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SPC2: Spanish: Text and Culture

This paper is available for the academic year 2023-24.


This paper offers you the opportunity to engage with advanced use of the foreign language in stimulating and intellectually challenging ways, through the analysis of texts of various types and genres under the topic of Identity.

Students will be expected to engage critically with relevant texts, placing them in their cultural contexts and analysing their content and formal features through written work in the foreign language. 

This paper offers you the opportunity to explore the notion of Identity in the Hispanic world from a number of different perspectives. You will work on a range of texts and audiovisual material (articles from the press, academic papers, blogs, film, TV series), analysing the ideas they put forward as well as their formal properties (text structure, tone, rhetorical devices, etc.). In class, you will have an opportunity to share your ideas with others through guided discussion. Much of class time will be devoted to discussing and analysing the content of the texts or clips. At this level we expect you to have a good grounding in grammar, and this course does not have a grammar syllabus as such. However, we will work on consolidating and enhancing your command of Spanish through practice in advanced writing skills.

The course is structured in four sub-topics around the theme of Identity. Two topics will be studied in Michaelmas and two in Lent, while the Easter term will be dedicated to student class presentations and further exam practice. The subtopics are:


1. La reflexión identitaria en España: la nación como meta y como mito

2. La Transición democrática en España


3. Visiones de la identidad en América Latina

4. Construcción de identidades culturales en América Latina: las telenovelas y su función social

Aims and objectives: 

Students taking this paper will be expected to demonstrate an ability to:

  • Write in Spanish with a very high level of grammatical accuracy, fluency and stylistic awareness (corresponding to levels C1/C2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)
  • Understand and critically engage with texts of various types and genres, placing them in the relevant cultural context
  • Establish connections between ideas and social/historical/cultural events connected to the topics studied in the paper
  • Analyse the formal features of complex texts
  • Write a commentary on a text dealing with a topic of cultural interest
  • Produce and deliver an effective oral presentation on a topic of intellectual interest
  • Research a topic of cultural interest, both individually and as part of a group
Course materials: 

This course has a Moodle website where you can access most of the course materials, including course schedule, suggested reading, set texts, class handouts, tasks and submission dates, as well as links to extension material.

Teaching and learning: 

This paper is taught in a one-hour fortnightly class throughout the year. This means you will have a total of 10 sessions. In addition, you will be offered up to four supervisions by your college. In the course of the year you will be asked to produce and submit various assignments (tareas) to your class teacher and your supervisor, who will provide individual feedback on your work.

The Moodle site for SPC2 can be found here. Your teacher will tell you how to enrol at the start of the year.


This paper is assessed in a two-hour exam. In the exam, candidates are asked to write a critical commentary of a passage to be selected by them out of a choice of two passages. The subject matter of the passages will be related to the subtopics discussed in class. The examiners’ reports are available from the MML CamTools website. Please note that this paper exists from Tripos 2013, and therefore there are no past papers or examiners’ reports available prior to that year.

The SPC2 paper is one of three language papers you are required to take in your final year. Together, papers C1 (which you can take in Spanish or in another language), C2 and the Part II Oral make up the equivalent weighting of two full papers. The weight distribution is as follows:

C1: 70% of a whole paper

C2: 70% of a whole paper

C Oral: 60% of a whole paper

You can take C2 and C1 in the same or in different languages. You must take the C Oral in the same language as either paper C1 or C2. 

Course Contacts: 
Prof María Noriega-Sánchez