Component

MA Public Opinion and Political Behaviour
MA Philosophy options

Year 1, Component 04

Option from list
AR915-7-AU
Collecting Art From Latin America
(20 CREDITS)

Get valuable real-life experience of the unique holdings at Essex Collection of Art from Latin America’s (ESCALA). As well as discussing and analysing artworks from the collection, take on the exciting challenge of proposing a new acquisition for ESCALA. Whilst the task is hypothetical, if the committee decides to pursue the acquisition, you could be credited for your contribution.

AR937-7-AU
Art and Politics
(20 CREDITS)

Can the rise of Donald Trump and the emboldening of the new right across the West be read partly as the result of a collective failure of cultural production? Despite the forces of institutional fine art mobilising against Trump and the ideologies which brought him to power, the constituencies whom he claims to represent remain solidly unmoved. In the face of these failures, what is the role of political art? How can contemporary political artists respond to politics today? And indeed, we must ask: is political art ever effective in driving social change?

AR938-7-SP
Topics in Art History
(20 CREDITS)

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) is known as both the most important sculptor of the nineteenth century and the first modern sculptor. This module will examine his work in detail in order not only to gain an understanding of the oeuvre of this prolific artist but also to consider some of the general issues that pervade the study of sculpture. Even though Rodin is one of the most well-known artists in the world today, we will de-familiarise his work in order to see what lessons it might teach us about the history of art.

AR941-7-AU
Critique and Curating
(20 CREDITS)

Want to do more than hang pretty pictures on a pleasantly coloured wall? Then take this module to learn how curators and designers from the 1920s onward have turned exhibition spaces into site of social and political critique -- a practice now often subsumed under the concept of ‘critical curating’. Organised chronologically, the module gives you the chance to hone your understanding of the complex relationship between critique and curating, generally by situating major exhibitions and paradigmatic curatorial concept in relation to key texts of critical theory.

AR942-7-SP
Museum Activism: Art, Politics, Cultural Work and Policy
(20 CREDITS)

What is the relationship between activist art and art galleries? Is the museum really a public sphere, or even a progressive cultural space? How is this space shaped by policy, the market, protest? How much power do curators have to shape culture? Is everyone with an Instagram account a curator now? Each week we will study the changing role of museums and galleries in the twentieth century at the macro- and micro-level: by placing critical theories of the ‘public sphere’ alongside key historical cultural policy documents and case studies of both exhibitions and particular display rhetorics used by exhibitions, from taxidermy to projection-mapping. We will also take a broad view on curatorial work and its social context. We will ask: What is curatorial labour?; how has it changed?; did it exist before or outside of the specific workplace of the museum?; and how has it shaped the museum and society? What is the role and responsibility of a curator today? We will explore how these changing spaces and forms of work, inside and outside the museum, are able to direct, shape or contribute to political and social issues.

AR959-7-SP
Heritage and Human Rights
(20 CREDITS)

This module will explore how conflicts over 'heritage' rights are, today more than ever, influencing critical debates over the definition of world, national, and local heritage, as well as universal, community, and individual rights. It will also examine the impact that tensions between communities and universal versus local values have on the management of heritage, and how these tensions might be resolved to allow sustainable growth. We will ask: What is heritage? Who defines it? Who should control its management and preservation? How is the notion of 'heritage' used to unite or otherwise divide communities? What are some of the consequences of the ways different groups appropriate and utilise heritage? Is there a universal right to free access, expression, and preservation of heritage, and if so, how is it expressed? What are the impacts of globalisation on heritage issues?

CS315-7-AU
Global Challenges in Interdisciplinary Perspective: Water Conflicts, Water Cultures
(20 CREDITS)

Access to water is one of the most urgent global challenges facing us today. Vital for health and well-being, as well as integral to indigenous cultures and industrial processes, water is a threatened commons and contested commodity. In this module, we will explore global and local case studies that highlight challenges of scarcity, contamination, privatization, and climate change, and the cultural importance of bodies of water for diverse communities. We will examine water-related problems, such as economic and urban development, grassroots activism, political conflict, community relations, heritage and public health.

