ML3IC-Identity and Conflict in Modern Europe

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Athena Leoussi


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module focuses on identity and conflict in modern Europe. By examining race, gender, warfare, revolution and immigration, it explores the evolution of modern conceptions of the self, of what it is to be human. The module further examines a) the ways in which  modern identities have been pursued and realised in different European contexts, for example, through social movements and national and international legislation; b) the conflicts which new and modern visions of the self have generated and in which they have been shaped; and c) cultural expressions of identity and conflict in paintings, sculptures, monuments and films.


This module aims to provide students with an opportunity to engage with comparative/cross-national and historical material and research. The module also enables students to engage with multi-disciplinary thinking and research. To this end, the module combines cultural with historical and political studies. Finally, the module offers a broad range of themes. This gives students the opportunity to widen their intellectual horizon and to engage with the complexities, fluidity and conflicts of modern identity formation.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:

  • define and give examples of modern forms of personal and collective identity

  • explain the influence of different visions of identity on European life

  • locate and assemble information on different types of identity

  • explain the challenges that modern ideas of identity presented to the status quo

  • examine the conflict of identities in modern Europe

  • examine how modern warfare has shaped contemporary identities

  • appraise critically primary and secondary sources, organise material coherently and articulate arguments effectively in oral presentations and in writing, both under timed conditions and in assessed essays.

Additional outcomes:

The module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and the student's effectiveness in group situations, with some analytical procedures carried out as part of a team. Students will also develop their IT skills by use of relevant web resources and databases, and many of the case studies will also expand their capacity for quantitative analysis of statistics and figures.

Outline content:

The content is organised thematically in the form of individual case studies. The emergence of the modern idea of race is traced back to its 18th-century roots in the context of Enlightenment explorations of what it is to be human. The case of anti-Semitism and its culmination in the Holocaust is at the centre of this investigation. The construction of modern identities by modern political ideologies, such as Liberalism, Fascism and Socialism, is examined through the study of political manifestos and the cultural products (paintings, sculptures, posters, international exhibitions) which propagated them. Gendered identities are examined in the context of the rise of organised feminism on an international scale, and the developments of second and third wave feminism. The key demands of the European feminist movements, and the issues that women faced from 1945 to the present day, will be set out and discussed. National and other forms of bodily identity are discussed in the context of the cultural history and collective memory of the First World War. The drive to document and remember the conflict, at the time and today, is explored through close examination of war memorials and museums, together with the role of commemorative practices in furthering peace or, in contrast, in polarising group/national identities. Another type of identity, immigrant identity, will be explored through study of discourses and cultural products, especially cinema. The focus here will be immigration from former European colonies to Europe from the early 1960s to the present, looking particularly at the values embedded in political discourses of immigration and the reproduction and contestation of these values in cinema.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is taught through lectures which introduce each theme, seminars which require preparatory research and reading, structured group discussion, and the presentation of seminar papers.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 15 15 2
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 25 25
    Exam revision/preparation 18
    Preparation for presentations 20 20
    Preparation for seminars 10 10
    Essay preparation 20 20
Total hours by term 90 108 2
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 30
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Two hours.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The module is assessed by means of (i) a short presentation (15-20 minutes), (ii) an essay of 2,500 words, which may not be on the same topic as the presentation, and (iii) a written examination (2 questions, 2 hours), in which material from the coursework essay may not be reproduced.

One piece of assessment worth no more than 50% of the module mark can be replaced by a report produced after an academic placement. The placement must be agreed in advance by the module convenor; the length of the report is to be equivalent to standard departmental practice for coursework. 

Formative assessment methods:

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:
    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:

    40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-examination in August in the event of failure in this module and in the degree programme as a whole. Coursework bearing a confirmed mark of 40% or more can be carried forward; all other coursework to be resubmitted by 12 NOON on the third Friday of August or, if the University is closed, by 12 NOON on the first working day thereafter.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 8 April 2019


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