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Our Joint Honours course in English Literature and American Studies allows you to combine the study of literary texts across a broad geographical and chronological range with a specific focus on the literature, culture, history, and politics of North America.

Through inspired teaching and intellectual debate, we will nurture your passion by developing your creative and critical thinking. You will learn how to communicate effectively and solve complex problems as you develop an awareness of how past cultures, societies and texts shape our present and future.

Our Joint Honours course in English Literature and American Studies allows you to combine the study of literary texts across a broad geographical and chronological range with a specific focus on the literature, culture, history, and politics of North America.

Through inspired teaching and intellectual debate, we will nurture your passion by developing your creative and critical thinking. You will learn how to communicate effectively and solve complex problems as you develop an awareness of how past cultures, societies and texts shape our present and future.

Course Information


Level of Study

Mode of Study
3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad


City Campus, Northumbria University


September 2020

Department / Humanities

Our Department of Humanities includes the subject areas of History, English Literature, English Language and Linguistics, Creative Writing and American Studies.

Book an Open Day / Experience English Literature and American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study Humanities Foundation Year. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

In your first year, the core modules ‘Representing the US: From Slavery to Terrorism’, ‘Introduction to American Studies’ and ‘Contemporary America’ will provide you with a grounding in the variety of methods and approaches that make up American Studies. At the same time, the core modules ‘Introduction to Literary Studies’, ‘Concepts in Criticism and Culture’ and ‘Talking Texts’ will help you to question and challenge your pre-university understanding of literature. In your second and third years, you will also have the opportunity to choose from a range of optional modules, allowing you to specialise in areas that suit your individual interests. American Studies optional modules cover a wide range of topics in American history, politics, literature, film and TV, while English Literature options allow you to explore in depth specific periods, themes and genres.

Teaching will be in a variety of formats, including lectures, seminars and tutorials. You will have the opportunity to work alongside your fellow students in small group exercises and discussions, which will provide an opportunity for extensive peer and tutor feedback throughout your learning.

In your second year, you will have the option to study abroad for a semester or a full year on an exchange programme with one of our North American partner institutions. You will also have the opportunity to turn your degree into a four-year programme, with an additional placement year in industry or on a study abroad exchange programme.

Book an Open Day / Experience English Literature and American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study Humanities Foundation Year. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

Our course is taught by leading scholars in the fields of English Literature and American Studies. The enthusiasm, experience and expertise of our academic staff will ensure that your student journey is both intellectually challenging and enjoyable.

Members of our academic staff play an active role in the British Association for American Studies, which promotes and supports the academic study of the Americas. Our English department manages and edits the internationally recognised journal English on behalf of the English Association. Staff from across the American Studies and English teams are actively involved in shaping new, twenty-first century understandings of the Humanities, and this helps students to reflect on the value and significance of their undergraduate studies.

Book an Open Day / Experience English Literature and American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study Humanities Foundation Year. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

Technology is built in to all of our courses, and will help you to connect and enjoy your learning experience. Our staff are continually experimenting with new ways of facilitating interaction, including the use of mobile technology and social media.

We offer a range of virtual learning platforms that will provide you with access to course materials, as well as an opportunity to engage with your learning community.

The University Library boasts around half a million books, with nearly 843,000 electronic books. It is open 24/7, which means that you will have constant access to everything you need to support you during your studies. Further facilities are available for students at the Institute for the Humanities, in the University’s Lipman Building, including a resource room, specialist computing equipment and interview rooms.

Book an Open Day / Experience English Literature and American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study Humanities Foundation Year. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

At Northumbria we offer research-led teaching: our staff are active researchers in their fields, who draw on their own specific interests to develop original and cutting-edge modules. Major research interests within our teaching team include: African-American history and culture (including the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panthers); Modernist fiction and poetry; American periodical culture; and gender and sexuality in literature and culture.

The course will allow you to develop your own independent research skills from the outset. In Year One, you will receive guidance and support from staff to help you develop your own research question and produce a short essay on your chosen topic in ‘Introduction to American Studies’. In Year Two, you will produce a longer piece of independent research in the American Studies Extended Essay. These essays will prepare you for your most sustained research project, the dissertation. The dissertation will allow you to formulate a sophisticated answer to a complex research problem, and you will receive expert supervision from the most appropriate member of our academic team.

Book an Open Day / Experience English Literature and American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study Humanities Foundation Year. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

A degree in English Literature and American Studies will provide you with a repertoire of competencies and skills that will put you in a strong position to enter a variety of professions. You will be encouraged to plan and think about future employment and/or study from the outset of your degree.

In the second year, students have the option to study abroad, which demonstrates a range of attributes – most notably self-confidence, autonomy, and cultural awareness – to prospective employers.

You will also have the chance to undertake a placement year, which will provide you with an invaluable learning experience through hands-on work in a real working environment.

At Northumbria, we regularly collaborate with external partners, including New Writing North, embassies and local authorities. Throughout your studies, you will be able to work alongside our partners and gain invaluable work experience and opportunities.

Book an Open Day / Experience English Literature and American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study Humanities Foundation Year. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

The English Literature and American Studies programme produces graduates who are equipped with excellent practical and transferable skills, such as flexibility, motivation and the ability to communicate effectively in different formats. The programme will foster your intellectual curiosity and help you to become a critical, independent and creative thinker. You will learn to combine excellent research skills with the ability to analyse texts and language closely. You will develop an understanding not only of the cultural, social, political and historical dynamics of North America, but of the modern world more generally. Your degree will enable you to become a valued contributor to the community and the wider world in which you live.

The versatile set of skills you will develop through your studies will be the key to unlocking your success after graduation.  Graduates from both our current English Literature and American Studies courses have gone onto careers in publishing, journalism, teaching, advertising and marketing.

Book an Open Day / Experience English Literature and American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study Humanities Foundation Year. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

Entry Requirements 2020/21

Standard Entry

120 UCAS Tariff points
From a combination of acceptable Level 3 qualifications which may include: A level, BTEC Diplomas/Extended Diplomas, Scottish and Irish Highers, Access to HE Diplomas or the International Baccalaureate

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS Tariff calculator:

Subject Requirements:
There are no specific subject requirements for this course

GCSE Requirements:
Students will need Maths and English Language at minimum grade 4 or C, or the equivalent.

Additional Requirements:
There are no additional requirements for this course

International Qualifications:
We welcome applicants with a range of qualifications from the UK and worldwide which may not exactly match those shown above. If you have taken qualifications outside the UK you can find out how your qualifications compare by visiting our country page

English Language Requirements:
International applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).

*The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Visit

Fees and Funding 2020/21 Entry

UK/EU Fee in Year 1**: TBC

Undergraduate fees are set by Government and are subject to annual review. Once these have been approved we will update fees/funding information for UK and EU students.

International Fee in Year 1: TBC

Scholarships for 2020/2021 entry have not been announced. Please visit the 2019/2020 international scholarship page for the 2019/2020 scholarship offer.




20/21 fees and funding information has not been confirmed. 19/20 information is listed below.

Click here for UK and EU undergraduate funding and scholarships information.

Click here for International undergraduate funding and scholarships information.

Click here for UK/EU undergraduate tuition fee information**.

Click here for International undergraduate tuition fee information.

Click here for additional costs which may be involved while studying.

Click here for information on fee liability.

If you'd like to receive news and information from us in the future about the course or finance then please complete the below form

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Modules Overview


Module information is indicative and is reviewed annually therefore may be subject to change. Applicants will be informed if there are any changes.

AM4001 -

Introduction to American Studies (Core,20 Credits)

This module offers a practical and historical introduction to American Studies as a distinct, multifaceted, and evolving discipline, while also allowing you to acquire and practice key learning, research, and communication skills which will be of use throughout your university career and beyond. The module is content driven, with readings and themes drawn from across the entire range of American history, literature, politics, and popular culture, but particular emphasis will be placed on helping you to understand and master the basic tools and protocols of academic scholarship, thereby helping you to make the transition from school to university level work.
The skills which this module will help you to develop will include finding, reading and evaluating various kinds of primary and secondary sources; understanding the ways in which scholarship advances through constructive criticism and debate; correct referencing; finding an effective academic writing style; making oral presentations; and designing, researching and writing an independent research project.

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AM4002 -

Contemporary America (Core,20 Credits)

This module will introduce you to key aspects of contemporary US culture, history, and politics. Chronologically the course focuses on the period from 1992 to the present; in disciplinary terms it embraces economics, film, history, international relations, literature, music, performance, politics, sexuality, and visual culture; thematically, the module emphasizes the importance of racial, ethnic, gender, class and religious identities, consumerism and globalization, domestic and international configurations of US political, social, economic, and cultural power, and the politics of cultural representation in the media and popular culture. Adopting a variegated, multi- and interdisciplinary approach, the module enable you to combine an enhanced empirical knowledge of the contemporary US to useful interpretive frameworks such as postmodernism, queer theory, and globalization theory. The module is organized around a mixture of broad thematic surveys (e.g. Major Trends in Contemporary US Literature) and narrower case studies (e.g. The Challenges of Post-9/11 Literature).

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EL4001 -

Introduction to Literary Studies (Core,20 Credits)

You will be given the opportunity to familiarise yourself with conceptual issues such as canonicity, the unconscious, the tragic, the nature of the author, gender and postmodernity. Lectures will introduce you to these concepts and modes of applying these to literary texts as well as introducing you to new material in the texts themselves. Seminars will follow the lectures, where you will discuss and explore with your tutor and with your fellow students both the texts and their historical and theoretical contexts.

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EL4003 -

Representing the US: From Slavery to Terrorism (Core,20 Credits)

This module focusses on US literature, film and television and it asks you to think about US culture at large; it will introduce you to a range of significant US texts from the nineteenth century to the present. You will make connections between diverse texts ranging from writings of slaves in the nineteenth century to fiction that responds to the trauma of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. You will enjoy US literature, film and television across a range of periods – work from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries will be covered – and you will examine fiction, poetry, drama, film, and television in relation to the idea of a national literary canon and in the context of social and political change, from the Civil War to the War on Terror. As a survey module, it encourages you to examine how key works engage with questions of identity, slavery, the American Dream, trauma, freedom, and national security.

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EL4006 -

Concepts in Criticism and Culture (Core,20 Credits)

This module introduces you to key critical concepts in literary studies and asks how those concepts may be applied to the study of less canonical forms of writing and other media.

You will be introduced to theoretical and critical material, addressing key issues about literature and culture such as:
• how is the literary canon is constructed
• how might our gender, race or class background affect how we value and understand literature and popular culture

During the module you will be encouraged to evaluate the significance of debates about authorship, identity and literary value. You will be asked to read a range of key academic essays, discussing them in relation to a range of examples from popular culture as well as literature. You will be asked to think about the values attached to these different forms of cultural production. The module aims to foster your skills in close textual analysis, informed by key theoretical perspectives and independent reflective practice.

