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Course overview

If you are fascinated by the Americas, North and South, and would like to explore the cultures of the USA and Canada alongside those of Spanish America and even Brazil, then this degree is for you. You will study Spanish language and the histories and cultures of the USA and Canada and many of the nations of Latin America. If you have an A-level in Spanish, you can also take Portuguese, By looking at different parts of the Americas – the United States, Canada and Latin America – alongside one another you will be able to come up with a rounded understanding of the relationships between North and South America, in terms of history, culture and politics.

We take beginners in Spanish and students with an A-level in Spanish. For beginners you can be someone with no Spanish or someone with a GCSE. Those of you with an A-level in Spanish may take beginners Portuguese in your first year after which you may carry it on to the final year. This gives you the chance to study Brazil in more depth.

Our non-language modules in Hispanic Studies cover the history, politics and cultures of the Latin America, including the period of Spanish and Portuguese colonial expansion into the Americas.

In American Studies, you will learn about the history, politics, literature and culture of Anglophone North America.

More information

Why choose this course?

  • As a joint honours student you will benefit from skills development and assessment methods from both subjects
  • We are the largest department of American and Canadian Studies in Europe
  • Our Hispanic Studies coverage is one of the broadest in the UK
  • We have a wide range of places to study in Latin America during the Year Abroad
  • You can take up Portuguese if you have an A-level in Spanish

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level offer ABB
IB score 32

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

If you have already achieved your EPQ at Grade A you will automatically be offered one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject.

If you are still studying for your EPQ you will receive the standard course offer, with a condition of one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject if you achieve an A grade in your EPQ.

Foundation progression options

You can also access this course through our Foundation Year. This may be suitable if you have faced educational barriers and are predicted BCC at A level.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

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.

Assessment methods

  • Commentary
  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • Presentation
  • Reflective review
  • Written exam

Contact time and study hours

As well as scheduled teaching you’ll carry out extensive independent reading and research. A typical 20 credit module involves between three and four hours of lectures and seminars per week. You would ideally spend 8-10 hours doing preparation work.

Your lecturers will usually be academic staff. Some of your classes may be run by temporary teaching staff who are also experts in their field.

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. A weekly lecture on a core module may have 50-60 students attending while a specialised seminar may only contain 10 students.

You will have a personal tutor from the Department of American and Canadian Studies as well as a Joint Honours advisor in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures.

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.

Placements

Become 'workplace-ready' with our Work Placement and Employability programme tailor made for students in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies. It helps you develop skills and experience that allow you to stand out to potential employers.

You also have access to a wide range of work experience and volunteering schemes through the:

Why study more than one subject?

Watch our animation about studying a joint honours degree with us.

Modules

Hispanics: You take Spanish language at beginners ('Spanish 1: Beginners') or post-A level ('Spanish 1'). Post-A level students may also take beginners Portuguese.

Your non-language modules (you choose one or two) introduce you to the cultures, history and societies of the Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking worlds. These modules are taught in English and give you an overview of Hispanic Studies.

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.

You will take 120 credits of modules split as follows:

  • Compulsory core modules (120 credits)

You must pass year one but it does not count towards your final degree classification.

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.

Introduction to Literature in Spanish

This module is designed as a foundation for all later modules covering Spanish and Portuguese literatures.

Its main aims are to:

  • give a general introduction to literature and to the study of literature
  • provide a partial overview of literary writing in the Spanish language
  • introduce some of the key theoretical issues of literary study
  • instil good reading and critical habits.

The main skills tested on this module are:

  • close reading
  • textual analysis
  • seminar participation
  • the ability to write cogent and convincing commentaries and essays.
Modern Latin American History

This module aims to introduce you to the main patterns of Latin American political, economic and social history, between Independence in the 1820s and the end of the twentieth century, through a combination of lectures and guided reading and research.

We focus on specific concepts, terminology, events and people, so as to develop an understanding of different perspectives and interpretations of the history in question, and 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 critically between the particular and the general and to develop the tools for comparative analysis. You will also learn how to research historical sources, and to develop and sustain coherent intellectual argument.

Spanish 1

This module builds on A level Spanish to consolidate your understanding of grammar, and your ability to comprehend both structures and meanings in a variety of written and aural texts.

You will be guided in using a broader range of discursive strategies in both written and spoken Spanish, and trained in the comprehension of broadcast items, on current affairs and culture, from across the Spanish-speaking world.

Spanish 1: Beginners

This module is designed to take you from 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, you 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 be able to engage in everyday social conversation.

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.

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 may change or be updated 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 the latest information on available modules.

In this year, your language classes in Spanish (and Portuguese if you continue with it) are dedicated to giving you the fluency and confidence for work or study during the year abroad. Your Hispanics modules expand your knowledge of these cultures and societies. Your American Studies modules help you to develop a multidisciplinary approach by taking a survey of North American regions. You will also select from a range of specialised modules to enable you to study certain periods, events, authors or texts in more depth.

You must pass year 2 which is weighted at 33% of your final degree classification.

Core module

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 (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, Symbolism, the Avant-garde, and Modernism.

We focus on 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 are 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 Spain and Spanish American literature in the 20th century, and the ability to relate texts studied to historico-cultural contexts.

Optional modules

Spanish 2

This module builds on grammatical knowledge and communication skills developed in Spanish 1, and aims to prepare you to function effectively in a university or work situation in a Spanish-speaking country.

Written classes focus on developing essay writing skills in Spanish, using a range of texts from Spanish and Spanish American sources as stimuli. Special attention is given to developing complex sentence structures and rhetorical devices. Laboratory classes use a full range of contemporary audio-visual materials to develop aural comprehension and conversational ability in Spanish.

Spanish 2: Beginners
This module builds on knowledge and skills developed in Beginners’ Spanish. It aims to consolidate students' understanding of grammar, and their ability to comprehend both structures and meanings in a variety of written texts, journalistic and otherwise, in preparation for university or work on their Year Abroad. The written, oral and laboratory classes all combine revision of grammar with intensive exposure to a variety of types and registers of written and spoken Spanish, concentrating on  appropriate thematic areas. Students are encouraged to broaden their range of discursive strategies in both written and spoken Spanish and are trained in the comprehension of broadcast items on current affairs.
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. This module is compulsory for Single honours students and Joint Honours History and Joint Honours Politics. It is available as an option for Joint Honours English, Film and Television and Latin American Studies students.

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). This module is compulsory module for Single Honours students and Joint Honours English, Film and Television and Latin American Studies students. It is also available as an option for Joint Honours History and Joint Honours Politics students.

Hispanic Cinemas

This module will provide a general introduction to cinema in the Hispanic and Lusophone world. The first semester will examine contemporary cinema from Spain and Latin America addressing questions of style, form, socio-historical context and narrative content. The films will be available with English subtitles. The second semester will examine Lusophone cinema from Portugal, Brazil and Africa.

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-fifteenth century, beginning in Portugal where voyages of ‘discovery’ were well under way, and ending in late eighteenth-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 & the World in the American Century: US Foreign Policy, 1898-2008

This module offers a critical introduction to understanding America's place in the world. It provides historical and political analyses of U.S. foreign relations, looking at the themes and traditions that have shaped America's increasing influence in global affairs from the late nineteenth century to the present day. From the war of 1898 to the conflicts of the early twenty-first century, it examines how America's involvement abroad has changed over time. How can we understand the evolution of America's relationship with the wider world; what interests and themes have lain behind the execution of American power? The course analyses traditional political and diplomatic issues, as well as the link between foreign and domestic policies, the role of foreign actors and private organisations from religious groups to citizen organisations to NGOs that have served to shape America's actions abroad. It also engages with important contemporary trends in the historiography of U.S. foreign policy, including those that emphasise the significance of race, gender, emotions, and religion.

Contemporary North American Fiction

This course 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. The course will examine the dominant ideas and concerns of a number of fictions and novels by writers from a range of ethno-cultural backgrounds. Issues for discussion 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. You will consider theories such as its origins in frontier settler societies and this may allow comparative study of Canada. You will understand the relationship between violence and the gun control debate and the related issue of American ideological antipathy to state power. You will also look at 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. Possible topics include violence incidental to settler-native people contact or plantation slavery, the right to bear arms in the Constitution, the resort to force within US foreign policy including atomic weaponry, ‘state terrorism’, and the military-industrial complex.

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 may change or be updated 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 the latest information on available modules.

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.

This year is your opportunity to develop the language skills you built up on the Year Abroad. Beginners can reach the same degree standard as non-beginners. In addition, you can take specialist modules based on the research we are currently doing both in History and in Hispanic Studies. In American studies, you will also write a dissertation which give you provides a valuable opportunity for multidisciplinary and comparative study. 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.

You must pass year 4 which is weighted at 67% of your final degree classification.

Core module

Spanish 3

This module capitalises on the progress made in colloquial and informal language skills during your year abroad, and trains you in a more formal, sophisticated register of spoken and written Spanish.

It uses stimulus texts from a broad range of authentic sources to impart understanding of how texts are put together, and to build up your knowledge of, and confidence in, this register, thus enabling production of written and spoken Spanish of maximum clarity and strength of argumentation.

Optional modules

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 6,500 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.

Dissertation in Hispanic Studies

This module aims to provide you with the training necessary to be able to engage independently, under the guidance of a supervisor, in self-directed research on a topic that the student selects on the basis of an aspect of your Year Abroad experience.

Through a series of one-on-one tutorials, and the submission of a proposal, a literary review, and chapter draft, the student is advised on how to sustain an argument over up to 7,000 words, and how to underpin this argument with appropriate and innovative research.

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 their 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 assesses 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

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

We 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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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 may change or be updated 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 the latest information on available modules.

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

To be confirmed in 2020*
Keep checking back for more information
*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.

Additional costs

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles.

If you choose to take an optional placement module, the cost of travel will be dependent on location of placement and proximity to term-time address.

Please note that these figures are approximate and subject to change.

Year abroad

Reduced fees (subject to change)

If you choose to spend a year abroad, you will pay reduced fees, currently set at:

  • Home/EU students: £1,385
  • International: 50% of the relevant international fee

Costs incurred during the year abroad

These vary depending on country, but always include:

  • travel
  • accommodation
  • subsistence
  • insurance

Depending on the country visited you may also have to pay for:

  • visa
  • additional administration fees and study supplies in the host country or organisation

There are a number of sources of funding:

  • Student Finance Loan
  • Means-tested travel grant
  • University of Nottingham bursaries and scholarships

Your access to funding depends on:

  • the course you are taking
  • your residency status
  • where you live in term time
  • your household income

You may be able to find paid work or take up an internship on your year abroad.

For more information please contact our Year Abroad Officers.

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/EU students

We offer a range of Undergraduate Excellence Awards for high-achieving international and EU scholars from countries around the world, who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers. This includes our European Union Undergraduate Excellence Award for EU students and our UK International Undergraduate Excellence Award for international students based in the UK.

These scholarships cover a contribution towards tuition fees in the first year of your course. Candidates must apply for an undergraduate degree course and receive an offer before applying for scholarships. Check the links above for full scholarship details, application deadlines and how to apply.

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.

Find out more about skills and experience gained and career destinations of American and Canadian Studies and Latin American Studies students.

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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Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017-18

Disclaimer

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.