although you will explore some recent adaptations for stage and screen, you wil focus particularly on the plays as produced in their original historical and cultural contexts.

The module will familiarise you with Renaissance drama's negotiation of contested social and political issues at the turn of the 17th century. You will investigate the social processes of the theatre - notably the playhouses used by Shakespeare's company (the Theatre, the Globe and Blackfriars) - and focus on the interplay of Shakespearean texts and their performance in the production of meaning.

The Arts and Literature of Satire

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module takes you through some of the major developments from the birth of literary satire in the works of Horace and Juvenal, to the survival of satire in literature and the visual arts. You will become familiar with some of the basic concepts central to the workings of satire: including parody, burlesque, mimicry, travesty, comedy and humour, and laughter. The module will also maintain a focus upon the interaction of visual and verbal satire. Some of the later seminars are consequently devoted to a consideration of the operations of semiotics, symbolism and visual narrative. The major figures of 18th- and 19th-century literary satire (Dryden, Pope, Swift, Hone, Byron) will consequently be studied alongside the giants of print satire (Hogarth, Gillray and Cruikshank). The emphasis throughout is interdisciplinary and will enable you to develop basic skills in the areas of aesthetics and cultural history, as well as strategies for discussing the operations of genre and narrative in the context of satire.

The Nineteenth-Century American Short Story

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module will be an in-depth examination of the nineteenth-century American short story. In the wake of Washington Irving’s influential 1820-1 The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., writers such as Catherine Maria Sedgwick, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville quickly developed the short story into a potent and enduring American literary form.

In addition to these writers, we will read a wide range of authors who used the genre:

  • to creatively examine the nation’s colonial past and to articulate new possibilities for American individual and collective identity
  • to question the often violent exclusion of women, African Americans, Native Americans and immigrants from public life
  • to end slavery and improve working conditions
  • to describe the alienation of urban and frontier life
  • to confront the demands of industrialization and mass culture
  • to orient themselves within intellectual terrain shaken by new movements in philosophy, religion and science.

At the same time, we will pay close attention to how these writers cultivated the art of the short story itself. They undertook bold stylistic experiments in narrative form, characterization, and tone, accented their work with words from foreign languages or regional dialects, wrote with journalistic clarity or created densely allusive arabesques. They often became the sharpest theoreticians and critics of the genre in their essays and reviews. In short, whether these writers sought to educate their readers concerning social inequities, to horrify or to titillate them, they opened new, dynamic possibilities for the short story within a growing nation and an emerging literary marketplace.

The Novel

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module explores the complex history of the novel as a form, from the 17th century to the modern period. The aim of the module is to describe the development of different traditions of novel writing, examine innovations to the novel as a form made since the 17th century, place the English novel in the context of the European novel, and introduce you to a range of important discussions about the novel as a genre, its audiences, its cultural functions and its relation to the social world. Novelists discussed will include Aphra Behn, Madame de Lafayette, Daniel Defoe, Johann Goethe, Charles Dickens, Gustave Flaubert, Henry James, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and Marcel Proust. At the end of the module, you will be able to  understand and apply the concept of genre in literary analysis; think creatively and critically about the ways in which specific generic conventions have been used in the novels you are reading; and synthesise formal, cultural and historical levels of analysis.

Transatlantic Rhetoric: Public Speech and Anglo-American Writing 1750-1900

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

What is 'rhetoric' and why was it so important for literary life in nineteenth-century Britain and America? How can we begin to analyse public speaking as writing, and what is its relationship to literature in general?

You address these questions by exploring the cultural history of persuasive public speech between the American Revolution and the turn of the twentieth century, and the role it played in the development of literary expression.

Each week you look at a pair of one or more speeches from either side of the Atlantic, from across a range of genres including parliamentary oratory, radical political speechmaking, sermons, courtroom statements and comic lectures.

By training in the methods of rhetorical analysis you develop an understanding of how to comprehend the meanings and craft of public speech.

By placing speechmaking back into broader literary history, you begin to see rhetoric and voice as central themes in the history of Anglo-American writing.

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.

Victorian Things

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module reads Victorian literature through the lens of material objects. From toys, to textiles, to wax flowers, to industrial machinery—the material culture of the Victorian period was incomparably rich.