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EL4016 -

Talking Texts (Core,20 Credits)

This module offers students a forum to develop academic skills in close reading and analysis. A range of texts are examined within a reading-focussed workshop, including: the novel, short stories, poetry, plays, journalism, academic essays and online media such as blogs and flash fiction. Students are exposed to a range of writing in order to consider and develop their own reading practices. The discursive workshops develop speaking, listening, and critical skills through participation in classroom activities. The module prepares students for work at degree level, encouraging them to become independent learners in a supportive environment.

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AD5012 -

Humanities Study Abroad (40 credit) (Optional,40 Credits)

The Study Abroad module is a semester based 40 credit module which is available on degree courses which facilitate study abroad within the programme. You will undertake a semester of study abroad at a European University under the ERASMUS+ exchange scheme or at an approved partner University elsewhere. This gives you access to modules from your discipline taught in a different learning culture and so broadens your overall experience of learning. The course of study abroad will be constructed to meet the learning outcomes for the programme for the semester in question, dependent on suitable modules from the partner and will be recorded for an individual student on the learning agreement signed by the host University, the student, and the home University (Northumbria). The module will be assessed by conversion of graded marks from the host University.

Learning outcomes on the year-long modules on which the student is unable to attend the home institution must be met at the host institution, and marks from the host are incorporated into the modules as part of the overall assessment.

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AM5001 -

The San Francisco Bay Area (Explorations in American Studies II) (Core,20 Credits)

This module will introduce students to the concept of ‘place’ within an American Studies framework. It explores a particular geographical site (for example, a neighbourhood, a city, or a state) in North America, or a geographically bounded zone which incorporates part of North America (for example, the Pacific Rim, the Caribbean), from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The module provides students with a nuanced understanding of the ‘place’ in question and of its broader significance within the American Experience. It encourages students to analyse and engage with the interdisciplinary nature of American Studies. The specific case study may change in any given year but the aims, outcomes and outline structure of the module will remain the same. Indicative topics include: the San Francisco Bay Area; the South; the Rust Belt; Harlem; the Mississippi River; the Atlantic World.

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AM5002 -

American Studies Extended Essay (Core,20 Credits)

The American Studies Extended Essay is designed as an opportunity for you to apply and build on the skills you have acquired in Level Four core modules and prepare yourself for the demands of the American Studies Dissertation in Level Six. It is an exercise in independent research and is intended to be a piece of work that utilises an interdisciplinary approach to a selection of primary and secondary sources. Extended Essay topics will be developed in conjunction with an appropriate subject specialist.

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EL5003 -

Early Modern Cultures (Core,20 Credits)

On this module you will learn to read texts written in the period 1500-1700 historically. Lectures and seminars will encourage you to learn about the early modern period, and to situate texts by authors such as William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Thomas More, and Philip Sidney. You will learn about poetry, prose, and drama – situating literary genres from the period in relation to themes that include: class, race, sexuality, politics, authority, gender, and ideas of literary production itself. Lectures will trace the afterlives of some of the most influential texts ever written, and will encourage you to read these textual traditions in light of a range of western literary ideologies.

Building upon work completed at Level 4 on early modern authors like Shakespeare and Donne, this module offers students a more comprehensive survey of the early modern period. Encouraging students to read literature historically, Early Modern Cultures fosters key skills in tutor-led and independent reading and research that will complement a range of studies at level 6.

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EL5004 -

Modernism and Modernity (Core,20 Credits)

Through this module you will gain an understanding of the relation between literary modernism and modernity in the early part of the twentieth century. The module provides you with conceptual and historical frameworks for understanding the relation between art and social life. It gives you an opportunity to engage with the ways in which different literary genres prompted modernist experiments in form and with the various debates taking place between literary critics, writers, philosophers and cultural historians in early-twentieth-century Britain and the USA.

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EL5026 -

Literary Revolutions, Eighteenth Century to Romanticism (Core,20 Credits)

In this module you will study a range of texts from the eighteenth century to the Romantic period. The module considers a period in which literature and culture witnessed a succession of revolutionary changes. The novel emerged as a new form; female writers and readers took on a new prominence; the print market expanded enormously; and writers responded to the seismic changes in society caused by a period of war, imperial expansion, and political and social revolution. You will study a diverse and unusual range of texts that emerged from this period, and learn how to link the texts to the period’s context.

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HI5004 -

Affluence and Anxiety: The US from 1920 to 1960 (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will study the ways historians and other researchers have studied US history and culture from the 1920s to through the 1950s. You will assess and analyse the major developments in the United States, including, but not limited to: the 1920s economic boom, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, the New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, the postwar “economic miracle,” and American society and culture in flux. The course will cover this period of profound change by examining the role of the US as an emerging global super power and the critical social and political transformations that altered the nation over the past 90 years. Major historiographical interpretations will be emphasized as well. The United States’ involvement in world affairs and the tension between international engagement and isolationism will also be stressed. Primary and secondary source readings, along with classroom activities, will help you to critically engage this key era of American development and develop the interpretive skills of a historian.

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HI5005 -

America in the 1960s (Optional,20 Credits)

This module offers you the opportunity to study the domestic social, cultural, political, and economic history of the United States during the “long 1960s” (roughly 1956-1974). Interdisciplinary in approach the module allows you to examine a range of secondary and primary sources – including television, literature, music, film and visual culture – that illuminate the history and culture of the US during this period. The module also encourages you to consider the perils and advantages of dealing with the 1960s as a discrete historical period, involves you in some of the most important scholarly debates in the field, and asks you to consider how the decade has been remembered and misremembered in popular consciousness by exploring later cultural representations and political uses of the 1960s. Key topics include the Cold War and Vietnam; consumerism; the civil rights and black power movements; national and local politics; science, technology and the environment; youth culture; gender and sexuality; identity politics; regionalism; the New Left and the Counterculture; conservatism and the New Right; mass media and popular music.

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IR5010 -

Foreign Policy Analysis (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn about the most significant issues and challenges of our times in the domain of foreign policy. While grounded in IR theory, you will be introduced to foreign policy analysis (FPA)-specific frameworks and levels of analysis such as to systems of governance, decision making structures and models, leadership analysis, the role of the media, public opinion and special interest groups. Empirically, you will learn about the foreign policy of key actors in the international system towards a region or set of issues such as, for example, US foreign policy towards the Middle East or international cooperation in the war against the Islamic State.

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MI5013 -

Hollywood Cinema (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will encourage students to explore key aesthetic, economic, ideological and historical issues in relation to Hollywood cinema. These include analysing the formation of the studio system in the late teens and how this led to Hollywood becoming a global, dominant force; how Hollywood representations can be linked to broader ideologies; how aesthetics and representations are influenced by censorship; and how Hollywood has changed historically in relation to social factors. The latter will lead to an understanding of periodisation (such as classical and post-classical Hollywood); of technical innovations and their impacts (such as the introduction of sound and colour); the changing nature of stardom; the increasing acceptance of Hollywood as an art form; and how Hollywood has absorbed international trends and personnel. An indicative syllabus is as follows:

1. Archival Research on Hollywood Cinema
2. The Studio System
3. Sound and Music
4. Censorship
5. The B Movie
6. Politics and Hollywood
7. Stardom
8. Indiewood
9. Gender and Hollywood
10. High Concept Filmmaking and the Blockbuster
11. Global Hollywood

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AD5009 -

Humanities Work Placement Year (Optional,120 Credits)

The Work Placement Year module is a 120 credit year-long module available on degree courses which include a work placement year, taken as an additional year of study at level 5 and before level 6 (the length of the placement(s) will be determined by your programme but it can be no less than 30 weeks. You will undertake a guided work placement at a host organisation. This is a Pass/Fail module and so does not contribute to classification. When taken and passed, however, the Placement Year is recognised in your transcript as a 120 credit Work Placement Module and on your degree certificate in the format – “Degree title (with Work Placement Year)”. The learning and teaching on your placement will be recorded in the work placement agreement signed by the placement provider, the student, and the University.

Note: Subject to placement clearance; this is a competitive process and a place on the module cannot be guaranteed.

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AD5010 -

Humanities Study Abroad Year (Optional,120 Credits)

The Study Abroad Year module is a full year 120 credit module which is available on degree courses which include a study abroad year which is taken as an additional year of study at level 5 and before level 6. You will undertake a year of study abroad at a European University under the ERASMUS+ exchange scheme or at an approved partner University elsewhere. This gives you access to modules from your discipline taught in a different learning culture and so broadens your overall experience of learning. The course of study abroad will be dependent on the partner and will be recorded for an individual student on the learning agreement signed by the host University, the student, and the home University (Northumbria). Your study abroad year will be assessed on a pass/fail basis. It will not count towards your final degree classification but, if you pass, it is recognised in your transcript as a 120 credit Study Abroad Module and on your degree certificate in the format – “Degree title (with Study Abroad Year)”.

Note: Subject to placement clearance; this is a competitive process and a place on the module cannot be guaranteed.

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AM6003 -

States of Nature: An Environmental History of the Americas (Explorations in American Studies III) (Core,20 Credits)

Focusing on North and South America, this module examines the interaction between humans and the environment throughout history. We will discuss the ways in which various peoples experienced their environment: how they attempted to change it, how they were limited by it, and how they thought about nature. In doing so, we will consider historical change at several levels:

1. Material and ecological: the physical changes that humans in the American have wrought over the past 10,000 years.

2. Social and political: the connection between peoples’ use of the environment and the way in which American societies developed.

3. Intellectual and ideological: how individuals and societies have understood nature at various points throughout history and how this understanding has shaped their actions.

You will find out about the relationship between humans and nature in the period before European expansion in the Americas and, following on from this, you will consider the ecological impact of European colonialism. The module content covers human activities such as farming and mining, but also the impact of floods, hurricanes and climate change. You will consider the spread of cities, the role of their hinterlands and the creation of national parks. In the final sections of the module, you will examine the manifold impacts of consumer culture (including waste and pollution) as well as the rise of environmentalist movements that were critical of humans’ ecological footprint.

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EL6002 -

Alternative Worlds: Utopian Dreams and Dystopian Nightmares (Optional,20 Credits)

This module examines a selection of utopian and dystopian fiction of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It provides an interesting area for you to apply and further develop critical theories explored in level 4 and 5 modules (especially those concerning gender, class, and ethnicity) through an examination of a challenging genre that embraces the complex field of non-realist representation, science fiction, satire and social commentary, prediction, politics and polemic. Some of the issues on which the module focuses include evolution, progress, eugenics, genetics, man and machine, alternative histories, apocalypse, ‘racial’ and gendered identities and conflicts. The module also aims to explore genre definitions and limitations, particularly the divide between utopian and dystopian fiction.

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EL6004 -

Vamps and Virgins: Gothic Sexualities (Optional,20 Credits)

From Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Christabel (1816) to Alan Ball’s True Blood (2008-), this module invites you to explore the dark, shadowy world of the Gothic in relation to a diverse range of literary texts and modern media. Combining the study of familiar canonical fictions with new and challenging material, we will train our focus on the enigmatic figure of the vampire, examining its various transitions and developments through the lens of critical and cultural theory.

Through an analysis of the Gothic, the module aims to develop your critical thinking, as well as your existing knowledge of literature, film, and television dating from 1816 to the present day. In doing so, it will encourage you to reflect on and interrogate the complex ways in which Gothic texts engage with, and intervene in, broader cultural debates about gender and sexuality.

