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MCH1026 : Introduction to Social and Cultural Studies

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Clifton Evers
  • Other Staff: Mr Nicholas Jensen, Miss Maia Almeida-Amir, Miss Heather Proctor
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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, space/place, 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 an interdisciplinary field 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 texts and issues. Some of the key themes and issues addressed may relate to the study of race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and class, 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 helpful texts in cultural studies.
3. In addition, the module will consider and discuss contemporary examples. The module places a strong emphasis on understanding how to link ideas and theories to texts, practices, institutions and identities. The intersection of cultural and social institutions 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 completion170:0070:00Assessment 2: Essay
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials10:300:30Non-synchronous online video introducing students to module (30 mins)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00Learning lectures on campus. These lectures can be delivered online, if necessary.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Assessment 1: Essay proposal
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading104:0040:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Weekly seminars designed to enhance knowledge and understanding. On campus but can move online.
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion10:300:30Discussion board to feed in to revision/ assessment prep lecture/seminar.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study136:0036:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Social and Cultural Studies introduce 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 lecture materials will provide formal approaches to the areas that are being looked at whilst students in synchronous and non-synchronous discussions groups consider some of the more challenging aspects of the programme in more depth. Scheduled contact time will provide students with a pre-arranged appointment to discuss the module with staff.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M20Critical photo essay. 500 words
Essay2A80Critical essay. 2500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The critical photo essay, to be submitted prior to the essay, will function as a roadmap for the final essay. Feedback will be provided.

The final, critical essay requires that students construct an argument around an issue or theme covered in the course. Questions will be provided.

Reading Lists