What formal and generic strategies did writers find for depicting this plethora of objects? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of the various scholarly methodologies that use things to tell us about literature and culture?

The module also investigates the book itself as a material object, via hands-on archival sessions using Sussex’s Special Collections. Central themes include realism, childhood, consumerism and the commodity, femininity, collecting, and empire.

Word & Image

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Writing Poetry

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module is a seminar and workshop for aspiring poets. You will read poetry and essays in preparation for class, but the chief activity will be original creative work. Everyone will be asked to write a poem per week, and to circulate the poem online to the whole group in advance of class.

Seminars will comprise a short introductory discussion of a set text, followed by a more extended discussion of your own work and the work of other students. For the purposes of this module, lively and respectful participation in group discussion is an essential part of our work, and you will be assessed partly on the basis of your generosity of attention to other students' work. By the end of the semester, everyone on the course will have produced a short collection of poems, with the benefit of regular critical attention from fellow students and from the tutor.

The module will conclude with a public poetry reading event on campus in which all students will be invited to participate.

Consuming Passions

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

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.

Documentary, Reality TV and 'Real Lives'

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

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.

Science and the Media

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

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.

Special Author(s): Emerson and Thoreau

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

This module will examine the works of two nineteenth-century American writers, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, through a close reading of a selection of their major published writings, lectures, letters, and journals.

We will pay detailed attention to a number of critical and interdisciplinary issues that animate their work: religion and philosophy, friendship and love, politics and slavery, scientific knowledge and ecology, aesthetics and poetics, form and representation, women's rights and native American culture.

Our readings will be punctuated by considerations of how Emerson and Thoreau's work has been appropriated by nineteenth-century contemporaries such as Margaret Fuller, Walt Whitman, Friedrich Nietzsche, or William James, by American culture at large, as well as by recent literary critics and philosophers such as Hannah Arendt, Stanley Cavell, Sharon Cameron, Jane Bennett, Branka Arsic, or Jacques Rancière.

Special Author(s): Jean Rhys, Jamaica Kincaid and the Postcolonial Caribbean

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

This module introduces you to the literature of the Caribbean and its diaspora and to some key cultural debates in Caribbean, postcolonial and feminist literary discourses through reading the work of Jean Rhys and Jamaica Kincaid, two of the most prominent women writers from the Caribbean.

The module addresses issues such as:

  • race and literary constructions of the nation
  • authenticity, orality and questions of voice
  • gender, sexuality and resistance
  • home and belonging
  • servants and madams
  • life writing
  • reception and literary reputations
  • questions of literary belonging and cultural identity
  • and writing and authorship after colonialism.

The selection of texts includes: Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, Voyage in the Dark, Tigers Are Better Looking, and Smile Please; and Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John, Autobiography of My Mother, My Brother, Mr Potter, and Talk Story.

 

Special Author: Christopher Marlowe

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

Variously demonised and celebrated as an atheist, sodomite, spy, poetic innovator and dramatic phenomenon, ­and violently killed at the age of 29, ­ Christopher Marlowe and his work still have the power to shock and surprise in the 21st century.

This module will offer the opportunity to explore his extraordinary poetry and drama in its entirety, from his remarkable debut on the professional stage with Tamburlaine, to his invention of the English history play with Edward II, to his development of Ovidian narrative verse and the lyric in English (and their erotic preoccupations).

Exploring the career of this poet and playwright alongside the contexts, content and form of the work he produced, this module will offer a chance to consider in detail this 'most enigmatic genius of the English literary Renaissance'.

Special Author: Edgar Allan Poe

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

This module will examine the works of the 19th century American writer Edgar Allan Poe in terms of cultural and intellectual history. During this module we will read a wide selection of Poe's short fiction, poetry and criticism in order to explore his place within the 19 century literary world and life of the mind and his subsequent role in American and global culture. We will pay detailed attention to a number of critical and interdisciplinary issues, which animate his work including the senses, the gothic, detection, terror and race. Our readings will be punctuated by considerations of how Poe has been appropriated both by the culture at large and by recent literary critics and philosophers such as DH Lawrence, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, John Carlos Rowe and Liahna Armstrong.

