In year two you will take 120 credits' worth of modules, comprising 40 credits in each of your three languages (a 20-credit core language module and 20 credits of optional modules).
You have to pass year two successfully and it counts as one third of your final degree classification.
French 2 (Beginners)
This module will build on the language and cultural skills developed in last year's beginners' classes. Over the year we'll take you to the next level so that by the end of the module you'll be ready to spend time living in a French-speaking country.
We'll further develop your reading, listening, summary, translation and communication skills, building your confidence so that you feel happy working or studying abroad during year three.
Introduction to French & Francophone Studies
This is the starting point for your French Studies journey at Nottingham. Having studied French at A level you’ll already have a good command of the language but now it’s time to go deeper. Together we’ll explore a variety of topics to help you develop a fuller understanding of the history and cultures of France and the Francophone world. These topics may include linguistics, politics, history, thought, literature, media, visual culture and cinema.
You’ll study a range of different texts, images and film, through which we’ll help you develop the core study skills necessary for studying this subject at degree level, such as close reading, essay writing, commentary writing, bibliographical and referencing skills, and visual analysis.
German 2 - Beginners
Now that you've gained good German language skills by completing Beginners' German, we're going to take you to the next level. By the end of this course, you'll be ready to spend time living in a German-speaking country.
Working at a steady pace, we'll focus on getting you confident in your German reading, writing, listening and speaking abilities, encouraging you to push yourselves to gain the best German skills possible.
In class we'll keep your studies interesting and relevant by using a variety of contemporary texts, including journalistic articles, poems and short stories, videos, clips from TV programmes and news items.
Leben und Arbeiten in Deutschland: Introduction to Contemporary Germany
This module is aimed at students on our intensive beginners’ pathway. The module will use a range of authentic and adapted German sources to combine language learning with an introduction to some aspects of contemporary German society, focusing on elements which are particularly relevant for the year abroad. We will practise working with the types of texts that are particularly useful for students preparing for the year abroad, as well as text genres which you will encounter during your time in Germany and Austria (e.g. application letters, CVs, how to approach an interview). Classes will also help you to develop your understanding of key aspects of contemporary German society.
Portuguese 2: Beginners
Building on the foundations laid in Portuguese 1 Beginners (MLAC1049), this module will improve not only your language skills but also your confidence.
We'll continue using relevant contemporary materials such as websites, newspapers, magazines and video content to improve your understanding, but we'll also dive deeper into grammar awareness and sentence structure.
You'll grow your vocabulary and focus on areas you may need whilst working or studying in a lusophone country. Listening comprehension skills will be further developed to ensure you feel comfortable taking part in authentic speed conversations.
Nation Building and National Identities in the Lusophone World
If you are studying Portuguese, this modules gives you an introduction to some of the major texts of the Portuguese-speaking world. The commonality of language derives from the colonial experiences of the Portuguese Empire, which resonate through the cultures from the sixteenth century to the twentieth century.
We will examine the ways in which ideas of nationhood and national identity have been expressed and constructed through the cultures of the Lusophone world. The texts studied explore the ways in which cultural production (through the arts) is embedded in the formation of nationhood and ideas about national identity. Culture is therefore examined through and in its political and historical context. The module will address questions of nationalism and identity as expressed through language, race and place, as well as issues relating to globalisation.
Depending on your language choices you will have a wide choice of modules in linguistics, literature, history, and society and the media. Please note, not all optional modules may be available to those on the beginners' pathway.
French Cinema: The New Wave
The module is designed to introduce you to this particular period of French cinema by offering a detailed study of the New Wave of the late 1950s and early 1960s, focusing in particular on the films of Godard, Truffaut, Resnais and Chabrol.
As the module will show, New Wave film-makers often employed a variety of new and challenging formal techniques in order to make films that reflected an emergent, modern, iconoclastic sensibility in post-war France. For these reasons, the module combines a contextual approach with introductory teaching in film analysis.
Contemporary Francophone Cinema and Social Issues
This module engages in a detailed analysis of four recent Francophone films that deal with contemporary social issues and institutions: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, L’Enfant (2005); Jacques Audiard, Un prophète (2009); Thomas Lilti, Hippocrate (2014); Stéphane Brizé, La loi du marché (2015). It focuses on the way in which the films present characters in a social context. The module looks at the ways in which these characters are subject to economic forces, interact with institutions, and function as members of social groups. The films are analysed from a formal perspective, considering the ways in which they all draw on the resources of cinematic realism in order to provide a representation of contemporary life that is both compelling and challenging for viewers.
