The module explores the nature of communication in a global
context. In particular it examines how people from different
cultures can overcome barriers to communication. In doing so
students will investigate how our use of language is shaped both by
our cultural heritage and personal experiences. The principal aim
of the module is to make students more aware of the influences
affecting their use of language so that they can become better
communicators in an increasingly globalised world. As a cultural
studies and communications module, this develops skills and
perspectives in intercultural communication essential for
progression on to an undergraduate degree in American Studies.
The module prepares students for the American Studies programme by
providing an opportunity to think critically about the ways that
culture and communication engage with society and contribute to the
formation of identity. These are key factors across the wide range
of modules students undertake on the American Studies degree. Some
key questions we will seek to answer are:
- What is the relationship between language and thought?
- How far can specific conversation strategies (like politeness)
be regarded as universal feature of human communication?
- What is the nature of cultural stereotypes and how do they
shape, and are shaped by, language?
- How far do perceptions about our own world view hinder greater
understanding (and acceptance of) others’?
The Research Project in the Humanities is a module geared
towards preparing students to conducting independent research
through the production of a 3000-word essay. Study in the
Humanities involves acquiring the skills to discuss, interpret, and
debate cultural phenomena of all kinds, and throughout degree
programmes students write essays, and longer form projects such as
dissertations, as a means of developing their abilities to think
independently and to write informed and rigorous prose. The
Research Project in the Humanities teaches you how to formulate and
refine an area of personal interest into a viable academic research
question relating to American Studies. You will learn to conduct
independent research, aided by guidance from classroom teaching,
prescribed study guides, and tutorials. You will present your
working ideas to fellow students, and learn to respond to feedback
from your tutor and peers, as the project progresses towards the
submission of the essay. The module prepares students for the
variety of assessments on the American Studies programme, which
involve research, guided preparation, and independent critical
thinking. Throughout the American Studies programme students
examine aspects of American history, society, and culture through
research and analysis. The Research Project in the Humanities
therefore provides an introduction to the core learning aims and
objectives of the American Studies degree.