Second year culture modules - semester two

Origins of the Spanish Theatre

The module deals with the drama in Spain from its origins in early 15th C. religious ceremonial and court entertainment, through the development of the commercial theatre, to its highest expression in the masterpieces of the baroque period, setting it in the context of the principal cultural, literary and intellectual concerns which it reflects. The module aims to enable students to appreciate the subtleties of early-modern Spanish theatre; to assign the plays studied to their historical and literary contexts; to demonstrate knowledge of the phases of development of the early Spanish theatre: in terms of genre, structure, theme, characterisation, imagery, language and versification, contexts of performance; and to acquire an understanding of the potential of these dramatic works to make effective and meaningful use of the dramatic spaces in which they were (and are) performed.

Spanish Narratives of Violence

 The new millennium in Spain has seen an increased interest in and awareness of all forms of violence that can occur in a society. Media fascination is clear from television and newspaper reports; the government has passed new laws criminalising certain violent acts; the general public is much more aware of how and why violence affects them and what they can do about it; and musicians, writers, filmmakers and even poets have produced songs, novels, movies and poems about the sorts of aggression that affect modern society.

narratives-violenceOn the second-year option Narratives of Violence in Spain you will study some of the filmic and fictional responses to various forms of aggression that characterise modern Spanish society. You will not only develop your analytical and reasoning skills as applied to cultural outputs, but you will also enhance your ability to express yourself in written form when you produce your end-of-course assessed essay. As most of the taught sessions for this option are in the seminar format, you will also build on your capacity for team work and discussion in small groups, as well as improving the ways in which you report back findings to a group and negotiate with your fellow students on your ideas.

Subjects you will study on this course include cultural responses to terrorism, heterosexual domestic violence, and workplace harassment.

Introduction to the Spanish Caribbean: History, Literature & Popular Culture (10 Credits)

This module introduces students to some of the main themes in the history of the Spanish-Speaking Caribbean and explores the engagement of literature and popular culture with these themes. Focussing mainly on the 19th and 20th centuries, the module examines the following issues: European colonization and Independence; slavery and abolition; migration and return; cultural imperialism; US Caribbean relations and the rise of Caribbean nationalisms. Simultaneously the module outlines the strategies used in Spanish Caribbean literature, film and music to respond to these historical phenomena. The module aims to enable students to analyse and explain key themes in Spanish Caribbean History; to identify the main scholarly debates concerning 19th and 20th Century Spanish Caribbean History; to explain and analyse the major issues in US Caribbean and Caribbean European historical relations; to map the connections between history, literature and popular culture in the Spanish Caribbean.; and to demonstrate an understanding of the creative strategies used in Caribbean literature, film and music to respond to major issues in the region's history.

Constructing Community in the Catalan-Speaking Territories

This module provides an introduction to the political, cultural and social make-up of the Catalan-speaking regions in Spain and Southern France from a range of different perspectives, drawing on historical, anthropological, sociolinguistic and cultural studies. It explores the different models and types of community that have developed there and their relationship to wider regional, national and transnational formations, such as the Paisos Catalans, Spain, Iberia and Europe. Through the analysis of a range of cultural texts from the area, it will address the relationship between individual and community identity as formulated through a range of different overlapping discourses: history/memory, global/local, gender/sexuality, centre/periphery etc. By the end of the module the student should be able to understand the cultural and socio-political history of the Catalan-speaking territories; to place this understanding in wider historical and geopolitical context (Spain/France, Europe, globalisation); to understand key concepts in describing community identity; to apply these concepts to the different cultural formations present in the Catalan-speaking territories; and to interpret and comment critically on cultural texts relating to the topics covered.

Love, Sin and Death in Medieval Spain

This module addresses cultural manifestations of a series of phenomena in the Iberian middles ages (convivencia, attitudes to sex and sin, death and dying), employing a variety of visual and textual sources. Students read selections from the Libro de Buen Amor, the Rimado de Palacio the Cantigas de Santa María, the Dança general de la muerte and the Siete Partidas. By the end of the module, students should be able to: assess the importance of love, sin and death in the cultural manifestations of late medieval Iberia; critically analyse passages of medieval writing; critically analyse the notion of convivencia; assign the set texts to their historical and cultural contexts.

Brazilian Literature

In this module students study representative works of Brazilian literature and their film adaptations, with particular emphasis on the North East. They consider the ways that authors treat key issues such as poverty and social injustice. At the same time, attention is paid to the literary and historical context, and relevant critical theories. 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; and discuss the issues arising out their readings in depth, using appropriate terminology and applying the most relevant theoretical concepts.