Art and Contemporary Visual Culture in France
This module explores contemporary art and media production in France and beyond, looking at how recent French art and ideas feature in and contribute to a cultural world-system. We will be looking at pioneering artworks from the late 20th century and the 21st century, examining work in film, visual art of many genres, photography, music and also media technology.
Beginning with key foundational artists from the 1960s and 1970s, we move on to consider works across artistic media, mostly from the 21st century, and this will form the principal course content.
We will be looking at the work of individual artists in detail, both for the value of the work, but also to explore how contemporary cultural production reflects and reacts to the world in which it is made. Visual art is particularly useful in this context as it necessarily contains a reflective element, and this is often critical of existing situations. We will also incorporate key readings by theorists who have reflected on the themes, media, technology and politics of both art and culture in the broader sense.
On Location: Cinematic Explorations of Contemporary France
This module offers students an opportunity to explore actual cultural, economic and social differences within modern France through its representations in contemporary filmmaking. Beyond narrative themes, students will gain an understanding of how filmmakers engage the formal resources of cinema, both fiction and documentary, to capture the specificities of diverse spaces and places and to invite reflection on larger questions of identity and community, nation and citizenship, mobility and belonging.
Literature and Politics in Modern France
What better way is there to truly understand a nation than by studying its literature and politics?
We’ll examine the various ways in which French writers have engaged with the political struggles of their time. By looking at ‘committed’ literature (which is literature that defends an ethical, political, religious or social view) produced by key authors you’ll learn how to unpick the tension between literature and politics that has shaped modern France.
Introduction to Contemporary Science Fiction
Focusing on texts ranging from the novels of Jules Verne through to Élisabeth Vonarburg, this module will engage with key themes in French science fiction writing. Whether it deals with the discoveries of new worlds or the confrontation with new technologies, science fiction as a genre expresses the anxieties and hopes specific to the contemporary era. Science fiction is political in that it deals with questions of power, ecology and science. It is also philosophical, since it calls into question boundaries between cultures, times, genres and species. Drawing on these political and philosophical dimensions, the module will look in particular at how science fiction explores the ways in which identity is constructed and reconfigured by material and technological forces.
Sociolinguistics: An Introduction
This module provides you with an introduction to the rich field of study known as sociolinguistics, which investigates the relationship between language and society through an exploration of the social contexts of language use.
Particular areas of focus in any one year of the module could include:
- intercultural communication
- politeness and face
- linguistic determinism
- power and solidarity
- language choice
- speech act theory
- the ethnography of communication
- language and gender
- approaches to the study of discourse/talk
Enlightenment Literature: An Introduction
This module is an introduction to the study of 18th century French literature, through a variety of texts chosen to offer an accessible approach to the period’s main literary genres and movements of thought. Alongside an investigation of how literature developed during this era, you will consider key questions that thinkers and writers grappled with:
- What is like to fall in love?
- What is happiness and how do we find it?
- How important is personal freedom?
- Are people naturally good?
- How do we live well with others?
- How do we learn about the world and make sense of our experiences?
Huit Tableaux: Art and Politics in Nineteenth-Century France (1799-1871)
You may wonder why 19th Century French art is relevant to a student wanting to better understand today’s Francophone communities. To answer this let us take you back to a time pre-internet, pre-television, pre-photography to when historical art was a key communication tool for any society.
Together, we’ll examine eight French paintings from the key historical period of the Consulate (1799) to the Paris Commune (1871). By discovering what French citizens gained from ‘reading’ these images you will better understand their relationship with national identity, religion and political culture. It is these historical ideologies that laid the foundation for contemporary French society and your understanding of this will help you form a more thorough and nuanced appreciation of contemporary France and the Francophone world.
Among the huit tableaux to be discussed are David's Sacre de Napoléon, Delacroix's La Liberté guidant le peuple, and Meissonier's Le Siège de Paris.
Hear Dr Paul Smith give a brief overview of this module.
Post-War French Theatre
This module focuses on developments in French theatre in the mid-twentieth century. This includes plays that dramatise existentialist issues, as well as examples of what was known as the Theatre of the Absurd: a new, experimental approach to theatre, which flourished in France in the 1950s and 1960s. Authors studied will include Sartre, Beckett and Ionesco, and the module will analyse dramatic technique and theory, along with performance. The module will explore the various ways in which these plays challenged dramatic conventions and how they engaged with fundamental questions relating to meaning, causality, language and society.
