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BA Russian and Spanish / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Plural Cultures of Latin America and the Caribbean

Unit code SPLA31121
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Spanish, Portuguese and Latin
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


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 have 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.

Important: Lectures will be delivered in Spanish. Assessed coursework will be in English. Seminar discussions will be carried out primarily in English but students can use Spanish if they want to.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Spanish Language 5 SPLA51050 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Spanish Language 4 SPLA51040 Pre-Requisite Compulsory

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 enhance students’ comprehension of Spanish through lectures delivered by the course convenor
  • 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 and seminar discussion.
  • To enhance students’ skills in literary and cultural analysis by engaging critically with a multidisciplinary body of material


Knowledge and understanding

Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Have an understanding Latin America as one of the most multicultural regions in the world
  • Have an understanding of the tensions and mixtures between the main cultural systems and epistemologies in Latin America (Western, indigenous and African)
  • Have 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)
  • Have the ability to discuss different Latin American intellectual traditions 

Intellectual skills

Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Engage critically with different cultural products (literature, art, music, cinema)
  • Develop arguments related to culture, history and society
  • Be able to discuss theoretical material and connect it with the analysis of cultural products

Practical skills

Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Improve the ability to understand oral and written Spanish
  • Improve vocabulary and syntax in Spanish
  • Have the ability to work effectively in collaboration with other students, and sustain written and oral arguments coherently
  • Have the ability to read and interpret critically
  • Have the ability to design and deliver an oral presentation in a formal context


Transferable skills and personal qualities

Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate independent and critical thinking
  • Demonstrate an ability to present material and ideas individually and collectively in oral and written form
  • Have an ability to participate in group discussions
  • Have an ability to understand multicultural/multiracial issues 

Employability skills


Assessment methods

Essay 1 40%
Essay 2 60%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Comments during seminars on the students’ interventions


Written feedback on essays


Summative and formative (students will be offered the possibility of submitting a draft of the essay for summative assessment)

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



Recommended reading

  1. Coronado, Jorge. The Andes Imagined: Indigenismo, Society, and Modernity (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Pre, 2009).
  2. Del Sarto, Ana, Alicia Ríos, and Abril Trigo, The Latin American Cultural Studies Reader (Durham; London : Duke University Press, 2004).
  3. McKee Irwin, Robert, and Mónica Szurmuk, Dictionary of Latin American Cultural Studies (Florida: University of Florida Press, 2015).
  4. 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. 
  5. Pratt, Mary Louise, ‘Arts of the Contact Zone’, Profession, 91 (1991), 33-40.


Study hours

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ignacio Aguilo Unit coordinator

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