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.
Political Communication, Public Relations and Propaganda
This module explores the evolution of political communication from the turn of the 20th century and considers its links to the emergence of modern public relations. Starting with the influential work of Edward Bernys, widely considered as the father of modern public relations, we will consider how PR has developed and how its tactics and practices have increasingly been co-opted by modern politicians. The module examines the promotional strategies employed by political parties in campaign cycles and during non-election periods, strategies sometimes described as news management and 'spin'. This module will also look at the history of modern propaganda campaigns from their early origins during the First and Second World Wars, through to more contemporary examples.
Understanding Cultural Industries
You'll learn how show business is broken down into 'show' and 'business' in film, television and promotional industries and examine how creative decision-making, technology and legislation influence those industries. You'll also learn about how advertising and market research influence the design and production of media in certain regions and how film and television industries have developed in different contexts and periods.
This module introduces students to the key concept of translating between cultures as part of inter-cultural communication. The commingling of national and regional cultures in the light of increased flows of people, goods, capital and information is rendering the study of the impact of cultural difference on communication indispensable. This is particularly so for management theory, advertising and marketing, public relations and international news. Using a range of examples and case studies, this module enables students to perform comparative analyses that isolate cultural effects on communication. For example, how does the same advert 'play' in collectivist as opposed to individualist cultures; how might 'high-context' communication in a Chinese context effect a business negotiation; or how might cultural differences around conceptions of truth challenge Western liberal principles of freedom of speech. The module seeks to balance the ideal of harmonious inter-cultural communication on the one hand, and the richness of cultural diversity on the other.
You'll learn about the concepts of ‘transnational’ and ‘postnational’ media, taking into account the movement and interactions of people, finance, technology and ideas around the world. The module addresses in particular global media interactions emerging from tensions between forces of cultural homogenisation and heterogenisation. You'll develop a foundation of theoretical knowledge to be applied to case studies in global film, television and other screen and print media.
Researching Culture, Film and Media
For this year-long core module you'll spend two hours a week in lectures and workshops to become familiar with different methods for investigating research topics, including methods such as ethnographic, historical and textual study, and determining their suitability for different projects. You'll investigate the interdisciplinary nature of film, television and media studies and demonstrate this knowledge by choosing your own research project and methods.
Media Identities: Who We Are And How We Feel
This module develops critical modes of attention to the mediation of identity. On our screens and in our headphones, we shape and reshape our selves. Media do not reflect identities but play an active role in bringing them into being. This module takes up the question of 'identity politics', enhancing students' knowledge and understanding of key identity categories that have been advanced and problematized by media scholars, such as gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, national, regional and local belonging, age, ability and disability, and more. The module also interrogates the mediated forms these identities take, considering the politics of looking and visual culture, the politics of hearing and auditory culture, and the politics of affect, emotions and embodiment. The module encourages historical as well as contemporary perspectives.
Digital Communication and Media
Digital communication and media are significantly transforming the ways our societies operate. This module critically explores key issues behind this transformation. The module tracks the emergence of digital communications and associated media cultures, engages with issues and practices that differentiate digital communication from older forms of media and their associated forms of communication, and draws on a range of theories and methodologies. The module investigates theoretical and practical foundations of digital communication and media and their relationship to contemporary culture. Students also study the cultural, political, economic, technical and regulatory contexts from which digital communication and media have emerged and in which they continue to operate. To link conceptual frameworks to real-life experiences and situations, the module provides opportunities to explore the interactive forms and practices that result from the use of digital communication and media through a range of both individual and group activities.
Dissertation in International Media and Communications Studies
This module gives students the opportunity to work independently on a chosen subject area of their choice, with an appropriate supervisor.
The major theoretical approaches to understanding images have included art history analysis, semiotics, psychoanalysis and discourse analysis, and the module explores each of these theoretical ways of 'decoding' images. We will ask asks how making affects meaning and how images can be seen as tools of critical theory in media culture. The module looks at a wide range of images from fine art, photography, print media, television and film, science and advertising. Student cover many themes, such as 'what is an image?', 'what is the relation between language and images?', 'what is the relation between image and thought?' The module ends on the open question of what visual literacy might be and mean in a visual culture.
This module examines the contested nature of culture in a variety of contexts. Beginning with a definition of culture that includes the arts and media, but broadening out to consider cultural practices in a range of situations, the module asks the key questions: who defines and controls culture and for what purposes and, conversely, what kinds of opportunities exist for cultural and creative resistance?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?