Representing Contemporary Cultures 1 introduces students to issues and debates in contemporary culture and the ways that current writers and film-makers engage with them. Major global events and transformations of the early twenty-first century provide a contextual frame. Students will acquire a critical understanding of contemporary cultural theories, an awareness of the broader contexts for debates about the contemporary, as well as an ability to construct complex and detailed arguments in relation to the ways that the contemporary period is represented in literature and film. The unit falls into three thematic segments, of which the first is centred on literary and cinematic representations of the bombing of the World Trade Centre on 1 September 2001. Two other topics – from the range of ‘Cosmopolitanism’, ‘Nation, Migration and Globalisation’, ‘The Environment’ or ‘Moral Panics’ – extend the unit’s exploration of the contemporary world in a wider contextual frame. Texts and films discussed on this unit have included Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss (2006), Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer (2001), Ian McEwan’s Saturday (2005), Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005), Danny Boyle’s The Beach (2000), Jan Dunn’s Gypo (2005) and Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center (2006).
The unit is taught by a team of fully research-active staff from the English department whose research profiles can be viewed at www.hssr.mmu.ac.uk/centre-of-research-in-english. A follow-up unit, “Representing Contemporary Cultures 2″, is available for those who successfully complete this unit.
This course is worth an optional 20 credits at Master’s level and costs £500. For further details, contact Professor Berthold Schoene: +44 (0) 161 247 1780; b.sc...@mmu.ac.uk. To apply, contact James Draper: +44 (0) 161 247 1787; j.dr...@mmu.ac.uk.