BA Spanish and Chinese / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Memory and Culture in Post-Franco Spain

Unit code SPLA31142
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Spanish, Portuguese and Latin
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

This course focuses on contemporary literary and visual cultural texts from Spain and their approach to memories of the dictatorship of General Franco and the post-Franco years (commonly known as the Spanish transition to democracy). These cultural artefacts will be put in dialogue with a select number of critical texts about the Spanish transition and with some theoretical readings about memory. As a result students will become familiar with current issues in Spanish cultural studies and with wider academic and social debates about the unresolved legacy of Francoism in contemporary Spain. Students will interrogate the specificities of different cultural forms, particularly literature and film but also photography and embodied performance, as relevant ways to express and reflect on personal and collective memories in post-Franco Spain. The course will be taught and assessed in English; primary sources and some secondary sources will be read in Spanish.

Aims

By the end of this course students will be able to

  • Formulate informed opinions about the relations between cultural texts and wider debates about the unresolved legacy and memory of Francoism in contemporary Spain;
  • Apply a number of relevant concepts from cultural studies and memory studies as a means of analysing a series of contemporary Spanish literary and visual works

Syllabus

An indicative list of works to be studied is:

 

Literature:

  • Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Los mares del Sur (1979)
  • Isaac Rosa, El vano ayer (2004)
  • Marta Sanz, Daniela Astor y la caja negra (2013)

 

Film:

 

Example outline of lectures:

1. Introduction: Spanish culture and the unresolved legacy of Francoism

2. Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, detective fiction and memory

3. Los mares del Sur as a counterhistory of “the Spanish miracle”

4. Isaac Rosa’s critique of the “memory boom” and its narrative frameworks

5. El vano ayer: history, fiction and plot

6. Balada triste de trompeta: memory and dark comedy

7. Conflicting accounts of the Spanish transition to democracy

8. La isla mínima, auditive narration and memory

9. Daniela Astor y la caja negra: memory and media

10. Daniela Astor y la caja negra: performance and embodiment

        11. Conclusions

Teaching and learning methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Group work (preparation of class discussion)

Individual preparation of a written assignment about a literary work or film in relation to memory in post-Franco Spain

 

Medium of Language: English, though primary sources and some secondary sources will be in Spanish

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be familiar with:

  • Key episodes and events from the dictatorship of Franco and the Spanish transition to democracy;
  • Alternative and conflicting historical accounts of the dictatorship of Franco and the Spanish transition;
  • Ongoing debates in Spanish society, politics and media about the legacy and memories of Francoism;
  • A selection of relevant Spanish literary works and films;
  • Relevant concepts of cultural studies, especially in relation to memory.

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will have enhanced their ability to:

  • Draw out an informed analysis of literary works and films, based on relevant theoretical and methodological tools;
  • Understand and apply concepts and theories in the field of Spanish cultural studies;
  • Understand complex historical processes and conflicting accounts of the latter;
  • Understand the relevance of history and memory in contemporary society;
  • Formulate informed opinions about the possible roles of literature and film in wider debates and struggles over memory.

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will have enhanced their ability to:

  • Draw out an informed textual and visual analysis in Spanish;
  • Clearly structure their arguments about literature, film, memory and related issues;
  • Participate productively in class debates;
  • Independently conduct a small-scale research project about literature and/or film.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will have improved the following skills and qualities:

  • Debate and write with clarity about complex ideas;
  • Empathise with struggles and debates over violent pasts;
  • Intercultural awareness.

Employability skills

Other
By the end of this course students will have improved the following skills and qualities: ¿ Linguistic capability in Spanish (speaking and writing); ¿ Understand pressing cultural and political issues in contemporary Spain; ¿ Enhanced understanding of the contemporary culture industry.

Assessment methods

Assessment task

Formative or Summative

Length

Weighting within unit (if summative)

Written exam

Summative

2hrs

50%

Written assignment

Summative

3000 words

50%

 

RE-SIT ASSESSMENT

Assessment task

Length

n/a

 

 

Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Oral feedback during seminar discussions

Formative

Oral and written feedback on written assignments

Summative and formative

Oral and written feedback on exam answers

Summative and formative

Additional one-to-one feedback (in office hours or by appointment)

Formative

 

Recommended reading

General readings on memory in post-Franco Spain:

Cardús i Ros, Salvador. “Politics and the Invention of Memory. For a Sociology of the Transition to Democracy in Spain.” Disremembering the Dictatorship. The Politics of Memory in the Spanish Transition to Democracy. Ed. Joan Ramon Resina. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi, 2000. 17-28.

Labanyi, Jo. “Memory and Modernity in Democratic Spain: The Difficulty of Coming to Terms with the Spanish Civil War.” Poetics Today 28.1 (2007): 89-116.

 

Theories and methodologies of literature and film in relation to memory:

Faber, Sebastiaan. Memory Battles of the Spanish Civil War: History, Fiction, Photography. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2018. (selected fragments)

Labanyi, Jo. “History and Hauntology; or, What Does One Do with the Ghosts of the Past? Reflections on Spanish Film and Fiction of the Post-Franco Period.” Disremembering the Dictatorship. The Politics of Memory in the Spanish Transition to Democracy. Ed. Joan Ramon Resina. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi, 2000. 65-82.

 

Studies related to primary sources:

Ribeiro de Menezes, Alison. “¿Una agonía esperpéntica? Shifting Memory Horizons and Carnivalesque Representations of the Spanish Civil War and Franco Dictatorship”. Bulletin of Spanish Studies 91 (1-2, 2014): 239-253.

Santana, Mario. “Manuel Vázquez Montalbán’s Los mares del Sur and the Incrimination of the Spanish Transition.” Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 34 (2000): 535-559.

Whittaker, Tom. “Crime, Knowledge and the Photographic Object in La isla mínima.” Hispanic Research Journal 19.1 (2018): 41-54.

   Radcliff, Pamela Beth. “Imagining Female Citizenship in the ‘New Spain’: Gendering the Democratic Transition,      1975–1978.” Gender & History 13.3 (2001): 498-523.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Carlos Van Tongeren Unit coordinator

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