Contemporary Barcelona and its Cultural History

Universidad Pompeu Fabra

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Contemporary Barcelona and its Cultural History

  • Host University

    Universidad Pompeu Fabra

  • Location

    Barcelona, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Anthropology, History, Spanish Culture

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Language of Instruction: English
    Course Contact Hours: 45
    Recommended Credit: 5 ECTS credits
    Course Prerequisites: None
    Language Requirements: None
    Course Description:
    Click here to watch a video of the UPF professor describing the course in their own words!
    Throughout its history, the city of Barcelona has undergone dramatic and
    intriguing changes. From an industrial city characterized by textile factories and
    low life expectancies that gained an international reputation as a hotbed of
    working-class agitation, it became transformed into a cosmopolitan city within a
    globalized world, boasting an enviable urban plan adorned with gems from the
    fin-de-siècle modernist movement to contemporary international architects. This
    course will penetrate and analyze this glossy and gritty city by focusing on its
    cultural history during the past two centuries. In so doing, we will employ crossdisciplinary
    methods. In addition to readings in history, we will survey
    perspectives from urban, Hispanic, and cultural studies as well as anthropology
    and sociology. We will combine the critical study of "high" or "bourgeois" culture
    with an analysis of popular, working-class, immigrant and consumer culture. The
    course will include a number of on-site visits so that students interact
    dynamically with the urban environment. We will also discuss contemporary
    issues facing the city today.
    Learning Objectives:
    At the end of the course, the student:
    - will have acquired survey knowledge of the history of Barcelona from
    the Enlightenment to the present.
    - will have developed critical skills needed to analyze high and popular
    culture, art, and architecture in an urban environment.
    - will have become versed in contemporary issues facing Barcelonese
    Course Workload:
    The course is divided into lectures, discussions, and field studies. Since this is an
    intensive summer course, students should be prepared to read between 100 to
    200 pages per week.
    Methods of Instruction:
    The course includes both lectures and field studies. Two-hour class sessions are
    normally divided into one-hour lecture and one-hour seminar. Students are
    expected to treat field studies in the same manner as lectures, by taking notes
    and assuming the requisite academic responsibilities.
    In addition, students will be required to undertake one field study on their own.
    They will be recquired to take a guided tour of the Palau de la Música
    ( or visit the Hospital Sant Pau
    ( for which they will be reimbursed.
    Failure to attend will be counted as a classroom absence.
    Books for Purchase:
    All required readings will be contained in a coursepack available for purchase.
    Method of Assessment
    Class Participation: 33 percent
    Paper: 33 percent
    Final Exam: 33 percent
    Topics Covered:
    1. The Barcelona Model
    2. The Making of a Nation
    3. The Industrious City
    4. The Industrial City
    5. The Cosmopolitan City
    6. The Defeated City
    7. The Resurgent City
    Absence Policy:
    Absences Penalization
    Up to two (2) absences No penalization.
    Three (3) absences 1 point subtracted from final grade
    (on a 10 point scale)
    Four (4) absences 2 points subtracted from final grade
    (on a 10 point scale)
    Five (5) absences or more The student receives an INCOMPLETE
    for the course
    The UPF Summer School attendance policy does not distinguish between
    justified or unjustified absences. The student is deemed responsible to manage
    his/her absences. Emergency situations (hospitalization, family emergency, etc.)
    will be analyzed on a case by case basis by the Academic Director of the UPF
    Summer School.
    Classroom Norms:
    - No food or drink is permitted.
    - There will be a ten-minute break during the class.
    - Students may not consult mobile phones or use computers in class,
    except for taking notes and following powerpoint presentations.
    Course Contents and Required Readings:
    Session 1: Course Description
    Review of syllabus, classroom requirements, and expectations.
    Overview of course contents.
    Session 2: The Barcelona Model I
    Introduction to the Barcelona Model.
    Is there a relationship between the Barcelona Model and Catalan
    Reading: Mellissa Rossi, ?The Barcelona Model,? Newsweek
    International (2 February 2004); Raphael Minder, "Catalonia Calls Election
    in New Bid for Secession from Spain," New York Times (4 August 2015);
    and "Catalonia's New Leader Vows to Continue Secessionist Drive," New
    York Times (10 January 2016).
    Session 3: The Barcelona Model II
    Urban planners and the Barcelona Model.
    Balancing cosmopolitan ideas and local identities.
    Reading: Lawrence A. Herzog, ??City of Architects?: Public Space and
    the Resurgence of Barcelona? in Return to the Center: Culture, Public
    Space, and City Building in the Global Era, ed. Lawrence A. Herzog
    (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006), 91-104; Antoni Luna-Garcia,
    ?Just another Coffee! Milking the Barcelona Model, Marketing a Global
    Image, and the Restoration of Local Identities,? in Consuming the
    Entrepreneurial City: Image, Memory, Spectacle, ed. Anne M. Cronin and
    Kevin Hetherington (London: Routledge, 2007), 143-160.
    Session 4: The Barcelona Model III
    Globalization and commodification: Barcelona in a post-industrial
    economy and the problem of tourist-dependency
    Reading: Mari Paz Balibrea, ?Urbanism, Culture, and the Post-Industrial
    city: Challenging the ?Barcelona Model,?? in Journal of Spanish
    Cultural Studies, 2, no. 2 (2001): 187-210; Ian Mount, "Besieged by
    Tourists, Barcelona Rolls up the Welcome Mat," Financial Times (August
    7, 2015).
    35e55cbae175.html#axzz44yDELixT. "Radical Mayors of Madrid and
    Barcelona take on Tourism and Luxury," Newseeek (8 July 2015).
    Session 5: The Barcelona Model IV
    Critiquing the model: poverty and immigration.
    Movie: Alejandro González Iñarritu, Biutiful, 2 hours, 28 minutes.
    Reading: Benjamin Fraser, "A Biutiful City: Alejandro González Iñárritu's
    Filmic Critique of 'The Barcelona Model," Studies in Hispanic Cinemas, v.
    9, no. 2 (2012): 19-34.
    Session 6: The Barcelona Model V
    Complicating the Model: the inner city versus the outer barris; the
    twentieth versus the twenty-first century; environmental issues and the
    problem of sustainability.
    Reading: Ismael Blanco, "Does a Barcelona Model Really Exist? Periods,
    Territories and Actors in the Process of Urban Transformation," Local
    Government Studies, 35, no. 3 (2009): 355-369; Mónica Degen and
    Marísol García, "The Transformation of the Barcelona Model: An Analysis
    of Culture, Urban Regeneration, and Governance," International Journal
    of Urban and Regional Research, 36.5 (2012): 1022-38; Gary Wray
    McDonogh, ?Learning from Barcelona: Discourse, Power, and Praxis in
    the Sustainable City,? in City and Society 23, no. 2 (2011): 135-53.
    Session 7: The Making of a Nation
    Medieval and early modern roots of contemporary modernity.
    Reading: J.H. Elliott, "Castile and Aragon" and "The Ordered Society" in
    The Revolt of the Catalans: A Study in the Decline of Spain, 1598-1640
    (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1963), pp. 1-48.
    Session 8: The Industrious City I
    Enlightenment Barcelona: textiles, prints, coffee, tobacco, and sugar.
    Urban romanticism in poetry, art, and architecture.
    Reading: Robert Hughes, Selections from "Blind with a Love for
    Language," 289-306; and ?Going to the Fair,? in Barcelona (New York:
    Vintage, 1992), 323-343, 354-373.
