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MCH2075 : Popular Culture, Media & Identity

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Michael Waugh
  • Other Staff: Miss Heather Proctor, Miss Dana Bogova, Miss Briony Carlin
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module forms part of the BA (Hons) Media, Communication and Cultural Studies degree. The module examines representations in popular cultural texts and fandoms from social, personal and cultural perspectives. It introduces a range of concepts and analytical frameworks that help students to understand how popular texts from television, music, comics, film, videogames and digital/social media construct, reflect and subvert wider sociocultural issues of identity and representation. This module provides theoretical and practical toolkits that students will continue to use within and beyond their studies. The course will enable students to critically reflect on their own media practice as well as the work produced by other practitioners.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module offers theoretical perspectives from media studies, cultural studies and sociology, as well as studying identities and representations in popular media texts and their fandoms. A variety of weekly examples will be drawn from the fields of television, music, comics, film, videogames and digital/social media.

Module content may include:
- Engagement with theories of popular culture, fandom, participation and identity;
- Analysis of representations of race, gender, sexuality, race and disability in contemporary popular cultural texts;
- Studying the relationship between popular culture and wider sociocultural issues

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00Case study. First assessment preparation and completion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00Weekly lectures. Present-in-person (can be delivered online if necessary)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00Essay. Second assessment preparation and completion
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading115:0055:00Student readings and research in preparation for lecture and seminar discussion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Weekly seminars relating to core themes. Present-in-person (can be delivered online if necessary)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops21:002:00Two drop-in workshops will be dedicated to assessment guidance and additional materials. Online synchronous
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module examines representations in popular cultural texts and fandoms from social, personal and cultural perspectives. It uses formal present-in-person lectures to provide an initial guide to impart this knowledge. Weekly present-in-person seminars are employed to allow smaller group discussion and activities which enable critical engagement with key themes, concepts and frameworks. Two one-hour online synchronous drop-in workshops are included as spaces for assessment guidance and feedback. Combined with private study and essay writing, the lectures, seminars and workshops provide the basis for advanced study of the theoretical frameworks through which we can explore popular cultural texts and their audiences, as well as contributing to an understanding of how popular cultural fandom and participation relates to the field of Media & Cultural Studies more broadly.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study1M401500-word case study
Written exercise1A602500-word essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessments allow students to measure theories of representation and identity in popular culture. The first assessment asks students to focus upon a specific popular culture text or audience and to consider how it (re)produces social and cultural meaning, using the conceptual models of the module. This assessment represents the cumulation of ongoing formative critical reflection in student-led seminars. The assessment is matched to this formative side of the module and enables students to consolidate their analysis and evaluative skills by applying themselves to an example of their own choosing.

The second and longer essay allows students to bring together critical and evaluative skills in an extended piece of work. They are asked to respond to one of a list of essay questions set by the module leader, drawing upon conceptual and empirical material introduced in the module as well as social and cultural theories of popular culture and participation.

These assessments allow students to establish practical, theoretical, critical and evaluative skills and stress the importance of working to deadlines and goals.

Reading Lists