Triangle Triangle

Course overview

This course provides you with the opportunity to combine learning the Spanish language with study of the history, culture, politics, literature and film of North America, Spanish-America and, where appropriate, Spanish and Iberian histories and cultures. By examining different parts of the Americas – the United States, Canada and Latin America – alongside one another, the programme provides you with a unique opportunity to broaden the scope of 'American studies' and to begin to view America in a hemispheric perspective. You will spend your third year abroad in Spanish America either studying in a higher education institution, undertaking voluntary work, or working as an assistant in a school. We have a dedicated Year Abroad team who will help you with every aspect of your year, both before you go and during your stay.

For more information, see the Department of American and Canadian Studies and the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures.


Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2020 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level BBC in Clearing
IB score 32

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

How you will be assessed

This course contains a period of study or work abroad between the second and final year of the degree programme. Students' language skills and cultural understanding are assessed through a mix of presentations and written assignments upon their return to Nottingham.

Study abroad

Your third academic year is spent in Spain and/or Spanish America doing one of the following:

  • studying at a university
  • working as a language teaching assistant
  • doing a work placement. 

If you intend to carry on with Portuguese after year two you may also spend the year in Portugal and/or Brazil.

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government. For more information, see our Year Abroad page and the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies statement on Brexit and our year abroad provision.

We have a dedicated Year Abroad team who will help you with every aspect of your year, both before you go and during your stay.

Modules

You will gain the core skills, knowledge, and methods needed to work at degree level by taking introductory modules in the history, literature, culture and languages of the Americas.

In American studies, you will choose between introductory courses on the basic themes and events of United States history, or the key authors and texts of American literature, from European settlement to the present. You will also take a multidisciplinary module that explores the interaction of literature, media and the broader cultural scene in a Canadian context.

In Latin American studies, you will begin a structured course in the Spanish language to take you to degree level, and you will be introduced to aspects of Spanish American and Brazilian history, culture and art to complement your study of North America.

Core modules

From Landscapes to Mixtapes: Canadian Literature, Film and Culture

This interdisciplinary module offers an introduction to Canadian cultural studies through an examination of selected literary, film and visual texts. These cultural texts will be situated in their historical, political, regional and national contexts. While some reference is made to earlier periods, the focus is predominantly on the twentieth century. The module addresses debates about cultural definition and the construction and deconstruction of cultural stereotypes. Possible topics include the wilderness, migration, Native culture, bilingualism and biculturalism versus multiculturalism, the emergence of cultural nationalism, popular culture, and Canada’s relationship to the US. The module provides grounding for further study in Canadian topics. This module is for Single Honours students and Joint Honours English students, Joint Honours Film students and Joint Honours Latin American students.

Plus either:

Race, Power, Money and the Making of North America, 1607-1900

This module provides an introduction to the history of North America from European contact through to the start of the 20th century. It considers how the interactions of European colonizers with Native Americans shaped the future of the region. It also addresses the rise of Atlantic slavery, its development over time and the eventual emergence of distinctive African-American cultures. The module takes students through a broad chronological period which includes European colonization, independence and Civil War while inviting them to examine the influence and development of attitudes towards race, class, gender, democracy and capitalism.

American Freedom? Empire, Rights and Capitalism in Modern US History, 1900-Present

This module examines the history of the United States in the twentieth century. It will assess 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.

Or:

American Literature and Culture 1: 1830-1940

This is an introductory survey of major American literature and culture. It explores a wide range of nineteenth century and early twentieth century American writers of fiction and poetry. The module addresses those questions about the nature of the American ‘canon’ raised by successive generations of critics. It will also explore related developments in visual culture and music.  It is seen as a `core’ module, which will give the grounding for further study of American literature and culture.

American Literature and Culture 2: Since 1940

This is an introductory survey of major American literature and culture since 1940. It explores a wide range of twentieth and twenty-first century American literary writers. The module addresses those questions about the nature of the American ‘canon’ raised by successive generations of critics. It will also explore related developments in late twentieth and early twenty-first century cinema, television and popular music.  It is seen as a `core' module, which will give the grounding for further study of American literature and culture.

