English Culture II

A.Y. 2015/2016
Overall hours
Learning objectives
Focusing on the literary and non-literary works, films, art forms, discourses and cultural practices which inform and characterize the current British debate on national and cultural identity against the backdrop of the country's imperial past and with a view to redefine its role in Europe and globally, this course aims to enhance the students' knowledge and understanding of these themes, which are central concerns in the British and European experience of contemporaneity. This aim is pursued through the methodological and critical tools of cultural studies, which privilege an understanding of ideological and socio-spatial relations, as well as a multicultural and interdisciplinary approach. The course is meant to foster active participation from the students, so as to enhance, beside their English speaking skills, their ability to make judgements and recognize the differences and connections among divergent forms, genres, and cultures.

Objectives include:

Knowledge and understanding - Students will gain knowledge and understanding of:
- a range of cultural practices, productions (visual art, films, writing, performances), and literary texts, primarily in English
- the most relevant approaches of Cultural Studies on contemporary British issues and contexts
- historical, political, social, and cultural contextualization of the contemporary practices and events taken as case study
- Englishness, Britishness, "new British values" and "postimperial melancholia": definitions and re-definitions of British national identity against the new multicultural and multi-ethnic social reality: issues of exclusion and inclusion
- Borders, immigration, diaspora: refugees, asylum-seekers, illegal aliens and their representation in the British public sphere and in British literature, film, art, and music.
- London as space and imaginary

Depending on the specific focus of the programmes, a variety of other relevant notions and issues may be presented and analysed. These include, but not exclusively:
- empire, post-empire, Commonwealth, post-colonialism, and the relations with the former colonies
- power, ideology, hegemony and the ways they are reflected in British cultural phenomena
- issues of identity, alterity, difference, hybridity, hyphenated identities
- race, ethnicity, multiculturalism, and cosmopolitanism
- the conditions of cultural production and consumption
- the discourses and practices of consensus and resistance

Applying knowledge and understanding - Students will apply their acquired knowledge and understanding to:
- close read and analyse cultural productions and literary texts
- select and synthesise relevant information
- debate and discuss relevant texts and issues in the class and in groups
- produce brief oral or written work, and powerpoint presentations, consistent with the topics of the course

Making judgements - Students will acquire the following skills relevant to making judgements:
- adopt intercultural and plural perspectives of analysis
- develop analytical and critical attitudes towards cultural productions and literary texts
- draw comparisons and establish connections between the various contexts under scrutiny and their own situated experience

Communication skills - The course will enable students to:
- present their own work to an audience of peers
- organise and structure group work among peers
- use IT technology to support both academic work and networking

Learning skills - Through active participation and independent work, students will be able to:
- undertake further study with a higher degree of intellectual curiosity, autonomy, and ability to discriminate
- transfer the acquired skills to related fields of analysis
- apply a methodological approach to future research and activities
Expected learning outcomes
Acquired knowledge and skills will match the objectives of the course by allowing students to select, contextualise, critically analyse, evaluate and discuss the thematic threads, the cultural practices, discourses and productions of contemporary Britain showing an awareness of their historical, political, social and cultural contextualizations. This will be done from a variety of perspectives and using the methodological approaches of Cultural Studies.
Beside consolidating their skills in comprehension, and oral and written English, students will acquire new, interdisciplinary methodological and cultural tools for discussing and analyzing cultural, political and media discourses and practices, fictional and non-fictional texts, visual culture, documentaries and films. The acquisition of these skills will be fostered by encouraging active participation and dialogue, and by enabling the students to draw comparisons between the British context and their own situated experience of being Italians and citizens of the world, so as to facilitate forms of engagement with the issues and challenges of the present.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Teaching Unit 1
L-LIN/10 - ENGLISH LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Teaching Unit 2
L-LIN/10 - ENGLISH LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Teaching Unit 3
L-LIN/10 - ENGLISH LITERATURE - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours