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The University of Southampton

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:

  • of the major historical shifts of the twentieth century which underpin contemporary British society
  • of some of the key debates and issues surrounding modern British culture
  • of the cultural and societal differences between British culture and students’ home cultures
  • 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
  • Demonstrate effective time management


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

Independent Study114
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

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

Pride (2014), Dir. Matthew Warchus. 

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

Witness (2009-), BBC World Service. 

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

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

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

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

Suffragette (2015), Dir. Sarah Gavron. 

Belle (2013), Dir. Amma Asante. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ben Highmore (2015). Culture. 

Luke Martell (2010). The Sociology of Globalization. 

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



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1500 words) 60%
Learning log  (1000 words) 10%
Reflective account  (700 words) 30%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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