Spanish Course Descriptions

Spanish Language and Introductino to Literature


Spanish 110 - First-Year Spanish

Full course for one year. A balanced study of written and oral aspects of Spanish. Includes an introduction to reading. Conference.

Spanish 210 - Second-Year Spanish

Full course for one year. An intermediate-level study of grammar, composition, conversation. Emphasis on reading: essays, theater, short stories, and poetry. Prerequisite: equivalent of one year of college Spanish. Conference.

Spanish 321 - Theory and Practice of Hispanic Literature

Full course for one semester. This course is designed to give students a theoretical, historical, and cultural framework for the more advanced study of Spanish and Spanish American literature. It will include considerations of genre, reception, and critical theory. Students will be responsible for undertaking close readings of the texts as well as research projects. Prerequisite: Spanish 210 or equivalent. Conference.


Early Modern Literature and Culture


Spanish 343 - Don Quixote and Narrative Theory

Full course for one semester. This course will consist of a close reading of Cervantes’ masterpiece in conjunction with the works of theorists such as Wayne Booth, Michel Foucault, Gyorgy Lukács, Ruth El Safar, Leo Spitzer, and Robert Alter, who have written about Don Quixote in the development and exploration of their various “theories of the novel.” To better understand the context of Don Quixote , we will begin with a careful consideration of political, cultural, and historical aspects of the Spanish Golden Age. We will end the semester with student presentations that focus on adaptations and appropriations of Don Quixote in modern narrative. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 344.

Spanish 347 - Court and Stage in Early Modern Spain

Full course for one semester. This course reflects upon the theatrical nature of absolutist power in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain. Monarchical authority is constructed as a carefully crafted spectacle both in the court and in the public space of the church and the square. The examination of a corpus of conduct manuals aimed at the education of the king and his courtiers will allow us to think about the link between politics and manners within the confines of the royal palace. In the external sphere, the theatre becomes an essential vehicle of propaganda and control. The study of a series of plays will reveal divergent perspectives on the legitimacy of monarchical authority. Representations of rulership vary from official visions that emphasize the connection with a divine order to those that point to the fictitious foundations of power. Readings include works by Lope de Vega, Calderón de la Barca, Francisco de Quevedo, Baltasar Gracián, and Diego de Saavedra Fajardo. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Spanish 353 - Chronicling America

Full course for one semester. The early chronicles of the exploration and conquest of the “New World” initiate Spanish American literature and have left an enduring mark as well on the development and transformations of this literary tradition. This course focuses on the chronicle form at two critical junctures. In the first part of the course, we trace the constitution of a particularly Spanish American colonial discourse through a reading of early chronicles, including Columbus’s letters, mestizo and ladino histories, and chronicle-novels. The second part of the course examines how problems raised by these early works are taken up in recent texts that lay claim to, parody, or shatter the chronicle form. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.


Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture


Spanish 355 - Search for Identity in Latin America

Full course for one semester. The independence of Mexico and Cuba and their later revolutions provide a framework from which to study the most significant instances in the definition of a political and cultural identity. Of central concern will be the relationship between ruling elites and subaltern groups, as it appears in political documents, manifestos, novels, short stories, poems, and films. Particular attention will be paid to the voices and representations of gauchos , indios , and negros . Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Spanish 358 - Modern Spanish American Theater

Full course for one semester. This course reads modern theater in the context of a more general theatricality manifested in Spanish American politics. We will focus on the dramatic revision of history, the difficult and ambiguous staging of “disappearance,” and on how theatricality underpins and subverts notions of revolution and political orders. The course will include European and Spanish American dramatic theory and works by playwrights Armando Discépolo, Emilio Carballido, Rosario Castellanos, Griselda Gambaro, José Triana, and others. Readings in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Spanish 362 - Twentieth-Century Spanish American Prose

Full course for one semester. Reading of modern Spanish American authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Elena Garro, Juan Rulfo, Gabriel García Márquez, Elena Poniatowska, Julio Cortázar, José Donoso, Marta Brunet, and Carlos Fuentes. This course continues the concerns of Spanish 353, focusing on the ways in which problems of writing, knowledge, and power are resituated by modern Spanish American authors. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Spanish 373 - The Avant-Gardes

Full course for one semester. This course will explore the aesthetic revolution waged by the Spanish and Latin American avant-gardes at the beginning of the twentieth century. Focusing on manifestos, poems, paintings, films, and theatrical works, we shall consider diverse ways in which Futurism, Ultraism, Creationism, and Surrealism declare war on “bourgeois” art forms. Presenting a utopian view of modernity, these movements react against both the weight of tradition and the alienation of the individual in the industrialized world. Particular attention will be paid to the link between avant-gardist poetics and the different political ideologies, such as communism and fascism. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.

