The University of Southampton

HUMA5010 Cultural Perspectives

Module Overview

The aim of this module is to help new international students make the transition to British academic life. Broadly, this module will initiate students in some of the formalities found in UK universities (such as the lecture / seminar system of learning, the value of independent study, and the various types of assessment methods), while specifically students will be introduced to a range of issues and concepts in relation to contemporary British society and its interactions with global cultures. Each week, students will reflect upon an aspect of British daily life, consolidated by at least one case study. Teaching will take the form of tutor-led lectures, student-led seminars, occasional film screenings, and some individual tutorials.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• help international students with the transition to UK academic life, becoming familiar with lectures, seminars and typical academic assessments and standards • through a series of case studies, provide students with a sound knowledge of some of the cultural and societal issues in modern Britain • ensure that students are equipped with a range of appropriate analytical tools and study skills.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • some of the key debates and issues surrounding modern British culture
  • the cultural, societal and academic differences between British university culture and your home cultures
  • the appropriate academic skills needed to study at a British university
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify, locate and scrutinise a range of sources, such as online articles, newspapers and academic texts
  • competently communicate your views and ideas in writing
  • contribute to group discussion in a confident manner, communicating your ideas clearly and engaging with the views of others
  • demonstrate effective time management
Subject Specific Practical 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 construction of media texts by analysing a selection of different newspaper articles
  • critically assess academic sources through the completion of an annotated bibliography
  • work as a team and communicate your ideas through a group presentation
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate a critical awareness of a variety of aspects of British culture, making connections between various political, social and cultural discourses
  • evaluate and synthesise a range of academic and non-academic texts
  • apply original and independent thought to a wide variety of critical issues


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 and Stuart Hall. Each week a new case study will introduce students to a particular aspect of modern British culture and society. 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. These topics may include: - The role of the British media (newspapers, television, radio) - The influence of popular culture and consumerism - The concept of national identity - Identity politics and British culture (race, gender, sexuality) - Globalisation, industry and migration and multiculturalism - The internet, cultural exchange and social networking Throughout the course students will complete a range of assessment (oral presentations, bibliographies, essays) in order to develop vital study skills.

Special Features

This module is designed to support new international students as they adapt to their new academic surroundings and is ultimately intended to help students to develop a wide range of key academic skills as part of the Faculty of Business and Law’s STEP programme. Weekly lectures and occasional film screenings will enable students to improve their listening and note-taking skills, while seminar sessions will actively promote a student-led learning environment in which students are encouraged to exchange ideas, think critically and offer one another encouraging feedback. The weekly teaching sessions will be consolidated by assessment that will build on these academic skills; an oral presentation will facilitate the development of crucial communication skills, an annotated bibliography will promote students’ readings of academic and non-academic texts alike, and an essay at the end of the course will encourage original thinking, independent research and the ability to deliver written ideas in a clear and concise manner.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

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

Follow-up work47
Preparation for scheduled sessions20
Completion of assessment task47
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Williams, Raymond (1988). Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. 

Hodkinson, Paul (2010). Media, Culture and Society: an Introduction. 

Durham, Meenakshi Gigi and Kellner, Douglas (eds) (2006). Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks (Revised Edition). 

Storey, John (2010). Cultural Theory and Popular Culture. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Annotated bibliography 30%
Group presentation  (20 minutes) 30%
Newspaper article analysis 40%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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