Spanish MA

Censorship In Western Culture MODLANG4013

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Modern Languages and Cultures
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course explores censorship within Western culture over the past millennium. It combines a variety of methodological approaches in an attempt to address its complex, multifarious nature. Accounts of the systemic nature of censorship in medieval England, Francoist Spain and the USSR, will be complemented by an analysis of Freud's work on taboo and self-censorship in contemporary European societies.


2x1hr seminars per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the Honours options in SMLC/History/CEES and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus

Excluded Courses





Written Assignment (800 words) - 30%

Essay (3000 words) - 70%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ investigate aspects of the phenomenon of censorship in Western culture over the past millennium;

■ analyse the differences and similarities between official censorship practices in Western countries;

■ explore the notions of self-censorship and taboos in modern Western society;

■ develop, through the written assignment and class discussion, skills that are both important in their own right and are also transferable, notably independent critical thinking and judgement, the ability to assimilate, analyse and compare unfamiliar/difficult material, solve problems, produce assignments, organise time, learn independently, argue coherently, and handle detail without losing sight of general perspectives.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ explain and evaluate the rationale behind censorship practices in a number of different political systems and cultures at different times;

■ trace continuities in and evaluate the consequences of differences between those practices;

■ assess the influence of censorship upon political discourse, social communication, and works of art;

■ assess the impact of taboos and self-censorship within Western society;

■ produce well-researched, cogently argued written assignments, employing critical skills developed during the course.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.