Module 5: Language, Culture and Society EKIA500

Subject Studies

Michael Coleman

Target Group: Subject/Advanced students. But all students welcome.

Aim and Content:

This option will examine cultural and intellectual developments in the Western World from early modern times (1500) to the present. A major theme of the course will be the issue of knowledge – how we come to know (or think we know) things. There will be comparative perspectives with non-Western cultures.

Mode of study: Lecture and readings. Comment and discussion welcome in class.

Assessment: 3-hour written examination (no books).


1) Moniste: Modern Cultural History (course outline, from Copy Shop).

2) Readings suggested each week by lecturer.

Eleanor Underwood

Prerequisites: Students should already have taken Michael Coleman’s British and American history course.

Target group: Second or third year students.  

Aim and content: This course takes a look at social change in Britain in the last hundred years, with the aim of reaching a better understanding of the present situation.  Many of the features of society that we take for granted now were unheard of one hundred years ago, and the form of many of our social institutions depends on steps taken during this hundred-year period.  This course will look broadly at social and political developments related to such issues as the welfare state, multi-racialism, women’s role in society, leisure and the media.

Mode of study: Tutorials.  Teacher input and one paper presented by each student for discussion.

Assessment: Contribution to tutorials 50 % and final examination 50 %.

Required reading:
Arthur Marwick (2003),  British Society since 1945.  London: Penguin.

Elizabeth Peterson

Target group: Students of the Department of Languages (and especially students of English) who wish to learn more about some of the core issues of minority cultures and language

Aim and content: This class takes an academic perspective on topics surrounding African Americans and their history, culture, and language. The course will begin with a general discussion of the history of people of African descent in the Americas, moving onto literature, poetry, music, and other cultural features, followed by a detailed overview of grammatical features and social controversies surrounding African American English (aka “Ebonics”) and an examination of contemporary African American culture(s).

Required readings: Connie Porter (1999), Imani All Mine. First Mariner Books; a course packet (available at university bookstores).

Mode of study: Lectures and discussion of readings, guided individual and group work on in-class exercises.

Assessment: Regular participation, in-class exercises, discussion of reading assignments, homework, mid-term exam.

Eleanor Underwood

Target group:  “Subject” Level students with an interest in and some background knowledge of English society.    

Aim and content:  This course looks at some of the social and political problems in present-day education through three works of fiction written in the late 20th century.  These are supplemented with current materials from the press.  In Britain education is at the root of many of the divisions in modern society, and this course explores some of those divisions, examining how the varieties of educational experience affect people’s lives and shape the character of society.  It also considers the effect of political fashion on those involved in education.

Mode of study: Tutorials, two hours per week, one term.

Assessment:  Students will be graded on the basis of the quality of their participation in tutorials and a final written assignment. Students will have to have read the texts before the relevant class discussions.  Credits will be withheld in the case of poor attendance.

Required reading:

Willy Russell (1985).  Educating Rita
David Mamet (1992).  Oleanna
David Lodge (1988).  Nice Work.


Examiner: Eleanor Underwood

Empire and After (5 pts):
• Ruth Prawer Jhabvala: Heat and Dust
• E.M. Forster: A Passage to India
• Andrea Levy: Small Island
• Monica Ali: Brick Lane
• Paul Gilroy: There Ain’t no Black in the Union Jack.

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