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BA Latin and Spanish / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course unit details:
Themes in Spanish and Latin American Studies

Unit code SPLA10420
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Spanish, Portuguese and Latin
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course unit is organised thematically around four major topics in Spanish and Latin American Studies: Race and Identity; Protest and Revolution; Modernity; and Power and Culture. Through the course students explore how these themes manifest themselves in different contexts across the Spanish-speaking world. At the same time, students are introduced to basic social and cultural theory and how it can be applied to the analysis of different cultural artefacts from the Spanish-speaking world. The course also incorporates opportunities for students to discover the rich collections of materials from Spain and Spanish America held by the University outside the Main Library and requires them to apply the skills and concepts developed in lectures and seminars to objects found in these collections.



  • To introduce students to basic social and cultural research theory and how it applies to specific Spanish and Latin American cultural objects
  • To further students’ knowledge and understanding of Spanish and Latin American culture and society
  • To make students aware of the rich collections of Spanish and Latin American objects available in Manchester
  • To hone students’ skills of analysis, academic writing and independent research
  • To aid the study of Spanish language and culture in a range of contexts


Indicative topics to be covered include:

  • Race and Identity in Spanish America (Identity politics, indigenismo, contemporary Indigenous movements)
  • Protest and Revolution (The Tupac Amaru rebellion, the Cuban Revolution, Terrorism in Spain, the Movimiento 15M)
  • Modernity (Modernisation and popular resistance, the rise of the City in Spanish America, euphoric and pessimistic cultural reactions to modernity)
  • Culture and Power (Nationalism, popular culture, cultural construction of gender identities)

Please note that this list is only indicative and topics may change from year to year.

Teaching and learning methods

 The course is organised thematically into four major topics. These are divided into fortnightly units within which lectures and seminars explore specific events and developments in Spain and Spanish America. For each fortnightly unit two lectures take place on even weeks and a seminar on odd weeks to give students a chance to digest the content of lectures and prepare for seminar activities.

Lectures provide basic, subject-specific knowledge about the Spanish world, and introduce theoretical concepts. Seminars focus on applying theory to specific material related to what was covered on the previous lectures.

Additionally, students will have an opportunity to visit and explore the Spanish and Latin American collections held by the John Rylands Library, the Manchester Museum and/or the Whitworth Gallery. Discussion and analysis of objects found in these collections will constitute the subject of 15-minute group video projects.

Emphasis in assessing the video projects will be on the quality of the analysis offered rather than the technical aspects of producing a video. Students are welcome to use their own equipment (phones, cameras) or borrow them from Media Services. They will be encouraged to use the editing suites managed by Media Services who offer basic training in editing and using the suites on first booking of an editing session.

Taught in English with seminar materials in Spanish; assessed in Spanish (group video project) and English (essay and reflective essay).

Knowledge and understanding

 By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate basic understanding of key themes in Spanish and Latin American Studies

Show awareness of the Spanish and Latin American collections available in Manchester

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will have:

  • Further developed their Spanish language competence through reading and viewing a range of Spanish and Spanish American cultural objects
  • Improved their capacity to read critically

Increased their ability to interpret, analyse and synthesise information

Practical skills

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

  • Plan, record and edit a video group presentation on a cultural object related to a topic of Spanish or Latin American studies
  • Gather, organise and deploy evidence and information in writing an essay
  • Use the library to find appropriate physical and electronic resources and reference them correctly
  • Construct and back up arguments

Transferable skills and personal qualities

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

  • Express themselves confidently in English, both orally and in writing
  • Manage time and work to deadlines
  • Participate in group discussions and assess the relevance and importance of the ideas of others
  • Present information, ideas and arguments orally and in writing with due regard to the target audience

Draw on theory when analysing concrete objects and situations

Assessment methods

Assessment task

Formative or Summative


Weighting within unit (if summative)


Group video project on an object in the University’s Spanish and Latin American collections

Self-reflective essay

In-class participation


1,750 words

15 minutes


1,000 words

40 %

25 %


25 %


10 %


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

  • oral feedback on seminar participation
  • written feedback on essay, group video project and self-reflective essay
  • additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment)

the essay, due at the end of the first semester, will serve simultaneously as formative and summative assessment. Feedback received on it will help students in preparing their analysis of an object in the University’s Spanish and Latin American collections for the group video-project



Recommended reading

Selections from:

  • Mary Louise Pratt’s ‘Arts of the Contact Zone’
  • Aníbal Quijano’s ‘Coloniality of Power’
  • Hannah Arendt’s On Revolution
  • Paul Wilkinson and Dominic Bryan’s ‘Is terrorism still a useful analytical term?’
  • Jane Tormey’s Cities and Photography
  • Marshall Berman’s ‘All that is solid’
  • Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities
  • Raymond Williams’ ‘Culture is Ordinary’
  • David Glover and Cora Kaplan’s Genders

Excerpts, clips or selected images from:

  • José Vasconcelos’ La raza cósmica
  • Evo Morales’ speeches
  • Nicolás Guillén’s poetry
  • Iñaki Arteta’s Trece entre mil
  • Horacio Cópola photographs
  • Ortega y Gasset’s works
  • Diego Rivera murals
  • Latin American comics and graphic novels

Emilio Gómez Muriel’s La monja alférez

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 178

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Samuel Llano Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Language of Teaching and Assessment

Taught in English with seminar materials in Spanish; assessed in Spanish (group video project) and English (essay and reflective essay).


Course will comply with standard Blackboard requirements


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