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Unit information: Identity and belonging in contemporary Venezuela in 2016/17

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Unit name Identity and belonging in contemporary Venezuela
Unit code HISP20098
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Jo Crow
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
Faculty Faculty of Arts


One of the defining characteristics of the Bolivarian Revolution which has ruled Venezuela since 1999 is a ‘strident nationalism’ (Roberts, 2004) which legally obliges citizens to honour and defend a national identity based on a link to the land, the ‘heroic’ national past and an allegiance to socialism in the present. In this context, questions about identity and belonging abound in contemporary Venezuelan cultural production. In this unit, we will explore factors which influence or limit a sense of identity or belonging - such as family, memories, language, sexuality, and mass media – through a selection of novels, artworks, a film and a play.

This module aims to:

  • Develop knowledge and understanding of contemporary social, cultural and political issues in Venezuela, particularly in relation to nationalism and identity.
  • Introduce students to a wide range of cultural production and methods for analysing different media.
  • Develop students’ engagement with both close textual reading and broader critical analysis of secondary material.

Students will be expected to read short novels in Spanish, watch a film in Spanish with English subtitles, and read secondary criticism in both Spanish and English.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, students will demonstrate:

1. Broad knowledge and critical understanding of the key issues related to identity and belonging in contemporary Venezuela.

2. Ability to respond in a rigorous and analytical manner to the issues/debates raised by the unit and to interrogate these critically.

3. Ability to engage in close analysis of sources from a variety of media (literature, theatre, film, visual arts).

4. Critical awareness of theoretical scholarship in the field of study and ability to explain it in both oral and written form as appropriate to level I.

5. Ability to carry out independent research appropriate to this level of study.

Teaching details

1 x seminar per week

1 x lecture per week

Assessment Details

Group presentation (15 minutes) and individual write up max. 1000 words (30% - 15% group mark for presentation, 15% for individual write-up); extended essay max. 2500 (70%), both assessing ILOs 1-5.

Reading and References

  • Identity and Belonging, Kate Huppatz et al (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015)
  • Identity and Culture, Chris Weedon (Open University Press, 2004)
  • Ni que nos vayamos nos podemos ir, Lupe Gehrenbeck (unpublished play, copies will be provided, 2014)
  • Transilvania Unplugged, Eduardo Sánchez Rugeles (Alfaguara, 2011)
  • Rating, Alberto Barrera Tyszka (Anagrama, 2011)