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This content is taken from the University of Bristol's online course, Cultural Studies and Modern Languages: an Introduction. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 14 seconds Hi everyone and welcome to our course on Cultural Studies and Modern Languages. I am Gloria and I will be your guide throughout the next four weeks. I am based in the School of Modern Languages at the University of Bristol where I asked some colleagues of mine to join us on this cultural adventure. They will tell us about several slogans, books, monuments and images which have developed in different countries throughout history. The language of slogans and books and the objects of monuments and images can reveal a lot about countries and their cultures.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 seconds By the end of the course, we will have learnt about twelve topics and gathered an understanding of how the analysis of language and objects works in practice and is an effective means to access and understand social realities like national cultures. The course begins this week with an analysis of three slogans. Some of these are more widely known than others. But they were all coined by very charismatic people from different countries and over different chronological periods. Our journey will start with the slogan ‘La liberta e terapeutica’ ‘Freedom is therapeutic’. It was coined by the psychiatrist Franco Basaglia and emerged in Italy in the 1960s. We will then go to Spain and learn more about the slogan ‘!No pasaran!’

Skip to 1 minute and 33 seconds ‘They shall not pass!’ that was popularised in 1936 at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War by the activist and politician Dolores Ibarruri. We then end our week with the oldest slogan of the three ‘Proletarier aller Lander, vereinigt euch!’ ‘Workers of the world unite!’ which was invented by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848 in Germany. My colleagues John, Sally-Ann and Mark are experts on Italy, Spain and Germany and have created three great videos to introduce you to these slogans.

Skip to 2 minutes and 14 seconds Together with some short articles, the videos will explain under what circumstances the slogans emerged, their impact at that time, how they were received, how they evolved over time and many other interesting facts. By the end of the week you will have learnt new information about the countries the slogans developed in. You will have also gained a better understanding of the power of language; in particular how catchy one-liners like slogans can capture people’s imagination and become very effective means of persuasion. But enough from me. I hope you enjoy our first week together and our choice of slogans.

Skip to 2 minutes and 58 seconds Remember, don’t worry if you can’t complete all the activities; you can dip in and out of our course to suit your time and preferences. Have fun!

Welcome from Gloria

Hi and welcome to Cultural Studies and Modern Languages: an Introduction.

My name is Gloria and I’ll be your guide throughout this course. I teach at the University of Bristol and love exploring different countries, their cultures and languages. You can see my profile and you can follow me, if you want to. We can also interact on Twitter using the hashtag #FLculture. My Twitter name is @gloriavisi, please include yours in your FutureLearn profile.

The course will last four weeks. Each week will focus on a different theme (slogans, books, monuments and images) and will have three academics teaching one small topic. Learners can explore each topic by:

  • watching a five-minute mini-lecture video by the academic
  • doing some further reading (approx. 500 word article)
  • exploring some additional resources (e.g. a journal article, a book extract, a film)
  • doing an independent study activity
  • doing a short multiple choice quiz

The same format is repeated across the 12 topics taught during the course.

The academic staff will provide a short ‘feedback video’ at the end of each week, commenting on some of your ideas, questions or reflections posted during the week.

More feedback will also be provided by me and our team of research students. They are: Doreen Pastor, Sarah Culhane and Mary Frank. Click their names to learn more about them. On the course, you will recognise them by their title of ‘mentor’. We are all looking forward to getting to know you and learning together. Why don’t you ‘follow’ each of us?

Now, please watch the video above where I will tell you more about the course and its learning objectives. After you watch it, remember to click the pink ‘mark as complete’ button at the bottom of this step. You should keep doing so throughout the course, as you complete each step.

Finally, before you move on to the next step, why don’t you introduce yourself by using the ‘comment’ area and tell us your name, where you are from and why you decided to take this course?

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This video is from the free online course:

Cultural Studies and Modern Languages: an Introduction

University of Bristol