Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Part 1 English
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Neil Cocks

Email: n.h.cocks@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
Through studying of the films of Alfred Hitchcock, this module offers students the opportunity to engage critically with a new medium. Through a detailed analysis of a range of films, students will be introduced to a variety of critical frameworks, from structuralist accounts of film grammar, to recent interventions from Queer Theory and Psychoanalysis. They will be asked to adopt a reflexive approach towards such theory, thinking through the demands it makes upon their reading.


The module will introduce students to the study of film language, and will encourage the close analysis of small sections of film. Such readings will be related to a range of wider critical issues. Students will be asked to read through the implications of a range of critical interventions, and reflect upon their own critical language and assumptions. Students will gain an understanding of Hitchcocks’s place within the critical heritage, knowledge of his filmic approach, and the ability to analyse his work in detail. The module aims to help students think about wider issues of narrative. 

Assessable learning outcomes:
Assessable Learning Outcomes:

•Exercise skills of close textual analysis
•Relate such analysis to readings of established frameworks for approaching Hitchcock
•Demonstrate a working knowledge of film grammar
•Reflect on critical languages and practices
•Engage critically with ideas discussed in seminars
•Formulate critical analyses of ideas in written work

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:
Students will analyse four core Hitchcock films: Blackmail (1929), Vertigo (1958), The Birds (1963), Marnie (1964). Students will be asked to demonstrate a wider knowledge of Hitchcock’s work, however, and two sessions will focus on films chosen by students. The module requires a detailed knowledge of Hitchcock criticism, including Lee Edelman’s No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (2004), Tania Modlesk’s The Women Who Knew Too Much (1988), and Laura Mulvey’s Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema (1975), as well as an understanding of film narrative, including Stephen Heath’s ‘Narrative Space’ (1975), and Pramaggiore and Wallis, Film: A Critical Introduction (2005).

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Three seminar hours weekly, for which students are required to do preparatory reading. Students are also entitled to a half-hour tutorial on their formative written work. With the consent of the module convenor, students may also undertake a placement, through which they will learn how to apply the knowledge and skills gained in studying for this module in a professional context outside the University.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 30 1
Tutorials 0.5
Guided independent study 129.5 39
Total hours by term 160.00 40.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
Summative Assessment Methods (%) - work which always contributes towards the overall module mark:

Formative assessment methods:
Formative Assessment Methods - work which provides opportunities to improve performance (e.g. through feedback provided) but which does not necessarily always contribute towards the overall module mark:

Students write one formative essay, of between 1500 and 2000 words. Feedback will also be provided on the assessed essay of 2250-2500 words, or the equivalent placement report.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    A mark of at least 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August. Coursework will be carried forward it if bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Otherwise it must be resubmitted by 22 August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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