Spring 2019 Graduate Courses

Below you will find a list of courses offered within the department. For the dates and times of a specific course, please see the online Schedule of Classes. Course locations are subject to change.

PORT 611: Accelerated Basic Portuguese for Spanish Speakers I
Antonio Simōes
11:00-12:15, TR, 2600 Wescoe

Course Description:

PORT 611 Accelerated Brazilian Portuguese (BP) for speakers of Spanish is a first-year language course. It is designed to cover in one semester the equivalent of a one-year basic language program, with much less class contact hours than a regular first-semester language course. Such an ambitious plan is only possible if students work outside class according to the assignments for this class. Therefore, students are expected (1) to have Advanced Mid-level or higher language skills in Spanish, in ACTFL’s scale; (2) interview native speakers of Brazilian Portuguese either with their means or through internet programs like SpeakShake; (3) speak in Portuguese during classes; (4) do all the assignments in the course, and (5) have regular attendance and engaged participation in class discussions.

Although the assignments in this class may initially be very demanding to students who never took Portuguese, they may become more comfortable afterward, because of the student’s knowledge of Spanish. Successful students in this course will reach at least an intermediate-low language proficiency level in BP, but it is not uncommon for some to reach advanced-low or advanced-mid language proficiency level in ACTFL’s scale. It follows naturally that the overall mission of this course is to provide students with adequate training to become proficient in BP at least at the Intermediate-low level, in ACTFL’s scale. 

Port 347/ 785  Afro Latin American Cultures

Prof. Luciano Tosta
12:30-1:45, MW, 2600 Wescoe

Course Description:

This is a survey course about the history of the Afro-descendant communities in Latin America with an emphasis on the cultural productions of these groups, particularly music and film. We will analyze how Afro descendants have represented themselves and been represented in literature, cinema, and music. We will also discuss how they have used art as a form of self— and political— expression. Students will acquire a solid view of the history of race relations in countries such as Brazil, Cuba, Colombia, Peru, and Argentina, and see the role that African identity has played in the formation of these national cultures.
Besides reading some novels and viewing a few movies, students will read selected texts from fields such as history, anthropology, sociology, religion, education, and cultural studies in order to acquire a comprehensive and thorough picture of the African heritage in Latin America.

SPAN 762: Spanish Civil War & Memory
Margot Versteeg
2:30-4:15, TR, 2600 Wescoe

Course Description:

The Spanish Civil War (1936-39) was a national conflict with international significance. For Spaniards, it was a traumatic event that shaped their experience of modernity. For many women and men from outside of Spain, it was an important moment in the fight against facism. During the war years and since, the Spanish Civil War has inspired a great number of cultural representations (narrative, poems, theatre, propaganda posters, comics, photographs, film, documentaries, songs…). In this course we explore how the violent and traumatic events are depicted in these different cultural representations, and how authors, historians, photographers and filmmakers have dealt with the legacy of the war, Franco´s dictatorship, and Spain´s Transition to democracy. In addition to discussing novels and short stories by Ramón J. Sender, Maria Teresa León, Max Aub, Francisco Ayala, Merce Rodoreda, Dulce Chacón, Javier Cercas and Alberto Méndez among others, we will also read works from the MA reading list (Carmen Laforet Nada and Carmen Martin Gaite El cuarto de atrás …). A series of movies/documentaries and plays will complement these readings.

SPAN 785: Special Topics in Latin American Literature: Outlaws in the Americas
Rafael Acosta
4:00-7:00, M, 2600 Wescoe

Course Description:

Through this course, the student will reflect on how the figure of the outlaw has arisen as a national archetype in several American countries. Cangaceiros, Narcos, Gauchos, Cowboys and Charros, amongst others, became cornerstones of their respective national stories of exceptionalism. This course will discuss the commonalities amongst these characters as well as other characters of the several frontiers of the Americas. 
Amongst others, we will ask questions such as What do figures like McCarthy’s Judge Holden, Hernandez’s Martín Fierro, Glauber Rocha’s Antonio das Mortes or Franco’s Rosario Tijeras have in common? How does gender inform the performance of banditry? What happens when we move the American cowboy out of the narrative of American Exceptionalism and regeneration through violence? What happens to the Argentine gaucho when we take him out of the narrative of civilization and barbarism? What else can we learn about these figures from discourses that are not canonical in their analysis, such as gender issues? What current figures might be their functional or ideological descendants in the modern day Americas? 

SPAN 922: Aproximaciones interartísticas a la literatura

Jonathan Mayhew

4:00-7:00, T, 2600 Wescoe

Course Description:

Los lazos entre la literatura y las artes visuales y escénicas nos otorgan un terreno fructífero para la investigación de la literatura hispánica. Se puede pensar que la poesía lírica es el género más interartístico, por sus fuertes conexiones históricas con la pintura y la música, pero en realidad Aristóteles incluye como elementos de la poesía dramática la opsis (espectáculo) y el melos (música). Se puede aproximarse a cualquier género con una óptica interartística, incluso la prosa narrativa. En los estudios culturales, de igual modo, se estudian manifestaciones audiovisuales, de varios géneros, al lado de textos verbales. La ventaja de estos métodos es una versión más amplia de lo que es la “literatura”: una práctica con profundas conexiones con otras actividades de creación artística.


Este seminario constará de cuatro secciones:

  • Écfrasis: representaciones verbales de objetos de arte visual; por ejemplo, un poema basado en un cuadro de pintura.
  • Poesía visual: textos donde la tipografía misma (u otro elemento visual) funciona de manera estéticamente potente.
  • Poesía y performancelectura en voz alta del texto poético, en sus variadas manifestaciones culturales; prácticas de declamación. 
  • Literatura y música: composiciones musicales con elementos verbales (es decir “canciones”) o adaptaciones instrumentales de obras literarias (ballets, etc..); poemas escritos para ser cantados o con una musicalidad evidente.
  • Leeremos textos críticos y teóricos relevantes para estas cuatro categorías, junto con poemas y obras de teatro. La mayoría de los textos primarios serán peninsulares y del Siglo XX, pero será posible escribir el trabajo final sobre un tema trasatlántico. Para la sección de poesía visual miraremos textos brasileños que no pueden faltar para abordar este tema de forma responsable.

SPAN 985: Seminar in Spanish America Literature and Culture: "Contesting Mexico: The Arts of Resistance."
Stuart Day
4:00-7:00, W, 2600 Wescoe

Course Description:

The purpose of this seminar is to study the numerous ways in which the status quo is contested in Mexico through literature, play performances, film, political cartoons, public demonstrations, and other forms of rebelliousness. The title of the seminar is inspired by James C. Scott’s book Domination and the Arts of Resistance, one of many works that will guide us as we explore the ways power is defined, and defied, in Mexico. Through the consideration of theoretical readings (including several on Performance Studies) we will create a space in which to view the subversion of authority in works on a variety of themes, including “malinchismo,” the Revolution, the 1968 government massacre, the neo-zapatista uprising, border ballads and narcocorridos, neoliberalism, gender politics, censorship, and the murderers in Ciudad Juárez. While the majority of the content of this course is contemporary, understanding specific historical contexts will be paramount to our endeavors.

Seminars inherently include the dedicated, informed collaboration of students in all class discussions (50% of final grade). In addition, each student will lead a formal class discussion on a topic of their choice—a topic that extends the boundaries of classroom dialogue yet remains within the rubric of the arts of resistance in Mexico (25% of final grade). An original, twenty-page critical paper, carefully documented in MLA style (25% of final grade) will be developed and peer-edited during the final weeks of the semester.

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