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SPA2027 : Food, Football and Fiction: Constructing Catalan Cultural Identity

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jennifer Arnold
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


- To give students an understanding of Catalan as a minoritized language and culture.
- To introduce students to key debates around Catalan language and identity within a Spanish context.
- To introduce students to range of key figures and movements from a variety of Catalan cultural fields
including art, literature, music and sport.

Outline Of Syllabus

In this course we will explore the construction of Catalan cultural identity, particularly since the beginning of the 20th century, and look at the links between language, identity and culture.

Drawing on key debates and approaches from with Catalan studies, the module will explore how Catalan culture in its many fields is used to express, construct and promote a Catalan identity both within Spain and beyond. Lectures will provide a historical overview of Catalan language and history, with a particular focus on how both the language and culture has been repressed. They will introduce students to the ways in which culture has been used, and continues to be used, as a means of resistance both at an artistic and institutional level. Students will also be introduced to a range of cultural movements (eg renaixença, modernism) as well as key figures from Catalan culture and look at their cultural, social and historical significance within Catalan society. Seminars will provide students with the opportunity to analyse and interrogate a range of primary sources a range of cultural fields from key moments in Catalan contemporary history.
Topics include:

- Barcelona, the city and architecture
- Catalan literature (authors such as Najat el Hachmi, Merce Rodoreda and Quim Monzo)
- Barcelona FC – football and identity
- Catalan food
- Catalan music and dance
- Catalan art

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:0010:0010 x 1 hour interactive lectures providing the theoretical frameworks.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion971:0097:00Free reading on topic with peers. Student-led discussion. Other independent research and study
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion481:0048:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities112:0022:00Key reading tasks with questions to prepare
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:0022 hours of seminars for small group analytical work
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Introductory lecture to the module
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module will run for 22 weeks and will consist of a one-hour lecture and two-hour seminar each week.

The lectures will be used to introduce students to the key debates surrounding the status of Catalan language and culture in Spain, and provide a historical overview of the situation until present times. They will also provide the necessary background to the key cultural movements from which the primary sources have been selected. They will help students to map and to understand the main theoretical concepts and approaches that characterize the field. They will provide clear analytic frameworks within which to understand the sources selected and will introduce students to the tools required to analyse the cultural works we look at in the seminars.
Seminars will provide students the opportunity to analyse and discuss a range of primary sources from different cultural fields. This will include close reading of texts, analyses of works of art or architecture, but also a critique of the paratextual material in, on and surrounding the ‘text’. They will also develop their ability to present their ideas orally and to work both independently and in groups. The primary sources for this module will all be provided in Catalan in order for students who are studying the language to have the opportunity to strengthen their language skill, but also in translation into Spanish and/or English, so no knowledge of any particular Catalan is required to take the module.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A80A 3000 word essay to be submitted after Easter.
Written exercise1A20A 1000 word close analysis of a chosen primary source chosen from one of the cultural fields studied to be submitted in January.
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1MStudents will be given the opportunity to do a presentation on a topic that relates to the essay topics.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The commentary will allow students to demonstrate their knowledge of critical reading of works that have been discussed and developed during the seminars. The essay requires students to engage more widely with the theoretical concepts and knowledge gained across the course and to apply this to the analysis of primary sources. The essay assessment will also develop students’ skills in independent research as well as bibliographical work, footnoting and referencing.

Reading Lists