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EL6005 -

Travel Writing (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will explore some key topics in contemporary travel writing (such as the environment; the end of European colonialism; war and the Cold War; and tourism). In your explorations you will investigate the way in which travel writing reflects and contributes to contemporary conversations about politics, culture, the environment, and features of our contemporary world such as globalization, mass media, and global warming. You will look at a variety of forms including essays, books, radio broadcasts, and journalism, and will consider how these different forms are utilized by travel writers.

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EL6006 -

Romantic Politics: British Literary Responses to the French Revolution (Optional,20 Credits)

The French Revolution in 1789 marked the beginning of intense debate in Britain about liberty and society, equality and order, justice and happiness. Literature was seen as the key site for these new imagined world orders; it was the realm in which imagination, politics, and philosophy could converge. You will focus on the intense decade of the 1790s and encounter some of the most dazzling writers of this (or any) age: Edmund Burke’s conservative dream of nation was followed by Thomas Paine’s assertion of the rights of man; Mary Wollstonecraft championed the rights of woman; William Godwin transformed people’s lives through his philosophical writings and wrote thrilling novels demonstrating his philosophical beliefs in action; Jane Austen, often criticized for being apolitical, appears to be offering a commentary on cult of the individual in Sense and Sensibility, published in 1811 but written in the turbulent decade of the 1790s; Anna Laetitia Barbauld published anonymous tracts asserting the right of the people to participate in government, wrote brilliant poetry, and transformed educational writings; Helen Maria Williams published letters from France celebrating the newly liberated nation; and William Wordsworth and S.T. Coleridge revolutionised poetry. On this module will you will examine an extraordinary period of debates fueled by exhilaration and despair, and of great hopes for the transformative powers of literature.

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EL6007 -

Sin, Sex, and Violence: Marlowe in Context (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will enhance your awareness and appreciation of one of the most controversial and stimulating authors of the early modern period (and beyond!), Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593). Marlowe wrote plays and poems that expose our darkest hearts, showing characters lusting for power, and each other. Building on your brief contact with Marlowe at Level 5, this module will offer a chronological survey of his short but staggering career, situating each of his works in relation to the tumultuous contexts of their production and reception, including later appropriations. This will involve looking at Marlowe in relation to discussions of early modern politics, religious conflict, sexuality, urbanisation, imperialism, science and magic, ethnicity, geography, and historiography. The module therefore offers a unique opportunity to see how one writer’s remarkable career developed.

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EL6008 -

Hacks, harlots & highwaymen: the origins of the literary marketplace, 1660-1730 (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the exciting decades during which a professional literary marketplace first took shape in England, and build on your awareness of the wealth of new literary genres that evolved at this time, such as the first novels, journalism, ballad opera, criminal biography, autobiography and literary criticism. You will study these newly developing genres alongside established, yet rapidly evolving, modes of writing already in existence in England, such as poetry, drama and satire. Many of these forms of writing featured characters that fascinated early readers much as they continue to do so today, from highwaymen, prisoners and prostitutes to politicians and royalty, and they evolved in the context of new dynamic literary spaces such as the first coffee houses, West End theatres and Grub Street. By studying such a wide range of different forms of writing, you will build on previous knowledge gained in second and third year core modules in understanding how the literary marketplace of today’s modern world first took shape in the hands of authors, editors, publishers, booksellers, hack writers and early celebrities who used print publication as a means to serve a variety of ends, be this the pursuit of literary fame, financial gain or public support.

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EL6009 -

Romanticism and Childhood (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will inform you about the transformations to the concept of childhood that occurred in the Romantic period (1760-1830). It will challenge you to analyse various celebrated representations of children and childhood in British Romantic literature. A new and distinctive attitude towards childhood was a core element of Romantic culture. Many British Romantic writers were invested in such issues as children’s education, imaginative fantasy literature, child-psychology, social injustices afflicting children, and religious questions of childhood innocence. This module will encourage you to develop an historical awareness of the changing culture of childhood in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. You will engage with the politics of education and children’s imaginative reading in the wake of the French Revolution (1789). Authors studied include William Wordsworth, William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Shelley, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and many more important writers of the period. This module encompasses a range of significant literature of the period, including poetry, prose, novels, and children’s literature.

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EL6013 -

Violent Femmes: Women in Post-war Popular Culture (Optional,20 Credits)

On this module you will examine the figure of the active female hero within popular fiction, film and television since the Second World War. Beginning in the 1950s with figures on screen such as Calamity Jane, the module will offer a selective survey of such representations through the 60s, 70s, 80s and so on. You will examine each example within the context of its form (ie film, television, popular fiction) and within the context of ongoing debates about the position and role of women in Britain and North America.

During the module you will become familiar with contemporary debates regarding the politics of gendered behaviours, engaging with feminist theory, film and television studies, cultural studies and literary theory. While the module will focus on the representation of women, discussion will also inevitably address relevant accounts of masculinity, sexuality and ethnicity.

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EL6016 -

Neo-Victorianism: Contemporary Literature and Culture (Optional,20 Credits)

On this module, you will learn about how the Victorian period is presented in an interdisciplinary range of texts, from film, graphic novels, theatre and contemporary fiction. You will examine the notion of ‘Neo-Victorianism’ in the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries. from the 1960s to the present, and you will learn why the Victorian period still holds such a fascination in literature and popular culture. We will also study several key theoretical areas: feminism, lesbianism and women’s writing; postcolonialism and Empire; postmodernist rewrites, reinterpretations and intertextuality; nostalgia and its effects in literature and the wider society; technology and travel; the interaction of the visual and the written text.

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EL6017 -

History, Myth, Narrative: Prose Writing about the First World War (Optional,20 Credits)

You will explore a selection of key prose texts (novels and short stories) about the First World War that were written between 1914 and the present day. You will relate these novels and short stories to a range of influential critical ideas across literary studies and history. The module will help you to understand the close links between literary writing about the war and the way the war has been remembered in Britain at different points in time and will develop your research skills beyond your own discipline by allowing you to engage with scholarly concepts and sources in history, psychology and sociology. By reading a range of autobiographical and fictional prose texts, you will think about the value of literary texts as sources of cultural history, and you will investigate the changing historical contexts in which these texts have been produced, published and read. Themes and topics you will cover include the representation of soldiers, enemies and allies, class and gender in war writing, formal and publishing aspects and memory and remembrance.

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EL6018 -

The Black Atlantic: Literature, Slavery and Race (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will introduce you to a range of texts which have been created out of, or about, the experience of African peoples in the diaspora from the seventeenth century to the present. It will encourage you to relate your understanding of the texts to the cultural and historical background from which they developed. Following on from level four core modules this module will develop your understanding of the concept of the ‘Atlantic World’ and theories of local, national and global cultures as well as theories of race and postcolonial theory. You will be encouraged to recognise the activity of the slave trade as the beginning point of the Atlantic World as an imagined space that challenges national and chronological boundaries and speaks of the powerful and enduring legacies of slavery.

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EL6019 -

Writing the Body 1800-1900 (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will learn that he body is a crucial, if often overlooked element in all literature, whether it be in terms of sexuality, gender, representations of glamorous diseases -such as consumption in the nineteenth century - or the final fate of the body, death. This module aims to introduce students to some of the major forms of the representation of the body in the literature in the period 1800-1900. Through such major authors as Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe and Hermann Melville, the module will investigate how certain genres (romance and gothic, for example) construct certain versions of the body, how different sexual bodies are depicted and contested, and how male and female bodies are differentiated and politicised.

As well as being introduced to relevant literary content in the period you will also learn how to research and generate new literary content via contemporary research methods using on-line resources such as full-text databases (LION etc). As well as finding your own material (a poem on the female body, for example), you will learn how to contextualise it (investigating the author and genre, for example).

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EL6020 -

Boxing with Byron: Romanticism and Popular Culture (Optional,20 Credits)

The Romantic period (1789-1832) was a time of revolutionary change in literature, yet the literature of the period is typically represented by a narrow list of elite poets. On this module you will learn about a much more diverse range of writing: by men and women, by the poor and the rich, and taking in styles from satirical poetry, to advertising, to magazine fiction, to essays about opium addiction. Is there a distinction between ‘high’ and ‘popular’ culture, and who gets to decide the answer? This was a question the Romantics asked, and it is one you will learn to answer. You will also learn to investigate the diverse range of literature produced in the period yourself by using e-resources to find texts from the period that you think are valuable. You will develop an enhanced knowledge of the literature and culture of the period and as a result you will learn to question the way that literary critics tell stories about who and what should count in literary history.

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EL6021 -

Shaking up Shakespeare (Optional,20 Credits)

This module develops your awareness and understanding of post-Renaissance adaptations and appropriations of Shakespeare’s work, from the seventeenth century to the present day. It engages with Shakespearean adaptations belonging to different literary genres (in particular, drama and prose fiction) and different media (written texts, films). It examines the ways in which selected Shakespearean texts are transformed in subsequent adaptations, and the issues underpinning these transformations, especially those concerning race, gender, and class. It also engages with theoretical debates surrounding authorship, literary value, canonicity, and popular/high culture.

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EL6023 -

Entertaining Satan (Optional,20 Credits)

This module offers you an opportunity to look in depth at a range of literature and literary forms concerned with demonology, witchcraft and the representation of the devil and devil worship in poetry, prose and drama from c.1590-1678. It does so through the examination of key texts and themes in their historical context across a century of unprecedented political, social and cultural upheaval. Themes include religious fanaticism and fundamentalism, science, gender, social status and the beginnings of the English Enlightenment in its European context. All of these texts investigate and interrogate debates about the role of science and magic, moral authority and the nature of good and evil that apply to the tumultuous time in which they were written and that remain highly relevant today.

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EL6042 -

Postwar US Writing (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will enhance your understanding of postwar American literary culture in its broader social, political, and
economic contexts. Mid-century America was a time of profound contradictions: while US citizens lived under the shadow the bomb, many experienced unprecedented economic prosperity and access to new material comforts. We will explore how national paranoia
about the spread of communism and the nuclear arms race sat alongside – and fed into – the postwar image of the American ‘good life’, an image of suburban conformity underpinned by the growth of advertising and consumer culture. We will consider how postwar fiction and poetry challenges this demand for conformity in both content and form: through its complex representations of the American cold war experience and its innovative narrative and poetic strategies. The texts on this module offer insights into postwar attitudes towards a diverse range of topics, including national and international politics, work, leisure, and domesticity, gender and sexuality, and race and ethnicity.

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EL6045 -

Political Drama in Early Modern England (Optional,20 Credits)

People thought and wrote about politics a lot in the early modern period. Just like today, lives and livelihoods hinged upon the attitudes, loyalties and alliances of those in power – and the theatre was a convenient and accessible place to think about (and sometimes to poke fun at) political figureheads and their ideologies. Also, because men like William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson were, effectively, on the payroll of some of England’s wealthiest and most powerful men and women, their dramatic writings often carried distinct political agendas. Monarchs like Queen Elizabeth I and James VI/I were passionate about literature, and London’s best playwrights and acting companies were employed during their lavish coronation processions – and invited to perform at court during annual festivities. Drama from this period was not only influenced by politics, moreover, it had influential political clout, in and of itself. The theatre explored, explained, critiqued, and shaped political attitudes and ideas – at every level of society.

