You will take 120 credits of modules.
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. You can also take specialist modules based on the research we are currently doing in Hispanic Studies.
You must pass year four, which counts 67% towards your final degree classification.
In addition to the core Spanish module, you will write a dissertation in either American Studies or Hispanic Studies (the choice is yours).
The dissertation gives you 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.
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.
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.
Business and Society in Spain
Taught in Spanish, this module will allow you to examine Spanish business from both an historical and contemporary perspective.
Main themes include: the economic legacy of dictatorship, changes in the global and European regulatory environment, the influence of neoliberal thinking, the role of entrepreneurship, the relationship between state and business, and the response by Spanish business to the spread of the knowledge economy and rapid technological change.
We’ll also consider recent challenges to business in Spain. In particular, the impact of the 2008-2013 economic crisis on the private sector, the criticism of business involvement in a number of high-profile corruption scandals and proposals by new political formations (such as Podemos) aimed at increasing state regulation of the private sector. Finally, the module includes in-depth case studies of the Spanish fashion and tourism industries.
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.
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.
Literature and Films, Conflict and Post-Conflicts
Explore how literature and film can give us a deeper insight into the experiences of conflict in 20th and 21st-century Latin American and Iberian societies.
Together we’ll investigate 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 (with a particular emphasis on the Iberian Peninsula) and Latin America (including Brazil).
Your Spanish and Portuguese language skills (along with translations or subtitles where needed) will help you adopt a comparative approach focussing on the formal experiments and common preoccupations of filmmakers and writers across different national cultures and historical contexts.
You will discuss questions around a range of themes which may include; authoritarianism, confronting colonial and neo-colonial practices, racial and class inequality, social injustice, gender and sexuality, and living on with the legacies of past traumas.
You can expect to discuss works by writers such as Roberto Bolaño, Ruben Fonseca, Alejandro Zambra, Mariana Enríquez, Clarice Lispector and Liliana Heker. 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.
Literature and Film under Franco
One of the best ways to truly understand a nation is to study its culture. Together we’ll explore a key moment in 20th century Spanish history, literature and film-making. By looking at the context and circumstances in which filmic and literary texts were produced under Franco you’ll develop awareness of generic conventions in both literature and film and perfect your skills in close textual analysis.
You will gain a solid knowledge of the Franco 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 end of the module, you will have developed 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 presentation skills and research and essay-writing skills.
Making the Cuban Revolution: Ideology, Culture and Identity in Cuba since 1959
Free education from cradle to grave has been central to modern Cuba’s cultural and ideological identity. This module will encourage you to explore Cuba’s revolutionary change since 1959, through an examination of its evolving ideologies. You’ll review the critical factors of nationalism, dependency, radicalism and leadership which shaped developments from the original rebellion up to the present day.
Together we’ll discover 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 help you form 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.
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.
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.
Politics and Literature in Contemporary Spain
You may believe that politics and literature are two distinct fields of study, but this module will help you understand the complex but integral relationship between the two.
We’ll explore the representation of key social and political issues within contemporary Spanish literature. You’ll discover how literature in late capitalism, and contemporary ‘Hispanic’ authors in particular, 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. This shall lead us to assess the competing discursive practices involved in remapping the notion of Spanish canonical literature at the beginning of the new millennium.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Special Relationship, Spit and Slavery - Britain and the US 1776-1877
Reassess the Anglo-American relationship, during an era of major upheaval in both nations.
Spanning from the American Revolution through to the end of the Reconstruction era, you will be challenged to examine how events and ideas forced Britons and Americans to reconceptualize their relationship.
You will engage with concepts that are crucial in the formation of the modern world, including:
This module is worth 20 credits.
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.
US Foreign Policy, 1989 - present
Explore US foreign policy in the post-Cold War period.
You will examine the historical narratives of American international relations, considering the drivers behind the foreign policies of Presidents George H W Bush, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
More specifically, we will consider:
- Whether the post-1989 period constituted a break from previous traditions in US foreign policy, or whether there has been an essential continuity through the war on terror and beyond
- The impact of economics, geopolitics, ideology and security issues on post-1989 strategy in different regions of the world
- The impact of a new international environment, marked by the demise of bipolarity and the rise of globalisation
You'll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars on this module.
This module is worth 20 credits.
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).