Spanish 135.3: Challenging Genres in Medieval Iberia

MWF 12-1P, BARROWS 155 | Instructor: Meerkhan | CCN: 30766

Units: 4

Prerequisites: Spanish 25

This class introduces advanced students of Hispanic languages and cultures to fundamental works of Medieval Iberia. The texts span five centuries of Iberia’s literary history. We will focus on the subversive aspects of the texts we read: how they challenged social, cultural and literary standards; and how they keep challenging us today. Even though the emphasis will be on Spanish and Portuguese masterpieces such as El Mio Cid, Libro de Buen Amor, La Celestina and Alfonso the Wise’s Galego-Portuguese poetry, we will also consider influential Semitic texts (such as zejels and maqamat) as well as texts that elude monolinguistic categorizations, such as kharjas. In order to better observe the evolution of the genres in question, we will follow a chronological order: beginning with the kharjas (XI c.) and ending with La Celestina (1499 CE).

Students will learn about, question and develop their own sense of what a genre is, and reflect on the literary importance and cultural impact of the texts analyzed. On an emotive level, students will be asked to contemplate the human content of the texts, and through four low-stakes reflections, consider what is pleasurable or disturbing about them, and how they relate to us 21st-century readers.