Module Narrative

Module Title: Spirituality and Popular Culture

Module Code: MED601
Level: 6
Credit Points: 20 Credits
Compulsory or Optional: Optional (Media pathway)
Pre-requisites/co-requisites: None
Excluded combinations or modules: None
Mode of attendance: Mixed


This module examines the interface between spirituality and popular culture. The module will focus on introducing students to the way popular culture influences spirituality and vice versa. Thus, an examination of some methodological approaches will be undertaken that will provide a framework for examining a variety of examples and manifestations of contemporary spirituality within popular culture.

Learning Outcome
On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. explain the often complex connection between cultural and religious contexts and selected themes within contemporary popular culture;
2. Identify and critically evaluate key presuppositions which are informing expressions of spirituality / spiritualities in popular culture;
3. Construct coherent arguments and demonstrate extensive knowledge that relates to particular expressions of spirituality within popular culture which derives from a range of reading or reading and practice.
engage with key methodological approaches in the study of spirituality and popular culture and engage with a matrix of meaning and context in popular culture and associated ideas.

The history and conceptual framework of popular culture and associated ideas; Introduction to key methodological approaches to studying spirituality and popular culture, Examine ideas pertaining to secularization and re-enchantment; religious motifs in popular music; religion and spirituality in film; Spirituality and cyberspace; and religion online; Introduction to apocalyptic ideas prevalent in popular culture;
Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy

This course will be taught through the art of facilitation aimed at drawing out insights from students in response to stimulating readings, lectures and videos.

Class time will be used for a combination of lectures, discussions of qualitative research articles and practical exercises.

In additional to attending classes, students should be prepared to spend about another six hours per week on activities related to this course. These activities include reading the required and recommended articles of relevance to this course and preparing for assignments and preparation of an approved research proposal.

Tutorial time enables Tutors to give formative feedback on draft essays, guidance to students on developing their presentations and constructive feedback on summative work. Independent study to supplement these activities is an essential element of the programme, including reading and producing the module assignments.

Assessment Scheme
• Student-led discussion (formative assessment)

• Presentation with 1500 word report with Tutor and Peer assessment (summative assessment)]
• Essay 2500 words (summative assessment)

Assessment Weighting
Presentation and Report 50%
Essay 50%

Learning Materials

Core text
Lynch, G. (2005) Understanding Theology and Popular Culture. Oxford: Blackwell.
Sutcliffe, S. & Bowman, M. (eds.) (2000) Beyond New Age: Exploring Alternative Spirituality. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Cobb, K. (2005) The Blackwell Guide to Theology and Popular Culture. Oxford: Blackwell.
Heelas, P. (2008) Spiritualities of Life: New Age Romanticism and Consumptive Capitalism. Oxford: Blackwell.
Lynch, G. (2002) After Religion: Generation X and the Search for Meaning. London: Darton, Longman and Todd.
Partridge, C. (2006) The Re-Enchantment of the West. Vols. 1 & 2 London: Continuum.
Partridge, C. (ed.) (2002) Dictionary of Contemporary Religion in the Western World. Leicester: IVP.
Sutcliffe, W. S. & Bowman, M. (eds.) (2000) Beyond New Age: Exploring Alternative Spirituality. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Woodhead, L. & Heelas, P. (eds.) (2000) Religion in Modern Times: An Interpretive Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell.
Woodhead, L., Kawanami, H. & Partridge, C. (eds.) (2009) Religions in the Modern World: Traditions and Transformations. London: Routledge.

Online Application
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