Building on your reading of early modern authors at levels 4 and 5 in early modern literature, this module will challenge you to read a range of Tudor and Jacobean plays in relation to political change, scandal, and satire. You will develop a specialised understanding of the relationship between literature and politics, and a detailed knowledge of the early modern period’s tumultuous social and religious contexts.

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EL6047 -

Twenty First Century Literature: Writing in the Present (Optional,20 Credits)

From Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) and its popular television adaptation (2017) to Yorgos Lanthimos’ film The Lobster (2015), this module invites you to explore a wide and diverse range of novels, short stories and other media in order to promote and analyse the study of contemporary theoretical debates on gender, love, the body and sexuality.

Through the theoretical lens of feminism, psychoanalysis, queer theory and postmodernism, the module aims to develop your critical thinking and your existing knowledge of literature, film and television, from 1985 to the present day. It will encourage you to explore the complex issues raised by diverse critical theory and close analysis of a range of late twentieth and twenty-first century literature, film and television adaptation. By doing so, you will reflect on the ways that twenty-first literature and other media engages with, interrogates and often offers alternative narratives on present debates about gender, love, the body and sexuality.

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EL6049 -

From Jane Austen to Austenland: Representing the Regency in Literature and Film (Optional,20 Credits)

The Regency (1810-1820) is condensed and complex period of contrasts; whilst precipitating significant and lasting changes in literature, art, theatre, fashion, and architecture, it was also a period that was beset by war, ruthless suppression of popular protest, sexual scandal, and the Regent himself was an object of contempt and ridicule. However, the Regency has come to be represented in popular culture as the lost and last age of romance and elegance, partly the result of enhanced connections being made between Austen and the heritage industries in modern adaptations. This module examines representations of the Regency in literature and film, beginning with the works of Jane Austen, all of which were published during this period.

We will begin with an introduction to the social, cultural and political issues of the period, and we will consider Austen as a writer of the Regency. We will move on to consider the significance of twentieth-century adaptations, imitations and appropriations of Austen and representations of the Regency in the works of historical novelists such as Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland, and more contemporary works such as Shannon Hale’s ‘Austenland’. We will also consider the proliferation of Austen and the Regency-based texts in the American market in relation to thinking about both as a form of heritage tourism and escapism. Overall, we will be exploring the impact of Austen upon popular culture, how popular culture fosters a reconsideration of Austen and how we engage with both in relation how we envision our cultural past.

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EL6050 -

Making Books (Optional,20 Credits)

The eighteenth-century was a profoundly innovative moment in terms of the invention and development of the novel and the rapid expansion of the early book trade. But so often we read eighteenth-century fiction in modern, digitally-produced editions. How were eighteenth-century books first made? How are they made today? On this module, you will study individual literary texts alongside printing practices which have shaped and continue to contribute to the book trade. By studying literature through practical demonstrations and history of book production, you will build on previous knowledge gained in second and third year core modules in understanding how the book trade of today builds on the print cultures of the past. You will learn how to interpret as well as how to present and edit eighteenth-century literature, through being introduced to bibliographical and digital research methods. This module will enhance your knowledge and appreciation of eighteenth-century literature and build on your awareness of the print cultural contexts of book production in this period, including form, format, typography and editorial apparatus.

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EL6051 -

Contemporary Genre Fiction (Optional,20 Credits)

This module explores contemporary (post-millennial) genres of fiction with an emphasis on their innovativeness, contemporaneity and their interaction with socio-cultural developments of the new millennium. You will engage with cutting edge texts to study their innovations in and interactions with the contemporary world. Module content will focus on theorizing relationships between audiences, genres and critics and will encourage you to view yourself as part of the process of re-defining contemporary genres in terms of themes, cultural contexts and theoretical models. Genres under discussion will include: millennial text, 9/11 literature, digital writings, post-apocalyptic, crunch lit, the new erotica, Nordic noir and Brexit literature. Module teaching will explore innovations in genres of the contemporary period, consider the challenges of new technologies and media, and examine the political, economic and cultural contexts of contemporary genres. Taking in a broad range of theoretical approaches – including late modernism, postmodernism, globalisation and post 9/11 theory – the module will critically engage with the extent to which C21 genre fictions actively shape our understanding of twenty-first century society.

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EL6053 -

Writing Women: Aphra Behn in Focus (Optional,20 Credits)

This module explores the writings of the first professional woman writer in England, Aphra Behn (d. 1689). Biographically, Behn remains something of an enigma. We know little about her personal life, and some of our earliest records of her relate to her work as a Continental spy for Charles II. Yet Behn is one of the most important writers of the late seventeenth century. She contributed to many genres of literature (poetry, drama, translation and prose), she was the second most prolific dramatist of her age, and she authored the first English novel. Behn was a transformative and innovative author, deeply engaged with questions of gender and self-aware, in her writings, of her status as a female author in a male profession.
On this module we will read a selection of Behn’s writings, exploring their relationship to her contemporary writers, Behn’s historical moment and the broader development of literature. We will also explore the complex reception history of Behn’s work, thinking about why she disappeared from the literary canon within decades of her death, only to be rediscovered by feminist and postcolonial scholars from the 1970s and 80s. In studying Behn’s changing status as a literary author, and by reading her work, students will learn about a key moment (the 1670s-80s) in the development of the literary marketplace, whilst developing an appreciation of the ways in which gender concerns have affected access to Behn’s literature, as well as shaped (and, at times, limited) our understanding of its wider importance.
Today, Behn is much-studied and there are numerous scholarly editions of her writings. Yet there is still much we have yet to properly understand about her writings, and Behn studies are as vibrant and diverse as ever. Recent years have seen a renewed energy in Behn scholarship that seeks to understand her writings beyond their significance to gender studies, with scholars showing how Behn’s writings engage with the burning issues of the day: marital law; monarchy; philosophy; politics; science; sexuality; slavery.

