Component

MA Public Opinion and Political Behaviour
BA History and Literature options

Final Year, Component 04

History or Literature option(s)
CS316-6-FY
Democracy in Action
(30 CREDITS)

This module will allow third year students to do their final year project in an innovative and interdisciplinary way. The module seeks to give students the possibility to better understand their community, the issues it confronts and how to address them. Through the five step training of Citizens UK (1. Organise 2. Listen 3. Plan 4. Act 5. Negotiate) the students will learn the basics of community building and organising, which they will be able to practice and experience for themselves. Students will learn to build power and negotiate with local government on issues of local concern such as hate crime, transport, mental health and housing.

HR352-6-AU
The Common People: History From Below in Britain 1830-1914
(15 CREDITS)

Britain underwent profound transformations between 1830 and 1950. It became the first indisputably modern, industrial capitalist society in the world. Not only was the environment turned upside down, but the lives and identities of the British people were altered fundamentally. You’ll explore this process in a thematic as well as a chronological manner, and study labour, class, gender, the state, democracy, imperialism, culture, and poverty.

HR366-6-SP
Henry VIII and his reign
(15 CREDITS)

The reign of Henry was a seminal period in English history which saw massive religious and cultural change in England. It was also a period of significant change in the history of Ireland, with the beginning of English attempts to conquer the entire island. Understandably a period of such transformative change is and was the subject of intense debate. Henry VIII, the monarch at the centre of these debates, also remains a figure of considerable significance and complexity in popular culture down to the present day. This module will examine the changes occurred in England and Ireland under Henry. It will also examine the goals of the king and his success or failure in achieving them. It will compare Henry VIII to rival kings and assess his challenges and achievements in comparison to their challenges and achievements. The major event of Henry VIII's reign was the break with Rome and his becoming Supreme Head of the English Church; this module will analyse how and why this happened and the consequences of these events. And it will look at the dark closing years of the reign as Henry VIII plunged his kingdom into debt fighting foreign wars and while rival nobles watched the dying king and schemed for their futures in the reign of his son. The module will conclude by examining the importance of Henry VIII's, especially on English religion and politics and by looking at Henry VIII's role in popular culture throughout the centuries. (Henry VIII is one of the very few monarchs in English history whose picture is recognised by nearly everyone; this module will explain how and why this happened). Henry VIII was many things but he was not dull. Fascinating people interacted with him: Anne Boleyn and Katherine of Aragon, Thomas Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell and Thomas More. The king, his friends and enemies, his achievements and failures have inspired playwrights, novelists and artists for five hundred years. If you take this module you will start to learn why. The readings in this module will consist of both primary and secondary sources for each lecture.

HR374-6-AU
Slavery and Plantation Societies in Latin America
(15 CREDITS)

The majority of the 12 million enslaved Africans deported to the Americas during the 16th to the 19th centuries ended up working on plantations in Brazil and the Caribbean. Sugar, cacao, indigo, tobacco, cotton and coffee were the main commodities produced for the rapidly expanding European markets. Slavery in the Americas contributed to the making of the modern world. You’ll examine the different plantation societies in Brazil, British Jamaica, the French Caribbean, and the Spanish colonies (Venezuela and Cuba).

HR394-6-FY
The United States and the Vietnam War
(30 CREDITS)

Gain an in-depth understanding of the United States' involvement in the Vietnam War and the profound impact this conflict had on American politics and political culture. You’ll examine the history of the war and will focus on the different ways in which the war has been understood. The module encompasses not just international and military, but also cultural, history. Combining these approaches will help you understand the enormous effect that the war has had on American public life.

HR620-6-FY
The Russian Revolution from Lenin to Stalin: 1905-1941
(30 CREDITS)
HR621-6-SP
Stalinism
(15 CREDITS)
HR645-6-AU
From Liberation to the Tiananmen Massacre: China From Mao to Deng Xiaoping, 1949-1992
(15 CREDITS)

The module aims to provide students with a broad historical understanding of the history of the first 50 years of the People’s Republic of China. You will work with a variety of primary and secondary sources in the English language in order to develop specific skills of documentary analysis and historical interpretation. Readings will be complemented with the use of visual image, including film and political posters. You will examine some of the key themes and debates in modern Chinese culture and society as represented by Chinese and Western historians, as well as in contemporary accounts of China, and through these they will establish a critical understanding about the major political, economic and social changes between Mao's China and 1992.

LT320-6-FY
Post-War(s) United States Fiction
(30 CREDITS)

How has the American identity and purpose changed since World War Two? And how is this reflected in literature? Gain answers to these questions via a range of American texts. Analyse these works using a variety of critical approaches, considering social, political and cultural contexts since the Second World War.

