Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2360 Bass Culture in Modern Britain

20 creditsClass Size: 28

Module manager: Dr Dhanveer Singh Brar

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module addresses the topic of Bass Culture in Modern Britain in three complementary ways. Firstly, it will act as a survey introduction to the making of black music in Britain stretching from the Windrush period to the early 2000s. It will chart the musical inventions generated by Black British artists through an examination of various types of musical labourers: vocalists, bands, MCs and producers (such as Dandy Livingstone, Janet Kay, Steel Pulse, Matumbi, Smiley Culture, D Double E, Jah Shaka, A Guy Called Gerald). It will also look at different labels such as Fashion Records and On-U Sound, and styles (Jungle, Garage, Grime). Secondly, it will explore the idea of Bass Culture as a material outcome of the soundsystem as a black working class technological and institutional form, and as a diasporic aesthetic principle of black music in Britain. Thirdly the module will focus on the politics and philosophy of Bass Culture. Politically it will examine the ways in which Bass Culture functioned as a means for black working class socialising and organisation. Philosophically, Bass Culture will be discussed as means for building a common memory and a collective pedagogy concerning class consciousness. Bringing all three of these strands together, students will be able to develop a knowledge of the making of modern black working class consciousness in Britain by studying its construction through the medium of sound (understood in this module as ‘phonic materiality’).


This module aims to explore the making of Bass Culture in Britain, to examine and discuss the works of selected Black British musicians and producers, to understand and engage with the ideas formulated around the idea of Bass Culture, and to develop a knowledge of the ways in which Bass Culture was central to the formation of black working class consciousness in modern Britain

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module students should be able to:
1 - Critically analyse and contextualise a range of audio materials.
2 - Understand and track key developments in music culture.
3 - Discuss in written and oral form the ways in which sound operates as a medium for aesthetic, social, political and philosophical production.
4 - Engage with and evaluate the importance of thinking historical consciousness through the sonic
5 – Apply fundamental standards and practices of historical study for research, discussion, and assessed work, both oral and written.


The indicative syllabus includes numerous types of audio recordings (e.g. 12” singles, dubplates, EPs, albums, mixtapes, radio and DJ sets); written and recorded interviews with artists and cultural producers; contextual work by music journalists and historians; the critical writing of intellectuals and thinkers on the politics and philosophy of Bass Culture.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Preparatory reading for seminars (55 hours), further self-directed reading (24 hours), independent research and writing of longer assignment (60 hours), team-working and preparation for group presentation and report (35 hours), reflection on feedback (6 hours).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will receive feedback on their presentation and report with a view to preparing them for the final essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Presentation15-min group presentation plus individual report of 1000 words to be delivered in the relevant seminar40.00
Essay3000 word essay to be submitted by Monday of Exam Week 160.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The presentation and report can be replaced by a 2000-word essay if a resit is necessary.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:25:06


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019