School-wide modules

School-wide modules cover themes across languages and cultures, bringing together research expertise from around the school.

Jessop West in the sun.

These modules give you the opportunity to broaden your horizons by setting your study of individual languages and cultures into wider cross-national contexts. By looking at sub-disciplines such as film or linguistics across our different languages and cultures you can develop a comparative approach right from the start of your degree.

The modules listed are examples from languages and cultures programmes from previous years. We are constantly reviewing our programmes and module choices may change. For the very latest information, check with the department direct. If you are studying a dual honours programme you will take the core and optional modules for your language(s) up to a total value of 60 credits.

These modules can be taken as part of your optional module/wider University choices for this year.

Title Credits Core/Optional

Understanding Spanish and Latin American Culture

Why has the gypsy culture of Andalucía been so crucial to ideas about Spanish identity and how and why has this changed? How did gender politics and the role of women change after the Franco dictatorship in Spain? How and why has historical memory about the Civil War becomes such a feature of contemporary Spanish life? How and why was modernity experienced as a crisis in Latin America? What is machismo and why is it thought to be so central to Latin American culture? How do revolutionary politics and sexual politics relate in Latin America?

20 Optional

Activism and Social Change

Has racism always existed or is it a modern phenomenon? Why have some movements against racial discrimination in Latin America been more successful than others? How have women in Latin America fought for equal rights, from the suffrage campaigns of the twentieth century to the #NiUnaMenos movement of today? Why is Latin America marked by such stark inequalities in wealth and what are the best ways to combat this? These are some of the questions that will be explored in this module.. 

20 Optional

The Soviet Union 1917-1991

This module provides an overview of the historical changes affected the territories of the former Russian Empire from the Revolutions of 1917. This includes the dramatic economic, political, demographic, institutional and ideological changes that occurred in the period. Attention will also be paid to the multinational dimension of the USSR and to the international context within which the USSR rose and declined as a power. Students will be introduced to some of the various theoretical approaches to the history of the USSR and will be encouraged to develop a critical approach to received categories

20 Optional

Introduction to European Cinema

An overview of the theory and practice of Cinema in European languages other than English from its origins to the present day. The module will provide an introduction to film analysis and a general introduction to cinematic technique and history from early silent cinema to contemporary film. Attention will be given to technical developments, questions of genre and artistic movements, and the relationship between cinema and socio-political developments. Topics will include the Russian avant-garde, German expressionism, the French New Wave and Latin American Cinema. 
20 Optional

The Czechs in Central European History

How does a nation come to be: what are its founding myths, the events and relationships that shape its formation? This module examines the history of the Czech lands, beginning with the earliest records and tales of its foundation. In the second half, the module follows the 'national revival' of the early nineteenth century and continues through the founding of the modern Czechoslovak state and its fateful encounters with Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. You will participate via readings and discussion of original historical documents in translation and student-led seminars.
20 Optional

Intersections: Text, Image, Thought in the French-speaking world

The aim of the module is to introduce students to significant French texts and to illustrate and explore a range of possible critical approaches to them, including cross-media or intermedial reinterpretations. 

This module will focus on two important French texts per semester (with "text" taken in its largest sense of book, film, art work, piece of music, cultural product, etc.). Each text will form the basis for a close reading, followed by analyses using French cultural, historical, literary and critical theory approaches as well as adaptations into other media (such as film, art and music) where appropriate. The module will be taught and assessed in English, but the materials will be made available in both French and English, with French students required to use and cite the French materials. 

20 Optional

Visions of Germany

The module introduces students to significant examples of art and visual culture, and explores a range of possible critical approaches to them. The focus is on visual representations of Germany's history (art, memorials, architecture, film, posters and postcards) from 1900 to the present. These are analysed in the context of social and political developments, but students are also introduced to key cultural and critical approaches. Teaching and assessment is in English, and films are available with English subtitles. Secondary reading (in German, and with suitable alternatives in English for students with no A Level in German) will also be available via the course reading list. Post A-level students of German are required to use and cite the German materials. 

20 Optional

Born out of Revolt & Consensus: the making of contemporary Netherlands & Belgium

The Low Countries (Netherlands and Belgium) have a long history of revolt and rebellion, discussion and debate, but also of consensus and compromise. This turbulent history has led to some of the most progressive societies in Europe, in which debate and protest still thrives. Against the backdrop of battles and marriage politics, we will focus on Low Countries culture in visual arts, architecture and cinema. Aspects of contemporary Dutch and Belgian society will be covered too. This module is open to everybody with an interest in the Netherlands and Belgium and core for students taking 40-credits of Dutch.

20 Optional

Russian Poetry, Performance and Prose

NB This module is taught in English but we will be reading texts in the original Russian. You will need A-level Russian (or equivalent; CEFR Level A2) for this module. 

Not sure about your level of Russian? E-mail Adam Fergus ( 

Russian literature is famous for its big novels – but for many Russians, lyric poetry is at least as important. This module explores the connection between the two through a range of nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts from Pushkin to Tsvetaeva. You’ll be given guidance on reading short poems out loud in Russian – a great way to develop both your proficiency in the language as well as confidence in your voice. You’ll then learn to analyse the poems in detail and set them in their historical and literary context. Having done this, you’ll be able to understand the complexities of prose texts by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky or Chekhov. We finish with the vibrant and innovative poetry of the early twentieth century and examine some of its responses to the political and artistic upheavals of the time.  

20 Optional

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Information last updated: 9 November 2021

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