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Study information

Introduction to the Lusophone World

Module titleIntroduction to the Lusophone World
Module codeMLP1002
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Susana Pinto Cavadas Afonso (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

The Lusophone (or Portuguese-speaking) world comprises nine countries in three continents characterised by enormous diversity but also continuity. In this module you will have the unique opportunity to examine the key moments in the history and cultures of these Portuguese-speaking countries and appreciate the complex interconnectedness across space and time that exists between the multiple cultures. You will also have the opportunity to engage with a range of texts that address many of the concepts covered in the module. This module constitutes the reference point for your entire degree in Portuguese studies.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aims of this module are to:

  • Introduce you to the Lusophone world, enabling you to identify the complex historical interconnectedness that exists between the countries as well as their specificity.
  • Introduce you to key historical and cultural moments of the Portuguese-speaking world (Portugal, Brazil and Lusophone Africa) while unpacking relevant concepts such as Nationalism, Colonialism, Hybridity, among others.
  • Enable you to analyse critically cultural objects (text, film), relating them to the key historical moments.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding the history of continuity and discontinuity of the Lusophone world
  • 2. Develop an informed understanding of key critical concepts (e.g. Colonialism, Hybridity, Nationalism)
  • 3. Engage with a range of cultural objects (literature, film, etc.) and analyse them relating them to their historical and cultural contexts.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Demonstrate competence in the analysis of cultural objects in historical and geographical contexts, through the use of related critical writings
  • 5. Demonstrate an understanding of, and an ability to apply, critical terminology

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Present information and arguments on a defined topic
  • 7. Think critically and independently

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary, it is envisaged that the course will include some of the following topics:

  • The formation of Portugal as an independent nation
  • The Portuguese empire: colonisation, migration and displacement
  • Slavery
  • Representations of Colonial Brazil
  • Portugal’s dictatorship(1933-1974)
  • Lusotropicalism and African territories under Portuguese rule
  • Portuguese and the languages of Brazil and African territories under Portuguese rule
  • Brazilian politics in cinema
  • Africa and Portugal after 1974: transition to democracy and  independence of Portuguese-speaking Africa

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 Teaching15Lectures and seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Conclusion
Guided Independent Study134Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Commentary500 words1-7Individual written feedback

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
Examination5045 minutes 1-2; 4; 6-7Generic group feedback posted on ELE
Commentary502 x 500 words1-7Written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Examination (45 minutes)Examination1-2; 4; 6-7Referral/deferral period
Commentary (2 x 500 words)Commentary1-7Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Arenas, F. (2003).
  • Álvarez López, L., Gonçalves, P. and Ornelas de Avelar, J. (2018). The Portuguese Language Continuum in Africa and Brazil. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Arenas, F. (2003). Utopias of Otherness: Nationhood and Subjectivity in Portugal and Brazil. University of Minnesota Press.
  • Azevedo, M. (2005). Portuguese: A Linguistic Introduction, Cambridge: CUP.
  • Fausto, B. (1999). A Concise History of Brazil. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Firmino, G. (2011). “Nation-statehood and linguistic diversity in the postcolony: The case of Portuguese and indigenous languages in Mozambique”. In Anchimbe, E. and Mforteh, S. (Eds.). Porcolonial Linguistic Voices. Identity Choices and Representations. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 99-117.
  • Gutiérrez Rodríguez, E. and Tate, S. (Eds.) (2015). Creolizing Europe: Legacies and Transformations. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.
  • Newitt, M. (2009). Portugal in Europe and World History. London : Reaktion Books.
  • Newitt, M. D. D. (2017). A Short History of Mozambique. Oxford: OUP
  • Owen, H. & Klobucka, A. (Eds.) (2014). Gender, Empire, and Postcolony: Luso-Afro-Brazilian Intersections. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Poddar, P., Patke, R. S., Jensen, L., Beverley, J., Forsdick, C., Fraiture, P.-P., Ben-Ghiat, R., Dh’aen, T., Kundrus, B., Monasterios, E., & Rothwell, P. (Eds.). (2008). A Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures - Continental Europe and its Empires. Edinburgh University Press.
  • Rothwell, P. (2008). “The Myths and Realities of Portuguese (Post)colonial Society”. In A Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures: Continental Europe and its Empires Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 427-35.
  • Stewart, C. (Ed.). (2007). Creolization : History, ethnography, theory. Taylor & Francis Group.Williamson, Edwin, (2009) The Penguin history of Latin America, London: Penguin

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Portuguese-speaking world, colonialism, slavery, dictatorship,

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites

MLP1052 for MLC-based students of Portuguese. None for all other students.

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date