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Home > Courses > Courses for 2017 > Undergraduate > History of Art and Visual Culture & Comparative Literature and Culture
More in this section Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures

History of Art and Visual Culture & Comparative Literature and Culture BA

UCAS code QW26
Year of entry 2017
Course Length
3 years full time
Department Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures »

 

This Joint Honours course enables you to study Comparative Literature and Culture and History of Art and Visual Culture in equal parts.

If you have a passion for the visual arts, History of Art and Visual Culture will give you the skills to read, interpret and analyse images and artefacts across cultures. You will benefit from the research expertise of staff in the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, engaging in the key phases in the development of the history of art and visual culture of Europe and Latin America, equipping you with the skills You can take courses on key historical skills and take options that combine the study of art history with that of photography, film and other media, ranging from medieval times to contemporary visual culture.

  • Make use of Royal Holloway’s exceptional collection of Victorian Art housed in the Founder’s Picture Gallery
  • Choose options in Visual Culture from across the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures

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.

Core modules

Year 1

The core modules in the History of Art and Visual Culture are:

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.

Visual Arts 1 - Artists and their Materials

This module will introduce you to a number of different media encountered in the study of visual culture. By understanding the technical characteristics of a range of art works you will be able to assess the expressive and stylistic possibilities of offered by different media. You will study a rich variety of visual cultures in Europe and Latin America from the Middle Ages to the present day.

The Birth of Film

This module will introduce you to the early phase of film history between 1895 and the early 1930s, from the invention of motion pictures to the establishment of sound cinema. You will look at a cross-section of American and European films made during this phase, when film-making was largely national but the absence of the spoken word gave film a truly cosmopolitan dimension, with directors, actors and technical personnel moving freely across national boundaries. You will learn about the development of film as art (with its links to the Avant-garde) and also examine cinema as an entertainment industry in which genre (horror and crime films) helped to drive innovation.

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.

Year 2

The core modules in the History of Art and Visual Culture are:

International Film 2 - Readings and Representations

The module is divided into two parts, the first exploring crucial issues of filmmaking, film studies and the ‘transnational’ from the perspective of largely contemporary Latin American cinema, the second focusing on a range of European films from the 1970s to the present. The introductory two weeks of the module will introduce you to these concerns; the final two weeks of the module will bring both parts together and establish some conclusions, ask fundamental questions such as what constitutes a ‘European’, ‘Latin American’ or ‘transnational’ film.

History of Art and Visual Culture: Visual Arts 2 - Genres and Movements

What characterises genres such as Landscape Art, Portraiture, History Painting, Religious Art, Satire and Caricature, or Abstraction? In this module, by studying a selection of particular movements (‘Portraying rulers in Renaissance Italy’, for example', ‘Representing the City - Impressionism and beyond’, ‘Abstractionism’, or ‘Medievalism and the Pre-Raphaelites’), you will explore key phases in the development of the visual culture of Europe and Latin America and analyse the artists’ principal stylistic and theoretical concerns, their interaction and development, and their significance within a variety of cultural contexts.

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.

Year 3

The core modules in the History of Art and Visual Culture are:

Transnationalism, Diaspora and Globalization in Contemporary Film

In this module you will explore cinematic representations of transnational encounters between people, cultures and institutions connected by the forces of globalization. The topics covered range from (anti-)colonialism and revolution to postcolonialism and migration. Attention is also paid to the ways in which the films deal with the themes of emancipation, hybridity, displacement, globalism and cosmopolitanism.

Dissertation

This module enables you to write a dissertation of 5,000 words on a suitable Visual Arts topic of your choice, for which appropriate supervision is available within the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures. The topic may be related to a subject on which you have been taught but you should avoid significant overlap with previously studied material; it may equally be related to a fourth-year optional module that you take.

Optional modules

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.

Year 1

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

 

Year 2

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

Year 3

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

The course has a modular structure. Some course units are compulsory while others are elective thereby offering flexibility and choice. 

Our teaching combines a majority of seminars and small group work as well as role play and conversational activities, with some lectures. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources such as Powerpoint slideshows, copies of selected primary and secondary texts, audiovisual materials, class and seminar preparation aids, links to relevant external sites, quizzes and grammar and essay writing guidance, and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle. When you start with us, you are assigned a Personal Tutor to support you academically and personally and who holds regular surgery hours at least twice weekly.

Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and end-of-year examination in varying proportions, depending on the course units you take. Coursework includes essays, language exercises, translations and reports. Oral presentations and computer-based tests are used in some course units to assess grammar and comprehension skills. You can, to some extent, choose course units which suit your own assessment preferences. The first year is foundational and marks do not count towards your final degree. The second year, year abroad and final year marks do count, with more importance being given to the final year marks in order to reward progress and achievement. 

You will take a study skills course during your first year, designed to equip you with and enhance the writing skills you will need to be successful in your degree. This course does not count towards your final degree award but you are required to pass it to progress to your second year.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels

ABB-BBB 
The offer given will take into consideration:

  • subjects taken at A level
  • the educational context in which academic achievements have been gained
  • whether the Extended Project Qualification is being taken.
Required/preferred subjects Required:
An Essay based subject A-level and five GCSEs graded

A*-C including English and Maths

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 6,5,5 at Higher Level including at least 5 at Higher Level in an essay-based subject with a minimum of 32 points overall. 
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject. 
BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject plus an A level grade B in an essay based subject. 
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction plus two A levels grades B, B including B in an essay based subject. 
Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate 
Scottish Advanced Highers AB plus Higher Level requirements. 
Scottish Highers AABBB plus Advanced Higher Level requirements. 
Irish Leaving Certificate H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level including an essay- based subject at Higher Level. 
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit in a relevant subject area. Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant has had a considerable break from education. 

Other UK qualifications

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International and EU entry requirements

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English language
requirements
English language requirements IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in each remaining subscore.

For equivalencies please see here.

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

On completion of your History of Art and Visual Culture and Comparative Literature and Culture degree at Royal Holloway you will have proven analytical skills and be an adaptable thinker with impressive communication and leadership skills - all of which will appeal to future employers. Your degree will demonstrate that you understand other values and cultures, a quality that will equip you to operate successfully in a fast-changing and increasingly globalised and multi-cultural environment. 

On graduation you will be ready to pursue a career in a wide range of areas including publishing, marketing, the media, arts administration, fashion, international management, the civil service, accountancy or teaching.  Alternatively you may choose to continue your studies by means of a postgraduate degree.

  • Recent graduates have launched careers in diverse roles as film, content writing, photographic editorial, journalism, sales and marketing, teaching, publishing and retail buying.

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.

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