Spain, Barcelona

Outcast Barcelona: from Picaresque to Pintoresque

when 4 July 2016 - 22 July 2016
duration 3 weeks
credits 6 ECTS
fee EUR 800

This course focuses on the lesser-known areas of Barcelona: the “outcast” part of the city. The course proposes a critical analysis of urban phenomena in order to understand the role of “subaltern groups”, defined as the lower-class, low-income population, migrants and other “marginal” groups, and looks particularly at the interaction between two sections of society: the “rulers” and the “outcasts”. These topics are examined through the urban case study of Barcelona, from the end of the nineteenth century to the present day.

Barcelona, heavily influenced by its early industrial period, is a busy port city, and due to the proximity to France it has traditionally had a highly diverse population. Thousands of workers, migrants, and short-term residents have provided the ingredients for innovative ideas that shape the life and character of the city. This “other” history of Barcelona is comparatively little known, yet it is very difficult to comprehend the modern and creative city without examining Barcelona’s “underground”.

Course leader

Juanjo Romero Marín. Associated Professor of Contemporary History (School of Geography and History). Universitat de Barcelona

Target group

International Students and Professionals interested in the topic

Course aim

The course is organized around the following topics:

1) What does “outcast” mean? Social, cultural and sexual “margins” in modern cities. The perspective of the middle classes (fear and curiosity).
2) Authority and disorder: the struggle for urban space, from the times of La Rosa de Fuego to the squatter movement. The figures of “disorder”.
3) Urban “holes” and “dark districts”: city design, urban functions and dis-functions (the port, the Barrio Chino and the shantytowns); districts and neighbours.
4) “No-Man’s Land”: migrations and “low-cost cosmopolitanism”; the “culture clash”.
5) The New Babylon: gold, pink and black bohemians in twentieth-century Barcelona; immoral culture (cabarets and brothels); marginal cultures. Outcast and avant-garde.
6) Post-modern outcasts (from the political transition of the 1980’s to the present day): the “metropolitan threat”; the new underground culture of the 1980s; the 1990s and the birth of the “pintoresque” outcast city (tourism, design and “queer village”).

The course will include two talks by specialist guest speakers: one on bohemian life in the Barcelona of the 1900s, and another on post-1980s underground culture. There will also be two on-site sessions: “Women’s Public Spaces” and the “City Port”.

The course will be evaluated as follows:
Active participation - 15%
Presentations - 15%
Weekly assignments -20%
Final project - 50%

Credits info

45 hours

Fee info

EUR 800: Vat included
Registration can be completed online or in person.
Registration opens on 9 February and closes seven days before a course starts.
The registration office opening hours are Monday-Friday 10 am-2 pm and 4 pm-8 pm at the Jeroni Granell building (Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 582).
EUR 720: Early bird registration discount
*We offer reduced prices for University of Barcelona Students, Special Partners (even fee waiver), International Networks where the University of Barcelona belongs, and early bird registration discount.


The University of Barcelona has agreements with other Universities to waive fees of these courses, please ask your institution.