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. Not offered 2007-08.

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 2007-08.


Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture


Spanish 364 - Regionalism, Nationalism, Decadence: Nineteenth-Century Peninsular Literature

Full course for one semester. Developing out of the “costumbrismo” movement of the mid-century, Spanish realist narrative played an important role in articulating regional differences and giving these differences narrative play.  At the same time, however, these representations taxed the claims of realism to represent a coherent national whole. This course examines experimentation within narrative realism: what paradigm of the “real” drives the representation? What is excluded?  What forces cannot be assimilated and threaten its disintegration? How does a growing sense of national decadence generate new literary forms? Beginning with examples of “costumbrista” texts, we will study works by central Spanish novelists like Clarín, Galdós, Castro, Pardo Bazán, and Valle-Inclán within a broad range of theoretical approaches to realism. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.

Spanish 370 - Peninsular Modernism

Full course for one semester. After Spain lost its last colonies (Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines) in 1898, it entered into a period of social and political reform that affected literature and the plastic arts.  Although this period of political transformation and artistic freedom was shut down by the rise of fascism in the 1930s, for many artists creating during the long years of Franco's dictatorship, it became a point of reference, a "silver age" to rival Spain's "golden age" of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Focusing on the period 1900–1930, this course will examine how modernism reacts to late nineteenth-century realism, proposing a new vision of reality through the use of existing genres and the development of new ones.  In addition to the study of texts by Galdós, Valle-Inclán, Unamuno, Pío Baroja, Antonio Machado and Azorín, we will examine works by the architect Gaudí, and artists such as Santiago Rusiñol and Pablo Picasso. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.

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. Not offered 2007-08.

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 2007-08.

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. Not offered 2007-08.

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 2007-08.

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.

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. Not offered 2007-08.

Spanish 393 - Special Topics in Peninsular Literature and Culture: Spanish Cinema

Full course for one semester. In this course, we will consider a variety of critical and theoretical approaches to the growing canon of Spanish cinema.  From Buñuel’s first experiments to the most recent releases, the films that will be studied will be examined as both aesthetic texts and historical documents–documents that not only have a particular history, but serve to enact national histories as well. Directors whose films we will be discussing include Álex de la Iglesia, Almodóvar, Amenábar, Bardém, Berlanga, Bigas Luna, Bollaín, Borau, Buñuel, Érice, León de Aranoa, Mañas, Martín Patino, Ménem, Miró, Nieves-Conde, Sáenz de Heredia, Saura, David Trueba, and Fernando Trueba, among others. Screenings held outside of class hours.  Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.

Spanish 395 - Special Topics in Spanish American Literature and Culture

Gender, Class and Ethnicity in  20th-century Mexican Literature
Full course for one semester. This course studies Mexican fictional  texts written by major authors since the mid-1950s from the perspective of voice and silence. Taking the tradition of the essay on national identity as a point of departure, we shall focus on representations of gender, ethnicity and class to analyze how historically and culturally marginalized voices have been included and given authority in literary texts (Rulfo, Revueltas, Castellanos, Garro). We will accompany the reading of primary texts with historical and theoretical readings (González, Bartra, Lamas) and films.  The course will conclude with an examination of how recent political events in Mexico have raised new questions regarding the representation and self-representation of the “other”. Readings in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.  

Dictatorship in Latin America: Literature, Testimony, History
Full course for one semester. The twentieth century in Latin America was a turbulent period of violence and dictatorship, social movements and social reactions. Although mostly "democratic" today, the region is still characterized by minimal civil rights and state accountability as well as extreme social and economic inequality.  To investigate the history of Latin American authoritarianism and its significance at the level of culture and everyday life, this course will focus on some of the most significant literary works of this period. This includes novels (Alvarez, Vargas Llosa, Roa Bastos, Piglia), short stories and plays (Arenas, Gambaro, Dorfman), and testimonial texts (Menchú), representing different aspects of state terror and varied forms of resistance. The course will also take an interdisciplinary perspective; it will draw on historical, social scientific, and cultural studies, and include some films and documentaries. Literary readings in Spanish; most complementary readings in English. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.

The Evolution of Mexican Drama: From Traditional Theater to Transnational Performance
Full course for one semester. The genre of theater has been one that has allowed for ideological expression as well as reflected social reality. In the case of Mexico, theater has also served as a tool in the process of nation-building, and as a critique of that same nationalistic discourse. In this course, theater is analyzed primarily as a socio-cultural phenomenon within specific socio-historical contexts as we study different moments of the Mexican theater from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will begin with marginal revue and “tent” theater, continue with vanguard and feminist theater, and finish with performance art that takes place on both sides of the U.S.–Mexican border. Our readings of the plays are supplemented by genre theory, performance, and cultural studies. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor.  Conference.

In Pursuit of the Mexican Chimera: An Exploration of Identity through Contemporary Film and Literature
Full course for one semester. How has the contemporary popular cinema industry portrayed Mexican identity? Is there more than one identity, and, what can we learn from
these depictions? How can postcolonial theory help us in the study of multiple identities? In this interdisciplinary seminar we will analyze films that have contributed to a redefinition of modern-day Mexican identity. We will focus on significant aspects of important political, economic, social, and aesthetic tensions that have characterized the Mexican nation and that have helped in the creation of these identities. We will explore the nature of representation in the chosen works, as well as the writings of critics such as Néstor García Canclini, Carlos Monsiváis, Jean Franco, Neil Larsen, and Jorge Klor de Alva, whose works have  dealt with importing the postcolonial critique to the Latin American context. We will also question postcolonial theory by reflecting on its usefulness and its limitations for working out a critique of identity. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor.  Conference.


 

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. Not offered 2007-08.

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 ofinstructor 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.

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 2007-08.





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