SP2CR-Culture & Revolution in Modern Latin America

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites: SP1L3 Advanced Spanish Language 1 or SP1L2 Intermediate Spanish Language or SP1L1 Beginners Spanish Language
Non-modular pre-requisites: Pass in SP1L3, SP1L2, SP1L1 or equivalent
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Par Kumaraswami

Email: p.kumaraswami@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
The revolutions of the twentieth-century in Latin America were not only political projects; they also promoted radical changes at socio-cultural levels, with new cultural forms, ideas and policies evolving in particular contexts as a part of a wider project of nation-building through revolution. Within this context of broad change, these revolutions also raised many important questions about culture: Why was culture so important to political change? How could revolutionary culture be defined and what was its role in the revolutionary project? For whom was this culture intended, and what socio-cultural policies and initiatives (in literacy, education and cultural production) were developed in order to foster the development of culture within the revolutionary context? Were these revolutionary projects inclusive or did they exclude sectors of the population from participation in culture? How have these projects been refashioned in the twenty-first century? By exploring key moments of revolution and cultural policy in practice through the revolutions of Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, and the ALBA alliance, as represented in prose, poetry, documentary film from these contexts, this course unit develops an understanding of the various interactions and relationships between radical political change and culture in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Finally, it examines whether a coherent tradition and trajectory of culture and revolution can be discerned from these case studies, which can then be extended into the twenty-first century.

•to deepen the students’ knowledge of the contemporary Spanish language;
•to enhance their understanding not only of modern and contemporary cultures and cultural policies in Latin America, but also of the roots and foundations of these in earlier periods;
•to train them to handle complex materials with focus, precision and perspective;
•to attune them to the different rationales behind various media representations of political change in Latin America.

Assessable learning outcomes:
•An understanding of the key aspects and practices of revolution and culture in twentieth and twenty-first-century Latin America, and the ability to place these within their specific social and historical contexts.
•An understanding of the many ways in which culture and political change are linked, and the ability to develop a broad theoretical framework within which to analyse and understand other examples of cultural products of revolution.
•The ability to apply these broader notions to contemporary notions of revolution in Latin America (for example, Venezuela, Bolivia, the Zapatista movement in Mexico).
•The ability to analyse the interactions of cultural policy and practice in a variety of contexts.
•The ability to analyse the production and reception of meaning in a range of cultural practices.
•The ability to combine theories, policies and practices I order to form an integrated perspective.
•The ability to work effectively in collaboration with other students, and sustain written and oral arguments coherently.
•The ability to synthesize information.
•The ability to read and interpret critically.
•Independent research skills (library, electronic databases, internet materials).
•Analytical skills based on working with primary and secondary sources.

Additional outcomes:
Knowledge and skills gained from extra-curricular resources, such as guest speakers and cultural excursions.

Outline content:

Texts studied may include:

  • Mariano Azuela, Los de abajo (extracts)

  • Gioconda Belli, El país bajo mi piel (extracts)

  • Fidel Castro, ‘Palabras a los intelectuales’

  • Hugo Chavez Frías, Cuentos del arañero (extracts)

  • Octavio Cortázar (dir.) Por primera vez

  • Nicolás Guillén, selected poems

  • Fernando Pérez (dir.), Suite Habana

  • Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (extracts)

Selected websites and visual resources as indicated in programme

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures and seminars

Group work

Use of office hours and additional individual meetings for guidance and feedback

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 15
Seminars 15
Tutorials 3 2
Guided independent study 165
Total hours by term 198.00 2.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 40
Report 20
Oral assessment and presentation 10
Class test administered by School 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

  • Oral presentation: group presentation (5-7 minutes per person) Spring Term (10% overall grade)

  • Report (book review, 750 words): to be submitted in Week 5 of Spring Term (20% overall grade)

  • Essay: 2500 words, to be submitted in Week 1 of Summer Term (40% overall grade)

  • Class test: 1.5 hours, at beginning of Summer Term (30% overall grade)

Formative assessment methods:

Draft essay plan, submitted for informal written and oral feedback in advance of submission of summative essay. Revision session for examination in Summer Term

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re- assessment in August in the event of failure in this module and in Part 2 as a whole. Coursework bearing a confirmed mark of 40% or more can be carried forward; all other coursework to be resubmitted by 12 NOON on the third Friday of August or, if the University is closed, by 12 NOON on the first working day thereafter.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):


    Last updated: 2 August 2018


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