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HI6003 -

The Golden State: California (Optional,20 Credits)

This module explores how California has developed as both a place and an idea in the American imagination, focusing on the transformative period from the 1840s to the 1960s. While historical, our approach will also be interdisciplinary, reflecting the ways in which cultural constructions and popular representations played a crucial role in California’s development. Visual culture and novels, advertisements, film, and music, will all be consulted at different points as key elements in the Golden State’s formation. Learning about the different ways in which we can see, understand and explain the development of California and the California Dream – including topics such as the Gold Rush, early Hollywood, and Japanese internment during the Second World War – will provide you with a better range of tools to understand region and identity in the United States. It will equip you to think critically about academic literature, primary sources, and historical interpretation.

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HI6004 -

The African American Freedom Struggle Since 1945 (Optional,20 Credits)

In this seminar-based module you will study the roots, trajectory, and legacies of the African American Freedom Struggle since 1945. Although the primary focus will be on the movement for racial justice in the US South between roughly 1954 and 1968, that history will be placed in longer chronological and broader national and international contexts. More specifically you will study the grass-roots activities of African Americans engaged in various forms of resistance and protest alongside the histories of the major civil rights groups – the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). You will interrogate their tactics, examine their often fraught relationships with each other, and assess their achievements and failures in the face of widespread resistance to racial change. You will examine the contributions of the extraordinary ordinary people at the heart of the struggle, as well as those of nationally prominent leaders such as Martin Luther King. In this module you will also analyse the relationship between the civil rights movement and the federal government, address the role of the media and popular culture in shaping both the history and popular understandings of the post-war Freedom Struggle, and examine the international coordinates and impact of the struggles.

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HI6007 -

Civil War and Reconstruction (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn about the causes, events, and results of the U.S. Civil War, a war which took over 620,000 lives; the bloodiest in American history. The Civil War and its aftermath are considered the dividing line between early and modern US history. The War ended the South’s dominance of American politics. It also led to three major constitutional amendments which ended slavery, defined American citizenship, and provided for African American votes respectively which still have implications in American life in the 21st century. The course begins in 1850 by looking at American sectionalism and how and why that caused the founding of the Republican party and the eventual secession of eleven southern states. It then examines the military aspects of the war and explores its social, political, economic, and diplomatic effects. The end of the term will be spent on the political and social aspects of the post-War period known as ‘Reconstruction.’ It will explain how American national identity became redefined during this tumultuous time, especially in popular memory around public commemorations, art, literature and film. You will also analyse the controversial historiography of this period throughout the semester.

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HI6022 -

Joint Honours Dissertation (Core,40 Credits)

The dissertation gives you the opportunity to work on a sustained piece of research of your own (guided) choice and to present that research in an organised and coherent form in a major piece of writing. The module will teach you how to function as an independent researcher, learner and writer. The dissertation represents the culmination of your studies as a Joint Honours student. You will apply the skills developed in your earlier studies to a discrete body of primary sources, working upon a clearly defined topic. In designing and implementing your research project, you will draw on insights and approaches from both of the disciplines that from part of your degree. The dissertation will develop your research skills and allow you to work independently, drawing on the advice and guidance of a designated supervisor.

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IR6008 -

Terrorism (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module I will analyse how ideas of terrorism have evolved throughout the twentieth century. This module offers me an opportunity to study in some depth the modern terrorism phenomenon and the methods currently being undertaken to counter it. I will focus essentially on two questions: what, exactly, is terrorism and what can be done about it?

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MI6005 -

Popular Music on Film and Television (Optional,20 Credits)

This module is concerned with popular music culture and its relationship to film, an area much neglected in academic film studies, television studies and popular music studies. As such, it seeks to address this absence by looking at a number of key junctures where popular music culture, the cinema and television inter-relate, exploring debates about gender representation, authorship, genre and music in performance, as well as how the films studied relate to context of their production and reception. The module, therefore, covers topics such as the following in a largely chronological fashion. An indicative syllabus is as follows:
1. Early moments: The significance of the early Elvis Films: King Creole
2. Punk rock on film: The Great Rock n’ Roll Swindle
3. The revisionist musical: Von Trier, Lhurmann et al
4. Popular Music and national identity: The Commitments
5. Popular Music and ‘Race’ representation: 8 Mile
6. Gender play: Velvet Goldmine, In Bed with Madonna
7. The popular music / rock documentary
8. Dance and the male body: Saturday Night Fever
9. The concert film" from Wadleigh's Woodstock to Godard's One plus One.
10. Critical approaches to music video: Corbijn, Cunningham et al.
11. Nostalgia and the popular musical biopic: Control

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MI6007 -

Cult Film and Television (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn to understand how the term ‘cult’ has been applied to film and television programmes in different ways, and how the concept has developed across history. The module will enable you to critically examine the ways that cult has been theorised both in relation to films and television programmes, and some of the key differences between cult television and cult film. You will understand how cult can be applied to both films, the reception of films, as well as how it has increasingly infiltrated marketing discourses. Case studies on the module include midnight movies, authorship and cult, fandom, telefantasy, censorship and controversy, exploitation cinema and global cult cinema.

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