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From Dictatorship to Democracy: Comparative Perspectives on Contemporary Spain and Portugal

Module Code: HP309
Module Name: From Dictatorship to Democracy: Comparative Perspectives on Contemporary Spain and Portugal
Module Coordinator: Professor Alison Ribeiro de Menezes
Not Running 2018-19
Module Credits: 15

Module Description

How does a country move from a long dictatorship to a democracy? What legacies does this leave behind for later generations? In this module we will explore briefly the historial and political context of Spain and Portugual under dictatorship, and then concentrate on how writers and film directors responded to the repressive Franco and Salazar Regimes. Finally, we will discuss how each country envisaged democracy.

The module takes a comparative approach to literary and film texts, reading them in their socio-political context. It examines literary resistance and subversion under the later years of the Franco and Salazar dictatorships, followed by contemporary literary responses to the establishment and consolidation of democracy. Our focus will be on narrative modes of representing history and of subverting socio-political realities. Students should gain a solid understanding of modern Spain and Portugal, and of key developments in these nation’s narrative traditions, drawing on complementary cinematic sources to broaden the range of cultural reference. Students are encouraged to engage in close textual readings in order to understand how fictional and historical narratives may intersect in different media, and how cultural and intertextual echoes may function contextually as strategies for subverting prevailing socio-political norms.
Please note: The primary texts are available, or will be made available where indicated, in English translation. Students of Spanish are expected to read in Spanish; students of Portuguese are expected to read in Portuguese; students of both languages will have an opportunity to engage in comparative study through both of them! However, students may study the texts of a langauge they do not speak in English translation.
Further information, weekly reading/viewing schedules, seminar questions and bibliography will be provided through the University's Moodle platform. If you have particular queries, do please feel free to email me.

Primary Texts:


Juan Goytisolo, Señas de identidad

José Cardoso Pires, Balada da Praia dos Cães/Ballad of Dogs' Beach [translation provided]

Carmen Martín Gaite, El cuarto de atrás/The Back Room

Lídia Jorge, A Costa dos Murmúrios/The Murmuring Coast

José Saramago, Ensaio Sobre a Cegueira/Blindness

Films (provided in Moodle):

Carlos Saura, La caza/The Hunt

Víctor Erice, El espíritu de la colmena/Spirit of the Beehive

Assessment Method:

One 4,500-word essay
Deadline for the academic year 2016-17: 12 noon on Friday, week 1, term 2 (13 January 2017)
Further details on essay maximum word-lengths, footnoting/endnoting, submission requirements, and procedures for requesting extensions can be found here.
Please note that this is an Honours Level module.