Beginners Spanish students must take:

Spanish 1: Beginners

Welcome to Spanish at the University of Nottingham — this is where your journey to Spanish fluency begins!

Designed for students who have little or no prior experience of the language, this module will support you as you develop all the key areas of language acquisition: reading, writing, listening and speaking. To keep the classes interesting and relevant we'll use a wide range of source material from newspapers, audio-visual content and websites.

Through this, not only will your speaking and comprehension skills improve, but also your grammar usage and ability to understand the language in different contexts. By the end of this module, you'll be able to read basic texts, follow everyday conversations and engage in social conversation.

You'll also become more culturally aware of the countries that make up the Spanish-speaking world and get a better understanding of their varying current affairs and cultures.

You must also choose either:

Literature in Spanish

This module is designed as a foundation for all later modules covering Spanish and Portuguese literatures. The main aims of this module are to give you a general introduction to literature and the study of literature, while providing you with a partial overview of literary writing in the Spanish language. As well as to introduce some of the key theoretical issues of literary study and instil good reading and critical habits. Through this you will be tested on your skills in close reading, textual analysis, seminar participation and the ability to write cogent and convincing commentaries and essays. This module is worth 20 credits.

OR

Modern Latin American History

Through a combination of lectures, guided reading and research you'll explore the main patterns of Latin American political, economic and social history, between independence in the 1820s and the end of the twentieth century.

We'll focus on specific concepts, terminology, events and people, so as to develop an understanding of different perspectives and interpretations of the history in question. We'll also encourage you to appreciate the interaction between the ‘political history’ of major events and protagonists in official positions of power, and the ‘social history' of populations who both contributed to, and were affected by, political change.

You will learn to develop a critical approach to the study of history through a variety of materials; gain an ability to distinguish between the particular and the general and to develop the tools for comparative analysis.

Post A-level Spanish students must take:

Spanish 1

Welcome to Spanish at the University of Nottingham — this is where your journey to Spanish fluency shall really begin to take off!

Designed for students who have completed an A level in the language, this module will support you to improve in all the key areas of language acquisition: reading, writing, listening and speaking. To keep the classes interesting and relevant we'll use a wide range of source material from newspapers, audio-visual content and websites.

Through this, not only will your speaking and comprehension skills improve, but also your grammar usage and ability to understand the language in different contexts.

You'll also become more culturally aware of the countries that make up the Spanish-speaking world and get a better understanding of their varying current affairs and cultures.

You must then take both of the above modules - 'Introduction to Literature in Spanish' and 'Modern Latin American History'

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Thursday 13 August 2020.

You will advance your understanding of core themes studied in year one while developing your interests through more specialist optional modules.

In American studies, you will continue to develop a multidisciplinary approach by taking a survey of North American regions, which complements the first-year surveys of history and literature. You will also select from a range of specialised modules to enable you to study certain periods, events, authors or texts in more depth.

In Latin American studies, you will develop your knowledge of Spanish to prepare you for the year abroad and deepen your understanding of more aspects of Spanish American and Brazilian history, culture, cinema and literature.

Core modules

Modern Spanish and Spanish American Literature and Film

In this module you will explore a cultural period in the Hispanic world characterised by profound social change and the emergence of major world-figures of modern art (eg Pablo Picasso). It is structured around key literary and artistic movements from Spain and Spanish America from the early 19th century to the late 20th century, such as Romanticism, Realism, and Modernism. A large part of your focus will be reading literary and visual texts of the period in relation to the socio-economic and political context of Spain’s and Spanish America’s rapid, but hugely uneven, modernisation.

Individual novels, plays, films, paintings or poems will also be used to exemplify and explore particular movements and historical moments. You will develop skills in close analysis of complex texts, an understanding of some of the major directions of Spanish and Spanish American literature in the 20th century, and the ability to relate texts studied to historico-cultural contexts. This module is worth 20 credits.

