This Joint Honours course enables you to study Comparative Literature and Culture and Philosophy in equal parts.
Comparative Literature and Culture (CLC) offers you the opportunity to study global literature as well as to explore film, philosophy and visual arts. CLC combines a fascinating breadth of material with a focus on contexts – places, periods, and genres – to explore how key cultural shifts transform how we see, represent, and make sense of our changing world. CLC at Royal Holloway is a unique and intellectually stimulating degree which will develop you as a culturally-aware, creative and adaptable thinker.
We’ve developed this degree so that you can tailor it to suit your own evolving interests, choosing from our exceptionally wide range of fascinating options, ranging across continents and centuries, from antiquity to the present day, novels and poetry to philosophy, cinema and art. We will read, watch, and compare from Ancient Greece to contemporary New York, from Cuba to Korea, from epics to crime fiction, and from tragedy to the avant-garde. CLC enables you to study texts originally written in many languages, all translated into English.
At Royal Holloway we have a unique approach to Philosophy that looks beyond the narrow confines of the Anglo-American analytic or the European tradition of philosophy focus on both traditions, their relationship and connections between them. The result has been the creation of a truly interdisciplinary and collaborative programme that brings together academic staff from departments across the university.
With the opportunity to examine (amongst other things) the mind and consciousness, aesthetics and morals, the self and others, the range of subjects available to Philosophy students at Royal Holloway guarantees that there will be something on offer that really engages you during your time with us.
Comparative Literature and Culture: International Film 1 - Contexts and Practices
This module will introduce you to some key tenets of film theory and apply them to a selection of important pre- and post-war European and international films. It will familiarise you with the analysis of aspects of film style, genre and national and international contexts. The set films on the module will include canonical works from a century of cinema history, by filmmakers such as Joseph von Sternberg, Alfred Hitchcock and Pedro Almodovar, and significant examples of technique and style.
Comparative Literature and Culture: Reading Texts - Criticism for Comparative Literature
This module will introduce you to the theory and practices of textual analysis and comparative textual analysis as well as to the major debates about the theory and practice of comparative literature in a transnational context. You will be given extracts from a variety of historically, geographically, culturally, and stylistically diverse texts and introduced to a range of analytical techniques and approaches. In addition to developing close reading skills and acquainting yourself with key examples of classic and contemporary literature from across the world, you will encounter important critical issues, first in connection with practices of reading more broadly, and secondly, in relation to the history and practice of comparatism. All passages from non-English-language works will be given in English translation.
Comparative Literature and Culture: Tales of the City - Introduction to Thematic Analysis
This module will introduce you to a range of literary and filmic texts depicting different aspects of the city. The focus on a common thematic ground allows you to develop skills of comparison and analysis, while encouraging you to reflect on wider questions of urban space, public and private spheres, and alterity. The works to be studied on the city explicitly engage with three periods and aspects of the modern city: early twentieth-century modernity; post-war industrialisation and urbanisation; and the contemporary transnational metropolis and multiculturalism. Themes that run through the module include: money/poverty, technology, migration, crime, gender and sexuality.
Comparative Literature and Culture: Introduction to Literary Genre - Tragedy
Murder, passion, ambition, cruelty, suicide, jealousy, anguish: over the centuries, tragedy has explored the extremes of human experience and emotion. This module introduces you to a range of tragedies from ancient Greece onwards, exploring how dramatists have combined themes, characters, plot, stagecraft and emotion to produce some of the most compelling, enduring and powerful literary works we know.
The core modules in Philosophy are:
Introduction to Modern Philosophy
The ‘new philosophy’ of the seventeenth century set the modern philosophical agenda by asking fundamental questions concerning knowledge and understanding and the relation between science and other human endeavours, which became central to the European Enlightenment. This module aims to familiarise you with the work of some of the most ground breaking philosophers of the period, such René Descartes and John Locke, and explores how later philosophers such as Gottfried Leibniz and David Hume took up and expanded their ideas.
Epistemology and Metaphysics
This module aims to introduce you to some of the key problems that have preoccupied contemporary philosophers. You will look at logical questions relating to the structure of arguments, epistemological questions about the sources and limits of knowledge, and metaphysical questions exploring the relationship between minds and bodies and the possibility of human freedom.
Introduction to Ancient Philosophy
This module aims both to inform you about ancient philosophical ideas and to introduce you to the ways in which philosophical arguments are presented and analysed. It will provide you with a brief survey of the principal ancient philosophers, from the Presocratics to Aristotle, as well as allowing you to analyse in more depth selected texts on the topic of courage, including Plato’s ‘Laches’.
Comparative Literature and Culture: Histories of Representation
Comparing short stories from different periods and geographical areas is a great way of exploring how literature evolves structurally and thematically in response to different ideas and contexts. In this module you will read short stories - and look at examples of visual art - from the eighteenth century to the present day to discover what structural and symbolic elements characterize major movements of Western art, including the Enlightenment, Romanticism, Realism, Modernism and Postmodernism. All non-English-language texts are in English translation.
Comparative Literature and Culture: Critical and Comparative Approaches
The module takes the form of a chronological account of the major trends and currents in post-war western literary and critical theory. It will show in clear, accessible terms, how critical and literary theory has evolved, from an essentially universalist notion of the author/work/critic relation to one informed by semiology, philosophy, psychoanalysis, questions of sexuality and gender, race, and the history of post-colonialism. The set text includes examples of different types of theory applied to literary texts, and further case-studies will be supplied by individual tutors. You will be encouraged to attempt different theoretical readings of chosen literary material through coursework and group presentations at the end of the module.
The core modules in Philosophy are:
Introduction to European Philosophy 1 - From Kant to Hegel
This module introduces you to aspects of key texts by eighteenth and nineteenth century philosophers Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, which form the foundation of the major debates in both European, and some Anglo-American philosophy. You will explore major issues concerning epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics, and different approaches to these issues, which will be central to the rest of your philosophical and other studies in the humanities and social sciences.
Mind and World
This module examines some of the major metaphysical and epistemological problems that arise when attempting to understand how the mind and language interact with and in the world. It centres on attempts to conceptualise, solve, or avoid mind-body related problems in the analytic tradition and aims to contrast these with phenomenological and existential investigations of related problems.
All modules are optional
In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.
French: The Visual Image in French Culture and Society
French: Introduction to French Literature - Critical Skills
German: German History and Culture
Spanish: Passion and Betrayal on the Spanish Stage
Spanish: Culture and Identity in Latin America
Spanish: Visualising Cuba - Text, Image and Representation
Italian: Fascist Italy
Modern Languages: Critical Analysis for Modern Linguists
Modern Languages: International Film 1 - Contexts and Practices
Modern Languages: Visual Arts 1 - An Introduction to Visual Media
Optional modules in Philosophy include:
Introduction to Logic
This module aims to introduce you to the formal study of arguments through the two basic systems of modern logic: sentential or propositional logic and predicate logic. As well as showing you how to present and analyse arguments formally, you will look at the implications and uses of logical analysis by considering Bertrand Russell’s formalist solution to the problem of definite descriptions, before discussing the broader significance of findings in logic to philosophical inquiry.
Mind and Conciousness
What is the relationship between the mind and the brain? Is the mind inside the brain? Are we any more than highly sophisticated computers? What is consciousness? This module aims to introduce these and related questions, which are central to modern philosophical debates about the nature of mind and consciousness.
Introduction to Aesthetics and Morals
This module aims to provide you with a broad understanding of many of the central problems and debates within moral philosophy and aesthetics. These include questions relating to both metaphysical and ethical relativism, the different ways we might understand our moral commitments within the world, how the individual is related to society, and the value and nature of the work of art. The module presents you with approaches from the history of philosophy, from the Anglo-American tradition, and from recent European philosophy.
Comparative Literature and Culture: International Film 2 - Readings and Representations
Comparative Literature and Culture: A Special Theme in the Novel - Transgression
Comparative Literature and Culture: Visual Arts 2 - Genres and Movements
Comparative Literature and Culture: Deviance, Defiance and Disorder in Early Modern Spanish and French Literature
Comparative Literature and Culture: Gender and Clothing in Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture
Optional modules in Philosophy and related subjects include:
The Dialogues of Plato
Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy 1
The Good Life in Ancient Philosophy
Contemporary Political Theory
The Critique of Idealism
Philosophy and the Arts
Philosophy of Psychology
The Varieties of Scepticism
The Philosophy of Religion
Comparative Literature and Culture: Arthurian Romance - Chrétien de Troyes
Comparative Literature and Culture: Image, Identity and Consumer Culture in Post-War Fiction and Film
Comparative Literature and Culture: Text and Image in France - from Cubism to the Present
Comparative Literature and Culture: Ethics and Violence - Murder, Suicide and Genocide in Literature and Film
Comparative Literature and Culture: Wanton Women - Artists and Writers of the French Avant-Garde
Comparative Literature and Culture: Blindness and Vision in French Culture
Comparative Literature and Culture: Doubles, Devils, and Deadly Spiders - 19th-Century German Gothic Literature
Comparative Literature and Culture: Narrative and Identity - The German Novel from the 18th to the 21st Century
Comparative Literature and Culture: Dream Factories - Recent German Film
Comparative Literature and Culture: Dante - Divine Comedy 2
Comparative Literature and Culture: Of Women, Knights, Weapons and Loves - the Italian Chivalric Tradition
Comparative Literature and Culture: Shooting History - Dictatorship, Terror and Crime in Italian Film
Comparative Literature and Culture: Italian Fashion and Design
Comparative Literature and Culture: The Postmodern In Italian Literature - Pioneers, Practitioners and Critics
Comparative Literature and Culture: From Aestheticism to the Avant-Garde
Comparative Literature and Culture: The Gothic Mode in Spanish and English Fiction
Comparative Literature and Culture: Transnationalism, Diaspora and Globalisation in Contemporary Film
Comparative Literature and Culture: Humans and Other Animals in Twenty-First Century Fiction and Thought
Comparative Literature and Culture: Journeys of Discovery in Twentieth Century Spanish American Literature
Comparative Literature and Culture: Devotion, Deceit, Desire - Literature of the Spanish Golden Age
Comparative Literature and Culture: Horror Cinema in the Hispanic World
Comparative Literature and Culture: Dissertation
Optional modules in Philosophy and related subjects include:
Radical Political Theory
The Politics of Toleration
Social Justice - From Theory to Practice
Issues in Democratic Theory
Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy 2
The Good Life in Ancient Philosophy 2
Modern European Philosophy 1 - Husserl to Heidegger
Modern European Philosophy 2 - Critical Theory and Hermeneutics
Modern French Philosophy
The Philosophy of Psychology
The Philosophy of Religion
The Varieties of Scepticism
The dissertation presents you with the opportunity to demonstrate your skills as an independent learner by embarking upon a substantial piece of written work of between 8,000 and 10,000 words in length. You will be guided by a dissertation supervisor, but will choose your own topic, approach, and philosophical sources. It allows you to demonstrate all of the skills you have learned throughout your studies, and marks the culmination of your undergraduate studies in Philosophy.
Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £9,250
International students tuition fee per year 2017/18**: £14,000
Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course
How do I pay for it? Find out more.
*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year. This amount is subject to the UK Parliament approving a change to fee and loan regulations that has been proposed by the UK Government. In the future, should the proposed changes to fee and loan regulations allow it, Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for UK and EU nationals annually. If relevant UK legislation continues to permit it, Royal Holloway will maintain parity between the tuition fees charged to UK and EU students for the duration of their degree studies.
**Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for international fee paying students annually. Tuition fees are unlikely to rise more than 5 per cent each year. For further information on tuition fees please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & Conditions.
***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.