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SPA4006 : Spectres of the Past: Memory in Contemporary Spanish Culture

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

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

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


In consonance with the overall aim of the degrees offered in the SML, this module aims to contribute
to students’ broad-based knowledge of contemporary Spanish culture. It will build on skills gained at
Stages 1 and 2 through studying a range of literary, dramatic and cinematic expressions of the memory of the Civil War and Francoism, using specifically transnational and feminist conceptual lenses in order to engage with the most recent debates surrounding memory in Spain.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module draws on material in Spanish and explores how literature, theatre and film have contributed to and shaped debates addressing how the memory of the Civil War and Francoism should be expressed and represented. It will address questions of how to read and interpret literary, dramatic and filmic texts in the light of broader theoretical debates concerning the collective memory of dictatorship. Particular emphasis will be placed on transnational, multidirectional and feminist approaches to Memory Studies, whereby contemporary works attempt to establish productive dialogues with other memories of authoritarianism - most notably in this case the Holocaust. The module aims to provide an introduction to key conceptualisations of memory that have characterised the evolving interdisciplinary field of Memory Studies, as well as how approaches to memory have evolved in Spain since 1975. Understanding cultural memory as the way in which the past shapes and informs a society in the present, the module will evolve to remain up to date the most contemporary debates about the past. The module is comparative in spirit and assessed essays will be required to compare different literary genres/media. The module is taught in English, with certain activities in Spanish.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00Preparation and completion of all summative and formative assessments.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading111:0011:00Guided reading of primary and secondary materials.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading122:0022:00Guided preparation for in-person seminar activities.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching113:0033:00Present-in-person on campus. Can be done online if necessary.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study184:0084:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

In-person sessions will mix lecture-style teaching and interactive, student-led seminar-style activities. Lecture-style learning will be delivered to frame learning activities, will allow definition of the scope of the syllabus, give an introduction to a body of knowledge, and model suitable critical approaches within the framework of Memory Studies. These lecture materials will make use of PowerPoint, podcast style recordings, and structured activities that encourage close engagement with both primary and secondary materials. They also focus on developing the skill set required for essay writing. These materials and activities should serve as a foundation to support students’ own independent study and assessment preparation. The present-in-person sessions will also take the form of small-group teaching to provide the students with the opportunity to discuss a topic individually and in groups, present their ideas and develop their independent thinking and critical analysis as they engage interactively in debate. Online guided learning activities seek to support preparation for in-person sessions and support independent study by offering some structure to independent study tasks, such as secondary reading and close film analysis.

All knowledge outcomes are addressed by the mix of synchronous interactive and non-synchronous guided learning formats. The module is taught mainly in English, with some interactive activities in Spanish. All primary materials and some secondary materials are in Spanish. The module is assessed in both English and Spanish. This module offers tutorial slots to support learning via feedback and consultation hours.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination602M30In-class written assessment in Week 6. This assignment focuses on the second core skill: critical engagement with secondary materials. Assessment could run online as 72-hour take home paper if there are current safety concerns.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M702,600 words – students choose one question from a selection of questions published.
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
Written exercise2MCommentary evaluating (and providing feedback on) the close textual analysis of primary reading. Extract released 3 working days before this formative assessment exercise. In English. Duration 1 hour.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The module will be taught in one semester and is assessed both in English and Spanish in consonance with recommendations from UGAF. The formative in-class commentary will train students to engage closely with the text in order to better help them select supporting analysis for their argument in the essay. The in-class secondary reading summative assessment will evaluate critical engagement with and knowledge and understanding of the module's framing theoretical concept of cultural memory. It will also evaluate students’ ability to use theoretical notions to guide and develop their primary readings. The first two summative assessments are also formative in that they provide timely feedback on key skills in the essay writing process. The essay will help students to develop analytical and organisational skills, as they will be asked to engage with argumentative thinking. Students are offered a practice essay in addition to these summative tasks.

Reading Lists