LT321-6-SP
Possible Worlds: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, and Alternate History
(15 CREDITS)

Possible Worlds is a module on speculative fiction in its many guises. Encompassing science fiction, apocalyptic fiction, graphic novels, and alternate histories, the literature and cinema of possible worlds is concerned with the precarious routes leading to and from our own present, and is characterised by an acute sense of the volatility and contingency of history. These novels and films typically take as their starting point a hypothetical alteration in the course of events or a change in social or technological dynamics. From there, they extrapolate lines of development leading towards one or more possible worlds. In doing so, they serve to estrange us from the world as we find it and reawaken us to the variability and open-endedness of the human situation. After an introductory session on the history of science fiction, we will go on to look at nine major examples of the literature and cinema of possible worlds, drawing on a diverse group of modern and contemporary writers and filmmakers: from the pioneering work of H. G. Wells at the end of the Victorian period through the work of key twentieth-century figures such as Philip K. Dick and Ursula Le Guin to recent science fiction cinema. Topics and themes addressed on the module include, but are not limited to: time travel, alien encounters, evolution, alternate histories, superheroes, science fiction as philosophy, feminist science fiction, utopias and dystopias, and speculative treatments of race, gender, and sexuality.

LT347-6-FY
American Film Authors
(30 CREDITS)

How powerful is Hollywood? How do directors construct an image of the USA? Examine how directors have created America in the popular imagination. Study Hollywood auteurs (such as Chaplin, Hawks, Hitchcock, Welles and Ford) alongside others (such as Scorsese, Allen and Lee) while covering the breadth of US film history.

LT359-6-AU
Creative Writing: Oulipo and the Avant Garde
(15 CREDITS)

Are you an experienced writer or beginner? Interested in writing stories or poetry? Science fiction or detective fiction? We offer something for all! Explore the theory and practice of creative writing through the unique work of the Oulipo Workshop of Potential Literature, founded by Raymond Queneau in 1960.

LT364-6-AU
Cyborgs, Clones and the Rise of the Robots: Science Fiction
(15 CREDITS)

Science fiction has experimented with speculation about other worlds by means of time travels in time and space and other ways of living and being by crossing boundaries of different kinds including species and the human/machine. Some science fiction has imagined oppressive regimes, hierarchical societies characterised by brutality and enslavement. Other science fiction has used the speculative aspects of the genre to create radically new, imagined transformations of body and society brought about by scientific and technological inventions. This diversity of treatment in science fiction makes it a versatile genre which has appealed to feminist, postcolonial and Afrofuturist as much as to conservative approaches. The module focuses on a specific theme--what it means to be human--by exploring the robot, the cyborg and clone as well as the automaton and the vampire. The fears and desires are intense in the treatment of the human/animal/machine and when associated with reproduction and the figure of the alien in the world of the science fiction novel.

LT372-6-SP
Shakespeare: The Tragedies
(15 CREDITS)

To what degree are Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth and Othello tragedies? How useful is this term in understanding them? Undertake a close reading of Shakespeare’s four great tragedies. Critically discuss recent issues about each, in groups and in your own work. Gain an understanding of their enduring and/or present significance.

LT380-6-SP
"There is a Continent Outside My Window" : United States and Caribbean Literatures in Dialogue
(15 CREDITS)

How do US writers imagine and represent the Caribbean? And vice versa? Deepen knowledge of American literature by examining poetic, fictional, nonfictional and dramatic works in a broader context. Investigate contemporary issues like the American Dream, what it means to be from the Americas, migration, and the question of language.

LT381-6-FY
Reading, Writing and Doing Poetry
(30 CREDITS)

How do you write poetry? Be introduced to the practice of writing poetry. Examine seven distinct formal elements of verse alongside the best examples from canonical poetry in the English language. Build your own skills, as well as an appreciation of the history, variety and power of poetry.

LT385-6-AU
The Story and Myth of the West
(15 CREDITS)

Investigate the myths surrounding the founding of the United States. Crossing disciplines of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and cinematic and theatrical texts, you compare the classic Western against a range of counter-narratives from black, Hispanic, latino, and aboriginal storytellers. This module interrogates the concept of a 'national literature', explores the relationship between folklore and contemporary society, and investigates the relationship between the Western as a narrative form, and the history of colonialism in the U.S.A.

LT394-6-SP
Law and Literature
(15 CREDITS)

This module will examine the interrelationship between law and literature from a variety of perspectives. The module reflects research interests of staff in the Law School and Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies. There is increasing academic interest in interdisciplinary study in law, and there is an established body of scholarship examining the relationship between law and literature from a variety of perspectives. The perspectives examined in the module will include, but not be confined to, the representation of law in literature, legal texts as literature and how techniques of literary interpretation can inform the study and understanding of law. The module will also present the opportunity for students to examine the nature of interdisciplinary work, exemplified by the study of law and literature.

LT397-6-SP
Extinction: Looking back at the End of the World
(15 CREDITS)

How have writers, filmmakers, and artists imagined ecological disaster and the end of the world? What are our images of lost worlds and our stories of extinction, including our own as a species? In what ways have representations of apocalypse changed over the last 200 years? The module starts with fossil finds of extinct animals and severe weather in the nineteenth century, both of which led to a sense of impending doom, before addressing twentieth-century concerns about human fertility, pandemics, machine takeover, and environmental pollution. In our own age, biodiversity loss and reports of climate change make extinction an issue more pressing than ever before, leading scientists to suggest that ours is the Anthropocene – the sixth age of mass extinction and the first geological epoch for which homo sapiens is responsible. By exploring how natural and man-made disasters have variously been conceptualised in fiction, poetry, painting, photography and film, and across disciplinary boundaries from geology to philosophy to cultural studies, this module addresses some of our deepest fears about the future of the planet and about ourselves as a species, including our complex relations to non-humans and non-living materials.

LT399-6-AU
Video Game Theory
(15 CREDITS)

This module aims to consider the significance, history, culture and impact of video games. It fosters critical thinking by inviting students to consider issues central to the historical, theoretical and aesthetical dimensions of computer games and computer game theory. In this digital age of Web 2.0 gaming and interactive media is ubiquitous and consistently redefines our relationship to games and other external players. Gaming is constantly evolving, and as new consoles emerge other platforms and experiences of gaming become obsolete. How do we keep up with this constant change and where does this leave older games and players? Why is gaming and rule-based environments significant to culture? – chess for example dates back to the 15th century and is still widely enjoyed today, reformed in gaming apps bringing together global players to a rule-based environment played out on a screen. This module explores different historical and contemporary ideas of gaming from debates about interactive fiction and storytelling to phenomenological ideas of the game’s controller and avatar and how they extend players into virtual spaces. It will consider a range of topics including: gender, ethnicity, violence, capital, contemporary art, while turning a critical eye inwards to discussions on ludology, immersion, procedural rhetoric, cyber-individualism, embodiment, avatars and ludonarrative dissonance. Through a close consideration of video game theory, students will reflect on how gaming has evolved to become an even larger industry than that of film.

LT406-6-AU
Women and US Film
(15 CREDITS)

This module aims to explore critical issues pertaining to women and US film from the mid-20th century to the present day. The course will look at questions surrounding women's production and women's representation across US film, and interrogate the links between the two. Students will be introduced to key issues in feminism, feminist film theory and women's filmmaking to consider how various forms of cinema, from mainstream Hollywood films to independent productions and art cinema, explore these issues. Students will engage with a range of conceptual and theoretical frameworks from foundational arguments in feminist film theory (such as issues surrounding the male gaze and auteur theory) to the most pressing questions relating to women and film today, such as intersectionality, #MeToo, and the value of women`s creative work.

LT409-6-SP
Film Festivals
(15 CREDITS)

Film festivals have traditionally been global phenomena and played a pivotal role in the film industry ecosystem. In the 21st century, and due to the rise of digital technologies and telecommunications, festivals have become even more important to numerous independent filmmakers who seek routes of distribution (and self-distribution) of their films. The module offers a historical and contemporary examination of the multifaceted role of film festivals in validating, exhibiting and distributing as well as in the process of canonisation of film. While it explores established A-list festivals (such as Cannes, Venice, BFI LFF, Locarno), it also looks at ‘smaller’, niche festivals (such as London Asian Film Festival, and London Migration Film Festival) whose number and impact have increased over the years. Through a dynamic combination of lectures, seminars, presentations, group projects, masterclasses, field trips and the organisation of a one-day film festival at the Colchester campus, the module will equip students with advanced knowledge of the key roles involved in producing film festivals (directors, curators, juries, audiences, filmmakers). Students who are filmmakers will also gain an understanding of the necessary steps that need to be followed before they get their films screened at festivals as well as of the ways they may capitalise on such opportunities to progress their careers within the film industry.

LT969-6-AU
Media, Politics and Society
(15 CREDITS)

This module is intended to provide you with a broad understanding the main theoretical frameworks of media and journalism to develop their critical appraisal of the interconnected communication world of today. This module is intended to provide you with a broad understanding the main theoretical frameworks of media and journalism to develop their critical appraisal of the interconnected communication world of today. It is aimed primarily at students looking to develop a research career in journalism or media studies as well as those students looking to acquire a critical approach to journalistic practice. It will also be interesting to students of Government and Sociology who are interested in understanding the big debates around the media and the relationships with politics and society. Each week a current event will be discussed in the seminar as well. The module will equip students with the knowledge, theoretical frameworks, and critical tools to unpack the complexities of contemporary networked newsrooms. It will provide the conceptual framework required to analyze and comprehend our interconnected communication sphere. The module will be open to students from LIFTS who want to critically reflect on the professional practice and to students from Government and Sociology who would be eager to acquire analytical tools that would support their interdisciplinary research.

PA334-6-AU
Childhood Inc.: Disney and the Globalization of Childhood
(15 CREDITS)

How does diversity impact children? How is childhood constructed differently based on differences in race, gender, class, sexuality, nationality, religion, or disability? How do children themselves navigate the larger inequalities of society and eventually internalize an understanding of their own diverse identities? This module emphasizes the importance of diversity and identity for understanding childhood and offers a critical introduction to some of the main identity categories that impact children's everyday lives. Taking a topical, week-by-week approach, this module considers, for instance, how children navigate racial identities in a landscape of social inequality and how gender differently affects children's development of relational qualities like confidence and caring.

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