9 June 2020

Understanding Spanish and Latin American Culture

How and why has historical memory about the Civil War become such a feature of contemporary Spanish life? How and why was modernity experienced as a crisis in Latin America? Just some of the questions that we will explore in this module.

Poster of film festival

Why has the gypsy culture of Andalucía been so crucial to ideas about Spanish identity and how and why has this changed? How did gender politics and the role of women change after the Franco dictatorship in Spain? How and why has historical memory about the Civil War become such a feature of contemporary Spanish life? How and why was modernity experienced as a crisis in Latin America? What is machismo and why is it thought to be so central to Latin American culture? How do revolutionary politics and sexual politics relate in Latin America?

These are just some of the questions that will be explored in this module. 

Course structure

The course examines the literature and film of modern Spain and modern Spanish-speaking Latin America. In each semester, three cultural products from one of these two areas are studied: poetry, film and narrative fiction. We will build up a picture of the cultural history of Spain and Latin America, as well as looking at key themes to emerge from their literary and filmic outputs. By focussing on three different genres in each semester, you will be able to explore different types of cultural product and to build up analytical skills gradually by moving from shorter or visual pieces to a larger body of writing.


Students taking MDL1013 (post-A Level or equivalent) will study primary texts in their original Spanish version. Students not taking MDL1013 (beginners) will study primary texts in English translation.


‘Texts’ to be studied

Spain

Federico García Lorca, Romancero gitano – Gypsy Ballads
Carmen, director. Carlos Saura
Javier Cercas, Soldados de Salamina – Soldiers of Salamis


Latin America

César Vallejo, A Selection of his Poetry
Fresa y chocolate – Strawberry and Chocolate, director. Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
Mario Vargas Llosa, Los cachorros – The Cubs


Recommended secondary reading

Catherine Davies, The Companion to Hispanic Studies
Philip Swanson, The Companion to Latin American Studies
P.E. Russell, Spain: A Companion to Spanish Studies
Helen Graham and Jo Labanyi, Spanish Cultural Studies
John King, The Cambridge Companion to Modern Latin American Culture

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