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Unit information: Contemporary Latin American History in 2015/16

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Unit name Contemporary Latin American History
Unit code HISP30069
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Brown
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 examines the principal challenges faced by Latin American states at the beginning of the twenty-first century: Climate Change, Social Inequality, Drug Trafficking and the development of Democracy. Students will explore the ways in which these subjects affect the different Latin American states, adopting a comparative framework in all cases. We will employ a range of primary sources to assist our analysis of the four main themes: from newspapers and online media, novels and films, through to the speeches of politicians, institutional documents, political manifestos and economic statistics.


  • To introduce students to a significant body of knowledge of a complexity appropriate to final year level. The content matter will normally include one or more of the following: literature; social, cultural or political history; linguistics; cultural studies; film, television or other media.
  • To facilitate students’ engagement with a body of literature, including secondary literature, texts, including in non-print media, primary sources and ideas as a basis for their own analysis and development. Normally many or most of these sources will be in a language other than English and will enhance the development of their linguistic skills.
  • To develop further skills of synthesis, analysis and independent research, building on the skills acquired in units at level I.
  • To equip students with the skills to undertake postgraduate study in a relevant field.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful students will:

  1. be knowledgable about a significant cultural, historical or linguistic subject related to the language they are studying;
  2. will have advanced skills in the selection and synthesis of relevant material;
  3. be able to evaluate and analyse relevant material from a significant body of source materials, usually in a foreign language, at an advanced level;
  4. be able to respond to questions or problems by presenting their independent judgements in an appropriate style and at an advanced level of complexity.

Teaching Information

Lectures and seminars, use of e-resources through blackboard, Latin American newspapers online, films in the Multimedia Centre.

Assessment Information

Two 3000 word essays equality weighted 50/50, testing ILO's 1-4.

Reading and References

All students should read Alexander Dawson, Latin America: A New Interpretation (2011) and

John Charles Chasteen, Born in Blood and Fire (2001). Other more detailed reading lists will be made available tailored to the four distinct areas of subject material.