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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SPPO3700 Sao Paulo, Lisboa, Maputo: Urban Realities and Representations in the Portuguese Speaking World

20 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Ines Cordeiro da Silva Dias

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

Pre-requisite qualifications

SPPO2090/2091 or equivalent level of linguistic competence in Portuguese Language (Higher Intermediate-Advanced)

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The cities of the Portuguese-speaking world show the vibrancy and diversity of this multipolar linguistic space but also ongoing legacies of class inequality, gender bias and racial discrimination. This module will examine urban cultures, histories and societies that are central to the imagination of the contemporary Portuguese-speaking world using selected photographic, filmic and literary texts. Ultimately the course aims to endow students with an understanding of the key issues that continue to shape key Portuguese-speaking cities as they continue to develop in the twenty-first century.


This module aims to acquaint students with the urban processes that are shaping the Portuguese-speaking world today. Using selected filmic, photographic and literary texts, students will develop a situated, in-depth understanding of patterns of social, economic and political development in key Portuguese-speaking cities in South America, Europe and Africa.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1) Identify and analyse key Portuguese-speaking urban spaces in the Europe, Latin America and Africa, understand commonalities and divergences in their historical, cultural and political situations.
2) Apply a variety of methods of critical analysis and close reading to photographic, filmic and literary works
3) Develop and defend critical interpretations in written and oral form.

Skills outcomes
1. To develop a knowledge of the broad field of urban studies (including key concepts of marginality/centrality, private/public space, social/physical environment, mainstream/subculture, migration/identity) and skills of close-reading and interpretation of urban photographic, filmic and literary texts (which involves thinking critically about the texts, detecting patterns within them, drawing reasoned interpretations and seeing issues from a variety of perspectives)
2. To build on existing essay-writing skills (which involves analysing results of point 1, linking these insights to contextual factors, applying theoretical ideas and glossing and challenging secondary critical opinion in the construction of logically reasoned responses to terms of essay question, appropriate use of scholarly language and obeying referencing conventions.)
3. To foster skills regarding the translation of creative writing and the close reading needed in order successfully to discharge this task.


After an introduction to urban space across the Portuguese-speaking world, the sessions will focus on key themes in urban studies, approaches to studying cities through film, photography and literature, overviews of the Lusophone spaces studied (which may vary from session to session), and detailed analysis of the set reading.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

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

Private study

Students are expected to undertake 180 hours of private study and independent learning. This will involve: familiarisation with primary texts, key theoretical readings and secondary criticism; finding and consulting set texts in the library; reflecting on and developing study skills, including relevant courses at the library; seeking and receiving feedback on essay plans and formative exercises and essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

2 x 10 min class unassessed presentation (Semester 1 and Semester 2)
2,000 word literature review (week 2, semester 2)
500 word essay plan (week 8, semester 2)

The above plan would be annotated and returned to students as preparation for summative assessment. Formative feedback would also be given after the first assignment was marked. Feedback would be given both in class and by appointment during office hours.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000 words60.00
Literature Review2000 words40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 17/08/2020


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