You will develop your command of both languages and their use in increasingly sophisticated contexts, and study optional modules drawn from the areas of literature, history, politics, society, film and translation.
Although Spanish and Contemporary Chinese Studies are taught separately you may choose a uniting theme for your final year dissertation.
You must pass year four which is weighted at two thirds of your final degree classification.
Spanish American Narrative and Film
This module looks at key 20th century Spanish American novels and short stories and considers issues such as race, gender, sexuality and the conflict of cultures. You will be trained in using a broad range of tools of narrative and rhetorical analysis so as to engage in debates about literary representation and aesthetics, and will hone your use of these through a programme of research tasks, seminar presentations, group discussions, and written assignments.
Literature and Films, Conflict and Post-Conflicts
Explore how literature and film can give us a deeper insight into the experiences of conflict in 20th and 21st-century Latin American and Iberian societies.
Together we’ll investigate the way in which film and literature have reflected, resisted, interrogated and remembered the socio-political violence and conflicts that have shaped the 20th and 21st centuries so far in Europe (with a particular emphasis on the Iberian Peninsula) and Latin America (including Brazil).
Your Spanish and Portuguese language skills (along with translations or subtitles where needed) will help you adopt a comparative approach focussing on the formal experiments and common preoccupations of filmmakers and writers across different national cultures and historical contexts.
You will discuss questions around a range of themes which may include; authoritarianism, confronting colonial and neo-colonial practices, racial and class inequality, social injustice, gender and sexuality, and living on with the legacies of past traumas.
You can expect to discuss works by writers such as Roberto Bolaño, Ruben Fonseca, Alejandro Zambra, Mariana Enríquez, Clarice Lispector and Liliana Heker. Feature films and documentaries by Alfonso Cuarón, Pedro Almodóvar, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Claudia Llosa, Patricio Guzmán and Susana de Sousa Dias will also be discussed.
Brazilian Slave Society
This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the centrality of the history of slavery in the study of Brazil, and of the significance of Brazilian slavery in both the transatlantic slave systems, and slave societies across the Americas.
In the process, you will learn to recognise and use the different historical approaches, tools and skills employed in the historiography of slavery studies, and in social history in general, and to incorporate them into their own analyses of aspects of Brazilian slave society.
Politics and Literature in Contemporary Spain
You may believe that politics and literature are two distinct fields of study, but this module will help you understand the complex but integral relationship between the two.
We’ll explore the representation of key social and political issues within contemporary Spanish literature. You’ll discover how literature in late capitalism, and contemporary ‘Hispanic’ authors in particular, dealt with issues of language, identity, culture, society, nationhood, gender, class, memory, time and writing.
We also explore debates regarding the consistency of the categories of ‘Spain’ and ‘Spanishness’ when analysing cultural production in contemporary Iberia. This shall lead us to assess the competing discursive practices involved in remapping the notion of Spanish canonical literature at the beginning of the new millennium.
Business and Society in Spain
Taught in Spanish, this module has been designed to give you a thorough insight into Spanish business including the contexts that have influenced its development and the ways it interacts with wider society.
We'll investigate a range of factors that have shaped the Spanish business landscape since the transition to democracy, such as:
- changes within the global and European regulatory environment
- ideological factors
- government action to attract foreign investors, promote Spanish FDI and boost trade with regions such as Latin America, Europe and China.
You'll not only gain a historical understanding, but a contemporary perspective too by looking at case studies of both companies like Inditex (the owners of Zara and other important fashion brands) and important Spanish industries such as tourism. The module also explores some of the less positive impacts and criticisms of Spanish business practices relating to the environment, debt and corruption.
Making the Cuban Revolution: Ideology, Culture and Identity in Cuba since 1959
Free education from cradle to grave has been central to modern Cuba’s cultural and ideological identity. This module will encourage you to explore Cuba’s revolutionary change since 1959, through an examination of its evolving ideologies. You’ll review the critical factors of nationalism, dependency, radicalism and leadership which shaped developments from the original rebellion up to the present day.
Together we’ll discover the role of education policies and the ways in which a ‘cultural revolution’ was fundamental to the socialisation process of, and popular participation in (or dissent from) the Revolution.
