Module Catalogue 2022/23

SPA4005 : Cultura Popular en España y Cuba

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jorge Catala-Carrasco
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment

This is a stage 4 module taught in Spanish and available to students taking SPA4081.


In consonance with the overall aim of the degrees offered in the SML, to contribute to students’ broad-based knowledge of aspects of the history, politics, society and culture of a variety of Hispanic countries, focusing on popular culture and in the region.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module problematizes popular culture manifestations in Spain and Cuba. Drawing primarily on cultural history and cultural studies, the module will examine different variations and uses of popular culture manifestations in Spain and Cuba that inform about the problematic assumptions surrounding what is commonly considered popular culture. Students will be able, through a comparative focus and specific case studies, to contextualize both countries through the 20th and 21st centuries, and to engage in critical discussions about related areas of study such as, popular culture and mass culture, popular culture and propaganda, representations of gender roles through popular culture, censorship, popular culture and the 2008 economic crisis. Using novels, comics, videos and posters as main forms of cultural production, the students will not only gain deeper knowledge of both countries studied but also a thorough understanding of concepts like the collective and the individual, gender and class. The module is taught entirely in Spanish and students may use English or Spanish in class discussions.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

1. A critical awareness of 20th century Hispanic cultures (the list of countries to be confirmed)
2. Critical perspectives on issues of cultural identity, culture industry, mass media, political and social oppression and political culture.
3. Knowledge of the role played by popular culture in Latin America and Spain during the 20th century and the debates concerning mass culture, high and low culture, young culture in the region.
4. To prepare students for more specialist study in Hispanic cultural studies.

Intended Skill Outcomes

1. Ability to analyse and historically contextualize different forms of popular culture in Spain and Latin America.
2. Linguistic skills in written work in the target language, including the deployment of specialist critical and scholarly lexis and discourse. They should be able to differentiate local varieties of oral and written Spanish language.
3. Linguistic and communication skills in speaking in the target language in a formal context (presentations)
4. Ability to take notes from books, journals, and primary texts in both English and the target language
5. Ability to contextualize relevant cultural discourses and authors about mass media, popular culture and the culture industry in Spain and Latin America.
6. Ability to argue opinions convincingly in English and the target language.
7. Ability to give an oral presentation in Spanish in the form of a jointly prepared seminar paper.
8. Ability to work in pairs and small groups.
9. Ability to write well-argued and analytical essays in the target language.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture61:006:00Present-in-Person
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials101:0010:00Asynchronous
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities21:002:00Asynchronous
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00Present-in-Person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00Present-in-Person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching41:004:00Synchronous online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching13:003:00Present-in-Person
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1137:00137:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The focus on asynchronous lecture materials due to the pandemic had unexpected benefits for the students and for the delivery of the module as a whole. Students have valued the flexibility of having the material ready for them well in advance so they can work through it. Quizzes and focused reading materials have also worked very well among students and they complement content in a very effective way. I will combine more practical present-in-person sessions with the short and focused structured lecture materials. Methodologically, shorter content materials work better among students as they maintain attention and they are more accessible and manageable. These changes are informed by the very positive comments by students during 20-21. Learning outcomes will not be altered and students will be able met the learning outcomes in a more effective way.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination601M30In-class test in Week 7
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M702,500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment reverts to what I had in the module before the Covid pandemic. The in-class test will test key concepts and discussions around popular culture theory, while allowing students to demonstrate critical thinking skills. The final essay will allow students to engage with further reading and develop deeper critical thinking skills. The essay will test the students’ organisational skills, logic and ability to cohere a longer text in response to a specific question.


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.