Special Author: Geoffrey Chaucer

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

It is almost impossible to understand English literature without an understanding of Chaucer. His works provide us with a range of subjects, modes of literary representation and styles that not only enable us to understand literary culture in the late Middle Ages but determine the subsequent course of English literature. In Dryden's inaugural work of literary history The Preface to Fables, Ancient and Modern (1700) Chaucer is described as the father of English poetry. It is his soul that is 'transfused' into Spenser, Spenser's into Milton and so on and it is with his poetry that the refinement of English language begins.

This module will explore some of the great works of Chaucer in depth looking at a broad spectrum of the tales making up The Canterbury Tales, several of his dream vision poems as well as some of his ballads and lyrics. It will also consider the place of Chaucer in literary history and the formation of the Chaucerian canon, as well as something of the fragility and instability of that canon. A variety of themes and subjects will be explored: marriage, gender and sexual relations; fate and foreknowledge; dreams and their significance; Chaucer's literary theory; ideas of authority and authorship; and religion and the nature of religious experience in the late 14th century. 

In addition to a weekly seminar there will be four lectures given across the module on 'Authority', 'Agency', 'Dream' and 'Text and Canon', which will introduce some of the key contexts for understanding Chaucer's works. As part of this module we will visit Canterbury (the destination of Chaucer's pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales), where you will be given a guided tour. You will learn how a medieval city was organised; the nature of everyday life in the Middle Ages; the significance of religion, religious buildings and institutions, all of which will aid your understanding of Chaucer's place in the English Middle Ages.

You will develop competence in reading and analysing Middle English. Support will be offered in acquiring and developing the basic skills needed to do this through a reading group that will meet for five workshops across the module.

Special Author: George Eliot

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

Special Author: Henry James

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

Henry James is an author who exists on many borderlines: an American who lived and worked in Europe for much of his adult life, an author who is claimed both as a Victorian and a Modern; a famously reticent and opaque writer whose main topics are sex and money, and who has recently been claimed as an important queer author.

In this module you will read a cross section of James's novels, short stories and essays including The American (1877), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Bostonians (1886), The Ambassadors (1903), 'Daisy Miller' (1878), What Maisie Knew (1897) and other works. We will discuss James as an American author and as a documenter of American-European relations, as a stylist, as a psychological writer and as a proto-Modernist. We will think about James in relation to his historical context (as subtle documenter of the American scene and as ex-patriate), and also look at his work in relation to his fascinating family (the philosopher and psychologist William James was Henry's older brother). We will think hard about the difficulty of James's late style. We will consider recent critical work on James in feminist and queer studies, and his influence on 20th and 21st century literary culture through films of his work such as The Wings of a Dove (1997) or The Golden Bowl (2000).

Special Author: Mary Wollstonecraft

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

This module offers you the opportunity for in-depth study of the work of Mary Wollstonecraft, the influential writer and thinker who is widely regarded as the founder of modern feminism, as well as an important radical woman novelist. It will examine her novels Mary and The Wrongs of Woman and her travel writings, in addition to her famous polemical tracts, A Vindication of the Rights of Men and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Wollstonecraft's writing participated in the heated literary and political debates of her time and exerts from the writings of her contemporaries, including Mary Robinson's Letter to the Women of England, Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France and Mary Hays' Appeal to the Men of Great Britain will also feature on the module to illuminate such contexts.

Topics addressed in seminars will include the debates over female conduct, sentiment and sensibility, political revolution, sex and love, marriage, female friendship, commerce and the Gothic. Particular attention will be paid to the debates over the novel in the 1790s and Wollstonecraft's fiction will be considered alongside works by other radical female novelists in this context. Wollstonecraft's unconventional life made her notorious in her own time. The fact that she was not married to the father of her daughter, Fanny, was exposed when she later married the radical philosopher William Godwin. The module concludes by considering the question of female reputation by addressing Wollstonecraft's afterlife in the various representations of her after her death, including the infamous memoirs written by Godwin, and in the Mrs Freke character in Maria Edgeworth's novel Belinda.

