Queering British Cinema (EAF3517)

StaffDr Benedict Morrison - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module will:

  • assist you in developing a well-defined critical vocabulary and understanding of British cultural (and particularly cinematic) history
  • provide you with an introduction to the developing field of queer theory
  • enable you to engage confidently and knowledgably with historical and contemporary political debates on aspects of sexual identity
  • empower you to interrogate and challenge monolithic notions of identity and totalising readings of unstable cultural texts
  • structure and reinforce your consideration of central ethical questions

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate an informed appreciation of specific queer films produced in Britain
  • 2. demonstrate a secure understanding of classic and contemporary queer theory
  • 3. apply concepts from queer theory to the analysis of film texts
  • 4. evaluate the position of the film texts within the wider cultural discourse of queer identity politics

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. analyse film texts with sensitivity and academic rigour, making productive reference to form, theme and genre
  • 6. explain and assess the effects of radical and unconventional film forms
  • 7. demonstrate a rigorous understanding of Britain’s cultural history from 1950 to the present
  • 8. demonstrate an advanced ability to analyse films of different periods and to relate their concerns and modes of expression to their historical contexts

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. develop and demonstrate key communication skills through seminar participation and essay writing
  • 10. demonstrate research and bibliographic skills
  • 11. explain sensitive political issues with nuance, tact and precision
  • 12. demonstrate an ability to work with other students in the production of collective analyses

Syllabus plan

The syllabus will be divided into five key areas, each with specific reading and film texts to focus discussion:

  • Queering Life Writing:
    • Queering the Self
    • Queering the Other
    • Queering Canons:
      • Shakespeare
      • Drama
      • Novels
      • Queering Times:
        • Eccentric Englands
        • Queering the 1960s
        • Queering AIDS
        • Contemporary Queerings
        • Queering Race:
          • Shifting perspectives on sexuality and race
          • Queering Form:
            • Film form as a queer site

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled44 Screenings
Guided independent33Study group preperation [and presentation]
Guided independent70Independent seminar presentation
Guided independent120Reading, research, essay preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group sequence analysis OR group video essay1000 words OR 5 minutes1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12EBart with opportunity for tutorial follow-up

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay503000 words1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11EBart with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Video essay OR extended blog3010 minutes OR 1500 words1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11EBart with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Group presentation (sequence analysis)2015 minutes (plus handout)1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12EBart with opportunity for tutorial follow-up

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11Deferral/referral period
Video essay OR extended blogExtended blog1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11Deferral/referral period
Group presentation (sequence analysis)Written sequence analysis1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11Deferral/referral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • Benshoff, Harry and Sean Griffin (ed). Queer Cinema: The Film Reader. New York: Routledge, 2004
  • Edelman, Lee. No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive. Durham: Duke University Press, 2004
  • Griffiths, Robin (ed). British Queer Cinema. London: Routledge, 2006


Basic Viewing:

  • Edward II (Derek Jarman, UK, 1991)
  • The Ladykillers (Alexander Mackendrick, UK, 1955)
  • Victim (Basil Dearden, UK, 1961)
  • Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, UK, 2012)
  • Weekend (Andrew Haigh, UK, 2011)
  • Performance (Nicholas Roeg and Donald Cammell, UK, 1970)

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Key words search

Queer, cinema, British