Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials Seminar. 2 hours per week


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 5,000 word essay  Essay: 
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves re-submission of work, a new topic must be selected. 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. demonstrate knowledge of a complex set of concepts and ideas associated with postmodern theory;

2. employ this specialist knowledge in an extended critical and analytical essay;

3. demonstrate an understanding of the different implications of this specialist knowledge through a comparison of different disciplines.


This module will offer students a chance to study a variety of influences upon the concept of postmodernism outside the realm of strictly literary. It will concentrate issues such as the function of history and the representation of the past in contemporary culture; the nature of the everyday in contemporary existence; the political role of aesthetic adornment or ornament; the representation of the body and the emergence of new concepts of the human or self; the insistence on metaphors of space in contemporary social experience; and the "textualism" of modern knowledge and life.

_1. Alterities

This session wil consider the current fascination and obsession with the 'other' in contemporary theory.
Emannuel Levinas 'Ethics as First Philosophy', in S Hand, ed, "The Levinas Reader" (1989): 75-87
Richard Bernstein "Incommensurability and Otherness Revisited", in "The New Constellation" (1991)

_2. Bodies

What is a body? What is a 'human' body? What is a cyborg? This session will focus on the 'posthuman body' in contemporary discussions and representations of men's and women's bodies in the work of performance artists like Stelarc, Orlan and Carolee Schneeman, as well as cyberpunk fiction.

M Carlson, 'Performance and the Postmodern', in "Performance: An Introduction" (1996)
Donna Haraway, 'A Cyborg Manifesto' in "Simians, Cyborgs and Women" (1991): 149-181
Lucy Lippard, 'The Pains and Pleasures of Rebirth' in "The Pink Glass Swan" (1995): 99-103
Carolee Schneemann, 'From More Meat Than Joy', in M Sandford, ed, "Happenings and Other Acts" (1995): 246 & ff.

_3. Buildings

What constitutes a building? How does the metaphor of architecture work in philosophy and conceptual thought? What defines an 'inside' from an 'outside'? Looking at such issues, this session will examine how tradition and transgression emerge in contemporary ideas of building and dwelling.
Martin Heidegger, 'Building, Dwelling, Thinking' in "Poetry, Language, Thought" (1971)
Jacques Derrida, 'Point de Folie - maintenant l'architecture', in Neil Leech, ed, "Rethinking Architecture" (1997): 324-335
Mark Wigley, 'The Domestication of the House', in P Brunette and D Wills, eds, "Deconstruction and the Visual Arts", (1994): 203-227
Other extracts by Bernard Tschumi, Peter Eisenmann, Jacques Derrida, Charles Jencks

_4. Space

Space has become a new 'buzzword' in debates about contemporary culture. This session wil consider how it influences discussions of the city, bodies and their relation to space, monuments, habitation and the structure of inside/outside and how space itself is conceptualised.

Michel de Certeau, extracts from "The Practice of Everyday Life" (1994)
Deleuze and Guattari, extracts from "A Thousand Plateaux"(1977)
Michel Foucault, "Of Other Spaces", Diacritics (Spring 1986): 22-27
Edward Soja, 'Heterotopologies', Strategies, 3 (1989): 6-39; also in S Watson and K Gibson, eds, "Postmodern Cities and Spaces" (1995): 13-34
Paul Virilio, 'The Overexposed City', in "Lost Dimension" (1991); also in Neil Leech, ed, "Rethinking Architecture" (1997):381-390

_5. Histories

If space has become the new 'buzzword', what has happened to history? This session will discuss notions of history and temporarlity in contemporary debate.

Fredric Jameson, 'Postmodernism' or 'The Cultural Logic of Late Capital', New Left Review, 146 (1984): 53-92 Keith Jenkins, ed, 'The Postmodern History Reader' (1997)
David Harvey, 'Time-Space Compression and the Postmodern Condition', in "The Condition of Postmodernity" (1989): 284-307

_Primary Reading
Neil Leech, ed, "Rethinking Architecture" (Routledge, 1997)


This module is at CQFW Level 7