This is a combined honours course, which means that you will study three subjects, equally weighted in the degree.
There are three combinations to choose from and there also a number of choices for language study.
You may study one or two languages on this degree. Only one language may be studied from beginners’ level. Language options are French, German, Portuguese, Spanish or Russian, which are available at post-A level or beginners’ level, and Dutch, Serbian/Croatian, Slovene, which are available at beginners’ level.
No matter what your chosen combination of subjects, from the second year onwards you will choose optional modules in all three subjects, alongside your core language module(s).
Introduction to French and Francophone Studies
This module will provide an introduction to the range of topics and study skills students will need and further develop in the course of their degree study of French and Francophone Studies. It will cover the main fields of the discipline, including linguistics, politics, history, thought, French and Francophone literature, media, visual culture and cinema.
Nation, Myth, Identity: Introduction to Russian and Slavonic Studies (core)
This module introduces students to important areas and topics in Russian and Slavonic studies, examining important aspects of the histories and cultures of the region, as well as aspects of the languages, cultures and literary traditions. You will learn to analyse a wide range of cultural phenomena, including pictures, music, film, literary texts and other kinds of written sources.
Introduction to German Studies
This is the core module for first year students of German. We look at the history of German and introduce you to the linguistic study of the language, and at a range of themes and styles in German literature linked to key areas of German and Austrian culture, such as gender relations, migration, and race. Further topics address the study of German film, and German history with a focus on recent history since German reunification in 1990. The module gives students insight into the different areas we teach and also the skills to explore these areas in more depth in subsequent modules.
Introduction to Lusophone Societies and Cultures
The Portuguese speaking-world is made up of people on four different continents; Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, and there are eight countries in which Portuguese remains the official language. The spread of the language is a representation of the reach of the Portuguese Empire at its height as well as a reflection of the legacy of Lusophone cultures. This module provides students with the opportunity to learn about the diversity of cultural practices and social relations in the different parts of the world where Portuguese is spoken. The module covers the major social and cultural practices from modern Lusophone societies, including aspects of popular culture such as football and soap operas, but also cultural and artistic currents in literature and film. Questions of social relations and identity are also examined through a consideration of religious practice and religious expression, as well as themes of conflict, crisis and revolution through formations of political identity and political mobilisation.
The Clash of Empires: Introduction to Balkan Cultural Identities
This module introduces you to the cultural history of South Slavs and the legacy of great empires such as the Ottomans, and the Habsburgs on the Balkan peninsula. By focusing on the visual cultures of the three key religious traditions – Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Islamic – the module explores the common features and differences in alphabet, architecture, sculpture and painting across the region. You will learn how living under empires informed the self-understanding of Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks and other South Slav nations.
Introduction to Literature in Spanish
This is a core module, designed as a foundation for all other literary modules, in which students will read a series of key texts from the Peninsula and Spanish America. Its purpose is to impart an essential body of literary-historical and cultural knowledge relating to the main periods, genres and conventions of literature in Spanish from the Middle Ages to the modern period.
This module concentrates upon student conceptions of the subject and their strategies as learners, in order to enable them more effectively to monitor and develop their skills and understanding.
Roads to Modernity: An Introduction to Modern History 1789-1945
In the first semester, the module provides a chronology of modern history from c.1789–1945 which concentrates principally on key political developments in European and global history such as the French Revolution, the expansion of the European empires and the two World Wars. The second semester will look more broadly at economic, social and cultural issues, such as industrialisation, urbanisation, changing artistic forms and ideological transformations in order to consider the nature of modernity. You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.
Understanding Global Politics
This module introduced global politics through the major theoretical, historical and empirical ways of seeing international relations. Different claims about, for example, human nature, power, war, peace, the state, society, law and politics are offered by thinkers who exercise a major influence on our contemporary understanding. These claims contribute to different approaches to politics in a global context.
Political Theory from Ancient to Modern
This module introduces students to the ideas of some of the canonical thinkers in the history of political thought, such as Aristotle, Plato, Machiavelli, and Hobbes. The module considers the impact of these thinkers on modern political thought and practice, with reference to key political ideas and historical developments (such as liberty and equality, and the Enlightenment).
Contemporary France & Globalisation
This module looks at contemporary French society in the context of an increasingly globalised culture and economy. The module analyses recent attempts to defend, redefine and adapt key aspects of French economic and cultural life in order to negotiate ways of living in an era of globalisation. The material in the module focuses on key debates around globalisation: the national and the ‘local’ versus the global; constructions of Frenchness in opposition to America; the decline of rural France; the contemporary redefinition and possible continued significance of established French values and cultural practices; and the problems associated with maintaining a distinctively French social model in the face of globalisation.
Francophone Africa: Exploring Contemporary Issues through Culture
Through literature, film and popular culture, you’ll explore a range of political and social issues relevant to contemporary sub-Saharan Francophone Africa. Spending around 2 hours a week in lectures and seminars, you’ll be given an overview of the history of the French language in Africa and introduced to the range of varieties of French spoken there today.
