Module Catalogue 2016/17

SEL2206 : Contemporary Cultures

  • Offered for Year: 2016/17
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Robbie McLaughlan
  • Lecturer: Dr Anne Whitehead
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
SEL1003Introduction to Literary Studies 1
SEL1004Introduction to Literary Studies II
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To introduce students to a broad range of contemporary texts drawn from a wide range of genres which may include fiction, film, poetry, drama, graphic novels and television.

To explore relevant theoretical models (notably those relating to class, nation and identity) in relation to contemporary culture.

To analyse the representation and articulation of these themes in selected texts and within specific social, cultural, historical, intellectual and economic contexts.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lectures and seminars will concentrate on providing a critical reading of contemporary cultures. The texts/authors studied on the module will vary from year to year according to staff expertise and may include fiction, poetry, film, drama, graphic novels and television. An indicative syllabus would include a range of British and North American authors and directors.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

For a student to successfully complete this module they will need to demonstrate that they have developed:

•       An understanding of the relationship between canonicity and and cultural validity as it has developed since World War Two.
•       An understanding of the social, cultural, historical, intellectual and economic contexts in which texts are produced and consumed.
•       An awareness of the processes by which contemporary culture is shaped by relevant theoretical models and the historical and social specificity of these.

Intended Skill Outcomes

•       To develop close reading skills of specific texts across a range of genres and forms
•       To increase awareness of the relation between texts and their contexts (historical, cultural, social, economic)
•       To evaluate different critical positions towards the texts, and for students then to present their conclusions cogently, both verbally in seminars and in written form.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Present
    • Data Synthesis : Present
    • Active Learning : Present
    • Literacy : Present
    • Information Literacy
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Present
  • Self Management
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Initiative : Present
      • Problem Solving : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Present
      • Peer Assessment Review : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion138:0038:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading180:0080:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study135:0035:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures introduce students to the knowledge outcomes, as listed. Seminars develop this knowledge further and provide a structured learning space where students practise the skills of close textual analysis, critical debate and the evaluation of critical positions.

Between the lecture and the seminar students will participate in a self-directed study group where they will discuss topics relevant to the module and respond to set readings.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202M25Take-home examination consisting of a close-reading exercise.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2A75Comparative essay (3000 words).
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The 48-hour take-home examination (1000 words) will be on selected extracts. It will allow students to demonstrate their skills in close reading/textual analysis. The final essay (comparative reading of 2-3 texts) will test both their knowledge of contemporary cultures and their understanding of critical issues and positions.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Note: The Module Catalogue now reflects module information relating to academic year 16/17. Please contact your School Office if you require module information for a previous academic year.

Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.