Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Contemporary Culture

Contemporary Culture
Second semester
Main language of instruction: Spanish

Other languages of instruction: Catalan, English

Teaching staff

Dr. MOYA RUIZ, Albert - amoya@uic.es

By appointment


Following the itinerary of cultures (classical, medieval, modern), Contemporary Culture becomes the last step for the global and cohesive understanding of the historical, literary, philosophical and artistic realities that occur in the so-called contemporary period, probably the most complex and heterogeneous in the history of humanity. The course will provide the student with some keys to understand cultural aspects of a period that could be established at least since the early 19th century until our days.

Pre-course requirements

No prerequisites are needed to enrol in this course.


- To acquire knowledge and understanding regarding different issues and problems of contemporary culture in Western Europe.

- Ability to recognise and interpret contemporary cultural manifestations.

- To know the main cultural process between the end of the 18th century and the 20th century.


  • E01 - Ability to provide a humanistic/cultural vision to other sciences or methods.
  • E04 - Ability to recognise and interpret cultural manifestations.
  • E07 - To acquire knowledge on the different issues and problems of current cultural debate and be aware of their constant change.
  • E08 - To distinguish and understand the structures of different cultural systems.
  • E11 - Ability to interpret data and relate it to appropriate theories.
  • E12 - To acquire knowledge and understanding of imaginary, iconic and symbolic languages and their representation.
  • E15 - Ability to identify and value the different elements which make up cultural heritage.
  • E22 - To acquire knowledge of and the ability to use data collection instruments (biliographic catalogues, inventory archives, documentary sources, electronic sources, etc).
  • E27 - Ability to work in multicultural contexts.
  • E30 - Ability to define cultural research topics which can contribute to the improvement and innovation of society.
  • E33 - Ability to relate concepts of heritage, homeland and cultural identity.
  • E36 - To promote the cultural dimension as a resource in institutions, markets, industries and companies.
  • G01 - To analyse and interpret social and cultural environments to identify need, opportunities, weaknesses and strenghts..
  • G02 - To lead, cooordinate and form part of interdisciplinary work teams.
  • G03 - To search for and/or administer economic resources within the framework of an institution or company, or a cultural programmes, project or service.
  • G05 - To act responsibly and produce high-quality, rigorous and efficient work that benefits society.
  • G07 - To know how to apply and adapt to new technologies in processes of cultural management, production and dissemination.
  • G08 - Ability to carry out research.

Learning outcomes

1. Assimilate key concepts of the study of contemporary culture and analyze critically the circumstances in which it is inscribed.

2. Contextualize and situate relevant cultural phenomena and relate them to their social and political dimension.
3. Relate transversal and multidisciplinary concepts
4. Apply and transfer theoretical and/or abstract concepts to real situations
5. Read and analyze in depth texts and articles related to cultural issues
6. Write narrative and descriptive texts
7. Systematize heterogeneous data and/or information
8. Apply theoretical knowledge in analysis and class debates, as well as in autonomous work.

