Screen Cities

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 2, Year 3 of 3 or Year 4
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Module overview

This module will examine the relationship between the city and screen cultures in Africa, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia and beyond. In addition to examining the city from a screen studies perspective, the module will also draw on key ideas from geography, urban studies and cultural studies.

In much of the global south the rapid growth of cities began in the twentieth century. Cinema and other screen cultures are perhaps the most dominant cultural form of the twentieth century and into the new millenium. Thus students will study the representation of the city as a lens into thinking about how different filmmakers have imagined cities as sites of modernity and postmodernity, encapsulating visions of new nations, as symbols of progress and development, but also as sites of crisis, immorality, corruption and lost opportunity. Furthermore the module will examine how certain cities have come to be particularly associated with the film and other screen industries (Mumbai being the most obvious example), but also as sites for the screening of films. Attention to moviegoing and film festivals will also develop our understanding of the relationship between the city and screen cultures.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding and appreciation the relationships between cities and screen cultures;
  2. critically analyse screen texts in a comparative context;
  3. demonstrate an understanding of how film and other screen cultures can be utilised to project national agendas and identities, as well as carving out spaces for minority and marginalised voices;
  4. develop critical responses to cinematic work based upon aesthetic or cultural values.


  • Total taught hours : 50 hours, including 1 hour of lectures and 1 hour of seminars per week for 10 weeks.
  • Independent study : 100 hours
  • Total hours for module : 150 hours

Scope and syllabus

The module will be divided into five thematic two-week blocks drawing on films and screen cultures from Africa the Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia and beyond. Themes to be discussed will include:

  • The city and modernity/postmodernity
  • City buildings as a microcosm of society
  • Screen spaces for minorities and the marginalised
  • Utopian and Distopian visions
  • Screen Cities, industry, cinema going and festivals

Method of assessment

  • 40% - Viewing Diary (1,000 words)
  • 60% - Essay (1,500 words) or Recorded Presentation (12 minutes)
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules