Typical Year One Modules
Beginners' Spanish Language
This module is designed to take students from ab initio level (absolute beginners) to a level of written and aural comprehension, writing and speaking skills roughly commensurate with A-level. At the end of the course, students should be able to comprehend and respond to written and aural texts over a comprehensive range of current affairs, cultural and every day topics and engage in everyday social conversation. You will have five hours of classes per week for this module.
Introduction to Literature in Spanish
You will read a series of key texts from Spain and Spanish America. Its purpose is to impart an essential body of literary-historical and cultural knowledge relating to the main periods, genres and conventions of literature in Spanish from the Middle Ages to the modern period. You will spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
Spain and Portugal in the Twentieth Century
In this module you will study the evolution of Spanish and Portuguese history, politics and culture from 1898 to the present day. You will be encouraged to draw links between the Portuguese and Spanish experiences, and place both countries’ experience of the twentieth century within the broader context of European and wider global history in this period. Particular emphasis will be placed upon the development of both countries from a (perceived) position of ‘difference’ and ‘backwardness’ to relatively prosperous, economically developed and culturally diverse members of the European Union. You will spend two hours in classes each week.
Canadian Literature, Film and Culture
An introduction to Canadian cultural studies, you’ll examine selected literary, film and visual texts from the twentieth century. Topics studied will include Native culture, the emergence of cultural nationalism, popular culture, and Canada’s relationship to the U.S. You’ll spend around 2 hours per week in lectures and seminars, and 2.5 hours per week in workshops, studying this module.
American History 1: 1607-1900
You will be provided with a broad introduction to the history of the United States of America, from its colonial origins to the end of the nineteenth century. You will spend around 4 hours per week in lectures and seminars studying this module.
American History 2: 1900-Present Day
You’ll examine the history of the United States in the twentieth century, assessing changes and developments in the lives of the American people who have faced the challenges of prosperity, depression, war, liberal reform, political conservatism, minority protests, multicultural awareness, and international power. Around 4 hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars studying this module.
American Literature 1: American Literature to 1900
An introductory survey of major American literature, exploring a wide range of nineteenth- century American writers of fiction and poetry. You will also address questions raised about the nature of the 'canon' raised by recent critics. Around four hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars studying this module.
American Literature 2: American literature 1900 -
A general survey of American Literature from 1900 to the present, you’ll study a selection of American fiction, poetry and drama, with a variety of writers considered. Examples may include: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Gerald Vizenor, Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath, Eugene O'Neill and David Mamet. You’ll spend around 4 hours per week in lectures and seminars for this module.
Typical Year Two Modules
North American Regions
This module will deploy the concept of"region" and, more broadly, “place” to explore key North American texts - primarily drawn from the spheres of film, television and literature. The notion of the "regional" will be applied expansively as well as conventionally to incorporate everything from the urban to the suburban/exurban; border territories; the transnational. Possible areas of study may include the American West; the Pacific North-West; New York City; the black inner city “ghetto”; "mountain" people and the Appalachians; Hispanic-America; first nations; French-Canada; Texas; Chicago; New Orleans; California; and the transnational impact of extensive US Military occupations (post-war Japan; South Vietnam; twenty-first century Iraq).
America in the 1960s
You will be introduced to debates surrounding the thought, culture and politics of America in the 1960s by examining the reflection of key issues in intellectual documents, from political speeches to acid-rock music, film documentaries to manifestos. If you study this module you will spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
The CIA and US Foreign Policy 1945-2008
You will examine the role played by the Central Intelligence Agency in the development and implementation of US foreign policy from 1945 to the present, considering its contribution in terms of both intelligence analysis and covert operations, from the Cold War to the war on terror. Around three hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars in this module.
African American Protest Literature
You will examine protest movements from the nineteenth century to the present day, studying, fiction, drama, speeches, pamphlets, autobiographies, photographs and more. From abolitionism to contemporary activism, voices of resistance that pointed the nation towards a better collective future will be considered. You will spend around three hours in seminars and workshops per week, and will also visit exhibitions, protest sites, and guest talks by protest writers and activists.
Lengua Española I
This module will combine revision and extension of grammar with intensive exposure to a variety of types and registers of written and spoken Spanish, concentrating on appropriate thematic areas. It will consolidate and build on basic written, aural and oral language skills, and include preparatory work for the Year Abroad. For this module you will have three hours of classes per week.
Metropolis, Empire and Republics
This module examines the evolution of Spain, Portugal and their American colonies in the four centuries of Iberian colonialism between 1492 and the movements for independence in Latin America in the 19th Century. In the first half of the module you will consider the development and nature of medieval and Renaissance Iberia and the second half of the module examines the nature of society in pre-Columbian America, after which students are introduced to the processes of discovery, conquest and early colonisation. For this module you will have a combination of lectures and seminars each week.
Hispanic Visual Culture
In this module you will be given and general introduction to cinema and painting in the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds. In the first semester you will be introduced to painting in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America from the late 15th century to the early 19th century with an emphasis on how to analyse paintings and understand the styles and contexts from which paintings emerge. In the 2nd semester you will examine contemporary cinema from Spain and Latin America addressing questions of style, socio-historical context and narrative context. In this module you will have one 2-hour class per week.
