Spain from Absolutism to Democracy (HIH2145A)

StaffDr Timothy Rees - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

In this module you will gain an understanding of the modern history of Spain, covering its political, economic, social and cultural development.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Understand the main themes in the subject, together with a very close knowledge of the areas selected for essay and presentation work.
  • 2. Trace the changing nature of, and approaches to the modern history of Spain.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Analyse the key developments in a complex political and social environment.
  • 4. Comprehend profoundly different approaches to history in a deeply contested area.
  • 5. Understand and deploy complex historical issues.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Undertake independent study and group work, including the presentation of material for group discussion, developed through the mode of learning.
  • 7. Digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment.
  • 8. Present arguments orally, and to work in a group.

Syllabus plan

The module combines a chronological approach, mostly focussed around politics, with an understanding of important themes in modern Spanish history. The main periods covered include: absolutism and the liberal revolution; the Carlist wars; the moderate ascendancy; the First Republic; the Restoration; the Primo de Rivera Dictatorship; the Second Republic; the Spanish Civil War; the Franco regime; democratic Spain. Typical themes include: the role of the military; Catholicism and the Catholic Church; the position of the Monarchy; economic and social development; Spain and the world; cultural development; regional nationalism; political and social movements; women, men and the family.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22Lectures (22x1hr)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22Seminars (11x2hr)
Guided independent study22Web-based activities located on ELE – preparation for seminars and presentations
Guided independent study234Reading and preparation for seminars and presentations

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan500 words1-7Verbal and written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay303000 words1-6Verbal and written
Group presentation2025 minutes1-7Peer-assessed and moderated by tutor
Exam502 hours1-7Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay3000 word essay1-6Referral/deferral period
Group presentation1,500 script as for individual presentation, equivalent to 10 minutes1-7Referral/deferral period
Exam2 hours1-7Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

The re-assessment of the essay and exam are exactly the same, a 3,000 words essay (worth 30%) and a 2 hours exam (worth 50%). The group presentation will be replaced by a written script equivalent to 10 minutes of speech.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Raymond Carr, Spain 1808-1975 (OUP, 1982) 

Antonio Cazorla, Fear and Progress: Ordinary Lives in Franco’s Spain (Oxford: Blackwell, 2009)
Charles Esdaile, Spain in the Liberal Age (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000) 
Jose Alvarez Junco and Adrian Shubert (eds.), Spanish History Since 1808 (London: Edward Arnold, 2001) 
Adrian Shubert, A Social History of Modern Spain (London: UnwinHyman, 1990) 
Gabriel Tortella, The Development of Modern Spain (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard, 2000) 
Mary Vincent, Spain 1833-2002: People and State (Oxford: OUP, 2002)

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Key words search

Spanish History, Civil War, Dictatorship, Democracy, Liberalism, Absolutism.