The Gypsy in the European Imaginary

The subject of this course is the trafficking in stereotypes. Apart from a few facts that will be reviewed in the first session, the course does not discuss Roma groups as would historians and anthropologists uncovering the truth about a subject, rather it focuses on Gypsies, that is the imaginary, culturally constructed icon that has been for so many centuries a kind of cultural currency between and within groups and nations, part of what could be called the trafficking in stereotypes. Over the centuries the contours of this imaginary construct have changed in response to discrete geopolitical realities, but at the same time the fact that the Gypsy has remained such a fascinating icon for so many cultures and for so long also means that it plays a part in psychological processes in the Western collective imaginary. As we examine some of the more common cast of characters in the Gypsy repertoire (Carmen, Esmeralda, Fedalma, etc.) we will be talking about the psychological dividends of creative exoticisms such as the Gypsy in the European imaginary. 

  • 3 sept Intro: facts and myths of Roma origins; slides of Gypsy "pilgrims", excerpts from Fraser etc. Aug 
  • 10 sept Discussion of the rise of Anthropology and the Sciences of Man in relation to notions of race and ethnicity Excerpts from: Malik, The Meaning of Race; Todorov, On Human Diversity; Gobineau Diversity of Races, Lombroso Crime and Its Causes
  • 17 sept Guest speaker Ian Hancock "The Romani and Gypsies: One People, Two Personas" Selections from Hancock , We Are the Romani People; Lewy, The Nazi Persecutions
  • 24 sept Cervantes' "Little Gypsy Girl" and the mythologizing of the Gypsy woman; Conceptualizing ethnicity Charnon-Deutsch, "Cervantes' Precious Jewel of Love"; Miguel de Cervantes, "The Little Gypsy Girl"; Jones Archeology of Ethnicity
  • 1 oct Mérimée's Carmen, Bohemians and Gypsies; 19th century genre painting, exoticism, magazine portraiture of the Gypsy (Slides); Mérimée, Carmen; selections from Brown Gypsies and Other Bohemians; Furman, "The Languages of Love in Carmen," McClary's Georges Bizet Carmen; viewing of Rossi's film Carmen (1983) (on reserve)
  • 8 oct Talk and discussion with Wim Willems"Writing Gypsies into European History; Myths, Facts, and New Concepts" Selections from Willems Gypsies and Other Itinerant Groups; Willems, In Search of the Real Gypsy; Okely, Traveller-Gypsies; Trumpener "Time of the Gypsies"
  • 15 oct Controversies surrounding Flamenco and Gypsy Music; Viewing of Tony Gatliff's Latcho Drom (1994) New Grove "Gypsy Music"; New Grove "Flamenco"Lorca "Theory and Practice of Duende"; "Cante jondo"; Selections from Slobin, Returning Culture;
  • 22 oct Talk and discussion with Carol Silverman "Trafficking the exotic with 'Gypsy' Music; World 'Music Festivals' and Romani Identities" Silverman, "The Gender of the Profession";"Persecution and Politicization: Roma..." and "Researcher, Advocate, Friend..." Pettan, "Male, Female, and Beyond..."
  • 29 oct Discussions of whiteness; Lorca and "duende", Race and the Españolada; Discussions with Professor Eva Woods Selections from Dyer, White; Lorca "Play and Theory of the Duende,"; Lorca "Cante jondo" Vernon, "Culture and Cinema to 1975"; Labanyi "Race, Gender..."
  • 5 nov Talk and discussion with Barbara Epstein Nord "Children of Hagar: Gypsies in the Nineteenth?Century British Imagination." Nord, "Marks of Race"; Selections from Borrow, The Bible in Spain; The Zincali; Mayal Gypsy Travellers
  • 12 nov Cinematographic Gypsies: Carmen Amaya; viewing of Jocelyn Ajami's film Queen of the Gypsies (2002) Selections from Goldberg, Border Trespasses: The Gypsy Mask and Carmen Amaya's Flamenco Dance
  • 19 nov Talk and Discussion with Timothy Mitchell: "Ecstatic Identity Construction and the Performance of Waste" Roach, Chapter 1 Cities of the Dead1 page topic proposal due
  • 3 dec Presentation of Tony Gatliff's film Vengo 
  • 10 dec Oral abstracts of final paper

Spanish Realism

This course examines a serious of classical realist texts written for the most part in the 1880s during the Restoration. The novels studied will be compared with various other literary forms that occupied the same cultural space as the novel (the folletín, the cuento festivo, women's writing, translations, the radical Naturalist novella) to show the relationship of the realist novel to the mass culture from which it attempted to distinguish itself in order to create a new reading public in Spain. Secondary sources will be provided in a packet of readings distributed in class on the first day and will include articles on the novel, popular culture and the realist project. The packet will also contain several novellas, including La senda de la Gloria by María de Pilar Sinués de Marco, La novela en la tranvía by Pérez Galdós, and La prostituta by Eduardo López Bago. 

  • 30-Aug Intro 
  • 13-Sep Böhl de Faber, La Gaviota Pérez Galdós, A La novela en el tranvía Galdós A Observaciones; Grassi La misión de la mujer ; Jagoe Disinheriting the Feminine 1) women novelists
  • 20-Sep Pérez Galdós Tormento Blanco A Escritora, Femeninidad y Escritura , Vernon, sel. from Money and Fiction Guest Alda Blanco, U Wisconsin
  • 27-Sep Galdós Lo prohibido Blanco, Intro to Lo prohibido 2) Sex and Sin Adultery and the novel
  • 4-Oct Clarín, La Regenta (Part I) Labanyi, Pathologizing 3) Gender trouble, El doble silencio del eunuco
  • 11-Oct Clarín, La Regenta (Part II) Deutsch, Hydraulics of Clarinian Studies ; Galdós, A prólogo a La Regenta 4) suggestions for further research on La Regenta
  • 18-Oct Galdós, Fortunata y Jacinta (I) Labanyi Liberal Political Theory ; Krauel, Un caso en la frontera; Galdós A Discurso 5) suggestions for further research on Fortunata y Jacinta
  • 25-Oct Galdós, Fortunata y Jacinta (II) Jagoe Subversive Angel; Labanyi A The Consumption 6) Mujeres en los discursos de género
  • 1-Nov Pardo Bazán, Los Pazos de Ulloa Deutsch, A Bearing Motherhood 7) Naturalism and the A Problematizing the Natural
  • 8-Nov López Bago La Prostituta [read if available in Bib. Virtual, Miguel de Cervantes] OR selecciones de revista FERNÁNDEZ, Pura (1995). Eduardo López Bago y el Naturalismo radical. (sel) 8) Magazine fiction, novela por entregas, folletines, etc.
  • 15-Nov Galdós, El amigo Manso Articles on Krausism; Castillo A Problematics 9) Metafiction before and after El amigo manso
  • 22-Nov Clarín et al Las vírgenes locas [Read in Bib Virtual] Reig A Las Vírgenes 10) Magazines and popular culture (Lou Deutsch) 11) t.b.d.
  • 29-Nov Clarín, Su único hijo Zamora, sel. on Su único hijo 12) the > hero = of realist fiction
  • 6-Dec Conclusiones/cena en casa de Lou abstracts of final papers
See past events


Image from Colonial Mexico.
Nexahualpili, Lord of Texcoco (1472-1515)
Department of Hispanic Languages & Literature • Melville Library , N3017, Stony Brook, NY 11794-3371 • 631-632-6935 or 631-632-6959
Login to Edit