Accessibility statement

Undergraduate Autumn modules

Undergraduate students on the Autumn programme study three modules, each worth 10 credits.  Normally students take one module in English Literature, one in Language and Linguistics and one in Cultural Studies

However, for those who wish to specialise in one of these three areas, we offer a Research Extension Module which allows students to study 20 credits in one of these fields, whilst dropping one of the remaining two subjects.  This module is suitable for those who wish to complete their Bachelor's dissertation (Oppgave) whilst in York, as well as those who want to conduct independent research or go on to a Master's or PhD programme.

Literature

Literature

This description is for the undergraduate level Yorkcourse.

Dr Jonathan Brockbank of the Department of English and Related Literature is offering our students a choice of two modules of which you will study one:

  1. Twentieth-Century British and Irish Literature
  2. American Literature of the Long Nineteenth Century: The Trans-Atlantic Connection

These are both described below. Please indicate on your application form which module you would prefer. Modules offered will depend on the number of requests made and the number of students on the course, so we regret that you are not guaranteed your preference.

Twentieth-Century British and Irish Literature

Introduction

The twentieth century was the century in which urbanisation and mechanisation reached a new peak. It was the century in which the power of science and industry were applied to two world wars and to genocides that eradicated the difference between soldier and civilian, innocent and guilty. The literature of the time is deeply engaged in such struggles. Strikingly polarised in style between the realistic and the experimental, the works of writers such as Joyce, Eliot, Yeats, Woolf and Orwell take their sides in the conflict between elitism and democracy, humanity and inhumanity, commitment and alienation.

We are the heirs of their struggles.

Aims

  • Literary: to use a mixture of close reading and plot analysis to explore the different writing styles of the twentieth century and their purpose.
  • Historical/political: to examine the human cost of the World Wars and the reactions to the downfall of Britain as an imperial power.
  • Sociological: to explore the changes in morality over the period, particularly the struggle for women’s social and political rights.
  • Cultural: to experience how the movements of the time are reflected in the art and music of the day.

Learning outcomes/objectives

  • To acquire knowledge of the major styles and trends of twentieth century literature.
  • To appreciate the cultural reaction to some of the most traumatic events of the twentieth century.
  • To understand some of the major social shifts that occurred since 1910.
  • To realise how multi-faceted and interlocking the cultural and historical movements of the twentieth century are.

Assessment

You will write three 2,500-word essays on topics derived from the tutorial and seminar discussion. The tutor gives detailed comments on essays. The best two essays are then reworked and submitted for marking. The deadline for the final submission of essays is early in January.

Core texts

  • Joyce: ‘The Dead’
  • Woolf: Mrs Dalloway
  • Beckett: End Game
  • Ishiguro: The Remains of the Day

Workload

This module should equate to about 200 hours study.  The teaching period runs over ten weeks and includes a compulsory two hour seminar (in a group of up to 15 students) and an hour's tutorial (in a group of 2 or 3 students) each week.   You will also be offered one-to-one consultation slots during the course where you will be able to discuss your essay(s) in detail.

In addition there are a number of optional lectures which you may choose to attend along with other students in the Department of English and Related Literature.  We strongly advise you to attend these where possible, even where they discuss texts which are not on your reading list.

Full details of the timetable will be given to you at the start of the course.

The remainder of the time should be spent completing individual study/research and ensuring you are fully prepared for seminars and tutorials.

American Literature of The Long Nineteenth Century: The Trans-Atlantic Connection

Introduction

This module traces the emergence of America as a great international power in a long nineteenth century that runs from 1830 to 1930. Despite an official political culture of optimism and triumph, American writers show a deep vein of doubt and questioning in texts that explore the paradoxes of a nation that proclaimed all men equal but was founded on slavery and expanded at the expense of its native peoples. The chosen works show the traumas endured by America from Civil War to Great War as it moved from being a refuge from the power struggles of Europe to the dominator of world conflicts, set to a soundtrack of American traditional and popular songs.

