Cultural and Critical Studies MA

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UKPASS code: 035444 | Institution code: W50 | Attendance mode: Full-time
Start: 16 January 2017
Duration: 1 year
Location: Central London
Campus: Regent

All prices quoted are for the current academic year only. Alumni discount.

Home/EU: £5,000.00
Overseas: £11,500.00

This interdisciplinary course offers you the rare opportunity to study contemporary critical and cultural debates across a wide range of fields. Exploring a variety of different visual, textual and spatial forms of culture, and their diverse theorisations, the course will particularly appeal to those with wide-ranging interests in the arts and humanities, as well as those interested in cutting-edge theoretical debates.

Modules are taught by expert staff from a number of different disciplines, giving you the chance to follow particular themes in the areas that most interest you. Recent work by staff in Cultural and Critical Studies includes books and articles on new media, urban theory, gender, contemporary art and aesthetics, Victorian criminality, China, visual culture, architecture, post-colonialism and critical theory.

Course content

The course consists of two main core modules, Capitalism and Culture, and Problems and Perspectives in Cultural Studies. These establish a framework for the close analysis of the locations, products and systems of culture. The dissertation of 10-12,000 words, which can be written on an appropriate topic of your choice, and the Research Methods module are also core modules. There is also an optional work placement module.

You are encouraged to attend the research seminars in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, at which visiting speakers, creative practitioners and teaching staff present their current work.

Modules

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.

Core modules

CAPITALISM AND CULTURE

Beginning with Marx's famous account of the commodity in the first chapter of Capital, this module explores a range of theoretical accounts of capitalism and examines their significance to the analysis of different cultural forms, including film, literature, and the contemporary visual arts. In doing so, you will consider changing conceptions of 'culture' itself, and its varying relations to ideas of art, modernity, production, the mass, autonomy, spectacle, and the culture industry. Key theorists you will study include Theodor Adorno, Jean Baudrillard, Walter Benjamin, Guy Debord, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Fredric Jameson, and Antonio Negri.

DISSERTATION

This extended piece of research work is an opportunity for you to pursue a topic of individual interest, and is conducted through individual study and directed supervision. The module also includes preparation of a detailed research proposal.

PROBLEMS AND PERSPECTIVES IN CULTURAL STUDIES

This module provides you with a critical introduction to contemporary cultural studies through analysis of the major approaches underlying the interdisciplinary, cross-cultural study of society. It is built around readings of the most influential theorists in the field, and key themes you will cover include: class and ethnicity in cultural studies; discourse and practice in cultural studies; gender, media and aesthetics; performance, ritual and representation in the language of culture; place, identity and voice; and shifting identities in the public spheres of multi-culturalist, transnationalist and global movements. The module concludes with an examination of the possibilities of 'decolonising' cultural studies from its traditional Eurocentric perspectives.

RESEARCH METHODS: KNOWLEDGE, CULTURAL MEMORY, ARCHIVES AND RESEARCH

This introduction to research methods engages with the critical implications of knowledge in the humanities, through interdisciplinary approaches to literature, visual, material, and spatial cultures, as they are understood, interpreted, and mobilised. Highlighting questions raised by discourse on epistemology, memory, archives, and research itself, the module concentrates on the complex links between: organic and technical forms of memory; public and private cultural institutions of knowledge, memory and identity; and informationgathering, retrieval, and analysis.

Option modules

Choose four from:

CREATIVE DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY

Taught by a leading internet artist, this module examines how digital technology is shaping new possibilities for the arts and for culture. In particular it addresses how new creative concerns and forms have emerged, how the old spaces of culture are being challenged and new spaces are arising, and how digital technology offers new ways of working with communities, audiences and participants. You will explore the critical discourse that has developed around digital technology and culture, and consider the changing role of digital technology within cultural institutions and the different forms of outputs that cultural institutions work with (eg gallery exhibitions, electronic publications, internet works).

INTERPRETING SPACES

You will examine the way that various forms of space are used, and how they are represented visually, from architectural spaces, urban spaces, public and private spaces, inhabited and non-inhabited spaces to virtual spaces. Key themes include the construction and use of public space, the colonisation and political use of space, the psychogeography of public space, and art commissioning for public spaces. Theorists and artists you will study include Marc Aug?, Gaston Bachelard, Victor Burgin, Sophie Calle, Buckminster Fuller, Elizabeth Grosz, Henri Lefebvre and Doreen Massey. The module includes a range of site visits, field trips and talks by visiting artists.

READING CONTEMPORARY CULTURE

This module examines the idea of British literary culture since the 1990s. Beginning with Carlyle, the notion of literature as an 'industry' has been resisted by a strong tradition of cultural criticism in Britain. This module discusses what happened to this tradition, whether it still exists, and what may have replaced it. By focusing particularly on the relationships between writing and film, and writing and the visual arts, the module investigates the state and status of literary writing during this period. Authors studied include A. S. Byatt, Sarah Kane, Zadie Smith, Sarah Waters and Irvine Welsh.

