Component

MA Public Opinion and Political Behaviour
BA Philosophy and History options

Year 2, Component 03

Recommend PY400-5-SP and/or Philosophy option(s) from list or History option(s) from list
CS200-5-AU
Social Entrepreneurs, Sustainability and Community Action
(15 CREDITS)

Did you know that the not-for-profit sector is expanding fast in the UK, and offers meaningful jobs that can contribute to positive social change and ecological sustainability? This module introduces you to this sector and the concept and practice of social entrepreneurship using case studies of initiatives that have helped local communities, disadvantaged people and the environment. It also gives you the opportunity to develop your skills and use your creativity and imagination to design your own project or enterprise.

CS201-5-FY
The World in Question: The Social, Cultural, Political & Environmental Legacies of the Enlightenment
(30 CREDITS)

How have contemporary societies been shaped by the legacies of the Enlightenment, colonialism, and the different phases of capitalism? This interdisciplinary module helps you to critically understand some of the key forces and processes that have shaped the challenges we face in the 20th and 21st century. It is divided into three broad themes; Empire, The Self, and Nature. We’ll be examining processes of ‘othering’ that were intrinsic to colonialism; changing conceptions of the self; as well as both the causes of and potential solutions to the ecological crisis we are confronting today. The module is co-taught by academics from Art History, ISC, LiFTs, Philosophy, Psychoanalytic Studies and Sociology.

HR222-5-SP
Public History Project
(15 CREDITS)

In this work-based learning module, you’ll work as part of a small team to deliver a real public history project that’s been commissioned by an external body, for example, a community group, local history society, charity, museum, archive or company. Outputs could include a small exhibition, website, podcast or pamphlet – but communicating the past can take almost any form! You’ll be able to bid to a dedicated funding pot to produce any materials you need (much like heritage organisations themselves do) and receive academic credit for it. You’ll be supported throughout by staff and have access to representatives of the commissioning organisation, gaining invaluable real-world experience to enhance your academic learning. It’s also really rewarding and enjoyable – a chance to take your interest in history and skills as a historian out of the university and into public spaces.

HR223-5-AU
The History of Ukraine
(15 CREDITS)

This module offers you an overview of the history of Ukraine from the Middle Ages until the Russian invasion of the country in February 2022. The module will trace and discuss these dynamics of Ukrainian history in its relationship to Russia, but also to other European neighbours. It will do so from a scholarly point of view attempting to deconstruct the political and emotional narratives that dominate public discourses.

HR226-5-AU
China: The Long Twentieth Century
(15 CREDITS)

This module is a gateway to introduce you to an interdisciplinary approach to China and Chinese history, and you’ll examine significant and complex issues in its modern history. We examine materials that deal with the historical, political, social, and artistic aspects of famous sites and phenomenon, such as Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall and the Yellow River, in order to understand modern China at its politico-cultural core, in its relations with the outside world, its symbolic function in the new global order, as well as its path to modernisation.

HR251-5-AU
Life in the Three Kingdoms: Societies and cultures in early modern Britain and Ireland
(15 CREDITS)

The early modern British Isles were home to four, or even five, nations, six languages, and peoples with vastly differing cultures. You examine the clashes between these different cultures and their hostile perceptions of each other, the different languages and why some survived whilst others disappeared, the conceptions of honour and status, the different ways of maintaining law and order, and the basic social unit of the early modern British Isles: the family.

HR259-5-SP
The Thirty Years War (1618-1648): A Military, Social and Cultural History
(15 CREDITS)
HR270-5-AU
Sex, War and Class at the Movies: 1930-1960
(15 CREDITS)

You explore the relationship between cinema and society in Britain from the interwar depression, through the Second World War and the onset of affluence and mass-consumerism in the 1950s and 60s, to the rise of Thatcherism and the collapse of the 'post-war settlement'. You examine classes and cultures in relation to the lived history of the period, in order to track what they both reveal and conceal about the historical processes which transformed Britain during the 20th century.

HR282-5-SP
Witch-Trials in Early Modern Europe and New England
(15 CREDITS)

In this module you’ll focus on witchcraft beliefs and witch-hunts (the legal prosecutions of individuals for the crime of witchcraft) in Europe and New England between the 15th and 18th centuries. You examine beliefs about witches, witchcraft, and the powers of the Devil at both elite and popular levels, set in the wider context of the religious/magical world-view of the period.

HR296-5-SP
Between Protection and Control: Policing Europe in the 20th Century
(15 CREDITS)

Policing activities are essential for any state and offer an insight into the relationship between state and society. This module explores police activities between state protection and social control in 20th century-Europe. You’ll examine the relations between the state, the police and the public tracing continuities and differences in policing dictatorships and democracies.

