Module Catalogue 2019/20

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

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Joss Hands
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module examines contemporary issues and debates as they pertain to media, communication, and culture. Analysis is guided by key and contemporary media and cultural studies theories. This module also expands the critical and theoretical understandings developed by students in culture, communications and the media in previous stages. The module aims to enable students to interrogate and develop their thinking and practices in relation to theoretical and issues-based challenges. It is intended to help students to work on identifying and determining what is and is not critical detail and undertake critical self-reflexivity. It will encourage students to pay attention to texture, argument, criticality, subtlety, and complexity. Such aims support their final dissertations.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module draws on a theoretical texts and cultural practices to make better sense of culture and media in the context of recent developments and debates. The module involves exploring theory, as well as practices and events. Each week provides students with a detailed and complex-critical understanding of a medium, theory, text, practice, or event from a range of perspectives. The module encourage students to consider their own involvement in the matters at hand, and to be critically self-reflexive about this. The module will thus facilitate a space in which to thoughtfully consider our individual anxieties in relation to the demands of large but also intimate public spheres, challenges, and concerns. Assignments are structured around studies of social movements, mediums, events or cultural formations (e.g. class, ethnicity, gender). Alternatively, students can focus on a particular direction in a theory’s or theorist’s trajectory.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

This module will allow students to develop and expand their critical knowledge of:

1. The role and significance of theory and theorised accounts of culture, communications and media;
2. Major thinkers in the area, and their theoretical approaches
3. Key concepts explaining the organization of meanings, understandings and subjectivity.

Intended Skill Outcomes

1. Engaging critically with the key themes and issues that underpin the study of media, communication and cultural studies
2. Close analysis, interpretation and critical judgement in the understanding and the evaluation of concepts.
3. Gathering, organising and deploying ideas to formulate arguments in effective written and oral forms.
4. Considering and evaluating their own work in a reflexive manner, with reference to academic issues and debates.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00N/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 teaching121:0012:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity140:0040:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity120:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study119:0019:00N/A
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.

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

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M25Essay, 1200 words
Essay1A75Essay, 2800 words
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.

Essay 1 and 2 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.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.