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  • Term Mode
  • Semester 1Online Scheduled


ENGL110 Reading Literature: Form and Genre OR ENGL111 Literature Across Time and Space OR WLIT200 Medieval and Renaissance Masterpieces: the Rise of the English Literary Tradition OR WLIT201 The Age of the Novel: 1600-1900 OR WLIT300 Romanticism to Postmodernism: Movements Toward the Literary Present

Unit rationale, description and aim

Professionals working in any field of cultural endeavour are advantaged by knowing how culture works as a signifying practice. Cultural Studies is an interdisciplinary field which takes "culture", broadly understood, as its object of analysis. Cultural studies examines sign systems, ideologies and institutions in order to show how they determine the values, beliefs, competencies and habitual forms of conduct of everyday life. The bases of various theories of communication and everyday culture will be studied and students will engage in analyses of a range of visual, written and media texts to which they will apply tools of cultural analysis. The aim of this unit is to give students a thorough grounding in the theories and methods of Cultural Studies in order to prepare them for a range of occupations where an understanding of the methods and arguments in the discipline can be deeply advantageous.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Employ basic cultural studies methods to analyse relevant materialsGC1, GC2
LO2Communicate clearly in written and/or oral form, in a style appropriate to a specified audienceGC11, GC12
LO3Locate, evaluate and appropriately reference a variety of resources relevant to cultural studies in order to develop an evidence-based argumentGC7, GC9, GC10
LO4Apply the methods that cultural studies scholars have used to research and interpret issues relevant to the disciplineGC1, GC2
LO5Reflect on key debates relating to cultural studies over timeGC1, GC3, GC5, GC6, GC7


Topics may include any or all of the following:  

  • the development of cultural studies as a distinct discipline 
  • cultural theories as tools of social analyses 
  • the semiotics and signs of everyday life 
  • context, denotation and connotation 
  • icon, symbol, myth, ideology 
  • narrative, genre, textuality 
  • Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, world Indigenous, African, and Asian ideas of ‘culture’ 
  • communicative actions, subcultures, new media and globalisation. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

In this unit, students should:  

1. Gain a deep knowledge of the varying approaches and analytical tools which constitute cultural studies. This will be generated through detailed, weekly readings.  

2. Hone their skills in the close reading of visual and literary texts in order to generate deeper levels of analysis. This will involve exercises in close reading of texts, visual material and other sign systems to apprehend meanings that are not apparent at a superficial level.   

3. Be able to synthesise knowledge of cultural studies approaches and skills in close reading to develop the ability to link a developing interpretation to a historical and cultural context. This ability to relate meaning to context will be developed through class and formal exercises where students will discuss case studies in the relationship of textual meaning to its cultural context.  

This unit may run in attendance or multimode formats and will include lectures, tutorials and web-enhanced learning and may include an excursion. 

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.  

The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. To pass the unit, students are required to submit and participate in all assessment tasks.   

Assessment task one will be timed no later than mid-semester and will be an online quiz to assess student understanding of basic cultural studies approaches to specific material and an ability to communicate clearly. 

The second task requires students to demonstrate their ability to take up a particular issue of a type suited to analysis by cultural studies approaches. This will enable students to demonstrate a knowledge of how sign systems work to create meaning within a particular context and will encourage the employment of cultural studies approaches allied with scholarly research to generate insightful statements about the topic.  

The final task is summative and requires students to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of cultural studies approaches as covered in the texts studied. The students will have to select and evaluate the relevant tools of cultural studies and apply them to specific texts.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Semiotics Test 

This online test requires students to employ basic cultural studies approaches, terminology and concept to specific texts. 


LO1, LO2

Research Task 

Requires students to locate, evaluate and appropriately reference a variety of resources relevant to cultural studies in order to develop an evidence-based argument that draws on the work and methods used by cultural studies scholars. 


LO2, LO3, LO4


Requires students to select and evaluate the relevant tools of cultural studies and apply them to specific texts in a written exam. 


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Representative texts and references

Bowman, Paul. Interrogating Cultural Studies: Theory, Politics and Practice. Pluto Press, 2015. 

Chen, Kuan-Hsing, and Chua, Beng Huat. The inter-Asia Cultural Studies Reader. Routledge, 2015. 

Greymorning, Neyooxet, ed. Being Indigenous: Perspectives on Activism, Culture, Language and Identity. Routledge, 2018. 

Liebelt, C., Böllinger, S., and Vierke, U. Beauty and the Norm. Springer International Publishing, 2019. 

Miller, Toby. The Routledge Companion to Global Popular Culture. Routledge, 2015. 

Middeke, Martin, and Reinfandt, Christoph. Theory Matters: The Place of Theory in Literary and Cultural Studies Today. Palgrave, 2016. 

Singer, M. Breaking the Frames : Populism and Prestige in Comics Studies. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2019. 

Stokes, Jane. How to do Media and Cultural Studies. 3rd ed. Sage, 2019. 

Storey, John. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture an Introduction. 8th ed. Routledge, 2018. 

Takacs, Stacy. Interrogating Popular Culture: Key Questions. Routledge, 2015. 

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