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Understanding Spanish-speaking Cultures and Societies - LAN00063C

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Elia Lorena Lopez Ramirez
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

The module will engage students in the study and discussion of selected topics of current debate, relevant to the Spanish-speaking world.

It will expand students’ knowledge and understanding of key socio-political issues and will develop their academic communication skills in Spanish.

The module will lay the groundwork for more advanced study of Spanish language and cultures modules in year 2 and in the final year.

The medium of instruction and assessment is Spanish.

Related modules

Spanish Language and Cultures: Upper intermediate or equivalent level of proficiency.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

This module aims at expanding knowledge, skills and strategies necessary to effectively and accurately communicate in Spanish, and to further develop a plurilingual and pluricultural communicative competence (i.e. students’ ability to use their own linguistic repertoire for effective communication).

The module is intended to enable students to develop their knowledge of academic writing conventions as well as their independent critical thinking, research, written, and presentation skills.

This module seeks to equip students with the knowledge and academic skills to understand and analyse key issues of the Spanish-speaking world, with a particular focus on marginalised groups in Latin America and the challenges they face in a constantly evolving and globalised context.

Module learning outcomes

Upon satisfactory completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • understand the main points and arguments of written, audiovisual and digital documents related to historical, cultural and social aspects of Spanish-speaking countries

  • interpret and explain a document or event in Spanish and relate it to documents or events from cultures with which they are familiar (including their own)

  • discuss contemporary written and aural authentic materials and have some understanding of the social, cultural and institutional references they contain

  • research, synthesise and present on a range of topics studied in the module, expanding and supporting (complex) ideas with subsidiary points and relevant examples

  • interact with an appropriate degree of fluency and spontaneity

  • express views effectively and coherently and use the language accurately and effectively on a range of topics

  • communicate with grammatical control.

Module content

This module will cover a number of social, cultural and political issues affecting vulnerable groups such as indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities facing exclusion and marginalisation in Latin America. The role that colonialism played in Latin America in shaping the current cultural and social dynamics and challenges faced today by marginalised groups will be studied.

The wider context, such as the influence of globalisation, patterns of migration and the fast economic growth and development in the region, are drawn into the discussion to provide contextualization and further understanding.

Typical topics of study include:

  • migration patterns

  • Indigenous Movements, collective action, and social media

  • Indigenous peoples and human rights

  • the American Dream

  • Latinisation of the US

  • the ways in which Latinos/as are increasingly influencing arts and culture in the USA

  • the role of protest as a tool for social change

Selected grammar topics will also form part of the module content in the form of exercises, revision, and independent study.

Students will engage, individually and/or in groups, in communicative activities focussing on three modes of communication:

1) reception activities (oral, audio-video and reading comprehension);

2) production activities (oral and written production);

3) interaction (oral, written and online interaction).

Students will, independently and/or with their peers, complete a range of activities (in class and/or asynchronously online).

Regular oral and written contributions will develop students’ communicative and academic skills further and will foster their ability to work in teams.


Task Length % of module mark
Open paper
N/A 60
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Oral exam : Oral exam
0.17 hours 40

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Open paper
N/A 60
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Oral exam : Oral exam
0.17 hours 40

Module feedback

Students’ performance will be monitored through formative work throughout the semester and assessed via end of semester exams.

Formative assessment and feedback

  • Formative tasks done individually and/or in groups throughout the module

  • Feedback will include written comments for written formative work

  • Oral feedback during class discussions.

Summative assessment and feedback

Students will be given written feedback and marks for their work, in line with the University’s marking and feedback turnaround policy.

Indicative reading

Course materials and guided readings will be provided by the module convenor(s) in class and/or via the VLE at the start of the semester.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.