Module code: ELI2051

Module Overview

This innovative, interdisciplinary and university-wide module explores multiple aspects of popular culture in the contemporary world. The module considers how and why some works acquire the status of popular culture and how these works permeate everyday life. Through an overview of contemporary issues and approaches to popular culture in social, literary, filmic, musical and sociological contexts, you will consider the values inherent in some cultural works, and how these transform to reflect societal preoccupations. You will examine case studies from Dickens through Disney to the Diva, considering the creative choices and the critical reception. This module will equip you with a sophisticated understanding of the academic approaches to culture which will inform and illuminate your work in other disciplines.

In particular the module embeds the University Pillars of Resourcefulness & Resilience, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities.

This original module is delivered by staff specialising in diverse forms of popular culture across the university, including from the Department of Music and Media, School of Literature and Languages and GSA.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

DOVE Danielle (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 20

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 82

Seminar Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 2

Guided Learning: 33

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The module examines works of contemporary popular culture from a range of perspectives, each considered through a case study. The module embraces popular cultures across a range of forms, including film, popular music, visual art, musical theatre, social media and gaming. Adaptation, Globalisation, Transmedia Storytelling, Aesthetics and Value, AV Theory, Serialisation, Gender, Narrative Theory and malleability to changing sensibilities are considered through studies of works as diverse as Dickens, Star Wars, James Bond, Mamma Mia, Tracey Emin, Bridgerton and Disney.

By taking this module you will discover new perspectives and develop thinking about the contemporary cultural landscape, the historical development of mass market culture, and considers possible future developments.

Students will also have the opportunity to consider popular culture of their own choice and of various heritages including Bollywood, Nollywood and K-Pop. The module also includes at least one field trip to a relevant event/exhibition.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework GROUP PRESENTATION (5-8 mins) 25
Coursework ESSAY (2500 WORDS) OR VIDEO ESSAY (15 mins) OR PODCAST (15 mins) 75

Alternative Assessment

Students unable to participate in the group presentation should contact the module leader to discuss alternative forms of assessment.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the issues surrounding the academic study of popular culture through engagement with selected work(s) and their contexts.

Thus, the summative assessments for this module consists of:

  • group presentation (5-8 mins; groups of 5/6) 

  • coursework essay with a maximum length of 2500 words, or a podcast (not more than 15 minutes in length) or a video essay (not more than 15 minutes in length) plus bibliography. (Addresses learning outcomes 1¿6.)

Feedback Detailed written feedback will be provided within semester three weeks of the group presentation and coursework assessment.

Verbal feedback will be given to contributions during class discussions as well as individual tutorials on coursework plans.

Formative assessment:

Formative ‘feed forward’ feedback is provided through seminar discussions and tutor feedback in lecture-seminars.
Students may wish to submit their essay /assignment plan or other draft material to their module tutor for written or verbal feedback.

Module aims

  • Broaden and develop academic understanding of popular culture
  • Introduce concepts of adaptation, transmediality, and narratology as appropriate theories with which to examine a range of popular cultural texts
  • Critically engage with approaches to the academic understanding of popular culture
  • Strengthen students¿ ability to undertake independent research, including using digital and online materials for research
  • Improve oral and written communication skills in the discussion of popular culture at a level suitable for HE

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of popular culture in the twenty-first century, with a sophisticated recognition of historical contexts CKT
002 Understand how to frame analyses of contemporary popular culture within relevant socio-cultural and political contexts CK
003 Demonstrate advanced critical thinking and application of a range of appropriate theoretical frameworks to popular culture CKT
004 Construct a cogent argument in written or video form and seminar discussions CKPT
005 Demonstrate academic skills in independent research, including competency in accessing physical and digital resources, referencing, and compiling a bibliography following university guidelines PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to develop awareness of some of the intellectual means by which understanding of popular culture is sought and achieved, and to develop the ability to employ some of these means to inform discussion of the selected work(s).

This will involve directed reading and listening / viewing, class discussion, and the formation of critical responses to secondary literature in the coursework essay / video essay.

The strategy will also reinforce techniques and styles of academic writing and analysis introduced in FHEQ levels 4 and 5.

The learning and teaching methods include: 

  • Seminars, incorporating class discussions as appropriate.

  • individual tutorials during which you will formulate, under guidance, your coursework essay topic. *

  • Guided reading / listening / viewing on SurreyLearn. 

  • Additional resources, including podcasts.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ELI2051

Other information

This module trains students with an understanding in their chosen field of Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas: Digital Capabilities Throughout the classes and the project work within this module, students will engage with digital technologies, to support their learning journey, and to explore and secure employment opportunities. Students may use specialist software to create digital content, and they will use a range of digital platforms to share this content with creative peers as appropriate. Students will also use traditional software and other digital technologies to undertake communication, administration, and planning. Students will access module resources online via the SurreyLearn VLE. Students will prepare an essay / video essay / podcast using IT. Employability The focus on employability is embedded in the teaching, learning and assessment activities throughout this module. Students will develop transferable skills including independent and collaborative working, creative, critical and reflective thinking, and problem solving throughout all sessions delivered on this module and especially in the Group Presentation assessment. Global & Cultural Capabilities Through the study of the multiple texts used through the projects in this university-wide module, students will develop their global, social, historical, and cultural awareness, share experiences, and knowledge from their own backgrounds and cultures,¿and appreciate, recognise and interpret diverse perspectives. With an open mind and a willingness to engage in discussion, students will be able to make informed contributions to the current debates in the humanities and creative industries. Students may be signposted to the university¿s Disability and Neuro-Diversity Service if they have particular needs or are experiencing barriers to individual learning. Resourcefulness & Resilience The module content features independent and collaborative learning, problem solving, communication, perseverance, stamina, critical thinking, self-management, and an understanding of self-value. Workshops are scaffolded by pre-class requirements such as the completion of set reading and pre-workshop questions to help guide students¿ learning. The aim of this is to encourage self-directed study and to promote independence and individual resourcefulness. Peer and tutor feedback in workshop discussions develops students¿ confidence in communicating analytical and critical ideas. Working closely with peers who are specialising in different disciplines will also provide opportunities for students to develop their thinking both independently and in conjunction with others, taking into account different subject areas and diverse disciplinary frameworks. The workshop in week 11 is dedicated to study skills and the successful completion of assessments, which offers further tools for independent learning and self-organisation. Sustainability Throughout this module, students are encouraged to reflect on the social,¿cultural,¿ethical, political, economic, and environmental impact of the work they do as individuals and collectively, and to recognise their shared responsibilities. Students will understand the impact of the values, perceptions, and actions of their own, of others and of characters they are portraying in rehearsal and performance. Students will be nurtured as future leaders in sustainability thinking and empowered to take informed decisions and responsible actions that promote the wellbeing of present and future generations.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature with Creative Writing BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics and Economics BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
International Relations BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Media and Communication BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and Spanish BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and French BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics and Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.