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Spanish and Portuguese, Deparment of Languages, Literatures and Cultures


Hispanic Literatures & Cultures


Courses> Hispanic Literatures & Cultures

Area A: Medieval/Golden Age Spanish Literature and Culture

Catalan 520 - Old Catalan Literature (Lloret)
Life in medieval and Renaissance courts entailed many social obligations, such as composing, hearing, and reading out loud love songs, hate poems, chivalric romances, and heroic histories for fellow court-mates, enemies, lovers, friends, and family. This course looks at examples of Catalan literature written in the courts of the Crown of Aragon between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries, and studies the cultural dynamics of such social setting. Readings include songs of the Occitan troubadours, Ramon Llull's pious romance Blaquerna and his treatise on chivalry, the autobiography of King James I, soldier Ramon Muntaner's travel writing, Bernat Metge?s allegorical romance and political dialogue, and the chivalrous adventures of Curial, Gáelfa, and Tirant lo Blanc. Taught in English. One of the goals of this class is achieving reading competence in Old Catalan and Old Occitan. Texts will be provided in the original language and in translation.

Spanish 697 - Golden Age Lyric Poetry (Lloret)
This seminar tackles sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish poetry with attention to old and new genres; Classical, Italianate, and traditional themes; the sociology of poetry production, circulation, and consumption in the Golden Age; and conflicting Renaissance and Baroque poetics. Readings include authors from Boscán to Bocángel. Garcilaso de la Vega's poems and Luis de Góngora's Polifemo will be closely read in full. Taught in Spanish.

Spanish 697DQ - Don Quijote (Lloret)
This seminar provides a close reading and commentary of the two parts of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (1605 and 1615). The novel will be discussed in connection with the author's literary culture, paying special attention to chivalric and byzantine romances, picaresque fictions, lyric poetry, ballads, and literary theory. The author's writing process and narrative techniques, the printing of the first editions, and the history of the interpretation of the novel will also be crucial issues that will frame our analysis. Taught in Spanish.

Spanish 597 - Early Modern Spanish Theatre (Lloret)
This course will offer a survey of Spanish plays written between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries, and will consider theatrical genres, conflicting poetics, main themes, representation and publication practices, as well as staging venues and their socio-historical significance. Readings will include works by Gómez Manrique, Fernando de Rojas, Juan del Encina, Gil Vicente, Lope de Rueda, Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, Juan Ruiz de Alarcón, Calderón de la Barca, and Agustín Moreto. Taught in Spanish.

Spanish 520 - Spanish Literature Beginning to 1500 (Lloret)
This course offers an introduction to fundamental authors, works, and literary genres of Medieval Iberia, with an emphasis on the Castilian tradition. Classes will be devoted to examining texts and discussing recent critical contributions to their study. Special attention will be paid to the historical and theoretical problems of our modern engagement with "medieval literature." Readings include the epic poem Cantar de Mio Cid, the exempla of El Conde Lucanor, the burlesque verses of El libro de buen amor, chivalric romance Amadís de Gaula, and Humanistic comedy La Celestina, among others. Taught in Spanish.

Area B: Modern Spanish Literature and Culture

Catalan 521 - Contemporary Catalan Fiction (Molla)
We will read and analyze some relevant works in contemporary Catalan fiction such as: El quadern gris written by Josep Pla (one of the finest Europeans prosists of his time) or La plaça del Diamant by Mercè Rodoreda; a novel that, according to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, "is the most beautiful novel published in Spain after the Civil War". Other authors to be read are Baltasar Porcel, Jesús Moncada, Salvador Espriu, Quim Monzé and Albert Sánchez Piñol. This course will be a good chance not only to enjoy some excellent novels and short stories, but also to widen our perception and knowledge on Peninsular literatures. The course will be conducted in Spanish, and all the novels are available in either Spanish or English translation. We will even try to read some fragments in Catalan!

