Current Courses: Graduate

Spring 2015 Graduate Courses

CCN Course Number Time Location Course Title Professor
86388 200B M 3-6 Research Seminar I Masiello
86390 200C M 3-6 Research Seminar II Bergmann
86397 280.1  W 3-6 Imagining the Nations: Race, Science, Politics & Literature in Latin American & The Caribbean (1820-1940) Dominguez
86400 280.2 Th 2-5 20th & 21st Century Mexican narrative  Tarica
86406 285.1 W 3-6 Electronic Literature: Hispanic Influences & Digital Theories Saum-Pascual
86651 Port. 275 Tu 3-6 Brazilian Natures: Space & Place in Brazilian Literature, Geography & Environmental History Slater

Graduate Course Descriptions, Spring 2015

Spanish 200B (CCN 86388): Research Seminar I (4 units)

Professor Francine Masiello

This research seminar will introduce entering students to graduate study in the department, but more advanced graduate students are certainly invited to join the course. The research seminar has several objectives, practical and theoretical. First, it is designed to introduce students to research instruments, journals, and pertinent bibliographies in the student’s main field of interest. Second, the seminar is designed to give graduate students exposure to different genres of scholarly writing: précis, book review, the basis of the scholarly article, strategies for setting a research question that can lead to a viable project.

Crossing the grain of these practical questions, students will be introduced to the four categories of analysis that will be the basis of their future field statements: time, space, voice, and method. The objective is for students early on in their studies to understand the nature of these key concepts and how they can serve as guides for their studies and their research.

In this course, we will organize our inquiries around a problem in literary evolution: the transition from baroque to neobaroque poetics. Beginning with a study of the poetry of Góngora and Sor Juana, we will set an inquiry about the articulation of voice within spatial and temporal fields. We will also make a claim that certain aspects of the baroque aesthetic reappear in the late 19th both in Spain and Latin America through the fiction of Pérez Galdós and the poetry of Rubén Darío. Later, we will actualize contemporary neobaroque tendencies through the selected writings of Spanish American authors Severo Sarduy, Néstor Perlongher, Manuel Puig, and Pedro Lemebel. Finally, we’ll think through the concept of liquid “borders” through the study of novels by Luis Rafael Sánchez and Yuri Herrera. Through these different examples, we will track the articulation of voice as both a vehicle and disturbance of meaning; we will look at space as an interior construction projected on various external forms from the enclosed room or cell to the broad expanse of the city and eventually to national frontiers; we will look for the ways in which the normative temporal continuum is challenged through techniques of time compression or expansion and through the articulation of multiple or overlapping time frames; finally, we will look at the ways in which these techniques are taken in through the time and space of reading and the voice that our reading engenders.

Required Texts:

Darío, Rubén. Prosas profanas. Madrid. Catédra.

Dolar, Mladen. A Voice and Nothing More. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006.

Herrera, Yuri. Señales que precederán al fin del mundo. Periférica. 2010.

Lemebel, Pedro. Loco afán. Santiago de Chile: LOM

Pérez Galdós, Benito. La de Bringas. Madrid, Catedra.

Puig, Manuel. El beso de la mujer araña. Barcelona, Seix Barral.


Spanish 200C (CCN 86390): Research Seminar II: Writing for Publishing (4 units)

Professor Emilie Bergmann

This is a writing workshop designed to assist students in producing a major article-length paper with a significant critical bibliography. Students will use a seminar paper conceived in one of their other courses as a starting point and use this workshop to expand and refine its scope and arguments. Students will work through multiple drafts over the course of the semester. The course will thus focus on the process of research writing and provide students with a structure that emphasizes rewriting and constructive peer review as integral to producing rigorous and original scholarly work.

Spanish 280.1 (CCN 86397): Imagining the Nations: Race, Science, Politics & Literature in Latin America & the Caribbean (1820-1940) (4 units)

Professor Daylet Dominguez

Through the 19th and 20th centuries, Latin American and Caribbean intellectuals had to face two negative stereotypes of Latin America in the process of shaping national communities in the region. The first one focused on the idea that the extended mestizaje among Amerindians, blacks, criollos and Spaniards had produced a degenerate race. The heterogeneity of the Latin American population was considered an insurmountable difficulty in the process of creating cohesive communities and achieving progress. The second one was based on the theory of geographical determinism proclaimed by Buffon during the 18th century. According to him, nature in America was inferior due to the excessive heat and humidity. These climatic conditions produced biological species reduced in size and lacking vitality.

In this seminar, we will explore the different responses formulated by the lettered elites and intellectuals to these two negative stereotypes. We will focus on some of the most powerful and enduring symbolic articulations produced in the Latin American literary and scientific archives, with particular attention to foundational fictions and essays. One of the major strategies used by the intellectuals was the adoption of new scientific paradigms ranging from anthropology to medicine and eugenics. Science was conceived as the authorized language to talk about the body and nature. The definition of the nation depended not only on the power of writing (Rama, Anderson), but also on the dialogue established with new scientific paradigms and on the institutionalization of modern sciences.

Essays by Fernando Ortiz, Bolívar, Martí, Sarmiento, Anténor Firmin, José María Ramos Mejía; novels by Clorinda Matto de Turner, Cirilo Villaverde, Nicolás Heredia and Eduardo Holmberg; critical and theoretical texts by Edward Said, Michel Foucault, Bruno Latour, Nancy Stepan, Mary L. Pratt, Francine Masiello, among others.

Spanish 280.2 (CCN 86400): 20th & 21st Century Mexican Narrative (4 units)

Professor Estelle Tarica

In this seminar we will examine canonical and recent works of Mexican fiction and essay. We will consider three distinct historical clusters spanning the twentieth century and marking the early twenty-first: the Revolution, modernization and state consolidation, and neoliberalism. Thematically, our concern will be with how Mexican authors make violence visible, particularly in relation to the law, or more precisely, as a matter of redress. Put another way, the starting point for this course is an awareness of how the question of social justice thoroughly infuses the major literary currents of Mexican narrative and becomes entwined with the modern national projects offered by both the state and its critics. Claudio Lomnitz notes that the Mexican state projects “an image of lawlessness” onto those who stand in the way of its total hegemony. Yet clearly the ability of the state to impose this monolithic view remains limited: lawlessness has also been made to signify the excess of the state (sovereignty by force) as well as its weakness, that is, the fraught co-existence of heterogeneous social worlds. In our readings we will explore how Mexican authors figure violence as both the absence and the outcome of the rule of law; how they bring violence into the frame of law or on the contrary explode that frame; how violence becomes embedded in accounts of national subjectivity and perhaps paradoxically contributes to their remarkable resilience; and how the precariousness of everyday life under capitalism comes to be figured as traumatic or catastrophic. Authors will include Azuela, Campobello, Fuentes, Rulfo, Revueltas, Paz, Castellanos, Poniatowska, González Rodríguez, Rivera Garza and others.

Required books (available for purchase online)
1. Mariano Azuela, Los de abajo 
2. Nellie Campobello, Cartucho 
3. José Revueltas, El luto humano
4. Juan Rulfo, El llano en llamas 
5. Juan Rulfo, Pedro Páramo 
6. Octavio Paz, Laberinto de la soledad
7. Rosario Castellanos, Balún Canán
8. Carlos Fuentes, La muerte de Artemio Cruz
9. Elena Poniatowska, La noche de Tlatelolco
10. Carlos Montemayor, Guerra en el paraíso
11. Eduardo Antonio Parra, Nostalgia de la sombra


Spanish 285.1 (CCN 86406): Electronic Literature: Hispanic Influences & Digital Theories (4 units)

Professor Alex Saum-Pascual

This graduate seminar will examine theories, narratives, and manifestations of electronic literature in Spanish, both as a particular type of born-digital expression meant to live on a computer, as well as a larger field of inquiry that takes advantages of the capabilities offered by these electronic machines. Throughout this course students will get familiarized with different genres of electronic literature (hypertext and interactive fictions, kinetic poetry, locative narratives, generative text, code work, etc) while they learn how to analyze and explore electronic literature’s particular aesthetics, rhetoric and practical functioning. Apart from analyzing the formal characteristics of born-digital pieces, this course is built around the idea that electronic literature should be seen as an expected outcome of literary experimentalism, grounded on some of the most revolutionary works of 20th Century Spain and Latin America. In order to establish this, students will read experimental literature by Borges or Cortázar, the Spanish Futurists and Catalan visual poets, or the Brazilian Concrete poets, among others, hoping to establish a line of influences between Hispanic experimentalism and the digital realm. Participants will present on seminar topics, and complete a final research paper.

Portuguese 275 (CCN 86651): Space & Place in Brazilian Literature, Geography & Environmental History (4 units)

Professor Candace Slater

This seminar looks at categories of space and place through shifting ideas of regions and regionalisms in Brazil. In so doing, it provides a useful overview of some of Brazil’s greatest literature. In comparing representations of the Amazon to those of the Northeast it raises questions of not just how these two portions of Brazil vary, but how ideas of the region as an entity have shifted over time and what—if anything—they have to do with a global present. The authors whom we will sample include Euclides da Cunha, Raul Bopp, Graciliano Ramos,and Milton Hatoum.   Although the focus is specifically Brazilian, seminar participants will quickly discover various similarities and differences with Spanish American authors. Theoretical readings include writing about regions and regionalism as well as meditations upon space as a conceptual category.