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Literature, cultural studies and critical theory


Master's Programme in English-Language Literature

60 credits

This one-year Master’s programme offers advanced study of English-language literature and critical theory, with a special focus on texts that examine inequality and crisis. You will refine your interpretative and analytical skills, as well as your understanding of interdisciplinary approaches to literary and cultural texts.

Qualification title: please see the programme syllabus.

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Analytical thinking, information retrieval and English language skills This Master’s programme provides a foundation for further studies at doctoral level, or for employment outside academia in teaching, publishing, government agencies, or international non-profit organisations. There is a strong emphasis on training English-language writing skills, which is a great advantage if you will be working in an international context, as well as improving skills in analytical thinking and information retrieval. You also gain historical and contemporary global perspectives on power structures within English-language cultural ambits (and beyond, since these do not exist in isolation), which is excellent preparation for work in non-governmental organisations, for example. Through its humanistic orientation, this programme offers you a solid civic education, bringing knowledge about social conditions and how cultural expressions such as literature and film shape our subjectivity. You will also refine your ability to apply different critical perspectives upon the world, giving you an understanding of your own and others’ stakes in public debates. Read about research in this subject
Literary and cultural studies, concluding with a dissertation During the first semester, you will primarily expand your knowledge of methods, theories and concepts in critical studies of literature, but also your knowledge of other cultural phenomena from the English-speaking world. Courses on the programme aim to strengthen your multidisciplinary understanding of culture and cultural forms, and to increase your interpretative ability. The emphasis is on the role that class, ethnicity, gender and other parameters play in the production and reception of knowledge and culture. Throughout the programme, forms of literature, culture, and society are studied, and the themes of text and crisis are explored. In addition, the study of academic English in the field of literature and cultural studies is deepened, with a focus on you writing your own texts. These studies prepare you for the Master’s dissertation that you will write in your second semester. In addition to this, the programme also includes the opportunity for thematic in-depth study with an elective course and an individualised reading course that you develop with your supervisor, focusing on literature and issues relevant to the research and writing of your dissertation. Semester 1 English-language Literature and Culture, 30 credits Semester 2 English-language Literature in a Socio-historical Perspective, 7.5 credits Elective course, 7.5 credits (see point 8) Master’s Dissertation, 15 credits Course design There is a great emphasis on class discussion and writing, so teaching is primarily conducted through seminars. You will write a number of academic texts, such as a research essays and conference-style papers. The seminars are compulsory and will be given twice a week on campus. Advanced, specialised questions are addressed on the programme, with a specific emphasis on historical and theoretical problems that are not studied at undergraduate level. The programme also features guest lectures in conjunction with departmental research activities (such as higher seminars and conferences). Courses are programme-specific, apart from one 7.5-credit course that you can choose from another department at Södertörn University or another higher education institution.
Gain a deeper understanding of inequality, crisis and power relations On this programme, you will examine societal issues by studying literature in relation to various forms of inequality (in terms of class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, among others) as well as crisis (economic, environmental, and so on). Individual courses explore the formative role of power relations in culture, focusing on the way in which historical and ideological processes, such as colonialism, (de)industrialisation and neoliberalism, have shaped the development of literature in the English-speaking world. The programme also offers extensive training in the epistemology and methodology of cultural studies and critical theory and emphasises certain areas of research within English-language literary and cultural studies, such as working-class literature, ecocriticism, and postcolonial studies, among others, in order to ask questions such as the following: How do ideological and power relations affect the construction of cultural, and especially literary, texts? How are forms of social inequality and domination expressed and represented in English-language literature? Which historical processes have created the most significant interactions between literature, culture, and society in the English-speaking world? This programme will provide you with the tools to examine your own position in society and to develop a critical attitude towards multiple forms of injustice.