Ireland in Europe: Culture

Module code - MLA2005

Unit 1: Varieties of Cultural Expression in Europe

The first half of the 20th century saw cinema begin to influence and, at times, to outstrip literature as a means of artistic expression. Not surprisingly, images of the nation, so important to 19th century cultural nationalists, began to appear on the big screen. This unit considers the development of a distinct European cinematic tradition and its concern with issues of identity and place. Beginning with 'Irish' cinema, the representation of Ireland in 20th-century film and its influence on the way Ireland is perceived internationally will be examined. A particularly fascinating aspect of Irish cinema is the evidence of a chronology of perspectives, beginning with the Irish-American view of Ireland, epitomised by John Ford's The Quiet Man, later giving way to the Irish view of Ireland most prevalent in the 1980s and 1990s, with films such as Cal and The Butcher Boy which are the work of native Irish writers and directors.

Unit 2: Aspects of modern European Creative Expression

The period from shortly before the year 1800 to the present marks an important point in creativity in both the visual arts and the musical arts in which both are considered to belong to the 'modern' world. The replacement of aristocratic with state patronage and the emergence of the artist as a hero by right transformed cultural development and the involvement of society in the process. The interaction of European artists with their societies over the last two centuries and, in particular, the emergence of Ireland as a contributor to European creativity, rather than a receiver, are both explored in the unit. This will enable an understanding of the change to European thought over the last fifty years that seen a progression from the notion of a purely economic association to an all-embracing union that values and gives increasing esteem to its creative heritage.

Unit 3: Culture, Place and Society

Although self-evident, it is often forgotten that there is a symbiotic relationship between the landscape and its physical features, the social and linguistic organisation of its inhabitants and their commonly-held cultural values and beliefs that combine to both distinguish one society from another and also to provide points of contact between them. This unit examines how 'manifestations' of culture may be explored to lead to an understanding of how they represent individual societies and to enable the connections between them to be understood. Examination of socio-cultural representations of various societies, including Irish, and their relationships with a wider European context will be included.