Second year culture modules - both semesters

Hispanic Literature: Texts and Contexts L1 (20 credits)

This module provides an overview of Hispanic Literature through a selection of the most important, accessible, and enjoyable texts from Medieval and Golden-Age Spain, 20th-century Spain, Latin-America and the Hispanic Caribbean. Texts studied include examples of poetry, drama, prose narrative and film. Each text is considered in its own terms and within its cultural context, and each is introduced in lectures and then explored in more depth in small seminar groups. Both lectures and seminars are taught by a range of staff, all of whom are specialists in the field, introducing students to a variety of critical approaches and providing a foundation for the choice of optional modules for further study.

Assessment: 1 x 2,500-word Coursework Essay in English per semester (2 x 25%); 1 x 2-hour Written Exam (50%).

Contact Hours: 2 hours per week in both semesters.

Convener: Dr. Jules Whicker.

Note: This is a core module for ex-beginners in year 2.

Life Writing in Contemporary Spain (20 Credits)

life-writing-2This module explores the different theoretical and practical approaches to the study of life writing within the context of Contemporary Spain, through readings of biographies, autobiographies, life testimonies, childhood memoirs, collections of letters, confessional writing, political testaments (mainly prison texts) and certain types of travel writing (Spanish exiles accounts of their journey to America), set within the context of theoretical debates concerning the different genres and sub-genres encompassed by the label "Life Writing". This in turn leads to an examination of the relationships between life, history, politics, gender and fiction. The module also provides an understanding of main aesthetic and historical developments in Spain during the 20th century and a consideration of their impact on the process of writing individual and collective experiences.

Assessment: 1 x 2,500-word Coursework Essay in each semester (50% each).

Contact Hours: 2 hours per week in both semesters.

Convener: Dr. Mónica Jato.

Spanish Cinema (20 Credits)

This module examines the development of a national cinema from the end of the Spanish Civil War to the present day, tracing the development of the Spanish film industry, first under the censorship imposed by Franco's dictatorial regime, and later in the context of the freedom established with the transition to a democracy. While each film is studied within its local context, the module has two main points of focus: 1) the relationship between the films and their socio-political context and 2) Spanish cinema and the exploration of identity. In the first of these, attention is paid to the counter-narratives produced as resistance to the ideology of the Franco regime and, in the later films, to the exploration of new social relationships and attitudes towards subjectivity and gender. Under the general heading of identity, three main areas are highlighted for particular analysis: national identity, the re-evaluation of history, and gender and sexuality.

Assessment: 1 x 2,500-word Coursework Essay in each semester (40% each); 1 x 1-hour Class Exam in semester 2 based on the analysis of a scene or sequence from one of the selected films (20%).

Contact Hours: 1 x 2-hour seminar per week.

Convener: Prof. Francis Lough.



Modules and courses are constantly updated and under review. As with most academic programmes, please remember that it is possible that a module may not be offered in any particular year, for instance because a member of staff is on study leave or too few students opt for it. The University of Birmingham reserves the right to vary or withdraw any course or module.