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SEL2206 : Contemporary Cultures

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Chloe Ashbridge
  • Lecturer: Professor Anne Whitehead
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 150 student places

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


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 (most notably in terms of class, gender, race, geography and medical humanities) 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

This module will explore identity at the margins of contemporary culture. Twentieth and Twenty-first century modernity is heralded as a global interconnected landscape, within which members of society are encouraged to consider themselves as participants in wide-ranging and above all inclusive cyber and social networks. This interconnectivity is not only – or even primarily – geographical, but concerned with ideological and economic formations of the human body and identity. This module locates and discusses those figures who have fallen between the cracks of modernity, in order to demonstrate how, for a great many, contemporary culture is a space of isolation and alienation. The module will mobilise ideas of waste, in all of its critical potential, in order to place texts within a broader social context. We will look at waste in terms of ecological change and the detritus produced by contemporary culture, but also with regard to a more conceptual understanding of the word in the wasted lives, ambition and opportunities of certain social demographics.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading176:0076:00This activity includes one 2-hour and one 4-hour film viewing
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study140:0040:00N/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.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A80Comparative essay (2500 words).
Prof skill assessmnt1A20500-word reflective piece on learning and participation
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1M1000-word essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The end-of semester essay asks for the development of a fluently written, cogent argument, developed in long form, which addresses the key questions of the module. The formative assessment offers directed support for the development of the end-of-semester essay. The assessment of participation in small group teaching activities encourages students to engage consistently with all aspects of the module.

Reading Lists