BA Latin and Spanish
Year of entry: 2020
Course unit details:
Plural Cultures of Latin America and the Caribbean
|Unit level||Level 3|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 1|
|Offered by||Spanish, Portuguese and Latin|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
One of the most distinctive characteristics of Latin American societies is their high degree of ethnic and cultural diversity. This is the product of the mixing, throughout centuries, of different cultures (mainly indigenous, African, and European) due to colonisation, slavery, and migration. This course will examine some of the ways in which this diversity and mixing has been portrayed in twentieth and twenty-first century Latin American cultural production, focusing on film, literature, and music. Simultaneously, it will explore how this diversity has been problematised in Latin American thought, by examining such notions as ‘mestizaje’, ‘hybridity’ and ‘transculturation’. By focusing on the multi-ethnic condition of Latin American literature and culture, students will enhance their understanding of Latin American and Caribbean societies, improve their analytical and language skills, and increase their intercultural awareness.
|Unit title||Unit code||Requirement type||Description|
|Spanish Language 5||SPLA51050||Pre-Requisite||Recommended|
|Spanish Language 4||SPLA51040||Pre-Requisite||Recommended|
SPLA20210 or SPLA20200 (Second year Spanish)
Available as Free Choice (UG) or to other programmes (PG)?
Yes, but knowledge of Spanish is required (this will be assessed by the course convenor)
- To widen students’ knowledge of Latin American cultures, history and thought
- To improve students’ vocabulary and syntax in Spanish through the analysis of literature and other cultural forms
- To encourage the development of intercultural skills by exploring Latin American racial and cultural diversity
- To improve students’ structure, coherence, clarity and fluency in written and oral expression through essay-writing, seminar discussion, and oral presentations.
- To enhance students’ skills in literary and cultural analysis by engaging critically with a multidisciplinary body of material
Balún Canán, by Rosario Castellanos
Yawar Fiesta, by José María Arguedas
Selected short stories from Encancaranublado y otros cuentos del naufragio, by Ana Lydia Vega
Madeinusa, by Claudia Llosa
Tango: a selection of songs by Carlos Gardel, Amelita Baltar, Astor Piazzolla and Gotan Project.
Cumbia: a selection of songs from Colombian, Peruvian and Argentinian cumbia, including by Lucho Bermúdez, Los Mirlos, and Damas Gratis.
Teaching and learning methods
Presentations given by groups of students
Medium of language
English (though the material is in Spanish)
Knowledge and understanding
- An understanding of Latin America as one of the most multicultural regions in the world
- An understanding of the tensions and mixtures between the main cultural systems and epistemologies in Latin America (Western, indigenous and African)
- An understanding of the many ways in which Latin American multiculturalism has shaped and been represented in various forms of cultural production (mainly film, literature and music)
- The ability to discuss different Latin American intellectual traditions
- To engage critically with different cultural products (literature, art, music, cinema)
- To develop arguments related to culture, history and society
- To be able to discuss theoretical material and connect it with the analysis of cultural products
Improve the ability to read Spanish
Improve vocabulary and syntax in Spanish
The ability to work effectively in collaboration with other students, and sustain written and oral arguments coherently
The ability to read and interpret critically
The ability to design and deliver an oral presentation in a formal context
Transferable skills and personal qualities
- Demonstrate independent and critical thinking
- Demonstrate an ability to present material and ideas individually and collectively in oral and written form
- An ability to participate in group discussions
- An ability to understand multicultural/multiracial issues
- See additional information
Formative or Summative
Weighting within unit (if summative)
Mid-term short essay
(Part of a seminar session will be used to provide formative feedback on the ideas and plans for presentations).
(Students will be offered the possibility of submitting a draft of the essay for summative assessment)
Formative or Summative
Comments during seminars
Written feedback on presentations
Written feedback on essays
Additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment)
· · Ana del Sarto, Alicia Ríos, and Abril Trigo, The Latin American Cultural Studies Reader (Durham; London : Duke University Press, 2004).
· Fernández L’Hoeste, Héctor D., ‘All Cumbias, the Cumbia: The Latin Americanization of a Tropical Genre’, in Imagining Our Americas: Towards a Transnational Frame, ed. by Sandhya Shukla, and Heidi Tinsman (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007), pp. 338-64
· McKee Irwin, Robert, and Mónica Szurmuk, Dictionary of Latin American Cultural Studies (Florida: University of Florida Press, 2015).
· Pacini Hernández, Deborah, ‘Amalgamating Musics: Popular Music and Cultural Hybridity in the Americas’, in Musical Migrations: Transnationalism and Cultural Hybridity in Latin/o America, edited by Frances Aparicio and Candida Jáquez (Basingstoke: Palgrave/MacMillan, 2003), pp.13-32.
· Pratt, Mary Louise, ‘Arts of the Contact Zone’, Profession, 91 (1991), 33-40.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Ignacio Aguilo||Unit coordinator|
The unit will be useful for those considering careers in multicultural/international environments or that require intercultural awareness. It will particularly useful for those willing to work in Latin America.
The module will be also be useful for those considering jobs in which excellent Spanish language skills are required, given that, by engaging with complex literary and cultural texts in the original, students will increase their vocabulary and improve their syntax. Finally, this course will be beneficial for those contemplating careers in the publishing industry and creative industries, given that we will engage comprehensively with different cultural products.