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Special Study: Branding the Self: Celebrity, Identity and David Bowie

  • Module code: MD6014
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 6
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This Special Study module uses David Bowie's life (1947 onward) and work (1965 onward) to the present as a focus for the exploration of key theoretical concepts around national and location, gender and identity, narrative and intertextuality, authorship, audience and performance. Through an extended case study, it encourages an exploration of the relationship between theory and practice, an engagement with theory and an application of that theory to the analysis of primary texts.

Aims

  • To enable students to undertake a detailed and extensive study of a specific and original issue, topic or theme within the framework of cultural studies and critical theory.
  • To enable students to explore a case study from cross-media popular culture in relation to pertinent theoretical perspectives and debates and with regard to their social and historical contexts.
  • To produce a substantial piece of independent scholarly work demonstrating research and independent learning.
  • To enhance students' skills of project and time management, and presentation.

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of cultural studies debates and approaches, through an extended case study.
  • Engage rigorously and critically with conceptual and theoretical perspectives and scholarly literature.
  • Demonstrate critical understanding of social, historical and cultural contexts.
  • Demonstrate an ability to work independently, negotiate research challenges and manage their time efficiently.
  • Demonstrate an ability to design and produce an extended piece of researched study in an appropriate format.

Curriculum content

Key themes, debates and issues relating to the topic
Interpretation and audience
Debates around authorship
Theories of gender identity, gender roles and performance
Concepts of nation and the cultural Other
Intertextuality, cross-media practice and cultural convergence
Theoretical and methodological perspectives appropriate to the subject area
‘Race', identity and Orientalism
Radical liberal, and trans-feminism
Auteur theory
Theories of discourse
Interpretive communities
Concepts of dialogism
Project design and management and presentation skills workshop

Teaching and learning strategy

This module will be taught in a fortnightly, two-hour lecture and seminar block. Activities within this block remain as flexible as possible to allow the module to adapt to student interests and questions as they develop from readings and discussions. Seminars will encourage active participation and as part of this encouragement ask all members of the seminar to come prepared to ask specific questions of the group each session and, where appropriate, to lead discussions. Within the seminar format, students will present work in progress on their projects and also assessed presentations relating to key themes from the module content. Two practical workshops will be devoted to project design and management skills.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lecture and seminars 22
Guided independent study Research and reading in preparation for taught classes, and preparation of assignments 275
Scheduled learning and teaching Tutorials and supervision 3
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Students are required to produce an extended researched essay or a piece of practice-informed research related to the module content. The title and scope of this will be agreed with the module tutor in advance and will enable students to develop focused and sustained work based on their own guided research and in response to the themes and concerns of the module. 

Students will also give a 15 minute presentation on an aspect of the module content in the first half of the teaching schedule. Presentations are designed to ensure students cover a range of material from the module. Students will be asked to present on one of the topics covered in the module, reflecting critically on theory and practice, and using relevant examples.

Formative assessment and feed-forward opportunities will be provided through class based exercises and discussion and work-in-progress seminar presentations. These will also offer opportunities for peer review.

Breakdown of Element of Assessment:

a) The practice-based option:

1) Individual Presentation (30%)

2) Coursework (70%): Students will be required to produce a Portfolio of two pieces of work as part of their practice informed research project. 

1.      Practical Project: (50% of the mark for coursework)

2.      Extended research essay: (max 2,500 words, 50% of the mark for coursework)

b) The essay option: 

1) Individual Presentation (30%)

2) Coursework (70%): 

5.000 words research essay (100% of the coursework).

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of cultural studies debates and approaches, through an extended case study. The presentation and the extended researched essay/piece of practice informed research.
Engage rigorously and critically with conceptual and theoretical perspectives and scholarly literature. The presentation and the extended researched essay/piece of practice informed research
Demonstrate critical understanding of social, historical and cultural contexts. The presentation and the extended researched essay/piece of practice informed research
Demonstrate an ability to work independently, negotiate research challenges and manage their time efficiently. The extended researched essay/piece of practice informed research
Demonstrate an ability to design and produce an extended piece of researched study in an appropriate format. The extended researched essay/piece of practice informed research.

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
PRC Individual presentation 30
CWK Final Project 70
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Storey, J. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction
Barthes, R. ‘The Death of the Author'
Foucault, M. ‘The Author-Function'
Said, E. Orientalism
Hall, S. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices
Allen, G. Intertextuality
Bakhtin, M. The Dialogic Imagination

Bibliography recommended reading

Jenkins, H. Convergence Culture
Jenkins, H. Textual Poachers
Hebdige, D. Subculture: The Meaning of Style
Sean Bolton, M. Mosaic of Juxtaposition
Serano, J. Whipping Girl
Dworkin, A. Pornography: Men Possessing Women
hooks, b. Black Looks: Race and Representation
Barthes, R. Image-Music-Text
Caughie, J. Theories of Authorship
Fish, S. Is There A Text In This Class?
Foucault, M. Discipline and Punish
Wollen, P. Signs and Meaning in the Cinema
Huq, R. Making Sense of Suburbia
Brooker, W. Hunting the Dark Knight
Brooker, W. Batman Unmasked
Brooker, W. Using the Force
Brooker, W. and Jermyn, D. The Audience Studies Reader
Buckley, D. Strange Fascination
O'Leary, C. Rebel Rebel
Redmond, S., Cinque, T. and Moore, C. Enchanting David Bowie
Stevenson, M. David Bowie: Fame, Sound and Vision
Wilcken, H. Low
Seabrook, T. J. Bowie in Berlin
Ruther, T. Heroes: David Bowie and Berlin
Leigh, W. Bowie
Gillman, P and L, David Bowie

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