PP2STR-Study Trip Abroad: Exploring the European City and its Philosophies

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

Module Convenor: Prof Maximilian De Gaynesford

Email: r.m.degaynesford@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

By spending Week 6 of the Autumn term in and around a foreign city, this module allows students to explore urban and national identity and philosophy through the historical remains of material, visual, and intellectual culture. It sets out to enhance students’ awareness of objects (buildings, memorials, sites, artworks, inscriptions, iconography, typography etc.) as historical sources, and to expand understanding of cultural history and philosophy through close analysis of them. It will consider those objects within a wider historical, philosophical and cultural context. By concentrating on the history and philosophies of one particular city, students will be encouraged to explore a range of intersecting historical and philosophical ideas particular to that place - intellectual, cultural, and visual. Cities will be chosen with complex, layered histories such as Berlin, Paris, or Vienna, and rotated from year to year. 


Assessable learning outcomes:

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

• identify and explain the historical context and development of a European city

• identify and explain the philosophical contributions of that city

• appreciate the city’s visual and material culture (architecture, art and monuments)

• organise material and articulate arguments effectively in audio-visual and written exercises

• locate and assemble bibliographic and other information by independent research, using IT as appropriate.

Additional outcomes:

The module aims to encourage students’ initiative and self-reliance in a foreign environment; team-working as part of a group project involving ca. 5 students who will curate a visual exhibit on major philosophical aspects of a European city; oral communication skills as part of a team presentation. It will encourage a sense of interdisciplinarity by asking students to think across the boundaries of political, social and cultural history. 

Outline content:

The module will consist of two strands:

1. The history of the city

2. The philosophies of that city

The module will consider how the city’s history fits into a nation’s history and identity, but will also consider how the European city promoted itself as a centre of culture by appropriating the past and materialising the ideas of the present. Students will read themselves into the history and philosophy of the city before the trip, before visiting the buildings, monuments, museums, galleries and other sites of historical and philosophical interest which have shaped the city’s historical and philosophical identity. The module will encourage students to think across the inter-disciplinary boundaries of the two strands, by considering the historical conditions in which works of art, architecture, and philosophy were produced, sponsored and collected, as well as political changes which have affected – and sometimes destroyed - the changing fabric of the city.


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The trip will be preceded by five weekly lectures to include each of the two strands, and one introductory and one house-keeping class before the trip; students will participate in walking tours of the city, with occasional talks; they will undertake a follow-up slide-test back home on the artefacts and works of art visited (20%); they will curate a group visual exhibit from a menu of tasks (30%); each individual student will produce a piece of work which will combine insights from the two thematic strands (50%).

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 10
Project Supervision 5
Fieldwork 56
External visits 56
Guided independent study: 63
Total hours by term 200 0 0
Total hours for module 200

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

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students will participate in a timed, online slide-test via Blackboard, soon after the trip abroad; they will participate in a group visual presentation at the end of the term; students will write ONE essay of 3,500 words, to be handed in by 12 noon on the Monday of week 2 of the following term, which should be submitted electronically via Blackboard. Five marks will be deducted if the coursework essay exceeds 3,675 words (i.e. 5% over the word limit). 

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: 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 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Where a re-sit is permitted, students will be assessed on the failed element(s) only in August. Any element(s) already passed will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Any element which is re-sat in August is capped at 40%. Failed coursework must be re-submitted by 12 noon, on the last Friday of August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 8 April 2019


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