Study Abroad and Exchanges



SPA2022 : The Contemporary Hispanic City: Narrative Cartographies

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


In consonance with the overall aim of the degrees offered in the SML, to contribute to students’ broad-based knowledge of contemporary Hispanic culture. It will introduce students to the detailed study of a variety of cultural texts representing the contemporary Hispanic city. It will also introduce students to theoretical ideas associated with notions of flânerie, cultural memory, migration, immigration, social and cinematic cartography and urban topography.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module draws on material in Spanish and will, each year that it runs, explore cultural representations of three contemporary Hispanic cities. The selection will always include at least one Iberian and one Latin American city. Based on the expertise of members of the department, the selection of cities will be made from the following: Madrid, Barcelona, Havana, Lima, Bogotá, Medellín, Caracas, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, New York, Los Angeles and Miami. This module will address questions of how to read and interpret the city across a range of genres/media, with a special focus on the way in which the city is represented in film. The module aims to provide an introduction to key conceptualisations of the modern city. It will be particularly concerned with the relationship between the city and the urban experience of (late) modernity, transnationalism, globalisation, post-dictatorship and post-armed conflict societies.

A sample structure might be summarised as follows: Madrid (cartographies of desire in Almodóvar; dystopian visions of the future in the films of Amenábar and de la Iglesia; Buenos Aires (social fragmentation post-dictatorship and post ‘neoliberal turn’ in Bartís’ play Postales argentinas, Spiner’s film La sonámbula and Piglia’s La ciudad ausente); Santiago de Chile (the hybrid postmodern city of ‘McOndo’ in the literature of Fuguet and Scherson’s film Play).

The module is comparative in spirit and students will be required to compare material from different cities and/or different media in their assessed assignments.

The module is taught in English, with certain activities (theatre workshop and student presentations) in Spanish.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1163:10163:10N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study12:502:50Guided screening.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will allow definition of the scope of the syllabus, an introduction to a body of knowledge, and modelling of the analysis required (note-taking). Lectures will make use of PowerPoint, and a hand-out with the structure of the lecture and key words will be provided with each lecture. Seminars will provide the students with the opportunity to discuss a topic individually and in groups, prepare group presentations and develop their independent thinking and critical analysis and debate.
All knowledge outcomes are addressed by the mix of interactive lectures and seminar delivery.
The module is taught in ENGLISH and assessed in SPANISH and ENGLISH.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A602,000 in Spanish.
Written exercise1M20In-class 45 min test: literary commentary (pre-released text)
Case study1M20In-class 60 min test: reading exercise (pre-released text)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay2MPractice essay in English.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The module will be taught in 1 semester and is assessed both in English and Spanish in consonance with recommendations from UGAF. The in-class commentary test will help students to engage more closely with the text in order to deepen their knowledge of the novel and help them select supporting analysis for their argument in their essays. The in-class reading exercise will rest knowledge and understanding of the module's framing theoretical concept. The essay will help students to develop analytical and organisational skills, as they will be asked to engage with argumentative thinking.

Resit essay In English. Must compare works representing two different cities.

Reading Lists