Contemporary Literature and Arts: Cultural Interventions and Social Justice

The master's programme in Arts and Culture focuses on culture in the making. Culture can refer to the products of intellectual and artistic creativity, such as scholarly and literary texts or
works of art. It also indicates the cultural practices that shape the everyday life of people, and is expressed in their individual tastes and forms of associating with one another. Finally, culture is at the heart of the processes through which people explicate and contest ethical, aesthetic, and political meanings and values.

Contemporary Literature and Arts grapple with the ethical challenges of our times. In their emphasis on inexhaustible meaning and play, they create spaces for the exploration of injustices and the expression of marginalised identities. They also offer us ways to connect with other people and cultures. In the MA specialisation Contemporary Literature and Arts: Cultural Interventions and Social Justice (CLA) you will examine how 21st-century literature and arts engage with issues of social justice, such as racial injustice, class and gender inequalities, climate justice, the rights of migrants and refugees, the discrimination of LGBTQ+ people, ageism and ableism. CLA will teach you to understand contemporary literature and arts not just as reflections on and/or representations of issues of social justice, but as active interventions in the spheres of politics and society at large. How do refugees narrate their own experiences and thus make sense of them? How do graphic memoirs deal with the topic of disability? How does performance art create space for transgender voices? How does ecoart intervene in political activism? You will explore these and other case studies from theoretical and critical perspectives such as postcolonial studies, gender and sexuality studies, environmental and health humanities, and critical age and disability studies. Using an interdisciplinary methodology, you will learn to apply analytical approaches from literary and cultural studies, art history, history, philosophy, and from the humanities’ various intersections with the social sciences. You will also be trained in the use of advanced research and writing skills, and you will write your final thesis under the supervision of an expert in the field.

Other specialisations in this master's programme:

Christin Höne, Assistant professor in Literary Studies about the specialisation Contemporary Literature and Arts:

Before starting her job as an Assistant Professor in Literary Studies at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS), Christin Höne did a PhD and her Master’s at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She has worked at the University of Kent in England, at Humboldt University Berlin and the at University of Potsdam.
What makes this specialisation so exciting for me is that we have the chance to create a new programme with a topical focus that is very timely and important. From the beginning, one of the main motivations for this specialisation was the interest from our own BA and MA students to engage more deeply with issues of social justice, and to find out how works of contemporary art and literature influence society.
As a literary scholar by trade and training, with a focus on postcolonial studies and the role of music in literature, teaching in this MA specialisation gives me the opportunity to teach parts of my own research, which is always exciting.
This reflects the spirit of FASoS and UM more broadly that teaching is at its best when it is student-led and inspired by research.’

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For this new programme, I will be the specialisation coordinator. I will also be teaching the Period 1 course “Entering the field: Social Justice in Contemporary Literature and Arts.

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