READING THE NATION

Through this module you will explore ways in which texts can be contextualised and discussed in terms of the concepts and practices of nationalism, and of attempts to understand the nation as a discursive practice. You will address a variety of texts and relate these to theoretical concepts such as nationalism, decolonisation, colonialism and post-colonialism. You will consider how such concepts intersect with issues concerning gender, race and social class. Authors studied include: Howard Brenton, David Hare, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Michael Ondaatje; you will also consider a range of influential theorists, including Benedict Anderson, Homi Bhabha, Michel Foucault and Edward Said.

REPRESENTING WORLD CULTURES

This module examines changing visual representations of world cultures in a range of contexts ? specifically, leading London Museums and galleries, and their associated websites, programmes and publications. You will look at the role of curators, designers, educators and other workers, and their contributions to the way that cultures are represented. You will also consider post-colonialism and the issues surrounding the representation of non-western cultures in contemporary western institutions. Key issues explored include: artists' interventions in museums and galleries; collecting the contemporary world; presenting religions; representations of Africa and Asia in London collections; the physical museum space as a cultural document; and visitors as citizens and consumers.

SEXUALITY AND NARRATIVE

Focusing on the period from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 21st century, you will examine a range of cultural, literary, artistic and theoretical perspectives on sexuality, in order to investigate the complex relationship between sexuality and narrative. Assessing and comparing a diverse range of theoretical writings on sexuality, the module considers the history and development of these distinct but related narratives and discourses. Key authors, artists and theorists studied include Georges Bataille, Judith Butler, Jeffrey Eugenides, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, Michael Haneke, Michel Houellebecq, Adrienne Rich and Oscar Wilde.

URBAN CULTURES

Using a range of theoretical, historical, literary, cinematic, visual and other cultural texts, you will explore the idea of urban culture as it has developed since the mid-19th century. The module considers a variety of different representations of the city, and the ways in which they understand the specificity of urban experience itself. You will also explore the changing global forms and interrelations of 'western' and 'non-western' urban forms. Key authors, artists and theorists studied include Walter Benjamin, Rem Koolhaas, Fritz Lang, Henri Lefebvre, Georg Simmel, Iain Sinclair, the Surrealists and Dziga Vertov.

Associated careers

The course is intended to give you sophisticated critical skills and a widely applicable knowledge of contemporary culture. This enables further study at MPhil or PhD levels, but is also particularly relevant to a range of professions in the media, creative and cultural industries.

Related courses

Length of course

One year, full-time or two years, part-time (January start available)

Location

Central London (Regent)

Additional costs information

To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.

Employability

Our dedicated Career Development Centre is actively working with an ever-expanding network of over 3,000 employers to provide you with exceptional employability support and guidance. As a result we were nominated as finalists for a significant industry award – the NUE Awards Most Improved Commitment to Employability 2016.

We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.

During your time at Westminster you will be able to use our comprehensive online vacancy service and meet with our experienced careers consultants, providing you with thorough training and support on CV writing, application forms, interview preparation and assessment centres.

In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.

For more details, visit the employability section on our site.

Career Development Centre

Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.

We can help you to:

  • find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
  • explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
  • plan your career development
  • identify your career options
  • market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
  • develop your enterprise skills

We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.

Find out more about the Career Development Centre.

Work Placements

Our Work Placement Teams are based in your Faculty Registry Office and can help you find a suitable placement, as well as support you in making applications, writing CVs and improving your interview technique.

More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.

Career options in your subject area

Our team of careers consultants work closely with Faculty departments to deliver tailored employability support, including subject-specific workshops, employer events and careers information, advice and guidance.

You can also browse the career options available to you after you graduate on the Career Development Centre's Finding work in your subject area pages and on the Prospects website.

Study in the city

If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.

Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.

Accommodation

After choosing your course, one of your biggest decisions will be where to live, and we aim to make that choice as easy as possible. Whether you want to apply for our Halls of Residence or live in private housing, we can help you to find the right accommodation.

Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships

In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.

Personal tutoring

All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.

Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.

Language support

Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.

Personal advice and counselling

While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.

International Westminster

With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.

Study Abroad and Summer School programmes

Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.

If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.

Sport and recreation

The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.

Students' Union

University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.

Upcoming postgraduate information evenings

DateTitleLocation
07 September 2016Postgraduate Information EveningCavendish, Harrow, Little Titchfield Street, Marylebone, Regent Street
View subject-specific information evenings

Social Sciences and Humanities

We offer an exciting breadth of activity across the Social Sciences, Law and the Arts and Humanities. We are one of the country's biggest providers of Modern and Applied Language tuition.

Find out more in our welcome from the Dean of the faculty

Postgraduate student funding

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Find out about new student loans of up to £10,000 for postgraduate master’s study.

15% discount for teachers

English MAs discount

If you are a student teaching in a secondary school or further education college, you may be entitled to a 15% discount on this MA course.

English Language Support

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We offer English language support for students who would like to improve their language skills during their studies.

Watch the webinar

Watch the English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies webinar on YouTube.