Graduate Courses - Spring 2018

SPA 602 - Intro to Hispanic Linguistics - Dr. Alan Brown


Muñoz-Basols, J., Moreno, N., Taboada, I., and Lacorte, M. (2017). Introducción a la lingüística hispánica actual. New York: Routledge. 

RESEÑA DEL CURSO: Este curso proporcionará al estudiante un resumen de las principales áreas que constituyen el estudio de la lingüística hispánica moderna: la morfología, la sintaxis, la fonética y la fonología, la semántica y la pragmática, la variación lingüística y la adquisición tal y como ellas se aplican al estudio del español. Como punto de partida se considerarán varios conceptos fundamentales de la lingüística como la diferencia entre lenguaje y lengua la comunicación animal y la humana. Se discutirán también algunas de las teorías más relevantes que intentan explicar esta capacidad única que compartimos como seres humanos. Con ese fundamento se enfocará en cada área de la lingüística española a través de lecturas, discusión y ejercicios. Ya que se espera que los estudiantes se interesen en la adquisición de lenguas o que sean instructores del español, se hará mención de implicaciones para la adquisición de español como segunda lengua y para el salón de clase. Estas aportaciones se harán a través del curso y servirán para contextualizar la última sección que toca la adquisición del español. En este curso no se incluye la historia de la lengua ya que hay otro curso dedicado a ese tema.


SPA 605 - History of the Spanish Language - Dr. Haralambos Symeonidis - R 2-4:30pm

This course serves as an overview of the diachronic (across time) evolution of modern Spanish from spoken Latin. Data from phonetics/phonology and morpho-syntax will form the basis of study. Topics covered include the following: the development of Vulgar Latin and Proto-Romance, the Old Spanish phonological system, morpho-syntactic changes from Latin to Spanish, and the influence of contact languages on modern Spanish. Linguistic analysis of texts and processes of language change will also figure prominently.

Course Objectives:

  • Explain, with appropriate linguistic terminology, the processes of phonological and morpho-syntactic change in the development of modern Spanish from spoken Latin.
  • Describe the major theories of language change as they pertain to the development of Spanish since the 1st century A.D.
  • Explain the role of language contact in the development of Spanish.
  • Describe the important historical events that impacted linguistic development in the Iberian Peninsula.
  • Describe the differences between standard Castilian and regional spoken varieties vis-à-vis processes of standardization, levelling, and accommodation, among others.
  • Analyze using linguistic terminology an Old Spanish text.


SPA 606 - Interpreting Critical Theory - Dr. Ana Rueda


SPA 610 - Studies in Medieval Spanish Literature: Medieval Microfictions - Dr. Anibal Biglieri

Spring 2018

W, 2:00-4:30

Required texts: readings will be provided by the instructor.

Description and purpose: the purpose of the course is to provide a history of the narrative genres, focusing on the short stories produced in Spain from the XIIIth through the XVth centuries. The main theoretical framework will be several models developed in narratology, both in its “classical” and “post-structuralist” orientations.

Works and literary genres to cover in this course:

El cuento oriental

            Disciplina clericalis

            Calila e Digna

            Sendebar (Libro de los engaños)

La parábola evangélica

            Evangelio de San Mateo

            Barlaam e Josafat

El milagro

            Gonzalo de Berceo, Milagros de Nuestra Señora

            Alfonso X, Cantigas de Santa María

El exemplum

            Don Juan Manuel, El conde Lucanor

            Libro de los gatos

            El espéculo de los legos

            El libro de los exenplos por a. b. c.

La fábula esópica

            Juan Ruiz, Arcipreste de Hita, Libro de buen amor

            Fábulas de Esopo

            Alfonso Martínez de Toledo, Arcipreste de Talavera (Corbacho)

El fabliaux

            Juan Ruiz, Arcipreste de Hita, Libro de buen amor

            Fábulas de Esopo



SPA 650 - Studies in Colonial Latin America - Dr. Monica Diaz

SPA 650/HIS 650 Women and Religion in Early Modern Spain

& Colonial Latin America

Tuesday and Thursday 12:30-1:45 pm

Prof. Mónica Dí

The Roman Catholic Church, together with the Crown, stood at the apex of social life in Spain and its colonies during the early modern period. The value system of the Church permeated all aspects of life and greatly influenced the ways in which people of all sectors of society defined and understood gender roles. While religious institutions sought to control the lives of people, particularly of women, the Church also opened spaces wherein women could achieve certain degrees of autonomy and power. This course will focus on these spaces and the ways in which women understood and negotiated the restrictions and freedom they found in convents, missions, beaterios (houses of lay holy women), and schools. We will read primary documents produced by women, and some by men, and place them in their historical and cultural context to better appreciate their importance.