    Session 9: The Industrious City II
    Population explosion, urban transformation, and consumer culture.
    The tearing down of the walls and the creation of the Eixample.
    Reading: Montserrat Miller, "Mirrors of Urban Growth: Market Building
    through the Long-Nineteenth Century," and "Consumer Culture in the
    City and its Markets," in Feeding Barcelona, 1714-1975: Public Market
    Halls, Social Networks, and Consumer Culture (Baton Rouge: Louisiana
    State Press, 2015).
    Session 10: The Industrial City I
    Class and culture in the city during the industrial era.
    Field study: Museu d?Història de Catalunya (
    Hand in Papers.
    Session 11: The Industrial City II
    The bourgeois spatial and cultural transformation of the city.
    From revolutionary liberalism to Catalan nationalism
    Reading: Joan Ramon Resina, ?The Bourgeois City,? in Barcelona?s
    Vocation of Modernity: Rise and Decline of an Urban Image (Stanford:
    Stanford University Press, 2008), 10-62.
    Session 12: The Industrial City III
    Barcelona industry becomes cosmopolitan: The World's Fair of 1888.
    Reading: Stephen Jacobson, ?Interpreting Municipal Celebrations of
    Nation and Empire: The Barcelona Universal Exhibition of 1888,? in
    Nationalism and the Reshaping of Urban Communities, ed. William
    Whyte and Oliver Zimmer (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2011), 74-
    Session 13: The Cosmopolitan City I
    The architectural and artistic boom.
    Reading: Colm Toiben, ?City without Walls,? ?A Dream of Gaudí,?
    ?Picasso?s Quarter,? and "Miró in Barcelona," in Homage to Barcelona
    (London: Simon & Schuster, 1990), 30-96.
    Session 14: The Cosmopolitan City II
    The "roaring twenties" in Barcelona.
    Reading: Robert Davidson, ?Vantage Point: Barcelona?s Mirador (1929-
    31)? in Jazz Age Barcelona (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011),
    Session 15: The Cosmopolitan City III
    "The Rose of the Fire": Anarchism and republican popular culture in the
    bourgeois city.
    Reading: Chris Ealham, ?The Making of a Divided City? and ?Mapping
    the Working Class City? in Class, Culture, and Conflict in Barcelona,
    1898-1937 (London: Routledge, 2004), 1-53.
    Session 16: The Cosmopolitan City IV
    The end of the cosmopolitan era: The World's Fair of 1929
    Field Study: Visit to the World's Fair site of 1929.
    Session 17: The Defeated City
    Barcelona, the Spanish Civil War and the Francoist Repression.
    Street, youth, and immigrant culture amid urban poverty.
    Readings: Juan Marsé, Shanghai Nights, trans. Nick Castor (London:
    Vintage Books, 2007; original edition, 1998), 1-51.
    Session 18: The Resurgent City
    Student, popular, and immigrant culture during the transition to
    The Barcelona Model in Historical Perspective.
    Catch-up day, lecture, and review for final exam.
    Session 19: Final Exam
    Session 20: Concluding Matters
    Recommended bibliography:
    In addition to the articles, chapters, and books cited above, students are
    encouraged to consult the following sources on their own.
    James S. Amelang, ?Comparing Cities? A Barcelona Model,? Urban History 34
    (2007): 173-89.
    Josep Maria Anaud et al., Barcelona Contemporánea (1856-1996) /
    Contemporary Barcelona (1856-1996) (Barcelona, Centre de Cultura
    Contemporània de Barcelona, 1996)
    Joan Busquets, Barcelona: The Urban Evolution of a Compact City (Cambridge,
    MA: Harvard University Press, 2005)
    Antònia Casellas, ?Barcelona?s Urban Landscape: The Historical Making of a
    Tourist Product,? Journal of Urban History, 35, no. 6 (2009): 815-32.
    Brian Chalkey and Stephen Essex, ?Urban Development through Hosting
    International Events: The Barcelona Olympic Games,? Planning Perspectives, 14
    (1999): 369-94.
    Robert A. Davidson, ?Observing the City, Mediating the Mountain: Mirador and
    the 1929 International Exhibition of Barcelona,? in Visualizing Spanish
    Modernity, ed. Susan Larson and Eva Woods (Oxford: Berg, 2005), 228-244.
    Chris Ealham, ?The Myth of the Maddened Crowd: Class, Culture and Space in
