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Undergraduate Spring modules

Undergraduate students on the Spring 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.

Upon completing the Spring modules, it is possible to apply to remain in York for the Autumn modules.

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. The Victorians
  2. Imperialism to Globalism

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.

The Victorians

Introduction

Most of the inventions and settings of modern life can be traced back to the nineteenth century when the Industrial Revolution transformed Britain from a rural to an urban country to become the ‘workhouse of the world’. The human cost of this transformation preoccupies the major writers of this century, from the Bronte’s account of women caught between classes to Dicken’s exploration of the squalor of London. The psychological cost is of equal importance. This is the century that gives rise to the horror fiction of Stephenson and the science-fiction of H.G. Wells as the century moves towards the invention of psychoanalysis via fantasy works such those of Lewis Caroll.

In York you’ll walk streets familiar to the Brontes, Dickens and Collins as you consider the debt owed to this fascinating and contradictory century.

Aims

  • Literary: to use a mixture of close reading and plot analysis to explore the different writing styles of the nineteenth century and their purpose.
  • Historical/political: to examine the diverse reactions to the rise of Britain from a small maritime island to the world’s major imperial power.
  • Sociological: to explore the changes in morality over the period, particularly the struggle for social rights women and children.
  • Cultural: to experience how the movements of the time are reflected in the art of the day, set against a view from below; the Britain of popular and traditional songs.

Learning outcomes/objectives

  • To acquire knowledge of the major styles and trends of nineteenth century literature.
  • To appreciate the cultural reaction to some of the most significant events of the nineteenth century and their legacy.
  • To understand some of the major social shifts that occurred since 1800.
  • To identify some of the co-existing cultures of nineteenth century Britain.

Assessment

This module will be assessed via two essays, each of 2500 words in length.  You will write draft versions of three essays during the teaching period and your tutor will provide detailed comments on these drafts.  You will then have time to rework two of the essays in the light of your tutor's comments before resubmission for assessment.  The final essay will be due in mid-May.

Core texts

  • Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre
  • Dickens: Great Expectations
  • Caroll: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking glass
  • Hardy: Tess of the D’Urbervilles

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.

Imperialism to Globalism

Introduction

This module traces the rise and fall of Britain as the arbitrator of world politics and its displacement by the United States of America. Drawing on texts from children’s literature and popular culture, the course divides into the two parts ‘Children of the Empire’ and ‘Children of the Bomb’.

The first part looks at works exploring the relationship between Britain and India and the imagination of an idealised England in the years leading up to the First World War. The second part starts after the Second World War and examines the attempts of Britain to adjust to life in a nuclear age dominated by the paradoxes of American power, when inhabitants of the former empire come to Britain to look for a new life. Set against a reggae soundtrack, the module examines the conflict between the views from above and below, the colonisers and the colonised, children and adults.

Aims

  • Literary: to use a mixture of close reading and plot analysis to explore the different styles of writing for children and adolescents before World War I and after World War II.
  • Historical/political: to examine the displacement of Britain as the leading Western world power by America.
  • Sociological: to explore the paradoxical idealisations of childhood and the concepts of meaning and duty in periods dominated first by Imperialism and then by the Cold War.
  • Cultural: to experience how the movements of the time are reflected by the ‘high’ and ‘low’ art of the time.

Learning outcomes/objectives

  • To acquire knowledge of the major styles and trends of child/adolescent literature before World War I and after World War II.
  • To appreciate the cultural reaction to the increasing insecurities of the twentieth century.
  • To understand some of the major social shifts that occurred since 1910.
  • To realise how the literature of childhood reflects the fears and hopes of the twentieth century.

Assessment

This module will be assessed via two essays, each of 2500 words in length.  You will write draft versions of three essays on topics of your choice relating to the course during the teaching period and your tutor will provide detailed comments on these drafts.  You will then have time to rework two of the essays in the light of your tutor's comments before resubmission. The final essay will be due in mid-May.

Core texts:

  • Nesbit: The Story of the Amulet
  • Grahame: Wind in the Willows
  • Salinger: Catcher in the Rye
  • Greene: The Quiet American

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

Discourse Analysis: texts, contexts and meanings

This description is for the undergraduate level YorkCourse.

Background

What role does the discourse of newspapers play in shaping the views of their readers about immigrants? How do people construct their identities on social media platforms? How do companies establish trust in their communications with their investors and other stakeholders? What functions do adverbs such as ‘obviously’ ‘clearly’, ‘apparently’ or adjectives such as ‘brilliant’, ‘amazing’, ‘awesome’ serve in different texts? These are some of the questions that this course will aim to answer.  

