The MA Aesthetics of Kinship and Community will provide you with an understanding of the ways in which two dominant paradigms of the inter-subjective bond have been conceptualised and represented from antiquity to the present day, by artists, writers, film makers, critical thinkers and philosophers. The core course will concentrate on presenting you with case studies based on works of art, and theoretical or philosophical texts, to give you an overall grasp of what it means to define human beings as belonging to a family, a community, a tribe, a society, how these categories are sometimes understood to be mere visionary constructs, and how the forms and shapes of these constructs have varied over time and across space.
You will also be given the chance to choose between a number of optional modules which will feed into the concerns of the core course, and some which are less arts-and-humanities oriented, should you wish to see how other fields may deal with the concepts of kinship and community on a more pragmatic, less aestheticized, plane. Options on offer could include, for instance, 'Representations of the Friend from Aristotle to Facebook','Fantastical Kinship and Community in Postmodern Literature and Film', 'Reinventing the Family in Contemporary French Cinema','Of Japanese Descent', 'Men and Masculinities in East Asia', 'Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Japanese Fiction', 'Comparative Decolonizations: The End of the European Colonial Empires', 'Algeria: Colony to Post-colony', 'Sex and Sexualities in French Literature and Cinema', 'Film Melodrama and the Family', 'Museums, Memory and National Identity', 'Exhibiting the Pain of Others: Museums, Violence and Memory', 'Death, Disease and the Early Modern City', 'Mapping Utopias: From Early Modern to Postmodern', 'Narrating the Nation: The Modern Novel in Japan', '
Urban Spaces in Modern Cultures', 'Queer Histories, Queer Cultures', 'Childhood Cultures in Modern Spain', 'Representations of ‘Race’ and Racism in French and Francophone Culture', 'Negociating Gender'.
The MA Aesthetics of Kinship and Community can benefit you in various ways. If you are an Arts student wishing to move on to a PhD relating to the themes of kinship and/or community in literature, art, or cinema, for instance (e.g. “Motherhood in Ancient Greek Drama”, “Motherhood in the work of Marie NDiaye”, “The Father in the Cinema of François Ozon”, “Female Friendship and Mysticism in Post-1968 French Film”), you will acquire a solid theoretical and aesthetic grounding on which to develop your own ideas. And if you are a professional involved in community-based work, whether it be social work or artistic work with the community, you will find this MA stimulating in itself, as it will present you with alternative ideas and perspectives on the ways people have conceptualised and represented human relations before us, as well as on how these are being reinvented now.
You will be taught by Birkbeck academics who are experts on the aesthetic representation of kinship and community, all of whom are attached as researchers to Birkbeck Research Centre in Representations of Kinship and Community (BRRKC). This means that as well as the research-led teaching provided by the programme, you will benefit from the optional advantage of regular seminars, lectures, reading group meetings, film screenings, poetry readings, contacts with London artists, conferences, and the research culture of the Centre.
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