Producing Film and Television
This module engages with the narrative histories of film and television, from their origins to the present day, a period involving many significant transitional moments in production histories. The module looks at the coming of sound, the rise and demise of the Hollywood studio system, and the emergence of the network system. It asks what transition means at different historical moments by raising questions such as: What are the industries producing at these moments and why? How are the industries doing this? How are cultural products marketed and distributed? The module introduces historical method and the idea of historiography. It uses specific case examples and materials to examine the kinds of evidence used by film and television historians and the particular forms of knowledge produced.
Consuming Film and Television
This module asks questions surrounding the consumption—viewing and listening, in public and private environments including theatres, homes and more—of film, television and other screen media. It addresses different viewing contexts, including public spaces such as cinemas, private spaces such as homes, and emerging hybrid spaces. It also addresses international variations among viewing environments and experiences, along with censorship and other regulatory practices that relate to media consumption. To understand not only consumption environments but also media users, the module also investigates screen audiences, through historical as well as contemporary cases. Students completing the module gain an understanding of how screen media texts work as components of experiences dependent on consumption environments and on audiences’ attitudes, cultural backgrounds and other activities.
Reading Film and Television
This module introduces students to formal aspects of screen narratives and the language of textual analysis, which will enable you to describe and ‘read’ film and television texts. It also sheds light on the people who work on the production of film/TV texts and some of the key features of their collaboration.
Studying Film and Television
This module supports first-year students as you make the transition into degree-level work. Students gain skills in independent and collaborative learning with the aid of both guided and self-directed learning tasks. The module focus specifically on developing the academic skills required for film and television research.
Canadian Literature, Film and Culture
An introduction to Canadian cultural studies, you’ll examine selected literary, film and visual texts from the twentieth century. Topics studied will include Native culture, the emergence of cultural nationalism, popular culture, and Canada’s relationship to the U.S. You’ll spend around 2 hours per week in lectures and seminars, and 2.5 hours per week in workshops, studying this module.
American History 1: 1607 – 1900
You will be provided with a broad introduction to the history of the United States of America, from its colonial origins to the end of the nineteenth century. You'll spend around 4 hours per week in lectures and seminars studying this module.
American History 2: 1900-Present Day
You’ll examine the history of the United States in the twentieth century, assessing changes and developments in the lives of the American people who have faced the challenges of prosperity, depression, war, liberal reform, political conservatism, minority protests, multicultural awareness, and international power. Around 4 hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars studying this module.
American Literature 1: American Literature to 1900
An introductory survey of major American literature, exploring a wide range of nineteenth-century American writers of fiction and poetry. You will also address questions raised about the nature of the 'canon' raised by recent critics. Around 4 hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars studying this module.
American Literature 2: American Literature 1900-Present Day
A general survey of American Literature from 1900 to the present, you’ll study a selection of American fiction, poetry and drama, with a variety of writers considered. Examples may include: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Gerald Vizenor, Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath, Eugene O'Neill and David Mamet. You’ll spend around 4 hours per week in lectures and seminars for this module.
Typical Year Two Modules
North American Regions
America in the 1960s
You will be introduced to debates surrounding the thought, culture and politics of America in the 1960s by examining the reflection of key issues in intellectual documents, from political speeches to acid-rock music, film documentaries to manifestos. If you study this module you will spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
The CIA and US Foreign Policy, 1945 - 2008
You will examine the role played by the Central Intelligence Agency in the development and implementation of US foreign policy from 1945 to the present, considering its contribution in terms of both intelligence analysis and covert operations, from the Cold War to the war on terror. Around three hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars in this module.
Beyond Chaps and Maps: Themes in American Foreign Policy
In this module, you will consider the way that US foreign policy has been influenced by a range of factors, such as conceptions of empire, race, religion, gender, domestic politics, and the agency of nations beyond the US. You will consider the influence that these factors have had, through broad and specific case studies in a three-hour workshop once per week.
African American Protest Literature
You will examine protest movements from the nineteenth century to the present day, studying, fiction, drama, speeches, pamphlets, autobiographies, photographs and more. From abolitionism to contemporary activism, voices of resistance that pointed the nation towards a better collective future will be considered. You will spend around three hours in seminars and workshops per week, and will also visit exhibitions, protest sites, and guest talks by protest writers and activists.
North American Film Adaptations
You will examine North American short stories and novels and their film adaptations, paying attention to the contexts in which both the literary and the cinematic texts are produced, as well as analysing the texts themselves. You will spend spend around two hours in lectures and seminars, and four hours in film workshops, per week.
The American Pop Century
Beginning with a survey of the development of African American music, you will consider genres such as the minstrel show, blues, jazz, rock and roll, electronic music, and rap. In addition, the popular music industry will be situated in relation to other modern cultural industries such as radio and television. You will spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars for this module.
The Contemporary American Novel
You will be given an understanding of the wide range of ideas, forms and themes examined in the contemporary American novel. Examples of works explored include Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich, and Don DeLillo. If you study this module, you will spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Civil Rights Media Cultures
A range of narrative forms (such as photography, journalism and movies) used to promote civil rights initiatives, or to mobilize massive resistance to the movement, will be analysed. Examples include texts such as Stetson Kennedy’s mock tourist Jim Crow Guide, satirical journalism by P.D. East and William Faulkner, William Bradford Huie’s investigative journalism and films including Mississippi Burning. Around two hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars, along with around three hours per week in workshops.
American Utopianism from the Settlement Narrative to Science Fiction
Beginning with Thomas More’s Utopia (1516), this module will track utopian thought through the Revolutionary period into its most influential incarnations in Henry David Thoreau’s Walden (1854) and Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward: 2000-1887 (1887). Moving into the twentieth century, texts considered may include Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland (1915), George Schuyler’s Black No More (1934), and Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia (1974). You will spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying this module.
Twentieth Century Neo-Slave Narratives
You will examine the survival of slave narratives after the abolition of slavery, by the study of novels based upon the form and/or the material of slave narratives. Authors considered will include: Charles Johnson, Sherley Anne Williams, David Bradley, Toni Morrison and Octavia Butler. You will study topics such as: differences between nineteenth- and twentieth-century slave narratives; issues of the politics of identity; race and representation. You will spend around three hours each week in lectures and seminars for this module.
You will learn about the concepts of ‘transnational’ and ‘postnational’ media, taking into account the movement and interactions of people, finance, technology and ideas around the world. You will develop a foundation of theoretical knowledge to be applied to case studies in global media to assist your understanding of the subject, spending four and a half hours in lectures, seminars and workshops each week.
Understanding Cultural Industries
You will learn how show business is broken down into ‘show’ and ‘business’ in film and television industries and examine how technology and legislation influence those industries. You will also learn about how advertising and market research influence the design and production of media in certain regions and how film and television have changed in different contexts and periods. Around five hours a week will be spent in lectures and seminars.
Film and Television in Social and Cultural Context
During this year-long module you will think about industries, audiences and surrounding debates from a social and cultural viewpoint whilst learning about the ways in which social and cultural meaning is produced by film and television programmes. Alongside this, you will explore the social practices that surround the consumption of media, such as moviegoing and television viewing. Around five hours a week will be spent in workshops and seminars.
Researching Culture, Film and Media
For this year-long core module you will spend two hours a week in lectures and workshops to become familiar with different methods for investigating research topics and determining their suitability for different projects. You will learn the interdisciplinary nature of film, television and media studies and demonstrate this knowledge by choosing your own research project and methods.
Typical Year Three Modules
You will undertake an in-depth study into a chosen subject within American and Canadian Studies and produce a 6,500 word dissertation.
You will explore the United States' experiment with Prohibition during the period 1918 to 1933, with particular focus on crime, disorder and policing. The rise of organized crime will be considered, along with gangsters and G-men, the expanding crime fighting role of the state, the federal crime crusade of the early 1930s and the inglorious end of Prohibition. You will spend around four hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Latino Expressive Cultures
Latino cultural expression will be examined, exploring genres, forms and sites involved in the production and consumption of Latino culture and its positioning within mainstream US society. You will spend around three hours each week in lectures and seminars if you study this module.
Representing the South: Literature, Film and History
You will be introduced to a variety of texts and debates surrounding the construction of the American South in image and idea. Learning to examine and interpret problematic narratives of regional consciousness, you will explore how the South has been shaped by popular cultural representations. Around two hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars, alongside three hours per week in workshops.
Abraham Lincoln: Then and Now
The ideas, intellectual and cultural legacies of the life and presidency of Abraham Lincoln will be considered. You will explore his significance in American thought and culture, and as a global figure, through examining texts such as his speeches, public and private writings, as well as critically analysing the representation of Lincoln in cartoons, cinema, documentary, music, painting and literature. You will spend around two hours in seminars alongside a two hour workshop each week.
Popular Music Cultures and Countercultures
You will examine the role played by American popular music in countercultural movements, focusing on the ways in which subordinate groups have used popular music as a vehicle for self-definition. Considering key issues and moments in American popular music history, you will cover topics such as the folk revival and the 1930s, rock 'n' roll and desegregation in the 1950s, rock music and the 1960s, and postmodernism in the music of the MTV age. Around three hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars studying this module.
African American Photographic Culture
You will explore the politics of representation in African American photography, discussing the relationship of photography to central themes in black culture and creative expression, including confined space, invisibility vs. visibility, heroism, and historical “truth.” You will set photographs in their historical context, discussing slavery, lynching, migration, segregation and poverty. The module consists of around three hours a week in seminars and workshops, as well as visiting exhibitions, public art sites, and guest talks by photographers.
Recent Queer Writing
Focusing on the representation of gender and sexuality, lesbian, gay, transgender and queer writing will be considered through the analysis of selected contemporary texts. Issues for discussion will include: constructions of masculinity and femininity; representations of ‘alternative’ sexuality and lifestyles; the relation of race, ethnicity, class and nationality to issues of gender and sexual identity. Authors studied include: Timothy Findley; Daphne Marlatt; Dionne Brand; Shani Mootoo; Shyam Selvadurai; Tomson Highway; Ivan E Coyote; Dorothy Allison; Leslie Feinberg. If you choose this module you will spend around three hours per week in seminars.
History of the Civil Rights Movement
You will examine a range of documents and scholarly controversies relating to the Civil Rights Movement between 1940 and 1970. Documents considered include public and organizational records, photo- journalism, speeches, memoirs and personal papers. Controversies include those relating to the chronological limits, spatial dynamics, and gender politics of the movement, as well as those relating to the movement’s goals and achievements. You will spend around three hours a week in lectures and seminars if you study this module.
In the Midst of Wars: The United States and South-East Asia, 1940 - 1975
You will consider American attitudes, perceptions and policies toward South East Asia from the Second World War until the end of the Vietnam War. Focus will be on the course of the Vietnam War, the role of different players (beyond the US) and the reasons that the US became involved. You will also consider the wider scope of US policy in Asia during the period and the outlines of the wider Cold War. For this module, you will spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
US Foreign Policy, 1989 - 2009
An introduction to the key institutions, structures and processes that combined to produce American foreign policy in the post-Cold War period. You will analyse the role of the bureaucracy, Congress, public opinion and the media to understand how U.S foreign policy is formulated and conducted. You will spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars if you study this module.
Fictions of America
Exploring a number of works of fiction that engage with the nature of America in a transnational and cultural context, you’ll cover topics including: the consequences of American engagement with the East; the Americanisation of the Holocaust; the Black Atlantic model of the African; American Imperialism and the frontier thesis; the globalisation of the American South. You will spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying this module.
The Civil War and Its Origins
You will consider the collapse of the American Republic in 1861, including events in the decade preceding it and at the course of the war which followed it. You will focus on the origins of the Civil War and the reasons for Union victory, spending around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Film and Television Studies Dissertation
You will carry out a major individual research project based on issues and concepts taught on the course so far. Your work will demonstrate your skill for critical argument and understanding on the topic and will be supported by individual supervision, resources such as film databases, and workshops on research methods throughout the semester.
Film and Television Genres 1
You will be introduced to the key concepts and theoretical work on specific film genres. Each year, the module investigates a particular genre or cycle such as action cinema, television drama, film noir and more. Combined with what you have learnt on previous modules you will look at genre in the context of production and consumption, spending around five hours a week in workshops and seminars.
You will examine a number of films to answer the question ‘what is a blockbuster?’ and explore the phenomenon by learning where the term came from and to what kind of films it has been applied worldwide. The social value of the term will also be considered, and you will discuss the global dynamics of the blockbuster. You will spend six hours a week in workshops and seminars.
Screen Encounters: Audiences and Engagement
Through four hours a week studying in workshops and seminars, you will gain an in-depth understanding of film and television audiences and why they watch media, taking into account the social, political and historical factors that shape audience experiences. You will also explore the role of marketing systems used to engage specific audiences and how this knowledge is applied in industry market research.
Video Production Project
This module combines the historical and theoretical knowledge you have gained with the practical task of video production. You will investigate the ways that production can alter the end product through recording and editing techniques, and experience the many decisions that must be made through the production process. You will spend time in media labs and in the field making a collaborative video production, alongside four hours a week in lectures and seminars.
The New Hollywood
You will learn about key changes in Hollywood since the 1960s and develop critical thinking about the status and meaning of the ‘New Hollywood’ through comparisons with the so-called ‘Old Hollywood’ and ‘New New Hollywood’, attention to audience demographics, and study of evolving cinemagoing practices and cultural representations. You will also consider industry marketing materials and film-review media to further your engagement with the subject, spending around four hours a week in seminars and workshops.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.