Graduate Course Schedule (500 MA/ 600 PhD)
See our full Fall 2023 course list here
This course traces a genealogy of Latin American and Caribbean critical theory from the beginning of the 20th century to the contemporary moment. It will focus on a corpus of authors who produce diverse and creative approaches to multiple modern problems related to processes of capital accumulation, colonialism, racialization, and gender and sexuality, both global and local. Initially, we will study the centrality of Marxist thought in contemporary social and cultural theory. However, the course emphasizes these authors’ critical appropriation and production of social theories and histories to analyze national and regional contexts. We will study different cultural, social, political, and economic conflicts in the Andes, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the Southern Cone, and we will establish relationships and dialogues between the authors who have produced theoretical and thematic fields on these conflicts. The course draws special attention to the question of land, exploitation, Indigenous and feminist politics, racial oppression and justice, and colonial dispossession, as well as different historical projects of social liberation
This course explores the radicality of Francisco de Goya’s visual world. From being the most important painter at the court of the King of Spain, to witnessing a cruel war, to being a deft, exiled artist, Goya experienced extreme situations in his life that are reflected in his radical works of art and is a living testimony of how resilience in life can be translated into unrestrained creativity despite it all. His traumas are visualized in raving works such as the print series Los desastres de la guerra (The Disaster of War), or the Pinturas Negras (Black Paintings). Students will analyze 18th and 19th-century Spanish society and history through the lens of Goya’s art, which significantly shaped Modern Hispanic visual culture and cinema. This course is imagined, on the one hand, as a journey in the life of Goya in which we will navigate the dramatic historical events that were happening during his time, so that Goya’s visual world will be our History Book. On the other hand, cinema will be a significant part of this course. We will discuss the dialogue between Goya’s painting, prints, and drawings and film production, in order to explore how influential Goya’s radicality was and still is in Spanish and international cinematography. At least one visit to one of the New York City Museums that keeps Goya’s paintings of works on paper will be offered as an extracurricular activity and will allow us to see and discuss in person important masterpieces by the artist.
“Politics of Crime” examines, through critical analysis, the carceral system in the Iberian Peninsula. 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. Particular attention will be given to the nineteenth century, but we will also look at the cultural representations of the criminal through literature and film and at the treatment of political prisoners during the Civil War (1936) and contemporary society. Finally, we will consider the issue of overseas prisons in the nineteenth century, especially in the Philippines. We will study a variety of sources: archival documents (building plans, penal codes, etc.), literary texts, paintings, films, documentaries, and newspaper articles, among others. Classes will include lectures, discussions, audio-visual material, and students presentations.
See our full Summer 2023 course list here
This course is about Critical Disability Studies, from a theoretical, historical, and cultural point of view. We will discuss how disability is constructed and viewed in contemporary society. We will inquire into who is considered disabled and what the consequences of being discriminated against are. We will focus on physical and intellectual diversities to understand them. In fact, in this course, we will discuss the importance of language and the differences between using the vocable disability and/or diversity. We will study the representation of the disabled body in culture, both in the US and in Iberian cultural production (ie Spain) from the nineteenth century until nowadays. Through specific case studies, we will study human and cultural differences and discuss issues of gender, race, varying abilities and disabilities, socioeconomic levels, and sexual orientation. We will put into question the construction of an “abled” society. We will also focus on medicine and science, as medical discourse and treatises have established what a disability is. We will understand that disability is a social construct. One session this semester will focus on prenatal testing and abortion.
Readings will include Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Tobin Siebers, Lennard J. Davis, The United Nations’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Oliver Sacks, Temple Grandin, Susan Antebi, Benjamin Fraser, Miguel Gallardo, Cristina Morales, Ruth Hubbard, Alison Kafer, Benito Pérez Galdós, among others. We will also study visual culture (painting, comic, film). Guest speakers will be invited.
Prof. Kathleen Vernon
Prof. Lilia Ruiz-Debbe
SPN 513 Spanish as Second Language Acq
Prof. Lilia Ruiz-Debbe
TU 04:45-07:35PM HUMANITIES 1023
This topic examines how language development in bilingual individuals is different from that of monolinguals, how individuals learn their first language (L1), how they learn their second language (L2), and the relationship between both languages, including how L1 affects the understanding of L2 in the user's mind. Prerequisite: SPN 393 or LIN 101 or HUL 324. Offered also as SPN 465.
