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Unit information: Dictatorships, prisons, and writing(s) in the Portuguese and Spanish-speaking worlds in 2021/22

Unit name Dictatorships, prisons, and writing(s) in the Portuguese and Spanish-speaking worlds
Unit code HISP30070
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Infante
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

There were many dictatorships in Lusophone and Hispanophone countries during the 20th century.

The unit will look in detail at the dictatorships that came to power in Brazil (1964-85), Chile (1973-90), Portugal (1933-74), and Spain (1939-75), and texts that relate closely to these historical moments, texts whose writers were victims of the political regimes and incarcerated.

Students will study and discuss historical and cinematographic texts, which look back to these political systems, and literary texts that were written either in prison, or as memoirs of that experience, or others that mirror the political regimes of the time. Students will have the opportunity to explore a fascinating topic: the reactions in literature to dictatorship and incarceration and how different genres approached these political issues.

It also brings to discussion genres that are currently less studied in HiPLA and SML, such as the diary, the memoir, and the letter.

The aim of this unit;

  • will provide students with a better understanding of the recent past of all countries studied.
  • also with the added value of the insights that students have gained during their year abroad.

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  1. identify the key areas in the study and analysis of 20th-century dictatorships in Portuguese and Spanish-speaking countries (Brazil, Portugal, Chile, and Spain) as appropriate at Level H;
  2. demonstrate a critical understanding of the cultural, socio-political, and historical contexts that permeate dictatorships;
  3. explore critically and effectively several examples of prison writing;
  4. demonstrate skills in textual analysis and critical interpretation, using evidence from primary texts and secondary sources;
  5. present their research and judgements in written forms and styles appropriate to the discipline and to Level H;
  6. identify/select and present pertinent evidence to the subject matter’s topicality.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous sessions and asynchronous activities, including seminars, lectures, and collaborative as well as self-directed learning opportunities supported by tutor consultation

Assessment Information

1 x 1000 word commentary (summative, 25%) Testing ILO's 1-5

1 x 4000 word essay (summative, 75%) Testing ILO's 1-6


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. HISP30070).

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.