Mexican literary and cultural studies; contemporary Latin American literature and cinema; gender, trauma, and postmodern studies.
Nineteenth- and twentieth-century Latin American literature. On sabbatical 2016–17.
Twentieth- and twenty-first century Spanish literature, modern European and Hispanic drama.
Early modern Spanish literature and culture. On sabbatical 2016–17.
Twentieth- and twenty-first-century Latin American narrative and culture, critical and spatial theory.
Contemporary Spanish American narrative, colonial literature, literary theory.
Mónica López Lerma
Contemporary Spanish film and literature, film theory, law and humanities, jurisprudence.
The Spanish department offers a balanced program leading to a major in Spanish language and literature. First-, second-, and third-year Spanish language classes focus on speaking, reading, writing, and grammar, as well as cultural context. All courses are conducted in Spanish. In the second year, emphasis on composition increases, and readings are drawn from a variety of genres. The third-year classes focus on certain problem areas of Spanish language in concert with an investigation of selected topics in Spanish and Spanish American culture. Primary readings in the literature courses are in the original language. The objective in the upper-division courses is an informed and accurate reading of literary texts, grounded in considerations of their artistic, historical, and cultural contexts, as well as attention to questions relating to literary history and theory.
Students who major in Spanish are encouraged to select courses from a variety of periods in both Peninsular and Latin American literature and to enhance their studies with appropriate coursework in other areas, such as other literatures, humanities, history, art, and linguistics. They should also consult with the department to explore options for studying in a Spanish-speaking country.
For majors and nonmajors alike, the Spanish House provides an additional opportunity to practice and learn Spanish in an everyday setting.
Students who have studied Spanish before coming to Reed and who wish to enroll in Spanish courses should take the Spanish placement examination given every year during orientation week.
Students majoring in other departments in the Division of Literature and Languages may fulfill the divisional requirement with any of the third- or fourth-year literature courses.
Requirements for the Major
- A minimum of six units of literature at the 300 and 400 level. These must include at least two courses in Peninsular Spanish literature and at least two courses in Spanish American literature. At least one course in Peninsular literature and one course in Spanish American literature must cover pre-twentieth-century texts.
- Competence in Spanish equivalent to Spanish 321.
- Junior Seminar.
- Spanish 470.
Recommended but not required:
- Spanish 321.
- French, and/or Latin, and/or another foreign language.
- Humanities 210 and/or 220.
- Latin American history.
Majors in Spanish are encouraged to spend time in a Spanish-speaking country. Reed has options for study abroad in Cuba at the Sarah Lawrence College in Havana; in Ecuador at the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito; in Argentina at the Facultad Latinoamericana en Ciencias Sociales (Universidad de Buenos Aires and/or Universidad Católica de Argentina); and in Spain at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, the University of Barcelona, Universidad de La Rioja, or the Hamilton College Program in Madrid. These programs are not limited to Spanish majors. The department also helps students select study-abroad programs in other parts of Latin America and in Spain on an individual basis. See the “Off-Campus Study” section of this catalog for more information.
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 210 - Second-Year Spanish
Full course for one year. An intermediate-level study of grammar, composition, and conversation. Emphasis on reading: essays, theatre, short stories, and poetry. Prerequisite: equivalent of one year of college Spanish. Conference.
Spanish 311 - Advanced Language and Culture: Contemporary Latin American Chronicle
Full course for one semester. Somewhere between literature and journalism, the chronicle has been a staple genre in Latin America since colonial times. In this course we will focus on the contemporary chronicle, which is, according to some critics, experiencing a new golden age. A flexible, malleable, and mixed genre that aims to combine literary aestheticism with the responsibility to inform, the chronicle will allow us to discuss and reflect upon various current issues such as city life and urban practices, alternative sexualities, drug trafficking, gangs, and immigration, as well as analyze and interrogate the ethics of writing and informing. Authors might include Oscar Martínez, Juan Villoro, Alberto Salcedo Ramos, Carlos Monsiváis, Alma Guillermoprieto, Diego Fonseca, Frank Goldman, and Martín Caparrós, among others. This course is designed to refine and enhance language skills. It includes a focused consideration of problem areas of Spanish language and an introduction to various rhetorical forms. In addition to oral practice in class, students will write numerous short essays. Prerequisite: Spanish 210 or equivalent with the consent of instructor. Applicable to Group D. Conference.
Spanish 312 - Advanced Language and Culture: The Spanish Civil War
Full course for one semester. The depiction of childhood in different art forms provides a fascinating lens for understanding the pressing social and political preoccupations that informed Spanish culture across time. Beginning with some representations of the child and the adolescent from the early modern period, the course focuses mostly on the twentieth century, encompassing various literary genres—from picaresque narratives to children’s stories to surrealist poems to young adult fiction—and film. The young protagonists portrayed in this varied corpus will allow us to consider radically different conceptions of the following: familial conflict, the relationship between family and community, the childish imagination, human evil, and social corruption. Included are works by Teresa of Ávila, Cervantes, Lorca, Baroja, Saura, del Toro. This course is designed to refine and enhance language skills. It includes a focused consideration of problem areas of Spanish language and an introduction to various rhetorical forms. In addition to oral practice in class, students will write numerous short essays. Prerequisite: Spanish 210 or equivalent with the consent of instructor. Applicable to Group D. 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. Applicable to Group A. 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 Michel Foucault, Gyorgy Lukács, Anthony Cascardi, and Mary Malcolm Gaylord, 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. During the final weeks of the semester we will read texts by Jorge Luis Borges and Paul Auster that exploit narrative conventions found in Don Quixote. We will end the semester with student presentations that focus on adaptations and appropriations of Don Quixote in modern narrative. Conducted in English. Students taking the course for Spanish credit will meet in extra sessions. Prerequisite for students taking the course for Spanish credit: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 343.
Spanish 350 - Golden Age Spanish Theater
Full course for one semester. The burgeoning of the theater as popular pastime and court entertainment is a critical phenomenon of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish life. This course provides a comprehensive study of the epoch’s major dramatic genre, the comedia, which varies from the tragic to the tragicomic to the comic. Of particular interest are the interpretive challenges posed by its major exponents which can be understood alternatively as vehicles of dominant ideology and codified expressions of social and political dissent. With this in mind, attention is paid to the plays’ varied treatment of topical issues, such as love, marital honor, wife murder, the abuse of political power, and the relationship between Spain and America. Consideration of these issues is, furthermore, complemented by discussion of the comedia’s profound aesthetic self-consciousness, with considerable focus also lent to its function as live interactive performance. To this end some filmed contemporary comedia productions are viewed. The course ends with a comparison between Calderonian and Shakespearean drama, so as to afford an added cross-cultural perspective on the aesthetic and social nature of the comedia. Works studied include those by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Ana Caro, Guillén de Castro, Juana Inés de la Cruz, Tirso de Molina, Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla, Lope de Vega, and María de Zayas. Conducted in Spanish. Prerequisites: Spanish 321 or instructor permission. Conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
Spanish 353 - Chronicling America
Full course for one semester. The early chronicles of the exploration and colonization 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. In this course, we trace the constitution of a particularly Spanish-American colonial discourse in texts such as the letters of Columbus and Cortés, Alvar Núnez Cabeza de Vaca’s account of his shipwreck and captivity, indigenous and mestizo counterhistories, and a protopicaresque novel. At the same time we see how these texts, as well as contemporaneous visual arts and cartography, shape “America” by evoking a number of spatial conceptions: earthly Paradise, the layered spaces of conquest, lost cultural coordinates, and the “no-place” of mercantilism and piracy. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.
Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture
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, and 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, and de Hostos. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
Spanish 362 - The End of Humanism in Mexico: From the Youth Atheneum to Zapatismo
Full course for one semester. This course examines the role that humanism played in the literature, society, and culture of Mexico in the twentieth century. We will critically examine the hellenocentric view of culture that was defended and projected in a variety of influential texts written during the first half of the twentieth century by such authors as José Vasconcelos, Pedro Henríquez Ureña, and Alfonso Reyes. We will then study the indigenista view of culture advanced in various literary and academic essays, and embodied in Rosario Castellanos’s novel Oficio de tinieblas. We will study the crisis of the humanistic model of culture envisioned by the architects of post-Revolutionary Mexico and parodied in Carlos Fuentes’s novel Cristóbal Nonato. Finally, we will critically examine the post-humanistic view of culture advanced in a variety of scholarly and nonscholarly texts, including Guillermo Bonfil Batalla’s México profundo and essays by Sartre, Heidegger, Fanon, Barthes, Althusser, Foucault, Haraway, and Subcomandante Marcos. Therefore, in the process of studying humanism in Mexico, students will not only learn much about modern and contemporary Mexican literature, society and culture, but they will also gain a new perspective on the complex and much debated subject of humanism. Most of the readings will be in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
Spanish 367 - Law and Violence in Contemporary Peninsular Cinema
Full course for one semester. This course examines the relationships between law and violence in contemporary Peninsular cinema. We will explore how films represent law and violence; how these representations reflect or alter our perceptions of legal institutions and legal actors (e.g., police, courts, judges, lawyers); how films present and/or frame particular ethical or legal problems (i.e., gender violence, surveillance, torture, terrorism); what alternative views of law and justice they provide; and the kind of judgments they invite viewers to make. We will watch and discuss films by Carlos Saura, Víctor Erice, Pedro Almodóvar, Alex de la Iglesia, Icíar Bollaín, Enrique Urbizu, Alberto Rodríguez, Guillermo del Toro, Fernando León de Aranoa, and Alejandro Amenábar. The analysis of films will be complemented by readings on legal theory, film theory, and politics. Course includes a weekly film screening. Prerequisite: Spanish 321, 311, or 312, or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
Spanish 368 - Jorge Luis Borges: Fiction and Criticism
Full course for one semester. This course studies the writings of one of the most important authors of the twentieth century through various critical approaches that have been applied to his work: structuralism, poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, hermeneutics, and sociocriticism. Emerging from this corpus are two opposing views: one that associates Borges with the Argentinean literary system, foregrounding his participation in national aesthetic and cultural debates, and one that emphasizes the cosmopolitanism, skepticism, and sense of unreality marking his literature. Also considered will be emerging critical studies that accentuate the historical and political relevance of Borges’s oeuvre. Along with these lines of inquiry, a series of theoretical categories and themes that are key for the comprehension of Borges’s writing will be discussed: avant-garde ultraism; criollismo; metaphor and metonymy; Argentinean tradition; reading, misreading, and translation; authorship and figures of the author; canon and literary genealogy; history, memory, and forgetting. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
Spanish 376 - Cinema and Human Rights
Full course for one semester. The goal of the course is to introduce students to the dilemmas of justice in postconflict situations (war, genocide, apartheid, colonization, political disappearances and mass murder) and to examine the processes and mechanisms that societies use to “come to terms” (legally, ethically, and politically) with the legacies of past violations of human rights. We will explore some of these mechanisms (international tribunals, truth commissions, amnesty laws, material and symbolic reparations to the victims, and criminal trials) and inquire about the benefits and drawbacks of each. The course offers a comparative analysis of a variety of historical cases: Germany, South Africa, France, Chile, Argentina, Perú, Colombia, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Spain. We will draw on academic literature, human rights reports, testimonials and accounts of victims, memorial museums and monuments, photographic exhibitions, and films in seeking to answer these questions. We will watch and discuss films such as Judgment at Nuremberg (Stanley Kramer, 1961), The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966), Death and the Maiden (Roman Polanski, 1994), Las madres de la Plaza de Mayo (Lourdes Portillo, 1985), Chile, la memoria obstinada (Patricio Guzmán, 1997) Los rubios (Albertina Carri, 2003), Long Night’s Journey into Day (Deborah Hoffman, Frances Reid, 2000), Los niños de Rusia (Jaime Camino, 2001), among others. Course includes a weekly film screening. Prerequisite: Spanish 321, 311, or 312, or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.
Spanish 377 - Contemporary Spanish Fiction: Aesthetics after Dictatorship
Full course for one semester. This course will study fiction produced in Spain after 1975, the year in which Francisco Franco died and his dictatorship ended. Discussion will focus on the changes that characterize the post-Franco era, 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, Montero, Eduardo Mendoza, Vázquez Montalbán, Marsé, Etxebarria and others will be informed by studies in narratology, trauma, memory, and national identity. Particular attention will be given to the “movida,” the period of social and cultural transformation that is celebrated in the films of Pedro Almodóvar and others. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
Spanish 378 - Space and Power
Full course for one semester. What is space? How is it perceived, experienced, produced, and reproduced? And what is its connection with power and relations of domination/emancipation? Drawing from spatial, urban, political, and feminist theory, this course aims to explore and analyze these questions in relation to the representation and problematization of domestic, urban, national and border spaces in, mostly, Latin American novels and films. Conducted in English. Students taking the course for Spanish credit will meet in extra sessions. Prerequisite for students taking the course for Spanish credit: Spanish 321 or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 378.
Spanish 380 - Drugs, Gangs, and Aliens
Full course for one semester. In this course, we will examine how cornerstones of state sovereignty such as the rule of law, the care and control of space and population, and the monopoly on violence are being challenged by irregular immigration, the drug trade, and the expansion and criminalization of gangs throughout the Americas. We will discuss and think critically about the representation and problematization of these multilayered phenomena in Colombian, Central American, Mexican, and North American literary works, chronicles, films, and official documents in relation to sovereignty, biopolitics, neoliberalism, and the geopolitics of capital. Readings might include, among others, novels by Fernando Vallejo, Juan Pablo Villalobos, Yuri Herrera, and Hector Tobar; chronicles by Oscar Martinez and Juan Villoro; and films such as Miss Bala, La jaula de oro, Ciudad de Dios, María llena eres de gracia, Sin nombre, Falling Down, and Traffic. These readings/screenings will be complemented with critical essays by Hobbes, Rousseau, Schmitt, Derrida, Agamben, Foucault, and Brown. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2016—17.
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 2016—17.
Spanish 384 - Latin America’s Revolutionary Century
Full course for one semester. Throughout the twentieth century, Latin America was one of the epicenters of insurgent and revolutionary struggles in the world. These represented, regardless of their ideological differences, the entry of the equality principle in national spaces that had mostly imagined and structured themselves as two-tiered societies in which a large segment of the population—Indians, minorities, and even women—had been, for all practical purposes, systematically excluded. By focusing on the cultural production (novels, films, essays, etc.) related to four revolutionary constellations—the Mexican and Cuban Revolutions, the Central American guerrillas, and the Zapatistas—this course aims to explore and analyze the languages of insurgency and counterinsurgency, the figure of the revolutionary and guerrilla fighter as a political subjectivity, and the relation between politics and aesthetics. Primary texts will be supplemented with historical and theoretical readings. Prerequisite for students taking the course for Spanish credit: Spanish 321 or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 384.
Not offered 2016—17.
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 representations of crime in film and the visual arts. 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 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.