Aims

  • Literary: to use a mixture of close reading and plot analysis to explore the different writing styles of the ‘Long Nineteenth Century’ (C1783-1925) and their purpose.
  • Historical/political: to examine the transformation of America from an anti-colonial power and democratic refuge from feudal Europe, to one of the world’s international powers, participating in World War I.
  • Sociological: to explore the paradoxes of the Constitution and a literature that is preoccupied with doubt, self-questioning and the undermining of official myths.
  • Cultural: to experience how American art created an iconography for ‘the American Dream’ and set this against a view from below; the America of popular and traditional songs.

Learning outcomes/objectives

  • To acquire knowledge of the major styles and trends of American literature of the long nineteenth century.
  • To appreciate the cultural reaction to some of the most inspiring and disillusioning events of the nineteenth century that accompanied the rise of the USA.
  • To understand some of the major social shifts that occurred since 1783.
  • To identify the paradoxes and contradictions of the evolving ‘American dream’.

Assessment

You will write three 2,500-word essays on topics derived from the tutorial and seminar discussion. The tutor gives detailed comments on essays. The best two essays are then reworked and submitted for marking. The deadline for the final submission of essays is early in January.

Core texts

  • The Oxford Book of American Short Stories
  • Crane: The Red Badge of Courage
  • Twain: Huckleberry Finn
  • Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby

Workload

This module should equate to about 200 hours study.  The teaching period runs over ten weeks and includes a compulsory two hour seminar (in a group of up to 15 students) and an hour's tutorial (in a group of 2 or 3 students) each week.   You will also be offered one-to-one consultation slots during the course where you will be able to discuss your essay(s) in detail.

In addition there are a number of optional lectures which you may choose to attend along with other students in the Department of English and Related Literature.  We strongly advise you to attend these where possible, even where they discuss texts which are not on your reading list.

Full details of the timetable will be given to you at the start of the course.

The remainder of the time should be spent completing individual study/research and ensuring you are fully prepared for seminars and tutorials.

Linguistics

Linguistics

Harry Potter and the Order of the Linguist: Aspects of Sociolinguistics in Britain Today

This description is for the undergraduate level YorkCourse.

Background

This module uses the books, audiobooks and films of the Harry Potter series as a base to explore various sociolinguistic topics relevant in Britain today. Therefore, whilst the course is based on Harry Potter, it is really about language, society, culture and the relations between them.  As such it is concerned with linguistic variability and the social use of language, as well as the relationship between these and language change.  

We will be flying into the magical worlds of Harry Potter, linguistics (particularly socio- and historical linguistics), literature, cultural studies, sociology, education and media studies (and probably trespassing over a few other fields too).   

Love or loathe Harry Potter there is something in this course for everyone.

Module description

The module uses the Harry Potter series to provide a description and interpretation of linguistic variation in the British Isles today as related to social factors such as age, gender, “Race” and social class

This module is suitable for anyone with an interest in English language, literature and/or culture.  For those who require a didactic element, there are many ways in which this course can be useful for teachers/teaching in a classroom. For example, consideration of the status and role of English in the world today is crucial for those wishing to teach it in a classroom; which variety, if any, should be used? This is a question which will be raised and discussed from various perspectives during this course: on a global scale when comparing American and British English(es), on a national scale when discussing regional and social variation in Britain today.  Furthermore, this course will provide a demonstration of how literature can be used to teach and discuss aspects of current language and culture in a classroom.

Course aims

The main aims of the module are to:

  • Help you to understand the ways in which language use relates to wider social, political and cultural factors in the British Isles and beyond.
  • Provide knowledge and critical understanding of sociolinguistic terms, concepts, and approaches/methodologies including the kinds of argumentation employed in interpreting empirical data.
  • Enable you to carry out your own sociolinguistic research in an informed and systematic manner.
  • Promote lively discussion in seminars to strengthen argument and critical thinking skills and also public speaking.
  • To make you laugh and realise that linguistics really is LOTS of fun (and also really rather interesting!).

Learning outcomes/objectives

At the end of this module you will be able to:

  1. Show you have acquired an understanding of the complex relationship between language and the social world.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of attitudes towards different varieties of English as well as issues of intelligibility and identity and the implications of these for English language teaching.
  3. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of linguistic variability and change in the British Isles today.
  4. Describe, interpret and critically evaluate recent sociolinguistic studies which focus on the situation in Britain.
  5. Collect, describe and analyse linguistic data using appropriate sociolinguistic methodology.

