Skip to main content

Study information

Language, Culture, and International Relations

Module titleLanguage, Culture, and International Relations
Module codeSML1208
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Yanling Yang (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module provides an overview of the role that language and culture play in society and international relations. It analyses and evaluates cultural policies and practice in promoting language and culture at local, national and international levels in different countries. In this course, you will not only develop your understanding of complex political and cultural issues but also deepen your knowledge of languages and cultures from a diverse range of societies. There are no pre-requisites or co-requisites. This module is suitable for specialists and non-specialists and recommended for interdisciplinary pathways. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to:

  • develop an understanding of notions and concepts such as culture and soft power
  • broaden your intellectual experience and deepen your critical understanding of your own disciplines
  • adopt an interdisciplinary approach and help you to develop a familiarity with different analytical tools and approaches
  • improve critical thinking and communication skills from a practical perspective using case studies
  • develop your ability to engage with and research an individual topic
  • develop your ability to respond appropriately to unfamiliar cultural practices

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding of key theoretical notions and concepts in international relations as well as their relevance in multilingual and multicultural contexts
  • 2. Demonstrate your intercultural competence through the analysis of data, policy analysis and case studies

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Summarise and evaluate, under guidance from the module tutor(s), key critical responses to the topic and apply standard critical approaches to the material
  • 4. Demonstrate familiarity with and ability to draw on a range of research literature to support an argument

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 5. Assimilate, select and organise material in order to produce, to a deadline, a written argument
  • 6. Conduct original research and write case studies that will have intellectual and practical value for approaching the chosen international markets.

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:

  • literature review on the role of language and culture in international relations
  • the four models of national governance with regards to culture
  • in practice: the role of language and culture in soft power promotion

case studies A:

  • Confucius Institute (Chinese),
  • Alliance Française (French),
  • British Council (English),
  • Goethe-Institut (German),
  • Instituto Cervantes (Spanish),
  • Instituto Camões (Portuguese)

case studies B:

  • transnational cinema
  • evaluation of soft power: both quantitative and qualitative
  • language and culture in a changing world:
  • the major trends and challenges with respect to international cultural relations in the current global order before, and following, the Covid19 global health crisis.

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 teaching15Lectures and seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching1Consultation/revision
Guided independent study134Private study and seminar preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Blog post500 words1-6Written and/or oral

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
Essay 1002000 words1-6 Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-6Referral/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

Basic reading:

  • Bell, D. and Oakley, K. 2015. Cultural Policy. London; New York: Routledge.
  • Gallarotti, G.M. 2011. ‘Soft Power: What It Is, Why It’s Important, and the Conditions for Its Effective Use’. Journal of Political Power. 4 (1), pp.25–47.
  • EUNIC. 2020. ‘Global Impact of COVID-19 on EU National Institutes for Culture’. Survey Report. Brussels: EUNIC GLOBAL AISBL. 1593698098/global-impact-of-covid-19-on-eu-national-institutes-for-culture.pdf
  • Hesmondhalgh, D. and Pratt, A. C. 2005. ‘Cultural Industries and Cultural Policy’. International Journal of Cultural Policy. 11(1), pp.1–13.
  • Hill. C and S. Beadle. 2014. ‘The Art of Attraction: Soft Power and the UK’s Role in the World’. London: The British Academy
  • Jin D. Y. and W. Su. 2019. Asia-Pacific Film Co-productions: Theory, Industry and Aesthetics. New York: Routledge.
  • Lim. S. H. 2019. ‘Concepts of Transnational Cinema Revisited’, Transnational Screens,10 (1), pp.1–12.
  • Nye, J.S., Jr. 2011. The Future of Power Reprint edition. New York: Public Affairs.
  • Robinson, L. 2017. ‘Non-state Agents, Quotidian Soft Power, and the Work of the Overseas Film Festival: Case Studies from London’. In: Voci, Paola and Luo, Hui (eds.) Screening China’s Soft Power. New York: Routledge. pp.111–126.
  • Zaharna, R.S., Hubbert, J. and Hartig, F. 2014. Confucius Institutes and the Globalisation of China’s Soft Power. Los Angeles: Figueroa Press

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Language, culture, cultural policy, soft power, transnational cinema, international relations

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date