The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.
Beginners' Spanish Language
This module is designed to take students from ab initio level (absolute beginners) to a level of written and aural comprehension, writing and speaking skills roughly commensurate with A-level. At the end of the course, students should be able to comprehend and respond to written and aural texts over a comprehensive range of current affairs, cultural and every day topics and engage in everyday social conversation. You will have five hours of classes per week for this module.
Introduction to Literature in Spanish
You will read a series of key texts from Spain 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. You will spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
Introduction to the History of Modern Latin America
In this module you will be introduced to the main patterns of Latin American political, economic and social history between the late colonial period and the mid-to-late 20th century which will give you a thorough grounding of the major issues, themes and forces that have shaped the societies in the region. In one part of the module you will study the history of the Spanish-speaking America and in the other half consider the history of Brazil and aspects such as the various patterns of change and development of the region and political radicalism. For this module you will have a 1-hour lecture and a 1-hour seminar each week.
Canadian Literature, Film and Culture
An introduction to Canadian cultural studies, you’ll examine selected literary, film and visual texts from the 20th 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 two hours per week in lectures and seminars, and two and a half 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, through revolution, civil war and industrialisation, to the end of the 19th century. You will spend around four 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 20th 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 four hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars studying this module.
American Literature and Culture 1: To 1945
An introductory survey of major texts, authors and developments in American literature. You will explore a range of forms (novels, short stories, autobiography and poetry) and issues (race, class, gender) as they have been dealt with by writers. Around four hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars studying this module.
American Literature 2: Since 1945
You’ll study a selection of American fiction, poetry and drama, exploring changes in literary form, the rise of women’s and ethnic literatures, and the relationship between literature and its social and political contexts. You’ll spend around four hours per week in lectures and seminars for this module.
North American Regions
This module will deploy the concept of "region" and, more broadly, "place" to explore key North American texts - primarily drawn from the spheres of film, television and literature. The notion of the "regional" will be applied expansively as well as conventionally to incorporate everything from the urban to the suburban/exurban, border territories and the transnational. Possible areas of study may include the American West, the Pacific North-West, New York City, the black inner city "ghetto", "mountain" people and the Appalachians, Hispanic-America, first nations, French-Canada, Texas, Chicago, New Orleans, California, and the transnational impact of extensive US Military occupations (post-war Japan, South Vietnam, 21st-century Iraq).
North American Film and Television
This module examines the form and content of North American cinema and television in the 21st century and the forces and trends shaping the nature of American and Canadian films and television programmes. Topics for discussion will include the different film and broadcasting industries in the US and Canada, representation of the past in contemporary cinema and television, representations of technology, identity, gender, and race, and the Canada-US border. If you study this module you'll spend around two hours in lectures and seminars, and two and a half hours in film workshops, per week.
This module examines the history of American popular music in the 20th century, focusing on the major genres and exploring the artistic, cultural and political issues they raise. You will examine music's aesthetic qualities genre by genre, as well as key developments within the music industry, the ways in which commercial and technological changes have influenced the production and consumption of music, and the ways in which musicians and audiences use pop music to engage with American culture and society. You'll spend around four hours per week in lectures and seminars for this module.
The Contemporary American Novel
This module covers a representative sample of important literary fiction produced since 2000. It explores how writers have engaged with themes of race, class, gender, religion, labour and war, and the uses of historical revisionism, identity politics, and regionalism. The module covers a variety of narrative forms, genres and critical theories, from fictionalised life-writing and family sagas to speculative fiction and counter-historical narratives to transnational writing and war fiction. If you study this module, you'll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
African American History and Culture
This module examines African American history and culture from slavery to the present through a series of case studies that highlight forms of cultural advocacy and resistance. Examples may include the persistence of African elements in slave culture, the emergence of new artistic forms in art, religion and music during the segregation era, and the range and complexity of African American engagement with US public culture since the 1960s across art, literature and popular culture. You will spend three hours per week studying this module.
