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Study information

Being Human in the Modern World

Module titleBeing Human in the Modern World
Module codeLIB1105
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Michael Flexer (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This core module provides grounding in the practices of the liberal arts, namely, multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary training. In this module you will engage in a variety of critical approaches and methods surrounding constructions of identities and aspects of life, culture, and society in the modern world both past and present. You will develop your skills in critical analysis of literary, artefactual, digital and visual materials. By introducing you to both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, you will hone your persuasive oral and writing skills. The study of identities, cultures, and beliefs is concerned with some of the most crucial questions, locally and globally, about human behaviour and social interaction. You will investigate (and interrogate) who you perceive yourself and others to be, and how these identities, cultures, and beliefs are connected to complex intersections of race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, religion, politics, economics, and embodiment. With the help of an introduction to multi- and inter-disciplinary learning for global challenges, you will critically survey identities, cultures, and society through narrative, time, space, experience and encounters, and investigate how convictions stated through a diverse range of communications (sites, texts and discourses ranging from historical material artefacts to political rhetoric and digital media) have variously shaped and influenced the ways individuals and communities behave.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This core module will:

  • introduce the approaches and methodologies of liberal arts
  • prepare you for further work in the humanities and social sciences in subsequent years
  • initiate the development of critical and creative abilities with which to reflect on local, national and global contexts and challenges

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the key concerns in constructions of identities and cultures
  • 2. Demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which constructions of identities and cultures involve complex intersections of race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, religion, politics, economics, and embodiment
  • 3. Show the ability to engage inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary approaches in academic study

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Demonstrate a basic ability to interrelate images, texts and/or discourses specific to one discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history
  • 5. Demonstrate skills in the analysis of literary, material, artefactual, digital and visual materials and qualitative and/or quantitative research methodologies
  • 6. Demonstrate an ability to effectively and persuasively convey knowledge, argument and analysis in a variety of written forms

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Demonstrate basic communication skills and an ability to work both individually and in groups through seminar discussions
  • 8. Show appropriate research and bibliographic skills; develop a basic capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose in the format of an essay
  • 9. Show a basic proficiency in information retrieval and analysis, an advanced capacity to make critical use of secondary material, to question assumptions, and to reflect on your own learning process, through research for seminars and essays
  • 10. Engage sensitively and respectfully with views, identities and beliefs which may not be your own

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • What is ‘Liberal Arts’?
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Identities and Cultures in Social-Scientific and Humanities Perspectives
  • Identities and Cultures constructed through narrative, time, space, experience and encounters
  • Bodies, Gender, Sex, and Identity
  • Migration, Diaspora, and Identities in a Globalising World
  • Politics, Religion, and Conflict
  • Semiotics
  • Place, Memory and Identity
  • Beliefs, Ethics and Activism
  • Race and Racism Past and Present
  • Climate Change and Sustainable Futures
  • Food, Famine and Feast
  • Philosophy of Science

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching33Lecture/Class (22 x 1.5 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching33Seminar (22 x 1.5 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching12Skills workshops in essay writing, digital story telling, podcasting and movement practice (4 x 3hr)
Guided Independent Study222Independent Study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Formative Essay1000 words1-10Feedback sheet with opportunity for follow-up in office hours.
Podcast or vlog5 minutes1-10Feedback sheet with opportunity for follow-up in office hours.

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Digital story telling project302000 words 1-10Feedback sheet with opportunity for follow-up tutorial
Podcast (in threes)201500 words1-10Feedback sheet with opportunity for follow-up tutorial
Essay402500 words1-10Feedback sheet with opportunity for follow-up tutorial
Class participation Term 15Ongoing1-7, 9 and 10Numerical mark
Class participation Term 25Ongoing1-7, 9 and 10Numerical mark

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Digital story telling project (2000 words)Digital story telling project (2000 words)1-10Referral/deferral period
Podcast (in threes – 1500 words)Podcast (individual) (500 words)1-10Referral/deferral period
Essay (2500 words) Essay (2500 words) 1-10Referral/deferral period
Class participationRepeat study/mitigation1-7, 9 and 10Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Elliot, A., (ed), Routledge Handbook of Identity Studies (London: Routledge, 2011)
  • Garrett, M., Gottfried, H. and VanBurkleo, S., Remapping the Humanities: Identity, Community, Memory, (Post)modernity (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2008)
  • Jenkins, R., Social Identity 3d ed. (London: Routledge, 2008)
  • Laff, N. S., (ed), Identity, Learning, and the Liberal Arts (Jossey-Bass, 2005)
  • Stets J. E. and Serpe, R. T., (eds), New Directions in Identity Theory and Research (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2016)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Liberal Arts

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date