From Runes to ROFL: Language Change in the Germanic Languages
This module will introduce students to the history of the Germanic languages, from the earliest linguistic evidence up to the present day. We will investigate the major sound changes that distinguish Dutch, German and other Germanic languages like English from the rest of the Indo-European language family, which includes French, Greek, and many other European languages, as well as Sanskrit. You'll look at the process by which Dutch and German went their separate ways , ultimately emerging as two standardised languages in the 17th century. You'll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Reason and its Rivals from Kant to Freud
The module discusses a selection of theoretical approaches to modernity, beginning with Kant's assertion of individual reason as the founding stone of enlightened social organisation, and interrogations of that position in the work of Marx and Engels, Nietzsche and Freud. It will discuss historical views on such issues as the nature of the individual subject, different assessments of the social, political or moral contract, and views as to the role and fate of culture in that social organisation, as well as competing ideas of the status of reality as based in social or material conditions or the product of the will, drives, or ideology.
History of Yugoslavia and Successor States since 1941
The aim of this module is to examine developments in the political, social and diplomatic history of Yugoslavia after 1941 leading towards an understanding of the reasons behind the collapse of the country and subsequent violence in the 1990s. You'll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
Screening Russia: Film and Society from the Tsars to Putin
In this module you will acquire an in-depth understanding of developments in Russian society and culture as reflected in popular and influential films from the period 1900 to 2010. You’ll examine how films are constructed technically and develop skills in analysing cinema in its historical and social contexts. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Metropolis and Empire: Spain, Portugal and the Americas 1492-1898
This module examines the evolution of Spain, Portugal and their American colonies in the four centuries of Iberian colonialism between 1492 and the movements for independence in Latin America in the 19th century.
Nations and Nation Building in the Lusophone World
This module is designed to give students of Portuguese an introduction to some of the major texts of the Portuguese-speaking world. The commonality of languages derives from the colonial experiences of the Portuguese Empire, which resonate through the cultures from the sixteenth century to the twentieth century. The module will examine the ways in which ideas of nationhood and national identity have been expressed and constructed through the cultures of the Lusophone world.
Race, Rights and Propaganda: The Superpowers, the Cold War, and the Politics of Racial Identity, 1945-89
The Cold War was a conflict defined as much by intellectual and cultural struggle as by conventional military means, diplomacy, or realpolitik. Conceptions of race and identity were by no means immune from this, but heavily disputed and contested in the political environment of the Cold War. This module examines how the two superpowers dealt with issues of race and identity during the Cold War years, confronting questions and challenges from both within their own borders (and each other’s) and in several theatres of superpower conflict – including the Middle East, East Asia and post-colonial Africa. You’ll spend four hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Cultural Histories of Urban Modernity, 1840-1900
The module introduces students to study of how urban modernity transformed everyday life in British and European cities (covering the period 1840-1900). It focuses on a range of new spaces, objects, images and discursive representations through which people tried to come to terms with rapid processes of social change. Topics addressed may include railway travel, the bourgeois home, photography, slum literature and museum culture.
Civilization and Barbarism
You’ll explore some of the major themes of international relations using a variety of different sources including novels, essays, manifestos, treatise and film. Power and Order is the underlying theme linking together areas such as imperialism, emancipation, human rights, terrorism and torture among others. The interconnectivity between all of these areas and the sources will help you appreciate texts from the breadth of your studies. There will be 3 hours a week of seminars and lectures for this module.
Comparative European Politics
This module aims to provide students with a systematic introduction to current debates in the comparative analysis of European politics. The module adopts a thematic approach and focuses on both traditional fields of comparative enquiry, such as the study of party systems and representation, elections and voting behaviour, party competition and government formation, executive-legislative relations, as well as emerging fields of interest, such as political participation, extreme right politics, immigration, political corruption and the political and social challenges of globalisation and European integration. The diverse experiences of liberal democracy in European countries and the political and social changes that they have undergone are discussed thematically in the seminars. In the seminars, a country-expert system is used whereby students are assigned a particular country to cover. The module covers both long-established democracies in Western Europe and newer democracies in Central and Eastern Europe.
The Everyday in Contemporary Literature and Thought
From the 1930s onwards the French sociologist Henri Lefebvre argued that theorists who wanted to understand the political and ideological dimensions of life had neglected the sphere of the everyday. The module looks at the various ways in which the novel has evolved and adapted to “the contemporary” by responding to the “everyday”. Giving an overview of the various approaches to the everyday in the contemporary novel from the 60s to the present, this module will explore how key authors negotiate, through their writing, the everyday’s indeterminacy and the unstable space it occupies between the social and the individual. You will spend 2 hours a week in lectures and seminars on this module.
Citizenship, Ethnicity and National Identity in Post-War France
You’ll examine the range of social, political and philosophical questions raised by mass immigration to France in the post-war period. These questions will be tackled through historical analysis of patterns of migration and changing immigration policies, as well as through the study of relevant films, novels and theoretical texts. You’ll spend 2 hours each week in lectures and seminars studying this module.