The Life and Demise of the GDR
This module investigates GDR society over four decades of communist rule and considers social changes in Eastern Germany after the demise of the GDR. We will examine the principles of communist ideology that the Socialist Unity Party attempted to legitimise as the only viable alternative to fascism. We will also look at how people negotiated their lives within officially imposed ideological structures. Finally we will look at how a new kind of “public authority” during the Wende period in the GDR triggered the disintegration of communist power structures.
The Language of German Media - Linguistic and Journalistic Perspectives
This module investigates the specific language used by the German media from linguistic and journalistic perspectives. You will learn about the distinctive pragmatic and semantic features of the language used on radio, on television and in the print media. This linguistic analysis then enables us to explore how journalists attract their target audience.
We will look at various text types and media genres including news and advertisements, as well as analyse the differences between media-specific language and the language used in society at large. In this context you will not only learn how journalists write for different media and genres, but also about the ethics of journalistic writing and how ethical concerns affect the language of the media.
Introduction to Literary Translation
The module provides an introduction to literary translation from German into English. We will analyse key issues of cultural difference and historical distance by comparing different translations of the same original text. As part of the assessment for the module you will compose your own translation of a literary text of your choice and summarise your translation strategy. Class discussions and the translation work you undertake for this module will help you to improve your understanding of the linguistic and cultural differences between English and German, develop enhanced translation skills, and gain insights into literary texts.
Reason and its Rivals from Kant to Freud
In this module we will examine a selection of approaches to modernity, beginning with Kant’s assertion of individual reason as the founding stone of enlightened social organisation. We will move on to examine how Marx and Engels, Nietzsche and Freud all interrogated Kant’s position in their work. Our discussions will touch on the nature of the individual subject, the role of culture, as well as competing ideas of the status of reality as based in social conditions, or the product of the will, drives, or ideology.
Media in Germany
This module explores the history of print and broadcasting in Germany from 1933 to the 1990s, and investigates the relationship between media content and culture. You will develop a foundation in the key concepts of media studies and gain insight into the connection between media and ideology. You will also have the opportunity to undertake research into primary sources from our extensive newspaper archive.
National Socialist Germany
This module focuses on the social, economic and political-ideological structures which shaped domestic and foreign policy between 1933 and 1945. We will begin by examining the process through which Weimar democracy was overthrown and the structures of dictatorship imposed. We will then turn to the social, economic and ideological factors which shaped the transformation of Germany into a Volks-gemeinschaft before examining the development of Nazi foreign policy and the genesis of the Holocaust. Throughout the module we will consider political, social, economic and ideological factors in shaping Nazi policy at home and abroad.
The Fairy Tale in German Culture
This module explores key moments in the history of the fairy tale in German culture, from their 19th century appropriation to underpin notions of a national folk culture to critical reworkings of fairy tales. We use a number of different approaches in analysing the tales and investigating their cultural significance, including Marxism, feminism and psychoanalysis.
Primary material includes folk tales, literary fairy tales and fairy tale films such as the Brothers Grimm Kinder- und Hausmärchen collection, East German fairy tale films, Weimar proletarian tales, Lotte Reiniger’s silhouette animations, and Wolfgang Petersen’s film The Neverending Story.
History of Yugoslavia and Successor States since 1941
This module covers the history of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, formed after WWII. We will discuss key economic and political factors of the state’s creation and disintegration, as well as Yugoslavia’s individuality during the Cold War.
Other topics for discussion include gender and social inequalities, nationalism and its rise, and circumstances surrounding the state’s collapse into the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.
Repression and Resistance: Dissidents and Exiles in Russian Culture
The relationship between the state and the intellectual in Russia has traditionally been a problematic one, marked by repression, persecution, forced and voluntary exile and censorship. Political concern and resistance to an authoritarian state are central themes in the Russian cultural and literary tradition as well as a defining feature in the lives and works of numerous Russian writers and intellectuals.
We will explore the cultural tradition and identity of the literary intelligentsia in Russian and Soviet history. We'll also examine different responses to the experience of state persecution in the work of writers and artists.
Covering an extensive period of Russian history we will look at examples of writers and artists who have defied the state.
Wider questions which will be discussed include the role of the artist and the intellectual in Russian culture, the myth of the persecuted writer and the complex relationship between the intellectual and the masses.