Special Author: Salman Rushdie

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

Rushdie is a complex and challenging writer whose work not only intersects with, but actively influences and informs, a range of cultural and literary debates. Indeed, because his novels, stories and essays have consistently challenged the boundaries of culture, they have tended to generate polarised and often partisan critical responses. On this module, you will venture into the highly contested field of Rushdie criticism by evaluating his key literary texts using a variety of reading strategies and theoretical methodologies. For example, you will explore postmodernist debates on the construction of history and identity as well as postcolonial concerns with race, hybridity and political power. You will address core issues such as intertextuality, cinematic montage and narrative authority. And you will engage with wider cultural concerns relating to representation, performativity and documentation. These diverse critical perspectives will provide you with a sound knowledge of the social, cultural and political influences informing Rushdie’s work, and give you the analytical tools to develop your own lines of enquiry.

Special Author: Samuel Beckett

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

Beckett's work lies in a bleak but utopian space between art and popular culture, at the heart of debates about modernist and postmodernist writing. The module reads Beckett's fictions and plays, and his work for theatre, radio, television and film in detail, and as a critique of approaches from Marx to the Marx Brothers.

Special Author: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

In this module, you examine the literary works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, exploring how his poetry was influenced by politics and religion.

You study his:

  • proto-Marxist philosophy and how this influenced his Pantisocracy letters and poems
  • lectures on the slave trade delivered at Bristol
  • meditative poetry
  • gothic and opium-inspired writing
  • literary criticism and notebooks
  • final work of political philosophy - On the Constitution of Church and State. 

Special Author: Thomas Hardy

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

This module explores the range of Hardy's work – novels, short fiction, poetry, plays and essays – in the light of late 19th-century culture and the emergence of modernism. You will explore topics such as Hardy's position as a writer and his shifting position in relation to forms of readership and literary production; his development of narrative and concepts of history and memory; his use of visual culture; the representation of social and economic change and the emergence of heritage; his representation of class, sexual difference and social mobility; his use of evolutionary theory and concepts of degeneration; and his position as a poet in the early 20th century.

Special Author: Virginia Woolf

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

This module concentrates on the work of one of the best-known and most widely-read women writers of the 20th century, Virginia Woolf. Most students will already have encountered Woolf's work in your Year 2 modules; it is also very likely that you will come to the module with some knowledge of Woolf's life and that of her friends and family. This module will deepen your knowledge and understanding of Woolf's work, both in its historical context and in terms of the kind of conceptual and theoretical questions that her work raises. The module is designed to challenge what you think you already know about Woolf, and the kinds of preconceptions that readers often bring to Woolf and her work, and whether those are positive or negative. You think you may know who Virginia Woolf was, or what she wrote, but what about Virginia Stephen? What would happen if you stopped reading Woolf as a modernist and a woman writer? What other conceptual or historical frames could illuminate her work in new ways? What does Woolf have to do with the development of cinema, or the history of photography and the visual arts?

These are some of the questions that the module will address and encourage you to pursue through independent study. At the end of the module, you will: have read most of Woolf's novels and sampled some of her writing in other genres; have familiarised yourself with the history of the reception of that work; have learnt to challenge your own preconceptions about her work and its historical and conceptual contexts; and have learnt how to devise, structure, pursue and realise an independent research project, following detailed advice from your module tutor.

Special Author: Vladimir Nabokov

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

It is the major aim of this module to give you a deep understanding of the entire range of Nabokov's creative output and to place Lolita fairly and squarely within the context of Nabokov's remarkable achievements across a whole range of experimental writing. Vladimir Nabokov's popular celebrity rests upon what is generally regarded as his greatest as well as his most controversial, not to say scurrilous, novel Lolita. This peculiar work deserves its literary celebrity but Nabokov's oeuvre remains in danger of being obscured and deformed by an over emphasis upon a single novel. The vast and continuing fallout of Lolita in popular culture including films, graphic novels, pornography and even niche teen-marketing in the areas of fashion (those sunglasses!) and music continue to make a full understanding of Nabokov's literary genius difficult and problematic.

Nabokov not only wrote many other great novels, he was also a formal experimentalist who produced screenplays, drama and a substantial body of shorter fictions including novellas and short stories. He was a committed poet, a translator and literary scholar of genius. We shall be examining the full range of his poetic output, which will involve consideration not only of the material formally published as poetry but Nabokov's remarkable abilities to conflate and to parody poetic forms in the fiction. Pale Fire for example is a novel in the form of an extended commentary upon a long initial poem and of course the ritualised punishment of Quilty at the end of Lolita is focused on and extended parody of Eliot's The Hollow Men which Humbert makes Quilty read aloud. We shall also be considering Nabokov's quirky but superb translation of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. The module will also encourage you to think about the manner in which Nabokov's work has been translated into forms of popular culture including film, drama, advertising and visual art. We shall also be thinking about the exploitation of Nabokov's work as pornography in the popular market place.

