MP6029 - Cinema and Society

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What will I learn on this module?

In this module, you will critically examine the relationship between US filmic institutions (films and industrial bodies – hereafter “cinema”) and different social contexts, including, for example: changes to the Hollywood Studio System (and the birthing of the “New Hollywood”), cinema’s responses to war and global trauma, and cinema’s engagement with issues surrounding race, gender and sexuality. Taught through lectures, demonstrations (film screenings) and student-led seminars, the course explores many of the ways cinema has engaged with key societal concerns.

You will be required to read and reflect on specific theoretical and empirical academic work by leading scholars and commentators and, using your analytical and interpretive skills, relate this work to the issues raised in class and by the accompanying film screenings. The module is assessed by a 3000 word essay which is designed to test your knowledge of film history and industry (one of the world's major mass communications industries), to evidence a sophisticated understanding of the issues under scrutiny, and your ability to work to a deadline. Ultimately, the module asks you to consider: What is the significance of studying cinema as a mass communications industry, an outlet for personal expression, and as a political tool? What can cinema tells us about history? What can cinema tell us about ourselves?

How will I learn on this module?

The course will be taught via a series of lectures, demonstrations (film screenings) and associated seminars.

Each lecture will introduce a key film and situate it within its original social (and historical/industrial) context. The lectures will be accompanied by relevant screenings. In the seminars, the issues raised in the lecture/by the screening will be discussed in relation to academic literature. In each seminar, your group (assigned in the first session) will “present” the ideas underpinning two academic articles that relate to the issues discussed in the lecture/by the screening and, in the process, test your understanding of sophisticated academic arguments and your ability to communicate information effectively.

The 3000 word essay aims to ensure that students are able to work and think independently and critically about cinema and society. Reading-based seminars aim to ensure that the students engage with secondary reading. Formative feedback will come from their peers and the module tutor throughout the course will develop their skills, their ability to work independently and with others; thereby identifying strengths and weaknesses in their learning strategies. This will come in addition to the written summative feedback the student will received having completed the 3000 word essay.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be academically supported by the module tutor with whom you can make private appointments during their scheduled office hours. These are in place to encourage you to seek advice on course-related materials, including course content and the final assessment.

The seminars will also provide an arena of academic support both from classmates and the module tutor during group discussion. Such discussions are encouraged to aid in your ability to solve problems, to develop robust peer support networks, and to develop key transferable skills that can be employed in the workplace.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

You will be able to demonstrate specialist knowledge of the issues, themes and scholarly debates that characterise the study of cinema in relation to key social concerns.

You will be able to demonstrate analytical and interpretive skills required to formulate and justify independent critical viewpoints regarding cinema's engagement with complex social issues

You will be able to demonstrate an enhanced ability to select from an array of appropriate research methods, theories, and concepts relevant to cinema and society, and deploy said approaches in order to produce appropriately sophisticated written work

On completion of the module you will possess detailed knowledge of cinema as a mass communications industry

Intellectual/Professional Skills & Abilities
You will display your ability to work independently, including organising your time and meeting deadlines

You will display your ability to work with others during seminars, including being confident in challenging others’ ideas

You will display your ability to communicate effectively to diverse audiences in seminars

You will display a clear understanding of how to build upon the transferable skills you have attained during the degree programme as part of your continuing development beyond university

Personal Values Attributes
You will be able to display the attitudes and skills needed to engage and work constructively, sensitively and ethically in conjunction with people from various socio-cultural backgrounds and with divergent skill-sets

How will I be assessed?

You are required to submit a 3000 word essay worth 100% of the overall module grade. The assessment is designed to assess the your ability to write, research, process and reflect on, complex ideas pertaining to cinema and society.

You will have tutorials in the final week of the semester in which the module tutor will feedback to you regarding your individual progress on the module (your contribution to seminars, attendance, and so forth) based on observations made during teaching sessions.

You will be assessed on your ability to conduct analysis and think critically during the lectures and seminars. This will test your ability to critically engage with film across different historical periods. Class discussions in seminars will also be used to assess your understandings of the concepts outlined in the lectures, and the key reading you will have conducted.

You will receive formative feedback from your peers and the module tutor during the seminars throughout the course, allowing you to apprehend how your analytical skills are developing. You will receive both formative commentary and a summative mark on your written work. You are encouraged to reflect on your methodological choices throughout the course, allowing you to formatively assess your own performance beyond the seminars. The summative assessment will be accompanied with feedback that will support future learning by indicating areas for development, both in your critical skills, and your methodological practices.





Module abstract


Course info

UCAS Code P301

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

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

Department Arts

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

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