Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)


Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Spanish)


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2022/23 Module Cap 30 Location Durham


  • Spanish Language 2A (SPAN2011) OR Spanish Language 2B (SPAN2111) OR an equivalent qualification to the satisfaction of the Chairman/Chairwoman of the Board of Studies in MLAC or his/her representative.


  • Modern European Languages, Combined Honours and all Joint and 'with' programmes: Spanish Language 4 (SPAN3011). Other: see Chairman/Chairwoman of the Board of Studies in MLAC or his/her representative.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide students with an understanding of the lives of women in Latin America from the colonial era through the nineteenth century.
  • To study how women's subjectivity and aspirations were portrayed in literature as well as other kinds of cultural production by writers and artists in the New World during this period.
  • To trace both the spaces for, and the limits to, self-representation and institutional intellectual collaboration on the part of women writers before the XIX century.
  • To assess how critical approaches that highlight questions of gender in early modern studies may shift critical paradigms that hitherto had been considered normative.


  • The readings will centre on primary sources comprised of period historiography, early modern scientific literature, travel narratives, poetry, letters, confessional convent writing and fiction from the sixteenth century through the end of the eighteenth century.
  • The scope of the body of literature and cultural artefacts studied in the course will be circumscribed to Iberian Latin America, focusing on 4 main regions: the Hispanic Caribbean, Mexico, Peru and Brazil. Materials originally written in Portuguese, Latin, Nahuatl or Quechua will be read in Spanish translation.
  • Original sources will be complemented by a selection of critical readings in English and Spanish on the topic of colonial era women.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • An understanding of the origins and rise of a distinct Latin American cultural and literary production during the early modern period, and the place of our topic specifically within the larger framework of Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian studies.
  • Students will develop a familiarity with relevant theoretical frameworks on gender and sexuality, and will apply the use of these analytical tools in their writing in order to think critically about primary sources.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will enhance their listening and comprehension skills in Spanish. They will also develop greater fluency in the target language through ample peer-to-peer oral communication and in-class interaction with the instructor.
  • Students will develop a sensibility to the wide-ranging linguistic, ethnic and cultural diversity of colonial Latin America. The import of contributions in languages other than Spanish will be highlighted within a pedagogical framework that facilitates cross-cultural contact at the fourth-year level and encourages further independent study.
Key Skills:
  • Writing skills
  • Research and time management skills
  • IT skills (word-processing of assignments, use of an online learning environment, use of online sources of information)

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • A double weekly lecture will deliver key information on the module
  • A weekly seminar with smaller groups will allow for individual presentations and active discussions.
  • Classes are in English.
  • The module is taught in a short-fat format.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 2 Hour 20
Seminars 10 Weekly 1 Hour 10
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essay 1 Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 1 2000-words 100% No
Component: Summative Essay 2 Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 2 3000-words 100% No

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University