Beginners Spanish students must take:

Spanish 2: Beginners

This module will build on the language and cultural skills developed in last year's beginners' classes and will get you started on your exciting journey towards degree-level Spanish. Over the year, we're going to take you to the next level so by the end of the module you'll be ready to spend time living in a Spanish-speaking country.

We'll further develop your grammar and communication skills, building your confidence so that you feel happy working or studying abroad during year three. We know the thought of essay writing in another language may feel daunting, but we will help you develop these skills to competence.

To prepare you for participating in conversation with fluency we'll pay special attention to developing your ability to use complex sentence structures and rhetoric. You'll get plenty of speaking and writing practice during classes, collaborative projects and on your own time through a wide range of online and in-person interactive activities.

Post A-level Spanish students must take:

Spanish 2

This module will build on the language and cultural skills developed in year one and get you started on your exciting journey towards degree-level Spanish. Over the year, we're going to take you to the next level so by the end of the module you'll be ready to spend time living in a Spanish-speaking country.

We'll further develop your grammar and communication skills, building your confidence so that you feel happy working or studying abroad during year 3. We know the thought of essay writing in another language may feel daunting, but we will help you develop these skills to competence.

To prepare you for participating in conversation with fluency we'll pay special attention to developing your ability to use complex sentence structures and rhetoric. You'll get plenty of practice during laboratory classes where you'll have access to a wide range of contemporary audio-visual materials.

Optional modules

North American Regions

This module will deploy the concept of "region" and, more broadly, “place” to explore key North American texts— drawn primarily 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). 

Key Texts in American Social and Political Thought

From its colonial past to its present status as a global superpower, American history has been riven with debates about society and politics. This module will reconstruct these debates by analysing key texts in the history of American political and social thought, from the settlement period to the present. You will be introduced to debates over such perennial issues as religion, race, class, capitalism, gender, sexuality, and war, as they arose in different periods. We will use primary sources to probe and interpret these debates, and show how they continue to shape American society and politics in the present. 

Hispanic Cinemas

Take your understanding of Spanish and Portuguese further by delving into the rich history of cinema in Spain, Portugal, Latin America and Portuguese-speaking Africa. This will assist your language skills and also deepen your knowledge of a diversity of global cultures.

In the first semester we'll examine cinema from Spanish America since the 1960s, then, in the second semester, cinema from Brazil, Portugal and Africa. In so doing, we'll address questions of cinematic style and technique, socio-historical contexts and the politics of film-making.

Don't worry if you're just starting out on your language journey, the films will be available with English subtitles.

New World(s): Contacts, Conquests and Conflict in Early Modern Hispanic History and Culture

This module provides an introduction to art and culture in early modern Spain, Portugal and their Empires. It looks at painting from the mid-15th century, beginning in Portugal where voyages of ‘discovery’ were well under way, and ending in late 18th-century Mexico.

The module also balances historical study of key events and developments with readings of political writings, travelogues, literature, and visual culture so as to broaden your understanding both of the history of political and cultural relations across the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking worlds, and of the context of these in global geo-politics and the economy.

Immigration and Ethnicity in the United States

This module examines the history of immigration to the United States from Europe, Asia, and Latin America. We trace the making and remaking of immigrant communities, cultures, and identities from the nineteenth century to the present day. You will analyse models of race, ethnicity, culture, and nation by focusing on the perception and reception of immigrant groups and their adjustment to US society. We will ask questions such as: How have institutions and ideologies shaped the changing place of immigrants within the United States over time? How have immigrants forged new identities within and beyond the framework of the nation state? And how has immigration transformed US society?

The American Pop Century

This module surveys the history of American popular music in the 20th century, focusing on the major genres and exploring the artistic, cultural and political issues they raise. In addition to examining the music’s aesthetic qualities genre by genre, the focus will be on key developments within the music industry, on the ways in which commercial and technological changes have influenced the production and consumption of music, and on the ways in which musicians and audiences use pop music to engage with American culture and society. We’ll spend quite a bit of time listening to and analysing music, but you do not need any specialist musical expertise or knowledge to take the module.