Year Three - Study Abroad
Usually spent in Spanish America either studying in a higher education institution, working as an assistant in a school or on a work placement.
For more information see our Year Abroad page.
Typical Year Four Modules
Dissertation (American and Canadian Studies)
You will undertake an in-depth study into a chosen subject within American and Canadian Studies and produce either a 6,500 or a 12,500 word dissertation.
You will explore the United States' experiment with Prohibition during the period 1918 to 1933, with particular focus on crime, disorder and policing. The rise of organized crime will be considered, along with gangsters and G-men, the expanding crime fighting role of the state, the federal crime crusade of the early 1930s and the inglorious end of Prohibition. You will spend around four hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Latino Expressive Cultures
Latino cultural expression will be examined, exploring genres, forms and sites involved in the production and consumption of Latino culture and its positioning within mainstream US society. You will spend around three hours each week in lectures and seminars if you study this module.
Abraham Lincoln: Then and Now
The ideas, intellectual and cultural legacies of the life and presidency of Abraham Lincoln will be considered. You will explore his significance in American thought and culture, and as a global figure, through examining texts such as his speeches, public and private writings, as well as critically analysing the representation of Lincoln in cartoons, cinema, documentary, music, painting and literature. You will spend around two hours in seminars alongside a two hour workshop each week.
Popular Music Cultures and Countercultures
You will examine the role played by American popular music in countercultural movements, focusing on the ways in which subordinate groups have used popular music as a vehicle for self-definition. Considering key issues and moments in American popular music history, you will cover topics such as the folk revival and the 1930s, rock 'n' roll and desegregation in the 1950s, rock music and the 1960s, and postmodernism in the music of the MTV age. Around three hours each week will be spent in lectures and seminars studying this module.
African American Photographic Culture
You will explore the politics of representation in African American photography, discussing the relationship of photography to central themes in black culture and creative expression, including confined space, invisibility vs visibility, heroism, and historical “truth". You will set photographs in their historical context, and discuss slavery, lynching, migration, segregation and poverty. You will spend around three hours a week in seminars and workshops, as well as visiting exhibitions, public art sites, and guest talks by photographers.
Recent Queer Writing
Focusing on the representation of gender and sexuality, lesbian, gay, transgender and queer writing will be considered through the analysis of selected contemporary texts. Issues for discussion will include: constructions of masculinity and femininity; representations of ‘alternative’ sexuality and lifestyles; the relation of race, ethnicity, class and nationality to issues of gender and sexual identity. Authors studied include: Timothy Findley; Daphne Marlatt; Dionne Brand; Shani Mootoo; Shyam Selvadurai; Tomson Highway; Ivan E Coyote; Dorothy Allison; Leslie Feinberg. If you choose this module you will spend around three hours per week in seminars.
Lengua Española III
This is a module for all students of Spanish language, and will consist of three hours per week of oral work and writing skills. Recognising that significant progress will have been made in colloquial and informal language skills during the Year Abroad, this module intends to introduce you to a more formal and sophisticated register of spoken and written Spanish using print, off-air and internet sources.
Advanced Spanish Translation
This module offers coaching and practice in high-level translation from Spanish to English. You will work with a variety of texts over the semester, exploring different registers in Spanish and English, and equivalences between source and target languages. You will be required to reflect on the process of translation through annotations on specific translation decisions which will be part of the given task each week. You will also be given a brief for each translation and asked to research the target publication/context for their translation and specify ways in which the target context may differ from the original.
Spanish American Narrative
You will explore the work of key writers in 20th Century Spanish America, all of whom bear the recognisable imprint of literary Modernism. You will closely study two writers of what has become known as the ‘Boom’(namely, Gabriel García Márquez and Julio Cortázar); and three precursors of that generation (Jorge Luis Borges, Alejo Carpentier and Juan Rulfo). The module will examine the ways in which they make use of myth, the fantastic and experimental narrative techniques to write about history, traditional, popular and/or mass culture, gender and sexuality. You will have one 2-hour class each week.
Civil War and Memory Wars in Contemporary Spain
This module will give you an understanding of the origins of the Spanish Civil War, the character of the war itself, the factors which determined its outcome, and the implications of that outcome for Spanish history since 1939. The module will also consider the legacy of this period of history in contemporary Spanish politics and culture. You will have one 2-hour seminar each week to study for this module.
The Radicalisation of Nationalism in Modern Latin America: Cuban Revolution in Continental Perspective
This module is concerned with the emergence, nature and evolution of the Cuban Revolution. You will consider the Revolution in question within a wider historical and ideological context: the Latin American tradition of an increasingly radical nationalism. Dating from the 19th and early 20th century this is a time when there was a need to engage in serious and collective nation-building. The module therefore examines how the Cuban Revolution went on to influence the subsequent radicalisation of that tradition, shaping a range of political manifestation. For this module you will have one 2-hour seminar each week.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.