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MA in Gender, Media & Culture

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Department
    Sociology, Media and Communications

Course overview

This MA introduces you to recent debates on gender in the disciplines of sociology and media and communications studies, and to the interdisciplinary domains of feminist social and cultural theory.

Drawing on the internationally recognised and pioneering expertise of staff in the Department of Sociology and Department of Media and Communications, the programme offers you the opportunity to develop cutting-edge critical skills in relation to cultural approaches to gender formation and gender theory.

As well as these theoretical and analytical points of orientation, the MA in Gender, Media and Culture aims to help you grasp the importance of epistemology and methodology for the evaluation of empirical investigations of gender formations.

The programme therefore introduces you to, and offers training in, the key socio-cultural methods for the study of gender in the contemporary world, including methods for the study of visual culture; the body and affect; and memory.

These two elements of the programme are brought together in a dissertation study, which involves tailored supervision in the application of research methods to a specific topic.

This programme relates to the following disciplines:

  • Sociology
  • Media and Communications
  • Humanities
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Philosophy

Overall the programme has the following interrelated aims

  • to provide in-depth interdisciplinary knowledge of contemporary gender formations
  • to provide theoretical, analytical and methodological points of orientation for understanding gender and culture transnationally and across different societies and geo-political regions
  • to offer skilled supervision in the development and completion of a small research project which tests thoroughly a range of research skills
  • to expose students to a lively research environment and the relevant expertise of the research-led Departments of Sociology and Media and Communications

Convenors

Autumn term convener - Nirmal Puwar
Spring term convener - Sara Ahmed

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Postgraduate Programmes Officer

Modules & structure

Overview

Core components of the programme will familiarise you with the wide range of debates integral to the fields of gender studies, feminist theory, and cultural studies. These include:

  • questions about sexual difference and the performativity of gender
  • gender, science, debates on affect and emotion
  • gender and migration and the new international division of labour
  • feminism

You complete one core module and one option module each term, as well as a dissertation module in the spring term. The first core module introduces key debates and developments in feminist theory, cultural theory and, in particular, feminist cultural theory. It introduces both early debates which defined these fields and contemporary developments and departures. More specifically, you will be introduced to social constructivist and post-structuralist perspectives, to ‘new materialism’, to debates on feminism and the critique of universalism; to key questions in relation to feminism and biology; to debates on psycho-analysis and the emergence of queer theory and its intersection with feminist theory.

The second core module examines the place of gender, affect and the body in feminist theory and feminist practice. The course offers you different angles on what has become known as “the affective turn,” placing a strong emphasis on the history of feminist contributions to the study of affect and emotion as well as the body. We ask how bodies are constructed, experienced and lived from a variety of feminist perspectives, attending to questions of corporeal difference, as well as the intimacy of bodies, spaces, objects and technologies. We also reflect on the significance of affect and the body for feminist and queer cultural practices, as well feminist and queer activisms. This module therefore offers instruction in some of the most cutting edge issues in contemporary feminist theory. A team of leading feminist scholars based in the departments of Sociology and Media Communications at Goldsmiths teach this module on the basis of their research specialisms. 

There will be a series of dissertation workshops to help you plan and develop your dissertation, especially in regard to issues of methodology and method. Each student will be assigned a supervisor who will work with you to develop your proposal and undertake independent research.

Core modules

Module title Credits
  Introduction to Feminist Theory and Culture 30 credits
  Gender Affect and the Body 30 credits

Option modules

You have 60 credits at your disposal, you can choose any 30 credit modules related to gender from postgraduate modules across the University. You can choose either a regular option (30 credits) or two ‘mini-options’ (2 x 15 credits).

For your other options, you can choose modules from either the Department of Sociology or the following Departments across Goldsmiths. Not all modules are suitable for students from all academic backgrounds; you will discuss your choices with the Programme Convenor at the start of your degree.

