Contemporary Britain Courses
The Contemporary Britain half course units offer international students (both native speakers and non-native speakers) opportunities to better understand how arts and humanities subjects are studied at first year undergraduate level in a British university. At the same time, the topics studied will help students gain an understanding of culture and society in the UK during the post-war period.
Classes follow the typical weekly lecture and seminar format and the courses follow a theme-based approach, with two or three main themes covered during the term. Students are expected to critically engage with diverse texts: for the Arts courses these might include novels, short stories, poems and films, as well as secondary texts such as academic journal articles; for the Social Sciences these will include textbooks, documentaries, government papers and journalistic articles. Students are expected to make a significant contribution in class and thus contribute to their own, as well as their fellow students’ learning. Self-directed, and directed work done outside of class time, forms a central element of this course, and students should expect to do at least 10 hours of independent work per week.
Assessments comprise of a written coursework essay (60%), an assessed short presentation/seminar discussion) 30%, plus weekly online study tasks (10%).
CE1701 – Government & Citizenship (autumn term) This course examines political parties in the UK, the relations between the four constituent countries (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), the issues relating to Scotland's devolution and independence. It also looks at the legacy of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, and the complexities of UK's sovereignty, including relations with the EU and the possible consequences of Brexit.
CE1751 - Class, Power & Social Change in the Arts (autumn term) This course looks at the significant changes experienced in British culture since the Second World War, in particular those which led to a more individualistic culture, and which altered the traditional power relations between the social classes. Students can expect to study, amongst other things, the poetry of Philip Larkin and the depiction of social class and power relations in British film in the post-war era.
CE1702 – Society & Institutions (spring term) In this course we look at how identity might be linked to equality, or a lack of, in Britain today. It examines key institutions such as the National Health Service and the state education system and finally looks at the conflicts and challenges that British society has to face today, such as changing family structures and criminality.
CE1752 – Feminism & Multiculturalism (spring term) The course focuses on two key themes, feminism and multiculturalism, and traces the way these discourses have shaped fresh understandings of what it means to be 'British'. Students will examine the work of key contemporary writers such as Caryl Churchill and Hanif Kureishi and will be encouraged to make connections between these works and contemporary theory on feminism, cultural studies and multiculturalism.
Students whose first language is English are requested to consult with the Programme Leader, Dr Jan Kosecki, before enrolling.
If you have a disability which you feel your tutor needs to be aware of, or you require special access arrangements, please email: CeDAS@royalholloway.ac.uk in order for us to discuss with you any arrangements which need to be made to ensure that you can fully participate in your chosen course.
"..I gained a better insight of British culture. Contemporary Britain for the Arts combines these two things: I can investigate cultural issues and examine British plays, film or novels while improving my skills at Academic English. I think it is a very intelligent way of studying a language: through content, rather than spending hours and hours filling gaps and doing exercises.." Lucia Sanchez