HMKK03621U Cultural History: The Historiography of Cultural History and its Discontents

Volume 2019/2020

Modern Culture and Comparative Literature


The course aims to give students knowledge and understanding of some important discussions on theory and method within the historiography of cultural history and cultural studies (including studies in contemporary cultural history and contemporary arts). The course gives an introduction to the writing of cultural history as an academic discipline through engagement with selected texts that are part of current critical discussions and revisions of the field. The course starts with the question: What is cultural history today? It then moves on to look at two approaches that are at the core of the MA programme in Modern Culture: interdisciplinarity and comparativism, both of which facilitate a type of cultural analysis that can cut across the boundaries between distinct disciplines and cultural forms. Finally, the course considers two recent developments in historiography. Indicative topics are postcolonial studies and memory studies [topics to be confirmed in the fall of 2019].

The course combines lectures with group work and a mandatory assignment to provide students with opportunities to engage in reflections and discussions on methods and approaches prior to their own analytical work on the cultural-historical topic of second course.

Recommended reading

Tony Bennett, “Cultural Studies and the Culture Concept”, Cultural Studies, vol. 29, no. 4: 546-568, DOI: 10.1080/​09502386.2014.1000605 (access via REX).

Familiarity with cultural studies, cultural theory, cultural history, art history, literary studies, musicology, theatre studies, performance studies, film studies or media studies from previous BA or MA courses.
To enhance learning, the courses combine different modes of teaching and learning. They alternate between lectures with plenary discussions, student-led analytical work (both individual and in groups), and teacher- and student-driven peer feedback. Moreover, the preparation of the collections of source material in the second course offers students possibilities to try out and experiment with different approaches to contextual and comparative cultural analysis.
Structure and language
The module Cultural History consists of two courses. The first part runs for four weeks. It builds a general foundation for the second course by introducing students to recent historiographical and methodological debates in the field of cultural history. The subsequent course focuses on a specific cultural historical topic and topic-specific methodologies.

The course will run in English to enable international students to participate and to provide non-native English speakers with an opportunity to develop their English language proficiency (including their professional domain-specific vocabulary) to prepare for common work tasks in today’s cultural sectors, such as international knowledge dissemination and collaboration. Candidates can choose whether to hand in their concluding exam project in Danish or in English.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 16
  • Total
  • 16
Type of assessment
The mandatory reading list for the first course is comprised of 300-400 standard pages (of 2,400 keystrokes). The second course comprises 600 standard pages, of which 300 pages are chosen by the candidate. The sum total is 900-1,000 standard pages.
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