CULTST 1001 - Approaches to Culture

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2022

The contemporary humanities and social sciences are the product of a `cultural turn?: away from dry, functionalist theories of society and towards an appreciation of culture as the medium in which meanings are made and shared, and identities are formed. This course will introduce students to a number of ways to understand culture, and equip them with a variety of tools for analysing the cultures of everyday life. The course content includes topics such as fashion, taste, race, gender, online (sub)cultures, and the environment. It includes Indigenous perspectives on the relationship between nature and culture and addresses contemporary debates about identity. Approaches to Culture will introduce first year students to several of the major thinkers in the Humanities and Social Sciences, whose influence continues to be felt across the disciplines. The course is also the entry point for the Cultural Studies major.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code CULTST 1001
    Course Approaches to Culture
    Coordinating Unit School of Humanities
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange
    Incompatible ENGL 1111
    Course Description The contemporary humanities and social sciences are the product of a `cultural turn?: away from dry, functionalist theories of society and towards an appreciation of culture as the medium in which meanings are made and shared, and identities are formed. This course will introduce students to a number of ways to understand culture, and equip them with a variety of tools for analysing the cultures of everyday life. The course content includes topics such as fashion, taste, race, gender, online (sub)cultures, and the environment. It includes Indigenous perspectives on the relationship between nature and culture and addresses contemporary debates about identity. Approaches to Culture will introduce first year students to several of the major thinkers in the Humanities and Social Sciences, whose influence continues to be felt across the disciplines. The course is also the entry point for the Cultural Studies major.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Benjamin Madden

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1. Define Cultural Studies as a distinctive disciplinary formation with the Humanities and Social Sciences
    2. Be conversant in the ideas of some of the major figures who have shaped thought in the Humanities and Social Sciences across the twentieth century
    3. Employ a variety of interpretive tools and strategies to decode the meanings and messages that circulate in our culture
    4. Use group enquiry in class settings to articulate aspects of students’ own cultural practices, and learn about those of others
    5. Critique cultural objects and practices from a variety of viewpoints, and with an awareness of others' identities and subjectivities
    6. Understand the distinctive contribution of Indigenous knowledges to contemporary understandings of the relationship between nature and culture.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    1, 2

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    3

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    4

    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.

    5

    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.

    6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    All required readings for this course will be provided online by the Barr Smith Library, accessible through MyUni
    Online Learning
    Relevant online learning resources to be provided throughout. All lectures recorded and available on MyUni.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    One formal lecture per week followed by a two-hour workshop with a variety of activities, such as exploration of key terms and concepts, cultural analysis tasks, and preparation for assignments. The workshops will focus on the application of concepts introduced in the lecture to students' own examples and cultural practices.

    The exact composition of each seminar will be determined week-by-week on the basis of materials students submit through their quizzes. These activities will not only test students' recall of content; more importantly, they will invite students to submit questions, issues, arguments, and responses to the material. On the basis of these, I will determine the emphasis and the activities that we will undertake in class on a democratic basis.

    Learning will be supported by online quizzes and activities, and supplementary learning materials including interactive videos to introduce key course concepts.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Activity Hours
    1 x 1-hour lecture per week 12 hours per semester
    1 x 2-hour seminar per week 24 hours per semester
    6 hours reading per week 72 hours per semester
    2 hours research per week 24 hours per semester
    2 hours assignment preparation per week      24 hours per semester
    TOTAL WORKLOAD 156 hours per semester
    Learning Activities Summary
    Topics to be addressed include definitions of culture, ideology, semiotics, the culture industry, subculture, identity, nature and culture, body cultures, and urban cultures. A full summary of week-by-week topics with supporting materials will be published on MyUni.

    The following breakdown of course content is taken from the 2021 iteration of the course; the order in which this material is delivered may change, but the core content will be largely the same in 2022:

    Week

    Lecture

    Seminar

    1

    Introduction to Cultural Studies

    None

    2

    Doing Cultural Studies

    Introduction to Cultural Studies

    3

    The Fashion System

    Doing Cultural Studies

    4

    Ideology and Popular Culture

    The Fashion System

    5

    “Taste” and Cultural Capital

    Ideology and Popular Culture

    6

    Subcultures, Tribes, and the Birmingham School

    “Taste” and Cultural Capital

    7

    Identity and Authenticity

    Subcultures, Tribes, and the Birmingham School

    8

    Body Culture

    Identity and Authenticity

    9

    Nature and Culture

    Body Culture

    10

    Urban Spaces

    Nature and Culture

    11

    Course Review

    Urban Spaces

    12

    Conclusion

    None


    Week

    Main Concept

    Main Theorist

    1

    Culture

    Raymond Williams

    2

    Semiotics

    Roland Barthes

    3

    Semiotics and Fashion

    Roland Barthes and Georg Simmel

    4

    Ideology

    Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer

    5

    Cultural Capital

    Pierre Bourdieu

    6

    Subculture

    Dick Hebdige and Stuart Hall

    7

    Identity

    Judith Butler and Paul Gilroy

    8

    The Body

    Michel Foucault

    9

    Natureculture

    Donna Haraway and Bruno Latour

    10

    Urbanism

    Michel de Certeau, Richard Sennett, and Walter Benjamin

    Specific Course Requirements
    Students must attend the weekly seminar. Online participation options will be provided.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment for this course is designed to support student learning by providing a space in which students can apply the concepts they learn in the course to their own lives and cultural experiences. To this extent, the assessment tasks are less traditional research projects than invitations for students to assume the role of invistigaters in their own cultrual and subcultural milieus.
    Assessment Detail
    1. Reading Quizzes: 20%
    2. Portfolio: 40%
    3. Research Essay: 40%

    A detailed assessment breakdown will be published on MyUni.
    Submission
    Online, via Turnitin, and ongoing assessment through MyUni.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

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  • Policies & Guidelines
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