Year four will allow you to consolidate the competence in the Portuguese language obtained during your year abroad, as well as deepening your understanding of Lusophone culture and history.
Modules in international media and communications studies will allow you to explore the political issues arising from, among other things, cultural policy and media coverage of conflict. You will also undertake a dissertation project under the close supervision of a member of staff with knowledge of your chosen area.
You must pass year four which is weighted two thirds towards your final degree classification.
Choose one from two.
Auditory Cultures: Sound, Listening and Everyday Life in the Modern World
This module introduces students to the cultural and social role of sound and listening in everyday life. Scholars have argued that, since the Enlightenment, modern societies have privileged sight over the other senses in their desire to know and control the world. But what of hearing? Until recently, the role of sound in everyday life was a neglected field of study. Yet Jonathan Sterne argues that the emergence of new sound media technologies in the nineteenth century - from the stethoscope to the phonograph - amounted to an 'ensoniment' in modern culture in which listening took centre stage.
Beginning with an examination of the relationship between visual and auditory culture in everyday life, this module introduces a variety of cultural contexts in which sound played an important role, including:
- how people interact with the sounds of their cities
- how new sound technologies allowed people to intervene in everyday experience
- why some sounds (such as music) have been valued over others (such as noise)
- the role of sound in making and breaking communities
- the role of sounds in conflict and warfare
- the importance of sound in film and television from the silent era onwards.
We use a variety of sound sources, such as music and archival sound recordings, in order to understand the significance of sound in everyday life from the late eighteenth century to the present.
This module investigates critical concepts and theoretical work on cinema in global context, introducing students to critical and theoretical models surrounding global production, film texts, distribution and reception. Addressing ways films have been made and seen worldwide, the module locates aspects of global cinema within historical contexts of production and consumption. The module also seeks to untangle such overlapping categories as global cinema, transnational cinema and world cinema. Looking at a range of historical and contemporary cases, students will interrogate a body of films that both serve and challenge the interests of dominant institutions in their producing cultures.
Teaching Film and Media Studies for Undergraduate Ambassadors
This module is part of the nationwide Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme, which works with universities to provide academic modules that enable students to go into local schools to act as inspiring role models. You will split your time between the university-based seminar and your allocated school, where you will be placed in an appropriate department as a teaching assistant. You will design and deliver a teaching project aimed at improving pupil understanding of selected aspects of media studies. You will be supported by the module convenor, the education specialist on campus, and the school's contact teacher. The module typically includes fortnightly seminars and seven half-days spent in school. Placements are in secondary schools and Sixth Form or FE colleges.
Gender, Sexuality and Media
This module examines the politics of gender and sexuality in media and popular culture. It offers advanced inquiry into the intersectional fields of feminism, queer theory, and media and cultural studies. This module asks the key questions: how gender and sexuality are represented in media and popular culture, how media and cultural industries structure gender and sexual inequalities, how identities and practices of media audiences and users are gendered and sexualised, and what are creative and radical ways of resistances to gender and sexual norms?
Self, Sign and Society
This module equips students you with the theoretical tools needed to explore how social identity is both asserted and challenged through the deployment of signs broadly conceived. 'Sign' is understood here primarily with reference to Saussurean linguistics, and the impact of the structuralist and then poststructuralist movements on disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, semiotics, postcolonial theory, cultural studies and visual culture.
- How does our accent function as a sign of our class origins or cultural sympathies?
- Does skin colour always function as a social sign?
- How do the clothes we wear align us with particular lifestyles and ideological positions and how is this transgressed?
- How has the phenomenon of self-branding colonised our everyday lives?
- What does our Facebook profile say about how we would like to be read by the wider world? Does the logic of the sign itself exceed what we intend to do with it?
- How do the signs that construct a social 'self' circulate in the context of new media?
- Are there psychological costs associated with living in this society of the sign?
This module will address these and other related questions by introducing students to the approaches of thinkers such as Freud and Lacan, Saussure and Greimas, Barthes and Baudrillard, Levi-Strauss and Geertz, Derrida and Bhabha, and Mirzoeff and Mitchell among others.
Public Cultures: Protest, Participation and Power
This module will adopt an interdisciplinary approach to exploring the relationship between public space, politics and technology. Drawing on research in a range of fields including: critical theory, cultural studies, cultural geography, digital studies, urban sociology and politics, it will give students an empirically focused account of debates the changing nature and uses of public space, with an emphasis on contemporary developments in urban environments. A range of protest movements will provide case-study material and offer a central focus for both theoretical and practical explorations of the role of new technologies in controlling space, resisting control and enabling new forms of civic participation.
