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Programme & Unit Catalogues

PL20958: Introduction to 20th and 21st century Latin America

[Page last updated: 05 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
Credits: 12 [equivalent to 24 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 240
Level: Intermediate (FHEQ level 5)
Academic Year
Assessment Summary: ES 50%, EX 50%
Assessment Detail:
  • Essay (ES 50%)
  • Examination (EX 50%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Aims: To build on and develop understanding of key structures and institutions of Latin American political life; to evaluate elements of change and continuity from the 1880s. To introduce students to the history of colonial legacy in Latin America, examining the region's contemporary situation on the world stage within the context of colonialisation, anti-colonialism, post-colonialism, and multiculturalism. To study a range of Latin American cultural activities, examining different genres (plays, novels, paintings and audiovisual documents).

Learning Outcomes: On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
* demonstrate familiarity with key political terminology and different interpretations of political events since 1940;
* demonstrate a broadened and consolidated knowledge of contemporary Latin American politics and society;
* discuss topical social, political and economic issues in Latin America.
* have an appreciation of the interplay between history, politics, and culture within Latin America
* have acquired advanced reading, listening, and note-taking skills in Spanish;
* be equipped with advanced theoretical and practical tools to engage with cultural artefacts and political issues which articulate the period;
* be able to mobilize knowledge gained from lectures and readings.

Skills: Skills in critical analysis, conceptual thinking, precision in the use of written and spoken language, exercise of independent judgement, reasoned argument, effective communication in the target language, cultural awareness, transferable skills and the planning/conduct/reporting of non-quantitative research are developed and assessed in this unit. Language skills are also developed in this unit.

Content: The Unit is taught in Spanish. Contents include:
The legacy of colonialism; ISI, modernization, Latin American identity, Magical realism, the debt crisis, and socioeconomic transformation in the 1980s; the influence of the Mexican Revolution; Muralism, Populism, nationalism and the rise of authoritarianism; the impact of the Cuban revolution and the Cold War in Central America; New Latin American Cinema, the opportunities and limits of democratization.

Programme availability:

PL20958 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
  • UHPL-AYB45 : BA(Hons) International Politics and Modern Languages (Spanish) with Year Abroad (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AYB32 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages (French and Spanish) with Year Abroad (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AYB36 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages (German and Spanish) with Year Abroad (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AYB32 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages (Spanish and ab initio French) with Year Abroad (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AYB36 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages (Spanish and ab initio German) with Year Abroad (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AYB41 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages (Spanish and ab initio Italian) with Year Abroad (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AYB42 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages (Spanish and ab initio Mandarin) with Year Abroad (Year 2)
  • UHPL-AYB40 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages (Spanish and ab initio Russian) with Year Abroad (Year 2)
  • UXXX-AYB06 : BSc(Hons) International Management and Modern Languages (Spanish) with Year Abroad (Year 2)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.