Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024


Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Spanish)


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


  • 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 explore the ways in which 20th and 21st popular culture has addressed the legacies of colonialism in Spanish and Portuguese America
  • To understand why the discussion of colonialism, as multifaceted concept involving diverse practices, is relevant in the study of contemporary cultural production.
  • The case-study approach of the module will allow students to transit from object to theory, progressively building up a solid understanding of key concepts and debates regarding colonialism.


  • This module explores the ways in popular culture of the 20th and 21st century has approached the legacies of Spanish and Portuguese colonialism in America.
  • Students will study how novels, comics, animated television series, and films produced in Latin America, the US and Europe have engaged with origin stories, cultural hybridity, memory and notions of archive, orientalism and occidentalism, and notions of empire.
  • It analyses the implicit and explicit links between past and present that underlie contemporary representations and reimaginings of key historical events and characters of the colonial era, aiming to understand the relevance of the past in current debates on immigration, racism, material and symbolic inequality and diverse forms of marginalization.
  • It discusses the different methodological approaches used in the critical study of popular culture and mass media.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of this module, students will gain:
  • Critical knowledge of a range of 20th and 21st century visual and verbal texts that reimagine early modern Spanish and Portuguese empire building and colonialism in America.
  • An understanding of the implicit or explicit political claims behind contemporary depictions and reimaginings of the colonial era.
  • Familiarity with relevant concepts and theoretical debates on colonialism and imperialism.
  • An in-depth critical understanding of methodological approaches to popular culture and mass media.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students will have developed a critical understanding of the mechanisms by which reconstructions and reinterpretations of the Early modern Spanish and Portuguese America historical period become relevant in 20th and 21st century popular culture and mass media.
Key Skills:
  • By the end of this module, students will have developed:
  • Extended skills in critical analysis, academic writing, oral presentation and debating skills in Spanish language.
  • Guided and independent learning and research 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 1 or in Term 2 on a ‘short-fat’ basis.
  • A double weekly lecture (2 hour-long lecture) will deliver information on historical context and key concepts.
  • A weekly seminar with smaller groups will allow for individual presentations and constructive debate.
  • Classes are in Spanish

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 2,000 words 100% No
Component: Summative Essay 2 Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 2 3,000 words 100% No

Formative Assessment:

Individual student presentations. Student-led group discussions requiring independent reading, research and study.

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