Topics on Current Spanish Culture: Steps Towards a New Society? (Service-Learning Course)

ISA Study Center with Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo-Sevilla

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Topics on Current Spanish Culture: Steps Towards a New Society? (Service-Learning Course)

  • Host University

    ISA Study Center with Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo-Sevilla

  • Location

    Seville, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Spanish Culture

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

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

    Course Description: This pandemic will pass into history. The way in which it passes will shape Spain for the future. The decisions that have been taken and the consequences are having an impact in all aspects of our life, including the culture. This course employs a cultural anthropological approach to the study of modern day Spain with a particular focus on Andalusia, the diversity of its peoples, and the challenges that we are facing. It shall analyze the evolution of Spanish culture and values in the 21st century, including the post pandemic scenario, through the examination of some of the complexities/concerns that qualify current Andalusia reality (and that of Spain overall) including social integration, education, gender relations, migration, unemployment and housing.

    This course is partly based on collaborative learning with tasks that shall generate positive interdependence among participants as well as tasks that require an active role within Andalusian society. As cultural studies is a cross-cutting field-based science that emphasizes direct participation in a culture, students will be able to participate in service-learning projects. This component of the course strives to facilitate students´ access to a more profound understanding of current day Andalusia, while increasing their ability to critically examine challenges in the world around them, and make a real difference through personal agency. This will reflected in a specific certification.

    Learning Outcomes:

    · Students will expand their understanding of contemporary Spanish history and culture, be able to know the current challenges faced by Spanish society today with a special focus on the pandemic and the changes that has brought to the Spanish society.

    · Students will gain additional insight into current day Spain/Andalusia through a closer observation of Sevillian culture.

    · Students will increase their intercultural competence through the study of course content and the interaction with Spanish society.

    · Students will enhance their critical thinking and writing skills by analysing service learning experiences in relation to class content.


    1. Introduction to the basic knowledge of Cultures, Societies and Identities:

    1.1. Humankind, bodies, cultures and traditions. Societies. Identities. Stereotypes.

    1.2. Languages and Communication. Multilayer approach.

    1.3. Dimensions of diversity.

    2. Cultural Divides, Cultural Challenges: Finding Common Ground

    2.1. The Success or Lack of Social Integration.

    2.2. Adapting to Multiculturalism in the Classroom

    2.3. Adult Educational Programs.

    2.4. The Question of Identity. Central and peripheral regions.

    2.5. Globalization and the Spanish - Andalusian Lifestyle and the recent changes.

    3. Life before and after the Pandemic:

    3.1. Challenging customs and habits.

    3.2. Sociological and historical changes of the Spanish population.

    3.3. New definition of family and gender roles.

    3.4. Divorce and the Single Parent.

    3.5. Population ageing.

    3.6. Social concerns: CIS survey.

    4. Challenging the welfare state: From the economic crisis to the pandemic.

    4.1. The role of the government during the crisis.

    4.2. Facing changes in the labour relations, work patterns and educational challenges.

    4.3. How the Spaniards evaluate the management of the crisis. Short-term and long-term consequences.

    4.4. Spanish Welfare System –within an European context?

    4.5. Differential effects of the crisis: age, gender, socioeconomic levels and functional diversity.

    5. Spain, Work in progress:

    5.1. A country in lockdown. Who will bear the costs of this choice and how?

    5.2. Telecommuting and the impact in the work environment.

    5.3. Rethinking the travel and tourism industry. Mobility and new perspectives.

    5.4. The Spanish Educational System, Up to Par with EU Standards? The Pisa report.

    5.5. Out of school, Out of Work: Societal implications, the “ninis”.

    6. The Gypsy Culture, More than Flamenco:

    6.1. The Land, its People: Societal Struggles, Social Discrimination.

    6.2. Politics and Economy.

    6.3. Values and Customs. Gender relationships.

    6.4. From Triana to Tres Mil Viviendas, An overlooked presence.

    6.5. –Family, Tradition, Religion.

    7. From Emigration to Immigration: the "New Andalusians"

    7.1. Immigrants and expats. How do Spaniards deal with immigration?

    7.2. Street vendors, the Sub-Saharan Presence.

    7.3. Caregivers to the Elderly, Latin American Arrivals.

    7.4. Harvesting. The lack of workforce and work permits.

    7.5. The Spanish Response: xenophobia, the Celebration of Diversity, or a little bit of both?

    7.6. The Hijab in the Classroom Controversy.

    7.7. Multicultural Celebrations.

    Bibliography: In addition to current journal and newspaper articles, students will view relevant (documentary) films and online videos, and be provided with selections from cultural and socio-historical texts. These include but are not limited to the following:

    Graham, Helen and Labanyi, Jo, ed. Spanish Cultural Studies: An Introduction, The Struggle for Modernity. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

    Hooper, John. The New Spaniards. London: Penguin Books, 2006.

    Jordan, Barry and Morgan-Tamosunas, Rikki, eds. Contemporary Spanish Cultural Studies. Great Britain: Arnold, 2000.

    Nash, Elizabeth. Seville, Córdoba and Granada: a Cultural and Literary History. Oxford:

    Single Books Limited, 2005.

    Tremlett, Giles. Ghosts of Spain: Travels through Spain and its Silent Past. New York: Walker & Company, 2006.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations