Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module MELA53630: Critical Readings in Photography

Department: Modern Language and Cultures

MELA53630: Critical Readings in Photography

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2007/08


  • MELA53730


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To further extend students' knowledge of photographic theory; to allow them to apply the theoretical knowledge gained in the core module to the concrete reading of photographic images; and to appreciate the possibilities and limitations of their chosen theoretical approach.


  • The precise scheme of reading will depend on both the images selected for analysis and the theoretical approach adopted.
  • The module will consist of weekly supervsion sessions in which students report on the research and reading they have undertaken, and discuss it with the supervisor, identifying the uses and problems of a given approach and contextualising it within the wider debate on the funcions of photography -- a debate with which the core module will have familiarised them.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
    Subject-specific Skills:
      Key Skills:

        Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

        • Under the guidance of the supervisor, students will establish a body of photographic images that they wish to analyse, and will decide on a theoretical approach. They will then follow a rigorous programme of further reading within their chosen area, and will prepare specific tasks and questions in advance of each seminar. Seminars will be used to discuss the ways in which the chosen method can be applied to the images in question. Assessment will test students' ability to apply theoretical approaches to the practical criticism of images, and their awareness of the problems and potential of applying a given theory.

        Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

        Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
        Seminars 9 Weekly 2 Hours 18
        Preparation & Reading 282
        Total 300

        Summative Assessment

        Component: Essay Component Weighting: 100%
        Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
        Essay 5000 words 100%

        Formative Assessment:

        One essay of 2500 words

        Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University