Focusing on the literary and non-literary works, films, discourses, art forms and cultural practices which contribute to inform the current British debate on national, social and cultural identity against the backdrop of the country's imperial past, and with a view to redefine the United Kingdom's role in Europe and globally, this course aims to enhance the students' critical knowledge and understanding of these themes, as well as of the enduring influence and attraction of British institutions, literature and culture on our current experience of contemporaneity.
These aims are pursued through the methodological and critical tools of cultural studies, which, in tune with the avowed educational and vocational objectives of our Master Degree Course, privilege multicultural and interdisciplinary exchanges and perspectives. These approaches are particularly rewarding in order to contextualize British cultural phenomena against the backdrop of a rich web of relations among culture(s), beliefs, literatures, genres, social and discursive practices and paradigms, and the production and consumption of cultural products. By fostering active participation from the students, the course aims to enhance their critical analytic skills, their ability to make independent judgements and organize their own work and study projects, and encourages an advanced ability to recognize differences and make thoughtful connections among divergent forms, genres, practices and identities, in line with the overall mission of Lingue e Culture per la Comunicazione e la Cooperazione Internazionale.
Knowledge and understanding - Students will gain knowledge and critical understanding of a range of cultural practices, productions (visual art, films, writing, performances), and literary genres and texts in English, relevant to the main themes of the course, which they will approach through the lens of selected Cultural Studies practices and theories, applied to the current British context. Knowledge and understanding of the historical, political and social background, as well as of essential cultural paradigms, will be important elements of the programme. These include, but are not limited to: definitions and re-definitions of British national identity against the new multicultural and multi-ethnic social reality; Englishness, Britishness, exclusion and inclusion; London as urban space, and as literary and film imaginary; borders, immigration, diaspora and their representation in the British public sphere and in British literature, film, art, and music. Other themes, connected to specific courses, may include notions such as: empire, post-empire, Commonwealth, post-colonialism, and the relations with the former colonies; identity, alterity, difference, hybridity; "race", ethnicity, multiculturalism, and cosmopolitanism; the discourses and practices of dissent and resistance; power, ideology, hegemony and the ways they are reflected in British culture; politics, practices and representations of the body; alterity, speculative genres, science fiction.
Applying knowledge and understanding - Students will have the opportunity to apply their acquired knowledge and understanding to in-depth close reading and critical analysis of cultural productions and literary texts; to improving their ability to retrieve, select, synthesise, compare, evaluate and organize relevant information and materials; to debating and discussing relevant texts and issues in the class and in groups and producing oral and written work in English, and PowerPoint presentations, consistent with the topics of the course.
Making judgements - Students will acquire the following skills relevant to making informed and autonomous judgements: by acquiring and developing comprehensive analytical and critical attitudes towards a diversity of cultural productions and literary texts, they will be better equipped to embrace and transfer intercultural and plural perspectives of analysis. The ability to draw comparisons and establish connections between the various contexts under scrutiny, and the habit to experiment with a diversity of approaches to selected issues consistent with the course will also be major assets in developing judgements skills.
Communication skills - The course will enable students to enhance their ability to use English to discuss selected topics, present their own work to an audience of peers and engage the audience in fruitful debates, use IT technology to support both academic study, research and networking.
Expected learning outcomes
Acquired knowledge and skills will match the multicultural mission and learning objectives of the Master Degree Course by allowing students to select, contextualise, critically analyse, evaluate and discuss the thematic threads, the cultural practices, discourses, literary, visual and artistic productions of contemporary Britain showing an awareness of their historical, political, social and cultural backgrounds. The acquisition of these skills will be fostered by encouraging the students to engage in active participation and dialogue and by enabling them to draw comparisons and unravel the connections between the British context and their own culture and experiences, according to a cross-cultural perspective which, in line with the overall objectives of Lingue e Culture per la Comunicazione e la Cooperazione Internazionale, will enhance their ability to compare different histories, ideologies, claims, cultural practices, and the way they offer thoughtful responses to central issues of the present. Through active participation and independent work, students will develop linguistic and argumentative skills which will help them undertake further study with a higher degree of intellectual curiosity, autonomy, and ability to discriminate, transfer the acquired skills to related fields of analysis and apply multiple methodologies and a consistent intercultural approach to their dissertation and post-graduate research.