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Unit information: The Public Role of the Humanities in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name The Public Role of the Humanities
Unit code HUMS30001
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Skinazi
Open unit status Not open

Successful completion of the core units at levels C/4 and I/5 for the programmes in which this unit will be offered.



School/department School of Humanities
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit aims to help students to develop an awareness of theoretical, historical, theological and contemporary perspectives on the 'public role' of the humanities. Students will have an opportunity to contextualize their own discipline in light of these debates and to consider the implications of what they have learned during their degree for their life beyond it. As well as considering these issues within the seminar room, students will be required to undertake some practical work in the community as part of the unit. This unit aims to help students to enhance their employability by providing opportunities to develop and to practise a range of practical skills that are immediately transferable to the workplace, such as: effective communication, presentation, negotiation, teamwork, and leadership.

Students will be given the opportunity to submit a draft or outline of their final, summative essay of up to 1,500 words and to receive feedback on this.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate awareness of the '‘public role'’ of their discipline and the wider humanities by considering a range of relevant theoretical perspectives and through practical work undertaken in the community
  2. Demonstrate practical skills relevant to their studies that may be applied in their chosen career after graduation.
  3. Demonstrate skills in communicating, evaluating, analysing, synthesising and (where apt) critiquing ideas.
  4. Demonstrate the capacity for independent research.

Teaching details

1 x two-hour seminar per week and 20-30 hours of practical/project work undertaken through term.

Assessment Details

One 15-minute podcast plus a 1000-word summary plus bibliography in show notes (100%). [ILOS 1-4]


One 4000-word summative essay (100%). [ILOs 1-4]

Reading and References

  • J. Bate (ed), The Public Value of the Humanities
  • S. Collini, What are Universities For?
  • J.H. Newman, The Idea of a University
  • M. Nussbaum, Poetic Justice
  • G.C. Spivak, An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization
  • D. Watson, Managing Civic and Community Engagement