Media & Communications theory options

Media modules currently include:

Module title Credits
  Understanding Journalism, for Research Students 15 credits
  Embodiment and Experience 30 credits and 15 credits
  Media Audiences and Media Geographies 30 credits
  Race, Empire and Nation 30 credits and 15 credits
  Media, Ritual and Contemporary Public Cultures 30 credits and 15 credits
  Music as Communication and Creative Practice 30 credits
  Political Economy of the Media 30 credits
  Promotional Culture 30 credits and 15 credits
  The City and Consumer Culture 30 credits
  Contemporary Screen Narratives in Practice and Theory 30 credits
  The Structures of Contemporary Political Communication 30 credits and 15 credits
  Asking the Right Questions: Research and Practice 15 credits
  Campaign Skills: Theory and Practice 15 credits
  Journalism in Context 15 credits

Options from other departments

You'll also have the option of taking modules from other departments at Goldsmiths: 

Assessment

Essays and dissertation.

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Department

Sociology at Goldsmiths is ranked:
8th in the UK and 35th in the world for this subject area**
9th in the UK for the quality of our research***

Sociology

The Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths is active, contemporary and inventive. We are interested in everything from the ‘global’ issues of poverty and injustice to the ‘micro’ issues of cultural identity and the presentation of self in a digital world.

Our staff are some of the top academics in the world for this discipline – they’re the pioneers who are pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo. They’ve played a key role in developing social research methods, setting agendas in social and cultural policy, and linking theory to practice.

Through their world-leading research you’ll be at the forefront of current debates and will be encouraged to see the world differently.

Find out more about the Department of Sociology.

**QS World University Rankings by subject 2016
***Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings


We are ranked:
22nd in the world for communication and media studies**
1st in the UK for the quality of our research***

Media and Communications

We’ve also been ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top graduate universities for media professionals, because so many of our graduates go on to find jobs in the industry.

The department includes some of the top academics in the world for this discipline – the pioneers of media, communications and cultural studies. They actively teach on our programmes, and will introduce you to current research and debate in these areas. And many of our practice tutors are industry professionals active in TV, film, journalism, radio and animation.

We also run EastLondonLines.co.uk – our 24/7 student news website – which gives students the opportunity to gain experience working in a real-time news environment.

And we run regular public events featuring world-renowned writers and practitioners that have recently included Danny Boyle, Gurinda Chadha, Noel Clark and Tessa Ross. So you’ll get to experience the latest developments and debates in the industry.

Find out more about the Department of Media and Communications

**QS World University Rankings by subject 2015
***Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings

Staff

Staff who teach on this programme include:

Research

The Centre for Feminist Research (CFR) offers a symbolic and intellectual home for the MA in Gender, Media and Culture, co-convened by the Departments of Media and Communications and Sociology. It provides a coordinating hub for feminist work at Goldsmiths, organising seminars and conferences.

The MA programme is supported by the wide variety of international events, talks and screenings organised by the Centre. Students are encouraged to become involved in these activites. You can find out about upcoming events and activites here.

There are a number of off-site visits organised throughout the year, including trips to art galleries, the London Film Festival and a feminist tour of Westminster.

Suggested reading

Suggested preliminary readings

Braidotti, R. 2002. Metamorphoses: Towards a Materialist Theory of Becoming. Polity.
Butler, J. 1990. Gender Trouble. Routledge.
Colebrook, C. 2004. Gender. Palgrave.
Fraser, M. and Greco, M. 2005. The Body Reader. Routledge.
Gill, R. 2007. Gender and the Media. Polity.
Grosz, E. 1994. Volatile Bodies: Towards a Corporeal Feminism. Indiana University Press.
Haraway, D. 1991. Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. Routledge.
Lash, S. and Lury, C. 2007. Global Culture Industry. Polity.
Marshall, B. and Witz, A. 2004. Engendering Social Theory. Open University Press.
Massumi, B. 2002. Parables of the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation. Duke University Press.
McRobbie, A. 2008. The Aftermath of Feminism. Sage.
Mohanty, C.T. 2003. Feminism Without Border. Duke University Press.
Probyn, E. 1990. Sexing the Self: Gendered Positions in Cultural Studies. Routledge.

