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.
Depending on your language choices you will have a wide choice of modules in linguistics, literature, history, politics and society and the media.
Literature and Politics in Modern France
This module looks at various ways in which French writers have engaged with the political struggles of their time. Through the study of key authors of what is often referred to as ‘committed’ literature, the module will analyse how the tension between literature and politics has shaped these texts. Through an analysis of this committed literature, the module will trace the emergence of the ‘intellectual’ as an important figure in modern French culture and society.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Introduction to French and 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.
Nineteenth Century French Narrative
This module provides an introduction to short narrative in the nineteenth century. It invites students to consider how texts combine literary craftsmanship with an effort to represent, understand and engage with the political, cultural and physical world beyond the page. The module takes in a range of different short narrative genres and themes:
- The crowd-written character sketches Les Francais peints par eux-memes (1840-1842)
- Nostalgic and impressionistics stories from Emile Zola's Contes à Ninon (1864)
- Lyrical, colonialist depictions of the Orient by Maupassant (1880s)
- Fin-de-siécle decadent writing by Rachilde (1900)
Through these texts, you will also be introduced to a range of reading techniques and critical theory relating to each of these textual forms, whilst exploring the ever-changing landscape of a nation shaken by ongoing revolution and social change.
Introduction to Modern French Poetry
This module provides an introduction to three major figures in modern French poetry (Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Apollinaire), and to the major formal developments in poetry in the period 1850-1914, including the prose poem and free verse. Students will learn to analyse, interpret and write commentaries on poetry, and individual poems will be considered in relation to broad themes such as the representations of self, and notions of modernism.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
European Silent Cinema
This module will examine the development of cinema during the silent era, from its invention in the 1890s through to the early 1930s, in France, Germany and the Russian Empire/Soviet Union. Because silent cinema was easy to translate and export from one country to another, it was highly transnational, and the module will enable you to see how filmmakers in different countries entered into dialogue with one another. You will be able to compare and contrast the themes and preoccupations of films produced in these countries, and consider how these reflected distinct political and cultural agendas.
The first part of the module will introduce students to the history of early film, primarily as it developed in France, looking at short actualité films produced by the Lumière brothers and others. It will consider the practices of display of ‘silent’ film (looking especially at how it was accompanied by music, speech and sound effects), and look at its appeal to popular audiences as well as its broader critical reception. We will then go on to consider a range of films made during the silent era, which represent two main tendencies:
- A tendency towards realism and the examination of everyday life
- A tendency towards fantasy and the creation of spectacular new realitie
You will be introduced to the fundamentals of film language and will be encouraged to engage in close analysis of short extracts from the films.
Films will include (but will not be limited to):
- Georges Méliès, Voyage to the Moon (1902)
- Louis Feuillade, Fantômas serial (1913)
- Paul Wegener, The Golem (1920)
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.
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.
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.
New World(s): Contacts, Conquests and Conflict in Early Modern Hispanic History and Culture
This module provides an introduction to art and culture in early modern Spain, Portugal and their Empires. It looks at painting from the mid-15th century, beginning in Portugal where voyages of ‘discovery’ were well under way, and ending in late 18th-century Mexico.
The module also balances historical study of key events and developments with readings of political writings, travelogues, literature, and visual culture so as to broaden your understanding both of the history of political and cultural relations across the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking worlds, and of the context of these in global geo-politics and the economy.
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.
Life and Demise of the GDR
This module investigates social developments in German Democratic Republic (GDR) society over four decades of communist rule and social changes in Eastern Germany after the demise of the GDR. You will be introduced to the ideological principles which the Socialist Unity Party attempted to legitimize in the GDR as the only viable alternative to fascism for a modern society. You will then look at how this ideology was enforced through state authority in every domain of society.
Based on contemporary texts (e.g. GDR propaganda, GDR writers and other intellectuals), you will further examine how people negotiated their lives within these officially imposed ideological structures, exploring a range of individual responses from conformism to non-conformism and opposition.
Finally you will look at a new kind of “public authority” during the Wende period in the GDR, which triggered the disintegration of communist power structures, and the subsequent changes in East German society.
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.
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.
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.
More examples of optional modules can be found on the language single honours prospectus pages: