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Cinema, Cities & Crime - SOC00035H

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  • Department: Sociology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Gareth Millington
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2017-18
    • See module specification for other years: 2019-20

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2017-18

Module aims

This module will critically reflect upon how the modern city, urbanization and urbanism is imagined and represented in a series of films (e.g. Fritz Langs Metropolis, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Super Fly, La Haine, Devil in a Blue Dress, Boyz n the Hood, Drive, Dirty Pretty Things). The cinematic cityan amalgam of the real and the representational is used to reflect upon major transformations of city life including bureaucratic control, urban renewal, suburbanisation, ghettoisation, globalisation and dualisation. As such the module inevitably scrutinises forms of social stratification such as race, ethnicity, class and gender. The module will attempt to encourage students to develop an historical sociological understanding of the modern city.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module student should:

  • have a general understanding of the relationship between cinema and the city
  • be able to reflect critically upon sociological analyses of the city in relation to the urban imaginaries contained in crime films (especially in relation to the notion of dystopia)
  • be attuned to both the ideological and critical content of crime based cinema
  • be aware of the fractured, contested character of urban experience as mediated by cinema


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

As in the First Year, you will continue to receive feedback on your formative assessments via the meetings with your supervisor at the beginning of term. It remains important to attend these meetings with the relevant documentation. However, you will ALSO receive extended feedback on the summative assessment work submitted in this second stage of your degree.

Because all of your summative work is examined by at least two members of the Department, and much of it will also be considered by the external examiners, there is an obvious conflict between the time that this takes and our desire to get feedback to you in useful format as swiftly as possible. For this reason, we will release the marks and the feedback forms to you as soon as they have been agreed internally that is, within the Department and before the external examiners have approved them. This means that we can get the feedback to you at least a fortnight earlier than would otherwise be the case but it also means that the marks for each module may change depending on the decisions of the external examiners, although this is rare.

You should note that, due to the fact that all submissions are second-marked and examined by multiple members of the academic staff, there is no appeal against the marks given.

Essays and other coursework: Detailed feedback for your essays will be found on the feedback forms you receive and through comments written on the work itself. These forms rate your performance according to essay content, organisation and style, using the benchmarks provided by the Departments published marking criteria. They will comment further and in detail about any specific strengths and weaknesses, and will provide suggestions as to how you might improve your work in future. You should make an appointment to see your supervisor to discuss these forms and it may be helpful to take with you a copy of the written work that you submitted. If further clarification is required, this may in consultation with your supervisor be sought from one of the examiners.

Examinations: Feedback for examinations will normally take the form of the mark received for the examination. The Department will, however, also make your scripts available to you for inspection.

Indicative reading

  • Barber, S. (2002) Projected Cities: Cinema and Urban Space. London: Reaktion Books
  • Rafter, N. (2000) Shots in the Mirror: Crime Films and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Penz, F. (2011) Urban Cinematics: Understanding Urban Phenomena Through the Moving Image. Bristol: Intellect
  • Prakash, G. (ed) (2010) Noir Urbanisms: Dystopic Images of the Modern City. Princeton: Princeton University Press

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.