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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF5020M Cultural Theory

30 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Barbara Engh

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

A good BA Hons Degree or equivalent qualification


ARTF5110MCultural History

Module replaces

ARTF5600M Society, Sign, Text & Subject

This module is not approved as an Elective


On completion of this module, students should have a fundamental grasp of three major paradigms in critical cultural analysis: commodification, language, and subjectivity. They should have a detailed sense of the co-ordinates that map research and analysis in the field of cultural studies. They will have a shared conceptual vocabulary that will serve as the basis on which to develop collegial relations with each other, and on which to develop the particulars of their individual projects.

Skills outcomes
- Skills necessary to undertake higher research degree and/or for employment in a higher capacity in an area of professional practice.
- Evaluating own achievement and that of others.
- Self-direction and effective decision-making.
- Independent learning.
- Use of methodologies and theoretical resources.


This module will unfold in three sections. First, we will develop a detailed discussion of the concepts of the 'commodity' and 'commodity fetish' which have been central to cultural studies in its examination of contemporary consumer cultures, establishing a sense of the historical development of cultural theory in its relation to political economy and philosophy. Second, we will explore the 'linguistic paradigm' in cultural studies, and the critiques generated through the concepts of sign, discourse, and text of subjectivity, identity, agency, production, power, truth, reason, etc. Third, we will work through a series of theoretical texts by Freud and Lacan, with commentaries indicating the continuing work of interpretation within the psychoanalytical tradition. We will use a film text to explore these ideas.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours270.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Seminar - 58 hours
Reading - 130 hours
Writing - 82 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contribution to class discussion
Seminar presentation

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3500-4000 word final essay (inc footnotes and bibliography)100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2021 16:04:49


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