Birkbeck’s MA Contemporary Literature and Culture offers you the opportunity to specialise in twenty-first-century literature and culture, as well as exposing you to the most important literary and theoretical developments of the last few decades. This MA considers the legacy of postmodernism, the effects of new technologies on narrative form, and the aesthetic, spatial and political coordinates of writing produced in an increasingly networked and globalised world.
Through a range of literary and interdisciplinary options, you have the opportunity to pursue your own interests, whether they lie in contemporary poetics; in fiction from Britain, the US, Europe or postcolonial nations; in the changing forms of the book in a digital age; or in historical approaches to issues like nation, race, gender and sexuality. The MA's programme of study opens up the aesthetic, historical and political dimensions of contemporary literature and culture.
Key staff teaching on this programme
Grace Halden (Programme Director 2016-2017) Caroline Edwards Anna Hartnell Joe Brooker Roger Luckhurst Carol Watts Esther Leslie Joanne Winning Mpalive Msiska Stephen Clucas Peter Fifield.
Why study this course at Birkbeck?
Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings. Introduces you to the cutting-edge of contemporary literature and culture, offering the unique opportunity to specialise in the post-2000 period. Provides grounding in some of the key concepts that shape understandings of the contemporary world, including consideration of terms like hybridity, performance, trauma, memory and the uncanny, as well as wider cultural conceptualisations like globalisation and postcoloniality. Exposes you to a wider community of scholars and thinkers via a uniquely rich and diverse research culture, involving graduate seminars, reading groups, guest lectures - including those by practising writers - and the wider arts network accessible in Central London. In particular, this environment is fostered by close links between the MA and the Centre for Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck, which runs a wide variety of talks and conferences in this field. You will also have access to a host of other relevant research centres in the School of Arts, including the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, the Centre for Contemporary Theatre and the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre. The School is also actively involved in a number of College-wide institutes specifically designed to foster work across disciplines at Birkbeck and beyond: Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck Institute for Social Research, Birkbeck Institute for Gender and Sexuality Studies and the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism. These institutes are driven by the work of world-class scholars including Laura Mulvey, Slavoj Žižek, Lynne Segal and David Feldman. Birkbeck is at the geographical centre of London’s research library complex, a short distance from the British Library, the University of London Library and the Institute of Historical Research.