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Cinema, Cities & Historical Sociology - SOC00035H

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  • Department: Sociology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Gareth Millington
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20

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 Lang s Metropolis, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Super Fly, La Haine, Devil in a Blue Dress, Boyz n the Hood, Drive, Dirty Pretty Things). The cinematic city an 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

Feedback at University level can be understood as any part of the learning process which is designed to guide your progress through your degree programme by providing commentary on your work to date. So feedback means more than just written comments on written work. We aim to help you to reflect on your own learning and to feel clearer about your progress through clarifying what is expected of you informative and summative assessments. The University guidelines for feedback are available in the Guide to Assessment Standards, Marking and Feedback.

You will receive feedback in a number of forms:

  • On any formative (non-assessed) work, you will receive written or verbal feedback about how to improve your work (though you may not receive a mark)

  • On summative work (work that is assessed) you will receive detailed written feedback from the marker. This is intended to show areas in which you have done well, and areas in which you need to improve.

  • Your supervisor will also give you feedback on your work. S/he will be able to look across a range of your work and discuss ways in which you can build on your strengths and improve in any areas

Feedback on your summative written work is made available to you online via e:vision. You will receive an email telling you when it is ready to look at. You are then advised to take this work (printed out or on your laptop) to your regular meeting with your academic supervisor. Your supervisor will be able to look at your work with you and address any queries you have, as well as advise you on ways to improve your work.

Feedback on Exam Scripts

You can ask for feedback on your exam performance from your supervisor, who will go through your examination script(s) with you and discuss the areas in which you did well, and those in which you need to improve. However, you may not take the script away with you, or photocopy the script. If you would like to discuss your exam performance, please let your supervisor know at least two working days in advance of your meeting, so that they can make sure they have the script with them when you meet.

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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

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