9. Know and select specific documentation on the study of contemporary culture.



1. Introduction to the Old Regime

2. The English Revolution

3. The French Revolution

4. The American Revolution

5. Napoleonic era, Restoration and bourgeois revolutions

6. Nationalisms and Socialisms

7. Imperialism and Colonialism

8. The First World War and the Russian Revolution

9. Interwar Period and The Second World War

10. Cold War, Decolonisation and European Construction



1. Literary Enlightenment

1.1. The Baroque 18th century

1.2. The Neoclassicism

2. Aesthetics and ideology of Romanticism

2.1. Costumbrism

2.2. Historical novel and gothic novel

2.3 Romantic Poetry and Drama

3. Realistic and naturalistic novel

4. Symbolism

5. Modernism

6. The birth of the literary avant-gardes

7. Existentialism

8. New directions in 20th century literature



Course contents

1. Neoclassicism

2. Romanticism

3. Goya

4. Realism

5. Impressionism

6. Post-impressionism 

7. Symbolism

8. On-site class: MNAC, Modern Art Section

9. On-site class: Architecture of the Modern period in Barcelona (Neoclassicism, Historicism, Eclecticism).



1. Modern thought and its cultural consequences: Illustration and Romanticism.

2. Hegelian idealism. Dialectic and Aufheben of the spirit.

3. Comte and positivism.

4. The impetus of the masters of suspicion:

    A) F. Nietzsche. Nihilism and transmutation of values.
    B) K. Marx. Materialism and alienation.
    C) S. Freud. The unconscious and psychoanalysis.

5. Husserl and Scheler. The contributions of phenomenology.

6. Heidegger: Dasein and Existential Analysis.

7. Hannah Arendt and the Human Condition.

8. Wittgenstein. Linguistic Turn and the limits of language.

9. Adorno and Horkheimer. Dialectics of the Enlightenment and criticism of instrumental reason.

Teaching and learning activities

In person

The course will combine theory-lecture classes, where professors will explain ideas and concepts typical of contemporary culture, practical lessons, seminars and workshops (text analysis, discussions, oral project presentations, etc.).

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person


1. In this course it is very important to make proper use of language in written tests, papers and oral presentations, both from the point of view of grammar and spelling and punctuation and wording. A proper use of terms specific to the discipline is also of special relevance. The criteria to be followed before any of these errors is as follows: 0.25 will be lowered for misspelling or incorrect words in essays and exams.

2. Advice on plagiarism

Plagiarism is the use of material appropriated from another source or from other sources with the intention of passing it off as one’s own work. Plagiarism may take the form of unacknowledged quotation or substantial paraphrase. Sources of material include all printed and electronically-available publications in English or other languages, or unpublished materials, including theses, written by others.

To avoid plagiarism, you must quote the source whenever ideas written by another person are used and even if the quote is not direct and paraphrases or summarises someone else’s ideas. In direct quotes one must use quotation marks and quote the source. In an academic essay, it is not enough to generally record the literature used, but it is necessary to explicitly mention the source where their ideas written by someone else come from.

Plagiarism in written essays for this course is unacceptable and, therefore, any work in which plagiarism is committed will be evaluated with a zero.



The evaluation criteria will be as follows:


Delivery of an essay that addresses one of the issues discussed during the course. Delivery Date: February 27, 2017.



Exam (75%)

Written essay and oral presentation (25%)



Exam 60%

Class test 10%

Written essay and oral presentation 20%

Participation in class 10%


1. Final exam 60%

2. Essay 40%

Bibliography and resources


CASASSAS, Jordi. La construcción del presente. El mundo desde 1848 hasta nuestros días. Barcelona: Ariel, 2005.

JULIÁ, José-Ramón. Atlas de historia universal. Tomo II: De la Ilustración al mundo actual. Barcelona: Planeta, 2000.

PAREDES, Javier (coord.). Historia universal contemporánea. I: De las Revoluciones Liberales a la Primera Guerra Mundial. Barcelona: Ariel, 1999.

PAREDES, Javier (coord.). Historia universal contemporánea. II: De la Primera Guerra Mundial a nuestros días. Barcelona: Ariel, 1999.


ABRAMS, M.H., El romanticismo: tradición y revolución. Madrid, Visor, 1992.

AMORÓS, A., Introducción a la novela contemporánea, Madrid, 1974.

AUERBACH, E., Mímesis: la representación de la realidad en la literatura occidental. México, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1950.

BONET, Carmelo. El realismo literario. Buenos Aires: Editorial Nova, 1958.

BORGES, J. L., Flaubert y su destino ejemplar, Madrid, Emece, 1996.

EAGLETON, T., Las ilusiones del posmodernismo. Oxford. Blackwell, 1996.

FRIEDRICH, H., Estructura de la Lírica Moderna. Madrid, Seix Barral, 1974.

HUMPHREY, R., La corriente de la conciencia en la novela moderna, Santiago de Chile Ed. Universitaria, 1969.