American Radicalism

American radicals have been dismissed as impractical, wild-eyed, and subversive - even "un-American"- although many of their most visionary aims have been realized. This module will consider these paradoxes, beginning with the American Revolution in the late 18th century. 19th century subjects will include the abolitionists, early feminism, utopian socialism, anarchism, and farmer populism. 20thcentury subjects will include the Socialist Party in the 1910s, the Communist Party and the anti-Stalinist left in the 1930s, opponents of the Cold War, the 1960s New Left, Black Power militancy, and more recent radicalisms, including the gay liberation movement, women's liberation, and resistance to corporate globalisation.

The US and the World in the American Century: US Foreign Policy 1898-2008

This module examines how America's involvement abroad has changed over time from the war of 1898 to the 21st century. It analyses how traditional political and diplomatic issues, the link between foreign and domestic policies, and the role of foreign actors and private organisations - from religious groups to NGOs - have shaped America's actions abroad. 

It also explores the significance of race, gender, emotions, and religion in shaping US foreign policy.

Contemporary North American Fiction

This module will consider the contexts and development of contemporary fiction and the novel in the United States and Canada since the 1990s. It will do so by positioning literary works within their wider historical, political and cultural context. You will examine the dominant ideas and concerns of a number of fictions and novels by writers from a range of ethno-cultural backgrounds. Our discussions will include the impact of race, ethnicity, gender, class, generation and sexuality on North American fiction and the novel; the bearing of technology on contemporary fiction; and various debates about the nature of the historical novel in the twenty-first century.

Presidential Rhetoric - Genres and Media

This module examines developments in American presidential rhetoric.

It begins with early presidents who set the generic conventions (Washington’s Farewell Address) or became models (Lincoln: Second Inaugural/Gettysburg Address) and established the President as an international leader (Woodrow Wilson).

But the core of the module is the impact of changing media from FDR’s radio “fireside chats” through JFK and Reagan’s use of television to Barack Obama’s and Donald Trump’s use of social media.

Much of the focus will be on speeches and press conferences and the interaction between the White House press corps and the President, his speech writing staff, and press secretary.

America's Borders: Culture at the Limits

This module offers a hemispheric approach to North America by focusing on the history and culture of two significant borderlands regions, the Canada-US border and the Mexico-US border,as well as providing a general introduction to border theory and comparative approaches to the borderlands.

The module adopts a multi- and interdisciplinary approach to the border as a place, culture and concept and moves from the colonial period into the twenty-first century. We will analyse a diverse range of historical, literary and cultural texts (testimony, fiction, poetry,drama, film, television, art, architecture, music and performance) and engage a series of critical debates about the nature of cultural and ethnic encounter, race, nation and empire. 

American Violence: a History
This module seeks to analyse the patterns and prevalence of violence in the USA. It will consider theories such as its origins in frontier settler societies and this may allow comparative study of Canada. It will consider the relationship between violence and the gun control debate and the related issue of American ideological antipathy to state power. It will consider the celebration of violence as a source of conflict resolution and examine the US government’s use of violence as an instrument of foreign policy.
African American History and Culture

This module examines African American history and culture from slavery to the present through a series of case studies that highlight forms of cultural advocacy and resistance and thus indicate how African Americans have sustained themselves individually and collectively within a racist, yet liberal society. These will illustrate the resilience of African American culture via music, literature, art and material culture. Examples may include the persistence of African elements in slave culture, the emergence of new artistic forms in art, religion and music during the segregation era, and the range and complexity of African American engagement with US public culture since the 1960s across art, literature and popular culture. Weekly topics might include material culture in the Gullah region of South Carolina; or the growth of urban black churches in the North during the period of the Great Migration highlighted by the development of Gospel choirs and radio preaching.

