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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF1027 Cultural History

20 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Dr Claudia Sternberg

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Module replaces

ARTF1023 Cultural History

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This introductory module maps out some of the social and cultural formations underscoring the history of ‘the West’ since the period known as the Enlightenment. It invites undergraduate students at the very beginning of their studies to engage with history from a cultural perspective, develop a 'sense of history' and reflect on what might be understood as ‘historical consciousness’. We draw on historical events, developments and concepts to interrogate some of the ideological and political assumptions informing modernity and postmodernity. Using a wide variety of materials, we also consider how race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality have been figured and represented since the Enlightenment. The texts that students encounter range from philosophical, constitutional and sociological writings to autobiography, fiction, photography and film. The contexts in which these will be explored include Enlightenment philosophy, the 'Age of Revolutions', enslavement and colonialism, 20th century war and the modern city. The contemporary legacies of the Enlightenment age will also be examined in relation to cultural memory, postmodernism, post- and transhumanism.


Students are made familiar with a selection of key thinkers, concepts and methods relevant to the study and analysis of culture and history, modernity and postmodernity. They learn to critically and analytically approach a range of printed and (audio-)visual texts with reference to the historical formations presented in the module. In addition, this module introduces first year students to a selection of foundational study skills and encourages them to look for signs and manifestations of the module themes in Leeds, Yorkshire and other places they are familiar with.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this module, students will be able to

1. recognise and describe historical formations that are central to the understanding of (Western/European) modernity and postmodernity,
2. ‘think historically’ and explain various meanings behind this phrase,
3. historicise cultural artefacts and discourses,
4. identify traces of the formations discussed in the module in the physical and social world that surrounds them.

Skills outcomes
Students on this module

learn to engage with different texttypes and genres,
practice to situate cultural and scholarly production historically, culturally and ideologically,
acquire a critical vocabulary and awareness of formations and concepts relevant to cultural and media studies,
develop their ability to manage their time,
develop the core skills of active reading, note making and critical thinking that help to work through unfamiliar and/or complex material and prepare for coursework and examinations.


Lectures, seminars and film screenings may cover:

- Culture, History and Society
- Revolution, Enlightenment and the Dream of Reason
- Enslavement, Colonialism and ‘Race’
- Feral Children and the Human
- The City and Urban Life
- The Unconscious Mind
- War and Cultural Memory
- Postmodernity and Postmodernism
- Posthumanism and the Anthropocene

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours10.00
Private study hours160.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Independent online learning:
Working through Skills@Library guidance on ‘Critical Thinking’, ‘Notemaking’ and ‘Revision and Exams’ as well as a small selection of further skills-related materials on ‘close reading’ and the ‘SQ3R study method’.

Private study:
Readings (including one short novel), making notes and revisiting weekly materials for tutorials: 100 hours
10 x weekly online tests (incl. engaging with integrated further material): 20 hours
Exam revision/preparation: 20 hours
Film viewing: 6 hours
Other: 14 hours (engaging with local/regional connections, exploring Leeds and vicinity in response to module content)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students submit weekly tests on the weekly topics and can see their results immediately. It gives them a sense of progression.

The weekly tutorials offer an opportunity to raise questions and see how each student’s understanding compares with that of the peer group.

Introductory support for the development of skills accompanies the weekly teaching so that students can feel confident they know how to do well on the module.

Students are actively encouraged to make use of office hours.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Online Assessmentdelivered as test on Minerva, using the essay question function40.00
In-course MCQset weekly. Tests 1-5 due week 6, Tests 6-10 due week 1260.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The tests run alongside the weekly sessions and students are encouraged to complete them on a weekly basis. To avoid too much pressure for first year/first term students, the actual deadlines are not weekly but set in two five-week blocks. Resit: The correct answers to the test questions are revealed to students after the deadline. This and also difficulties with administering a resit of different tests for different students at different points in time makes it unfeasible to use the weekly tests as a resit. Each test accounts for 6% of the module mark; it does not put students at risk of failure if they do not complete all ten tests. However, if a student did not or cannot complete any or the majority of the tests (on grounds of long-term illness, disability, accessibility issues or similar), short mini-essay tasks, based on the relevant weekly theme, will be set, taking the students’ circumstances into account. The resit tasks will have to be completed in the resit period.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 07/11/2022


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