Module Catalogue 2022/23

SPA1019 : Introduction to History, Culture and Society of the Iberian Peninsula

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jorge Catala-Carrasco
  • Lecturer: Dr Conceicao Pereira, Ms Laura Arbones Martinez, Professor Jens R Hentschke
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



In consonance with the overall aims of the degrees offered in the School of Modern Languages, this
module aims to introduce students to the systematic study of the Iberian Peninsula in comparative terms through a historical focus and to a selected range of cultural topics in Portugal and Spain.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lecture materials and synchronous teaching activities (both present-in-person and online) will introduce students to the knowledge and skills required for the comparative analysis and study of the Iberian Peninsula. This module has two parts. First part introduces students to the history, culture and society of Spain and Portugal from the late Middle Ages to the Twenty-first century. Both countries can be studied comparatively because they passed through similar periods of transformation: state formation and consolidation, expansion, absolutist rule, Enlightenment, the age of liberal revolutions and colonial crisis, authoritarianism and democratisation. The module aims to teach students about issues of cultural identities in contemporary Spain and to allow students to analyse these issues in different texts and contexts in the second part of the module.

Both parts and topics can be altered and given in a different order in the event of research leave.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of the module it is expected students will be able to identify and contrast main terms, periods and processes throughout Spain and Portugal’s history.

At the end of the module a student will be able to discuss and explain issues related to Spanish nationalities (Catalan and Basque) humour and censorship, late 20th immigration to Portugal and Spain and cultural production during the 1990’s Spain.

Intended Skill Outcomes

The course is taught in English but students are expected to engage with a variety of materials in Portuguese and Spanish, hence it also develops linguistic skills. A variety of interactive teaching techniques are also used including (seminar groups, film sessions, debates, and close textual analysis, all of which provide useful preparation for Stage 2. Through a variety of study skills tasks, this module prepares you for more specialist study in Hispanic cultural and/or historical studies at Stage 2 and 4. This course will also help develop increasing autonomy in independent study.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture71:007:00Present-in Person
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials161:0016:00Asynchronous Includes pre- and post- lecture reading.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00Present-in-Person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00Present-in-Person
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1137:00137:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures, in the form of non-synchronous online teaching, will adopt flexible, blended learning methods and strategies to introduce students to the comparative study of the Iberian Peninsula. They will also allow for the introduction of specific topics, such as memory, museums, colonialism and theories of nationalism. Small group teaching, noted above as synchronous present-in-person and online synchronous teaching, will allow students to examine texts in more detail, allowing for detailed discussion and analysis as well as revisiting and reinforcing knowledge from the lecture materials and online guided activities. Seminars will provide the students with the opportunity to lead discussion on a topic through interactive activities that develop their independent thinking and critical analysis. Both types of learning activities will include advice on how to prepare for assessment. Surgery hours allow students to consult the module leader with any particular difficulties in understanding concepts, tasks, etc. Independent learning includes preparation for small group work, further reading and assessment.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A50Scheduled exam at university campus. In English.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M501750 word essay in English.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MPractice essay: 1,500-word comparative essay in English. Students required to answer 1 essay question from a selection provided.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

We are reverting to the existing assessment rationale pre pandemic. The module is divided into two complementary but autonomous units: one on cultural representations in S1 and one on history in S2. Hence, we have divided assessment into two distinct ways to test essay writing and close text analysis in the final essay 50%, and critical analysis and history knowledge with the 50% exam.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.