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

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jorge Catala-Carrasco
  • Lecturer: Professor Jens R Hentschke, Dr Conceicao Pereira, Ms Laura Arbones Martinez
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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 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. In the second part, the module aims to teach students about cultural identities in contemporary Spain, colonialism in Spain and Portugal, creative industries (museums), nationalism and linguistic and cultural diversity in Spain and Portugal.

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

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00Present in person. If Covid pandemic presents a challenging ladscape we will revert to synchronous online teaching or asynchronous structured learning materials.
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/surgery11:001:00Present-in-Person
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1139:00139:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Present-in-person lectures will introduce 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, present-in-person 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.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A50Scheduled exam at university campus. In English.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M501750 word essay in English.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay2MPractice 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 history in S1 and one on cultural representations in S2. Hence, we have divided assessment into two distinct ways to test critical analysis and history knowledge with the 50% exam and essay writing and close text analysis in the final essay 50%.

Reading Lists