The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory (939M1)

30 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

This module explores the origins, development and impact of the ideas of some of the major theorists of the Frankfurt School. We begin by looking at the early ideas of the Frankfurt School in 1930s, which were influenced by Marx. Then we address the ways that the Frankfurt School theorists attempted to integrate various other aspects of thought in response to historical developments.

We will focus on texts by Benjamin, Habermas, Horkheimer, Kircheimer, Marcuse, Neumann and Adorno. But we also look at the theorists that most influenced them, such as Hegel, Marx and Lukács. In addition, we'll look at certain key themes in Frankfurt School criticism, including:

  • dialectics and negative dialectics
  • determinate negation
  • critique and immanent critique
  • positivism
  • instrumental reason
  • Enlightenment.

Teaching and assessment

We’re currently reviewing teaching and assessment of our modules in light of the COVID-19 situation. We’ll publish the latest information as soon as possible.

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 278 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, we are constantly looking to improve and enhance our courses. There may be changes to modules in response to student demand or feedback, changes to staff expertise or updates to our curriculum. We may also need to make changes in response to COVID-19. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: