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LN311 Political propaganda in Contemporary Europe from 1975 to the Present

Module Code: LN311
Module Name: Political propaganda in Contemporary Europe from 1975 to the Present
Module Coordinator: Dr Katie Stone (2020-2021)
Term 2 Time TBC
Module Credits: 15

Module Description

[This cross-SMLC module complements LN307: Propaganda and Persuasion in modern Europe 1933-1975.]

This module introduces students to aspects of political propaganda from 1975 to the present day in four countries: France, Italy, Spain and Germany. The module aims to enable students to critically examine and compare the principal features of political propaganda in contemporary Europe and to develop students’ capacity to ‘read’ political texts and imagery. Through close textual and filmic analysis of a range of different materials --- from film to posters and from radio programmes to social media --- we will explore the ways in which propaganda has shaped contemporary Europe since 1975. With a teaching team comprised of scholars of modern France, Germany, Spain and Italy, this is a module which offers a broad overview of the impact of propaganda on a range of countries and populations.

This module is especially well-suited to students interested in modern European politics and history or who wish to develop their textual analysis skills. The module is open to students from any degree combination across the School of Modern Languages and Cultures in their final-year of study (and also to students from other departments). The only prerequisite for this module is that it is not open to students who took the original version of LN307 in 2017-18.

All seminars and lectures will engage with material in the target language AND in translation to ensure the material is accessible to students from across the School. Lectures and seminars will be delivered in English.

The module aims are:
  • to develop a critical understanding of the definition of propaganda in a range of contexts;
  • to examine the diverse ways in which propaganda has been produced and received across Western Europe since 1975;
  • to analyse and compare a range of propaganda materials across linguistic, cultural and national borders;
  • to explore the role played by propaganda in contemporary Europe from 1975 to the present day.

Module programme 2020-2021

Week 1: Introduction to political propaganda in contemporary Europe [Dr Katie Stone]

Week 2: Gender and Memory in the Propaganda of East and West Germany* [Dr Katie Stone]

Week 3: Propaganda and the Far Right in 21st Century Germany* [ Dr Katie Stone]

Week 4: Spain since Franco: (Un)Willing to Forget [Dr Leticia Villamediana González]

Week 5: Propaganda and Nationalisms in 21st Century Spain [Dr Leticia Villamediana González]

Week 6: Reading Week

Week 7: France: From Giscard to Mitterrand [Dr David Lees]

Week 8: France: From Chirac to Macron [Dr David Lees]

Week 9: Italy: School and propaganda from Fascism to the present day [Dr Valentina Abbatelli]

Week 10: Italy: The role of the family from 1945 to the present day [Dr Valentina Abbatelli]

*In weeks 2 and 3, there will be some discussion of the ways in which nationalist propaganda has exploited the memory of violence against women. Students will have the opportunity to flag any potential concerns before class --- either anonymously or in person. Where classroom discussion focuses in on these issues, the approach aims to be both sensitive and academically rigorous; however, the session leader is open to discussing and accommodating student concerns.

Assessment for the module

For 2019-2020:

Students will be assessed through a 4000-4500 word essay which will ask students to answer on a particular theme across any two of the contexts studied on this module.

For 2020-2021:

1 x 1000-1500-word close analysis of two pieces of propaganda (40%)
1 x 2500-3000-word assessed essay (60%), which will ask students to answer on a particular theme across any two of the other contexts studied on this module.