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Migrant Stories: Translingual Texts in Contemporary Spain

Module Code: HP322
Module Name: Migrant Stories: Translingual Texts in Contemporary Spain
Module Coordinator: Jennifer Arnold
Term 2 Tuesdays 10.00-12.00 in H0.64
Module Credits: 15

Module Description

How do immigrants in Spain treat issues of language and identity in their artistic production? To what extent is their work influenced by their distinct cultural heritage, and what factors influence their decision to write or produce in the language of their host culture? How does this impact our understanding of what it means to be 'Spanish'?

Spain has historically been a rich melting pot of cultures, influenced by the arrival of migrants from all corners of the globe. Statistics indicate that almost 10% of the current population was born abroad. In this module we will study the diverse cultural production of first-generation immigrants in Spain published since 2015. Drawing on theories in translingualism, migration and diaspora studies, we will examine texts of various genres (novel, graphic novel and poetry) by writers and artists with Chinese, Iraqi, Moroccan and Romanian heritage. These cultural producers can be considered 'exophonic' because they publish their work in the languages of their host communities (Spanish or Catalan). Our discussions will centre on issues of language, gender and race, migration and identity, leading to a broader understanding of the role of immigration in identity construction in Spain today. The course will be taught through weekly lectures and seminars.


1000-1500 word commentary (25%)
3000-3500 word essay (75%)

Primary Reading

  • EL HACHMI, Najat, La filla estrangera (2015; novel), trans. by Rosa María Prats as La hija extranjera.

Morocco - Catalan/Spanish/Tamazigh/Arabic

  • GRUIA, Ioana, Carrusel (2016; poetry).

Romania - Spanish/Romanian

  • HADI SADOUN, Abdul Hadi, Memorias de un perro iraquí (2016; novel).
Iraq - Spanish/Arabic

  • ZHOU Quan, Gazpacho Agridulce (2015; graphic novel).
China (parents) – Spanish/Mandarin