The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result, may change from year to year. The following list is therefore subject to change but should give you a flavour of the modules we offer.
Lengua Española I
This module will combine revision 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 through spending three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Língua Portuguesa 1
This module aims to take students with no previous knowledge of Portuguese to a level roughly commensurate with A-level in one year. You will cover grammar up to the subjunctive and acquire sufficient vocabulary to be able to function in basic situations in a Portuguese-speaking context through spending three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Spain and Portugal in the Twentieth Century
In this module you’ll study the evolution of Spanish and Portuguese history, politics and culture from 1898 to the present day. You’ll 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’ll spend two hours in classes each week.
Introduction to Lusophone Societies and Cultures
The Portuguese speaking-world is made up of people on four different continents: Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, and there are eight countries in which Portuguese remains the official language. The spread of the language is a representation of the reach of the Portuguese Empire at its height as well as a reflection of the legacy of Lusophone cultures. This module provides you with the opportunity to learn about the diversity of cultural practices and social relations in the different parts of the world where Portuguese is spoken.
The module covers the major social and cultural practices from modern Lusophone societies, including aspects of popular culture such as football and soap operas, but also cultural and artistic currents in literature and film. Questions of social relations and identity are also examined through a consideration of religious practice and religious expression, as well as themes of conflict, crisis and revolution through formations of political identity and political mobilisation. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture each week.
Introduction to the History of Modern Latin America
In this module you will be introduced to the main patterns of Latin American political, economic and social history between the late colonial period and the mid-to-late 20th Century which will give you a thorough grounding of the major issues, themes and forces that have shaped the societies in the region. In one part of the module you will study the history of the Spanish-speaking America and in the other half consider the history of Brazil and aspects such as the various patterns of change and development of the region and political radicalism. For this module you will have a one 1-hour lecture and a one 1-hour seminar each week.
Introduction to Literature in Spanish
You’ll 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’ll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
Lengua Española II
This module will build on grammatical knowledge and communication skills developed in “Lengua Espanola I”. Written classes will concentrate on developing essay writing skills in Spanish using a range of Spanish texts as stimuli. Special attention will be given to developing complex sentence structures and rhetorical devices. Laboratory classes will use a range of contemporary audio-visual materials from Spanish and Latin-American.
Língua Portuguesa 2
In this module you will develop linguistic skills acquired from the beginners’ portuguese module taken in year one (Língua Portuguesa 1). The module aims to provide you with a more rigorous understanding of grammar and enable you to express yourself in Portuguese. Your Oral and Aural skills will be encouraged through spoken and written comprehension exercises and a more extensive use of vocabulary. You will have three hours per week of classes in this module.
Hispanic Visual Culture
In this module you will be given a 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 two hours of classes per week.
Modern Spanish and Spanish American Literature and Film
This module explores a cultural period in the Hispanic world characterised by profound social change and the emergence of major world-figures of modern art (e.g. Picasso). It is structured around key literary and artistic movements from Spain and Spanish America from the early nineteenth century to the latter part of the twentieth, movements such as Romanticism, Realism, Symbolism-Decadence/Modernismo, the Avant-garde, and Modernism. You’ll spend two hours per week in classes.
Renaissance and Baroque Culture in Spain in Text, Image and Film
TThis module provides you with a comprehensive overview of the history of Iberian Renaissance and Baroque culture (1500-1650). During this period, known as the Golden Age or Siglo de Oro, Spain possessed the greatest empire in the world, extending from the Iberian Peninsula to South and Central America, and the Pacific Ocean. Spain was also a leader in the arts; her output in poetry, fiction, theatre, and painting rivalled that of all other countries in quantity and quality.
The module provides an introduction to this rich Golden Age culture by looking at selected masterpieces of literature and painting, together with aspects of the philosophy and history of the period. To give a sense of the cultural legacy of the age, it also examines modern versions and film adaptations of these classics, and of comparable works by Shakespeare. You’ll spend two hours per week in classes.
Discoveries, Empire and Colonies in the Lusophone World
This module brings together the histories and cultures of key regions of the world in which Portugal establishes varying degrees of colonial rule between the 16th and 20th centuries. In this module you will examine the historical background to the age of Discoveries against which Portugal emerged as a leader in maritime exploration and European Imperialism. You will also examine the historical and political events of Portuguese colonialism and imperialism in Africa and Brazil, with an emphasis on understanding the political and social significance of cultural production in developing countries. In this module you will have a combination of lectures and seminars totalling two hours per week.
