BA Film Studies and Portuguese / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Empire and its Aftermath: The Making of Modern Portugal in Literature, Art and Film

Course unit fact file
Unit code SPLA20142
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Portuguese Language 1 SPLA52010 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Portuguese Language 3 SPLA52030 Co-Requisite Compulsory

Available on programmes: Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies single honours; Joint honours with Portuguese; Minor in Portuguese 

Medium of Language: English and Portuguese

Pre-requisite SPLA52010 or SPLA52030


•  To understand key authors, cultural movements, artistic and cinematic representations of Portugal since 1870, with a view to mapping the nation’s shifting identity through decolonisation and entry into the European Union

•  To enhance the necessary skills for close, contextual and comparative analysis of key literary texts and film images and relevant critical material on these works

•  To work effectively in collaboration with other students, and to sustain written and oral arguments coherently

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate knowledge of key themes and developments in Portuguese political and cultural history since 1870
  • Significantly develop and expand intercultural understanding and perspectives
  • Understand the importance of empire and decolonisation in Portugal’s past and present
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of Portuguese history and cultural expression in relation to broader European contexts and the European Union
  • Understand the concept of a literary “canon” and its relation to national politics and socio-economic forces
  • Demonstrate familiarity with key principles of theoretical approaches to gender and sexuality and their contribution to a different understanding of Portugal’s past and present

Intellectual skills

  • Develop close reading skills alongside a clear ability to contextualise historically
  • Demonstrate the ability and skills to analyse a broad range of media, from literature to film and visual art
  • Compare texts across history with a view to thinking thematically and theoretically
  • Research, organise and deploy relevant bibliographical materials
  • Read, appraise and evaluate a wide range of specific critical materials in English and Portuguese

Practical skills

  • Communicate coherently and effectively in writing
  • Organise time efficiently and prepare work in advance
  • Analyse and write about film and cinematic production deploying appropriate critical frames of reference
  • Present work clearly and use referencing systems correctly and efficiently

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Work effectively in a team
  • Show enhanced intercultural understanding
  • Evaluate material critically and comparatively
  • Work to deadlines

Employability skills

- Communicate, debate and write complex ideas in a clear and concise manner - Demonstrate a sound understanding of Portuguese culture and a broad knowledge of its past and national identity. - Develop a high level of reading in Portuguese - Evaluate material critically and comparatively - Work as part of a group - Independent research skills, including managing a range of resources

Assessment methods

Assessment task Formative or Summative Weighting within unit (if Summative)
1 Essay Formative and Summative 50%
1 Exam Summative 50%
1 Oral presentation Formative 0

Resit Assessment

Assessment task
1 Exam



Feedback methods

Feedback Method Formative or Summative
Oral feedback on group presentation Formative
Written feedback on coursework essay Summative
One-to-one feedback session during office hours or by appointment Formative
Written feedback on exam  Summative

Recommended reading

Maria Manuel Lisboa, Paula Rego's Map of Memory: National and Sexual Politics (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 1998).

Maria Manuel Lisboa,Madwomen, Whores and Torga: Desecrating the Canon?”, Portuguese Studies, Vol. 7 (1991), pp. 170-183.

David J. Bailey, “Com o odioso guarda-chuva entre os joelhos: Queer Male Desire, Weak Paternity and Kinship Trouble in the Novels of Eça de Queirós”, Modern Language Review, 111 (2016), 413-33.

Alexandro Severino,“Fernando Pessoa: A Modern Lusiad”, Hispania, Vol. 67, No. 1 (1984), pp. 52-60.

Ellen Sapega, “Mining Memory's Archive: Two Recent Portuguese Documentaries about the Second World War”. Unpublished manuscript for consultation only (blackboard).

Engels, The Condition of the Working Classes in England, chapter 1 (available online).

Michel de Certeau, “Walking in the city”, from The Practice of Everyday Life, translated by Steven Rendall (London: University of California Press, 1984), pp. 91-111.

Study hours

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Bailey Unit coordinator

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