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

100%: Seminar

Assessment

100%: Written assessment (Essay)

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.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2022/23. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.