GV591-7-AU
Comparative Environmental Politics
(15 CREDITS)

Study one of the most important contemporary aspects of political action: the natural environment. You consider the state of the environment and possible paths along which it might change, before exploring environmental policies from the level of individual values to the environmental movement to political parties, and finally to the level of international affairs.

GV591-7-FY
Environmental Politics
(30 CREDITS)

Study one of the most important contemporary aspects of political action: the natural environment. You consider the state of the environment and possible paths along which it might change, before exploring environmental policies from the level of individual values to the environmental movement to political parties, and finally to the level of international affairs.

GV591-7-SP
International Environmental Politics
(15 CREDITS)

Study one of the most important contemporary aspects of political action: the natural environment. You consider the state of the environment and possible paths along which it might change, before exploring environmental policies from the level of individual values to the environmental movement to political parties, and finally to the level of international affairs.

GV902-7-FY
Theories of International Relations
(30 CREDITS)

This module provides you with a graduate-level introduction to both foundational and contemporary international relations research. The emphasis will be on evaluating arguments, understanding the development of the field, and identifying unresolved questions.

GV907-7-FY
Political Economy
(30 CREDITS)

The course bridges together topics in international relations, comparative political economy, and economics. The goals of the course are to (a) introduce students to contemporary scholarly research on political economy topics, (b) introduce students to strategic models in political science using substantive applications, and (c) stimulate students to form original ideas for promising quantitative research projects in the area of contemporary political economy.

GV908-7-FY
Political Theory
(30 CREDITS)

This module introduces historical and contemporary traditions within political theory, and applies these theories to pressing policy debates.

GV958-7-FY
Theory and Explanation in Political Science
(30 CREDITS)

This module outlines a series of topical issues in political science research. Using a positivist paradigm the module explores a variety of methodological approaches to answer substantive questions. This module seeks to provide students with an overview of how political scientists study the social world and the types of questions they ask. You will learn become familiar with current research in the discipline and learn how to synthesise and extrapolate core concepts from it.

GV988-7-FY
Ideology and Political Discourse
(30 CREDITS)

This module introduces the fundamental concepts and logics of poststructuralist discourse theory, including discussions of post-Marxism, deconstruction, structural linguistics, Foucauldian discourse analysis, and psychoanalytic theory. Students are invited to engage with contemporary debates in critical political theory, focusing on the emergence and character of core political ideologies, such as neoliberalism, populism, nationalism and socialism, as well as the interpretation, explanation and evaluation of key events and developments, such as the different ideological responses to the global financial crisis, the construction of new political identities, the role of social movements, and the ecological crisis.

LT904-7-AU
The New Nature Writing
(20 CREDITS)

On this module, you approach writing about the natural world through a series of three-week units on subjects such as trees, marshes, coasts, and birds. Each unit will begin with a focus on the local – the wild east of Essex and Suffolk – before moving outwards to larger perspectives. Several of the units will involve field trips led by the writers being studied, which will include such figures as Richard Mabey and Robert Macfarlane.

LW907-7-AU
The Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in International Law
(15 CREDITS)

What protection does international law offer refugees and internally displaced persons? Examine legal definitions of refugee status. Understand the guarantees provided for such groups by international human rights law. Evaluate the limitations of such laws by states in Europe and North America.

LW915-7-AU
Human Rights, Development and the Environment
(15 CREDITS)

What does right to development mean? How does it relate to human rights treaties? What is a human rights-based approach to development? Study international human rights law, exploring theoretical and practical implications of linking human rights and development. Analyse specific human rights themes. Evaluate the role of governments and organisations.

LW917-7-AU
Trade, Investment, Environment, and Human Rights
(15 CREDITS)

What are the global standards set by the GATT/World Trade Organisation? And by World Bank policies? Examine relationships between human rights, international trade and foreign investment. Study legal issues, plus ethical, political and economic arguments on current topics. Evaluate cases to see the practical effect of linking trade and rights.

