The University of Southampton
Courses

HUMA5003 Cultural Perspectives

Module Overview

The aim of this module is to provide students with the opportunity to explore some of the major theoretical and cultural concepts which have shaped the development of British culture in the twentieth and twenty-first century. The module will introduce theoretical concepts such as ideology, identity and neoliberalism, as well as key historical moments such as colonialism and modernity to examine the multiple ways in which contemporary British society positions and narrates itself and interacts with the rest of the world. Each week, students will be introduced to a different theoretical framework. This will become a lens thorough which a specific aspect of culture such as race, gender, sexuality will be examined. By the end of the module, students will be familiar with the complex variety of contemporary issues facing the UK today and be able to discuss these from an informed perspective. Alongside this, students will be asked to continuously interrogate their own position in relation to the topics discussed in order to better understand how cultural perspectives affect our worldview.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of this module are to: - Introduce international students to a range of theoretical perspectives necessary for the study of culture - Provide students with a sound knowledge of some of the cultural and societal issues in modern Britain - Encourage students to examine their own perspectives in order to explore cultural similarities and differences - Encourage students to challenge their own assumptions in order to develop their critical thinking skills

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the major historical shifts of the twentieth century which underpin contemporary British society
  • Develop an understanding some of the key debates and issues surrounding modern British culture
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the cultural and societal differences between British culture and students’ home cultures
  • Show an awareness of the theoretical frameworks which are used in the analysis of culture
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate originality and resourcefulness in the undertaking of an independently researched essay
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the ideology and discourses at work in a wide variety of texts
  • Critically assess academic sources through the completion of an article review
  • Communicate ideas confidently in written form
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of a variety of aspects of British culture, making connections between various political, social and cultural discourses
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify, locate and critically evaluate a range of sources, such as online articles, newspapers and academic texts
  • Competently communicate views and ideas in writing
  • Contribute to group discussion in a confident manner, communicating ideas clearly and engaging with the views of others
  • Demonstrate effective time management

Syllabus

The module begins by asking students to consider the meaning of the word ‘culture’ and to critically examine some of the theories put forward by notable critics such as Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy. The module is organized into themes which provide a theoretical, historical or political framework for discussing specific aspects of culture. Students will be invited to engage with a wide selection of theories and texts in order to gain a greater understanding of these different cultural perspectives and their impact on contemporary UK life. The topics may include: - colonialism/postcolonialism - modernity/postmodernity - nationality/nationalism - Identity politics and British culture (race, gender, sexuality) - Globalisation, industry and migration and multiculturalism - The role of mass media - The internet, cultural exchange and social networking

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include - Tutor-led lectures - Student-led seminar discussions - Independent study supported by individual tutorials Learning activities include - Active participation in seminars - Individual and group research tasks - Individual study requiring students to engage closely with primary and secondary materials

TypeHours
Independent Study114
Lecture12
Seminar24
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Matt Cook (2007). A Gay History of Britain. 

Luke Martell (2010). The Sociology of Globalization. 

This Is England (2006), Dir. Shane Meadows. 

Belle (2013), Dir. Amma Asante. 

David Christopher (2015). British Culture: An Introduction. 

Witness (2009-), BBC World Service. 

John Storey (2015). Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction. 

Andrew Marr's The Making of Modern Britain (2009), Dir. Robin Dashwood (et al.). 

The Virtual Revolution (2010), Dir. Philip Smith (et al.). 

Paul Addison (2005). A Companion to Contemporary Britain 1939-2000. 

Suffragette (2015), Dir. Sarah Gavron. 

Pride (2014), Dir. Matthew Warchus. 

Heidi Safia Mirza (1997). Black British Feminism: A Reader. 

Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain (2007), Dir. Tom Giles (et al.). 

Ben Highmore (2015). Culture. 

Michael Higgins (2010). The Cambridge Companion to Modern British Culture. 

Made In Dagenham (2010), Dir. Nigel Coles. 

Secrets and Lies (1996), Dir. Mike Leigh. 

Kath Woodward (2000). Questioning Identity: Gender, Class, Nation. 

The Imitation Game (2014), Dir. Morten Tyldum. 

Houston Baker (1996). Black British Cultural Studies: A Reader. 

My Beautiful Laundrette (1985), Dir. Stephen Frears. 

Stephen Castles (2009). The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 60%
Newspaper article analysis  (1000 words) 40%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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