MA Philosophy and Literature


Attendance
Full Time
Award
Degree of Master of Arts



Suited to graduates who majored in Philosophy or English Literature or both, this Master’s programme allows you to investigate the links between the two disciplines, and to discover areas for your own research.

You take four taught modules, some from Philosophy and some from our world-famous School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing, complemented by a whole-year programme of workshops shared with our PhD students, which develops your skills in presenting your research to others, and helps you grasp what it would be to work on a PhD.

The 90 credit dissertation, on a topic that typically engages both your literary and philosophical interests, usually follows on from some work done in the taught modules. This degree serves as preparation for PhD applications, but is also a good postgraduate qualification that will be an advantage for many other careers involving good writing, time-management and thinking skills.

Overview

Philosophy and Literature at UEA

Philosophy and literature is one of the most exciting growth areas in modern Anglo-American philosophy. Over the last thirty years, under the influence of such major figures as Stanley Cavell and Martha Nussbaum, the subject has transformed itself from a minority interest to a major component in the curriculum. It is now widely acknowledged that because the literary form of philosophy is part of its philosophical value, and the philosophical knowledge provided by literature is part of its literary value, both subjects suffer impoverishment when kept unnaturally apart.

The Course

Like the Philosophy MRes, this programme is designed as a 12 month research-training Masters, weighted half to the five Masters-Level modules in Autumn and Spring semesters, each of which must be passed separately, and half to the 90 credit Dissertation module in the summer. It is also very well suited to students who want to continue their studies beyond the MA with no special intention to pursue a PhD, but purely for interest or to add value to their existing qualifications and take the subject further. Because it encourages initiative, the ability to reflect on one’s own studies, and a range of literary skills, and since it culminates in a substantial piece of research, the degree provides a good foundation for many leadership roles and graduate career routes.

The MA in Philosophy and Literature encourages students to explore the deep links between the two subjects at many levels. Students can choose from a wide range of modules in both subjects, working with students in the world famous School of Literature and Creative Writing, and sharing the postgraduate workshop module and some core modules with the philosophy MRes students. In the first semester there is a co-taught module featuring experts from both fields. This makes the MA a genuinely joint degree, and not one in which the two subjects are only taught in parallel.

Students take Criticism & Critique in the first semester, and the Philosophy & Literature Seminar in the second. Two further 20 credit modules are selected to complement these. These modules are assessed by essays. There is also a ten-credit philosophy postgraduate workshop module in which students exchange ideas and present their work for discussion. For the 90 credit dissertation module you prepare a 12-15,000 word dissertation over the summer under the guidance of a supervisor, on a subject approved by the Course Director. Students must pass all the components of the course separately, and the dissertation counts for half the marks in the final grade.

The degree can be studied part-time, by taking two modules and the workshop in year one, and completing two modules and the dissertation in year two.

Course Modules

Students must study the following modules for 160 credits:

Name Code Credits

CRITICISM/CRITIQUE

This module tracks the notion of 'Critique' in philosophical and political thought, as well as literary criticism and artworks' own self-reflection, from the late 18th century to the present. 'Critique', from the Greek term krinein ('to discern'), brings together questions of philosophical method, from the relation between concept and intuition to the project of understanding a historical moment through its cultural artefacts and practices; however, it also engages the 'criticality' of artworks: how they reflect on their own processes and socio-economic conditions. But if these various intellectual projects converge around a shared sense that they are doing 'critique', then it is not clear that political critique and aesthetic critique aspire towards the same thing; the concept of critique thus also permits us to grasp discrepancies and points of dissensus between different forms of intellectual, and 'critical', praxis. The module starts by providing a historical grounding in debates around 'Critical Philosophy', linking Immanuel Kant's 'critical' distinction of concept and intuition to German Romanticism's model of a 'literary absolute' in which literature actualises itself as 'critique', such that through its ironic relation to its own linguistic medium, it assumes the place of philosophy itself. We consider Hegel's responses both to Kant's critical philosophy and to the literary theorising of the Schlegels and Novalis, with readings from the Phenomenology of Spirit, the Logic and the Aesthetics, before turning to the development of Hegelian thought in Marx. Having established this basic historical narrative, we then trace the different intellectual projects and problematics that the notion of 'critique' opens up, from the 'critical theory' of the Frankfurt school through thinkers including Althusser, Fanon, Foucault, Braidotti, and Ranciere. Against this we encounter an alternative series of responses to 'critical' philosophy, notably via Heidegger, Deleuze, and Simone Weil. At the crux of these different approaches to 'critique' is the relation between different philosophical, political and literary intellectual movements, and central to this module is the question of how 'critique' extends beyond scholarly activity, whether it is the ways in which avant-garde art and poetics incorporate self-critique into their understanding of support, medium, process, etc., or whether it is in practices of political resistance. To this end, the module is overtly forward-looking, not only charting a contested history from Kant to the present, but also asking what forms future attempts at critique can, and should, take.

LDCE7010A

20

METHODOLOGY AND EPISTEMOLOGY OF PHILOSOPHY

The module provides commencing graduate students with the methodological foundations for independent philosophical research. Consideration will be given to traditional and contemporary issues and the ways of approaching them that are characteristic of various traditions and styles and genres of philosophy. We shall also consider questions about the nature and scope of philosophy, its role in solving or diagnosing puzzles/confusions in its own and other disciplines, the place of literature and literary examples in philosophical argument, and questions about its relation to empirical sciences. The module is taught in a weekly seminar. The two 3000-word essays are on individually assigned topics reflecting the needs or interests of each student. The summative assessment is on the basis of a single package, comprising these two essays revised, in the light of feedback, for the final submission. This module is geared to the needs of students on the MRes in Philosophy and on the MA in Philosophy and Literature. Students on other MA/MSc programmes are welcome, but please consult the module organiser, since you will need some prior experience in philosophy (ideally a first degree in the subject, preferably including both analytic and continental approaches) or a serious commitment to mastering a range of diverse approaches in contemporary philosophy, some of them quite technical.

PPLP7000A

20

PHILOSOPHY AND LITERATURE DISSERTATION (90 CREDITS)

This dissertation is for students on the MA degree in Philosophy and Literature. In consultation with the Module Organiser and a potential supervisor, the student proposes a suitable dissertation topic, and is assigned to work with a supervisor, either in Philosophy or in another dept/school. The proposed topic may be interdisciplinary (crossing the divide between philosophy and literature) but should not be wholly lacking in philosophical content. The student prepares a dissertation under the guidance of the supervisor. Initial guidance on bibliography and suitable resources is given by the supervisor, but the student is expected to follow up ideas with independent work and investigations of their own. The student should submit draft chapters to the supervisor and attend for supervision regularly during April to June (and over the summer vacation if the supervisor is available). The finished dissertation should be between 12,000 and 15,000 words long. Instructions for presentation and submission are supplied in the module outline.

PPLP7004X

90

PHILOSOPHY OF LITERATURE SEMINAR

In a collaborative seminar format, students explore together with the teacher a range of topics in the philosophy of literature. Topics studied typically include: the definition and purpose of literature; the status of fictional characters; the relevance of author's intention and the role of interpretation in fixing meaning; aesthetic evaluation, taste, subjectivity and objectivity; the value of fakes and copies; the emotional effect of literature; whether literature can convey truth and knowledge, and the relationship between aesthetic judgement and ethics. Students prepare a package of two essays relating to different parts of the course, preceded by formative drafts and essay tutorials.

PPLP7001B

20

PHILOSOPHY POSTGRADUATE WORKSHOP

The weekly workshop is a work-in-progress seminar for graduate students on philosophy degrees (MRes, MA, PhD). Masters students are required to present their own work in short presentations and to contribute to discussions on other students' work. Masters students are assessed on their presentation and their engagement in discussion and contribution to the success of the whole series of meetings. Presentations from Masters students typically consist of an essay in preparation or recently submitted for another module. MRes Supervisors attend the meetings when their own students are presenting.

PPLP7003Y

10

Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Students may request to take other modules (e.g. a language module or a Philosophy supervised study module) with the permission of the Course Director.

Name Code Credits

CREATIVE-CRITICAL WRITING

A CORE MODULE FOR STUDENTS ON THE MA WRITING THE MODERN WORLD. Too often, academic critical writing seems to bring pre-packaged language to bear on works whose whole essence and aim is to change the ways in which we see and describe our world. And too often such writing fails to acknowledge the ways in which it itself necessarily participates in the literary 'creativity' it is also about. How, then, to write criticism? Criticism which responds inventively to the literature which it analyses? Criticism which registers, in its own form, language, method and thinking the ways in which it has been transformed by the work(s) of art it encounters? Criticism which recognizes that it cannot rest on received concepts and categories? This module aims to explore those questions. Over the course of the semester will consider - and experiment with - a broad range of possible ways of practising creative-criticism, including the 'essay' form, auto-commentary, aphorisms, ecriture feminine, conceptual writing, criticism as performance, inventive 'theoretical' writing, camp, and diaristic writing. The module covers creative-critics as different from one another as Anne Carson and Jacques Derrida, Geoff Dyer and Helene Cixous, Maurice Blanchot and T. J. Clark, Theodor Adorno and Eve Sedgwick.

LDCE7004B

20

FREE SPEECH

The module examines one of the pressing issues of political theory, constitutional law, democracy, and media regulation: why is free speech important and what if any should be its limits? Students are introduced to some of the classic defences of free speech found in the writings of J.S. Mill and the judicial decisions of Oliver Wendall Holmes. Following on from this they will examine the question of free speech as it relates to freedom of the press and new media. Students will also explore the question of the limits of free speech, particularly in relation to hate speech. At this point students will have a chance to examine human rights instruments and laws pertaining to the issues, including the ECHR, the Human Rights Act 2008, and the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2008, as well as a range of legal cases from courts across the world. During the module the students will be exposed to a range of deeper ideological debates among liberals, libertarians, multiculturalists, and critical theorists. The approach will be multidisciplinary drawing on politics, philosophy, and law. Finally, the format of the module will be a two-hour class each week, comprising research-led teaching, seminar discussions, practical exercises, textual reading, balloon debate, and essay writing and research-skills mini-sessions. The module will rely heavily on formative feedback on presentation and essay writing skills, building to one assessed long essay and a seminar performance mark.

PPLX7007B

20

GOOD GOOD GIRLS AND GOOD BAD BOYS? AMERICAN FICTIONS OF INNOCENCE

Oscar Wilde wrote that 'The youth of America is their oldest tradition; it has been going on now for three hundred years'. Is this true? If so, why? This module will seek to account for the preoccupation with youth in America by focusing particularly on the concept of 'innocence', and by examining how various models of innocence are invoked and questioned in American literary texts. Drawing on a wide array of fictional and theoretical works, we will consider the following questions: What is at stake in America's investment in innocence? Major cultural events - such as the Vietnam War and 9/11, for example - are often described as representing a 'loss of innocence' in American culture. What power interests and ideologies are maintained by repeatedly describing America as 'innocent'? How is this investment in innocence revised in different historical moments? How is it challenged? With particular reference to fictions of growing up in America, how is innocence (and loss of innocence) depicted differently for male and female protagonists?

AMAL7000B

20

LUDIC LITERATURE

Play, or the ludic, is often listed as one of the main characteristics of postmodernist art, but what is meant by play is usually left no more clearly defined than what is meant by postmodernism. This course seeks to trace the evolution of leading postmodernist styles and themes, especially ludic ones, back to their origins in Joyce, Kafka, Borges, and Nabokov. Using these enormously influential authors as a starting point, we will read a range of ludic authors, passing back and forth between languages, nations, and genres. Authors studied will include Georges Perec, Italo Calvino, Raymond Queneau, Thomas Pynchon, Donald Barthelme, Robert Coover, Angela Carter, Paul Muldoon, and John Ashbery. We will examine these authors in relation to one another, and to their major pre-postmodernist sources, such as Carroll, Rimbaud, Mallarme, and Dostoevsky. We will also be reading theorists of play such as Schiller, Huizinga, Derrida, and Bakhtin. Central to the module is the exploration of play as a response to literature, and a way of creating new literature out of old, through the play of parody, imitation, transposition, and translation. We will be studying these ancient modes of literary response and performing them ourselves: all students will be encouraged to try their hand at parodying and imitating the texts we are studying, though this is not compulsory. Final assessment can take the form of a 5000 word critical essay or of a combination of a creative piece and a critical essay, to make up 5000 words.

LDCE7006B

20

MULTICULTURALISM

This module looks at the responses in political theory to the rise of multicultural societies in Europe and North America since the end of World War II. The aim is to introduce students to a range of contemporary theoretical perspectives on multiculturalism and to facilitate critical assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of competing approaches. Theorists under examination will include: Parekh, Kymlicka, Taylor and Modood as well as major liberal alternative views; Barry, Rawls and Raz. The module will combine theoretical study with analysis of practical issues/case studies surrounding multiculturalism. Among the issues to be considered are the following: models of integration, group rights, institutional racism, Islamophobia, and the Rushdie affair. The module will also consider divergent policies adopted within European states (eg, France and Germany) and give attention to the attempts to operationalise multiculturalism in the UK in particular via the Parekh Report.

PPLX7003B

20

REFUGEE WRITING: STATES, STATELESSNESS AND MODERN LITERATURE

The twentieth century bore witness to the creation of a new class of person: the placeless people; those who cross frontiers and fall out of nation states; the refugees; the stateless; the rightless. Unlike genocide, the impact of mass displacement on modern thought and literature is only just being recognised. For writers such as Hannah Arendt, Franz Kafka, George Orwell, Samuel Beckett, Simone Weil, among others, the outcasts of the twentieth century raised vital questions about sovereignty, humanism and the future of human rights. More recently, writers such as Coetzee, Teju Cole, Edward Said, Abdulrazak Gurnah and Achille Mbembe have challenged categories of modern and world literature with their focus on exile and statelessness. This module combines an account of these first responses to the era of the refugee with a critique of contemporary humanitarian sensibilities.

LDCE7018B

20

THE NORTHERN RENAISSANCE, 1500-1620

This module sets out to understand why and how humanism -- the advocacy of the study of the humanities, the Greek and Roman classics -- gave birth to the astonishing outpouring of literature that we call the Renaissance. We will situate English Renaissance literature within the wider context of the humanist literature of France, the Netherlands, and Italy. Questions we consider include: how did the rediscovery of classical texts generate new possibilities for literary writers? How did humanists understand the nature of poetic creation? How did their advocacy of rhetoric create new ways for writers to engage with public life? And what happened when humanists turned philological methods upon the most sacred text of their culture: the bible? Authors studied include: Thomas More, Desiderius Erasmus, Edmund Spenser, Joachim Du Bellay, Philip Sidney, Ludovico Ariosto, Torquato Tasso, Jean Bodin, Michel de Montaigne, and Ben Jonson. Foreign language texts are all read in translation. The module is compulsory for students on the Medieval and Early Modern Textual Cultures MA, but might be of interest to anyone who wishes to gain an in-depth understanding of one of the most dazzling periods of European literary history.

LDCE7011B

20

Disclaimer

Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Philosophy or a related subject
  • Degree Classification UK BA (Hons) 2.1 or equivalent
  • Special Entry Requirements A 3000 word essay from your previous degree should be uploaded to your online application.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

 We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 7.0 (minimum 6.0 listening, 6.0 speaking, 7.0 writing and 6.0 reading)
  • PTE (Pearson): 68 (minimum 55 listening, 55 speaking, 68 writing and 55 reading)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact intopre-sessional@uea.ac.uk

Intakes

This course's annual intake is in September of each year.

Alternative Qualifications

If you have alternative qualifications that have not been mentioned above then please contact university directly for further information.

Assessment

All applications for postgraduate study are processed through the Faculty Admissions Office and then forwarded to the relevant School of Study for consideration. If you are currently completing your first degree or have not yet taken a required English language test, any offer of a place will be conditional upon you achieving this before you arrive.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for the academic year 2016/17 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,150
  • International Students: £14,500

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for UK/EU students).

We estimate living expenses at £820 per month.

Scholarships and Awards:

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities has a number of Scholarships and Awards. For further information relevant to Philosophy, please click here.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

You can apply online.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515
Email: admissions@uea.ac.uk

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    Need to know more? Take a look at these pages to discover more about Postgraduate opportunities at UEA…

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries:
    admissions@uea.ac.uk or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515