BA Film Studies and History / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course description

BA Film Studies and History aims to develop your understanding and awareness of the rich possibilities of this creative medium and encourages you to approach the study of film from a range of historical and theoretical perspectives.

Film Studies

  • You will expand your experience of film through taught units and screenings that focus on both classical and contemporary films, covering a wide range of film cultures from around the world. 
  • You will study mainstream and non-mainstream films in order to broaden your understanding of the history of film, as well as the debates and issues that are informing and generated by current practice in film and shaping its future.
  • As you enhance your skills of close analysis, you will also develop an understanding of how film engages with socio-cultural and political concerns, placing the films you study in their historical context as well as thinking about current debates and future challenges for cinema as a medium.
  • The course emphasises historical and theoretical approaches to studying film rather than practical production. 

History

  • We offer one of the most diverse history courses in the UK, with our course units covering almost all of human history, including British, European, American, Asian and African history, and ranging from the classical era (Greece and Rome), through the medieval and modern periods, to the late 20th century.
  • We offer a wide variety of approaches to history, from political and economic history, to gender, social, cultural, and colonial history.
  • You will benefit from studying in the historically rich city of Manchester; itself is a living history book - from Peterloo to the anti-slavery movement, and from Roman and Anglo-Saxon forts to medieval monuments.
  • You can draw on the abundant library, archive and museum holdings of the local area, including Chetham's Library, The Museum of Science and Industry, The People's History Museum and the Working Class Movement Library.
  • You will also have access to one of only five National Research Libraries, including the special collections of The John Rylands Library, as well as the exclusive holdings of Manchester Museum.
  • Our course content is directly informed by our world-leading research - the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (a UK-wide benchmark for research excellence) ranked History at Manchester 4th in the UK for the quality of our research outputs, with 82% of our overall research activity recognised as `world leading' (4*) or `internationally excellent' (3*).

Special features

Placement year option

Apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context through a placement year in your third year of study, enabling you to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks. 

Connect with likeminded students

Join The University of Manchester Filmmaking Society, which exists to provide a platform for aspiring filmmakers attending the university to meet, exchange ideas and create their own cinematic productions.

Or you could join The University of Manchester Drama Society, which is for anyone with an interest in drama, be that acting, directing, writing, filmmaking, costume, set building, stage managing or just watching. One of the largest in the Student Union, the society has links with many of Manchester's award-winning theatrical venues, including the Contact Theatre and the Royal Exchange Theatre. Each summer the society showcases at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The History Society plays a key role in building a community among History students at Manchester by organising trips (in the UK and on the continent), hosting social events, and coordinating the student magazine, The Manchester Historian .

Teaching and learning

You will learn through tutor-led lectures, seminars and tutorials. For some course units you'll join in group work and other forms of collaborative learning.

Classroom time is frequently supplemented by new media, such as the virtual learning environment, Blackboard. You will also have access to other digital resources to support your learning.

There's emphasis on attending film screenings, which are compulsory and designed to enable you to better understand the distinctive qualities of film as a medium.

There's also emphasis on close analysis which is designed to enable you to learn to interpret films and their discursive surround, including relevant paratexts (eg promotional material such as trailers and posters).

You will spend approximately 12 hours a week in formal study sessions. For every hour spent at University, you will be expected to complete a further two to three hours of independent study. You will also need to study during the holiday periods.

The individual study component could be spent reading, producing written work, or revising for examinations.

A significant part of your study time will be spent reading, taking notes, preparing presentations and writing essays (which examine particular aspects of a subject in greater depth).

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed in various ways, including:

  • written and oral examinations;
  • coursework essays;
  • research reports;
  • practical tests;
  • learning logs;
  • web contributions;
  • small-scale practical assignments;
  • seminar presentations and participation;
  • library research, linguistic fieldwork and data collection.

Many course units are assessed through a mixture of techniques.

In your final year, you can choose to write a dissertation.

Your second-year work counts toward 33% of your final degree result. Your third-year work accounts for the remaining 67%.

Course content for year 1

The Joint Honours in Film Studies provide you with a thorough grounding in film history and key theoretical approaches to studying film as well as the opportunity to develop specialist areas of interest.

In your first year, you will take three compulsory course units that establish the conceptual `building blocks' of studying film as well as providing you with a thorough grounding in major developments in early and classical cinema before progressing into the various `new wave' movements and developments in contemporary cinema.

The Art of Film covers the core concepts and terminology in studying film. The unit addresses the distinctive properties of film as a medium and engages with debates about film's status as an art. Major tendencies in editing and cinematography are explored before the unit focuses on mise-en-scene and shot composition, classical and anti-classical approaches to narrative, major forms of genre, authorship and the role of the director, the importance of music, stars and the process of adaptation.

Introduction to Early and Classical Cinema covers the origins of cinema up to the 1950s. As well as pioneering figures and distinctive movements such as German Expressionism and Surrealist cinema, the course considers key technological innovations in sound and colour.

Introduction to World Cinema covers a range of film cultures from different countries with an initial emphasis on the various `new wave' movements which began to emerge around the world in the 1950s and 1960s. The unit addresses significant post-Second World War developments in the cinema of countries such as France and Japan.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
The Art of Film DRAM10031 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Early and Classical Cinema DRAM13331 20 Mandatory
History in Practice HIST10101 20 Mandatory
Introduction to World Cinema SALC11002 20 Mandatory
Modern China: from the Opium Wars to the Olympic Games HIST10152 20 Optional
Histories of the Islamic World HIST10171 20 Optional
Capitalism in Historical Perspective: 1700-1913 HIST10181 20 Optional
Imperial Nation: The Making of Modern Britain, 1783-1902 HIST10191 20 Optional
Forging a New World: Europe c.1450-1750 HIST10301 20 Optional
States, Nations and Empires. Europe, c.1750-1914 HIST10312 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

In your second year you take one compulsory unit - Screen, Culture and Society - which covers more advanced theoretical debates about the relationship between film and society. You will be able to select from a range of specialist study options on specific issues in Film Studies and focus on aspects of American, British, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian or Spanish and Portuguese language cinema with a particular interest in questions of identity and representation. How have films perpetuated or subverted notions of gender, sexuality, national identity, ethnicity and class?

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Screen, Culture and Society DRAM20041 20 Mandatory
American Film Studies AMER20072 20 Optional
Visual Cultures in China and East Asia CHIN22521 20 Optional
Contemporary British Cinema DRAM20031 20 Optional
Black on Screen DRAM20092 20 Optional
Video Project 1: Documentary DRAM21091 20 Optional
Horror Film: Genre, Periods, Styles DRAM21262 20 Optional
Virtual Realities DRAM21282 20 Optional
French Cinema to 1980 FREN20142 20 Optional
Making of the Modern Mind: European Intellectual History in a Global Context HIST20181 20 Optional
Winds of Change: Politics, Society and Culture in Britain, 1899 -1990 HIST20252 20 Optional
Independent Research Project HIST20390 20 Optional
The Cultural History of Modern War HIST20482 20 Optional
Colonial Encounters: Race, Violence, and the Making of the Modern World HIST21122 20 Optional
From Catastrophe to Crusade: Europe in the Aftermath of the Vikings HIST21141 20 Optional
The Stuff of History: Objects Across Borders, 1500-1800 HIST21152 20 Optional
Histories of the Islamic World HIST21191 20 Optional
Capitalism in Historical Perspective: 1700-1913 HIST21201 20 Optional
Core Themes in Animated Film and Visual Culture of Postwar Japan JAPA20131 20 Optional
God at the Movies RELT20631 20 Optional
Hispanic Cinemas SPLA20841 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 21 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Your remaining units in your final year are all optional and you can select from a wide range of units covering different countries, genres and issues. You can also choose to write a dissertation.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
The Visual Culture of US Empire AMER30522 20 Optional
American Hauntings AMER30811 20 Optional
Athens and Attica CAHE30052 20 Optional
Families in the Greek and Roman Worlds (6th c. BCE - 3 c. CE) CAHE30441 20 Optional
The Roman Army and the North-West Frontiers CAHE30882 20 Optional
Greek Epic Poetry CAHE31041 20 Optional
Slavery in the Ancient Greek World CAHE34501 20 Optional
Video Project 2 - Docufiction DRAM30062 40 Optional
From Documentary to Mockumentary DRAM31011 20 Optional
Falstaff and Gandalf go to the Movies: Adapting Fantastic Texts to Screen DRAM31042 20 Optional
Screen Acting & Stardom DRAM33302 20 Optional
Screening the Holocaust GERM30481 20 Optional
Culture and Society in Germany 1871-1918 GERM30722 20 Optional
London and Modernity 1880-1960 HIST30102 20 Optional
'A Nation In The Making': India, 1800-1947 HIST30291 20 Optional
Empire, Gender and British Heroes, c.1885 - 2000 HIST30621 20 Optional
Refugees in Modern World History, 1914 to the Present HIST30941 20 Optional
Gender and Sexuality in Modern Africa HIST31001 20 Optional
China & the West: From the Opium War to the Olympic Games HIST31201 20 Optional
Contesting the Supernatural in the Early Modern British Isles, c. 1600-1800 HIST31292 20 Optional
Sex, Drugs and Shopping: Readdressing Inter-war Britain HIST31342 20 Optional
The Great Irish Famine and Its Impact, 1845-1900 HIST31451 20 Optional
The Holocaust: History, Historiography, Memory HIST31491 20 Optional
The Comparative and Transnational History of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany HIST31521 20 Optional
John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and U.S. Foreign Policy in the 1960s HIST31552 20 Optional
Defining the Deviant: Crime and British Society, 1888-2000 HIST31592 20 Optional
The Black Freedom Movement, 1955-1975 HIST31752 20 Optional
War, Memory and Politics of Commemoration in Eastern Europe HIST31841 20 Optional
Seaborne State? Venice and the East 1150-1550 HIST31861 20 Optional
Culture in Ottoman Society, ca. 1300-1800 HIST31872 20 Optional
Material Encounters in the Early Modern World, 1400-1800 HIST31881 20 Optional
'Brains and Numbers': Intellectual Life in Victorian Britain HIST31892 20 Optional
Caste Politics in Twentieth Century India HIST31912 20 Optional
Imperial Encounters, Soviet Frontiers: Nations, Borders, Migration in the Caucasus HIST31922 20 Optional
Curating War and Human Rights: methods in cultural and public history HIST32012 20 Optional
Love and Power: Family Relationships in the British Isles, c. 1660-1837 HIST32052 20 Optional
Islam in China HIST32062 20 Optional
Spatial History: Mapping the Past HIST32112 20 Optional
From Greed to Grandezza: A History of Capitalism from the Renaissance to Modernity (1250s-1900s) HIST32122 20 Optional
Madness and Society HSTM30832 10 Optional
The Nuclear Age: Global Nuclear Threats from Hiroshima to Today HSTM31212 10 Optional
The Nuclear Age: Global Nuclear Threats from Hiroshima to Today HSTM31712 20 Optional
From Sherlock Holmes to CSI: a history of forensic medicine HSTM32011 10 Optional
From Sherlock Holmes to CSI: a history of forensic medicine HSTM32511 20 Optional
Climate Change & Society HSTM33201 10 Optional
Climate Change & Society HSTM33501 20 Optional
Madness and Society HSTM40332 20 Optional
Political and Cultural History of Italy ITAL30342 20 Optional
Introduction to the History of the Book ITAL30431 20 Optional
Bodies, Sex and Gender in Japan JAPA33071 20 Optional
Tools and Techniques for Enterprise MCEL30001 10 Optional
Tools & Techniques for Enterprise MCEL30002 10 Optional
Enterprise Feasibility MCEL30052 10 Optional
Culture, Media and Politics in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia RUSS30601 20 Optional
Social Issues in Portuguese and Spanish Film SPLA30642 20 Optional
The Supernatural in Latin American Literature and Film SPLA31132 20 Optional
From Sherlock Holmes to CSI UCIL32511 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 57 course units for year 3

Facilities

Our comprehensive facilities include the Martin Harris Centre - home to 150-seater The John Thaw Studio and our main `lab' for exploring performance - and workshops and rehearsal rooms fully equipped with state-of-the-art sound-editing and video editing suites. Manchester also has the 2 nd highest concentration of theatres in the UK.

The University of Manchester owns the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Museum and Tabley House, giving you unique access to outstanding cultural and historical resources.

Learn more on the Facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk