Ways of Reading: An Introduction to Literary Criticism
This module will address questions around authorship, textuality, and different ways of interpreting texts, as well as considering what goes into the creation of a ‘text’, as a production between writers and their environments. You will learn key skills around research, writing, referencing, critical reading and forming critical arguments that will help you to develop as an English student.
American Literature: Writing Self and Nation
This module introduces many of the authors, literary movements, and historical events that shaped American literature from the birth of the republic to the contemporary period. You’ll read writers such as Washington Irving, Alice Walker, Walt Whitman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, F Scott Fitzgerald, or Tennessee Williams who call for a national tradition or assume the task of defining it.
This module explores representation and identity; media production and regulation; the way media forms are consumed and what it's like to work in the media. Throughout this module, you'll investigate the place of media within culture and society more generally and be introduced to principle theories, concepts and approaches.
Screen and Sound Media: Culture and Practice
This module introduces you to a range of key academic texts that examine and theorise screen media (film, television, the computer etc.) and sound media (popular music etc.). You'll also produce a group project based on media culture or media practice.
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Introduction to Media Practice and Production
This module provides a foundation in the skills required for effective media project work. It explores the principal elements of creating media content through understanding narrative, still and moving image and sound, and the practical and theoretical relationship between those elements.
Some optional modules may be studied on the City campus.
Culture and Anarchy
This module explores the ways in which the tension between ‘culture’ and ‘anarchy’ has repeatedly surfaced as a driving force in the development of English literature, animating creative expression and shaping critical debate. Taking the broad historical period ranging from the late 19th to the late 20th Century as its backdrop, the module focuses on a number of significant moments at which various understandings of ‘cultural’ and ‘anarchic’ activity have impacted upon the social landscape, and on literary texts themselves.
Media, Theory and Society
Develop your knowledge of theoretical approaches to understanding the media and culture. This module will help you to understand some of the key theoretical approaches that are used in the study of media, communication and culture. You'll develop a familiarity of important theoretical approaches used in contemporary media and for the use of cultural analysis.
Humanities in the workplace
This module will give you a taste of live industry experience. You will carry out a work placement, write a report around your experience and set clear work-based learning objectives.
English optional modules
Shakespeare and Co.: the Early Modern Stage
The module will be structured around four or five thematic clusters of dramatic genre, selected from a range of preoccupations of the period itself and of later critical responses to it. Examples of these include, but are not limited to: Jacobean tragedy, Shakespearean comedy, ‘problem’ comedy, city comedy, and history.
British Women Writers between the Wars (1918-1939)
The years after the First World War saw historic changes affecting the social and economic lives of British women. For the first time women were granted the vote on the same terms as men, and the opening up of professions to women permanently shattered the Victorian ideal of womanhood as the ‘Angel in the House’. Newspapers and magazines of the period were full of images of the ‘modern woman’ who became an emblematic figure for modernity in the interwar years.
This module will explore the ways in which a new generation of professional women writers represented women’s experiences of modernity across a range of literary texts written during the years between 1918 and 1939.
Romantic Revolutions 1780-1851
1780-1851 was a period of political, poetic and social revolution in Britain. By studying poetry and prose of the period, you’ll investigate how far revolutionary social and political change is reflected in the experimental themes and forms of Romantic writing, and the module will be attentive to the development from earlier to later Romantic writing.
During this module, you’ll study and produce writing in different genres, gaining knowledge of craft issues and learning how to apply them to many different forms.
Ethnicity in American Writing: Place, Identity and Form
Racial Identity and ethnic diversity have been central to the American experience since the nation’s founding. In this module you will examine literary interactions between people of different ethnic backgrounds and see how writers use ethnicity as a tool of resistance.
Literature and Psychoanalysis
This module explores the relationship between literature and psychoanalysis, examining the way that psychoanalytic theory has reshaped our encounter with literary texts. Building on your understanding of the relationship between critical thinking and literary production and analysis, the module discusses the development of psychoanalysis from its origins to its application by contemporary literary critics. Reading a range of clinical, theoretical and literary texts, you will think about how different approaches to the human psyche have been understood and employed by different readers and writers in different places and at different times.
Voices and Visions
You'll be introduced to new writing specialisms with a particular focus on visual and vocal communication. Throughout this module you'll practice independent learning strategies and draft original creative work to enhance collaboration, research, editing and reviewing skills. You'll be taught how to combine information, think laterally and develop resonant visual and sonic narratives.
Creating an Anthology: Developing Editorial Vision
In the first unit, a programme of lectures and seminar/workshops, will build on your close-reading and critical skills. In the second unit, you will be taught further theoretical concerns specific to the editing and scholarly presentation of texts. You will be guided in applying the skills and knowledge already learnt as you work in groups constructing a critical anthology of your own, and you will be invited to reflect on the processes involved as you work towards the final versions of the anthologies you have chosen to compile.
Black Writing in Britain
Examine a range of literary texts by black writers written in or about Britain from the 1950s until the present day.
Media optional modules
Analysing Popular Music
Analysing Popular Music has two major concerns: firstly, to develop a social understanding of transatlantic popular music; and secondly, to develop a cultural-historical perspective on its development over the past hundred years and more. This module introduces you to theoretical approaches to the study of popular music, allowing you to engage in independent critical analysis of popular music and popular musical cultures.
This module will encourage you to examine the key critical issues of documentary production such as authenticity and ethics. To prepare you for your dissertation in Year Three, you'll create a 5-10 minute documentary as a group (or individually) and be encouraged to creatively and critically engage with the given styles and genres of documentary.