This study will help you form conclusions about both the meaning of ‘ideology’ within the context of the Revolution, and the international geo-political significance of Cuba's self-definition and evolution.
Literature and Film under Franco
One of the best ways to truly understand a nation is to study its culture. Together we’ll explore a key moment in 20th century Spanish history, literature and film-making. By looking at the context and circumstances in which filmic and literary texts were produced under Franco you’ll develop awareness of generic conventions in both literature and film and perfect your skills in close textual analysis.
You will gain a solid knowledge of the Franco régime and of the literature and film produced at this time, plus an understanding of the conditions for cultural production under the Dictatorship.
By the end of the module, you will have developed a good command of the concepts and vocabulary required to analyse literary and filmic texts, a capacity for close reading and textual analysis, as well as presentation skills and research and essay-writing skills.
Communicating and Teaching Languages for Undergraduate Ambassadors
In this module students learn to devise and develop projects and teaching methods appropriate to engage the age and ability group they are working with. The module enables students to gain confidence in communicating their subject, develop strong organisational and interpersonal skills, and to understand how to address the needs of individuals.
Dissertation in Hispanic Studies
This module aims to provide you with the training necessary to be able to engage independently, under the guidance of a supervisor, in self-directed research on a topic that the student selects on the basis of an aspect of your Year Abroad experience.
Through a series of one-on-one tutorials, and the submission of a proposal, a literary review, and chapter draft, the student is advised on how to sustain an argument over up to 7,000 words, and how to underpin this argument with appropriate and innovative research.
Depending on your language abilities you will take one of Chinese Mandarin language modules below.
Mandarin Chinese for the Advanced Level
Now that you have gained solid Mandarin language skills, we'll push you to develop them to a more sophisticated level. Not only will you continue to improve your understanding of the language but also the cultures of the Mandarin-speaking world.
With your increased proficiency you'll be able to examine more complex texts covering themes such as leisure activities and lifestyles, personalities, love and relationships, economic developments, language learning, and social customs.
You will be asked to reflect and compare your own culture and the target culture via group discussions and debates to enhance both, your cultural awareness and intercultural competence.
Mandarin Chinese for Proficiency Level
This module includes:
- topics such as careers, job application, contemporary Chinese families and marriages, gift cultures corruption and life for Chinese people today
- vocabulary on the above
- grammar knowledge for the level
- language functions such as expression ideal situations, reasoning for choices and opinions
- understanding of authentic materials on the above topics
- productive skills for the above topics
Mandarin Chinese for Research
This module will focus mainly on:
- reading skills for understanding research-relevant texts
- writing skills for presenting academic ideas and debating in such contexts
- understanding spoken Mandarin Chinese for academic contexts and about social and cultural issues
- communication in spoken Mandarin Chinese for such contexts
China in Global Politics
China, as the new and upcoming superpower, has become a focal point of global attention. This module introduces you to the major topics in China’s interaction with the evolution of China’s foreign policy since 1949 as well as its role in the international political economy.
The module will explore how domestic politics and other developments have contributed, on the one hand, to the rise of China as a great power of the first league and to the emergence of a 19th-century European-type of nationalism, on the other.
Much of the module will be an examination of China's political and economic relations with major powers and regions such as the US, Asia, the EU, the UK, Russia and Africa, the responses towards China from these powers and regions, and major issues in their relations. This module will also survey China's role in critical global issue(s) as well as the global order and governance.
China in the Media: A Clash of Narratives
After assuming his role as General Secretary in 2013 Xi Jinping stated in a meeting on propaganda and ideology that the task ahead was to "tell China’s story well, and properly disseminate China’s voice." It marked the beginning of an intensified global propaganda campaign. In stark contrast, recent years have also witnessed an intensification of western media reporting upon topics that are typically considered taboo in the Chinese domestic discourse.
This module will juxtapose 'official' and 'unofficial' narratives about China. Drawing on a wide range of domestic and international media sources you will go beyond the news headlines and learn to put media reports in their historical, political, social, and cultural contexts.
You will learn how to synthesize insights gained from official Chinese media, unofficial and more independent Chinese sources as well as international media reports about China. Typically, you’ll explore foreign affairs and international relations; technology and business; cultural and creative industries, as well as social policy issues ranging from health, education to social security.