Catalan 597T - Catalan Cinema. (team taught Zecchi and Molla) (Offered in combination with the Catalan Film Festival). 1 credit, Pass-Fail.
Spanish cinema started in Catalunya with two important schools: the realistic school led by Fructuós Gelabert; and the fantastic trend represented by Segundo de Chomán. After the silence forced upon Catalan cinema during Franco's dictatorship in the 40's and 50's, it started to regain an important role in the film industry with the Barcelona School in the mid 60's. Presently Catalan Cinema enjoys a strong recognition thanks to the works of well-known Catalan directors such as Bigas Luna, Ventura Pons and Isabel Coixet, among others. This class meets once a week for three hours and students are in charge of twenty minutes film introductions as well as discussion moderation; attendance is mandatory. Films are shown in the original language (Catalan or Castilian) w/ English subtitles.

Spanish 797BA - La Belle époque: Spanish Culture from 1898 to the Civil War. (Zecchi)
This course will examine the Spanish cultural production during a concrete historical period in which Spain experienced not only the revolutionary momentum that was sweeping Europe (in politics as well as in science, economics, or social habits) but also an artistic revival of such intensity that some critics have labeled it the "Silver Age". The fields of cinema, painting, music and, of course, literature offered names of unquestionable international transcendence, such as Buñuel, Picasso, Dali, Falla, Unamuno, Alberti, Lorca, and so forth. We will focus on the artistic production of the period paying particular attention to the formal characteristics of the works as well as to the their socio-historical implications-including gender issues.

Spanish 797GR - Spanish Realisms. (Zecchi)
Costumbrismo, naturalism, verismo, social realism and neo-realism are different versions of what Aristoteles had defined as "mimesis." After a theoretical introduction with readings on the "imitation of nature" by Aristoteles, Auerbach and Lukacs, among others, this class will address the so-called "cuestión palpitante" through texts written by a broad selection of nineteenth-century writers (such as Zola, Valera, Pereda, Clarín, Pérez Galdós and Pardo Bazán,). It will then address the resurfacing of this trend in the twentieth-century literature with the "realismo social" of authors such as Miguel Delibes and Carmen Martín Gaite and in cinema, with the Italian neorealist movement and his Spanish version by Bardem, Berlanga and Ana Mariscal.

Spanish 797BB/697WF- Women and Film. (Zecchi)
A close examination of the evolution of Spanish cinema by women directors through the viewpoint of gender and feminist film theories. This class will highlight women's mainly gynocentric cinematic scope and engage several of the most recurrent topics that shape women's films (such as violence against women, the depiction of the female body, and the rejection of traditional female roles, among others) in comparison with how these same themes surface in hegemonic cinema (i.e. both Hollywood and Spanish male-authored production). Furthermore this class will outline the historical evolution of female cinema: 1) Film-makers who worked before the Civil War and were silenced by Francisco Franco's dictatorship, 2) Those who had to negotiate their production within the regime's censorship, and 3) A third group that, in democracy, contributes to a "boom" of women behind the camera. By tackling the so-called gender-genre debate, this class will analyze how each group uses (or subverts) different male-dominated cinematic forms (such as neo-realism, the road movie, the film noir, etc.), thus shaping a female discursive "difference" in each period. Taught in Spanish.

Spanish 697SP From Paper to Celluloid: Spanish Film. (Zecchi)
This class will study Spanish literary works and their cinematic adaptations. It will address the fundamental differences between written words and visual image, measure the fidelity of the recreation and reflect upon the implications of ideology and gender for reinterpretation. Movies include the two versions of María Lejárraja's Canción de cuna, Juan de Orduña's and Josefina Molina's recreations of Machado's La Lola se va a los puertos, and Garci's adaptation of Galdós's El abuelo, among others.

Spanish 597SN - The Spanish Novel
During the 19th century, liberalism and romanticism provided the grounds for the flourishing of "feminine writing" to the point that, between 1840 and 1860, women clearly were the protagonists of the literary landscape. Such predominance started to dissipate as the century advanced, and the feminine presence in the canon became more and more sporadic. This course will focus on the struggle of Spanish women throughout the 19th century to occupy a literary space from where to undermine the patriarchal construction of a female identity and from where to launch her own subjectivity, express her own desires, denounce the violence women must undergo, and ultimately search for the terms of her own identity.

