Skip to main content

Unit information: From Frontiers to Football: South American History 1850-1950 in 2020/21

Unit name From Frontiers to Football: South American History 1850-1950
Unit code HISP20102
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Brown
Open unit status Not open




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


This unit explores South American history during the period known to historians as ‘the birth of the modern world’. It explores the profound changes in South American culture and society in the hundred years before 1950, focusing in particular on popular culture, sports, and nation-building. The unit includes the formation of the first modern sporting clubs in the continent, the organization of the first football World Cup in Uruguay, and ends with consideration of the 1950 World Cup in Brazil and the legendary Maracanazo. Students will explore several texts in detail and will analyse them within their political and historical contexts. Students will be expected to be proficient in Spanish as some source material will be in Spanish.

Intended learning outcomes

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. a high level of understanding of the global, international, national and local historical processes that shaped the course of South American history;
  2. ability to analyse cultural texts and historical events through a historical approach that privileges close reading and historical contextualisation;
  3. ability to draw out major themes from South American sports history, comparing these chronologically and across the continent.
  4. ability to express their knowledge and understanding of the subject in written form to a standard appropriate to level I.
  5. ability to carry out independent research appropriate to this level of study.

Teaching details

1 weekly lecture and 1 seminar per week.

Assessment Details

Piece 1: 1 2000 word essay comprising an independent creative writing component and subsequent analysis, 50% of unit mark), assessing ILOs 1-5.

Piece 2: 1 2000-word essay (50% of unit mark), assessing ILOs 1-4.

Reading and References

Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (1983)

Matthew Brown, From Frontiers to Football: Latin American History from 1800 to the present (Reaktion, 2014)

José Moya, ed., Oxford Handbook of Latin American History (OUP, 2012)