Mythology in German Literature
Literature uses ancient mythology as a rich source to describe powerful emotions, cunning politics or psychological drama. This module will explore how selected German writers engage with the myth of Medea, the powerful wife of Jason who – according to the Classical myth - kills the sons she loves to hurt Jason. We will look at how the myth is used, changed and reinvented in texts written between 1926 and 1998. We will consider theoretical writings on mythology and also look at the Medea myth in paintings, film, theatre and music.
This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the centrality of the history of slavery in the study of Brazilian society and of the significance of Brazilian Slavery in both the transatlantic slave systems and slave societies in the Americas. The module introduces students to the different disciplinary approaches to the study of slavery in Brazil. This will require students to draw on comparative contexts of slavery across the Americas both thematically and theoretically.
Myths and Memories: Histories of Russia's Second World War
This module introduces you to the construction of national and collective memory of the Second World War in Soviet and Russian culture and society. You’ll focus on contemporary and subsequent artistic and social responses to the experience of war, but also look at individual acts of remembering (diaries, reports, letters) in the context of a wider cultural memory. The module is conducted in English and you’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Russian Popular Music in the 20th and 21st Centuries
The module offers an in-depth study of the development of popular music in Russia in the 20th and 21st centuries. You will gain knowledge of the popular musical culture of the late tsarist, Soviet and post-Soviet eras, and learn to analyse songs and performances using such concepts as authorship, performance, technology and ideology. You will have one lecture and one two-hour seminar per week on this module
Serbian and Croatian Cinema
This module focuses on the representation of Balkan Roma in Serbian and Croatian cinema. It examines the ways in which the themes, motifs and narrative structures of films combine to produce semantically complex interfaces through which they also reflect the cultural circumstances of their production. The films examined include feature films and documentaries. Students learn to apply theories from film studies (montage, framing and acting) and cultural theory (including postcolonialism and trauma studies) and also learn about Romani life and culture.
Politics and Literature in Contemporary Spain
Through the comparative analysis of a first set of cultural artifacts produced by authors born circa 1950 and a second set produced by authors born circa 1968, this module will focus on the articulation between aesthetics and politics in Spanish writing at the extended end of the twentieth-century. The works will be studied in the context of recent Iberian history and related to other contemporary forms of expression such as cinema, music and cyber-writing.
Business and Society in Spain
This module explores Spanish business from both a historical and contemporary perspective. It begins by looking at changes in the social, economic, political and technological environment for business since the transition to democracy and assesses their impact on the composition of the private sector in Spain. The main themes include the economic legacy of dictatorship, changes in the global and European regulatory environment, the influence of neoliberal thinking, the role of entrepreneurship, the relationship between state and business and Spanish business’ response to the spread of the knowledge economy and rapid technological change. The module also looks at recent challenges to business in Spain. In particular, it explores the impact of the economic crisis on the private sector, the criticism of business’ involvement in a number of high-profile corruption scandals and proposals emanating from new political formations such as Podemos aimed at increasing state regulation of the private sector. Finally, the module analyses new social innovations and practices that are challenging business’ pre-eminence in the production and distribution of goods and services in Spain. In doing so, it reveals a diverse and vibrant landscape that integrates a range of practices including co-operativism, social markets and community currencies.
Communicating and Teaching Languages for Undergraduate Ambassadors
This module is part of the nationwide Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme (UAS) which works with universities to provide academic modules that enable students to go into local schools as teaching assistants and to act as role-models (for more information please check uas.ac.uk). Students split their time between the university-based support seminar and their allocated school, where they will work in the language department as an assistant. This may involve one-to-one tuition, small group teaching or extra-curricular activities in the context of the school’s language provision. Students will develop a special teaching project and will be supported in their activities by the module convenor, the education specialist on campus, and their contact teacher at the school. Typically there will be a fortnightly seminar on campus and 7 half-days spent at school. This module is especially suitable for students with prior experience as a language assistant during the year abroad.
The 1960s and the West, 1958-1974
This module surveys and analyses social and cultural change in the West during the `long Sixties' from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s. You will study the origins and nature of changes in norms of behaviour in the 1960s such as the sexual revolution, attitudes to authority, and the role of youth in society, as well as the impact of wider historical developments such as post-war economic prosperity and the Cold War. The module places emphasis on looking at the experiences of ordinary people while acknowledging the role of major leaders. You will also look at the representation of the decade in popular culture, both in the 1960s and in subsequent decades.
Spending three hours per week in seminars and tutorials, you will be given a framework to understand the experience of Italians (and to a lesser degree their enemies, allies, and collaborators) during the military conflicts in the long decade 1935–45, as well as knowledge of the background factors that shaped these experiences.
This module studies the implications of the growing abuse of narcotics for the political system from both a national and international perspective. It will examine the production, consumption and trade in drugs as an international problem. The development of and issues associated with contemporary British drug policy will be explored and the theoretical questions raised by drug control policy will be examined.
The module identifies and evaluates the role that Parliament plays in the political system. The module is both descriptive and analytical, comprising an introduction to Parliament (such as its place in the political process, the impact of party) and an investigation into the effectiveness or otherwise of its scrutiny and influence of selected sectors of government responsibility. It covers the process of legislation, scrutiny, and links with the public. The module also considers the role of the House of Lords.
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.