    the Revolutionary Urbanistic Project in Barcelona, 1936-37,? in Splintering of
    Spain: Cultural History and the Spanish Civil War (Cambridge: Cambridge
    University Press, 2005).
    Michael Eaude, Catalonia: A Cultural History (Oxford: Signal Books, 2007)
    A.G. Espuche et. al., ?Modernization and Urban Beautification: The 1888
    Barcelona World Fair,? in Planning Perspectives 6, no. 2 (1991).
    Féliz Fanès, ?Joan Miró 1929: High and Low Culture in Barcelona and Paris,?
    Visualizing Spanish Modernity, ed. Susan Larson and Eva Woods (Oxford: Berg,
    2005), 245-62.
    UPF Study Abroad Program 2016
    Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Barcelona. A Thousand Years of the City?s Past
    (London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1991)
    Helen Graham, ?Against the State: A Geneology of Barcelona?s May Days
    (1937),? European History Quarterly, 29, no. 4 (1999): 485-542.
    J.E.R. Hargreaves, Freedom for Catalonia? Catalan Nationalism, Spanish Identity
    and the Barcelona Olympic Games (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
    John Hargreaves and Manuel Garcia Ferrando, ?Public Opinion, National
    Integration and Identity in Spain: The Case of the Barcelona Olympic Games,?
    Nations and Nationalism, 3, no. 1 (1997): 65-87.
    F. Xavier Hernàndez, The History of Catalonia (Barcelona: Dalmau, 2007)
    Temma Kaplan, Red City, Blue Period: Social Movements in Picasso?s Barcelona
    (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993)
    Tim Marshall ed., Transforming Barcelona (London: Routledge, 2004)
    Gary Wray McDonogh, ?Barcelona: Forms, Images, and Conflicts,? Journal of
    Urban History 20 (2010): 1-7.
    Gary Wray McDonogh, Good Families of Barcelona: A Social History of Power in
    the Industrial Era (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989)
    Francisco-Javier Monclús, ?The Barcelona Model: and an Original formula? From
    Reconstruction to Strategic Urban Projects (1979-2004),? 18, no. 4 (2003): 399-
    Roser Nicolau-Nos and Josep Pujol-Andreu, "Urbanization and Dietary Change in
    Europe: Barcelona, 1870-1935," in Food and the City in Europe since 1800
    (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007).
    George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia (original edition, 1952; multiple editions
    UPF Study Abroad Program 2016
    José Luis Oyón, ?The Split of a Working-Class City: Urban Space, Immigration,
    and Anarchism in Inter-War Barcelona, 1914-1936,? Urban History 36 (2009):
    Oriol Pi-Sunyer, ?Under Four Flags: The Politics of National Identity in the
    Barcelona Olympics,? Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 18, no. 1 (1995):
    William H. Robinson, Jordi Falgàs, and Carmen Belen Lord, eds. Barcelona and
    Modernity: Picasso, Gaudí, Miró, Dalí. (New Haven, CT: Cleveland Museum of Art
    in association with Yale University Press, 2007).
    J. Romero Maura, ?Terrorism in Barcelona and its Impact on Spanish Politics,
    1904-1909,? Past and Present, 41 (1968): 130-83.
    Peter G. Rowe, Building Barcelona: A Second Renaixença (Barcelona: Actar, 2006)
    Michael Seidman, ?Work and Revolution: Worker?s Control in Barcelona during
    the Spanish Civil War,? Journal of Contemporary History, 17, no. 3 (1982): 409-
    Angel Smith ed. Red Barcelona: Social Protest and Labour Mobilization in the
    Twentieth Century (London: Routledge, 2002)
    J.K.J. Thomson, A Distinctive Industrialization: Cotton in Barcelona, 1728-1832
    (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992)
    Ricard Zapata-Barrero, "Immigration, Self-Government and Management of
    Identity: The Catalan Case," in The Long March to the West: 21st Century
    Migration in Europe and the Greater Mediterranean Area, ed. Michael Korinman
    and John Laughland (London: Vallentine, Mitchell and Co., 2007), 168-202.

Course Disclaimer

Please note that there are no beginning level Spanish courses offered in this program.

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.