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Gender – culture theory

This assignment requires a detailed response to set texts from block two of the unit. Ideally, this will be based on your journal entry for this block, expanded by researching references evident in the set text and/or provided in classes. The aim is for you to engage as closely as possible with that reading and its own reference points. A correct bibliography is required and must include all references, including any set texts.

You will be assessed according to the following criteria
your comprehension of the set materials
your written expression – including grammar, spelling and punctuation
your use of an appropriate academic style
your critical thinking, including clarity of argument and appropriate use of evidence
your scholarly method, including referencing
and the originality of your approach or analysis

Choose one of the following questions. Please remember that your focus should be on demonstrating your own understanding of the question and the set texts. However, you should engage with other people’s readings of these texts and learn from them and so you should locate at least one additional source to aid your increased understanding of the readings. No more than three additional references should be used and you will not get additional marks for using more references. You must accurately attribute all ideas you use to their sources.

At the height of its intellectual fashionability, structuralism was widely discussed (both defended and criticised) as “anti-humanist”. Discuss what this might mean using two set texts from Part 2. You do not need to argue for or against the claim, unless you want to. You only need to show what it might mean.(In answering this question you may choose to use Roland Barthes’ essay on wrestling from Part 1, and/or the additional Lévi-Strauss reading on Blackboard in week 8 as “set texts”.)

“Nietzsche’s essay on the uses and disadvantages of history is an essay on ‘the age of the world picture’ just as surely as is Heidegger’s essay of that name.” Discuss, using the set texts from weeks 6 and 7.

Choose three key terms or concepts taken from the psychoanalytic readings in weeks 8 and 9 (Kristeva, Freud, Lacan) and demonstrate how they can be applied to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. These terms should all be terms listed in the glossary distributed in week 9 and you should ensure that you are engaging closely with two of these three writers. You should focus on a single scene in the film in order to help make your argument coherent and you must, moreover, show how the terms relate to one another.

Take any two readings from Part 2 of the unit (they must be by different writers) and use the film Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest to elaborate what seem to you their key similarities and differences. This response does not have to validate or critique either reading. Your aim is to show how you understand the readings, rather than the film–remember that explication or discussion of the film alone will not answer the question, you must engage with the reading.

“[T]he living Substance is being which is in truth Subject, or, what is the same, is in truth actual only in so far as it is the movement of positing itself, or is the mediation of its self-othering with itself. This Substance is, as Subject, pure, simple negativity, and is for this very reason the bifurcation of the simple; it is the doubling which sets up opposition and then again the negation of this indifferent diversity and its antithesis [the immediate simplicity]. Only this self-restoring sameness or this reflection in otherness within itself – not an original or immediate unity or such – is the True. It is the process of its own becoming, the circle that presupposes its end as its goal. Having its end also as its beginning; and only by being worked out to its end is it actual” This quotation from Hegel’s Preface to Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) gestures to a range of ideas with very long-standing influence in philosophy and in critical, social, or cultural theory. The influence of these ideas can be seen in every text set in Part 2 of this unit. Use this quotation as a springboard for a close reading of any one text in this block. What connections can you see between the quotation and the set text; how are these important to understanding the reading. Please note you are not expected to write about Hegel’s own work, just to use this quotation to focus your reading of the selected text. (NB: you only need to choose one reading from the block for this question.)


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