Graduate Courses - Spring 2020

SPA 608: Critical Scholarly Writing in Hispanic Studies   

Dr. Dierdra Reber

This course is a critical writing workshop in which each student will bring a seminar paper from a Hispanic Studies or interdisiplinarily related course with the goal of transforming that paper over the course of the semester into an article manuscript for submission to a journal in the field.  We will examine the function and structure of scholarly writing, and will also focus heavily on the theoretical dimensions of each article manuscript in progress—as much on the sui generis theorizing that each paper does as on the theoretical ideas/authors that the papers inevitably reference in the construction of their arguments.  Each paper must be vetted by the instructor to whom the paper was originally submitted as a project with the potential for publication, and by Prof. Reber.  We will read model articles and/or theoretical texts in the field/s related to the students’ projects, and invite both students who have gone through this manuscript-production process and faculty to comment on their article publication experience.  The goal of the course is formal submission of an article for consideration by a top journal in the field.


SPA 709: Latin American Documentary Film

Dr. Matt Losada

In this graduate seminar we will study the workings of documentary film and survey its history in Latin America from the early 20th century to the present. We will do so by asking questions regarding documentary’s truth claims, authorship, ethics, representation and objectivity as we view films from throughout Latin America. The course will be conducted in Spanish, although most of the films will have English subtitles and much of the reading will be in English.


SPA 720: Seminar on Early Modern/Baroque Spanish Literature: Cervantes

An Introduction to Cervantes’ Literary Industry: don Quijote, los Entremeses y las Novelas ejemplares.

T: 2:00-4:30pm                       

Prof. Moisés R. Castillo

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.



SPA 750/HIS 700: Sem Col LA Lit & Cltr: Colonial Latin American Studies Today

Wednesday 4:30-7:00 pm 

Latin American Colonial Studies have gone a complete transformation since the 1990s. Literary criticism used to focus almost exclusively on the talents of Spanish and criollo male authors, with mestizo El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz as exceptions. Today, the field has broadened in every direction around ideas of race, gender, and different forms of culture. In this course we will study traditionally marginalized genres (such as religious texts and indigenous codices, among others) and voices (including women, Afro-Hispanics, and indigenous and mestizos). We will begin by discussing a common set of readings that pair foundational works with short primary texts. We will then look at new approaches from different subfields and study the methodologies used, the secondary criticism, and their use of primary sources.




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