Researching Media, Communication and Culture
This module introduces the key empirical methods and analytical approaches of Media and Cultural Studies. It enables you to produce original research, and to gain greater understanding of the methods you might use in your Media dissertation. It outlines a range of methods, and shows how these can be applied to particular media and cultural case studies.
Intermediate Media Practice and Production
During this module you'll undertake an in-depth media production project for and with a local external not-for profit, charitable or voluntary organisation. This module will focus on developing your skills in media production and you'll reflect on issues surrounding citizenship and media access.
Some optional modules may be studied on the City campus.
The final year dissertation module enables you to undertake a sustained, single piece of independently researched work on a topic of your choice, under expert supervision.
The Creative Writing Dissertation
As an alternative to the critical dissertation, you may wish to do a creative writing dissertation. This alternative will enable you to study and participate in the practice of writing, with particular focus on the production of a long piece of individual creative work.
Humanities Research Project
Explore your interests in a way that draws on both subject areas. Combine the knowledge and skills you have gained in each of your subjects to complete an interdisciplinary piece of research. You can deliver your project either as a written dissertation or through an alternative creative format such as a publication, film, podcast, website, or performance, supported by a shorter essay.
English optional modules
English and Creative Industries Project
The module will give you the opportunity to undertake project work in a small group, led by a project supervisor, and to produce a portfolio of critical and reflective writing. Working with an employer on a defined project you'll be able to put into practice the skills and knowledge gained over the course of their degree within a professional setting.
Early Modern Poetry and Prose
This module introduces you to authors writing poetry and prose in the 16th and 17th Centuries. You’ll become familiar with some of the following literary genres: the sonnet, the epic poem, the epyllia, ‘metaphysical’ poetry, satire, political allegory and radical writing. The module will greatly expand contextual knowledge, and explore political and religious context, as well as the application of appropriate theoretical approaches (e.g. cultural materialism, gender theory).
Reading Gender and Sexuality
This module examines the politics and aesthetics of gender and sexuality in relation to the writing of 20th-century and contemporary literature. It historicises and submits to sceptical analysis central concepts in the period's conceptualisations of fixed gender identities and sexual identities. Key terms for analysis include femininity, masculinity, androgyny, heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, transgender, ethnicity, and 'difference'. These are related to literary texts from a range of cultures and from four main periods: the early 20th Century, the mid-century, the period of the sexual revolution and the contemporary.
Postcolonial Texts: Narratives of Liberation
This module focuses on postcolonial texts (fiction, poetry and film) and considers the relationship between acts of representation and the politics of anti-colonialism and postcolonialism. It introduces you to the historical, political and cultural contexts of the postcolonial world, as well as to a range of texts produced in postcolonial societies.
Travel Writing: Texts, Contexts and Theory
Led by members of staff from our highly regarded Centre for Travel Writing Studies, this module provides an overview of travel writing. It examines criticism and theories of the genre (including arguments about whether it constitutes a genre at all). You’ll be invited to consider the relationship of travel writing to society and to other forms of literature, both canonical and non-canonical.
Gothic Rebels and Reactionaries
This module will begin by exploring Romanticism’s Gothic impulse, examining the rise of the Gothic Romance in the late 18th Century, before investigating its development into the 19th Century. Each week, the module will consider a key literary text from the period alongside a theoretical issue in order to establish a critical vocabulary from which to interpret and understand Gothic’s many manifestations.
Contemporary Literature, Culture and Theory
This module will be organized into three related thematic sections. The first will explore approaches to literature in contemporary theory, focusing in particular on innovative developments which work at the intersection of criticism and writing. Section two will examine debates about literature, culture, and technology which will include sessions on digital and other technologies, mobile devices, and electronic literature. Section three will consider recent debates about concepts of the world, transnational social processes, and global culture. These concepts and directions in contemporary theory will be approached through work by, among others, Giorgio Agamben, Roland Barthes, Hélène Cixous, Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, Jacques Derrida, N. Katherine Hayles, Julia Kristeva, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Gayatri Spivak. Throughout, it will reflect on fiction, poetry, and other literary writing that engages with this module’s principal concerns.
Modernism and Modernity
This module explores some of the central features of the many transnational movements of modernism, examining how the experimental qualities of modernist culture were conditioned by responses to changes in social and technological modernity.
Nuclear Literature: Culture in the Atomic Age
Introduces students to the literary and cultural impact of a key technology and the latest debates in the Nuclear Humanities. Engaging students with research being undertaken into this subject at NTU, the module considers the representation of nuclear technology and science in literary texts, as well as the questions raised for literature by the dawning of the nuclear age.
Media optional modules
Lifestyle and Consumer Culture
Explore key approaches to understanding lifestyle and the culture of consumption. You'll be introduced to many important theoretical approaches to understand lifestyle and consumer culture and you'll use many case studies such as travel and tourism to evaluate these.
Explore a range of debates within the developing field of policy study which relate to the development of media. You'll examine some of the key institutions within which policies relating to film, television, the visual arts, heritage and other creative industries are determined. You'll explore questions such as what is cultural value and how important are the cultural and creative industries?
The Body and Popular Culture
How is the body represented in popular culture? Examine key ideas such as how we might understand the various meanings surrounding the body across a range of media and cultural forms. By studying a selection of case studies, you'll explore the way that the body is addressed and located within popular culture, for example, from music to sport.
Client-Led Media Practice and Production
During this module you'll be able to focus on the development of skills in media production by completing a media project that will be set to a 'real brief'. This is an opportunity for you to enhance your employability options by participating in live projects with a real purpose. This module will encourage you to make connections between theory and practice.