The primary focus of Hispanic Studies at Durham is the vibrant cultural output of Spain and Latin America. Research-active staff in the Department are internationally recognised experts in literature, film, and visual culture from the Middle Ages to the present. These interests feed into a range of research-led undergraduate modules that explore a dazzling variety of cultural forms and their historical and intellectual contexts, with topics such as:
- avant-garde imaginations in Atlantic literature and culture
- cultural identities in Latin American painting, photography, and film
- early modern Latin American medical and scientific writing
- Golden Age theatre studies, selfhood, and subjectivity
- memories of the civil war in Francoist and post-Francoist Spain
- music, literature, and popular culture in Latin America
- myth and history in medieval Spanish chronicles and epic poems
- national and gender identities in contemporary Spanish cinema
- postcolonial theory, subalternity, feminism, and gender studies in the Caribbean
- sex, the body, and identity in early Spanish literature and art
Work in these areas will serve as vital preparation for the final-year Dissertation which, as the most important aspect of the Durham student experience, aims to provide students with an opportunity to engage at the highest intellectual level with the ethos of research-led learning that you will encounter at levels I and II. This extended piece of work will allow you to adopt a variety of critical approaches and to explore questions of cultural importance to Spain and Latin America, looking at literary, filmic, and/or artistic production across a range of subjects and periods.
Spanish Language courses offered by the Department can be started at two levels: ab initio (including those who have a GCSE in Spanish) and post-A Level. Entrants with AS Level Spanish normally join the 2nd year of the ab initio stream. These modules aim to equip students with a sound understanding of how the language works, the confidence to use it effectively in a wide range of situations, and an awareness of the diversity of its cultural functions. Following the Year Abroad, which offers an exciting range of opportunities for study or employment in Spain and Latin America – including Erasmus exchanges in Spain with the universities of Alcalá de Henares, Barcelona (Pompeu Fabra), Cádiz, Granada, Salamanca, Santiago de Compostela, and Vigo – the two streams are fully merged at final year. As a result of the continuing support of the Institut Ramon Llull, we are also able to offer the opportunity to study Catalan at second and final year.
At postgraduate level, a variety of Spanish and Latin American topics can be studied in the context of Research Degrees supervised by specialist research-active members of staff, or as part of the School’s taught programmes in Culture & Difference, Medieval & Early Modern Studies, and Translation.
In RAE 2008, 90% of research submitted by the University was assessed as being at least of International Quality (2* and above) in terms of originality, significance, and rigour. Of the research assessed from Hispanic Studies, 65% was recognised as Internationally Excellent or World Leading (3* and 4*). This placed the Department 4th in a ranking of UK institutions based on the same criteria.
The Department’s outstanding research performance has contributed to comparably high rankings in university guides. The Iberian Languages table in the Complete University Guide 2014 has put Durham in 1st place as the top ranked Iberian Languages department in the United Kingdom. This table combines a research assessment score with measures of student satisfaction (from the National Student Survey), entry standards (average UCAS tariff), and graduate prospects (percentage of graduates going into graduate-level employment or further study).
University of Durham
Durham DH1 3JT
Tel: +44 (0)191 334 3420
Fax: +44 (0)191 334 3421
The Complete University Guide 2014
The Complete University Guide 2014: Iberian Languages