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Hispanic Studies

Durham University is home to one of the best Hispanic Studies departments in the UK, ranked among the top five by The Complete University Guide in each of the past five years. This reflects the excellence that characterises our research, our teaching, and the great pride that members of the department take in ensuring we attain the very highest standards in all aspects of our work. Hispanic Studies at Durham is a gateway to several interdisciplinary centres and institutes within the university including:

Excellence in Teaching and Research

  • Spanish Language courses offered by the Department can be started at two levels: ab initio (including those who have a GCSE in Spanish) and post-A Level. Entrants with AS Level Spanish normally join the 2nd year of the ab initio stream. These modules aim to equip students with a sound understanding of how the language works, the confidence to use it effectively in a wide range of situations, and an awareness of the diversity of its cultural functions. At final year, the two language streams are fully merged
  • As a result of the continuing support of the Institut Ramon Llull, we are also able to offer the opportunity to study Catalan at second and final year
  • We see Spanish as a world language, and among our staff we have instructors from various parts of the Spanish-speaking world including Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, several regions of Spain, Chile, Paraguay and Puerto Rico. Our students interact with speakers from a variety of nations and are exposed to different accents in their classes, enhancing their comprehension skills
  • Further reflecting this ethos, the Year Abroad offers an exciting range of opportunities for study or employment in Spain and Latin America. We are pleased to be able to offer Erasmus exchanges in Spain with the universities of Alcalá de Henares, Alicante, Barcelona (Pompeu Fabra), Cádiz, Granada, La Laguna (Canary Islands), Salamanca, Santiago de Compostela, and Vigo, and study placements at universities in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Cuba

Research-led learning

Research-active staff in Hispanic Studies are internationally recognised experts in literature, film, and cultural studies from the Middle Ages to the present day. Our teaching is research-led, providing students with the tools to explore a wide variety of cultural forms in their historical and intellectual contexts, with topics such as:

  • Avant-garde imaginations in Atlantic literature and culture
  • Cultural identities in Latin American visual cultures 
  • Early modern Latin American medical and scientific writing
  • Golden Age theatre studies, selfhood, and subjectivity
  • History, memories, and identity in 20th and 21st century Spanish literature and theatre
  • Music, literature, and popular culture in Latin America
  • Myth and history in medieval Spanish chronicles and epic poems
  • National and gender identities in contemporary Spanish cinema
  • Postcolonial theory, subalternity, feminism, and gender studies in the Caribbean
  • Sex, the body, and identity in early Spanish literature and art


Work in these areas will serve as vital preparation for, and in some cases work alongside, the final-year dissertation which, as the most important aspect of the Durham student experience, aims to provide students with an opportunity to engage at the highest intellectual level with the ethos of research-led learning that you will encounter at levels I and II. This extended piece of work will allow you to adopt a variety of critical approaches and to explore questions of cultural importance to Latin America and Spain, looking at literary, filmic, and/or artistic production across a range of subjects and periods.

Postgraduate

At postgraduate level, a variety of Latin American and Spanish topics can be studied in the context of Research Degrees supervised by specialist research-active members of staff, or as part of the School’s taught programmes in Visual Culture, Translation Studies, Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Dr Yarí Pérez Marín, Director of Hispanic Studies