Formative Essay

Assessment 1: Formative Essay



  • The deadline for this formative assignment is 11am on 7th December 2020. Submission after 10:59:59 a.m. will be considered a late submission and may result in penalties (see below).



  • Assignments are marked anonymously, and so you will need to submit using your student number. This is the number on your student card. This number should be clearly visible on the first page of the assignment.   Please do not include your name on any part of the assignment. 
  • Assignments must be submitted on time. Assignments submitted late without good reason will incur the following penalties:

o Late by up to 24 hours: Summary feedback only o Late more than 24 hours: Reduced summary feedback



(The penalty for summative assignments handed in late is that if they are submitted within 24 hours of the deadline, the mark will be capped at 40%; assignments submitted after that time will receive a mark of zero.)

  • You must acknowledge your sources appropriately, both in your essay and your reference list. While the Harvard style of referencing is preferred, other referencing styles can be used if they are used correctly and consistently.
  • The word count for this assignment is 1,200 words. Essays that are more than 5% over this figure will be penalised (see the course handbook for details). There is no penalty for underlength assignments; however, assignments that are more than 5% below the word count are unlikely to give adequate answers to the questions set.
  • If you should require an extension to the deadline, you must complete a Mitigating Circumstances Form (this is available here).


  • All assignments should be wordprocessed using a legible font and in size 12. They should also be double-spaced (or 1.5) and on A4 paper. All pages should be numbered and all pages should have your student number on them.
  • The assignment must include a completed cover sheet. This document can be found in ‘Submit Assignment’ on KEATS.



There are two possible choices of question for each strand—you will choose just ONE question as the topic of your essay from whichever strand you prefer. Write an essay of 1,200 words using no less than FIVE academic sources to support your argument.


VISUAL CULTURE   Session 2 – Museum Studies

  1. To what extent is the story of the pediment of the British Museum (‘The Rise of Civilisation’) an accurate representation of the role played by museums in society?
  2. Carol Duncan writes that, “To control a museum means precisely to control the representation of a community and its highest values and truths” (Duncan 1995: 8). Do you agree? Discuss with reference to the British Museum.


HISTORY OF IDEAS   Session 3 – What is the West?

  1. Appiah argues that ‘There is no such thing as Western Civilization’. Do you agree?
  2. Should British people feel proud of the history of Western Civilization? Give reasons for your answer.


LITERARY STUDIES   Session 4 – Leavis and the Canon

  1. Leavis argues that ‘In any period it is upon a very small minority that the discerning appreciation of art and literature depends’ (Mass Civilization and Minority Culture, 1930). Do you agree?
  2. Can literature help to make us more ‘civilized’? Be sure to consider the meaning of the word ‘civilized’ and refer to the ideas of thinkers such as Matthew Arnold and F R Leavis in your answer.


FILM STUDIES   Session 5 – Intro to Film Studies

  1. Is the distinction between blockbuster and avant-garde films a valid one? Give reasons for your answer with reference to Rear Window. You may draw on other films more broadly if you choose to do so.
  2. What comment does Rear Window make on the relationship between audiences and film? Your answer should refer to formal elements of the film (cinematography, mise en scène, lighting, sound) as well as its plot.