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Unit information: Oceanic Images in Modern Chilean Culture in 2021/22

Unit name Oceanic Images in Modern Chilean Culture
Unit code HISP30084
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Paul Merchant
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

The sea is a constant but unsettling presence in Chilean culture. This unit explores how writers and artists have turned towards the Pacific Ocean in order to represent people and ideas that have been marginalised by conventional narratives about Chilean modernity. Inspired by the sea’s restlessness, avant-garde artists from Vicente Huidobro to Raúl Zurita and Cecilia Vicuña challenge the boundaries between aesthetic forms. Images of the declining fortunes of the port of Valparaíso in the middle of the 20th century reflect on the people excluded from Chile’s economic development. Contemporary cinema, meanwhile, broaches issues from the destruction wrought by tsunamis to the eradication of seafaring indigenous peoples.

Through close analysis of a range of media, students will reflect on the differing ways in which artworks relate to and contest ideas about national identity, political dissidence, transnational exchange, and the place of humanity in the natural world. Critical frameworks such as ecocriticism will be brought into contact with historical contexts, from the legacy of the War of the Pacific (1879-83) to the desire to forge new connections globally after Pinochet’s dictatorship.

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  1. demonstrate an advanced understanding of key social, political, and environmental issues in modern Chile;
  2. formulate independent judgements at a high level of complexity, both orally and in writing;
  3. integrate theoretical and critical scholarship from the relevant fields of study into their thinking;
  4. apply sophisticated visual and textual analytical skills when engaging with a wide range of media, including film, poetry, and visual art;
  5. collaborate effectively in groups.

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 group presentation (25%). Testing ILOs 1-5.

1 x 4000-word essay (75%). Testing 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. HISP30084).

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.