Spanish 597CI - Spanish Cinema and Auteurism. (Zecchi)
In the context of the discussions on the "politique des auteurs" and the "auteur theory," this class concentrates on films by one key director (i.e. Luis Buñuel, Carlos Saura, Pedro Almodóvar, Pilar Miró or Isabel Coixet, among others), and aims to highlights his/her cinematic models, distinctive style and recurrent themes. Taught in Spanish

Spanish 597HA - Gendered Discourses and the Canon in Modern Spain. (Zecchi)
During the 19th century, liberalism and romanticism provided the grounds for the flourishing of "feminine writing" to the point that, between 1840 and 1860, women clearly were the protagonists of the literary landscape. Such predominance started to dissipate as the century advanced, and the feminine presence in the canon became more and more sporadic. This course will focus on the struggle of Spanish women throughout the 19th century to maintain a literary space from where to undermine the patriarchal construction of a female identity and launch her own subjectivity, express her own desires, denounce the violence women must undergo, and ultimately search for the terms of her own identity.

Area C: Spanish American Literature and Culture from the Encoutner to 1820

Spanish 797CA - Cannibalism and Colonialism
The question we will address in this course is not so much whether cannibalism as a practice really existed (or still exists), but the fascination this topic has exerted on the European mind and the responses it has provoked. The purpose of the course is twofold: first, to introduce the student to the study of the textual and iconographic representations of American "cannibalism" from the sixteenth until approximately the eighteenth century: chronicles, literature, legal discourses on the one hand, and map sheets, single drawings, book illustrations, on the other. The second objective will be to discuss the research produced by literary critics, anthropologists and within colonial/postcolonial studies during the last two decades on cannibalism as a trope and as a discursive practice within colonialist discourse. A good reading knowledge of Spanish is required.

Spanish 697CM - Indigenous and Mestizo Chroniclers in early modern Peru
This course aims at introducing the student to the study of ethnographies and chronicles penned by indigenous Latino and Mestizo writers in the Viceroyalty of Peru during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. After reading selections from early modern Spanish historians in order to better work out the differences, we will carefully examine the works of Andean writers focusing on their particular conceptions of time, space, gender, and ritual. Furthermore, we will discuss critical works produced in the field of early modern Andean studies and subaltern studies.

Spanish 697FT: Fiestas Coloniales/Festivals and Rituals in Colonial Spanish America
This course studies religious and civic celebrations in colonial Spanish America, in particular Corpus Christi, the inaugural entry of the new viceroy and those festivities following the announcement of the death and coronation of a monarch. We will focus on four interrelated aspects: first, the images of the different ethnic groups projected during these festivals; second, the discourse of loyalty; third, the exaltation of the city and the symbolic use of space in the ritualized processions; and fourth, the relationship between panegyric literature and censorship. Student will be exposed to a great amount of archival material.

Spanish 597P - Historiografía del Nuevo Mundo (siglos XVI-XVIII)
Este curso traza la evolución de la historiografía sobre el "Nuevo Mundo" producida desde la llegada de Colón hasta finales de la época colonial. Con tal fin se procederá al estudio detenido de algunas obras clave. Entre otros temas, se analizará el proceso de la "invención" de América, la construcción de una serie de imágenes fundacionales y el establecimiento de lugares comunes sobre el territorio y los habitantes americanos; como se verá a lo largo del curso, esos topicos perduraron durante siglos, tanto en Europa como en Latinoaémrica. De manera simultánea al anlisis de los textos, se familiarizará al estudiante con distintos acercamientos metodológicos y teóricos dentro de los estudios coloniales.

Area D: Spanish America Literature and Culture from 1820 to Present

Spanish 797HA - Imaginarios Femeninos en Latinoamrica. (Russotto)
Intensive Seminar of literary and cultural research. The purpose of the seminar is to explore and discuss the work of Latin America women painters, writers, photographers, poets and artists in the 20th century. We will explore recurrent topics in their work: body and aging, historiographic fiction, illness, authorship, social violence, autobiography, "self" representation, and others. We will also explore the influence of psychoanalysis and Surrealism in the novels, and the works of women artists that lived in Mexico during the 1920s to 1950s (such as Khalo, Izquierdo, Varo, Modotti). Intensive participation is expected from students: there will be oral presentations, books reviews, commentated bibliography, paper reactions, and a research paper on primary sources. Of particular interest to students in Humanities, Women's Studies and Social Science.

Spanish 797TT - The Cultures of the Mexican Revolution. (Marentes)
Explores Mexico of the 1910s, 20s and 30s and the legacy of those decades. The Mexican Revolution, the creation of the Partido Nacional Revolucionario, the development of an official nationalism, the muralist movement, the growth of cinema and radio, and the fostering of Mexico as touristic destination are but a few of the events that marked these decades. In an apparent paradox, Mexico develops in these years an inward-looking nationalism in the midst of a growing cosmopolitism. The years of armed struggle and political readjustment sent many into exile, while they also brought many from abroad to witness or participate in the forging of a revolutionary nation. We will study this period as a moment of particularly interesting intersections between the local and the foreign, the modern and traditional, in the development of an image of Mexico. The class will do certain readings in common and we will spend the first few sessions contextualizing the period. Students will be expected to explore primary sources and present them to the class.

Spanish 796L: Mexico in the 1920s and 30s. (Marentes)
This seminar will explore the Mexico of the 1920s and 30s in many of its manifestations. The 1920s are marked by the institutionalization of the postrevolutionary regime. The decade begins with the ascendancy of the Sonoran faction that would, by 1929, create the Partido Nacional Revolucionario - the current PRI's predecessor. By the 1930s, under Cárdenas, the revolutionary regime reaches its most radical stage, with the growth of official syndicalism, the height of land redistribution and the nationalization of the oil industry. It is a period, to a great degree, characterized by introspection, marked by the growth of an official nationalism. It is, nevertheless, also a period marked by major international connections. In the broadest of terms, the previous decade of armed struggle displaced many, sending thousands to the United States. Among the elites, many were exiled. The revolutionary struggle and its institutionalization attracted intellectuals and political activists from throughout the world to Mexico. It is also a period of cosmopolitan experimentation with groups such as Contemporáneos and the Ulises Theater. The estridentistas published their manifesto, as did Diego Rivera with Andre Breton and Leon Trotsky. The 1930s saw the arrival of thousands of refugees of the Spanish Civil War. Beginning with the notions of transculturación in Angel Rama, hybrid cultures in Nestor García Canclini and traveling cultures in James Clifford, we will approach this period as a moment of particularly interesting intersections between the local and the foreign, the modern and the past in the development of an image of Mexico; modern and traditional, regional and cosmopolitan. In the seminar we will develop a broad bibliography of primary and secondary sources for the study of the period. The seminar as a whole will read and discuss a common bibliography throughout the semester, while each individual student will be expected to provide the class with sample primary texts relevant to the group discussion. The final paper will be an introduction to the selected texts.

Spanish 797PL - The Long Poem in Latin America
Intensive seminar of poetic research. This seminar focuses on the long poem through the analysis and discussion of some of the most important Latin American poems of the 20th century. As a hybrid form that is essentially connected with Modernity, the long poem reveals a structural paradox since it rejects the epic structure and its didactic exposition, and at the same time it revisits the sources of tradition. We will explore the formal characteristics of that paradox (time and development, space representation, allegories of cultural tensions, status and role of the "self", among other topics). We will include authors from Hispanic America and from Brazil (in bilingual versions Portuguese/Spanish). The first sessions will be dedicated to the theoretical problems of this particular literary form, its historic background and current research on this subject. Intensive participation is expected from students: there will be oral presentations, book reviews and a research paper on primary sources (15-20 pages). Among the possible readings are: Altazor by Vicente Huidobro, Muerte sin fin by José Gorostiza, O cão sem plumas (El perro sin plumas) by João Cabral de Melo Neto, El amor desenterrado by Jorge Enrique Adoum, Agua by Carmen Boullosa, Canto cósmico by Ernesto Cardenal, últimos días de una casa by Dulce María Loynaz, Lamentación de Dido by Rosario Castellanos. Also representative texts of literary and cultural criticism. Latin American content: 95%

