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International Summer School

British Cultures

This module aims to give you a distinctive critical introduction to British Cultures as broadly conceived. We will study a variety of different cultural forms and genres which range from the late medieval period through to the present day. You will have the opportunity to study familiar material in depth, and also be introduced to a more diverse range of texts and concepts within the scope of British literature and culture. The aim is for you to acquire the skills to interpret and critique this material in relation to their historical, literary, social, and cultural contexts. The module is taught by a convenor with frequent guest contributions from academics in the department with research interests in particular areas.

We start with early folkloric history, with King Arthur and Robin Hood, and then move on to familiar and indeed canonical authors and texts (such as Shakespeare and Austen) and we examine the processes by which these examples have become identified with certain modes of Britishness or Englishness (often, if contentiously, taken as a synonym for British identity). We move on to look at regional variations on the standard model of Englishness, and how landscapes, characters, and genres are informed and shaped by their context, but in turn have shaped our understanding of British identity (for example, Treasure Island, Sherlock Holmes, the Gothic). We will also make a field trip to a site of literary interest. We will also think about children's literature, counter and/or popular cultures, and think about new models of Britishness in a global context.

By the end of the module, you will have gained a broad, deep, and nuanced understanding of the diversity of British Cultures, of the processes by which such cultures are produced and reproduced, and of the implications of these processes for our understanding of Britishness.

If you take this module, you will be expected to read and reflect on a selection of primary and secondary sources both as independent learners and as part of a seminar group. A field trip (or equivalent online material) will encourage you to think about British cultures beyond the boundaries of the classroom. Film screenings may supplement the required reading. Informal group presentations may form part of the module, to help you to work together and synthesise your learning. The learning log will ask you to reflect on their learning; the independent study will enable you to identify and develop a particular area of scholarly interest, to acquire skills in information retrieval and synthesis, and to present your findings in an appropriate format.


Apply now

Applications for 2024 are now open. Please visit our How to Apply section to read the guidelines to find out more. 

Find out more about British Cultures from Dr Jo Ezra, the module convenor on the programme, as well as some previous students on the course.

Module at a Glance

Module Title British Cultures
Module Code EAS2023
Module Convenor Dr Jo Esra
Credit Value 7.5 ECTS
Live Sessions 24 x 2 Hour Sessions
Total Module Hours 150 Hours
Guided Independent Study

Pre-Reading Before Arrival
Preparatory readings for lectures and seminars
Researching, preparing and delivering a group presentation
Researching and completing two written assignments

Formative Assessment

Group Presentation 10-15 minutes - oral feedback from tutor and peers

Summative Assessment

Written assignment – 1500 words – 60% of credit – written feedback

Reflective Log - 500 words - 30% of credit - oral and written feedback

Module Participation - 10% of credit - oral feedback

Sample Pre Reading

Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson

Studying British Cultures: An introduction - Susan Basnett, London: Routledge, 2003

The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Popular Culture - Robert Shaughnesy, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007

Sample Lecture Sessions

The High Seas: Treasure Island

Ballads of King Arthur and Robin Hood

Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone