Undergraduate Module Descriptor

PHL3115: Introduction to Critical Theory

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

Critical analyses and reflections on the relationship between social structure and organisation and the individual in Modernity, with an examination of proponents of critical theory such as:

  • Herbert Marcuse,
  • Th. W. Adorno and
  • Max Horkheimer
  • Hannah Arendt
  • Erich Fromm.

You will also be introduced to recent works in Critical Theory on alienation and freedom, the role of religion in the 21st Century and the formation of the self and social political agency, looking at works by Jürgen Habermas, Judith Butler, Axel Honneth, Nancy Fraser and Christian Fuchs.

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2211 lecture/seminars (Ca. 1 h lecture and 1 h discussion of set readings)
Guided Independent Study40Reading and Research
Guided Independent Study36Preparation and Writing of 3 Reading Summaries
Guided Independent Study52Preparation and Writing of Essay

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).

Other Learning Resources

- Film ‘Hannah Arendt’ (2012) by Margarete von Trotta (organised viewing for the course by Dr Hauskeller)

- BBC4 The Frankfurt School (14 Jan 2010), by Melvyn Bragg and guests

- BBC Mini-Series: The Century of the Self 2002, parts 1-4