SPN 532 Interdic Appr Hispanic Studies: URUGUAYAN WEIRDOS
Prof. Javier Uriarte
W 04:25-07:15PM MELVILLE 4315
This course explores the slippery and theoretically complex category of "raro" (strange, weird, uncanny, exceptional), which has been central in the writings of canonical Latin American writers such as Rubén Darío. In the twentieth century, Uruguayan critic Ángel Rama used the notion to characterize a type of "anti-realist" writing that was not necessarily fantastic but that could imply a non-conventional way of seeing, describing and relating to the world. In fact, most of the canonical Uruguayan writers have been described as "raros": from Felisberto Hernández to Juan Carlos Onetti, from Delmira Agustini to Marosa di Giorgio, from Armonia Somers to Mario Levrero, from Lautréamont to contemporary writers such as Pablo Casacuberta or Teresa Puppo. These are some of the authors we will discuss as we explore the different articulations of "weirdness" in their work. Students will acquire a basic familiarity with canonical Uruguayan works and authors as we will work on the figure of the narrator, the notion of "autoficción", and the characteristics of fantastic and anti-realist literature. Offered also as SPN 405.
SPN 573 Studies in Modern Latin America: PHOTOGRAPHIC ENCOUNTERS
Prof. Joseph Pierce
TH 04:45-07:35PM EARTH&SPACE 069
Photography has played an important role in creating national subjects, defining intimate relationships, and establishing a visual grammar of modern culture. In the late-nineteenth century, the popularization of photography coincided with the institutionalization of positivist thought and method, and thus both anthropology and scientific racism across the Americas, often in concert with nascent museum archives. The museum, the photographer, and the scientist all worked in concert to create this field of modern visuality. This course traces the origins of both photography and anthropology in Latin America, paying special attention to how Indigenous and Afro-diasporic subjects were studied, framed, and photographed. These subjects were not simply passive figures in anthropological and photographic regimes but endeavored to create their own forms of visual culture, resistance, and refusal. This course will attend to the contradictory impulses of representation and knowledge that developed in this period of modernization. Offered also as SPN 435.
Theater in 17th century Spain became the most important and popular form of cultural entertainment. Playwrights of that period understood very well the formula to attract a great variety of public: men and women; middle class and nobility, even the monarchs, attended the performances regularly in the «corrales de comedias». The audience witnessed love relationships, tragedy, power struggles, philosophical or religious dilemmas. These plays showed empowered women, who controlled their lives, and the country’s government. Through a comprehensive analysis of plays by Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molinas. And Calderón de la Barca we will discover the way of life and thinking of 17th century Spanish society.
The Cuban Revolution and Its Discontents: Film, Music, Literature
As Jennifer Lambe and Michael Bustamante have stated, "the field of Cuban revolutionary history is at once saturated and, paradoxically, “underdeveloped.”" In this course we will study the cultural production generated during the Cuban Revolution from the years immediately preceding its triumph, roughly from the assault at the Cuartel Moncada in 1953, through present-day political and artistic manifestations. We will study the 1960s and the 1970s most intensively, as the signal years of revolutionary aesthetics and counter-aesthetics, with some attention to the 1990s Special Period in Times of Peace and recent resistance movements in the 21st-century, such as the Movimiento San Isidro of 2021.
Through film, visual culture, music, and literature, we will pay special attention to gender politics, racial politics and gay/queer sexual politics, critiquing the established political discourse (which we will study in speeches by Fidel Castro and other items of official policy) and tracing a current of oppositional discourses and also mixed discourses that struggle with the desire for inclusion in revolutionary goals, on the one hand, and the absence of civil society, on the other.
Specific issues studied include the situation of Woman in the Revolution as “a Revolution within the Revolution,” in Fidel Castro’s 1966 phrase; the rich visual culture of the Revolution, with the 1959 establishment of the Instituto Cubano de las Artes e Industrias Cinematográficas (the venerable ICAIC) and a blossoming of comic books and animation; the development of revolutionary music and the privileging of the trova over other Cuban sounds; and the relationship to international liberationist movements, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean. Authors, filmmakers and musicians studied include Dulce María Loynaz, Virgilio Piñera, Julio García Espinosa, Lydia Cabrera, Wifredo Lam, Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Sara Gómez, Juan Padrón, Néstor Almendros, Lourdes Casal, Reinaldo Arenas, Jesús Díaz, Reina María Rodríguez, Nancy Morejón, Heberto Padilla, Silvio Rodríguez, Celeste Mendoza and Los Aldeanos.
SPN 542 Studies in Modern Spanish Lit. Topic: Domestic work
SPN 652 Colonial Latin-American Cultures. Topic: Colonial Textualities in the Extended Andes
This doctoral seminar studies the complex uses of writing and print culture in the extended Andean region (from Panama to Chile) from 1550 to 1750. Although our main focus will be on materials produced in European codes within the colonial context, such as chronicles, maps, epic poems, relaciones de sucesos or news pamphlets, the seminar will also study the interaction of Spanish and indigenous languages and semiotic artifacts. Our discussions will include 20th century narratives and criticism (i.e. J.M. Arguedas and William Rowe) to trace the history and transformations of some critical categories for our understanding of Andean cultures (i.e. the lettered city). All students are expected to write a final research paper on colonial or early modern primary sources based on the material and critical problems studied in class. The seminar will be taught in Spanish. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
SPN 662 19th-Century Latin-Am Cultures. Topic: Lit and Politics in Latin American, 19th Century
This course on Literature and Politics in 19th century Latin America will be an in-depth study of influential texts from the region that have sought to rethink the status of the new republics after independence. We will analyze the ways in which these works establish symbolic forms of exclusion that have concrete effects on reality. How is the notion of citizenship understood, and which are the symbolic new boundaries of the nation? At the same time, the course will focus on the presence of voices of people writing from the margins of the new republics and that struggle to be considered as part of them. How were issues of gender, race and sexuality negotiated in these tumultuous and eventful years? Two aspects that will be particularly discussed have to do with the territorial component of the nation-state. We will explore how borders were reconfigured and how the national space was imagined, represented and, sometimes, conquered. The discursive logic of inclusion-exclusion had concrete effects on the ground, as it constituted the reasoning behind war, conquest, or actual policies that had the objective of erasing or invisiblilzing certain groups. We will also pay attention to the discussions surrounding race and the abolition of slavery, particularly in Brazil and the Caribbean. Particularly at a time when the interests in the field have moved away from the nineteenth century, we will seek to reassert the importance of the political and aesthetic discussions of the period as essential for the understanding of contemporary cultural and political debates. Authors to be studied include Simón Bolívar, Esteban Echeverría, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, José Mármol, Juana Manuela Gorriti, Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, Alberto Blest Gana, Clorinda Matto de Turner, José Martí, Rubén Darío, José Hernández, Joaquim Nabuco, Eduardo Acevedo Díaz, Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, José de Alencar.
BASIC AND INTERMEDIATE LANGUAGE COURSES (PDF Brochure)
- SPN 591: Spanish Language Acquisition I
- SPN 592: Spanish Language Acquisition II
- SPN 593: Spanish Lang Acquisition III
- SPN 591: Spanish Language Acquisition I
- SPN 592: Spanish Language Acquisition II
- SPN 594: Spanish Lang. Acquisition IV
An introduction to the study of 20th and 21st Puerto Rican poetry. This course will focus on the transformations of poetic language that have taken place in and through the scope of the Island and its diasporas. Through books of poetry, poetry journals, and anthologies, we will question the natures of these transformations vis-à-vis the political and social realities of Puerto Rico, its modernization but continuous colonial status, and the phantasmagorical presences of polemical and revolutionary figures within the text itself, such as Pedro Albizu Campos, Luis Muñoz Marín, Lolita Lebrón, and Juan Antonio Corretjer. We will also start questioning the complex, and sometimes paradoxical relationships between poetry and politics. This seminar may be repeated for credit when the topic changes. Conducted in Spanish.SPN 515 Spanish Comp and Translation FLEX 1:00 AM 1:00 AM Online Asynchronous Elena Davidiak
This course is aimed at developing an understanding of the general principles of written translation, as well as providing an overview of the grammatical, lexical and stylistic similarities and differences between English and Spanish. The students will also be acquiring practical skills in translating between English and Spanish by working on a variety of written texts, including literary pieces, and discussing their projects.
SPN 510 Hispanic Cultures
(cl#47696) TU/TH 4:45pm - 6:05pm
Topic: Mestizo studies
Description: This course studies, in the first part, the history of the term mestizo from its elusive and dynamic uses in the colonial period (as seen in legal documents, narrative accounts, poetry and other textual and visual materials) to its systematic implementation in Latin American national discourses in the early to mid 20th century, as seen in cultural essays, novels and paintings of the "indigenista", "negrista," and "criollista" movements. In the second part, we will explore the current vitality of the term in literary and cultural studies (in contrast to transculturation, heterogeneity, diversity, etc), in new formal political projects (i.e. constitutions), as well as in recent indigenous texts and performances. In general terms, the course is an interrogation of race and ethnicity in Latin America (focusing in Mexico and the Andean region), mainly through close and contextual reading of texts in Spanish, but also through visual culture.
SPN 532 Interdisciplinary approaches
(cl#48098) TU/TH 6:30pm - 7:50pm
Topic: Travelling Objects
Description: This course explores the visual culture of the global Spanish Empire through a cluster of exciting stories of traveling objects. We will analyze early modern global history through the lens of the circulation of things, ideas, and artworks as a practice that significantly shaped Hispanic culture. The course is imagined as a journey in which we will navigate and discuss the mutual cultural exchanges between Spain and its territories in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, as part of an extraordinarily extended network of political relationships and conflicts. After having introduced and discussed theories on “mobility,” “circulation,” and “the contact zone,” we will take advantage of this theoretical framework to examine several outstanding cases of objects and commodities that travelled across the early modern Spanish world.