Special Author: William Blake

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 4

As one of the most idiosyncratic writers and artists in British history William Blake has had an outstanding influence on global creative cultures today. In this module you will read many of Blake's illuminated books learning about your experimental material form and how they emerged from the literary and visual cultures of late 18th century London. You will have the chance to examine Blake's original illuminations in the British Museum. We will consider the creative contributions made by Catherine Blake (married to William) and the challenges to researchers of interpreting this collaboration. In the second half of the module we discuss the reception of Blake exploring his influence on later writers and artists from popular culture to experimental literature. This is likely to include poetry by Elizabeth Bishop, Allen Ginsberg and Iain Sinclair, fiction by Philip Pullman, Alastair Gray and Angela Carter, a film directed by Jim Jarmusch and a graphic novel by Alan Moore. There will be a writing workshop in which you are invited to explore creative reception in practice (a creative-critical option will allow those who wish to develop this in the mid-term assessment).

Capital Culture: Money, Commerce and Writing

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

This module offers you the opportunity to explore the interconnections between literature and commercial capitalism in a wide variety of literary and other texts drawn largely, but not exclusively, from the period 1710-1820, which saw the rise of modern capitalism. The module traces the responses of writers to the emergence of modern commercial society including the celebration of trade and empire, concerns about social change, the representation of labour and the critique of capitalism from Romantic poets and other writers. Topics addressed include the commodity and the fetish; property and the 'it-narrative'; labour, literary labour, and idleness; slavery; sex and money; consumption and consumerism; the role of art and the artist in commercial society; and different ideas of value (economic and aesthetic). Texts studied will include visual art, alongside novels, poetry, short stories, autobiography, journalism, essays and economic writings. Short extracts from the works of Adam Smith and Karl Marx will provide theoretical perspectives.

Comedy and Cultural Belonging

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

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.

Documentary America: Non-Fiction Writing

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

You explore the development of iconic non-fiction American literature and compare it to other forms of documentary such as film and photography, from the 19th and 20th century. 

You look at the style, content and circulation of non-fictional forms and examine their relationship within wider discourses of cultural, social and political representation in America.

 

Everyday Life and Technology

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

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.

Experimental Writing

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

This module considers why and how writers produce new forms. We will explore the historical and current uses of a variety of names for writing that defies generic expectations ('innovative', 'avant-garde', 'experimental', 'difficult' and 'cross-genre' to name a few).

You are required to read a wide range of exemplary texts (likely but not necessarily chosen from the modern and contemporary periods) that eschew easy generic categorisation. A particular theme or problem may be selected by the tutor each year (e.g. cross-genre writing, innovative poetics, documentary writing orspeculative fiction). Readings might include work by Walter Benjamin, Andrea Brady, Anne Carson, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Renee Gladman, Bernadette Mayer, Fred Moten, Harryette Mullen, Maggie Nelson, Raymond Queneau, Charles Resnikoff, Sophie Robinson, Fran Ross, Muriel Rukeyser and Monique Wittig.

Critical inquiry will focus on the effects of formal techniques within specific literary historical and social contexts. You will also develop your own writing and up to 50% of class time may be devoted to workshopping student work. As a writer you may be asked to identify the tensions or contradictions that animate your writing and to work up in structured, experimental or procedural fashion a set of formal mechanisms for reframing these tensions.

The module will help you to bring creative writing and critical practice together in order to best navigate your aims and objectives for writing. Final assessment will involve a critical/creative dissertation of 6,000 words.

Islam, Literature and the 'West'

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

In both domestic and international contemporary politics, few issues are more urgent than the widely perceived 'clash' between the ideologies of Western European capitalism and Islamic radicalism. This module will offer you the opportunity to examine in detail the shifting terms in which the encounter between a Christian 'West' and an Islamic 'East' has been conducted in predominantly English literatures, from the rhetoric of the early crusades to the present day.

