Final year culture modules - semester one

Vision of the Vanquished

In 1492 something unique in human history occurred: two worlds previously unknown to one another, the Native American and the Spanish, came face to face for the first time. The subject of this module will be what these two worlds made of each other. The two principal topics will be, first, how the peoples who lived under the Aztec and Inca Empires reacted to the coming of the Spaniards, and the religious, mythological and philosophical challenges such an event posed; and, second, how native religions interacted with Christianity. The module will assess the value of a variety of sources, of both Spanish and Native origin, including the works of Hernán Cortés, Bernal Díaz del Castillo and Bernardino de Sahagún. The aim of the module is to allow students to make an in-depth study of Native American Societies´ interpretation of the Spaniards in the era of the Conquest, and interaction with them thereafter, with particular attention to the blending of Christianity and native religions.

Note: Students need successfully to have completed at least one History module in either Y1 or Y2.

Great Power Intervention in the Spanish Civil War

This module covers Great Power Intervention in the Spanish Civil War, including Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the USSR. It situates British and French intervention within the broader context of the policy of appeasement, and considers to what extent these two countries’ policies were determined by the priority of containing Germany and Italy. Soviet intervention is explored in the context of new data and interpretations which have arisen from the opening of ex-Soviet archives and the publication of primary sources. German and Italian interventions are contrasted, and the extent to which the consolidation of the Axis was promoted by their co-operation in Spain is explored. The module investigates how the historical interpretation of these countries’ actions and motives has changed from the 1930s to the present. The module aims to allow students to make an in-depth study of Great Power Intervention in the Spanish Civil War, with a particular focus on the interaction of the great powers within the international context of the 1930s and paying as much attention to the great powers as to Spain itself.

Note: Students need successfully to have completed at least one History module in either Y1 or Y2.

Contemporary Latin American Novel

Beginning with a re-evaluation of the “Boom” in the 1960’s, the module explores how narrative authority has been re-presented in the post-boom period, either through a return to realist techniques or a questioning of essentialist tendencies. Particular attention is paid to the “big names” such as García Márquez and Vargas Llosa, and to the different attitudes to fiction present in their recent work. The module aims to allow students to develop their knowledge and understanding of recent developments in narrative strategies and attitudes to story-telling in Latin America.

20th Century Brazilian Fiction

Through reading selected novels and short stories produced in the Twentieth Century, students acquire an awareness of key issues in Brazilian society as represented in the literature and cinema of that country, namely power, race, gender and sexuality. At the same time, students engage with questions of intertextuality and the blurring of boundaries between literary genres. Attention is also given to matters of history and context. By the end of the module students should be able to: appreciate and put in to context several key works of Brazilian literature; demonstrate an understanding of Brazilian history and society; present informed comment on questions of race and gender; and discuss these issues in appropriate terminology, applying the most relevant theoretical concepts.