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BA Film Studies and East Asian Studies / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course unit details:
Screen, Culture and Society

Unit code DRAM20041
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Spanish, Portuguese and Latin
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course will introduce students to the key concepts and debates that have developed out of film and cultural theory within the past fifty years, and apply them to specific case studies, across national cinemas and genres. The key ideas of the course — ‘screen culture’ and ‘society’ — will be offered to students in ways which address constructed aesthetic, socio-cultural and industrial processes that go into the production and reception of screen media, including the experiential. The course will explore aspects of ideology, national identities, adaptation, gender and sexuality, spectatorship, fandom, and new technologies. A range of case studies will be used for close textual analysis and theoretical elaboration across large and small screen media.


- To interrogate the notion of a 'screen culture' through modes of production and reception

- To explore the relationship between screen media and wider socio-cultural contexts

- To employ textual analysis within a contextual framework


Indicative syllabus (representative only – all of the topics listed below may not be covered every year):


1. Introduction: Key concepts

2. Gaze Theory

3. Gender, Genre and Aesthetics: the Melodrama

4. Queer Cinema

5. Sensory Cinema


7. The Heritage Film

8. National Allegory

9. The Festival Film

10. Stars, Cults, Audiences and Fans

11. Fandom and Reception

12. Conclusion and revision 

Teaching and learning methods

  • Teaching hours: 1hr lecture +3hr introduced screening + 90min seminar*

    *This teaching structure has been approved in conjunction with other programme level activity as meeting the School’s 3hr contact hour requirement 

Knowledge and understanding

  •  relate the close textual analysis of the films to wider socio-historical processes and contexts
  •  understand the impact of social change and attitudes on screen media
  • understand screen media’s potential for socio-political commentary and intervention
  • read screen texts across genres and national industries
  • analyse screen texts in relation to wider cultural theories
  • apply theories and secondary readings critically to their understanding of screen texts

Intellectual skills

  • develop a critical language for analysing and evaluating narrative content and aesthetic forms in screen media within wider socio-historical contexts
  • conduct in-depth research into screen media and their histories
  • apply theoretical readings to questions of screen production, exhibition and reception

Practical skills

  • conduct close textual analysis of screen texts
  • construct a persuasive argument in clear language, grounded in research
  • work individually and collaboratively with other members of the group

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively with others about intellectually demanding concepts, topics, materials
  •  demonstrate an ability to draw with accuracy, focus, detail and precision on complex materials in independent and group work
  • demonstrate an ability to effectively present – through discussion and in writing – complex topics, drawing convincingly on oral, written and visual media as appropriate to the topic

Employability skills

Group/team working
¿ an ability to work productively as part of a group and independently in learning environments that present complex challenges
¿ an ability to develop detailed, planned and multi-layered approaches to tasks
Problem solving
¿ a good level of critical thinking and problem-solving skills
¿ an enhanced ability to effectively adapt self-presentation to different audiences/contexts, especially when communicating complex topics

Assessment methods

Assessment task

Formative or Summative


Weighting within unit (if summative)

Sequence analysis


2000-2500 words




2 hours



Feedback methods

  • Written feedback on written work
  • Oral feedback from tutors and peers during seminar discussions
  • Additional one-to-one feedback during designated consultation hours or by appointment
  • Feedback and queries via email

Recommended reading

 Braudy, Leo and Cohen, Marshall eds. (1999) Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings.

 New York: Oxford University Press. Latest edition.

Edgar, Andrew and Sedgwick, Peter eds. (2002) Cultural theory: the key concepts. London:  Routledge.

Hayward, Susan (2006) Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts. 3rd ed. London: Routledge.

Turner, Graeme, ed (2002) The Film Cultures Reader. London: Routledge,

Turner, Graeme (1999) Film as Social Practice. 3rd ed. London: Routledge. 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 15
Tutorials 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 141

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Darren Waldron Unit coordinator

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