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

A Game of Tongues: A Song of Linguistic Variation and Change

This description is for the undergraduate level Yorkcourse.

Background

Game of Thrones is HBO’s recent and successful adaptation of the fantasy novels ‘A song of fire and ice’ by American author George R.R. Martin.   The story is set in the fictional seven kingdoms of Westeros and the continent of Essos.  It chronicles the fight for the iron throne or for independence from it i.e. the game of thrones. Throughout are themes of power, gender, class and race.

Game of Tongues is Beck’s adaptation of historical and sociolinguistics: ‘Linguistic Variation and Change’.  The story is set in the development of the English language from the seven kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxons to the present-day.   It chronicles the fight for the Standard English or for independence from it i.e. the game of tongues.  Throughout we will look at themes of power, gender, class and race.

Module description

This module covers aspects of variation and change in the English language from Old English (pre-1066) up to and including the Present Day. The main focus is on English in England and giving you an opportunity to investigate language in its social and cultural contexts.  Whilst the module uses the themes of Game of Thrones, this is not a module about Game of Thrones.  You do not need to have watched the series or know anything about it (but nor will it cause harm if you have). We will use some clips from the series during the course, but there will be no major plot spoilers.

The module covers:

  • The general sociolinguistic history of British English from Old English (c.900AD) to the present-day. It will include discussion of the impact of contact (e.g. Latin, Old Norse and French) and processes of standardisation including attitudes towards different varieties of English in the past and in present-day educational settings.
  •  The analysis of the historical development of a few historically central, specific areas of phonology, morphology and syntax.
  • Description and interpretation of linguistic variation in the British Isles today as related to social factors such as age, gender and social class.  This will include discussion of the use of English in different settings including humour, slang and swearing. 

This course is suitable for anyone with an interest in English language, literature and/or culture.  There are a number of reasons why knowledge of the history of English is useful, particularly for teachers and teacher-trainees, including:

  • Helping to understand and explain some of the “quirks” of English grammar and vocabulary.
  • Promoting understanding of (some of) the rich variety of English literature which is available.  This includes the interpretation of historical authors such as Chaucer and Shakespeare as well as modern writers such as J.K. Rowling, Roald Dahl, Alex Wheatle and Zadie Smith who use “non-standard” varieties of British English in their works.
  • Appreciation for the ways in which language and culture interact and shape our attitudes, including within the language classroom.
  • Knowledge of the social traits of language such as the use or avoidance of slang, swearing, dialect and humour.  

Course aims

  1. Provide you with an overview of English at various stages of its development from the Old English period up to and including the present day.
  2. Develop your abilities in the linguistic analysis of historical and present-day texts/data. You will be required to read and analyse materials from different stages of English for presentation and discussion in seminars.
  3. Equip you with the knowledge and skills to describe historical and ongoing linguistic changes and produce critical accounts of the factors involved in these changes.
  4. Allow you to experience and develop key skills of IT, communication and learning how to learn.

Learning outcomes/objectives

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

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the history of English and language change to place Present Day English in its historical context.
  2. Interpret historical sources as evidence for earlier stages of the English language and for processes of language change, and understand the issues and problems in doing so.
  3. Demonstrate understanding of different types of language change and analyse the role of language internal and language external factors in these changes.
  4. Synthesise and evaluate primary and secondary sources to produce critical accounts of change in the history of English.

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 exercises worth 30% amounting to 1500 words worth of assessment. For HVL students under the BYIE programme only (Autumn 2019): the essay will count as their FOU oppgave and must therefore include a didactic element.

Course materials

Some key texts for this course include:

  • Barber, C. L. (2000). The English Language: a Historical Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University
  • Crystal, David. (2004). The Stories of English. London: Penguin.
  • 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 [fifth edition]. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Additionally a course pack should be purchased on arrival at the NSC, which contains the essential readings for the course.

Workload

This module should equate to about 200 hours study.   Weekly lectures and seminars are compulsory.   You will also be offered compulsory one-to-one consultation slots during the course where you will be able to discuss your essay in detail.

In addition there are a number of compulsory sessions on research training (including using the library, writing essays and referencing).

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 study.  The teaching period runs over ten weeks and includes a compulsory lecture and seminar 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 compulsory sessions on research training (including using the library, writing essays and referencing).

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.