Covering a broad range of texts and genres, and including some journalism and film, emphasis will be placed upon:

  • concepts of Holy War
  • Islam on the early modern English stage
  • the emerging study of the 'Orient' in the 17th century and the first English Qur'an
  • Enlightenment fantasies of the 'East' and Muhammad
  • the Romantics and the 'East'
  • the Rushdie 'Affair'
  • and more recent developments of this encounter both before and after 11 September 2001.

Media and Communications Dissertation

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

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 4

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.

Queer Literatures

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

You explore key ideas in contemporary queer theory alongside analysis of literary works.

You develop an up to date and in-depth understanding of key queer theoretical developments that may include: 

  • the queer child
  • queerness and temporality
  • queer affects
  • life writing
  • intersectionality and identity
  • queer negativity
  • queer utopianism
  • queerness and diaspora.

At the same time, you will consider diverse works of modern and contemporary literature that offer a range of perspectives on identity, race, nation, gender, and sexuality. Overall, the module will explore how to bring theoretical concepts into conversation with literary texts.

Spectacular Imaginings: Renaissance Drama and the Stage 1580-1640

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

This module explores English Renaissance drama and its staging between the advent of the commercial theatres in London (circa 1580) and their closure during the early 1640s as a consequence of the English Civil War. This new module has been developed with, and will be co-taught by, scholars and theatre practitioners at London's Globe Theatre. The Globe's programme at both its new indoor Jacobean theatre (the Sam Wannamaker theatre) as well as its main outdoor theatre will form an important part of this module with you attending performances at both venues.

The module will focus on a selection of plays from this period exploring them in their original social, cultural and aesthetic contexts. It will also reflect upon why plays from this era are so frequently and successfully re-produced for the modern stage and screen. What roles did theatre play in London during the Renaissance and why was England virtually unique in Europe (Spain is the only counterpart) in creating a large-scale commercial theatre that generated a vast corpus of new plays? The module examines many of the most significant themes with which this theatre engages, among them unruly sexualities (incest, adultery and rape); violence and eloquence; London and city commerce; domestic tragedy; marriage and divorce; the place of the court; the foreign and the exotic; and the supernatural. It considers the roles of genre, acting styles, theatre companies, star actors, boy players, audiences and the varying physical spaces of the theatres in mediating these themes.

You will have access to the unique Globe archives when researching your dissertation project. Four of the plays will be determined by the Globe's season (including at least one by Shakespeare). The tragedies, comedies, histories and tragi-comedies studied will include works by Marlowe, Webster, Ford, Middleton, Dekker, Beaumont and Fletcher, Cary, Marston and Shakespeare.

Technologies of Capture: Photography and Nineteenth Century Literature

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

The photographic image is ubiquitous, its presence has morphed into many 21st century cultural manifestations. Most obviously, in digital form, the photograph has become a staple of social networking sites and other visual modes of communication. Yet at its invention in 1839, the status and future of photography was far from clear-cut. Known as 'the black art from France' owing to its miraculous transcription of the visual world photography was frequently aligned with magic. Indeed, owing to its causal connection to its referent, a photograph had the status of an imprint as well as an image. People also delighted in seeing themselves the right way round as the photograph corrected the lateral inversion of the familiar mirror image. At the other end of the spectrum, however, photography's 'birth' was considered by some enough to bring about the 'death' of painting. In the nineteenth century, the presence of the camera radically affected major social, aesthetic and philosophical categories. 

While photographs revolutionised representation, their relationship to existing visual and verbal forms was rich and complex and raised many questions. What did it mean to speak about literary 'realism' in the context of Fox-Talbot's new negative/positive process? How did post-mortem photographs affect literary portrayals of death and the spirit world? What was the impact upon Victorian institutions such as the asylum of the new genre of the photographic 'mug-shot'? What form of translation occurred when a two-dimensional photograph recorded the three-dimensional form of sculpture? This module explores the emergence and development of the photographic medium in relationship to a range of literary texts. Beginning with the 'pre-history' of photography as manifest in a range of optical toys, gadgets and visual spectacles it traces the emergence of various photographic forms as they intersect with literary ones. You have the opportunity to engage, in the context of 19th century fiction, poetry and non-fictional prose, fascinating material and conceptual changes that occur in the wake of the advent and popularisation of photography. 