Media in Russia
This module aims to develop understanding of Russian-language media from the Soviet era to the present day.
You will explore the use of Russian on different media platforms, including print, broadcast, television, and online media, and will cover such topics as advertising, internet, music, television, radio, journalism and the freedom of the press.
The module aims to develop translation and comprehension skills when dealing with Russian media. You will widen your vocabulary and gain experience in dealing with more complex grammatical structures, taking into consideration style and register.
Serbian / Croatian 1: Beginners
Welcome to learning Serbian/Croatian. This course is designed for absolute beginners (we also welcome those with a little knowledge) and will take you to intermediate level by the end of the year.
In class you'll cover different points of grammar and vocabulary through everyday situations. We'll guide you through basic case and verb patterns, building up to more complex grammatical points like modal verbs and verbal aspect.
But we won't only be looking at grammar! Once you have the foundations of the language in place, we'll use your new skills to explore aspects of daily and cultural life. We'll be using structured course materials and textbooks, but we'll also learn how to use everyday language to ensure you have the skills to use Serbian/Croatian in real life.
Screening Russia: Film and Society from the Tsars to Putin
If you are studying Russian or East European Cultural Studies, this is an optional year-long module. It examines Russian society and culture as reflected in popular and influential films from 1900 to the present day, covering a variety of genres (including melodramas, biopics, youth films and musical comedies).
Lectures and seminars examine Russian and Soviet cinema’s historical contexts and reception, as well as how films are constructed technically. You develop skills in analysing cinema in its historical and social contexts, from the products of the burgeoning industry of late imperial Russia to post-Soviet arthouse films and blockbusters – via the extraordinary legacy of Soviet cinema. All the films covered are available with subtitles, and this module does not require any prior study of film.
The History and Culture of Early Rus' c.800-1400
This module introduces you to the medieval period in the history of the East Slavs, covering pre-Christian times to the Mongol conquests and beyond.
Through lectures and workshops, we will explore political, cultural and social developments, with a particular emphasis on working with primary sources in various media (including texts, painting and architecture).
The module draws on a selection of primary sources in translation, which you learn to assess as historical evidence. It also focuses on basic trends in the historiography of this period and how it has been manipulated for various political purposes in modern times.
New World(s): Contacts, Conquests and Conflict in Early Modern Hispanic History and Culture
Explore relations between early modern Spain, Portugal and their empires through art, cinema and historical documents to better understand the Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries in Latin America today.
Together we’ll study paintings starting from the mid-15th century in Portugal where voyages of ‘discovery’ were well under way, to Mexico and Brazil in the late eighteenth century.
To explore the political and cultural relations between the old countries in Europe and the new lands in the Americas we’ll read travelogues, testimonies and political discussion about the New World and look at modern cinematic and theoretical responses to the conquest and colonisation of the Americas.
These complementary areas of history and culture are perfectly balanced to help you understand how the Portuguese and Spanish empires are so relevant to contemporary global geo-politics.
Modern Spanish and Spanish American Literature and Film
In this module you will explore a cultural period in the Hispanic world characterised by profound social change and the emergence of major world-figures of modern art (eg Pablo Picasso). It is structured around key literary and artistic movements from Spain and Spanish America from the early 19th century to the late 20th century, such as Romanticism, Realism, and Modernism. A large part of your focus will be reading literary and visual texts of the period in relation to the socio-economic and political context of Spain’s and Spanish America’s rapid, but hugely uneven, modernisation.
Individual novels, plays, films, paintings or poems will also be used to exemplify and explore particular movements and historical moments. You will develop skills in close analysis of complex texts, an understanding of some of the major directions of Spanish and Spanish American literature in the 20th century, and the ability to relate texts studied to historico-cultural contexts. This module is worth 20 credits.
Take your understanding of Spanish and Portuguese further by delving into the rich history of cinema in Spain, Portugal, Latin America and Portuguese-speaking Africa. This will assist your language skills and also deepen your knowledge of a diversity of global cultures.
In the first semester we'll examine cinema from Spanish America since the 1960s, then, in the second semester, cinema from Brazil, Portugal and Africa. In so doing, we'll address questions of cinematic style and technique, socio-historical contexts and the politics of film-making.
Don't worry if you're just starting out on your language journey, the films will be available with English subtitles.
More examples of optional modules can be found on the language single honours prospectus pages: