Second  year culture modules - semester one

Don Quixote and Golden-Age Prose Fiction (10 Credits)

plaza-espana-madridThis module examines Cervantes' creation of the most famous and influential work in Hispanic Literature, considering aspects such as: its inter-textual relations with preceding and contemporary modes of Spanish and European literature such as the pastoral, the chivalric, the picaresque and the short story (novela); its meta-literary concerns with the processes of creation and reception; its philosophical interest in the foundations and nature of knowledge and belief; and its approach to moral, social and political criticism, with particular emphasis on the crisis of the aristocracy at the turn of the Seventeenth Century, on changing attitudes to warfare in a decade marked by significant peace treaties between Spain, England and the Dutch, and on the fears of a resurgent Ottoman Empire. Attention will also be paid to its literary influence in both Spain and the wider world.

Assessment: 1 x 2,500-word Coursework Essay (100%).

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

Convener: Dr. Jules Whicker.

Conquest, Empire and Inquisition in 16th Century Spain and Spanish America (10 Credits)

This module makes an in-depth study of the following topics: Native American societies before the Spanish conquest; Encounter between Native Americans and Spaniards; post-Conquest Spanish America; the Spanish Inquisition (the "myth" of the Inquisition; treatment of converted Jews and Muslims; treatment of Old Christians, witchcraft and prophecy). Its aims are to develop an understanding and appreciation of the discovery and colonisation of America, and the spread of religious repression through the Inquisition; how perceptions of both native American peoples and Spanish religious deviants changed across time according to predominant intellectual currents and changing social conditions; how Spanish society could be characterised by both repression and free inquiry, both the broadening and the narrowing of horizons, at the same time; the interaction of economic, social, political, and intellectual factors in accounting for the historical development of societies; and the complexity of key historical issues.

Assessment: 1 x 2,500-word Coursework Essay (100%).

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

Convener: Dr. Nick Griffiths.

Contemporary Latin American History & Society (10 Credits)

This module makes an in-depth study of the following topics: the Cuban revolution and its impact; Chile under Allende and Pinochet; dictatorship and democracy; relations between the USA and Latin America. Its aims are to develop an understanding and appreciation of the interaction of economic, social, political, and intellectual factors in accounting for the historical development of societies; the complexity of key historical issues; and the cultural context of Latin American history.

Assessment: 1 x 2,500-word Coursework Essay (100%).

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

Convener: Dr. Nick Griffiths.

Barcelona - Urban Space and Cultural Identity (10 Credits)

The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is both one of the key symbols of Catalan cultural identity and a multicultural urban space in which identity is negotiated on a daily basis. Focusing on a number of key cultural representations (literary texts, films, and television series) of Barcelona in the twentieth century, this module explores the changing shape of the city in relation to changing conceptions of cultural identity in Catalonia. The module aims to enable students to trace the cultural history of Barcelona in the Twentieth Century in a series of contexts (Catalan, Spanish, European, global); to apply aspects of urban theory to the study of a particular urban text; and to analyse the relationship between urban space, culture and identity in Barcelona.

Assessment: 1 x 2,500-word Coursework Essay (100%).

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

Convener: Dr. Elisenda Marcer.

Spanish Linguistics (10 Credits)

The module provides an introduction to articulatory phonetics by examining the range of sounds employed in Standard Castilian. The module provides training in the identification of articulatory difference and in the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet. The module aims to enable students to distinguish between the sounds of Castilian; to describe in scientific terms the differences between them; and to employ the IPA to transcribe sustained passages of Castilian.

Assessment: Weekly Practical Exercises (not assessed). 1 x 2-hour Class Test of assessed phonetic transcription (100%).

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

Convener: Dr. Aengus Ward.

Medieval Galician Portuguese Lyric (10 Credits)

This module offers students an introduction to the literature and culture of the Portuguese Middle Ages, supported by the acquisition of critical tools and theoretical concepts. The main texts examined are a selection of Galician Portuguese cantigas. Particular emphasis is placed on courtly love, parody and the carnivalesque. The role of women in these works, both as subject and as addressee, is also considered. Students are expected to read widely in order to acquire the necessary background and context and to prepare seminar papers. The module aims to enable students to recognise the main themes, motifs and symbols found in medieval Galician Portuguese poetry; understand the personal, social, political and religious preoccupations expressed in these works; and to comment on these in the appropriate terminology.

Assessment: 1 x 2,500-word Coursework Essay (100%).

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

Convener: Dr. Paloma Serrapio.

Portuguese Literature (10 Credits)

In this module, students study representative works of Portuguese, including plays and prose fiction, exploring such issues as national identity and gender. At the same time, attention is paid to the literary and historical context, and relevant critical theories. The module aims to enable students to appreciate and put in to context several key works of Portuguese literature; to gain an understanding of Portuguese history and society; and to discuss these issues arising out of their readings in depth, using appropriate terminology and applying the most relevant theoretical concepts.

Assessment: 1 x 2,500-word Coursework Essay (100%).

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

Convener: Dr. Patricia Odber de Baubeta.

 

 

Disclaimer

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.