Every module offered by the Institute for Value Studies is open to all undergraduates at Winchester.

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Our Institute for Value Studies is an extra-departmental space where students and staff from the university's different departments can work together on fundamental questions about ethics, politics, art, religion and education.

The most important task of the Institute is to offer a series of team-taught modules open for all undergraduates. In each Value Studies module students have the opportunity to grapple with fundamental questions about values in an open, undogmatic and probing atmosphere. The modules are team-taught by staff from the various departments in the university who bring different kinds of expertise and experience to bear on questions of general human significance. The format is conversational and the spirit co-operative.

Why choose to study a Value Studies module?

  • First of all, because we deal with important stuff. Every module offered is focused on questions that engage us as human beings no matter what we decide to do for a living. Love, justice, beauty and other ideas about value are significant to us all
  • Our modules run in small conversational seminar groups of up to 12 students. In this context, every voice counts. Here you can think aloud and work with fellow students who also want to make up their minds about some of the fundamental questions we all grapple with
  • Challenge yourself intellectually by entering the world of conversation beyond your own department. You’ll learn alongside students from a variety of courses, and be taught by a module team from across the university who bring diverse perspectives to the conversation
  • Value Studies is recognised on your HEAR record, and, for many courses across the University, the module is worth 15 credits – check here to see if your course is one of them.

Interested in some thoughts from students who have taken one or more modules already? Check out the video below.

 

Cosmopolitanism: Politics Values in the Age of Globalisation

Tutor: Thomas Norgaard
Module Codes: VA1000, VA2000, VA3000
Offered in Semester 1

The idea of the cosmopolites, "the world citizen", can be traced back to Diogenes of Sinope, a philosopher from the 4th century BC. In recent decades, this idea has become central in conversations about what it means to live responsibly in a globalized world. The term "cosmopolitanism" now typically stands for a set of values, beliefs, practices and hopes that point towards a better political order for an ever more densely populated and closely connected globe. Cosmopolitan ideas are controversial, however, and inspire complex debates among political thinkers about citizenship, nationalism, hospitality, justice, democratic governance, peace, international institution-building and education. The aim of this module is to help students develop a historically informed appreciation of these contemporary debates. To that end we will study some of the thinkers that helped shape the concept of cosmopolitanism, discuss the phenomenon of globalization, and read a number of contemporary contributions to the debate.

Culture: High and Low

Tutor: Caroline Stockman
Module Codes: VA1001, VA2001, VA3001
Offered in Semester 1

Ideas about 'culture' play a complex role in contemporary discussions about what matters in life.​ This module is designed to help students get a grip on this difficult concept and to
introduce them to some of the fundamental questions that are being addressed when ideas about culture become central to our theoretical inquiries, practical projects and dramatic disagreements. To this end, we will study some of the thinkers who have shaped current usage and discuss issues that are particularly important today. The distinction between high and low, or highs and lows, runs like a red thread throughout the module and invites us to reflect on our basic assumptions about progress, decadence and hierarchy.

The Odyssey

Tutor: David Hayes
Module Codes: 1006, 2006, 3006
Offered in Semester 2

We will closely read Homer’s epic poem, with special attention to the theme of the difficult restoration, even rehabilitation, of its hero after twenty years of suffering in war and wandering. We will aim to understand the poem’s numerous fairy-tale or fantasy elements as meaningful parts of this story of a man’s struggle to “win his soul.” Concepts important to the poem that we will be discussing throughout the module include: hospitality, anger, eating, sex and marriage, heroism and post-heroism, humanity, monstrousness, and divinity, coming-of-age and growing old, storytelling, the power and danger of the mind, and the values of travel and home.

Other Animals: Contemporary Moral Frontiers

Tutor: Thomas Norgaard
Module Codes: VA1003, VA2003, VA3003
Offered in Semester 1

The relation between humans and other animals constitutes one of the frontiers of moral life today. Qualms about factory farming and meat-eating are widespread. So are worries about animal experimentation and zoos. In this module, these various moral anxieties provide starting points for a series of inquiries into the current lives of non-human animals and their relation to us humans. How, and to what extent, do we understand other animals? What do we owe other animals, wild and tame? Is it true, as the animal rights movement insists, that we stand in deeply flawed relations to the other animals? And if so, what should we do about it? How, in a (more) ideal world, would humans and other animals relate to one another? What, in other words, are the values that should guide our relations to the other animals in the future?

The Brain, Human Nature and Ethics

Tutor: Elina Staikou
Module Codes: 1007, 2007, 3007
Offered in Semester 2

While many sciences investigate aspects of human nature, none seems to come as close to home as the study of the human brain. A growing number of books and documentaries on the brain suggest that neuroscience will sooner or later tell us who we really are. Some claim that mysteries like consciousness, the self and free will, which have (supposedly) eluded philosophy and religion for centuries, are about to be solved by scientific discoveries. Along with this knowledge (it is said) will come power to change who we are and how we behave: not only to treat neurological disorders, but also to modify and enhance our brain functions using drugs or other technologies. Maybe this knowledge will be used to influence customer choices in marketing, or to interrogate criminal suspects. We might be able to enhance our cognitive abilities, our mood, and our moral qualities. Perhaps we will be able to upload our minds to supercomputers and break free from the limits of our flesh-and-blood bodies altogether. This module will critically explore claims like these and the ambitions that go along with them, drawing on the work of neuroscientists, philosophers, theologians and others. For example: how much – and what – can neuroscience really tell us about what it is to be human? How feasible and how coherent are proposals for brain reading, cognitive enhancement or mind uploading? And even if such things can be done, should they? Is a cognitively enhanced or posthuman future one that we should hope for, or fear?

The Modern University

Tutor: Thomas Norgaard
Module Codes: 1008, 2008, 3008
Offered in Semester 2

The module is designed for students from all disciplines who want to think seriously about the point of going to university in the 21st century.

Our general aim in this module is to understand the competing ideals and complex forces that shape higher education today. We will focus especially on ‘the modern university’, i.e. the university as it has developed from the late 18th century until today. With this historical perspective we will be better equipped to understand the present and think about the future.

Having read some of the texts that have shaped contemporary conversations about universities, we will discuss concrete questions that are prominent today: What is a university?What and how should we teach? Who should go to university? Who should pay? These questions will invite us to think about the value of ‘research’, the difference between training and education, and the relation between private and public goods.

4000 Years of Love

Tutor: David Hayes
Module Codes: 1005, 2005, 3005
Offered in Semester 1

For most of us, love is a crucial value—a value that may even be synonymous with what it means to value anything at all. Yet this general truth raises a serious difficulty: not only is the potential range of objects of love bewilderingly vast, but what it even means “to love” is also a question. Love has been said to involve submission, possession, frustration, affection, attention, transgression, judgment, non-judgment, charity, chastity, sexuality, spirituality, mutuality, or reciprocity or its lack. The aim of this module is to examine many different, powerful ideas of love from ancient times to the present day (including non-Western cultures) and with different kinds of texts and art-objects (including philosophy, literature, psychology, film, and music).

Eating Well Food and Value in the 21st Century

Tutor: Elina Staikou
Module Codes: 1009, 2009, 3009
Offered in Semester 2

Without nourishing food human beings quickly wither and die. Yet eating is about more than fuelling our bodies. Our eating habits often go unexamined, but in this module, we will try to understand how eating is not only a natural need but also an activity ordered by aesthetic, cultural, moral, religious and political norms and ideals. We will take a close look at contemporary eating orders (and disorders) and consider how we do, could or should make decisions about what, how, where and with whom we eat. Sometimes serious conversation about such issues is rejected as trivial or evaded with the Latin dictum “de gustibus non est disputandum” (in matters of taste, there can be no discussion), but here we will take the delights of the table seriously and see where the conversation can go. Our seminars will take place in the company of texts and works of art by some of the thoughtful eaters who have struggled with questions about food before us and who might be able to help us eat well in the 21st century.

How to Register

The modules offered by the Institute for Value Studies are open to all undergraduates at Winchester. Many programmes allow students to take the modules for credit and everyone can have their participation recognized on the Higher Education Achievement Report.

If you wish to register for a module for HEAR recognition only (i.e. not for credit in your programme), please send an email to IVS@winchester.ac.uk 

There are limited spaces, but we accommodate as many as we can according to the first come, first served principle.

If you would like to take a module for credit (i.e. it will count towards the completion of your programme), please sign up online via MyRecord. Each module is worth 15 credits. Check the list below to see if your programme allows you to take the modules for credit. You can choose one module per year at the level(s) indicated and maximum two in the course of a degree.

Level 4 = First Year Undergraduate
Level 5 = Second Year Undergraduate
Level 6 = Third Year Undergraduate
SH = Single Honours
CH = Combined Honours

Programme

Level(s)

Animal Welfare and Society SH

5

Choreography and Dance SH

5

Choreography and Dance CH

5,6

Classical Studies SH

5

Classical Studies CH

5

Creative Writing SH

5, 6

Creative and Professional Writing 

5, 6

Education Studies SH

6

Education Studies CH

6

Education Studies (Early Childhood) SH

6

Education Studies (Early Childhood) CH

6

Education Studies (Special and Inclusive Education) SH

6

Education Studies (Special and Inclusive Education) CH

6

English Literature SH

4, 5

English Literature CH

5

English with American Literature named award

4, 5

English Literature with 

English

 Language named award

4, 5

Global History and Politics SH

5

History SH

5

History CH

5

History and the Medieval World SH

5

History and the Modern World SH

5

Journalism SH

4

Law (LLB) SH

5, 6

Philosophy, Religion and Ethics SH

5, 6

Politics and Global Studies SH

5, 6

Politics and Global Studies CH

5

Psychological Science SH

6

Psychology BSc SH

6

Psychology BA CH

6

Psychology and Child Development SH

6

Psychology and Cognition SH

6

Sociology (SH) 

5

Social Psychology SH

6

Theology, Religion and Ethics SH

5, 6

 

What Winchester Students Say About Value Studies...

"The content was incredibly interesting..."

"The content of the module was extremely interesting (...) The module was also well-organised as each week we knew what to prepare and discuss."

"The tutor did a great job at allowing everyone to input their ideas and opinions and challenged us in the sense of discussion topics and broader thinking. Conversation was brilliant."

Contact us

Institute for Value Studies
The University of Winchester
Winchester
SO22 4NR
Tel: +44 (0) 1962 826359
IVS@winchester.ac.uk