Spanish 375 - Modern Peninsular Drama

Full course for one semester. One of the central tensions in dramatic texts is the tension between verbal language and visual imagery. This course will examine this tension as it is made explicit in a series of twentieth century Spanish dramas that incorporate works of art—from both “real” and imagined artists—on stage. Topics to be considered include censorship, ekphrasis, the iconization of language, and the limits of verbal and visual expression. Dramas will include works by Valle-Inclán, García Lorca, Alberti, Arrabal, Buero Vallejo, Grau, and Pedrero. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Spanish 377 - Contemporary Spanish Fiction

Full course for one semester. Francisco Franco’s death in 1975 marked the end of dictatorship in Spain, though the transition to democracy was hardly smooth. In this course, we will examine Spanish fiction after Franco’s death, paying particular—though not exclusive—attention to the fictional as a space through which Franco’s legacy may be confronted, and through which a Spanish society may be constructed. The reading of novels and short stories by Martín Gaite, Tusquets, Vázquez Montalbán, Marsé, Javier Marías, Muñoz Molina, Etxebarría, Rivas and others will be complimented by texts that chronicle and confront the transition (Vilarós, Vázquez Montalbán). Studies on narratology, trauma, memory, and national identity will inform our work on Spanish fiction. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of instructor. Conference. 

Spanish 381 - Literature and Culture of Argentina from Independence to the Present

Full course for one semester. In the framework of an Argentinean cultural history, this course analyzes the relationship between aesthetics, ethics, and politics. A series of nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts, both fictional and nonfictional, will serve to trace the trajectory from a political use of literature to the emergence of an autonomous intellectual sphere. The course is organized around the topics of “civilization and barbarism”; gauchos , frontiers, and “the desert”; the Generation of 1880 and immigration; Peronism and anti-Peronism; and militarism and democracy. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Spanish 383 - Cuba: Literature and Society

Full course for one semester. This course studies nineteenth- and twentieth-century Cuban literature in terms of its formulation of a political and cultural identity. Taking as a point of departure narratives on slavery, we shall discuss how the concept of race operates in different authorial projects and genres: political manifestoes of the independence (Martí), essays on nationhood (Guerra y Sánchez, Araquistain, Ortiz, Mañach), black poetry (Guillén), and marvelous realism (Carpentier). The focus will then move to the cultural influence of the revolution of 1959 and the creation of two divergent poetics. Along with politically engaged literature (Desnoes, Fernández Retamar), we will examine works that, emphasizing their autonomy, present a metaphysical, universal, and ludic vision of Cubanidad (Lezama Lima, Cabrera Infante, Severo Sarduy). The course will conclude with some reflections on the thematic recurrence of exile and diaspora (Arenas, Pérez Firmat). Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Spanish 385 - Baroque and Neo-Baroque

Full course for one semester. The discovery of what came to be known as the Americas represented a radical disruption to the concept of world order then held by Europe. The history of the Americas began as a kind of distortion to the very concept of order, a fact that became evident in the process of colonization, in which order was imposed with a baroque cruelty and despair. In the twentieth century, a group of writers approached the distortions of the baroque as a way of opening the continent’s oppressive orders to make room for the possibility of revolution that would be at once aesthetic and social. This course will begin with a series of texts on the baroque (including Wölfflin, Maravall, Benjamin, Góngora), and will then move to twentieth-century considerations of the baroque as the definitive style of Latin American experience and expression. We will concentrate on the writings of José Lezama Lima, Severo Sarduy, and Néstor Perlongher. Readings in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Spanish 387 - Essay, Race and Nation in Latin American

Full course for one semester. This course focuses on an essay tradition that reflects on questions related to modernity. The chronicles of the Cuban José Martí on the United States serves as an introduction to a series of themes and categories: democracy, popular culture, aesthetic autonomy and heteronomy, spiritualism, anomie, consensus, and race, that are relevant to the study of the other authors. The reading of the primary texts—Rodó, Ortiz, Vasconcelos, Blanco, Lugones, Mariátegui and Arguedas—is accompanied by the study of theoretical essays originating in other traditions: Baudelaire, Tocqueville, Renan, Eagleton, Hobsbawm and H.L.Gates Jr. The principal axis of this course is the relationship between the aesthetic and the political, tracing an itinerary that goes from the appeal to beauty in consensual practices to their most elitist and authoritarian manifestations. Emphasis is on how the authors formulated a model nation which stood as an alternative to that proposed by the liberal elite of the nineteenth century. Readings in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Spanish 390 - Crime and Literature in Spanish America

Full course for one semester. The notion of crime constitutes a point of articulation joining religious, philosophical, juridical, journalistic, historiographical, scientific, psychoanalytical, and other discourses. For this reason, it provides a particularly rich point of departure for the study of cultural production. This course focuses on the various ways in which crime has figured in Spanish American writing. Texts may include accounts of transvestite nuns and “deluded” mystics, detective novels, and literary or journalistic treatments of the drug trade and the criminal state apparatus. We will also consider filmic representations of crime. Theoretical readings address the development and function of penal, judicial, governmental, and medical institutions. Readings in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of instructor. Conference.