This module critically evaluates the roles that media play in scenarios of disaster. From war and famine to train crashes and natural disasters, the media play a central role in our understanding of, and imaginative engagement with, disaster. From the disaster movie to documentary photography and news coverage, a variety of media forms regularly link us to the real and imaginary landscapes of disaster, war, conflict and emergency, particularly with the technological expansion of the means of image-making in the 21st century. The module investigates the aesthetics and ethics of representation where disaster is concerned, introducing students to research in fields concerned with the mediatisation of disaster, conflict and emergency.
This module examines the development of photography in America from roughly 1945 onwards. The module breaks the period down into themes and considers:
1. the transformation of ‘documentary’ photograph;
2. the emergence and importance of colour photography;
3. experimental, conceptual and post-conceptual photography;
4. issues of serialism and seriality;
5. landscape photography;
6. the photobook
The module will draw on the work of a diverse range of photographers, including Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Ed Ruscha, Lewis Baltz, Robert Adams, Robert Heinecken, Stephen Shore, Todd Hido, William Eggleston and Doug Rickard.
Screen Encounters: Audiences and Engagement
Through four hours a week studying in workshops and seminars, you'll 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. The module also reconceptualises media users by exploring interactive media experiences such as videogames and smartphone apps. You'll also explore the role of marketing systems used to engage specific audiences and how this knowledge is applied in industry market research.
Film and Television Genres
You'll 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, low-budget film productions and TV movies, 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.
Working in the Cultural Industries
The cultural and creative industries are at the forefront of government strategies across the world for developing post-industrial economies, are seen as exciting places to work, and regularly feature at the top of graduate employment destinations. But what are these industries, and what is it like to work in them? How do graduates gain entry to these competitive, highly skilled jobs? What is ‘creativity’ and why is it so important to modern economies? And what does the future hold for cultural and creative sectors?
This module combines traditional academic scholarship on the structure, organisation and working patterns in the creative and media industries with practical exercises designed to help identify and evaluate your own skills and interests, to help you to find a rewarding and exciting career when you leave university. We will explore issues in the history and theory of contemporary work including key concepts such as creativity, the knowledge economy, precarious labour, and important issues such as internship culture, exploitation and inequality. Students in the module also conduct independent research on areas of creative and media work of their choosing.
Brazilian Slave Society
This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the centrality of the history of slavery in the study of Brazil, and of the significance of Brazilian slavery in both the transatlantic slave systems, and slave societies across the Americas.
In the process, you will learn to recognise and use the different historical approaches, tools and skills employed in the historiography of slavery studies, and in social history in general, and to incorporate them into their own analyses of aspects of Brazilian slave society.
Literature and Films, Conflict and Post-Conflicts
We will address the way in which film and literature have reflected, resisted, interrogated, and remembered the socio-political violence and conflicts that have shaped the 20th and 21st centuries so far in Europe (emphasis on the Iberian Peninsula) and Latin America (including Brazil).
The module adopts a comparative approach which focuses on the formal experiments and common preoccupations of filmmakers and writers across different national cultures and historical contexts (translations and subtitles will be provided when required). It will discuss questions on authoritarianism, confronting colonial and neo-colonial practices, racial and class inequality and social injustice, gender and sexuality, living on with the legacies of past traumas.
You may expect to discuss works by writers such as Roberto Bolaño, Ruben Fonseca, Alejandro Zambra, Mariana Enríquez, Clarice Lispector and Fernando Pessoa. Feature films and documentaries by Alfonso Cuarón, Pedro Almodóvar, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Claudia Llosa, Patricio Guzmán and Susana de Sousa Dias will also be discussed.
Culture and Society across the Portuguese-speaking World
This module uses a focus on identities and identity formation, as represented or articulated in literary, cinematic and visual texts, as the basis of a chronological survey of the development of lusophone societies and cultures in the long 20th century (roughly, from 1880 to the present). Approaches to these set texts will introduce, and equip you to evaluate, a history of changing conceptions both of racial, ethnic, sexual, and class identity.
The module will explore how shifts in social taxonomies and conceptions of community and difference relate both to scientific and philosophical discoveries and innovations and to the changing political and socio-economic structures of Portugal and the African territories formerly subject to Portuguese colonial rule. It will also provide an introduction to the study of the concept of identity itself, and of the interrogation, by psychoanalysis and post-structuralist thinking, of preconceptions of either individual or collective identities as stable and unitary.