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Graduate Course Schedule  (500 MA/ 600 PhD)

FALL 2018

POR 511: Portuguese for Spanish Speakers
Mondays  1-3:50 in Humanities 2036
Prof. Javier Uriarte

A one semester accelerated course in Brazilian Portuguese for students with a native of near-native command of Spanish. This course uses Spanish as a base for study of Portuguese grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. It will prepare students to read advanced materials as they will acquire a basic proficiency in speaking, writing and comprehension of standard Brazilian Portuguese. The course makes special emphasis on those aspects of Portuguese pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary that differ from Spanish. Students will also acquire a basic knowledge of central elements of Brazilian culture, both from a historical and contemporary perspective (specifically, elements from Brazilian cuisine, sports, geography, music). Finally, the course will provide students with an introductory and basic approach to canonical Brazilian literary works (poetry, short stories, journalism, chronicles), which will be discussed in dialogue with the students’ previous knowledge about Spanish American culture and literature. Proficiency in Spanish is required. Undergraduate students need authorization from instructor.      

SPN 513: Spanish as Second Language Acquisition
Tuesdays 5.30-8.30 pm
Prof. Lilia Ruiz Debbe

The purpose of this course is to provide a framework on how language development in bilingual individuals is different from that of monolinguals. How people learn their first language (L1) and how they learn their second language (L2) and the relationship between the two languages. We will try to reach the theoretical questions about the presence of a second language in the same mind as a first language and how this pre-existing language affects the L2 user’s mind. Finally, we will understand the differences and similarities that have been proposed between L1 and L2 acquisition.

SPN 532 New Realities and New Realisms in Latin American Film
Wed. 5:30-8:30 pm, Melville Library N3085
Prof. Adrián Pérez Melgosa

This course explores a group of contemporary Latin American films which develop a variety of formal and narrative techniques in an effort to explore realistic ways to convey the complexities of their societies, of their connections local and global contexts, and their position in regards to dominant definitions of Latin America. Many of these new varieties of realism have developed as a reaction to the identification of Latin American art and literature with the development of magical realism. We will study the connections of these films to traditional Latin American filmmaking practices, and to the social and political debates that surround these practices. The course provides an introduction to the vocabulary of film production and criticism as well as to the theoretical concepts of film studies.

SPN 612 Scholarly Writing
Thursdays 2:30-5:30 pm
Prof. Daniela Flesler

Doctoral students today face increasing pressure to have peer-review publications before they enter the job market. This class will discuss the expectations of scholarly writing in the discipline of Iberian and Latin American literary and cultural studies, and how to situate our own writing in the academic debates that shape the discipline. We will read a variety of texts, including fiction and autobiography (for example, Juan Goytisolo’s novel Señas de identidad together with his autobiography Coto vedado, Carmen Martín Gaite’s El cuarto de atrás) that reflect on the deeply personal, joyful and sometimes also anguish- ridden act of writing, and explore the possibilities of using the tools of literary and cultural analysis to examine different objects of study, alongside literary texts: exhibitions, museums, performances, monuments.

Beginning with a paper already written or an idea for one, we will work together during the semester to transform it into a publishable article. We will discuss practical matters of research, writing and publishing: sustaining writing as a long-term daily routine, drafting, editing and revising, the dialogue and exchange with scholars working on similar topics, situating our objects of study in their historical and social context, which kinds of journals are best to submit our work to.

The class will be conducted in Spanish. As a professionalization seminar centered on a critical examination of writing and its processes, the course’s objective is to serve as a bridge between the mostly content-based courses and the independent work expected in the dissertation. The class seeks to enable students to progress successfully through the PhD and to build their competitive advantage for the academic and all job markets.

SPN 652 Ruins and continuities in Andean narratives [Colonial Spanish American Literature]
Wednesdays 04:30-07:30 pm
Prof. Paul Firbas

This seminar and critical workshop will take early 20 th century Andean studies, indigenismo, anthropology and archaeology  (Luis Valcárcel, J. C. Tello and José María Arguedas) as a point of departure, and then move back in time to textualities produced during the 16 th to 18 th centuries in the region, focusing on problems of continuities (resistance), change (transformation) and mestizaje ( transculturación, heterogeneidad), as well as on material culture (books, paper, stone) and the particularities of writing and text circulation in a colonial setting. The class will review current literary criticism, studies in coloniality of power and historiography, but it will mainly follow a critical philological approach. Main texts to be studied represent a diversity of agents and genres: chronicles, poems, letters, festival accounts, extirpation of idolatry and saintly narratives, official news sheets, cartography, etc. Seminar is taught in Spanish.

SPN 691: Practicum in the Teaching of Spanish Language
Mondays 2.00-5.00 pm
Prof. Lilia Ruiz Debbe

Theory and practice of language teaching. Applied methodology and linguistics in classroom situations. A required course for teaching assistants. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor, Department chair, or graduate program director. 


SPRING  2018

SPN 506: Bilingualism
Prof. Elena Davidiak
Wednesdays from 6 to 9 pm

The aim of this course is to provide the students with an overview of the structure and functions of mixed speech, mainly in English and Spanish. Issues discussed during the course will include the concepts of language contact and language mixing, the structural aspect of switching between structurally related and unrelated languages, the constraints on code switching, the triggering hypothesis, footing, the relationship between speech and language identity, insider and outsider code, marked and unmarked speech, incomplete or hindered language acquisition.

SPN 551: Early Latin American Literature
Prof. Paul Firbas
Mondays from 5.30 to 8.30 pm

This course will provide an introduction to major texts of the colonial period and to narratives, poems, essays and films from the 20th and 21st century that revise the colonial legacies and study the vitality of the indigenous cultures in modern Latin America. Students will learn about the historical context and rhetorical traditions behind each text, letter, chronicle, poem, testimony or legal document to be studied. The class, taught in Spanish, will cover more than 400 years of cultural production in the Americas. Students will write 2 exams and 5 short quizzes (in class), and prepare a final group presentation.  Authors or texts to be studied include:  H. Cortés, Las Casas, Cabeza de Vaca, Bernal Díaz del Castillo, Inca Garcilaso, Guaman Poma, Popol Vuh, Manuscrito de Huarochirí, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Siguenza y Góngora; J. M. Arguedas, Elena Garro, Rigoberta Menchú, Gabriel García Márquez, Alonso Cueto, Alejo Carpentier.

SPN 612: Travel Writing in Latin America: self, otherness, and the Nation-state
Prof. Javier Uriarte
Mondays from 5.30 to 8.30 pm

What is to travel? What is to write about travel? What particular configurations does the discourse of travel adopt in Latin America and in relation to its historical and political evolution? This course will focus on travelogues that have described Latin America, its inhabitants and its spaces, from the beginning of the nineteenth-century to the present. The nature of this course –as is the case, inevitably, with all travel writing– will be decidedly comparative. We will discuss the ways in which travel writing has historically contributed to imagining (and sometimes building) the self, the other, and the nation-state in Latin America. In order to do that, we will discuss the different forms of seeing (and of invisibility) that are displayed in these texts. We will establish a dialogue between perspectives, and we will explore the ideological, political, theoretical, or personal projects that inform the different travelogues.

SPN 613: Medieval Literature. 15th Century Spanish Love Poetri: Love, Politics and Laughter
Prof. V. Roncero López
Thursdays from 3 to 6 pm

Reading and analysis of some of the most well known poets of 15 th  century Castille (Santillana, Manrique, and Mena), as well as others less known but as important as the major poets (Villasandino, Imperial, Torrellas, Montoro, etc.).   The course will focus in the political, cultural, and literary traditions that produced the “cancionero” poetry. The Provençal court poetry and its conception of the love as a reflection of the feudal society. The Castilian 15th century poetry as a result of the arrival of a new nobility in desperate need for social prestige. We will analyze the political turmoil of that century and the response of different poets (Santillana, Manrique, Mena) to this new and complicated power struggles. And finally the use of the humor as a way of dealing with the social, economic, and political changes in 15th century Castille.

SPN 67120th Century Spanish American Literature
Prof. Lena Burgos-Lafuente

How can we define the twentieth century? Where does it begin? Where does it end? Can we speak of a certain sensibility that is unique to the twentieth century? What were its aesthetic and political stakes?

Antonio Benítez Rojo and Édouard Glissant, two distinguished thinkers of Caribbean aesthetics, proposed the concepts of  the repeating island and the  poetics of relation to explicate the particularity and contemporaneity of the Caribbean region. Taking into account Benitez Rojo’s and Glissant’s lead, while challenging it at the same time, this course sets out to think the past century from the literary production of the Caribbean. Better put, we will seek to explore how the century emerged as a conscious endeavor from the Caribbean, how the century thought itself into being from this time and place. Instead of proceeding by strict chronological order or discrete accounts of national traditions, we will focus on questions of temporality (anachronisms, contemplation of ruins, nostalgia and melancholia), writing and experience, fascism, war, communism, the unconscious, the avant-gardes, and archipelagic thought. The literary and cultural production of Cuba, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic will illuminate key continuities and divergences constitutive of the relation between politics and aesthetics in the 20 th century.

Authors might include Virgilio Piñera, Alejo Carpentier, Julia de Burgos, Luis Palés Matos, Antonio S. Pedreira, José Lezama Lima, Lorenzo Homar, Aida Cartagena Portalatín,Freddy Prestol-Castillo, and Antonio José Ponte. We will also read essays by David Scott, Michel Rolph- Trouillot, Rubén Ríos Ávila, Alain Badiou, Hannah Arendt, María Zambrano, Julio Ramos, and Roberto Esposito among others.   

FALL 2017

SPN 503: Spanish Linguistics: Current Issues for Spanish Heritage Speakers and Second Language Learners in formal classroom settings
Prof. Lilia Ruiz Debbe
TU 5:30-8:30 p.m.

This course will focus on the Spanish Heritage Speaker and the L2 learner, specifically on the cognitive and linguistic processes that determine the route of acquisition, rate of acquisition, cross-linguistic influences, and the interlanguage variability.  

SPN 542: Crime and Punishment: The Making of the Criminal
Prof. Aurélie Vialette
Wed. 5:30-8:30 p.m.

In this course, we will examine the question of criminality in nineteenth century Spain. The title implies that the criminal was made, or “fabricated”, and was considered a social enemy. In effect, we will see how at that time, part of the population was socially marginalized and excluded from the access to citizenship because its forms of coexistence did not fit into the social order imposed by the new capitalist society. These persons were considered “deviants” and were: the worker, the criminal, the prostitute, the homosexual, the gypsy, the beggar.  We will explore the following topics: juvenile delinquency, the conflicts between industrialists and the working class (especially Anarchism), the projects of social hygiene, the politics of social control targeted at prostitutes, beggars, gypsies, and the poor, among others.  Readings will include theoretical texts (Michel Foucault, Jacques Rancière, etc), critical books (Akiko Tsuchiya, Pura Fernández, etc) and nineteenth century documents (legal texts, essays, ephemera, novels, etc). 

Our readings and discussions will help us to talk about important contemporary issues: mass incarceration, gender and racial oppression, social inequality, among others. Some of the readings will address these issues directly. As such, we will make connections between Spain and contemporary United States. 

SPN 612. Thirst: Sex and Being
Joseph Pierce
Wed.  4:00-7:00 p.m.

This course will investigate diverse ways of desiring, embodying sensuality, and being. It is about the appetites that populate our lives—on which we depend for survival—, as well as those that have inspired historical moments of conflict and resolution. Thirst in this course is as much about lived experiences of desire as it is about historical structures of race, class, gender, colonialism, art, and philosophy. Our inquiry into this thirst will focus on 19th and 20th century Latin American prose, and will also incorporate thirsty queer texts from both the US and Latin America. The thirst is real.

SPN 643: Buñuel, Ripstein, Almodóvar
Prof. Katy Vernon
TH 2:30-5:30 p.m.

This course will focus on the films and careers of three of the most provocative and influential Hispanic directors of the last 90 years, Luis Buñuel, Arturo Ripstein and Pedro Almodóvar. In analyzing each of their distinctive film universes, we will also consider a series of shared concerns: their participation in a model of hybrid, transnational cinema; their pursuit of socially and sexually transgressive themes; and their creative if conflictive relation to various traditions of both Hispanic and wider global cultures.

The course will be conducted in Spanish but all films will have English subtitles and the readings will be available in English. 

SPN 691 Spanish Teaching Practicum
Prof. Lilia Ruiz Debbe
Mon.  2:00-5:00 p.m.

Theory and practice of language teaching. Applied methodology and linguistics in classroom settings. A required course for teaching assistants.


SPN 505: Hispanic Dialectology and Sociolinguistics: Spanish in the United States
Prof. E. Davidiak
Wednesdays from 6:00-9:00pm

This course focuses on the Spanish language in the United States as a sociolinguistic phenomenon. It covers topics such as bilingualism, heritage language, language acquisition and use by first and second generation speakers, language contact phenomena that surge as a result of the coexistence of English and Spanish and the many regional varieties of Spanish, language and identity, language authority and language attrition and loss due to sociopolitical and personal factors. 

SPN 573Studies in Modern Latin American Literature: Cultural Representations of War in Latin America (19th – 21st centuries)
Prof. Javier Uriarte
Mondays from 6:00-9:00 pm

How is space conceived through the lens of war? What is the relationship between the Latin American state and war? How have some of the key wars of the 19th century been represented from a 20th or 21st century perspective? This course will discuss several approaches to conflicts during the 19th century as represented by travelers, intellectuals, soldiers, and painters in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Colombia and Mexico. We will then compare these 19th century perspectives to those adopted in contemporary Latin American literature and cinema. Some of the writers that we will read are Esteban Echeverría, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, Euclides da Cunha, Estanislao Zeballos, Mario Vargas Llosa, Augusto Roa Bastos, César Aira. We will discuss films by Glauber Rocha,  Andrés di Tella, Sergio Rezende, among others. 

SPN 609Literary and Cultural Theory: Global Questions, Hispanic Contexts
Prof. A. Pérez Melgosa
Mondays from 2:30-5:50pm

This course is an in depth introduction to literary and cultural theory. In it we will learn about a number of the central questions that animate discussions among literary and cultural scholars today and the many theories that attempt to answer them. We will review a variety of theoretical perspectives produced across various times and locations, and place special emphasis on theoretical discourses and practices originating in Latin America and Spain as well as how scholars in these regions have incorporated, modified and enhanced theories produced abroad. Questions explored in the course will include: the role of culture in shaping structures of power, the study of the links between literature, ideology, and the mechanisms of hegemony, theories of the unconscious in artistic, political and cultural production, the study of the colonial and post-colonial conditions, the social workings of categories such as race, class and gender, the role of culture and literary production in market centered societies, the political implications of aesthetics, the use of cultural memory, and the status of theory in the literary and cultural professions. 

SPN 612Topics Seminar: Inventing the carceral system: crime, politics and the remnants of Empire
Prof. A. Vialette
Thursdays from 3:30pm – 6:30pm

This course examines, through critical analysis, the carceral system in the Iberian Peninsula (from the 19th century until the Franco dictatorship). We will focus on what was called the “penitentiary question”, that is, the penitentiary reforms, looking particularly at how intellectual reformists envisioned the existence of the prison buildings within the cities and in the colonies, how they faced the treatment of prisoners inside the prisons themselves as well as their social reintegration on release. Special attention will be given to the study of: architecture (the panopticon, for example), medical and hygienist discourses, poverty and social inequalities, youth delinquency, projects of rehabilitation through education and reading, among others. Gender will be an integral part of this course on two levels: first, we will closely examine women’s prisons and second, we will read social analysis by female intellectuals on these issues. We will also look at the cultural representations of the criminal through literature and film, and at the treatment of political prisoners during wars (the Gloriosa Revolution in 1868, the Civil War in 1936) and the Franco dictatorship. Finally, we will consider the issue of overseas prisons, especially in Cuba, the Philippines, Africa (Guinea Equatorial) and the Marianas in the nineteenth-century. 

We will study a variety of sources: archival documents (correspondence, building plans, penal codes, etc), literary texts, music, paintings, films, documentaries, newspapers articles, among others. Classes will include discussions, audio-visual material, and students’ presentations. 

Students will create a blog on SB You and be responsible to post weekly responses to the readings. They will also post their research and write their final paper on the blog. 

SPN 652Colonial Spanish American Lit. Textuality in the Extended Andes (1520 to 1620) 
Prof. P. Firbas
Wednesdays from 3:00 – 6:00 pm

This doctoral seminar will study narratives, legal documents, epic poetry, maps and other forms of colonial textuality related to the extended Andean region in a transatlantic context, from early Spanish accounts to mestizo and indigenous narratives (1520 to 1620). Structured as a workshop, the seminar will focus on the language of each text (vocabulary, rhetoric, poetics), the cultural debates in which they were produced, as well as the history of their materiality and transmission (manuscripts and printed editions). Textual discussion will be accompanied by readings in cultural criticism, ethno-history and colonial and post-colonial Latin American studies. Main authors to be studied include: Jerez, Cieza de León, Las Casas, Ercilla, Oña, Cabello Balboa, Acosta, Tito Cusi Yupanqui, Inca Garcilaso, Guaman Poma, Tomé Hernández and José de Arriaga.

SPN 693: Practicum in Teaching of Spanish
Prof. L. Ruiz Debbe
Tu Th 10:00am – 11:20am and M W8:30am – 9:50am

This course is to be taken in conjunction with the student’s teaching assignment.  Each week’s discussion centers on problems of applied linguistics or grammar.  Discussion will also be focused on methodology (audio-lingual method, pattern drills, language laboratory, and preparation of examinations)


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