The Master's programme in Literature, Culture and Society allows you to specialise in major European languages and literatures. Below you will find detailed information about each of these specialisations.
The specialisation English Literature, Culture and Society is rooted in literary analysis but also works at the forefront of interdisciplinary humanities scholarship. The programme provides students with insight into the history and theory of literature in English and explores its relationship with other media. In the process, we engage key issues of intellectual concern in society, politics and culture. English Literature is understood in the broadest sense, as a diverse and complex mode of expression that includes works from American, British, Commonwealth, and postcolonial contexts. Specialising in English Literature as part of the Literature, Culture and Society MA is suitable for you if you want to study the literature and culture of the United Kingdom and beyond in the context of several other European languages and cultures. If you are aiming for an even more specialised degree in the literature of the English-speaking world, you would be better advised to choose the Master's in English Literature and Culture.
This Master’s programme offers the possibility to take the course Crisis and Alternative Languages in Literature and Art: Greece, the Mediterranean and Beyond. Taking the concept of a crisis as a starting point, the course puts contemporary Greek culture and society in transnational (Mediterranean, European, global) perspectives. It navigates recent Greek crisis-scapes such as the financial crisis and the ongoing refugee situation in the country alongside other crisis-scapes in the Mediterranean and beyond, and centres on innovative forms of cultural and aesthetic expression in literature, art, and cinema that have emerged in response to these declared crises. The course offers students a unique opportunity to delve into contemporary socio-political and cultural developments in Greece and the Mediterranean.
The English language specialisation offers the option to take this Modern Greek course as well as the core course 'How Literature Shapes Society'.
The specialisation French Literature focuses on French culture, literature, arts and film in a broad perspective. Intercultural relations, for instance, are foregrounded in the study of France's exchanges and connections with European and other cultures, and of postcolonial issues. Another example are intermedial relations, that come to the fore in the comparative study of literature, film, the plastic arts, or the graphic novel. The influential position of France and French culture, especially literature, during several centuries, including the influence of the democratic and republican model of the nineteenth century, has now indeed evolved into a situation in which France and French literature is more intensely intertwined with other European and non-European cultures, and with a diverse array of media.
The specialisation German Literature, Culture and Society revolves around the interdependence between artistic expression and its aesthetic, cultural, historical, and social context. We will read and analyse literature, film, theatre and Visual Arts as a place for critical reflection of culturally distinct patterns of perception where regional or national-related attitudes and identity models are being created and represented. Among others, our modules include subjects such as ‘The artistic representation of Germany in literature, film, and theater’, ‘Bodies as Capital, 'Materiality of Writing’, and ‘Money and Arts'. The Master's programme is suitable for all students (also from other disciplines) looking to develop strong research skills and a profound knowledge of German culture, literature, and philosophy.
The specialisation Italian Literature, Culture and Society focuses first on intertextuality and intermediality. I the course on Dante, for example, we will examine the Divine Comedy’s colourful afterlife in twentieth-century poems, essays, novels, movies and other art forms. The course ‘La dinamica della letteratura italiana’ focuses on the interesting transformations literature undergoes when translated into different languages (and cultures), genres or media.
In the specialisation Scandinavian Literature, Culture and Society, students focus on the (traditionally) close relationship between literature and society in Danish, Norwegian and Swedish literature, as, for example, in the course on Identity and Migration in Modern Scandinavian Literature, in which the alleged deconstruction of the Scandinavian welfare model is examined. Scandinavian literature, both canonised texts and those representing voices from the margins of society, is also represented in the electives on Urban Fiction, the Extreme Contemporary Novel and the Postmodern Detective.
Slavonic Literature, Culture and Society’s courses illustrate how decisively Central/Eastern European thinkers and trends impacted on European literature and culture. Under guidance of a team of region experts, students will examine the cultural and theoretical revolutions that took place in 20th-century Russia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Yugoslavia. Courses alternate annually and reflect the expertise of staff research, ranging from 19th-century prose classics, to socialist realism and postmodern art and writing.
In the specialisation on Spanish literature and culture you will participate in a small-group seminar taught in Spanish as part of the core module ‘How Literature Shapes Society’. During the classes you will analyse a careful selection of fictional texts in Spanish from various epochs and nations in conjunction with relevant theoretical material in order to develop a range of critical approaches to the various literary works and which will be useful in approaching other fictions. In the first semester, you will also take a specialist module called ‘Crimen y crisis’ which explores the Spanish crime novel since the appearance of the novela negra as a direct response to socio-political realities of Spain since the Transition. In analysing the novels studied, particular use will be made of scholarly materials that theorise concepts of crisis.
You will also take one MasterLanguage module taught in Spanish. MasterLanguage is an exciting programme of courses, the teaching of which is shared by several Dutch universities, and tutors and speakers are brought in from other institutions and countries, thus giving you access to leading lights in the field. In order to further strengthen your knowledge of Spanish culture and literature, you can also choose to take two MasterLanguage modules rather than one, and write your thesis in Spanish. Those students with an interest in working in a Spanish-speaking environment are also encouraged to participate in an internship in e.g. a Spanish-speaking business, embassy, office, or consulate. In most cases, the credits accrued in Spanish are valid for entry to the UvA’s MA Leraar HVO, provided that you also speak Dutch.