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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST3370 Black British Culture and Black British Cultural Studies

40 creditsClass Size: 16

Module manager: Dhanveer Singh Brar

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module will explore the making of a Black British artistic and intellectual sphere from the 1970s to the 1990s as a period central to the formation of modern black consciousness in the U.K. The premise of the module is that over almost three decades a generation of Black British filmmakers, painters, writers and intellectuals emerged in order to respond to the persistent and fluctuating crises in British capitalism, and through their practices proposed alternatives to the prevailing order. Black British culture from the 1970s to the 1990s took on particular forms, including independent and arts cinema (Menelik Shabazz, Black Audio Film Collective); publicly funded regional art exhibitions (The Thin Black Line); literature and poetry (Hanif Kureshi, Linton Kwesi Johnson). Running alongside this sphere of artistic production was the project of Black British Cultural Studies. A method of analysis initiated by Stuart Hall, Black British Cultural Studies provided the space for a cohort of organic intellectuals (such as Hazel Carby, Kobena Mercer and Paul Gilroy) to make the case in public venues for the politics of Black British culture. Over the course of the module students will be introduced to a series of articles, books, films, paintings, novels, poetry and albums produced by Black British artists and intellectuals, in order to provide them with the grounding in this historical period in modern British history where questions of race, class, sexuality and gender were the source of aesthetic experimentation and critical debate.


The aim of this module is to explore the making of and relationship between Black British Culture and Black British Cultural Studies, to examine and discuss the works of selected Black British artists working in the areas of cinema, visual arts, literature and poetry, to understand and engage with the ideas formulated by a cohort of Black British intellectuals, and to develop knowledge of the ways in which Black British Culture and Black British Cultural Studies shifted and rethought questions of race, class, gender and sexuality in modern Britain.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module students will be able to:
1 - Critically analyse and contextualise a range of artistic materials and primary sources linked to Black British Culture
2 - Understand and track the development of intellectual debates concerning British culture and politics
3 - Discuss in written and oral form the relationship between artistic and intellectual production in the context of British Culture
4 - Engage with and evaluate a series of cultural and theoretical works as part of developing their historical skills
5. Apply fundamental standards and practices of historical study for research, discussion, and assessed work


Indicative topics include articles, interviews and books published by major figures in Black British Cultural Studies; films made by individual black directors and collectives; the novels and poetry of black writers; paintings and exhibition documents; as well as critical writing contemporaneous to the production of the artistic material.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours356.00
Total Contact hours44.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)400.00

Private study

Preparatory reading for seminars (120 hours), further self-directed reading (65 hours), independent research and writing of longer assignment (75 hours), team-working and preparation for group seminar (15 hours) , exam revision (75 hours), reflection on feedback (6 hours)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

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

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4000-word essay due in January exam week 240.00
PresentationGiven as part of a student-led seminar10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

The presentation can be replaced for a resit by a 1000-word essay on a similar topic.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment48 hr 50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

The exam will have to be a 48-hour OTA until such time as closed book exams can take place again on campus. All our 40 credit special subjects need to have the same form of examination. So they all need to have the same paperwork.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 25/07/2022 16:34:45


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