Spanish 697LS Clarise Lispector and the Essential Categories of Fiction
Research seminar on Brazil's most important female writer. An exploration of her unique poetic and of the classic notions of narratives (Narrator, Character, Epiphany/Satori, Referent, Koan and many more). Her works will be studied in their original language and/or in translation to other languages, including paintings and films. Aimed at students of Spanish, Portuguese, and Women's Studies; and also at those interested in mastering the anatomy of the novel and short-story, in knowing the roots of the Brazilian culture, in identifying the paradoxes of critical reception and, lastly, in enjoying the iconoclastic sense of Latin American literature as the heart of its culture. Requirements: Active participation in class discussion, oral presentations, book reviews and a final paper. Although the seminar will be given in Spanish, students may submit written work in Spanish and/or Portuguese.

Spanish 597CB Cuban Literature in the 19th and 20th Century: a Limitless Itinerary. (Russotto)
Re-reading of the Cuban literary canon through the analysis and discussion of its main authors and tendencies, from the early Romanticism of the mid-1800s and the anti-slavery literature, to today's post-revolutionary works. We will study different authors, literary genres, and topics of the Cuban imaginary such as "cubana", "mestizaje", "transculturación", "negritud". This course explores Cuban literature in its double significance: as part of the development of Cuban society and as a construction of a specific aesthetic sensibility. Therefore, studying the relationship between history, culture and literature will be a constant in this course; taking into consideration the different contexts that determine this dialogue (Africa, Spain, the United States of America and Latin America). Nonetheless, emphasis will be given to the literary text as the highest expression of a cultural identity that refers to its own tradition. Students will be expected to participate intensively: oral presentations, book reviews, a midterm exam, and a research paper. Open to advanced students, graduate and undergraduate.

Spanish 597A - Culture and Revolution in Latin America. (Marentes)
This class studies the relationship between revolution and culture in Latin America from different angles. The first weeks are dedicated to considering the different meanings of the term "revolution" and the relationship of this concept to that which we understand as culture. With this in mind, we will study a variety of cultural representations of revolutionary processes in three specific regions - Mexico, Cuba and Central America. For this study we will consider a variety of "texts" that include essays, poems, movies, songs, and paintings.

Spanish 597CL - Caribbean Short Story
This seminar focuses on the works of the masters of the Caribbean Short Story. This genre is the most popular literary genre in Latin America, and it is considered to be 'protean' due to its ability to morph into any number of forms. We will read selected representative texts by authors from Venezuela, Cuba, Costa Rica, Colombia, Puerto Rico, among others, in order to identify intersections between the aesthetic movements, the regional history, and the traditional conflicts with the peripheral Modernity. We will spend the first few sessions on the theory of the Short Story. Students will be expected to participate intensively in this seminar: there will be oral presentations, book reviews, a midterm exam, and a research paper on primary sources. The seminar is open to advanced students, graduate and undergraduate.

Spanish 597 - Reading the canon: the Latin American Novel (Russotto)
Intensive Seminar of research on the 20th century Latin American narrative fiction. We will read, analyze and discuss the masterpieces of canonical authors, such as Jorge Luis Borges, Alejo Carpentier, José María Arguedas, Augusto Roa Bastos, Gabriel García Márquez, among others. We will consider some specific and problematic notions, like "Realismo mágico", "Novela de la selva", "Novela del dictador", "El boom", among others. Intensive participation is expected from students: there will be oral presentations, commented bibliography, book reviews and a research paper on topics in accord with the instructor. TAUGHT IN SPANISH.