Spanish 393 - Special Topics in Peninsular Literature and Culture: Spanish Poetry from the Cancionero Tradicional to the Contemporary Lyric

Full course for one semester. This course will present a survey of Spanish poetry from the ballads and cancionero poems of the oral tradition, through the Golden Age, Romanticism, and the modern era. Poets such as Garcilaso de la Vega, Fray Luis de León, Góngora, Quevedo, Espronceda, Rosalia de Castro, Bécquer, Machado, and Lorca will be studied, as well as poets of the Spanish Civil War and of contemporary feminism. Students will develop an understanding of the different literary periods by investigating the variations in poetry as a genre in relation to other cultural and historical discourses. Social protest, poetic voice, spirituality, self-reference, feminism, temporality, and alienation will be among the topics addressed in the poems we examine, and the methods and terminology of literary analysis will be presented in context. Presentations on the visual arts and film will complement lectures on the poetry, and creative writing and performance components will be included. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Spanish 395 - Special Topics in Spanish American Literature and Culture

Political Film in Latin America
Full course for one semester. This course will examine the relationship between film and social change in Latin America. We will discuss the prominent role film has played in certain countries in creating an awareness about socioeconomic issues. Film movements such as the "Third Cinema," the "Imperfect Cinema," and the "Cinema of Hunger" will be studied as aesthetic, cultural, and ideological phenomena linked to the dissident movements in Latin America. Some of the topics to be discussed include dictatorships, political repression, violence, exile, and revolutions as they are "projected" in cinematographic production. Filmmakers to be considered include Fernando Solana and Octavio Getino (Argentina), Jorge Sanjines (Bolivia), Patricio Guzman (Chile), Tomás Gutiérrez Alea (Cuba), and Luis Estrada (Mexico). Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Voices of Modern Latin American Poetry
Full course for one semester. This course will focus on the major figures of modern Latin American poetry such as Cesar Vallejo, Pablo Neruda, and Octavio Paz, but we will also include lesser-known poets. We will examine the interaction of various contradictory forces in their work: tensions between indigenous traditions and the European avant-garde, between lyric voice and silence, between social protest and spirituality, and between alienation and love. The theme of exile—voluntary exile, involuntary exile, and inner exile—will also be examined, as will be notions of gender, of the nation, and of modernity. This course will emphasize the techniques of close reading of poetic texts, and lectures will be complemented by presentations on the aesthetic and historical context of the works we study. Creative writing and performance components will be included. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2006-07.

Spanish 400 - Junior Seminar: Church and State in Early Modern Spanish Culture

Full course for one semester. This course examines the relationship between politics and culture in sixteenth and seventeenth-century Spain. More specifically, the organizing theme is the convergence of absolutist monarchical power and religious authority, as formulated or contested in various cultural productions: poems, comedias, autos sacramentales, novellas, conduct manuals, court correspondence, pictorial emblems, and paintings. The construction of and resistance to a theocratic imperial order are analyzed from different theoretical perspectives. The idea of early modern culture as an instrument of ideological state control is discussed in the light of Marxist criticism; through new historicist approaches the expression of dissent and subjectivity are considered; the ritual aspects of baroque arts and letters are examined in the framework of Gadamerian hermeneutics; scholarship in the history of the book serves as a basis for the discussion of the links between symbolic representation and concrete social practices; and the interconnectedness of visual and written works is studied in the light of response theory approaches to elite and popular art. This course includes a substantial research project. Readings in Spanish. Prerequisites: Spanish 321 and one other literature course taught in Spanish or equivalent with consent of instructor. Conference.

Spanish 470 - Thesis

One-half or full course for one semester or one year.

Spanish 481 - Independent Reading

One-half or full course for one semester. Prerequisite: approval of instructor and division.

Spanish 360 - Literature, State and Nation in Nineteenth-Century Latin America

Full course for one semester. This course examines the relationship between literature and politics understood in the framework of an intellectual history of nineteenth-century Latin America. The selected texts reflect the range of different meanings that the concept of nation takes on, according to the distinct context and junctures in which it is evoked. The first part of the course focuses on discourses about the nation that are primarily concerned with questions of culture and identity, as well as with mythical-symbolic import. Discussed in this light are neoclassical, romantic, and naturalist poetics. Representative genres read include poetry, short stories, novels, and essays by Olmedo, Heredia, Bello, Echeverría, Mármol, Gómez de Avellaneda, Issacs, Matto de Turner. The rest of the term is devoted to a tradition of republican thought that addresses institutional and juridical problems. Readings include letters, essays and speeches by Bolívar, Artigas, Lastarria, Sarmiento, Alberdi, Bilbao, de Hostos. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.





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