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Module LXM-4036:
Monsters of Spain

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

30 Credits or 15 ECTS Credits

Organiser: Dr David Miranda-Barreiro

Overall aims and purpose

  1. To investigate different meanings that the monster has had in Spanish culture.
  2. To introduce students to a variety of Spanish cultural products (literature, film and performance), which revolve around the presence of ghosts and monsters.
  3. To enhance a deeper understanding of Spanish history through the symbolical status that ghosts and monsters have had in Spanish culture.
  4. To develop an understanding of the presence of ghosts and monsters in the culture of peripheral Iberian nations (Galicia and Catalonia) and how they have contributed to shaping their national identity.
  5. To introduce students to key theories based on notions of spectrality and monstrosity (e.g Jacques Derrida's 'hauntology').
  6. To develop independent study skills and the presentation of arguments in essays supported by critical theory.

Course content

Spanish culture is populated by ghosts and monsters, used by artists, writers and filmmakers as expressions of trauma, ‘otherness’ and fascination with the unknown. Drawing on Jacques Derrida’s influential work Spectres of Marx (1994), Jo Labanyi has suggested that modern Spanish culture can in fact be read as a ‘one big ghost story’ (2002). One of the aspects of Spanish culture analysed by Labanyi is the effect of the Spanish Civil war and the subsequent Francoist dictatorship in the creation of an official history that neglected the memory of the ‘losers’ of the war, therefore turning them into ‘ghosts’ that still ‘haunt’ Spanish society. In a similar vein, other scholars, such as José Colmeiro (2011) and Ann Davies (2014) have traced the presence of ghosts and monsters in Spanish cinema, as expression of a repressed traumatic memory that comes back symbolising an unresolved (often historical) conflict. Furthermore, monsters and spectral creatures have been used in Spanish culture to express an attraction to mystery and death, also deforming reality in order to create a form of social criticism.

Lectures 1 – Theories of the Monster (1) 2 – Theories of the Monster (2) 3- Monstrosity and Performance 4 - Monsters of the Civil War in Spanish Cinema 5 - Abject Bodies in Catalan Literature: Mercè Rodoreda's Death in Spring (1986) 6 - The Werewolf in Galician Culture

Assessment Criteria

excellent

A- - A*: For the award of the highest grade, students should demonstrate a detailed comprehension of the various themes and debates studied, with a nuanced understanding of the role played by ghosts and monsters in Spanish culture, and the ability to apply critical theory and analyse and evaluate cultural products thoroughly. Students will also demonstrate originality in their work, as well as full competence concerning accepted academic conventions.

threshold

C- - C+: For the award of credit, students should demonstrate a satisfactory comprehension of the various themes and debates studied, showing a basic understanding of the role played by ghosts and monsters in Spanish culture, and a limited ability to apply critical theory and analyse and evaluate cultural products. Students will also show an awareness of accepted academic conventions.

good

B- - B+: For the award of higher grades, students should demonstrate a solid comprehension of the various themes and debates studied, showing a clear understanding of the role played by ghosts and monsters in Spanish culture, and the ability to apply critical theory and analyse and evaluate cultural products. Students will also show familiarity with accepted academic conventions.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of Spanish history and culture based on the symbolical role played by ghosts and monsters.

  2. Demonstrate an ability to engage critically with a variety of media (literature, film and painting) focusing on the role played by ghosts and monsters as expression of mystery, trauma, social denounciation and national identity.

  3. Demonstrate an awareness of a variety of key theories based on notions of spectrality and monstrosity.

  4. Demonstrate an ability to produce a critical analysis of Spanish cultural products with regards to the symbolical role played by ghosts and monsters.

  5. Demonstrate an awareness of the role played by monstrosity and spectrality in Galician and Catalan culture.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Essay 100

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study 288
Lecture

2hrs lectures (6 sessions per semester, fortnightly) also including class discussion.

12

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • The ability to critically understand, analyse and interpret the main events shaping Spanish history and culture (benchmark statement 5.7, 5.10 and 5.11)
  • The ability to critically understand Spanish and Hispanic culture and its relationship to other cultures. (Benchmark statement 5.7)
  • The ability to critically understand a specific aspect of Spanish or Latin American culture. (Benchmark statement 5.7, 5.10)
  • The ability to analyse Spanish-language texts (incl. films, visual materials and ideas) and place them in a wider historical-political and socio-cultural context. (Benchmark statement 5.4, 5.7, and 5.11)
  • The ability to critically understand the impact and effects of the Civil War and the Francoist dictatorship in Spanish contemporary society (Benchmark statement 5.7)
  • The ability to critically understand the on-going debates about the role played by memory and forgetting in Spanish contemporary history (Benchmark statement 5.7)
  • The ability to analyse, interpret and historically contextualise a range of Spanish, Galician and Catalan films using different forms of critical analysis (cultural, historical, socio-political and literary). (Benchmark statement 5.7, 5.10 and 5.14)
  • The ability to critically understand the on-going debates about the role played by memory and forgetting in Spanish contemporary history (Benchmark statement 5.7)

• The ability to critically understand, analyse and interpret the main events shaping Spanish history and culture (benchmark statement 5.7, 5.10 and 5.11) • The ability to critically understand Spanish and Hispanic culture and its relationship to other cultures. (Benchmark statement 5.7)

Resources

Resource implications for students

Most texts will be available from the library. Some extra texts might be provided by the lecturers in the form of dossiers. Films will be available from SMLC DVD library or supplied by the lecturers.

Talis Reading list

http://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/lxm-4036.html

Reading list

Davies, Ann, Deborah Shaw and Dolores Tierney (eds.), The Transnational Fantasies of Guillermo del Toro (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

Derrida, Jacques, Spectres of Marx, the State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning & the New International (New York: Routledge 1994)

Labanyi, Joe (ed), Constructing Identity in Contemporary Spain: Theoretical Debates and Cultural Practice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)

Lázaro-Reboll, Antonio, Spanish Horror Film (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012).

Rábade Villar, María do Cebreiro, Fogar impronunciable: poesía e pantasma (Vigo: Galaxia, 2011).

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: