Spanish Course Descriptions

Spanish Language and Introduction 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 200 - Spanish for Advanced Beginners

Full course for one year. Students in this yearlong course will cover the same material taught in Spanish 110 and 210, but at a highly accelerated rate. A balanced study of and practice with written and oral aspects of Spanish, this course is designed to prepare students for introductory courses in literature and culture at the 300 level. Prerequisites: placement exam or interview and consent of the instructor. Students with no prior background in Spanish should take Spanish 110. Conference.

Spanish 210 - Second-Year Spanish

Full course for one year. An intermediate-level study of grammar, composition, conversation. Emphasis on reading: essays, theatre, 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’s 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 2008-09.

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.


19th- and 20th-Century Literature and Culture


Spanish 360 - Literature, State, and Nation in 19th-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 19th-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. Not offered 2008-09.

Spanish 364 - Regionalism, Nationalism, Decadence: 19th-Century Peninsular Literature

Full course for one semester. Developing out of the “costumbrismo” movement of the midcentury, 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. Not offered 2008-09.

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 16th and 17th centuries. Focusing on the period 1900–1930, this course will examine how modernism reacts to late-19th-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. Not offered 2008-09.

Spanish 372 - Echoes of Spanish Romantic Poetry

Full course for one semester. This course will have two objectives: to familiarize students with Spain’s Romantic movement (particularly, its poetry); and to trace, in a partial fashion, how Spain’s Romanticism has influenced posterior generations of Spanish poetry. While we will pay close attention to the sociohistorical contexts of the works to be studied (and to Spanish Romanticism, as it has been defined up to the present), our main focus will be the transmission of a literary tradition. Authors whose works we may discuss include Quintana, Lista, Mora, Espronceda, Zorrilla, Carolina Coronado, Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, Bécquer, Rosalía de Castro, Machado, Unamuno, Cernuda, García Lorca, Miguel Hernández, José Hierro, Jaime Gil de Biedma, Francisco Brines, Gloria Fuertes, Julia Uceda, and Luis García Montero. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or 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 20th 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 2008-09.

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 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 complemented 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 2008-09.

Spanish 379 - Short Latin American Fiction

Full course for one semester. This course focuses on in-depth analyses of short stories and other forms of short fiction by outstanding Latin American writers. The concept of literary genre will be examined along with basic narratological categories. Starting with the canonical texts through which the modernist short story took shape (Darío), the course goes on to study the fantastic genre (Quiroga, Borges, Cortázar, Ocampo), feminine literature (Bombal, Ferré), magical realism (Carpentier, García Márquez), and other manifestations of critical realism (Arlt, Onetti, Rulfo). Attention is directed at micronarrative and the poetics of the fragment–Denevi, Monterroso, Piglia. Primary readings will be complemented by theoretical readings to include Poe, Chejov, Freud, Sartre, Moravia, Benjamin, Todorov, Friedman, Reid, and others. 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 19th- and 20th-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.

Spanish 385 - Realism and Magic

Full course for one semester. For better or worse, “realism” and “magic” have come to be linked with Spanish American literature. This course examines in broad cultural terms the interplay of these two poles in Spanish America and investigates how we might critically appraise their conjunction as realismo mágico. Under the rubric of the “real” and realism are included chronicles, journalism, social realist and naturalist fiction, and testimonios. Magic will be understood in similarly broad terms: witchcraft, the fantastic, the grotesque, the gothic, and the uncanny. Readings in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of instructor. Conference.

Spanish 387 - Essay, Race, and Nation in Latin America

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 serve 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 19th century. Readings in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2008-09.

Spanish 389 - Toward a New Mexican Narrative

Full course for one semester. This course analyzes contemporary Mexican narratives in the form of written and visual texts that have been produced from the mid-1980s to the present. Fictional novels, short stories, films, documentaries, performance art pieces, and blogs will help shed light on the most current and innovative aesthetic tendencies in the Mexican nation. The chosen works will aid us in gaining an understanding of the political, economic, and social factors that have contributed to their artistic creation. Topics and issues such as globalization, borders, and environmentalist movements will be addressed. This class will be interdisciplinary, since we will also draw on historical, social scientific, and cultural studies. Readings and video recordings are 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 2008-09.

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 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. Not offered 2008-09.

Spanish 395 - Special Topics in Spanish American Literature and Culture

The Evolution of Mexican Drama: From Traditional Theatre to Transnational Performance
Full course for one semester. The genre of theatre has allowed for ideological expression as well as reflected social reality. In the case of Mexico, theatre has also served as a tool in the process of nation-building, and as a critique of that same nationalistic discourse. In this course, theatre is analyzed primarily as a sociocultural phenomenon within specific sociohistorical contexts as we study different moments of the Mexican theatre from the 20th and 21st centuries. We will begin with marginal revue and “tent” theatre, continue with vanguard and feminist theatre, 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. Not offered 2008-09.

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. Not offered 2008-09.

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 16th- and 17th-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. 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.





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