The postgraduate programme in Cultural History, Memory and Identity is concerned with the cultural practices and media of ‘history-making’; with the cultural representation and interpretation of ‘history’; and with the role of constructions of ‘the past’ within cultural and social formations. It is grounded in current interdisciplinary methodologies informed by cultural and critical theory, and draws on the course team’s specific areas of expertise within social, cultural and political history, cultural studies, literary studies, film and visual studies and the history of ideas. The programme develops a connection between critical understanding and analysis of the past, with a practical, ‘hands-on’ emphasis upon the skills and methods involved in the making of new historical accounts and representations. The programme incorporates interests and expertise spanning a wide range of cultural forms and practices, including oral history, life-story work and auto/biography, drama and performance, material artefacts, monuments, exhibitions, museums, written histories, imaginative literature, archival documents and records, painting, graphic design, photography, film, television, video, digital media, commemoration, and heritage.
These concerns are developed in relation to three pathways, each of which explores a particular field of enquiry with its own distinctive thematic and methodological focus: Cultural Memory; Making Histories; ‘Race’, Nation and Ethnicity. MA students enrol on one of these pathways; not all run every year. [For further details of the three pathways, see separate entries under these titles on this website.]
Each pathway comprises four component elements:
1: A compulsory core course unit that runs throughout the year and establishes the themes, issues and questions that characterize the field of enquiry, the theories and methods of its investigation and applies these to particular case studies:
For Cultural Memory the core course comprises: Cultural Memory: Concepts, Theories and Methods; Holocaust Memory; and Cultural Memory in Ireland.
For Making Histories the core course comprises: Public History, Heritage and the Representation of Brighton & Hove; Making the History of Slavery in the Atlantic World; and Making the History of the Second World War
For ‘Race’, Nation and Ethnicity the core course comprises: Constructions of Britishness: Histories, Cultures and Identities; The Making of the Black Atlantic; and Memory and Identity in Postcolonial Cultures.
2: Two optional units of 20 credits each, or one optional unit of 40 credits. These are usually taken from within the MA Humanities Programme, or from MA Programmes running elsewhere in the School of Humanities.
NB: these units may vary, and not all will be available in any one year. For up-to-date information, contact the Course Leader.
3. A Research Methods unit introducing relevant methods in cultural studies, historical inquiry, literary (textual) analysis, and cultural and critical theory; and guiding the formulation of a research topic with clear aims, methodology, sources, and a rationale for the intended treatment of the topic.
4: The Research Project enables students to investigate in depth a topic of their choice - a critical debate, or a body of cultural material, or an historical context - relevant to the broad concerns of the MA. Research normally leads to the production of a 20,000-word dissertation. The use of alternative modes of presentation - for example, the production of a video, an exhibition or a CD-Rom - may also be negotiated
Full-time students usually take two elements per term, part-time students usually take one. The pattern of study is flexible in order to allow all students to take advantage of the full range of options. Potential applicants are advised to discuss their particular interests with the Course Leader to explore how these might be accommodated. In cases where students’ preferred pathways or units are not available, there is usually scope to pursue these interests elsewhere on the programme, whether in relation to other units or through the Research Project.
A part-time student should expect to dedicate some 20 hours a week to their studies and a full-time student some 40 hours, mostly taken up by independent reading and writing. Teaching for all Core Courses normally takes place on weekday evenings and lasts 2 - 3 hours. Research Methods timetabling is negotiated with each group. The Research Project involves individual tuition at times agreed between student and supervisor.
The interdisciplinary course team are active researchers and leaders in their respective research fields. Please see their individual staff pages for further details of areas of research expertise and interest.
Visit Cultural History, Memory and Identity MA page on the University of Brighton website for more details!