Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

BA Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
History and Culture in Modern Spain

Unit code SPLA20332
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Spanish, Portuguese and Latin
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course will introduce students to the history and culture of Spain from the start of the nineteenth century to the death of Franco. By exploring the intersection between literature, culture and history, it will help students to understand the different processes that have shaped Spain’s modern history and society. The course is divided into three chronological blocks: 1) from the War of Independence (1808-1814) to the 1868 Revolution; 2) the Restoration (1874-1936); 3) from the Civil War (1936-1939) to the death of Franco (1975). Each block starts with a historical survey, which is followed by an analysis of the most representative works of literature and art of the period. Works will be studied in their cultural and historical context, attending to the ways in which history and cultural production structure one another.


  • To broaden students’ knowledge of Spanish language as a route to intercultural awareness, understanding and competence
  • To explore the history and cultural production of modern Spain
  • To raise students’ cultural awareness by giving them access to some of the most relevant cultural and historical texts produced in modern Spain
  • To acquire the methodology necessary to analyse cultural and historical texts
  • To deepen students’ understanding of the historical development and cultural context of Spanish cultural production from the early nineteenth century to the death of Franco
  • To raise students’ awareness of the role played by culture in structuring historical processes
  • To equip students with the ability to communicate verbally and in writing lucidly and accurately


Knowledge and understanding

  • Outline the main stages in the history and development of culture in modern Spain
  • Interpret modern Spanish cultural and historical texts in their context
  • Apply relevant methodologies to the study of literature and art
  • Formulate complex and sophisticated thinking in clear and structured prose


Intellectual skills

  • Reflect critically on the social and cultural questions raised by works of literature and art
  • Articulate reasoned arguments about literature and art
  • Understand complex historical processes


Practical skills

At the end of this course it is expected that students will be able to:

  • Read works of literature in Spanish
  • Plan, structure and write essays on literature and art
  • Find critical literature through independent research


Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Information retrieval: ability to independently gather, sift, synthesise and organise material from various sources (including library, electronic and online resources), and to critically evaluate its significance
  • Literacy: capacity both to make written presentations using appropriate language for a target population and to collect and integrate evidence to formulate and test a hypothesis
  • Applying Subject Knowledge: use of discipline specific knowledge in everyday situations
  • Research: ability to plan and implement an effective research project

Employability skills

Intercultural awareness, understanding and competence Ability to use and present material in the target language and English in written and oral forms in a clear and effective manner This course will be particularly useful for students willing to pursue a career as translators, interpreters or secondary school teachers. In addition, this course will be useful for students willing to work as journalists or teachers of English as a foreign language

Assessment methods

Essay 1 50%
Essay 2 50%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Oral feedback during seminar discussions


Written feedback on essays


Additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment)



Recommended reading

  1. Casanova, Julián and Carlos Gil Andrés, Twentieth Century Spain: A History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).
  2. Cernuda, Luis, Antología, ed. José María Capote Benot (Madrid: Cátedra, 1981)
  3. García Lorca, Federico, El Público (any edition)
  4. Gies, David T., The Cambridge History of Spanish Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008) (Available online)
  5. Graham, Helen and Jo Labanyi, Spanish Cultural Studies: An introduction. The Struggle for Modernity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995)
  6. Laforet, Carmen, Nada (any edition)
  7. Sutherland, Madeline, ‘The Literary Criticism of Mariano José de Larra,’ Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, 24.2 (1990), 103-120
  8. Valle-Inclán, Ramón del, Luces de Bohemia (any edition)


Study hours

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Samuel Llano Unit coordinator

Return to course details