LW918-7-AU
Human Rights and Women
(15 CREDITS)

You’ll receive an introduction to the protection and promotion of women’s and girls’ human rights under international law. Your focus will be on the universal human rights mechanisms, with some analysis of regional human rights mechanisms, especially relating to violence against women. You’ll consider sexual and reproductive rights, economic, social and cultural rights, administration of justice, women’s rights in conflict and post-conflict, and violence against women. You’ll also look at the persistence of gender stereotyping, theories of equality and discrimination, and the efforts of human rights defenders.

LW927-7-SP
Transitional Justice
(15 CREDITS)

Broadly speaking transitional justice refers to the belief that any State where mass atrocities have taken place should engage with a set of judicial and non-judicial processes in order to achieve a successful transition from conflict to peace or repression to democracy. You’ll receive an overview of the history, theory, legal background and dilemmas of transitional justice, followed by in-depth discussions of the four pillars of transitional justice – truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence, and of their interrelatedness.

PA901-7-FY
Psychoanalytic Theory
(30 CREDITS)

In this module we will explore the main theoretical developments since Freud, with emphasis on the British school. Amongst the authors studied you will find: Sandor Ferenczi, Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, Wilfred Bion, Donald Winnicott, John Bowlby, Michael Balint, Jacques Lacan, and Heinz Kohut. The aim of the module is to understand the developments while comparing different analytic and psychoanalytic schools.

PA928-7-AU
Psychoanalytic Epistemology
(15 CREDITS)

Psychoanalysis is an intrinsically interdisciplinary field. This module aims to debate the nature of our discipline. After an initial analysis of Freud’s methodology for theory construction, we will analyse different arguments and criticisms made by both psychoanalytic and non-psychoanalytic scholars as to what type of discipline psychoanalysis is and what sort of methodologies it should utilise to gather and validate its theories.

PA941-7-AU
Reading Freud
(15 CREDITS)

Much of the clinical and theoretical work you will study in the MA derives from, reworks, or reacts to Freud’s writing. This module is designed to introduce you to Freud’s thinking, looking at a variety of his texts; some classics you may have encountered before, and some that are likely to be new to you. Topics will include the theory of dreams; infantile sexuality; Freud's first and second 'topography of psychical systems; narcissism and the internalisation of the object in mourning.

PA976-7-SP
Psychoanalysis: Controversies and Contexts
(15 CREDITS)

This module explores intellectual, cultural, social and interdisciplinary contexts of the development of psychoanalysis and its theoretical and clinical ideas. The aim is firstly to provide a better understanding of how certain concepts and issues arose in a particular historical and cultural climate, and secondly to foster a critical approach to the history and theory of psychoanalysis.

PY500-7-AU
Kant's Revolution in Philosophy
(20 CREDITS)

Kant's Critique of Pure Reason initiates a new 'critical' method in philosophy which has been highly influential in both continental and analytic philosophy. His critical method establishes a new way of thinking about the relation in which we stand to the world, and the role played by knowledge and judgement within that world.

PY911-7-AU
Environmental Philosophy
(20 CREDITS)

This module introduces students to key debates within environmental ethics, looking at the history of environmental ethics as well as at contemporary debates within animal ethics, environmental injustice and racism, environmental activism, the rights of future generations and apocalyptic ethics. Throughout the course, we will actively engage with recent news stories and developments in environmental science, finding and discussing the ethical dilemmas these give rise to. We will consider the strengths and weaknesses of applying traditional ethical frameworks like deontology, virtue ethics and utilitarianism to these problems, and look at more recent attempts at attributing value and agency to our non-human environment.

PY948-7-SP
Contemporary Critical Theory
(20 CREDITS)

What is ‘critical theory’? At one level, it is a tradition that can be traced back to ‘Frankfurt School’ thinkers such as Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer. But the term has also come to be used more broadly, to encompass independent traditions of thought such as (certain strands within) feminism, anti-racism, post-colonialism and queer theory. This course aims to give a ‘critical’ introduction to critical theory, paying attention both to some of its canonical thinkers as well as to wider currents of radical thought and politics.