Module Description

In this module we will use frameworks, such as Systemic Functional Linguistics (as applied to discourse), Conversational Analysis, to understand the relationship between language above the level of sentences and clauses through examining the  discursive strategies used by speakers and writers to create meaning in different social contexts. We will examine the language used in texts from different genres, written and spoken, such as newspapers, advertisements, political, medical and business discourses, academic writing, conversations, online communication to uncover the functions and meanings contained within them to become aware of the range of features that operate above the level of sentences and clauses.

This course is suitable for students, teachers and teacher trainees with an interest in understanding how meaning is created in texts from different genres through the interaction between language and social context. 

Course Aims

  • To provide you with an introduction to the key concepts in discourse analysis.
  • Developing your knowledge of the theoretical frameworks of Systemic Functional Grammar and Conversational Analysis.
  • Giving you practical experience in analyzing written and spoken discourse from different genres.
  • Equip you with the techniques for linguistic analysis using Systemic Functional approaches and Conversational Analysis

Learning Outcomes/objectives

Upon completion of this course, you will

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between discourse and social and cultural contexts
  • Demonstrate an understanding of analytical frameworks like Systemic Functional Grammar, Conversational Analysis for analysing texts
  • Use the above approaches and their tools to analyse spoken and written texts
  • Carry out an analysis of a piece of written or spoken text from any genre

You will also have:

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

Assessment

The course is assessed by a 3000 word analysis of a text, written or spoken, of your choice from any genre using the frameworks introduced in the course (70%) and two dossier exercises each worth 15% (total of 30%) amounting to 1500 words worth of assessment. 

Some Key Texts

Bloor. T. and M. Bloor (2013) The functional analysis of English. A Hallidayan approach. London: Routledge.

Eggins, S. and D. Slade (1997) Analysing casual conversation. London: Equinox.

Martin, J.R. and D. Rose (2003) Working with discourse. Meaning beyond the clause. London: Continuum

Paltridge, B. (2012) Discourse Analysis. An introduction. London: Bloomsbury

Thompson, G. (2013) Introducing functional grammar. London: Routledge.

Wooffitt, R. (2005) Conversational analysis and discourse analysis. London: Sage Publications.

Zhang Waring, H (2017) Discourse analysis: the questions discourse analysts ask and how they answer them. London: Routledge.

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

Defence Against the Dark Arts

This description is for the undergraduate level YorkCourse.

Introduction

Since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 we have collectively faced a much darker world. In several countries the politico-economic consensus of the last forty years has collapsed and, generally speaking, a drift to authoritarian and xenophobic politics has come in its place. This module helps explain how we got here, and starts to give an idea of the challenges we face in the future.

It does this from the perspective of institutional political economy. In short, institutional political economy is a framework that holds that politics (and the struggle for power inherent in politics) creates law, and law creates the economic system in which individuals act. The economy (or "market") then is not separate to politics and the state, but intimately entwined with both. The shape of the economy too will continually be subject to change, rather than running on universal laws. Thankfully, this position is in contrast to orthodox economics (so there's no need for number-crunching) and instead draws upon literature from political science, sociology, economics, history, and legal studies, among others.

Course Organisation

This course is primarily be taught through a mixture of lectures and seminars. In addition, popular films and documentaries are used in relevant weeks.

1. Political Economy and Economic Theory

This section serves as an introduction to both political economy and to distinct economic ideologies. The main point is show that the exploration of economic issues need not been abstract, mathematical and scary, but, instead, can be grounded in everyday experience and needs to involve a consideration of politics. This section sets the theoretical backdrop for our consideration of the rest of the course. 

2. Crisis and Austerity

This section explores the origins of, and political response to, the Global Financial Crisis. This section sets the historical backdrop for our consideration of contemporary events.

3. Inequality and Corporate Power

Here we explore two well-established trends of political economy that have intensified since 1979 (and perhaps even more so post-2008). Inequality, in its several forms, will be investigated, as will the influence of corporations on politics, and the problematic relationship between capitalism and democracy more broadly.

4. The Free Market, and the Environment

Finally, we look to the future of the political economy. Two main problems are explored. Firstly, we tackle the nature of the global economy and how it has been constructed. Secondly, we explore the political economic challenge of the globe's ecological and environmental problems.

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 late May.

Reading

A week-by-week reading list is provided at the start of the course, and a larger annotated bibliography will be available for research essays. The best book for the foundational weeks of the course, and for getting a sense of the content of the course, is H.J. Chang, Economics: The User's Guide. 

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

Tutorials to be scheduled as appropriate. 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.