Interrogating the fabric of 20th and 21st century culture, this programme gives students the chance to develop their expertise in the analysis of film and literature of the period while deepening their understanding of the key conceptual and theoretical dynamics. Driven by the research excellence of the staff and the energy and intellectual curiosity of the students, this is a unique MA programme that produces vibrant and exciting debates.
Established concerns linked to modernism, postmodernism and post-colonialism are related to less familiar approaches grounded in the study of, for example, technology, the body and multitudes in a course that is structured to help students develop both a common conceptual framework and exposure to a wide range of primary materials and critical approaches. There are opportunities throughout the programme to pursue individual scholarly interests.
Whether looking to advance knowledge developed at undergraduate level, to develop the skills needed to pursue careers in the creative industries, education, management or publishing, or to establish the foundations for a PhD, the MA in Modern and Contemporary Cultures will challenge and engage students as it helps them develop real intellectual insight into our culture and our world.
Full-time students take four compulsory modules that are structured around the broad themes of time and space. Within these modules students will begin by considering key issues in the study of modernism and modernity, postmodernism and postmodernity. We consider the radical transformation of time and space by industrial modernity, and subsequently by a globalised postmodernity, and explore the relationship between socioeconomic forms and literary and cultural production. Students then undertake more sustained, specialised study of specific texts (literature, film, popular culture). Grounded in material that maintains a balance between canonical elements and less familiar material, between English, American and postcolonial writing, and between literature and film, the modules reflect the research specialisms of staff in the School and thus give students the chance to develop their expertise on issues of contemporary relevance and to participate in live, exciting debates that will shape the development of these particular fields. In recent years the following areas have been prominent aspects of the programme: the body, identity, and technology in cyberspace; London, literature and diaspora; film noir; violence and the postcolonial imagination; war, memory, and culture; avant-gardes; Los Angeles fictions.
In addition to these modules, students also receive extensive training in research methods and how to develop research projects. All students write a 15,000-18,000 word dissertation on a subject of their choice emerging from the programme. Part-time students do the same programme over the course of two years.