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Unit information: Culture and Identity in 2020/21

Unit name Culture and Identity
Unit code LANG00039
Credit points 20
Level of study QCA-3
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Smyth
Open unit status Not open

IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in writing and 5.0 in each part of the test



School/department Centre for Academic Language and Development
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This is a 20-credit unit within the International Foundation Programme, which aims to explore the concepts of culture and identity. The course will start with exploring the question ‘What is culture/identity?’ in a global context. This will be analysed from a range of perspectives, such as philosophical, sociological and linguistic. Students will explore areas such as cultural identity, influences on cultural identity, intercultural communication and global citizenship in both a contemporary and historical context.

Students will engage with a range of cultural artefacts, such as film, music, literature, fashion and art. These perspectives and artefacts will be compared and contrasted with students encouraged to reflect on these and relate them to their own context.

Students will analyse real word implications of intercultural contact and explore solutions to problems arising from issues such as the power imbalances between dominant and subordinate cultures in a single society.

Students will also explore the concept of individuals having multiple cultural identities and how they can complement and conflict with each other.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of and reflect on what culture and identity are in a local and global, contemporary and historical context
  2. demonstrate an understanding of how culture and identify affects communication
  3. critically evaluate different theories and perspectives of culture and identity
  4. analyse the nature and scope of global citizenship in the light of theories of culture and identity

Teaching details

Students will attend 3 hours of study per week. Learning is facilitated in classroom sessions involving a combination of teacher-led input, combined with student-led discussion and practical, workshop-style activities. On-line delivery of materials through Blackboard VLE.

Assessment Details

Formative assessment:

  • Short-answer questions (500 words) with formative feedback
    *Reflective journal entry (500 words) with formative feedback

Summative assessment:

  • Reflective journal (1,000 words) (30%) ILOs 1, 2
    *Coursework essay (1,500 words) (70%) ILOs 3, 4

Reading and References

Readings from a range of sources will be used to support and underpin the themes explored during the course. However, the following are indicative of some of the texts that will be examined:

Holliday, A. (1996) Small Cultures, Applied Linguistics 20/1 pp. 247-264.

Holliday, A. (2018) Understanding Intercultural Communication. 2nd ed. Routledge.

Hofstede, G. (2010) Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, Third Edition: Software of the Mind: Intercultural Cooperation and Its Importance for Survival. 3rd ed. McGraw-Hill Education.