EN3905 - Crime and Passion in Popular Culture 2: Since 1900

Academic year

2022 to 2023 (Semester 2)

Key module information

SCOTCAT credits


The Scottish Credit Accumulation and Transfer (SCOTCAT) system allows credits gained in Scotland to be transferred between institutions. The number of credits associated with a module gives an indication of the amount of learning effort required by the learner. European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credits are half the value of SCOTCAT credits.

SCQF level

SCQF level 9

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Availability restrictions

Only available to those enrolling on the MA Combined Studies or already enrolled on the MA/BSc General degree taken in the evening.

Planned timetable

Tue 6.30 - 9.00 pm

This information is given as indicative. Timetable may change at short notice depending on room availability.

Module Staff

To be confirmed

This information is given as indicative. Staff involved in a module may change at short notice depending on availability and circumstances.

Module description

Though it may seem like a rather narrow view, crime and passion are, arguably, the driving forces behind every branch of the arts. During this course, we'll be unpacking these deceptively simple terms, 'crime' and 'passion', with the intention of determining the motivating factors behind, persistent themes in, and popular responses to, a number of major works that have appeared since 1900. Many questions will be raised and addressed along the way. What, for example, constitutes a 'crime'? Is it a simple problem of legislature, or is there an ongoing tension between legislation and ethical common sense? What is 'passion', and in what forms can it become manifest? Looking back over the long twentieth century, we will be thinking about these terms, how the arts have addressed them, and how, both individually and collectively, we can be inspired, influenced, enlightened and (potentially) corrupted by artistic output.

Relationship to other modules


Before taking this module you must take EN2901


Students may not take any full-time module in English

Assessment pattern

Coursework = 100%


Coursework = 100%

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact

1 lecture and 1 x 1.5-hour seminar

Scheduled learning hours


The number of compulsory student:staff contact hours over the period of the module.

Guided independent study hours


The number of hours that students are expected to invest in independent study over the period of the module.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of trends in high-, popular-, and counter-culture since 1900 that have challenged the hegemonic centre through the arts.
  • Analyse critically the use of superficially narrow terms such as 'crime' and 'passion', and transfer this interrogative skill to other disciplines.
  • Appreciate the political nature of 'popular' and ''literary' texts, and discuss the implications of both mainstream and counter-cultural artistic output.
  • Understand better the historical precedents that have produced the current climate in popular and high culture.
  • Critically re-evaluate the role of the self in contemporary society.
  • Construct arguments, and articulate these in written essays and group discussion.