This module will examine American radicals since the American Revolution. 19th-century subjects will include the abolitionists, early feminism, utopian socialism, anarchism, and farmer populism. 20th-century subjects will include the Socialist Party in the 1910s, the Communist Party and the anti-Stalinist left in the 1930s, opponents of the Cold War, the 1960s New Left, Black Power militancy, and recent radicalisms, including the gay liberation movement, women's liberation, and resistance to corporate globalization. You will spend three hours per week studying this module.
The US and the World in the American Century: US Foreign Policy (1898-2008)
This module examines how America's involvement abroad has changed over time from the war of 1898 to the 21st century. It analyses how traditional political and diplomatic issues, the link between foreign and domestic policies, and the role of foreign actors and private organisations - from religious groups to NGOs - have shaped America's actions abroad. It also explores the significance of race, gender, emotions, and religion in shaping US foreign policy. You will spend three hours per week studying this module.
American Violence: A History
This module analyses the patterns and prevalence of violence in the USA. It will consider theories about its origins in frontier settler societies, the relationship between violence and the gun control debate and the related issue of American ideological antipathy to state power. It will consider the celebration of violence as a source of conflict resolution and examine the US government's use of violence as an instrument of foreign policy. You will spend three hours per week studying this module.
Immigration and Ethnicity in the United States
This course examines the history of immigration to the United States from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. It traces the development of immigrant communities, cultures and identities from the 19th century to the present day. The module draws on historical, literary and cultural texts, with sources ranging from political cartoons, fiction and testimony to photography, documentary film, digital art and video performance. You will spend three hours per week studying this module.
A History of Crime and Punishment
This module explores the history of crime and punishment in the United States from the period of the US Civil War through to the post-World War II/Cold War years. It looks at the shift from public to 'private' punishments, including the early nineteenth century 'invention' of the penitentiary and development of 'modern' police and the emergence of distinct regional differences in rates of violent crime and official responses. You will spend three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
In this module you will be given a general introduction to cinema and painting in the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds. In the first semester you will be introduced to painting in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America from the late 15th century to the early 19th century with an emphasis on how to analyse paintings and understand the styles and contexts from which paintings emerge. In the second semester you will examine contemporary cinema from Spain and Latin America addressing questions of style, socio-historical context and narrative context. In this module you will have one two-hour class per week.
Dissertation in American and Canadian Studies
You will undertake an in-depth study into a chosen subject within American and Canadian Studies and produce either a 5-7,000 word or a 10-12,000 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 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'll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying this module.
Popular Music Cultures and Countercultures
This interdisciplinary module examines the role played by American popular music in countercultural movements. It focuses on the ways in which marginalised, subordinate or dissenting social groups have used popular music as a vehicle for self-definition and for re-negotiating their relationship to the social, economic and cultural mainstream. It explores how the mainstream has responded to music countercultures in ways that range from repression to co-optation. And it analyses how the music and the movements have been represented and reflected on in fiction, film, poetry, journalism and theory. A central concern of the module is to evaluate the effectiveness and potential of popular music as a socially-critical or oppositional force. The module is built around case studies of key issues and moments in American popular music history. One of the key issues is the debate over the ownership and use of African-American musical resources, from nineteenth-century minstrelsy to twenty-first century hip hop. Another is the function of commercial entertainment institutions in mediating between music subcultures, political countercultures, and the mainstream culture. Among the key moments examined are the folk revival and the 1930s Popular Front, rock 'n' roll and desegregation in the 1950s, rock music and the 1960s counterculture, and postmodernism and identity politics in the music of the MTV age.
Recent Queer Writing
This module explores lesbian, gay, transgender and queer writing, focusing especially on the search for agency and the representation of gender and sexuality in selected contemporary texts. The majority of writers studied will be Canadian, although some American examples will also be included. The module is multi-generic, engaging with forms including novels, short fiction, life writing, poetry, drama and graphic narratives. Topics for discussion will include:
- LGBTQ sexuality;
- constructions of masculinity and femininity;
- the politics of representation: the extent to which writing can enable agency as subjects or citizens;
- intersections between race, ethnicity, class, nationality, religion, and the construction of gender and sexual identites
- writing for LGBTQ youth
- literature studies will be contextualized in relation to relevant debates in feminist, queer, post-colonial and transnational theories
Representative authors for study may include James Baldwin, Jane Rule, Dionne Brand, Dorothy Allison, Shyam Selvadurai, Tomson Highway, Leslie Feinberg, and Ivan Coyote.
History of the Civil Rights Movement
The module studies the development of the African-American protest movement from the Second World War to the early 1970s. Students will consider the historiographical debates which surround this topic and will be introduced to a variety of source materials and methodological approaches. There will be a particular focus on photographs alongside other primary sources. You'll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
In the Midst of Wars: The US and Vietnam
This module seeks to understand the course of American involvement in Vietnam — to explain why the nation ended up fighting a ruinous war there, to chart the long involvement of the US in Vietnamese life and politics after World War Two, and to assess its long-standing legacy in American politics and culture. It does so by looking at US policy, the reasons influencing US thinking, and the role that other international actors — the Vietnamese, the French, the British, the Soviets, the Chinese — played in the unfolding of events. It focuses on the decisions taken by a range of American presidents from FDR through to Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. It also looks at the wider context, including the emergence of the Cold War, the onset of decolonization, domestic political pressures, public protests and the powerful anti-war movement. We will also look at the war’s legacy and how the memory of Vietnam has shaped perceptions of the use of American force overseas and how it has informed the nation’s politics and culture.
American Madness: Mental Illness in History and Culture
Experiences of and ideas about madness, insanity, and mental illness have varied and changed radically within American history and culture. This module will survey and analyse these changes from the mid-19th century to the present. We will consider how and why medical authority,gender, and class have all impacted the way in which mental illness is understood, and consider the significance of changing approaches to treatment. Sources used on this interdisciplinary module range from medical accounts and psychiatric theory to memoir, fiction and film. The aim is to place representations of mental illness in their historical context, and to ask what they reveal about related ideas about identity, conformity, social care and responsibility.
The American Theatre
This module explores the main developments in North American drama from the late-18th century to the present day. It examines how different theatrical movements - melodrama, minstrelsy, the 'freak' show, expressionism, social realism, the musical - connect with major historical events such as the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression and the Cold War. The module includes practical workshops around the staging, acting, directing and promotion of specific plays. You will spend four hours per week studying this module.
Advanced Spanish Translation
This module offers coaching and practice in high-level translation from Spanish to English. You will work with a variety of texts over the semester, exploring different registers in Spanish and English, and equivalences between source and target languages. You will be required to reflect on the process of translation through annotations on specific translation decisions which will be part of the given task each week. You will also be given a brief for each translation and asked to research the target publication/context for their translation and specify ways in which the target context may differ from the original.
Spanish American Narrative
You will explore the work of key writers in 20th Century Spanish America, all of whom bear the recognisable imprint of literary Modernism. You will closely study two writers of what has become known as the ‘Boom’(namely, Gabriel García Márquez and Julio Cortázar); and three precursors of that generation (Jorge Luis Borges, Alejo Carpentier and Juan Rulfo). The module will examine the ways in which they make use of myth, the fantastic and experimental narrative techniques to write about history, traditional, popular and/or mass culture, gender and sexuality. You will have one two-hour class each week.
Civil War and Memory Wars in Contemporary Spain
This module will give you an understanding of the origins of the Spanish Civil War, the character of the war itself, the factors which determined its outcome, and the implications of that outcome for Spanish history since 1939. The module will also consider the legacy of this period of history in contemporary Spanish politics and culture. You will have one two-hour seminar each week to study for this module.
The Radicalisation of Nationalism in Modern Latin America: Cuban Revolution in Continental Perspective
This module is concerned with the emergence, nature and evolution of the Cuban Revolution. You will consider the Revolution in question within a wider historical and ideological context: the Latin American tradition of an increasingly radical nationalism. Dating from the 19th and early 20th century this is a time when there was a need to engage in serious and collective nation-building. The module therefore examines how the Cuban Revolution went on to influence the subsequent radicalisation of that tradition, shaping a range of political manifestation. For this module you will have one two-hour seminar each week.