English Culture II

A.Y. 2018/2019
9
Max ECTS
60
Overall hours
SSD
L-LIN/10
Language
English
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, in line with the main objectives of the Degree Course, favour an understanding of ideological, intercultural and socio-spatial relations, as well as a multicultural and interdisciplinary approach. The course is meant to foster active participation from the students, and, besides advancing their spoken English skills, aims to enhance their ability to make judgements and recognize the differences and connections among divergent forms, genres, and cultures, according to the wider mission of Mediazione Linguistica.

- Knowledge and understanding - Students will gain knowledge and understanding of a variety of cultural practices and productions (visual art, films, writing, performances) and literary texts, primarily in English, presented through the lens of Cultural Studies and against the backgrounds of contemporary British culture, history and society. Attention will be devoted to representations and redefinitions of British identity/ies, multi-culturalism, new ethnicities, the reemergence of nationalism, and current social inequalities and tensions. Cultural production and consumption will also be considered, along with the discourses and practices of consent construction and resistance, and youth cultures.

· Applying knowledge and understanding - Students will the opportunity to apply their acquired knowledge and understanding to close read and analyze cultural productions and literary texts; synthesize and compare relevant information; debate and discuss 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 skills relevant to making more informed and autonomous judgements. Thanks to their familiarity with different perspectives of intercultural analysis, they will develop analytical and critical attitudes towards cultural productions and literary texts and draw comparisons and establish connections between the various contexts under scrutiny and their own situated experience.

· Communication skills - The course will enable students to discuss given topics, present their own work to an audience of peers; structure group work among peers; use IT technology to support both academic study and networking.

- Learning skills - Through active participation and independent work, students will be invited to develop a higher degree of intellectual curiosity, autonomy, and ability to discriminate; transfer the acquired skills to related fields of analysis; and to apply a methodological approach to future research and activities.
Expected learning outcomes
Beside consolidating their skills in comprehension, and oral and written English, students will acquire 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. This will be done from a variety of perspectives and using the methodological approaches of Cultural Studies. 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 analysis and engagement with the issues and challenges of the British present which are consistent with the avowed specialist and intercultural mission of their Degree Course.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Teaching Unit 1
Course syllabus
"Brexit is Brexit" (?): Representing Migrants, Asylum Seekers and the Redrawing of Cultural and Economic Boundaries against the Framework of the European Crisis"
Against the framework of the complex and controversial political, economic, social and cultural conjuncture which has characterized the period in British history which began with the global financial crisis of 2007-2008 and led to the return to power of the Conservative Party in 2010, module 1 will address, in particular, the re-emergence of exclusive and nostalgic understandings of British/English national identity. Often fueled by segments of the so-called 'popular' media and by nationalist parties, this misplaced feeling of belonging is at the heart of the anti-immigrant positions lying behind the 2016 vote for Brexit. Xeno-racism and hostility towards migrants will be the main focus of this module, which will address literary works, plays and films that attempt to resist such widespread prejudice through alternative representations of asylum seekers, migrants and racialized 'aliens'. In this light, attention will be paid, in particular, to the practical literary action embodied in "Refugee Tales", a collection of short stories which aims to make migrants' voices heard by combining storytelling and civil action. The common matrix interconnecting policies of austerity and anti-immigrant feelings in Britain, France and the rest of Europe will be analyzed also through representations of "the jungle", the refugee camp in Calais, and by further considerations on Anders Lustgarten's "Lampedusa".
Teaching Unit 2
Course syllabus
"'Strangers in Our Midst': Race, Hybridity and Belonging from the Arrival of the Empire Windrush to the current 'Windrush Scandal'".
After a brief overview of the cultural history of immigration to the UK (from the arrival of the ship Empire Windrush ─ with its first wave of Caribbean migrants ─ in June 1948, to the so called 'Windrush Scandal' of 2018 which negatively marked the 70th anniversary of the event), this module aims to give deeper insight into the making of multi-racial and multi-ethnic Britain, and the re-negotiations of Englishness and Britishness, exclusion and belonging which accompanied this process.
The attention will focus, in particular, on issues of discrimination by race, hospitality, integration and resistance, cultural and social hybridization. Great attention will be given to the way literary, musical and film representations of the 'blackening' of Britain, and the opposition to it, gave rise to a vibrant cultural output and imaginative environment which emphatically changed what it means to be British. Drawing on the rich and compelling repertoire of Black British literature and art, this section will attempt to unravel the complex, often clashing dynamics of past and current views of Britishness and belonging.
Teaching Unit 3
Course syllabus
"The Corbyn Effect: The Making of Consent and the New Radical Momentum"
In the light of Brexit (2016) and following the election results of June 2017, module 3 will discuss the divisive political and cultural tensions, as well as the controversial issues of nationhood, identity and belonging, that are currently affecting the United Kingdom, and appear to be even more dramatic in the run up to fateful opt out date of March 2019. Special attention will be paid to the Labour Party's leader Jeremy Corbyn and his political strategies, in order to point to the ways in which his success may be understood as responding to the desire for new forms of political participation expressed by broad sectors of civil society and, in particular, by the young.
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