Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024

Module SPAN3301: The Cultures of the Hispanic Caribbean: Texts and Theoretical Frameworks

Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Spanish)

SPAN3301: The Cultures of the Hispanic Caribbean: Texts and Theoretical Frameworks

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2023/24 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.


  • Spanish Language 4 (SPAN3011)

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To explore a range of literary texts and films from Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Diaspora and to examine the way in which they work through colonial and imperialist legacies as well as present realities of structural inequality and neo-imperialism. We will examine in what ways these external realties affect national and personal identity, selfhood and aesthetic form.
  • To develop an advanced critical understanding of postcolonial issues and debates in the Caribbean context through a study of key theoretical texts.
  • To think through the nature of the contributions that literature can make to theoretical and philosophical debates within the postcolonial context.


  • Novels, poems, films and testimonial texts from Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Hispanic Caribbean authors from the US. Theoretical texts from and about the Caribbean. Hispanic Caribbean texts and theories have often been marginalised in the field of postcolonial studies, something that we seek to redress through bringing the two fields into dialogue.
  • The comparative approach to the cultures from the Hispanic Caribbean will also highlight the necessity of examining and questioning the grounding of such an undertaking, given the vast political and economic differences (as well as socio-cultural commonalities) between the islands.
  • We will examine the texts' reimagining of national identity and selfhood in the light of categories such as gender, race, (homo-)sexuality that have been central to the definition of the modern individual.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the course, students will have developed an advanced understanding of how certain key texts work through complex social and political realities.
  • An advanced understanding of a range of critical issues associated with Caribbean postcolonial studies, such as subalterity and the (im)possibility of representation, the construction of national identities, homosexuality and the colonial legacy.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By reading primary and secondary texts in the target language students will enhance their comprehension skills in the language that they are learning and their ability to mediate between it and English.
  • The module will also enhance their skills of critical analysis and contribute to the development of intercultural awareness.
  • An ability to combine organized independent study with effective group work
  • Coherent articulation of ideas and arguments, orally and in writing.
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

  • The module will be taught intensively either in Term I or in Term II on a 'short-fat 'basis.
  • Lectures (twice weekly) will deliver key information about the module
  • A weekly seminar with smaller groups will allow for individual presentations and active discussions
  • This format responds to student feedback gained in SSCC and NSS responses

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

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

Summative Assessment

Component: Commentary Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Commentary 1500 words 100% No
Component: Essay 2 Component Weighting: 70%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3500 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