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The University of Southampton

FILM2028 Film Adaptation: Culture and Context

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of this unit are to: • introduce you to the critical and cultural debates about film adaptation • develop your interdisciplinary skills in working with literature, film and television • familiarize you with selected film adaptations, and their sources, that have been popularly, critically, and/or culturally significant in contemporary cinema • equip you to write two coursework essays on the texts you have studied and the critical and cultural issues arising from them

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the intellectual, cultural and production contexts that have influenced the ways we understand, appreciate and analyze adaptations.
  • key intellectual debates regarding authorship of adaptations.
  • selected recent adaptations that have been significant for their critical success, box-office success and/or cultural impact.
  • the politics of gender, race, and class that these films and their sources raise in a contemporary context.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • participate thoughtfully and constructively in discussion of specific topics.
  • conduct independently a range of relevant research in support of your work.
  • write critically, reflectively and cogently about the central debates in a specialised area of study.
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of adaptation theory and a critical awareness of the scholarly debates regarding film adaptation.
  • integrate textual analysis of both the source text and the film text that comprise an adaptation.
  • critically situate the specific film adaptations in their cultural and historical context.
  • evaluate and draw on appropriate secondary sources to inform and enlarge written contributions.


This unit examines recent film adaptations of the late 20th and early 21st cenutry, focusing on an American context, although with some inclusion of films from other national contexts. You will examine both ‘classic’ novel adaptations as well as ‘popular’ novel adaptations, alongside theories of authorship, identity, intertextuality and genre. You will consider the source texts and their relationships to the films in order to examine how the adaptations engage with their cultural context. While we will investigate issues regarding class, race, and sexuality pertinent to the contemporary context, the unit schedule is organized around gender and the cultural representation of masculinity and femininity. Example texts that may be included: Fight Club, The Handmaid's Tale, Brokeback Mountain, The Help, Bridget Jones, Love & Friendship.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: 1) lectures that will introduce the theories of adaptation, as well as the specific texts and the relevant issues of their cultural context 2) seminars in which group discussion will further develop specific issues arising from the texts and for which the lectures and reading will have provided some preparation 3) screenings of films assigned and clips shown from additional relevant films 4) opportunities for individual consultation with tutor at identified times during the week Learning activities include: 1) independent study and careful reading, viewing and consideration of assigned texts 2) participation in seminar discussions both as leader and listener/speaker who is able to engage with and respond to alternative viewpoints and questions 3) preparation for and completion of two coursework essays

Independent Study110
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Linda Hutcheon. A Theory of Adaptation. 

Thomas Leitch. The Oxford Handbook of Adaptation Studies. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Analytical essay  (1500 words) 40%
Analytical essay  (2500 words) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Analytical essay  (3000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

FILM1001 or FILM2006 or ENGL1079


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


There are no additional costs

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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