Aims and Objectives

The practical aims of The Centre have three principle aspects:

  1. To offer students a broad introduction to cultural and critical theories; comparative film, art and literary studies in English; and opportunities for further specialised research and dissertation work as part of a fully integrated MA degree programme.
  2. To provide a transverse, broad-based means by which existing cultural studies modules may be further developed and re-combined in a more comprehensive manner.
  3. To not only consolidate the disparate “cultural studies”-related subjects already taught in the Philosophy Faculty, but to provide a coherent, independent course of study alongside the existing specialisations. This will provide students with broader opportunities and greater flexibility in determining their degree profile, while at the same time making available a core of study options that more actively address matters of contemporary cultural significance, alongside more traditional issues deriving from the development of mass media, communications, electronic archives and (broadly speaking) the condition of “post-modernity” in both theory and the arts.
  4. As the name suggests, the underwriting dynamic of the Centre for Critical & Cultural Theory is inter-disciplinarity or rather trans-disciplinarity. Students are encouraged to engage with a broad conception of textuality (e.g. semiotics) in film, advertising, drama, the plastic and visual arts, as well as in contemporary and near-contemporary “literary” forms, from concrete and sound poetries, to hypermedia, non-verbal theatre, and so on-along with a critical reappraisal of the “literary” in general. Students are encouraged to consider the social, historical, economic and technological conditions determining the transformations of literary and artistic genres, particularly (but not exclusively) in the 20th century. Practical aspects of the literature, art and film industries (among others) are also considered, and will be keyed to presentations by visiting speakers. A major concern is to consider the means by which “culture” operates, whether conceptually, terminologically, or “practically,” and what mechanisms are at work in determining these operations.

Importantly, the Centre seeks to complement and expand upon exiting literary and cultural studies, as the study of what Marshal McLuhan has referred to as the necessary extensibility of the culture of the book.