PY949-7-SP
Phenomenology and Existentialism
(20 CREDITS)

This module focuses on works of the phenomenological movement, both as a historical tradition (Brentano, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, Lögstrup, etc.) and as an ongoing area of philosophical and multi-disciplinary research. The specific focus varies from year to year. In some years the focus may be a major text from the tradition (e.g., Being and Time, The Phenomenology of Perception; Being and Nothingness); in other instances the focus may be thematic (intentionality, temporality, alterity, death …), drawing on works from a variety of sources. In Academic Year 2022-23, the module will combine an advanced introduction to the phenomenological tradition (with particular focus on Husserl’s contributions in inaugurating the movement), followed by an intensive study of the phenomenology of time and space. We will undertake a close study of Husserl’s Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness (a work which draws heavily on Brentano and was prepared for publication by Heidegger); we will examine Heidegger’s account of existential temporality and existential spatiality; and we will consider recent empirical work that uses phenomenological methods to shed light on pathological disturbances of temporal and spatial experience.

PY950-7-SP
Topics in Contemporary Philosophy
(20 CREDITS)

You undertake the in-depth study of a given topic in Contemporary Philosophy which allows you to benefit from the research-led, cutting-edge discussion of important themes and authors, taught by an expert in the field. The topic varies year-on-year. Examples include “The Politics of Language Use”, “Consciousness and Subjectivity”, 'Transcendence and Metaphysics', 'Medio-Passivity and Agency', 'Perception and Reflection', or Kant's Critique of Judgement., but you can expect to address a theme such as “the politics of language use”, “meaning in context”, “consciousness and subjectivity”, “self-knowledge” or “personal identity”.

PY951-7-AU
MA Writing Workshop
(0 CREDITS)

This module provides intensive training in postgraduate-level writing and research. The Workshop is primarily designed for MA philosophy students. First-year PhD students can request permission from the Course Instructor to attend classes. Please note that while this module delivers very effective training, it is also very demanding, both in time and effort. The module is non-credit bearing so that students have the freedom to experiment and learn from their mistakes without penalty: marks are for formative purposes only. For each of the first six weeks, students write a circa 1500 words essay based on a reading assignment and present their work in class. They are also required each week to read and provide peer feedback on the work of the students in their tutorial group. Students and instructor meet weekly to discuss both the philosophical issues and the micro-skills of writing. In addition, participants meet with their instructor every week for small group tutorial sessions to get peer-feedback on their submissions and discuss the instructor’s feedback. During the last three weeks there is no essay writing nor tutorials: participants work on grant application writing, in particular CHASE applications for those who want to be considered for a CHASE scholarship. If time allows, the instructor presents a piece of work in progress. Each year a different topic is chosen for the workshop.

PY952-7-AU
The Frankfurt School
(20 CREDITS)

Discover what is probably the most influential and significant tradition of critical social philosophy to have emerged within twentieth-century European philosophy: The Frankfurt School. The module takes either the form of concentrating on some of the leading figures (such as Adorno and Horkheimer, or Habermas, or Honneth), or focusing on specific themes such as alienation, reification, social pathology, progress, capitalism or social freedom. The exact focus will vary from year to year.

PY954-7-SP
Philosophy and Aesthetics
(20 CREDITS)

This module is dedicated to the theoretical reflection on aesthetic practices and objects and their history (from artworks to the aesthetic strategies of protest movements). We will also consider what is distinctive about relating aesthetically to one's life, social world, or art. The module examines why aesthetic practices and experiences play such a central role in continental thought from Kant and Hegel to Adorno and Rancière. This Autumn term, among the questions to be discussed will be the following: What is modern aesthetics? How to conceive of the relationship between art/aesthetics and politics? How can one tell apart progressive/emancipatory aesthetic-political strategies from regressive ones (such as Nazi and Stalinist aesthetics)? What are the aesthetic-political strategies deployed by political activists and how do they work? In what sense can aesthetic practices and experiences (and the theoretical reflection on them) be critical? Are aesthetic practices part and parcel of freedom? What is the role and place of aesthetics in democratic life?

SC519-7-AU
Advertising: Commerce and Creativity
(20 CREDITS)

How has advertising tried to understand the consumer? What challenges are posed by international advertising? Or by the arrival of new media and alternative delivery systems? Explore the history of advertising in Britain and North America, then learn how to analyse and theorise about advertising and the wider creative industries.

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