SPA 681 - Studies in 20th Century Latin American Literature - Dr. Dierdra Reber

Hasta la soberanía, siempre: Narratives of Autonomy and Self-Determination in Latin America, 1950-present

This course will enter into the period of outright cultural warfare over the political future of the continent that emerges from the protracted debate in the first half of the century over such oppositions as civilización y barbarie, autochthony versus universality, and sovereignty versus neocolonialism.  We will be attentive to how these three central oppositions continue to be in discursive play throughout the latter half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, in roughly four periods: mid-century leftist militancy; military dictatorship; post-dictatorial neoliberal democracy; and twenty-first century neoliberal critique and retrenchment, during which time the unexpected resurrection of the political left in the so-called marea rosa (denotatively downgraded in militancy from “red” to “pink”) has been steadily accompanied by a dramatic rise in conservative business politics and presidencies; a current tally of Latin American (and Spanish) presidencies at present represents an approximately even divide between these two poles of a political spectrum that has become more of an entrenched oppositional binary.

In the first one or two sessions of the class, we will design our syllabus together using these four historical moments as a broad template for selecting our texts.  We will also seek to identify and include feedback loops between units.  For example, the first movement of the course focusing on the discourse of revolution might include elegies that are both idealized (i.e., Che Guevara’s “new man,” 1965) and defensive in the face of international condemnation (i.e., Fernando Retamar’s Calibán, 1971), paired with texts like Cortázar’s apparently apolitical “Continuidad de los parques” (1956) and more overtly political but predominantly self-reflective “Apocalipsis en Solentiname” (1977) that we could read alongside Guevara and Fernández Retamar as spanning this same trajectory from leftist revolutionary fervor to funereal mourning of revolution lost.  In the third and/or fourth units of democracy and neoliberalism, we might choose to revisit the theme of political and/or cultural revolution mourned and revisited in texts like Roberto Bolaño’s Los detectives salvajes (1998) or Rodrigo Hasbún’s Los afectos (2015), both of which return to the wounded origins of heterodox and/or militant cultural wounds.

Similarly, we might choose to focus on patterns of migration/immigration/diaspora, beginning with Octavio Paz’s commentary on the “pachuco,” a Chicano figure of cultural dissidence, in El laberinto de la soledad (1950), then tracing that motif of resistance and would-be autonomy and cultural—if not political—sovereignty, and the power of storytelling to enable a narrated—if not physical—transcendence from repression in Manuel Puig’s El beso de la mujer araña (1976) or Diamela Eltit’s Lumpérica (1983), both written about and under dictatorship, and finally contemplating the democratic-neoliberal avatars of this subject in texts like Luis Valdez’s Zoot Suit (1978), Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street (1984), Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987), Junot Díaz’s Drown (1996), and/or Valeria Luiselli’s Los ingrávidos (2011) and Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions (2017), all of which interrogate the role of language and self-narrated definition in the context of the U.S. Latino or immigrant experience.

Throughout, we will focus on the question of sovereignty—of the continent, of the nation, of the language, of the community, of the self—and the shifting strategies by which it is articulated in these prismatic valences, and what these strategies tell us about the state of cultural affairs that surround and motivate their articulation.

Students will write weekly blog-style critical reactions and write a final 15-20 page research paper on a related topic (focusing either on text/s studied in the course or on related texts of their choosing).

Authors/texts will be drawn largely from the following list (which includes the entire MA reading list covering this time period and region, indicated with an asterisk *), in consultation with student knowledge/preferences; this list is deliberately two to three times longer than the one that will be adopted after group discussion about course content:

