All modules are subject to availability and this list may change at any time.
The course consists of 120 credits per year. Most modules are 20 credits, meaning you’ll study six modules each year. Some longer modules, such as a dissertation, are worth more (e.g. 40 credits). In these cases, you’ll study fewer modules - but the number of credits will always add up to 120.
Core and compulsory modules are fundamental to achieving the learning outcomes for your course and must be studied.
Optional modules let you tailor the course to your interests. Please note, the availability of optional modules can vary each trimester. And some modules may require prior study (taking an earlier module, for example).
Crime Fiction: Reading the Body, Reading the Signs
To explore this wide-ranging and unique genre, you will first investigate the two main crime fiction traditions, classical (Poe, Doyle and Christie) and hardboiled (Ellroy). Next, your seminar group will analyse four novels chosen from among the many subgenres that have developed more recently, such as the forensic detective novel, black hardboiled crime, true crime and many others.
You will analyse the Gothic, from the conception of the genre in the 18th century to its manifestation in contemporary literature and film, focusing on the genre's convergence with contemporaneous social and cultural preoccupations.
Playing God: Late Medieval Drama, from Page to Stage
This module explores the vibrant drama of late medieval England, focusing on the street plays performed in cities like York and Chester, on morality plays performed indoors before paying audiences, and on political plays performed in the households of royalty and nobility. Alongside study of the text of each play, you'll have the opportunity to reimagine the plays in performance, using theatre workshops, field trips and play archives to bring the era's drama to life.
Unruly Subjects and Renaissance Texts
Our subject is unruliness - how it was defined, represented, attacked and, on occasion, defiantly celebrated in later 16th and early 17th-century English literature. The focus is on how writing, which was regarded with suspicion by the authorities, treats controversial issues of the day such as rebellion, sexual misconduct, cross-dressing and witchcraft and incorporates socially marginal figures whose irreducible and unruly humanity challenges us to reflect on their marginalisation and on those who are similarly marginalised in our times.
The Globalisation of American Culture: International Perspectives on America as a Cultural Superpower
Is the world simply becoming ever more 'Americanised'? Or can countries and peoples resist the USA’s 'cultural imperialism'? This module explores the impact of Americanisation, examining how cultures have appropriated, transformed, rejected, embraced and imagined America. You'll also consider the influence it has had on your own identity.
Childhood Trauma and Its Aftermath in Contemporary Fiction
Explore ways in which contemporary novels and 'misery memoirs' present childhood trauma that impacts on adolescence and adulthood. You'll discuss a range of characters with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of early bereavement or mistreatment in the domestic sphere, in conjunction with psychological and medical studies of child development.
Crossing the Line: Frontiers in the Literature of America
Explore literary representations of border regions in the Americas. You'll examine how cultural exchange, interaction and migration have shaped the US, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean by reading texts that cross lines between cultures and produce new ways of thinking about national identities.
You will explore how Shakespeare borrowed and adapted plays - now anonymous - which had entered the dramatic tradition. You will consider Shakespeare's plays from all genres in the light of theories of adaptation, imitation, conversion and originality.
Secrets and Lies: Victorian Decadence and Degeneration 1860-1901
Explore the development of new forms of writing which focus on the darker alternative or hidden aspects of Victorian society, such as the new woman, the homosexual man, the foreigner, and the poor, in the context of degeneration theory.
Special Author: Shakespeare
You will study plays from the whole range of Shakespeare's dramatic career, from the early 1590s to around 1610, with a selection of comedies, histories, tragedies and tragicomedies chosen for study each year.
American History by Hollywood
From D W Griffith’s 1915 epic, The Birth of a Nation onwards, Hollywood filmmakers have drawn upon the history of the United States as a bountiful source of stories, characters and adventures. Exploring cinematic representations of events such as the American Revolution or the Civil Rights Movement, and figures from Abraham Lincoln to Jesse James, this module compares Hollywood’s version of history with what historical courses say ‘really’ happened in the past.
An in-depth exploration of the history and impact of Disney's global entertainment empire.
Doin’ Time: American Prison Culture of the 20th and 21st Centuries
This module explores one of the world's largest prison systems and the cultural responses it has spawned. You'll get an overview of the key debates and concepts in American prison studies, and you'll study new cultural and pop-cultural formats that you might not have encountered before. We'll discuss incarcerated gangster rappers, poetry from Guantanamo Bay and The Shawshank Redemption, as well as visiting a local prison.
The Civil War in American History and Culture
This module explores the seismic impact of the American Civil War on US politics, society and culture. Besides learning about the conflict and its outcomes, you'll consider its continuing and contested legacy, from the representation of Abraham Lincoln in film to the debate over Confederate monuments.
Telling the Truth: American Documentary Culture from the Muckrakers to Fake News
Explore how photographers and filmmakers have documented American society from the early 20th century to the present day. It's an interdisciplinary module with a visual culture focus that looks at documentary texts in many formats, including newspapers, magazines, films, photography, books, websites and social media.