Topics for discussion include: the Picturesque; photographing sculpture (the case of the Parthenon Marbles); Pre-Raphaelitism; post-mortem photographs; spirit photography; photography and science; collecting and cartes de visite; the camera in colonial encounters; photography and disciplinary institutions; detective fiction; and photographing children. 


No prior experience of photography or other visual media is required simply a readiness to engage visual technologies and images in addition to literary texts.

The Literatures of Africa

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

This module will sample the literary and intellectual work of a range of African authors: some writers endorse the concept of 'African identity' in their work and explore hard-hitting topics such as slavery, (post)colonial history and political corruption; other authors question the idea of 'Africa' itself and challenge unified identities; other writers bypass continental models and focus on more mundane but equally significant topics such as family life, gender identity, urbanisation and migration.

Current debates about African identity, postcolonialism, homosexuality, the 'Black Atlantic' and African cultural history will be studied alongside the primary texts, and emphasis will be placed upon the different political and cultural contexts of the material. We will look at the ways in which the selected authors construct a locale in their texts to explore geographical and cultural difference, as well as questions of sexual, economic and political power.

Topics to be considered include the following: 

  • nationalism and cultural identity
  • writing the body, sexual identities and gender subversion
  • African oral cultures and art forms 
  • cultural flows within African-defined spaces
  • the literary representations of migration, displacement and diaspora
  • the literature of post-Apartheid South Africa.

Canonical novels from Africa, such as Ngugi wa Thiongo's The River Between and Bessie Head's A Question of Power will be studied alongside poems and novels by new African writers and black British writers. Taken together, the authors on this module will reveal the multiple, dynamic languages and styles of modern African writers.

The Uncanny

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

The uncanny is difficult to define: it is mysterious, eerie, at once strange and familiar. It offers especially productive possibilities for exploring issues of identity and liminality, boundaries and interdisciplinarity. This module will engage with the uncanny across a wide range of texts and contexts, extending from literature (novels, short stories, drama and poetry) to film. Discussion will focus on a number of linked topics, including repetition, doubles, strange coincidences, animism, live burial, telepathy, death and laughter. 

The module aims to develop your engagement with the notion of the uncanny across a broad range of literary and other texts; to develop your skills of reading and critical analysis, especially insofar as the uncanny by its nature engenders intellectual uncertainty and calls for an unusual critical patience; to enhance your capacity for critical reflection on their experience of the familiar and the strange, the ordinary and the extraordinary.

Utopias and Dystopias

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 4

This module explores the production of utopian and dystopian fictions from the 16th century (Thomas More's publication in 1516 of Utopia) to the present day. It examines the production of utopian images and thought in a number of specific cultural and historical contexts. These include:

  • the 16th-century context in which More originally developed the concept of utopia
  • the production in the 18th century of utopian and dystopian responses to the enlightenment (particularly those of Swift and Voltaire)
  • the 19th-century utopian tradition in the US (Hawthorne, Thoreau)
  • the explosion of utopian thinking at the end of the 19th century (with writers such as Bellamy, Wells and Morris)
  • the relationship between modernism and utopia (particularly in relation to Woolf and Kafka)
  • the growth of dystopian responses to modernity in the 1930s and '40s (Orwell, Huxley)
  • the importance of utopian thinking in relation to feminism, from Sarah Scott to Wollstonecraft to Shelley to Atwood
  • and the shifting role of utopian and dystopian thinking in marshalling the political possibilities of literature from the '60s to the present day (from Beckett to Cormac McCarthy).

Throughout this wide-ranging module, we will focus closely on a number of central questions:

  • How far is it possible for literary works to imagine a better or a perfect world?
  • How far is it possible for such imaginings to effect actual social change?
  • Are utopian fantasies politically regressive, an opiate to distract us from material social inequality?
  • What is the role of dystopian thinking?
  • Does dystopian fiction contradict utopian thought forms, or can dystopian writing produce utopian possibilities?
  • What is the relationship between utopian thinking and hope?
  • Is there a theological dimension to utopian thought?
  • What is the relation between science and utopia?

In addressing these questions, the module will offer a means of thinking broadly but rigorously about the role of literature in transforming social conditions, and making the world a better place.

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