*Luis Buñuel: Los olvidados (México, 1950)
*Octavio Paz: El laberinto de la soledad (México, 1950)
*Juan Carlos Onetti: Los adioses (Uruguay, 1954)
*Juan Rulfo: Pedro Páramo (México, 1955)
*Julio Cortázar: *“Axolotl”, *“La noche boca arriba” [Final del juego, 1956]; *“Las babas del diablo” [Las armas secretas, 1959]; *“Continuidad de los parques”; “Apocalipsis en Solentiname” [Alguien que anda por ahí, 1977]
*Carlos Fuentes: La muerte de Artemio Cruz (México, 1962)
*Mario Vargas Llosa: La ciudad y los perros (Perú, 1962)
Ernesto “Che” Guevara: “El socialismo y el hombre en Cuba” (Cuba, 1965)
*Gabriel García Márquez: Cien años de soledad (Colombia; Sudamericana: Buenos Aires, 1967)
*Tomás Gutiérrez Alea: Memorias del subdesarrollo (Cuba, 1968)
*Fernando “Pino” Solanas and Octavio Getino: La hora de los hornos: notas y testimonios sobre el neocolonialismo, la violencia y la liberación (Argentina, 1968)
---, “Hacia un Tercer Cine: apuntes y experiencias para el desarrollo de un cine de liberación en el Tercer Mundo” (Argentina, 1969)
Roberto Fernández Retamar, Calibán (Cuba, 1971)
*Manuel Puig: El beso de la mujer araña (Argentina, 1976)
Luis Valdez, Zoot Suit (United States, 1978)
Raúl Zurita, Purgatorio (Chile, 1979)
*Luisa Valenzuela: “Cambio de armas” (Cambio de armas; Argentina, 1982)
Diamela Eltit: Lumpérica (Chile, 1983)
Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street (United States, 1984)
*Gloria Anzaldúa: Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (United States, 1987)
Alberto Fuguet: Mala onda (Chile, 1991)
--- y Sergio Gómez, eds.: McOndo (Chile, 1996)
Junot Díaz, Drown (United States, 1996)
Horacio Castellanos Moya: El asco (El Salvador, 1997)
Roberto Bolaño: Los detectives salvajes (México, 1998)
Jorge Volpi: En busca de Klingsor (México; Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1999)
*Lucrecia Martel: La Ciénaga (Argentina, 2001) and La mujer sin cabeza (Argentina, 2008)
Rita Indiana Hernández, La estrategia de Chochueca (República Dominicana, 2003)
Edmundo Paz Soldán, El delirio de Turing (Bolivia, 2003)
Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, El Rey de La Habana (Cuba, 2004)
Fernando “Pino” Solanas: Memorias del saqueo (Argentina, 2004)
Sebastián Silva, La nana (Chile, 2009)
Valeria Luiselli, Los ingrávidos (México, 2011); Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions (United States, 2017)
Yuri Herrera: Señales que precederán al fin del mundo (México, 2009)
Rodrigo Hasbún, Los afectos (Bolivia, 2015)


SPA 720 - Cervantes: An Introduction to Cervantes' Literary Industry: don Quijote, los Entremeses y las Novelas ejemplares - Dr. Moises Castillo

Thursday 2-4:30


Part I. Cervantes, cultural critic

This course provides an overview of some of the important aspects of Cervantes’ Don Quijote de la Mancha, by far the most famous book in Spanish literature and the first (psychological) novel ever written. Taking this into account, we will focus on what it means to create a novel. Cervantes utilizes the burla as the keystone of his artifice to denude the process of artistic creation, while showing his/her reader (“lector mío”) the machinery of every single literary and socio-political discourse prevalent in the Spain of his time. The idea is that the “real” world, as presented to us, exists only as a construction shaped through the conventions of perception and interpretation.

A discussion of Don Quijote in conjunction with various other types of fiction which were in vogue at the time of its gestation and birth, should allow us to highlight Cervantes’ imaginative uses of these materials: the romances of chivalry, pastoral romances, picaresque “lives”, tragedy and so on... One might argue, in fact, that the dialogical character of Don Quijote as well as most of Cervantes’ writing hinges precisely on a parodic game that entails a process of decoding and encoding. We will concentrate both on Cervantes’ irony —his anamorphic perspective (H. Holbein) or his curious gaze (E. Gilman)— and its demystifying power to scrutinize reality. I shall propose a close reading of representative excerpts of these genres in order to contrast them with the heteroglossic (Bakhtin) re-elaboration that Cervantes employs in different chapters of Don Quijote.

Part II.  Cervantes, social critic

In this section of the course we will examine the specific way Cervantes scrutinizes the social and theatrical reality of his time, studying some of his Entremeses and Novelas ejemplares.

The last part of the course zeros in on the importance and repercussion of Don Quijote in modern times, in other words, how has it been read and therefore utilized by various generations of readers. Within the Spanish context, the course will explore to what extent the novel has influenced the Spanish history serving as a model or anti-model for the creation of a Spanish national identity. Furthermore, in a broader scope we shall explore how modern critics see Cervantes’ writings.


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