You will also have:

  1. Improved your abilities to read and write academic English.
  2. Learnt to find and use appropriate library and internet resources.
  3. Developed your independent learning and organisational skills, particularly through choosing your own essay topic.
  4. Have an ability to summarise and present findings in a useful way.

Assessment

The course is assessed by a 3500 word essay on a topic of your choice related to the course (70%) and seminar-type exercises worth 30% amounting to 1500 words worth of assessment.

Course materials

There is not a compulsory textbook for this module, although you should read, re-read or listen to the first Harry Potter novel in English before the start of the module. It doesn’t matter if it is the UK version, 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' or the American version, ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ or who voices the audio recording (although it is hard to beat Stephen Fry).

Weekly readings from textbooks and journals will be made available to you via the module site when the module starts in August.  If you would like to do some preliminary reading for linguistics in the meantime, you might like to consider any introductory sociolinguistics textbook (any edition).  For example, the following are widely available as print or electronic resources:

  • Holmes, J. (2013). An introduction to Sociolinguistics [4th edition]. Oxon: Routledge.
  • Llamas, C., L. Mullany and P. Stockwell (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Sociolinguistics. London: Routledge.  
  • Meyerhoff, M. (2011). Introducing Sociolinguistics [2nd edition]. Oxon: Routledge.
  • Wardhaugh, R. (2006). An introduction to Sociolinguistics [5th edition]. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Workload

This module should equate to about 200 hours of study. You are expected to attend all assigned lectures and seminars, and attendance will be monitored.  You will also be offered one-to-one consultation slots during the course where you will be able to discuss your essay in detail.

Full details of the timetable will be given to you at the start of the course.

The remainder of the time should be spent completing individual study/research and ensuring you are fully prepared for lectures and seminars.

Culture

Culture

Race Relations in Britain

This description is for the undergraduate level Yorkcourse.

Introduction

Subjects to be covered will include the following:

  • Immigration - history and legislation
  • Anti-discrimination legislation
  • Race relations and the criminal justice system
  • Education and employment
  • Racism in sport
  • Race relations and the media

A more detailed, week by week, schedule of lectures and seminars will be distributed at the start of the course.

Course organisation

This course will be taught through a mixture of lecture and seminar sessions. There will be no formal seminar papers, but each student will be expected to contribute some independent research to the discussion at selected seminars. (I will explain what I mean by 'independent research', etc, in the first seminar).

Course aims

The purpose of this module is to provide a critical introduction to the political doctrine of ‘multiculturalism’ as a way of organising and legislating for ‘appropriate’ race relations in twenty-first century Britain. Our approach to the topic will be interdisciplinary, drawing on theories and methodologies from history, sociology, anthropology and media studies, but it will be chiefly directed by the concepts of postcolonialism.

Learning outcomes/objectives

Upon successful completion of this module, you will:

  • Be able to demonstrate a general understanding of the key themes and issues in the area of race relations in Britain since the second world war;
  • Be able to analyse some aspects of the key theories and ideological discourses of race relations in Britain today;
  • Be able to employ relevant critical concepts from sociological, anthropological, political and/or literary and media discourses in considering contemporary events in the field of British race relations;
  • Have an enhanced appreciation of British culture, having studied that culture from within;
  • Be able to perform research or basic fieldwork relatively independently and to develop subsequently a sustained argument in essay form.

Assessment

This module will be assessed by an essay of 5000 words in length on a topic of your choice relating to the course.  You will write a draft version of this essay and receive detailed comments from your tutor before reworking the essay for final submission.  The final essay will be due in early January.

Core texts

Primary Course Text - Required Reading

  • Ratcliffe, Peter. 'Race', Ethnicity and Difference: Imagining the Inclusive Society. Open University Press, 2004.

