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Unit information: The Public Role of the Humanities in 2018/19

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Unit name The Public Role of the Humanities
Unit code HUMSM0002
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Liveley
Open unit status Not open




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(s) 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.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit students will be able to demonstrate:

(1) advanced awareness of the 'public role' of their disciple and the wider humanities by considering a range of relevant theoretical perspectives and through practical work undertaken in the community.

(2) practical skills relevant to their studies that may be applied in their chosen career after graduation.

(3) high-level skills in evaluating, analysing, synthesising and (where apt) critiquing ideas.

(4) application of analytical strategies to new evidence with flexibility and creativity

(5) the capacity for independent research

Teaching details

1 x 2-hour seminar per week

Assessment Details

One 5,000 word summative essay (100%) [ILOs 1-5]

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