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HP105-30 Icons of the Hispanic World

Academic year
School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Undergraduate Level 1
Module leader
Rich Rabone
Credit value
Module duration
20 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

HP105 is a chance to engage with major figures and myths from across the Hispanic world, offering an introduction to the kinds of iconic figures who have had a significant impact on Hispanic culture, and building a platform for further study in future years. The icons we explore may vary from year to year, but will be selected as a reflection of the profound diversity of the Hispanic world, allowing you to study influential voices from a range of different countries and periods. Our current selection ranges from Renaissance lovers and tricksters to Latin American revolutionaries, taking in cultural heavyweights from Che Guevara to Cervantes. Throughout the module, we place particular emphasis on developing skills of analysis and argumentation, through the close reading of primary texts and films which centre on iconic figures and authors such as these.

Module web page

Module aims

The aim of this module is to introduce students to major cultural landmarks from across the temporal, geographical, and disciplinary range covered within Hispanic Studies. It will allow students to engage with iconic figures at the heart of the Hispanic cultural imaginary, and with canonical authors whose work has been influential in a Hispanic context and beyond. In all cases, emphasis will be placed on the close analysis of primary material, in order (i) to foster the critical skills of literary and visual analysis; (ii) to develop students’ linguistic abilities alongside work done in language modules; (iii) to increase students’ awareness of the range and diversity of Hispanic culture.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Section 1: Latin American Icons - Guevara, Menchú, Malinche
This section provides an introduction to Latin American Studies via three powerful but ambivalent figures of Latin American history. The module begins with Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, the key figure in the 1959 Cuban revolution, and in the emancipation of several Latin American countries during the 1960s. The second figure to be studied is Rigoberta Menchú, a female Bolivian activist who received the Nobel Prize in 1992, sparking a controversy that is still felt today. This section of the module ends by examining La Malinche/Malintzin, also known as Doña Marina, who played a key role during Cortés's conquest of the Aztec Empire - in what is now Mexico - during the sixteenth century.

Section 2: Love and Deceit in the Golden Age
This section introduces Spain's most famous seducer, Don Juan, and its most influential writer on the world stage, Miguel de Cervantes. We focus on two works, beginning with Tirso de Molina’s 'El burlador de Sevilla', the original source for the Don Juan/Casanova figure that became popular across the world, and asking what makes Tirso's version of this tale unique: from the nature of Don Juan's sin, to the role played by his victims in their own downfall. The second text to be studied is the final tale from Cervantes's collection of short stories: ‘El casamiento engañoso y el coloquio de los perros’. A masterpiece of Renaissance prose, this double-'novela' is remarkable as an unashamed defence of the value of fiction, and in tandem with Tirso's great trickster, it offers a playful introduction to the theme which came to define the Hispanic Baroque: the ubiquity of deceit, and the individual's moral responsibility to fight it.

Section 3: Víctor Gaviria and Contemporary Colombian Cinema
Víctor Gaviria has claimed to make films with what others push aside. This final section of the module explores Gaviria's seminal films 'Rodrigo D. No futuro' (1990) and 'La vendedora de rosas' (1997), reflecting on their position within the broader context of Latin American cinema, as well as in regards to recent internationally acclaimed Colombian film productions. In doing so, students will discuss issues including the representation of urban and rural spaces, marginality, and cinematic realism. This will allow students to interrogate Gaviria's claim in real detail: just what is it that he makes room for in his films, which others leave out?

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • An awareness of iconic figures of Hispanic culture, drawn from different areas of the discipline
  • An ability to analyse complex literary texts and other cultural output, making use of scholarship where appropriate
  • An ability to marshal information and present a clear and cogent argument anchored in the analysis of primary material
  • An ability and willingness to engage with other cultures, appreciating their distinctive features (Level 4)
  • Knowledge, awareness and understanding of one or more cultures and societies, other than their own (Level 4)
Indicative reading list

Primary texts are detailed below. For secondary reading, see the Talis Aspire bibliographies (links included here as each term has its own bibliography):
Term 1:
Term 2:

Section 1:
Che Guevara, Che Guevara habla a la juventud, ed. Mary-Alice Waters (New York: Pathfinder, 2000). [Extracts]
Che Guevara, Che Guevara Talks to Young People ed. Mary-Alice Waters (New York: Pathfinder, 2000). [Extracts]
Che Guevara, Che Guevara Speaks (New York: Pathfinder, 2000). [Extracts]
Rigoberta Menchú, Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú y así me nació la conciencia, ed. Elisabeth Burgos-Debray (Cuba: Casa de las Américas, 1983). [Extracts]
Rigoberta Menchú, I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala, ed. Elisabeth Burgos-Debray, tr. Ann Wright (London: Verso, 2009). [Extracts]
Octavio Paz, 'Los hijos de la Malinche', in his El laberinto de la soledad, ed. Enrico Mario Santí (Madrid: Cátedra, 1998).
Octavio Paz, The Labyrinth of Solitude (London: Penguin, 1990).
Rosario Castellanos, “Malinche”. Available in: The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology, ed. Cecilia Vicuña and Ernesto Livon-Grossman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

Section 2:
Tirso de Molina (attr.), El burlador de Sevilla, ed. Alfredo Rodríguez López-Vázquez, 22nd ed. (Madrid: Cátedra, 2014 [1989]).
Tirso de Molina, The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest, tr. Gwynne Edwards (Warminster: Aris and Phillips, 1986).
Cervantes, Miguel de, ‘Prólogo’, ‘El casamiento engañoso’, ‘El coloquio de los perros’, in Novelas ejemplares, ed. Jorge García López (Barcelona: Galaxia Gutenberg, Círculo de Lectores, and Centro para la Edición de Clásicos Españoles, 2005).
Cervantes, Miguel de, ‘The Deceitful Marriage’ and ‘The Dialogue of the Dogs’, in The Complete Exemplary Novels, ed. Barry Ife and Jonathan Thacker (Oxford: Oxbow, 2013).

Section 3:
Chircales. Directed by Marta Rodriguez, & Jorge Silva, Cinema Guild, 1972.
Embrace of the Serpent [El abrazo de la serpiente]. Directed by Ciro Guerra, Ciudad Lunar, 2015.
Land and Shade [La tierra y la sombra]. Directed by César Acevedo, Burning Blue, 2015.
No Future [Rodrigo D]. Directed by Víctor Gaviria, Tiempos Modernos, 1990.
The Rose Seller [La vendedora de rosas]. Directed by Víctor Gaviria, Filmamento, 1998.

View reading list on Talis Aspire


All modules delivered in SMLC are necessarily international. Students engage with themes and ideas from a culture other than that of the UK and employ their linguistic skills in the analysis of primary materials from a non-Anglophone context. Students will also be encouraged to draw on the experiences of visiting exchange students in the classroom and will frequently engage with theoretical and critical frameworks from across the world.

Subject specific skills

This module will develop students’ linguistic skills through engaging with primary materials in the target language. It will build students’ capacity to engage with aspects of Hispanic culture through analysis of this primary material and through seminar discussion aimed at deeper critical thinking. In particular, students’ awareness of influential cultural figures from different areas of the Hispanic world will be enhanced through lectures and seminars which engage in scholarship in the field.

Transferable skills

All SMLC culture modules demand critical and analytical engagement with artefacts from target-language cultures. In the course of independent study, class work and assessment students will develop the following skills: written and oral communication, creative and critical thinking, problem solving and analysis, time management and organisation, independent research in both English and their target language(s), intercultural understanding and the ability to mediate between languages and cultures, ICT literacy in both English and the target language(s), personal responsibility and the exercise of initiative.

Study time

Type Required
Seminars 18 sessions of 2 hours (12%)
Tutorials 2 sessions of 2 hours (1%)
Private study 260 hours (87%)
Total 300 hours
Private study description

Preparation for seminars, including reading the primary text and any tasks specified by the module tutor; carrying out research for assessed work, guided by the module bibliography; planning and writing assessments; revising formative assessments in the light of feedback received.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A2
Weighting Study time
Written Assignment 1 (2500 words) 45%
Written Assignment 2 (2500 words) 45%
Reflective Commentary (500 words) 10%
Feedback on assessment

Feedback will be provided in the course of the module in a number of ways. Feedback should be understood to be both formal and informal and is not restricted to feedback on formal written work.
Oral feedback will be provided by the module tutor in the course of seminar discussion. This may include feedback on points raised in small group work or in the course of individual presentations or larger group discussion.
Written feedback will be provided on formal assessment using the standard SMLC Assessed Work feedback form appropriate to the assessment. Feedback is intended to enable continuous improvement throughout the module and written feedback is generally the final stage of this feedback process. Feedback will always demonstrate areas of success and areas for future development, which can be applied to future assessment. Feedback will be both discipline-specific and focussed on key transferrable skills, enabling students to apply this feedback to their future professional lives. Feedback will be fair and reasonable and will be linked to the SMLC marking scheme appropriate to the module.


This module is Core for:

  • Year 1 of UHPA-R400 Undergraduate Hispanic Studies

This module is Core optional for:

  • Year 1 of UIPA-R4L8 Undergraduate Hispanic Studies and Global Sustainable Development
  • Year 1 of ULNA-R4V1 Undergraduate Hispanic Studies and History
  • Year 1 of UHPA-R4W4 Undergraduate Hispanic Studies and Theatre Studies
  • Year 1 of UHPA-RP43 Undergraduate Hispanic Studies with Film Studies
  • Year 1 of ULNA-R4RL Undergraduate Hispanic Studies with Italian
  • Year 1 of UHPA-R4T2 Undergraduate Hispanic Studies with Japanese
  • Year 1 of ULNA-R4Q2 Undergraduate Hispanic Studies with Linguistics

This module is Optional for:

  • Year 1 of UFRA-R900 Undergraduate Modern Languages

This module is Core option list A for:

  • Year 1 of UHPA-R400 Undergraduate Hispanic Studies
  • Year 1 of UHPA-R4R5 Undergraduate Hispanic Studies with Portuguese

This module is Core option list B for:

  • Year 1 of ULNA-R9Q2 Undergraduate Modern Languages with Linguistics
  • Year 1 of UPOA-M166 Undergraduate Politics, International Studies and Hispanic Studies

This module is Core option list D for:

  • Year 1 of ULNA-R4L1 Undergraduate Hispanic Studies and Economics (4-year)

This module is Core option list G for:

  • Year 1 of UHPA-R4T6 Undergraduate Hispanic Studies with Arabic
  • Year 1 of ULNA-R4RJ Undergraduate Hispanic Studies with French