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 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, a specific aspect of culture such as race, gender, sexuality will be examined using different theoretical frameworks. 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 facing modern Britain - Encourage students to examine their own perspectives in order to explore similarities and differences across cultures - 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:

  • Having successfully completed this module you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the major historical shifts of the twentieth century which underpin contemporary British society
  • You will gain knowledge of some of the key debates and issues surrounding modern British culture
  • You will gain knowledge of the cultural and societal differences between British culture and students’ home cultures
  • You will increase your understanding of the theoretical frameworks which are used in the analysis of culture
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Engage with a wide range of views and competently communicate your ideas and views in both class discussions and written assignments
  • Identify, locate and scrutinise a variety of sources, such as academic books and journals, news articles, governmental reports and films, TV and radio programmes
  • Critically assess academic sources through the completion of an article review
  • Demonstrate originality and resourcefulness through an independently-researched essay
  • Demonstrate an ability to work as a team and complete group seminar tasks
  • Demonstrate good time management and conduct effective independent study
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a sound awareness of a variety of aspects of British culture and society
  • Apply original and independent thought to a range of critical issues
  • Draw comparisons between your own cultures and British culture in order to critically examine the importance of different cultural perspectives
  • Make connections between various politics, cultural and social discourses
  • Evaluate and synthesise a range of academic and non-academic texts


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

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

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

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

Luke Martell (2010). The Sociology of Globalization. 

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

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

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

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

Ben Highmore (2015). Culture. 

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

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

Pride (2014), Dir. Matthew Warchus. 

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

Suffragette (2015), Dir. Sarah Gavron. 

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

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

Belle (2013), Dir. Amma Asante. 

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

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

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

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

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

Witness (2009-), BBC World Service. 


Assessment Strategy

One article review - 1,000 words (40%) One essay - 2,000 words (60%)


MethodPercentage contribution
Analysis  (1000 words) 40%
Essay  (2000 words) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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