COM1026 : Introduction to Social and Cultural Studies

  • Module Leader(s): Mr Gareth Longstaff
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

1. To allow students to explore culture and society in the context of critical theory.
2. To equip students with critical and analytical skills that enable them to examine some of the key ways that culture is understood, analysed and mobilised across a range of social and geo-political contexts.
3. To facilitate a critical space in which students consider the discourses, representations and relations of power which serve to constitute culture, society, identity, subjectivity and embodiment.

This module introduces students to contemporary Social and Cultural Studies. It explores the history, politics and ethics of Social and Cultural Studies as interdisciplinary fields of study, and invites students to consider the critical implications of some of their most dynamic contemporary debates. The module examines some of the key ways that culture is understood, analysed and mobilised through its analysis of a diverse range of media, social and political sites. We pay particular attention to the links among culture, power, identity, subjectivity and embodiment. Some of the key themes and issues addressed relate to the study of race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and class in the context of postcoloniality, multiculturalism, globalisation, consumer culture and a range of social justice movements.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. This module is aimed at students who are new to the field of cultural studies and/or who have some initial knowledge of the field. The module will encourage students to critically engage with some of the key terms, concepts, ideas, and approaches in Cultural studies.
2. The module will deal with key introductory material about critical theory, methodology and ethics, and will offer some answers to the question, 'what is culture?' The module will answer these questions in relation to seminal texts in cultural studies.
3. In addition, the module will consider and discuss worked examples via up-to-date case study material and will be marked by a strong emphasis on understating how to link ideas and theories to texts, practices, institutions and identities/audiences. The intersection of cultural and social identities will also be emphasised throughout the module.
4. Short, clear accounts will outline and consider key notions of social and cultural studies in terms of way of life, everydayness, practices, and texts.
5. This will be followed by a discussion of what is involved when thinking about human societies from the perspectives of cultural studies. The module will consider certain issues involved in further research and critical inquiry in cultural studies, reflecting local, national and transnational perspectives.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading120:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity140:0040:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity120:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study134:0034:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Students tend to find Social and Cultural studies a difficult subject. One of the reasons for this is that it
introduces a different way of looking at the world. Given that the majority of the students come from a wide
disciplinary background, close and sustained support is required. Thus the lectures will provide formal
approaches to the areas that are being looked at whilst students in seminar groups will be able to discuss
and consider some of the more challenging aspects of the programme in more depth. The tutorials provide
students with a pre-arranged drop-in hour every week where they can discuss issues about the
module with staff one-to-one.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M40Essay, 1500 words, mid-semester
Essay2A60Essay, 2500 words, end of semester
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

There are two methods for assessment on this module:

1. A timed assessment mid-semester which is seen but which allows students to demonstrate skills in critical thinking and time management. Questions for this are pre-released and students have 5 days to submit a piece of work, 1,500 words in length.

2. Students will choose an essay title (2,500 words) from a list provided which broadly corresponds to the module outline. This will enable them to gain an understanding of a broad range of perspectives in their chosen area. This will allow them to develop their skills in writing and argument and providing systematic evidence to justify the claims that are being made.

Reading Lists

Timetable

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.