Business course - Understanding Spain through history and art

Understanding Spain through history and art

Understanding Spain through history and art (45 h)

The main goal of this course is to offer an overview of the different cultures that can be found within Spain so that students can appreciate the cultural diversity that has made Spain the country we know today. To do so, we will look at the historical evolution of Spain, emphasizing artistic elements and other cultural aspects. We will also delve into the processes that laid the foundation for some of today’s issues; some already resolved like Basque terrorism, and other ongoing issues like the wish for Catalan independence. The aim is to make students comprehend that the present-day Spain is the outcome of the interactions and differences among numerous peoples and cultures. These factors have shaped the current reality of the country, which is both simple and complex, homogenous and heterogeneous.

Course 2023-2024

Course 2023-2024

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Group: V1
Teacher: Bridgewater Mateu, Pol


During each session, the topic will be presented in a lecture format accompanied by a discussion through images in a PowerPoint presentation. The students will be encouraged to participate in the discussion. Additionally, there will be at least two classes focused more on specific topics and visits to the main monuments and museums of the city will also be organized.



Mid-term exam: 35%  

2 Class activities: 20%  

Class participation: 10%  

Final exam: 35%  


• Introduction. Origin of Spain. The First Settlers. Paleolithic, Neolithic and Metal Age   

• The Hispanic area: Iberians and Celts. Tartessos. The Colonization.   

• Roman Empire: The conquest of the Peninsula. Hispania. The Roman Legacy.  

• The Visigoths in Spain.   

• Islam and its expansion in the Mediterranean area. Al Andalus.   

• The Christian kingdoms. Feudalism. Romanesque art.   

• Medieval plenitude: Christian kingdoms against Islam. Gothic art   

• The great crises. Wars, plagues, famine. The Late Middle Ages in Europe and Spain. The Catholic Monarchs.   

• The Empire of Charles I and the House of Austria. The great Barroque painters and sculptors: Zurbarán, Ribera, Velázquez, etc.   

• Absolutism. The War of Succession in the Spanish Crown. The Bourbons in Spain.   

• The crisis of the Old Regime. The Reign of Charles IV and the War of Independence. The Culture of Enlightenment. Goya.   

• The reigns of Ferdinand VII and Isabel II. The Independence of the American Colonies. Political unstableness. The triumph of Liberalism.   

• Spanish First and Second Republic. Dictatorship of Primo de Rivera. Civil War. Picasso. Dalí.   

• The Dictatorship of Franco. Social conflict. The Transition to Democracy. The Constitution of 1978   

• Spain as a part of the European Union. The challenges of the 21st century.


BARTON, Simon, A History of Spain, Palgrave MacMillan, 2009.  

CARR, Raymond, Spain. A History, Oxford University Press, 2001.  

CHAPMAN, Charles, A History of Spain: Founded on the Historia de España y de la Civilización Española of Rafael Altamira, Forgotten Books, 2012.  

CHISLETT, William, Spain. What Everyone needs to know, Oxford University Press, 2013.  

HILL, Fred James, Spain: An Illustrated History, New York: Hippocrene Books, 2001. HOOPER, John, The new Spaniards, Penguin, 2006.  

JORDAN, Barry, Spanish Culture and Society, Hodder Education, 2002.  

MOFFIT, John F., The Arts in Spain, New York: Thames & Hudson, 1999.  

McKENDRICK, Melveena, Spain: A History, New York City, 2016.  

ORTI, Pilar, The A to Z of Spanish Culture,, 2012.  

PAYNE, Stanley G., Spain, A Unique History, University of Wisconsin, 2011.  

PHILIPS, William D. & PHILIPS, Carla Rahn, A Concise History of Spain, Cambridge, 2010.  

PLATT PARMELE, Mary, A Short History of Spain, Enhanced Media Publishing, 2016.  

PIERSON, Peter, The History of Spain, Greenwood Publishing, 1999.

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