Business in American Culture

This module introduces students to the conflicting views about business that can be heard echoing through American literature and culture in the last two centuries. These views are evident when literature and culture directly represent the business culture-its executives, managers and employees, or the physical and mental conditions of employment and entrepreneurship; they are also evident in the narrative unconscious of works appreciated for qualities other than their treatment of business. This module aims to try and understand not only what drives American culture's preoccupation with business, but also to study the various strategies used as literature and culture represents what the module calls the discourses of business: the way that business as a theme is written and talked about in the United States by presidents, by social critics, by journalists, and by writers and other cultural producers; the way that the historical accumulation of this collective input has fashioned a set of rules that govern the way successive generations can think about business; the way that specialised and professionalised languages of business become tropes and metaphors to be used outside of a strictly business environment. The module examines these discourses in a variety of representational forms from the mid-nineteenth century through to the present day: shorts stories and novels; newspapers, magazines and illustrations; speeches, autobiographies and memoirs; film and television.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Your third academic year is spent in Spain and/or Spanish America doing one of the following:

  • studying at a university
  • working as a language teaching assistant
  • doing a work placement. 

If you intend to carry on with Portuguese after year two you may also spend the year in Portugal and/or Brazil.

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government. For more information, see our Year Abroad page and the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies statement on Brexit and our year abroad provision.

Year four provides the opportunity to extend your analysis of specialist themes and develop your research skills through independent study.

You will select from a wide variety of advanced-level modules in both subject areas, while continuing to develop your Spanish language.

In American studies, you will also write a dissertation on a subject of your choice and for which you have developed genuine aptitude and enthusiasm. The dissertation provides a valuable opportunity for multidisciplinary and comparative study of the degree’s joint elements. For example, you might use the dissertation to examine US-Latin American foreign relations, or patterns of migration, labour and activism across different regions of the Americas.

Core modules

Spanish 3

Following your time spent living in a Spanish-speaking country this advanced module will be your final step towards fluency, training you in a more formal, sophisticated register of spoken and written Spanish.

We'll continue to use a wide range of authentic Spanish texts to further deepen your knowledge and confidence at this advanced level. We'll look at how the texts are put together so that you may use these skills within your written and spoken Spanish, taking you to the highest level of proficiency.

Dissertation in American and Canadian Studies

This module involves in-depth independent study of a subject in American and Canadian Studies. It encourages both student-centred and student-initiated learning. The topic you choose must be appropriate for your course and must be approved by the module convenor. You are assigned a supervisor with expertise in your chosen area of study.

The completed dissertation should be 5,000-7,000 words in length for the 20 credit module and 10,000-12,000 words in length for the 40 credit module. The 20 credit dissertation is for one semester only and the 40 credit version is year-long.

Recent dissertation titles include:

  • To Ban or Not to Ban: Changing Motivations Behind Efforts to Censor African American Literature in America’s Public Schools, 1976-2018
  • The Development of Television in the Canadian North and its Role in the Preservation of Inuit Culture
  • The Feminist Justification for the Afghanistan War: The Cooperation Between the Bush Administration and the Feminist Majority Foundation
  • "The Teeth of the World are Sharp”: James Baldwin’s Protest Novels
  • Towards Humane Borders: Activist and NGO Responses to the Militarisation of the US-Mexico Boundary
  • “A Blended World … A Safe Space for Everybody”: A Case Study of Underground Ballroom Culture
  • “Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues”: The Empowerment of Black Female Blues Singers - Romance or Reality?
  • “Older Arts and Newer Technology”: Cultural Recoding in Bharati Mukherjee’s Desirable Daughters

Optional modules

Spanish American Narrative and Film

This module looks at key 20th century Spanish American novels and short stories and considers issues such as race, gender, sexuality and the conflict of cultures. You will be trained in using a broad range of tools of narrative and rhetorical analysis so as to engage in debates about literary representation and aesthetics, and will hone your use of these through a programme of research tasks, seminar presentations, group discussions, and written assignments.

Brazilian Slave Society

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the centrality of the history of slavery in the study of Brazil, and of the significance of Brazilian slavery in both the transatlantic slave systems, and slave societies across the Americas.