HR306-6-AU
Gender and Sexuality in Post-1945 Britain
(15 CREDITS)
HR306-6-SP
Gender and Sexuality in Post-1945 Britain
(15 CREDITS)
LT269-5-SP
Climate Emergency: Narrating the Environment and Writing the Wild
(15 CREDITS)

This module offers an exploration of the extent of writing on the environment, on landscape and the natural world in a time of increasing awareness of a global climate emergency. A number of primary non-fiction and fiction texts will be selected for discussion in seminars. In addition there will be choice literatures of eco-critical writing and contemporary eco-political works such as the Peoples Manifesto for Wildlife and material by Extinction Rebellion. The course will extol the virtues of the outdoor classroom -- extending learning beyond the seminar walls to explore the nature of Wivenhoe Park and through a field trip. Students will be encouraged to extend their knowledge in multidisciplinary ways to enhance their ability to analyse and write literatures of the environment.

PY400-5-SP
Rationalists and Empiricists
(15 CREDITS)

What is the nature and limits of human knowledge? Does our common-sense view of the world have a philosophical foundation? Does sensory experience provide the only path to knowledge of the world or can we gain knowledge through the exercise of pure reason? What role, if any, does God play in knowledge? What is the relation between the body and the mind? Do we know that the sun will rise tomorrow? Study the philosophical texts of the modern era that helped lay the conceptual foundations for these questions and others. We will begin with a close reading of Descartes' Meditations before exploring both rationalist (Spinoza and Leibniz) and empiricist (Locke and Hume) responses.

PY407-5-AU
Philosophy and Religion
(15 CREDITS)

This module explores the relationship between religion and existentialism. For some key figures, existentialism takes “the death of God"" as its point of departure and never looks back. For these authors, existentialism represents an intrinsically atheistic philosophical outlook. Others, however, argue that the problems of existence that existentialism lays bare can only be overcome by a religious approach to life. We will explore this issue through a close reading of key texts in the tradition, which we will supplement by viewing and discussing two films inspired by the existentialist tradition.

PY408-5-AU
Ethics
(15 CREDITS)

This is a module in ethical theory rather than applied ethics – that is, it takes up theoretical questions about the status and justification of morality rather than addressing directly practical moral problems. The exact focus will vary from year-to-year. This year, we will investigate one of the most influential modern theories of ethics, Kant’s moral philosophy. While you might have had a chance to study some aspects of Kant’s view before, this term will be devoted to a focused critical reading of Kant’s ethical theory. We will investigate Kant’s conception of morality and his attempt to derive morality from his conception of freedom. Our texts will be Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and occasional selections from Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals.

PY429-5-SP
Capitalism and its Critics
(15 CREDITS)

Since the financial crisis of 2008, the social consequences, moral status, and even long-term viability of capitalism have come under renewed scrutiny. Does it foster economic growth and protect individual freedom, as its proponents claim? Or is it a destructive system out of control, as its detractors argue? Should the market be given even freer rein? Or should capitalism be reformed and restricted? Or should it be abolished and replaced altogether? And, if so, what would replace it?

PY430-5-AU
Topics in Analytic Philosophy
(15 CREDITS)

“Analytic Philosophy” is a (sometimes controversial) term commonly used to describe the dominant philosophical tradition in the English-speaking world from the early 20th century to present day. We will explore prominent themes and authors within this tradition. The focus will vary year-on-year; examples include topics from analytic philosophy of mind and metaphysics (the mind-body problem; personal identity; consciousness and “qualia”…) and topics from analytic philosophy of language (what is meaning? How do names and descriptions refer to objects? Does context make a difference to the meaning of what we say, and does what we say shape the context in return?...)

PY431-5-SP
Ancient Philosophy
(15 CREDITS)

Discover Ancient Greek philosophy and read some of the most influential works in the history of Western Philosophy. In this module we focus on Plato and Aristotle, exploring how ethics, political philosophy, epistemology, metaphysics and psychology are all intertwined. The course begins with an overview of philosophy before Socrates and ends with a short exploration of the philosophical schools that flourished in the Roman empire.

PY437-5-SP
Modern Social and Political Thought
(15 CREDITS)

The module will give you a deeper understanding of our intellectual and socio-political history, as well as a more profound perspective on the still active debates stemming from the positions taken by these philosophers – principally, concerning the nature of freedom, power, and democracy, and the role of the state. Questions we will be considering include: What is political authority? Why prefer democracy over other forms of political organisation? What is freedom and is freedom compatible with being a subject of a state? Is inequality an inevitable consequence of society? We will analyse critically the different answers given to these questions by Hobbes, Spinoza and Rousseau, and consider whether their philosophical accounts of the state and society provide us with a useful means of engaging with contemporary social and political issues.

PY456-5-AU
Critical Theory
(15 CREDITS)

This module introduces students to different traditions of “Critical Theory”. Critical Theory, a tradition associated with the Frankfurt School but also embodied by wider radical traditions, aims to reflect critically and holistically on society and the role of the theorist within it in order to tackle oppressions and the ideological forms of thought that underpin them, and thus to contribute to projects of emancipation.

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