Publications 

Relevant journals

European Journal of Women’s Studies (Sage)
European Journal of Cultural Studies (Sage)
European Journal of Social Theory (Sage)
Feminist Economics (Routledge)
Feminist Media Studies (Routledge)
Feminist Review (Routledge)
Feminist Theory (Sage)
Feminism & Psychology (Sage)
Feminist Studies (Jstor)
Gender & Society (Sage)
Gender, Technology and Development (Sage)
Journal of Gender Studies (Routledge)
Media, Culture and Society (Sage)
Sexualities (Sage)
Signs (Jstor)
Sociological Methods & Research (Sage)
Sociology (Sage)
Subjectivities (Palgrave)
Theory, Culture & Society (Sage)

Staff publications (PDF format)

Skills & careers

Skills

Graduates from this programme gain conceptual and methodological knowledge of the key concepts and debates in the study of gender and culture; the skills of critical analysis; the ability to distinguish and appraise a range of socio-cultural research methodologies; the skills to design and develop a research project; and the ability to recognise and account for sensitive ethical issues relating to research and representation.

The two core courses provide you with the necessary skills to understand the relationships between early debates in the fields of gender studies, feminist theory and feminist cultural theory, and the ability to critically engage with new developments in these fields. Furthermore, you will gain a critical appreciation of the role and place of the body and affect in the development of feminist cultural theory and gender theory, and the challenges that contemporary socio-cultural changes bring to the theorisation of the body.

Careers

Previous graduates have embarked on professional careers in social research, think tanks, the arts and cultural sectors, government and public administration, development, human rights, NGOs, and in media and communications globally. They have also progressed to PhD study.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Student profiles

Maisam

"From Goldsmiths, you graduate as a better student and a better human."

Coming from a place like Gaza where difference is often seen as bad and diversity is intimidating rather than rewarding, Goldsmiths offered me a chance to celebrate and embrace difference.

Something as small as a short afternoon stroll through Goldsmiths campus is enough to show the benefits of this diversity. I'm proud to be a part of this outstanding academic institution where my opinions are taken seriously and my plans seem more attainable than ever.

The location and education quality of this university has made my London experience a lot richer. From Goldsmiths, you graduate as a better student and a better human.

Rosa

"The only word fit to describe Goldsmiths and its Sociology department adequately is 'Goldsmiths'. It's now an adjective its own right and the only one able to reflect its uniqueness, originality and the richness of its intellectual and creative environment."

"I chose to do my MA at Goldsmiths because I had already done my BA here. I had a chance to get a taste of the creative and innovative approach Goldsmiths prides itself for, and I couldn't get enough. The alternative-thinking, left-wing, arty, interdisciplinary and experimental atmosphere of the university as a whole really made a difference for me. And then again, so many of the authors I admired and quoted in my undergraduate studies are teaching at Goldsmiths. Especially in relation to Feminist Research, which is my field: Goldsmiths is where it is all happening.

My MA in Gender, Media and Culture has led me to a PhD project (which I am currently working on) about social distinction and gender ambiguity in mainstream fashion, and has also inspired much of my illustration work. It has also provided the (feminist) philosophical foundation of a creative business I am launching with my sister (who is a Goldsmiths student, too) and two friends (both of whom plan to come to Goldsmiths for their masters."

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • An electronic copy of your reference on letter headed paper, or alternatively the email address of your referee who we can request a reference from. It is preferred that you use an academic reference, however in cases where applicants are unable to provide one, a professional reference is acceptable.
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Find out more about applying.

Fees & funding

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

Find out more about tuition fees.

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