BA Spanish and Portuguese / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Cultures of the Hispanic World

Unit code SPLA10410
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 combines an introduction to the literatures, cultures and histories of the Spanish-speaking world, from the middle ages to the twenty-first century, with the development of intellectual and analytical tools necessary for the study of Spanish at university level. It furnishes students with a solid basis for further studies by providing them with both the basic background knowledge about Spain and Spanish America and the skills for analysis, academic writing and independent research necessary for making the most out of second- and final-year options. The course focuses on the analysis of texts, images and film within their cultural context through a combination of lectures, which offer an introduction to relevant developments and background, and seminars, centred on the application of the skills acquired to the close examination of cultural artefacts covering a broad spectrum of genres and language styles and registers.      


  • To introduce students to the cultures, literatures and histories of the Spanish world (including Amerindian, Chicano and Catalan)
  • 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


Knowledge and understanding

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

  • Demonstrated basic knowledge and understanding of the historical periodization of the Spanish world
  • Show familiarity with selected cultural and literary works from Spain and Spanish America
  • Evince competence in understanding, analysing and discussing selected cultural objects in relation to their social, cultural and historical context


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:

  • Analyse and differentiate between various types of literary and visual media
  • 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 backup 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


Assessment methods

Review essay 15%
Analysis 10%
Commentary 25%
Essay 50%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

  • oral feedback on seminar participation
  • written feedback on review essay, short analysis, commentary and 2000-word essay.
  • additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment)
  • the review essay, image or scene analysis and commentary are simultaneously  formative and summative exercises.  Feedback received on these is meant to help in preparing the essay.



Recommended reading

This is an indicative list of primary and secondary sources that students will work with on this course (materials may changes from year to year):

  • Rodrigo legends (copy to be provided)
  • Lienzo de Tlaxcala (electronic access to be provided)
  • Miguel de Cervantes’ Entremés del Juez de los divorcios (electronic access to be provided)
  • Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, Primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno (electronic access to be provided)
  • Documents relative to the Spanish American wars of independence (electronic copies to be provided)
  • Selections from Ricardo Palma’s Tradiciones peruanas (electronic copy to be provided)
  • Selections from Federico García Lorca’s Romancero gitano (electronic copy to be provided)
  • Clips from Carlos Saura’s ¡Ay Carmela! (to be provided electronically)


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 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Luis Castellvi Laukamp Unit coordinator

Return to course details