Nation Building and National Identities in the Lusophone World
In this module you will be introduced to some of the major texts of the Portuguese-speaking world. You will examine the ways in which ideas of nationhood and national identity have been expressed and constructed through cultures of the Lusophone world. You will study the ways in which cultural production is embedded in the formation of nationhood and ideas about national identity and therefore culture is examined through its political and historical context. For this module you will have a one 2-hour class each week.
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.
Língua Portuguesa 3
In this module you’ll enhance and reinforce the language skills developed in your year abroad. A number of key areas will be targeted including essay writing and oral presentations. You’ll be expected to conduct a discussion in written and spoken Portuguese at a high level of sophistication in terms of sentence structure, vocabulary and intellectual debate. You’ll have two hours of seminars, an hour of lectures and an hour of language lab classes per week throughout the academic year.
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’ll 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 a one 2-hour class each week.
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 a one 2-hour class each week.
Renaissance and Baroque Culture in the Golden Age
The Renaissance was one of the three or four key cultural movements in Western civilization. Spain, due to its meteoric rise to power as the first world-wide empire, was at the forefront in defining that culture, particularly in its transformation into the seventeenth-century Baroque—an aesthetic of excess, theatricality, religiosity and scepticism that ushered in certain fundamental symptoms of modernity. The Golden Age of Cervantes, Calderón and Velázquez was thus the grandest, and yet also in some respects the most esoteric, moment of artistic creation in Spain’s history. This course addresses the cultural history of this critical period by looking at some of the greatest Spanish literary achievements of the period (poetry, prose, and drama), together with aspects of the philosophy, science, history, and visual arts of the period.
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’ll have one two-hour seminar each week to study for this module.
This module will look at representations of Spain and Portugal in European literature, travel writing, opera and painting from the late eighteenth-century onwards. It will examine the construction of an "exotic", Romanticised "other" Iberia in works of art, music and literature which are as popular today as they were over a century ago and, to some extent, still inform perceptions of European Hispanic identity among non-specialists. You will be trained to compare and contrast cultural production over a range of genres and disciplines (opera, painting, literature) and to inform your discussion with appropriate elements of cultural and historical context. You will be enabled to analyse the manipulation of cultural stereotypes and offer critical assessments of the impact and derivation of these manipulations.
Comparative Modern Literature in the Romance Languages
In this module you will be introduced to the major currents in the 20th Century in the context of finisecular and early 20th century European and American literature and culture in order to situate the latter common preoccupations and formal experiments of writers of poetry and short fiction of various nationalities, languages and cultures. This module consists of two case studies split between the Autumn semester where you will focus on the comparative analysis of works by poets such as Rubén Darío and Mallarmé, Apollinaire and Alberti, and Fernando Pessoa among others. In the Spring semester you will you focus on the parallel developments in the evolution of the short story across a similar range of languages and cultures and include an analysis of short fictions from authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, João Guimarães Rosa, Carlos Fuentes among others. For this module you will have a one 2-hour seminar each week.
Lusophone Identities, Culture, and Modernity in Portugal and Africa
In this module you will focus on identities and identity formation, as represented or articulated in literary, cinematic and visual texts, as the basis of a chronological survey of the development of Lusophone societies and cultures in the 20th century. You will focus on two particular areas: the political ramifications of contending conceptions of race, gender, and the sexuality in the last century and the role of cultural identity and ‘identity’ politics’ in nation-building and in the negotiation of, and recovery from, collective crises such as regime change and civil conflict. For this module you will have a one 2-hour seminar each week.
Brazilian Slave Society
This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the centrality of the history of slavery in the study of Brazilian society and of the significance of Brazilian Slavery in both the transatlantic slave systems and slave societies in the Americas.
In the first semester the module introduces students to the different disciplinary and intellectual approaches to the study of slavery in Brazil. This will require students to draw on comparative contexts of slavery across the Americas both thematically and theoretically. Topics covered in the first part of the module include the ideology of slavery, economics of slavery, systems of slave labour, slave culture and community, slave identity, and slave resistance. Within these topics we examine themes of agency, race, class, ethnicity and gender.
The second semester focuses on presentation work in a seminar setting. Students will be required to produce individual in-class presentations based on a literature review of a topic or theme covered in the first semester. Throughout the module close attention will be paid to the problems of sources and perspectives in the study of the history of slavery. The module encourages students to develop an awareness of how different historical sources are used and think critically about them. In this module you will have a combination of lectures and seminars totalling two hours per week.