LLOVET, J., Lecciones de Literatura Universal, Madrid, 1995.

LUCKACS, G., Ensayos sobre el Realismo. Buenos Aires, Editorial Siglo XXI, 1994.

NABOKOV, V., Curso de literatura europea, Barcelona, Bruguera, 1983.

OLIVA, C. y TORRES MONREAL, F., Historia básica del arte escénico, Madrid, Cátedra, 1994.

REVOL, E., La tradición imaginaria de Joyce a Borges, Córdoba, Teuco, 1971.

RIQUER, M. de y VALVERDE, J. M., Historia de la Literatura Universal. Barcelona, Planeta, 1997.



ANTIGÜEDAD, M. D., El siglo XIX: la mirada al pasado y la modernidad, UNED, 2015

ARGAN, G. C., El arte moderno 1770-1970, Barcelona, Fernando Torres ed., 1975.

BENEVOLO, L., Historia de la arquitectura moderna, Barcelona, Gustavo Gili, 1986

BOCOLA, S., El arte de la modernidad, Barcelona, Ediciones del Serbal, B, 1999.

BORNAY, E., El Segle XIX, Barcelona, Planeta, 1988

FONTBONA, F., El romanticisme a Catalunya: 1820-1874, Barcelona, Pòrtic, 1999

GRUPO 2C, La Barcelona de Cerdà, Barcelona, Flor del Viento, 2009

HAMILTON, G. H., Pintura y escultura en Europa: 1880-1940, Madrid, Cátedra, 1989

HITCHCOCK, H. R., Arquitectura: siglos XIX y XX, Madrid, Cátedra, 1981

LÓPEZ GUALLAR, M., Cerdà y Barcelona : la primera metrópoli, 1853-1897, Barcelona, Ajuntament de Barcelona, Museu d'Història de Barcelona, 2010

NOVOTNY, F., Pintura y escultura en Europa, 1780-1880, Madrid : Cátedra, 1978

RODRÍGUEZ, D., Del Neoclasicismo al Realismo: la construcción de la modernidad, Madrid, Historia 16, 1996

SANTA-MARIA, G., Decidir la ciutat futura, Barcelona 1859, Barcelona, Ajuntament de Barcelona, Museu d'Història de la Ciutat de Barcelona, 2009

SHAPIRO, M., El arte moderno, Madrid, Alianza Forma, 1993.

URBANO, J., Eclecticisme i Arquitectura, Barcelona, Dux, 2013

URBANO, J., La Barcelona eclèctica, Barcelona, Ajuntament de Barcelona, 2014

Catàlegs d'exposicions:

Delacroix : de la idea a la expresión (1798-1863), Barcelona, Fundació La Caixa, 2011



BODEI, R. La filosofía del siglo XX. Madrid: Alianza, 2001.

COLOMER, E. El pensamiento alemán: de Kant a Heidegger. Barcelona: Herder, 1990. (3 vols)

CORETH, E, EHLEN, P. La filosofía del siglo XX. Barcelona: Herder, 1989.

CRUZ PRADOS, A. Historia de la filosofía contemporánea. Pamplona: Eunsa, 1987.

FERRARIS, M. La hermenéutica. México: Taurus, 1998.

HERNANDEZ-PACHECO, J. Corrientes actuales de filosofía. Madrid: Tecnos, 1996.

LÖWITH, K. De Hegel a Nietzsche. La quiebra revolucionaria del pensamiento en el siglo XIX. Madrid: Katz, 2008.

REALE, G, ANTISERI, D. Historia del pensamiento filosófico y científico. Vol. III. Del romanticismo hasta hoy. Barcelona: Herder, 1995.

VERNEAUX, R. Historia de la filosofía contemporánea. Barcelona: Herder, 1977.

VILLACAÑAS, J.L. Historia de la filosofía contemporánea. Madrid: Akal, 1997.


Teaching and learning material