SP3MDR-Memory, Dictatorship and Cultural Resistance in the Southern Cone

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Catriona McAllister

Email: c.mcallister@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

In the 1970s, authoritarian rule took hold across Latin America’s Southern Cone. Military dictatorships in Argentina and Chile (and a civic-military dictatorship in Uruguay) were responsible for a period of state violence and human rights abuses that reshaped these countries’ political and cultural landscapes. This module will examine the politics and aesthetics of this crucial period of Latin American history. What was the political context that led to the military dictatorships of the Southern Cone? What cultural resistance took place under dictatorial rule? How have literature and film attempted to come to terms with the trauma of the past? What is the role of ‘official spaces’ in creating and preserving collective memory? By combining historical analysis and a cultural focus, it will explore the multi-faceted attempts to create ‘memory’ in the region through both a political and cultural lens.


  • to enhance students’ understanding of late 20th-century Latin American political history

  • to deepen their understanding of political and cultural responses to trauma and related theories

  • to develop their ability to reflect critically on relationships between culture and politics

  • to develop students’ skills in analysing text and other media

Assessable learning outcomes:

  • an understanding of the Southern Cone dictatorships in relation to broader political and historical factors

  • an understanding of the post-dictatorship period in Chile and Argentina, particularly in relation to discourses of memory and human rights

  • an understanding of key theories in memory studies

  • the ability to situate cultural products in their historical context

  • the ability to relate close analysis to theoretical frameworks

  • the ability to reflect critically on relationships between culture and politics

  • analytical skills when working with literary texts, films and other sources

  • the ability to create critical and coherent written arguments

Additional outcomes:

  • Students will be able to enhance their Spanish language skills by engaging with Latin American films and texts

Outline content:

Topics for study may include:

  • Historical context of the Southern Cone dictatorships

  • Pinochet’s coup in film and literature

  • Artistic practices of cultural resistance

  • Cultural representations of trauma and the task of mourning

  • Narratives of the next generation

  • Memory and the museum

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This module will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. Students will be required to do preparatory reading for each seminar, participate in class discussion and undertake small-group work.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 5 5
Seminars 10 10
Tutorials 2
Guided independent study 84 84
Total hours by term 99.00 99.00 2.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One 2-hour written exam (2 questions) (50%) during Summer Term exam period

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

One 3,000 -3,500 word assignment (essay) (50%) due in week 1 of Summer Term.

One piece of assessment worth no more than 50% of the module mark can be replaced by a report produced after an academic placement. The placement must be agreed in advance by the module convenor; the length of the report is to be equivalent to standard departmental practice for coursework. 

Formative assessment methods:

Class discussions, group blog, opportunity to submit essay plan for comment. Exam revision session 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:

    Module mark of 40%.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re- examination in August in the event of failure in this module and in the degree 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):



    Required text books


    Specialist equipment or materials


    Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear


    Printing and binding


    Computers and devices with a particular specification


    Travel, accommodation and subsistence


    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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