In the process, you will learn to recognise and use the different historical approaches, tools and skills employed in the historiography of slavery studies, and in social history in general, and to incorporate them into their own analyses of aspects of Brazilian slave society.

Literature and Films, Conflict and Post-Conflicts

We will address the way in which film and literature have reflected, resisted, interrogated, and remembered the socio-political violence and conflicts that have shaped the 20th and 21st centuries so far in Europe (emphasis on the Iberian Peninsula) and Latin America (including Brazil).

The module adopts a comparative approach which focuses on the formal experiments and common preoccupations of filmmakers and writers across different national cultures and historical contexts (translations and subtitles will be provided when required). It will discuss questions on authoritarianism, confronting colonial and neo-colonial practices, racial and class inequality and social injustice, gender and sexuality, living on with the legacies of past traumas.

You may expect to discuss works by writers such as Roberto Bolaño, Ruben Fonseca, Alejandro Zambra, Mariana Enríquez, Clarice Lispector and Fernando Pessoa. Feature films and documentaries by Alfonso Cuarón, Pedro Almodóvar, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Claudia Llosa, Patricio Guzmán and Susana de Sousa Dias will also be discussed.

Politics and Literature in Contemporary Spain

The module aims to impart understanding of the interfaces between literature and politics, by studying the articulation of key social and political issues and aesthetics in contemporary Spanish cultural artefacts.

We discuss the status of literary writing in late capitalism, concentrating on how contemporary ‘Hispanic’ authors have dealt with issues of language, identity, culture, society, nationhood, gender, class, memory, time and writing.

We also explore debates regarding the consistency of the categories of ‘Spain’ and ‘Spanishness’ when analysing cultural production in contemporary Iberia, and assess the competing discursive practices involved in remapping the notion of Spanish canonical literature at the beginning of the new millennium.

Business and Society in Spain

In this module you will learn to devise and develop projects and teaching methods appropriate to engage the age and ability group they are working with. The module enables you to gain confidence in communicating your subject, develop strong organisational and interpersonal skills, and to understand how to address the needs of individuals.

Thinking the Revolution: Ideology, Education and Culture in Cuba Since 1959

Throughout this module you will assess Cuba’s revolutionary change since 1959, through an examination of its evolving ideology. The module is structured both chronologically and thematically and allows you to review the critical factors – nationalism, dependency, radicalism and leadership – shaping developments from the original rebellion up to the present day.

You will focus on the role of education policies, and the ways in which a ‘cultural revolution’ was fundamental to the socialisation process of, and popular participation in (or dissent from) the Revolution. This study will inform conclusions about both the meaning of ‘ideology’ within the context of the Revolution, and the international geo-political significance of Cuba's self-definition and evolution. This module is worth 20 credits.

Literature and Film under Franco

This module aims to further develop your knowledge of 20th century Spanish history, literature and film gained at levels 1 and 2. It familiarizes you with the context and circumstances in which filmic and literary texts were produced under Franco, thereby developing awareness of generic conventions in both literature and film, and perfecting skills in close textual analysis.

The module imparts a solid knowledge of the Francoist régime and of the literature and film produced at this time, plus an understanding of the conditions for cultural production under the Dictatorship.

By the module’s conclusion, you will have gained a good command of the concepts and vocabulary required to analyse literary and filmic texts, a capacity for close reading and textual analysis, as well as seminar-presentation skills and research and essay-writing skills.

Painting in Spain

This module will offer a panorama of painting in Spain from the late 16th century to the late 19th century taking in four themes: portraiture, history and genre painting, religion, and mythology and myths.

Artists covered will include Domenikos Theotocópoulos, Diego de Silva y Velázquez, Jusepe de Ribera and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo from the Spanish Golden Age and Francisco de Goya, Vicente López, Martín Rico and Marià Fortuny from the 19th century.

You will have the opportunity to study other painters in the preparation of assessments throughout the year. There will be an emphasis on designing exhibitions and on understanding the paintings both within the context of art history and the history and cultures of Spain.

Communicating and Teaching Languages for Undergraduate Ambassadors

In this module students learn to devise and develop projects and teaching methods appropriate to engage the age and ability group they are working with. The module enables students to gain confidence in communicating their subject, develop strong organisational and interpersonal skills, and to understand how to address the needs of individuals.

Prohibition America
This module explores the United States’ bold but disastrous experiment with Prohibition during the period 1918 to 1933, with particular focus on crime, disorder and policing. We begin with the reasons for passage of the Eighteenth Amendment which outlawed the liquor trade, and examination of its impact on US society and culture during the 1920s. We shall consider the rise of organized crime, gangsters and G-men, and the expanding crime fighting role of the state. The module concludes with the federal crime crusade of the early 1930s and the inglorious end of Prohibition.
US Foreign Policy, 1989 - present

An introduction to the key institutions, structures and processes that combined to produce American foreign policy in the post-Cold War period. You'll analyse the role of the bureaucracy, Congress, public opinion and the media to understand how US foreign policy is formulated and conducted. You'll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars if you study this module.

Popular Music Cultures and Countercultures

This module examines the role played by American popular music in countercultural movements. We focus on the ways in which marginalised, subordinate or dissenting social groups have used popular music as a vehicle for self-definition and for re-negotiating their relationship to the social, economic and cultural mainstream. We explore how the mainstream has responded to music countercultures in ways that range from repression to co-optation and analyse how the music and the movements have been represented and reflected on in fiction, film, poetry, journalism and theory.  Among the key moments examined are the folk revival and the 1930s Popular Front, rock 'n' roll and desegregation in the 1950s, rock music and the 1960s counterculture, and postmodernism and identity politics in the music of the MTV age.

History of the Civil Rights Movement

This module examines a range of documents and scholarly controversies pertaining to the Civil Rights Movement between 1940 and 1970. Documents will include public and organisational records, photo-journalism, speeches, memoir and personal papers.

Controversies will include those relating to the chronological limits, spatial dynamics, and gender politics of the movement, as well as those relating to the movement’s goals and achievements.

Ethnic and New Immigrant Writing

This module will consider the development of ‘ethnic’ and new immigrant literature in the United States from the late 19th century to the contemporary era.  You will examine a range of texts from life-writing to short fiction and the novel by writers from a range of ethno-cultural backgrounds, including Irish, Jewish, Caribbean and Asian American. Issues for discussion will include the claiming of the United States by new immigrant and ‘ethnic’ writers; race and ethnicity; gender, class and sexuality; labour and economic status; the uses and re-writing of American history and ‘master narratives’; the impact of US regionalism; how writers engage with the American canon; multiculturalism and the ‘culture wars’; and the growth of ‘ethnic’ American writing and Ethnic Studies as academic fields.

North American Film Adaptations
This module examines North American short stories and novels and their film adaptations, paying attention to the contexts in which both the literary and the cinematic texts are produced as well as to the analysis of the texts themselves. In particular, the module takes an interest in literary texts whose film adaptations have been produced in different national contexts to the source material.
Varieties of Classic American Film, Television and Literature since 1950

What is a film, television or literary classic? How has this term come under pressure and fractured over the past half century or so? In this module you will consider the concept of the mid and late twentieth century American “classic” in a variety of contrasting and overlapping contexts. These contexts will be elaborated on the basis of their formal, generic, period and/or cultural designations that will cover university and exam curricula reading lists, popular opinion and widespread critical consensus (such as the currently prevalent view, for instance, that the early twenty-first century constitutes a ‘golden age’ of US television).

Photographing America

This module examines the development of photography in America from roughly 1945 onwards. The module breaks the period down into themes and considers:

1. the transformation of ‘documentary’ photograph;

2. the emergence and importance of colour photography;

3. experimental, conceptual and post-conceptual photography;

4. issues of serialism and seriality;

5. landscape photography;

6. the photobook

7. analogue/digital

The module will draw on the work of a diverse range of photographers, including Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Ed Ruscha, Lewis Baltz, Robert Adams, Robert Heinecken, Stephen Shore, Todd Hido, William Eggleston and Doug Rickard.

Recent Queer Writing

This module explores lesbian, gay, transgender and queer writing, focusing especially on the search for agency and the representation of gender and sexuality in selected contemporary texts. The majority of writers studied will be Canadian, although some American examples will also be included. The module is multi-generic, engaging with forms including novels, short fiction, life writing, poetry, drama and graphic narratives. Topics for discussion will include: 

  • LGBTQ sexuality;
  • constructions of masculinity and femininity;
  • the politics of representation: the extent to which writing can enable agency as subjects or citizens;
  • intersections between race, ethnicity, class, nationality, religion, and the construction of gender and sexual identites
  • writing for LGBTQ youth
  • literature studies will be contextualized in relation to relevant debates in feminist, queer, post-colonial and transnational theories

Representative authors for study may include James Baldwin, Jane Rule, Dionne Brand, Dorothy Allison, Shyam Selvadurai, Tomson Highway, Leslie Feinberg, and Ivan Coyote.

American Madness: Mental Illness in History and Culture

Experiences of and ideas about madness, insanity, and mental illness have varied and changed radically within American history and culture. This module will survey and analyse these changes from the mid-19thcentury to the present. We will consider how and why medical authority, gender, and class have all impacted the way in which mental illness is understood, and consider the significance of changing approaches to treatment. Sources used on this interdisciplinary module range from medical accounts and psychiatric theory to memoir, fiction and film. The aim is to place representations of mental illness in their historical context, and to ask what they reveal about related ideas about identity, conformity, social care and responsibility.

The Special Relationship, Spit and Slavery- Britain and the US 1776-1877

This module encourages students to reassess the Anglo-American relationship during an era of major upheaval in both nations (1776-1877).

Taking students from the American Revolution through to the end of the Reconstruction era the module will challenge learners to examine how events and ideas forced Britons and Americans to reconceptualize their relationship.

Through the module, students will engage with concepts crucial in the formation of the modern world including race, ethnicity, liberty, republicanism, class, gender, manners and reform.

Sexuality in American History

From the Puritans to Playboy, sexuality has been a focal point in the culture, politics, and society of the United States. This module will examine Americans' differing attitudes over time toward sexuality. Representative topics covered may include marriage and adultery, homosexuality and heterosexuality, nudity, abortion, birth control, prostitution, free love, and rape.

Troubled Empire: The Projection of American Global Power from Pearl Harbor to Covid-19

This module will challenge students to critically engage with the period that Henry Luce referred to as the “American Century”. It will cover a range of case studies between Luce’s injunction and the subsequent US entry into World War Two in 1941 and the recent twin-crises marked by the 2008 Great Recession and the Covid-19 global pandemic. In doing so, it will prompt students to consider both the projection of American power on a global scale after 1941 and the considerable challenges that this project faced. Incorporating a series of focused case studies and reflections on the wider contexts relating to them, it will give students first-hand experience of weighing up the practical challenges US policymakers faced and the way that historians have subsequently assessed their efforts and understood their actions. 

Film and Television Genres

You'll be introduced to the key concepts and theoretical work on specific film genres. Each year, the module investigates a particular genre or cycle such as action cinema, television drama, low-budget film productions and TV movies, and more. Combined with what you have learnt on previous modules, you will look at genre in the context of production and consumption, spending around five hours a week in workshops and seminars.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Fees and funding

UK students

£9250
Per year

International students

£18420*
Per year
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships

Careers

You will have developed your Spanish language skills to degree level and have a wide-ranging and specialist knowledge of North American, Canadian and Spanish-American literature, history, politics, thought and culture. Your international experience will show employers that you are independent, resourceful and able to cope with new challenges. Studying and working abroad will also deepen your levels of cultural understanding and increase your competence in one of the world's main languages.

Average starting salary and career progression

76.7% of undergraduates from the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £22,668*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

 

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

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Important information

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.