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2018/19 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SPPO3035 From Bolívar to Chávez: Revolutionary Icons in Contemporary Latin American Culture

20 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Rebecca Jarman

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2018/19

Pre-requisite qualifications

Students should have successfully completed SPPO2010 or SPPO2011, or have an equivalent level of Spanish.


SPPO2010Practical Lang Skill Spanish 2
SPPO2011Pract Lang Skills in Spanish 2

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

'From Bolívar to Chávez: Revolutionary Icons in Contemporary Latin American Culture' explores representations of revolutionary figures in film, visual art and literature. Using the lens of cultural studies, this module examines the lives, ideas and legacies of historical figures such Simón Bolívar, Eva Perón, Che Guevara, and Hugo Chávez, with a view to addressing questions of cultural politics, social change and the fetishization of historical figures in Latin America from the nineteenth century until the present. The idea of 'revolution' has informed a range of political movements across the ideological spectrum in Latin America, including independence from Spain, Cuban communism, Argentine populism, armed struggles in the Andes and the 'pink wave' of socialist governments. These specific case studies are designed to foment the analysis of 'revolution' in Marxist theory and its different implementations throughout history and across the continent, including the institutionalisation of the revolutionary impulse and its failure to address longstanding social issues. With its contemporary focus, this module also engages with cultural zeitgeists emerging from Latin America, such as detective fiction, popular movies and music, animated YouTube series, graphic design, and the new historical novel. Addressing issues of class, race, sex, nationalism and gender, the texts under consideration invite discussion surrounding the politics of contemporary Latin American culture and the political power of the image. Students will also be called on to reflect how the icons’ heritage plays out on the political platforms of today.


On completion of this module, students should:
1. Have displayed the aptitude and confidence to work in the preparation and presentation of an icon, text, or political movement
2. Have developed their analytical skills while examining and comparing primary sources placed in historical context
3. Be able to demonstrate capacity for critical thought and the skills necessary to exercise this in sustained debate in lectures and seminars
4. Be able to produce a sophisticated and well-organised comparative essay, using knowledge acquired in class and through independent reading, and addressing issues with reference to their specific contexts
5. Be able to draw evidence from a wide range of sources in support of a clear, well-structured and convincing argument

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should:
1. Be familiar with the theoretical meanings of revolution and its historic importance across different regions of Latin America, while distinguishing between revolution in theory and in practice
2. Be familiar with the way images and icons can acquire different meanings in popular Latin American culture, while dealing critically with the ideological agendas of artists, directors and authors
3. Be able to describe and analyse different periods of socio-political development in history and culture with reference to key case studies
4. Be able to analyse historical and cultural texts against the grain of their accepted or pre-determined significance
5. Be sensitive to the links between political identities, spectacles, and power, and how these are relevant in twenty-first century Latin America

Skills outcomes
Specific skills include the ability:
1) To read and understand historical and literary texts in Spanish and/or Portuguese


The syllabus will typically include the following topics:

1. Introduction: Revolution and Culture in Latin America
2. Toussaint Louverture and the ‘Black Republic’
3. Simon Bolívar and Dreams of Gran Colombia
4. José Martí and Anti-Imperialism in Cuba
5. Pancho Villa and the Mexican Revolution
6. Evita Perón: Womanhood, Religion and Politics in Argentina
7. Che Guevara, Poster Boy of Communist Cuba
8. Abimael Guzmán and the Peruvian Armed Struggle
9. Rigoberta Menchú, and Liberation Theology in Central America
10. Hugo Chávez and the Pink Tide in the New Millennium

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- Reading course materials/preparation for seminars: 80 hours
- Preparation for literature review: 20 hours
- Preparation for poster: 30 hours
- Preparation and writing of essay: 50 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Informal feedback and monitoring in seminars
Formal feedback on literature review, poster and essay

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Literature Review1500 words20.00
Poster Presentation20 minutes plus questions30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Should any student or group of students fail the verbal or poster presentation they will be given an alternative form of assessment (an essay or series of short answer questions) to complete individually by way of resit.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 24/04/2018


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