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This subject explores portrayals and perceptions of perceived “Others” in Europe – such as Jews, Muslims, “gypsies” and refugees - and how they have contributed to European identities in the past and today. Looking at literature, film, philosophy, music, food and popular culture, the subject will seek to understand how Europe’s Others are essential to the formation and maintenance of national, ethnic and religious identities in many European countries. It will examine the role of Others “within” (such as the Jews) and Others “without” (such as colonial subjects) and consider kinds of European “Othering” that position the Other as either appealing and attractive or threatening and repulsive. From colonial-era exoticisation to present day xenophobia, European views of the Other have been central to definitions of the self and shaped the continent’s history, politics, culture and languages. Students will gain an appreciation of nation and national identity in Europe as a discursive and comparative process, and an understanding of the distinct national stories of a number of European countries.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students should:
- Be able to critically reflect upon how nations and national identity in Europe have emerged in the modern era
- Be able to engage in writing with national identity as a discursive process, something which is created and reflected upon in national myths and legends
- Have gained a deep understanding of the different national narratives of several countries through reading texts and other cultural artefacts
- Be able to describe how the formation of national identities in Europe is a comparative process
- Be able to conduct independent scholarly research into the cultural history and social context of European nations and synthesise this research in academic writing.
At the completion of this subject, students should:
- Have developed effective public speaking and written communication skills
- Have acquired critical thinking and analytical skills
- Have acquired an understanding of cultural, linguistic, national and transnational contexts
- Have developed an international awareness and openness to the world
- Have developed effective time management and planning skills
- Have further developed research and essay-writing skills
- Have developed the capacity to compare the national narratives of different nations.
Last updated: 20 February 2024