Study Abroad and Exchanges

Modules

Modules

MCH3074 : Themes and Issues in Media, Communication and Cultural Studies

Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

This module aims to develop and expand the critical and theoretical understandings developed by students in culture, communications and the media in levels 4 and 5. It will encourage students to pay attention to detail, texture, argument, criticality, subtetly, and complexity. It is intended to help students to pursue a specialist interest with critical detail and reflexivity, and directly support their dissertations.

Drawing on theoretical texts and a range of cultural practices, the module will study culture and media in the context of recent developments at the level of theory as well as practice. It will provide students with a detailed and complex-critical understanding of cultural and media studies from a range of perspectives including: Feminism, Marxism, Psychoanalysis, Postcolonialism, Deconstruction, Language and Discourse. It will explore concepts such as globalization, melancholy, identities, otherness and ideology, and allow students to analyse a range of aspects of media, culture and communications including film, television, popular literature and music.

The module will encourage students to consider their own involvement in media and culture and will ask them to reflect on notions of citizenship, community, identity, and the nation. These notions are always contentious sites of desire. The module will thus facilitate a space in which to thoughtfully consider our individual anxieties in relation to the demands of larger public spheres. Assignments may be structured around the study of social movements or cultural formations (e.g. class, ethnicity, gender). Alternatively, they may study a particular direction in a theory’s or theorist’s trajectory.

Outline Of Syllabus

Areas of investigation might include:

Cultural Analysis in contemporary cultures

Themes in Cultural History and the problem of representing history

Postmodernity, ‘Spectacle’ and irony

Post-structuralism & Social conflict

Neoliberalism, Postfeminism and the ‘individual’

Nostalgia & Melancholia: Memory and Retro-Vision

Cultural politics and value in social, private & digital spheres

Globalisation, Imperialism & Empire

Political agency and 'Hacktivism'

Multitude, Collectives and the Counter-Power of Networks

Individual Identity & Social Media

New Materialism & Affect: The Post-Human

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading120:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching53:0015:00Screening
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity140:0040:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity120:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study128:0028:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module allows students to link theory with practice in the field of contemporary cultural, media and communications studies. Different styles of teaching and learning, alongside input from a range of colleagues with specialist interest in specific areas of the module, will encourage students to understand some of the implications of learning ‘theory’ as an enriching way of understanding contemporary social life. But theory is never divorced from contexts or situations, and so the themes and issues in contemporary cultural studies will be allowed to impact on theory, learning outcomes, and on-going research.

This module uses the lectures to map out the themes and issues in media, communication and cultural studies. The lectures are delivered using a variety of methods. These includes a range of resources, such as PowerPoint, video and individual and group tasks. The students will be required to have undertaken a range of preparatory tasks to facilitate the interactive character of these sessions.

Seminars are used as a means for students to lead discussion. These are held to in order for students to develop and follow up some of the issues from the lectures. One feature of the seminar is that the lecturer is simply there to facilitate discussion. We have found that students often benefit from other students’ interpretations and discussions.

At various times throughout the course, films will be used to identify and explore the key themes that are being discussed throughout the modules. Film provides a number of different ways of viewing theory outside of traditional teaching forms. For example, films can provide unique ways of seeing through powerful ‘filmic’ statements conveyed by editing, production, angles and shots. There are a number of features of film including the metaphorical power of the film, wherein the theories and ideas are conveyed through areas such as plot, character, audio, script. The use of film also has a role to play in the delivery of the seminars. The films chosen will enable students to connect to the themes and ideas of the subject area.

Tutorial sessions will be available to students at strategic times during the module timetable.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A75Essay, 2500 words
Case study1M251500 word case study of one of the films shown during the module
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment methods relate closely to key elements in the module’s outline of work (above). The assessment is designed in order to allow students to sense the importance of critical detail, theoretical complexity, density of argument, etc.

The Case Study allows the film sessions to be expanded and explored in more detail and with more appreciation of nuance, tenor, and critique.

The essay allows students to demonstrate critical and evaluative skills, to fully research and deepen their understanding of a focused topic and to express firm knowledge/understanding, of complex theoretical questions.

Reading Lists

Timetable