SPN 573: Studies in Modern Latin Am Lit
(cl#55611) M/W 6:05pm - 7:25pm
Topic: Border Crossings
Description: This class, taught in Spanish, will explore the term frontera (border/boundary) as it relates to the struggle to survive within or leaving the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala). We will analyze the term frontera from a geographical, ideological, economic, and social perspective, with a focus on the experiences of citizens of the Northern Triangle as they navigate and flee the poverty, corruption, and violence plaguing their nations. Literature studied will include El sueño de retorno by Salvadoran novelist Horacio Castellanos Moya; ElPaís de Toó, by Guatemalan novelist Rodrigo Rey Rosa; La odisea del norte by Salvadoran novelist Mario Bencastro; excerpts from nonfictional works, including Caravana by Guatemalan reporter Alberto Pradilla; and the film Sin Nombre (Fukunaga, 2009). During this course, we will challenge our own “thinking boundaries” as we explore the themes of hope, fear, uncertainty, stability, belonging, and exclusion. The role of gangs, relevant current events, and Guatemala and El Salvador’s post-civil war societies will be discussed.
SPN 609: Literary and Cultural Theories
(cl#55342) W 4:25pm - 7:15pm
An introduction to literary and cultural theory centered on the central questions that animate theoretical discussion among literary and cultural scholars today. Special emphasis is placed 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 elsewhere.
A required course for students in the Spanish Ph.D. program.
SPN 623 Early Modern Iberian Cultures
Victor Roncero Lopez
(cl# 55614) TH 3:00pm - 5:50pm
Topic: Validos in XVII century Spain
Description: With the death of Philip II in 1598, a significant change took place in the mechanics of governance in Spain, which resulted in the emergence of a new political figure: the valido o privado. Philip III did not have the desire nor the ability to govern, so he delegated all his power in the hands of the Duke of Lerma, who became the most powerful man in the Empire. Painters, playwrights, and political writers saw in this new governing figure a very interesting character to portray in their works. At the same time favourites like the Duke of Lerma and the Count Duke of Olivares used painters like Rubens, Maino or Velázquez, and writers and playwrights like Quevedo, Lope de Vega, Calderón de la Barca, and Saavedra Fajardo as propagandists who presented them as extraordinary statesmen to the rest of the nobility and Spanish society. These artists and political theorists tried to establish the functions and limits to the political power of the validos. In this seminar we will analyze: paintings by Rubens, Velázquez, Maino, among others; plays by Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina and Calderón de la Barca, and theoretical works by Quevedo and Saavedra Fajardo.
SPN 685 Caribbean Cultures
(cl#55343) M 4:25pm - 7:15pm
Topic: El Caribe elemental : natura, pensamiento, poiesis.
As we discussed in a 2017 conference here at Stony Brook, the Caribbean has been the first and last place to confront the legacy, dislocations and myths of colonialism. Ever since Eric Williams’s pioneering work in the 1940s, which placed Caribbean slavery and labor patterns at the heart of industrial capitalism, scholars, poets, writers, performers and film-makers have sought to come to terms with this sociocultural archipelago and its didactic role in mediating the imperatives of western “modernity.” Since since European colonization began, Caribbean societies have been structured by a central paradox, deemed to be both ‘backward’—an outpost of the deranged, dragooned, deracinated and degraded – and a microcosm of futurity—where flux, fluidity and competing trajectories of confluence produced something entirely new and even laudable that was not limited to capital.
This course examines a number of works that put forth, embody or question the putative poetics of the Caribbean. We first redefine the space of the transatlantic Caribbean, taking note of islands, cosmopolitanism, and world capitalism as keys to its phenomenological existence. Both Antonio Benítez Rojo and Édouard Glissant, two distinguished thinkers of Caribbean aesthetics, proposed concepts to explicate the particularity and contemporaneity of the Caribbean region (the repeating island and the poetics of relation, respectively), which will be our starting point to discuss the elemental forces of earth and water that have long played a role in Caribbean poetics, as well as the conceptual trappings of Caribbean intellectual life and its presumed objects. Both writers question the fixity of islands that traditional national-popular conceptualizations long upheld. From there, we proceed with two parts, Political Geographies and Writings of Disaster. We will study classic Caribbeanist texts alongside other texts that initiative other dialogues around temporality and perception.
Please click on semester link for course offerings: WINTER 2022 (January 4 - 22, 2022)
SPN 582: The Hispanic Tradition in The United States
Topic: NYC in the Hispanic/Latinx Imaginary
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course aims to explore literary and visual narratives produced by Hispanic/ Latinx authors and artists portraying the city of New York. Readings will include texts from the 19th century till the present. It will be taught in Spanish. Some readings might be in English.