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Unit information: Nation and Empire in Writing and Visual Culture in Spain (1874-Present) in 2021/22

Unit name Nation and Empire in Writing and Visual Culture in Spain (1874-Present)
Unit code HISP30100
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Bolorinos Allard
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit explores how the end of the Spanish American empire in 1898 and the Spanish colonisation of Morocco in the early twentieth century profoundly shaped the ways in which the nation was imagined in the cultural movements and ideologies that emerged in twentieth-century Spain. It also traces how the colonial past continues to impact the relationship between diverse cultures within the Iberian Peninsula today.

Through close analysis of key texts in Peninsular literature and intellectual thought as well as visual art, monuments, and media sources, students will reflect on the ways in which national identity is narrated (and challenged) in the context of Spain’s colonial and post-colonial relationships with Latin America and Africa and the relationship between different cultures within the Iberian Peninsula. The unit will trace how these narratives of identity fit within contemporary cultural movements such as regeneracionismo, modernismo, and africanismo, as well as Spanish fascism and Catalan nationalism. Secondary readings will introduce students to interdisciplinary scholarship on nationalist and colonialist discourses, memory, and identity beyond the context of Spain, equipping them to engage ethically in broad debates around these issues. Summative assignments are designed to help students develop transferable skills in the critical consumption of information, independent research, argumentation, and public presentation.

The unit therefore aims to:

  • Introduce students to a significant body of knowledge regarding Spanish cultural history, and of a complexity appropriate to final-year level (H/6).
  • Introduce students to the sources, methods, and concepts that underpin current approaches in this broad field.
  • To develop further skills of synthesis, analysis and independent research, building on the skills acquired in units at level I/5.
  • To equip students with the skills to undertake postgraduate study in the field.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit students will be able to:

1) Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of Spanish culture during the period under study;

2) Connect this knowledge to broader cross-cultural debates about the impact of colonialism on contemporary societies and engage in dialogue around these issues;

3) Formulate a critical, individual response (in written and oral form) to visual and textual material;

4) Synthesise and evaluate theoretical and critical scholarship from the relevant fields of study into their thinking, appropriate to level H;

5) Develop effective presentation skills.

Teaching Information

Miguel de Unamuno, En torno al casticismo (1895)

Joan Maragall, ‘Oda a Espanya’ (1898) (poem in Spanish translation)

Jose Ortega y Gasset, España invertebrada (1921)

Juan Goytisolo, La reivindicación de don Julián (1970), excerpts

Najat El Hachmi, Yo también soy catalana (2004) and El último patriarca (2008), exerpts from Spanish translations

Assessment Information

1x group presentation (25%). [ILOs 1-5]

1x 4000-word essay (75%). [ILOs 1-4]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. HISP30100).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.