BA Italian and Spanish / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Themes in Spanish and Latin American Studies

Course unit fact file
Unit code SPLA10420
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit is organised thematically around four major topics in Spanish and Latin American Studies: Race and Identity; Protest and Revolution; Modernity and Modernisation; 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 will introduce students to basic concepts, topics and theories that may inform the content of several future modules in their programmes.


Available on: All programmes with Spanish.

Pre-requisite: A-Level Spanish or equivalent.

Taught and assessed in English; seminar materials in Spanish.


  • To introduce students to basic social and cultural research theory and how it applies to specific Spanish and Spanish American cultural objects 
  • To further students’ knowledge and understanding of Spanish and Latin American culture and society 
  • 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: 

  • Demonstrate basic understanding of key themes in Spanish and Latin American Studies 
  • Demonstrate basic understanding of cultural theory for the analysis of Spanish and Spanish American cultural objects 

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: 

  • 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 

Employability skills

The skills outlined above can be valuable assets for the following job sectors, both in relation to Latin America and beyond: journalism and media, translation and publishing, business and management (group work, organisational skills, problem solving), advertising and design, tourism and travel (intercultural communication, cultural awareness), politics and policy-making, charities and volunteering.

Assessment methods

Assessment Task Formative or Summative Weighting within unit (if summative)
Essay Summative 45%
Group Presentation Summative 25%
Short Essay (textual analysis) Summative 30%


Resit Assessment

Assessment Task


Feedback methods

Feedback Method Formative or Summative
Oral feedback on seminar participation Formative and Summative
Written feedback on essays, group presentation Formative and Summative
Additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment)  Formative
The short essay, due in the first semester, will serve simultaneously as formative and summative assessment. Feedback received on it will help students in preparing their group presentation and their final essay   

Recommended reading

Selections from: 

  • Mary Louise Pratt’s ‘Arts of the Contact Zone’ 
  • Hannah Arendt’s On Revolution 
  • Jane Tormey’s Cities and Photography 
  • Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities 

Excerpts, clips or selected images from: 

  • Horacio Cópola photographs 
  • The work of Federico García Lorca 
  • Spanish TV events
  • The work of Sor Juan Inés de la Cruz
  • Diego Rivera murals 
  • Latin American comics and graphic novels 

Study hours

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jose Valentino Gianuzzi Unit coordinator
Samuel Llano Unit coordinator

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