Area E: US Latino/Latina Literature and Culture

Spanish 697B - Travels and Borders in Latin American and US Latina/o Literature.
This class studies the way in which Latin American and US Latina/o writers have constructed and complicated notions of ethnic and/or national identity through narratives of travel or border experience. We understand borders in a broad and flexible manner, considering not only political divisions between nation-states, but also geographical borders and cultural "contact zones." For that reason, we consider a broad range of travels, including tourism, migration, exploration, deportation, exile and the quotidian movement between different geographical and/or cultural spaces.

Spanish 697- Hispanic Newspapers in the United States: Extra! Extra!
The purpose this seminar is the study of the history of the Hispanic newspapers since 1800 until present. This course will focus on the socio-historical development of the Latino/a community within the United States; as well as the pursuit of their identity within the cultural and geographic borders of a multicultural nation. The theoretical framework follows the three main manifestations of periodical publication: exile, immigration and nativism. This class will study how these manifestations reflect the nature of Hispanic culture in the United States.

Spanish 697- US Latino/a Theatre: Arriba el telón
This course focuses on the contribution to the Latino performing arts in the United States by members of other representative groups (Venezuelans, Dominicans, Peruvians, Colombians and so on) that coexist with the three major groups: Mexicans-Americans, Puerto Ricans and Cuban-Americans. Their artistic production occupies a multicultural space where different and dissimilar cultural markers are intertwining each other. The class goal is to acquaint the students with a history of the US Latino/a theatre and the conditions in which this movement was produced.

Spanish 597- US Latino/a Literature and culture: Oye cómo va
In this century, Latinos/as have become more visible in the American public scene. On popular culture, mass-media, politics and other activities, Latinos/as have achieved essential roles. This course is an introduction to US Latina/o literature, culture and history. The class incorporates their stories across national origin groups: Mexican-Americans, Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Cubans and Latin Americans in general. This class will provide students with an opportunity to make critical evaluations across historical events and geographical borders. By using interdisciplinary tools we will approach the complexities of the Latina/o identity answering questions such as: How far back does the historical presence of Latinas/os stretch in the United States?; How did they become part of the American nation?

Spanish 597W - US Latina/o Literature and Culture. (Marentes)
Focusing mainly on Chicanos and Puerto Ricans, we study manifestations of Latina/o culture in the United States in different spaces and moments. Among the topics covered are migration, urban organizations, popular culture, globalization, transnationalism and the recent Latina/o "boom."

Spanish 558 - Spanish American Essay. (Marentes)
This class studies the different manifestation of the Spanish American essay, paying particular attention to the way this genre has been used to imagine an American identity.

Other Courses Offered

Spanish 697I - Literary Analysis and Theory: Major Controversies
This course will take a fresh look at the question of what literary theory is and what it does and/or claims to do. Paying attention, in particular, to the rhetoric of Theory, we will attempt to analyze what precisely the language of Theory has contributed to the current intellectual scene. We will explore the major strands of twentieth-century theory that need to be explicated from a critical perspective, examining both what is gained and what is lost by their adoption. By the beginning of the new millennium, Theory (with a capital T) had become a controversial issue in academic circles. As a result of several decades of challenges to the status of the author and of literary works, Theory and Theorists had themselves come to claim center stage, and the study of literature was transformed into theoretical debate. Today, post-structuralists and postmodernists still fight it out with proponents of politically-inspired "new thematics" (of race, class, gender, sexuality, etc.), or with adherents to a by-now routine postmodernism, while interest in the creative process and in the understanding of literary texts themselves has been overshadowed by the reign of Theory. But there have also existed many important dissenters who have challenged and reappraised the critical fashions of the past few decades. These dissenting critics note that while Theory courses typically acquaint students with sometimes arcane critical vocabularies, they do not necessarily stimulate the ability to read literature carefully--sometimes to read it at all--or to question pronouncements made in the name of Theory. In addition to acquainting students with key figures and ideas, the course will provide students with a variety of intellectual tools that will enable them to participate in current discussions of Theory. At the same time, the course will chart the transformation of once-innovative approaches into orthodoxies over the past few decades. And, not least, it will help students reconsider the study of literature as an activity worth bothering about in its own right.