Additional Reading

  • Alibhai-Brown, Yasmin. Mixed Feelings: the complex lives of mixed-race Britons. London : Women's press, 2001.
  • Goulbourne, Harry. Race relations in Britain since 1945. Social History in Perspective series. Gen. Ed. Jeremy Black. London : MacMillan. 1998.
  • Modood, Tariq & Richard Berthoud et al eds. Ethnic minorities in Britain : diversity and disadvantage. London : Policy Studies Institute, 1997.
  • Phillips, Mike & Trevor Phillips. Windrush: the irresistible rise of multi-racial Britain . London : Harpercollins, 1999.
  • Visram, Rozina. Asians in Britain : 400 years of history. London : Pluto Press, 2002.

In addition to the above, there is a growing collection of texts available in the NSC library.

The University Library at York has numerous holdings on multiculturalism, race relations, etc. Look under call numbers D1.450942 and H2.642. As this is an area of contemporary cultural studies that is constantly developing, keep an eye out for new publications and new statistics. You'll find that older works (published before 1990, say) may use different terminology and classifications: be aware that as more and different people study and discuss race, cultural and ethnic relations, definitions and concepts will change.

Workload

This module should equate to about 200 hours of study. You are expected to attend all assigned lectures and seminars, and attendance will be monitored.  You will also be offered one-to-one consultation slots during the course where you will be able to discuss your essay in detail.

Full details of the timetable will be given to you at the start of the course.

The remainder of the time should be spent completing individual study/research and ensuring you are fully prepared for lectures and seminars.

Research

Research Extension Modules in Literature, Culture or Linguistics at the Norwegian Study Centre, University of York

This module is for undergraduate students only. MA-level students and 'School Experience' students cannot access the REM.

The research extension module (REM) will be equivalent to 10 ECTs and replace one of the three existing modules thereby allowing students to take more credits in the subject that interests them the most. By expanding the word limit of a research piece demanded for another module by 5,000 words, it will give students the opportunity to undertake a substantial piece of independent research in Literature, Culture or Linguistics. That is, students who want or need to write a dissertation (Bachelor oppgave) in Literature, must concurrently study the Literature module in addition to either the Culture or Linguistics module.

The prerequisite for admission will be that students have at least a B in the dissertation subject from previous studies (Literature grades may count for a Culture dissertation).  The number of students for each research extension module will be capped at three per subject.

The combination of a regular 10 ECTs module and a 10 ECTs research extension module will allow the two to be considered as one 20 ECTs module, with one mark given for both, even though they will be treated separately on exam transcripts.

Aims, Objectives and Learning Outcome

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Design and carry out a theoretical and/or empirical study in a specialised area.
  • Understand the challenges posed in carrying out a piece of independent research.
  • Demonstrate an ability to critique and challenge theoretical ideas which have been proposed.
  • Demonstrate progress towards the ability to synthesise and to present complex ideas with clarity.
  • Select, limit and question a particular topic.
  • Demonstrate skills in presenting their thesis.
  • Write acceptable academic English.
  • Use appropriate library resources.

 Teaching

Contact hours

One-to-one tutorials to be scheduled as appropriate throughout the term. One or two of these may be changed to work in progress seminars.  These will be conducted in addition to the teaching on the relevant normal module.

Teaching programme

Tutorials will serve as opportunities to discuss the content of the research, including things such as issues of research design, practical issues in data collection (if appropriate), as well theoretical background to the project.

In addition, a total of approximately 200 hours of independent work will be required for this specific module.

Students will be responsible, in consultation with their “dissertation supervisor”, for designing a course of study which will allow them to explore a topic area in depth.  This would normally include at least some of the following: a reading list; data to be collected and analysed; short presentations to be made to the supervisor, allowing discussion and feedback on the student's work; a timetable for the completion of various tasks.

In addition there will be an obligatory tour of the library and a programme of research training (amounting to around 10 hours).

Attendance will be an obligatory requirement.

Assessment and feedback

Feedback on formative work

  • Feedback will consist of oral comments during tutorials and during the contact hours of the associated module.
  • Written comments will be provided on partial drafts of the dissertation, where appropriate.

Summative assessment and feedback

  • A 5000-word extension to an existing piece of assessment
    • Weight: 100%
    • Submission: Essays will be due in January if the module is undertaken in the Autumn term or in May if undertaken in the Spring term. 
    • Feedback: Students will be sent detailed feedback along with their transcript.