Core modules: obligatory for all students
The module will provide a comprehensive introduction to the theory of otherness, looking at key ideas, theorists, and concepts from a variety of interdisciplinary fields, typically including psychoanalysis, literary theory, and philosophy. Students will thus develop an understanding of some of the key paradigms necessary for understanding and critically reflecting upon topics related to the themes of culture and difference (and cultural difference). This module represents the heart of the MA in Culture and Difference, providing the theoretical and intellectual basis on which the case studies and topics of the other modules rest.
Topics to be studied will typically include:
- The 'other' as an object of consciousness, i.e. the philosophical question of 'experiencing others'. This topic addresses, more specifically, intersubjectivity in the works of thinkers such as Heidegger, Levinas, Derrida, and Sartre.
- The ethical and cultural exploration of otherness. This topic explores, for example, classic post-colonial critiques of hegemonic constructions of otherness (e.g., Fanon, Said, Spivak, Bhabha) and then goes on to examine the critiques of those critiques.
- Otherness and psychoanalysis (e.g., Freud, Kristeva, Lacan).
This is the sister module to ‘Thinking Otherness’. Whereas in the latter the focus is on theoretical discussions and debates pertaining to otherness, in ‘Representing Otherness’ you will be looking at how the issues of otherness explored in 'Thinking Otherness' emerge in key texts, films, and other historical and social representations. The module will typically cover the following ways of considering the dynamics of otherness in the context of different types and examples of representation:
- exploration/contact/discovery (various centrifugal movements towards the other), for example, the colonization of the Americas and its consequences up to the present;
- the other within (e.g., as constructed by various totalitarian discourses), for example, attempts to demonize and eliminate particular groups on the grounds of ethnicity, sexuality, gender, etc..
In each case, you are invited to consider how your theoretical knowledge and understanding can inform your study of these episodes and examples of where the terms ‘culture’ and ‘difference’ come together.
3. Dissertation (60 credits)
The module focuses on the generic academic and interpersonal skills required to carry out a research project successfully, aiming not only to equip students with such skills but also to reflect critically upon them. The module covers the following areas, among others:
- using on-line and printed bibliographies to conduct literature searches;
- presenting bibliographies according to specified citation conventions;
- preparing and delivering conference papers;
- preparation and use of visual aids.