Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2016

Masterpieces of Latin American Literature

An overview of Latin American literary masterpieces in the twentieth century. We will focus on the period of the Latin American boom in the 1960s, and discuss how novelists responded to political events in the region that include: the Cold War, the Cuban Revolution, the Central American wars, the military dictatorships in Argentina and Chile, etc. Authors studied will include: Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriela Mistral, Juan Rulfo, Pablo Neruda, Reinaldo Arenas, Julio Cortázar.

Instructors: Rubén Gallo
Civilization and Barbarism

In Latin American literature, the opposition between civilization and barbarism has defined America since its "discovery" by Columbus. With a focus on the intersections of time, space, language and violence in seminal texts, we look at ways their authors position the Americas and their peoples in universal history. We will also consider the role of the public intellectual and writer as political figure and founder of new national movements. Authors include Columbus, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Teresa de Mier, Sarmiento, Martí, Darío, Vallejo, Borges, Arguedas, Vargas Llosa, and Bolaño.

Advanced Spanish Language and Style

SPA 307 is an advanced language course. Its main purpose is to develop and reinforce accuracy and fluency in both writing and speaking Spanish. Students will also learn to identify linguistic features that characterize different genres, as well as social and cultural factors that aid in the interpretation and understanding of different texts and types of speech. More specifically, the course aims at providing the tools for discourse analysis, raising awareness of the social and ideological values that permeate discursive practices, and developing autonomy and proficiency as an advanced learner of Spanish language.

Instructors: Dunia Catalina Méndez Vallejo, Sylvia Zetterstrand
Topics in Cinema and Culture: Work and Love, Play and Politics in Spanish Cinema

An exploration of some of the most distinctive themes in Spanish films of the last fifty years. Topics to be discussed, among others: political repression; the modernization of Spain since the 1960s; the perversions of love; the world as a stage; new sexualities; the redefinition of gender roles; uncanny worlds; memory and identity.

Instructors: Manuel-Angel G. Loureiro
Masterworks of the Spanish Renaissance

This course examines masterworks produced during the Spanish Renaissance. Topics of discussion include the significance and influence of selected texts in the formation of modern literary genres (i.e., novel, drama, poetry) and how these works may be read as representations of the social changes and tensions of early modernity. We will also focus on the rise of imperial Spain and problematize the Crown's efforts in forging a Spanish identity that precluded minority groups, such as people of Jewish and Muslim lineages. Texts will be introduced alongside visual productions whenever relevant.

Instructors: Christina H. Lee
Junior Seminar: Spanish and Portuguese-Speaking Worlds

The junior seminar discusses major challenges to the study of culture, literature and society in Portuguese and Spanish-speaking countries. Focusing on text and audiovisual materials, students will acquire methodological tools to develop their own independent research projects. Topics may include: identity, memory, democracy, visual arts, health, race, gender, migration, global cities, sustainability, climate change, citizenship, and digital humanities. It is co-taught in English, with sources in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Students are welcome to use any of the three languages in their written work.

Instructors: Christina H. Lee, Pedro Meira Monteiro
Topics in Latin American Cultural Studies: Invaders as Ancestors, Gods and Vampires

Familiar and unfamiliar beings, under the guise of gods, ancestors or vampire-like creatures, dominate representations of conquest and invasion. Drawing on texts by indigenous and Spanish authors alike, we examine the reception of these mythic beings and their place in historical narratives of the conquest of Mexico, the American Southwest, and the Andes.

Topics in the Culture of Cities: Havana

An introduction to Havana's urban culture through literature, architecture, art, film, and history, with special emphasis on the ways in which the capital has developed after the 1959 Revolution. Topics to be discussed include: ruins, the Soviet legacy, Americanism and anti-Americanism, cold war sites, socialist vs. capitalist spaces, performance and the new Cuban art, sexuality and race. The course will also consider the impact of the normalization of diplomatic relations with the U.S. on the capital.

Instructors: Rubén Gallo
Junior Independent Work

no description available

Cuban History, Politics and Culture

This seminar constitutes an introduction to the study of Cuba from a historical perspective. During the first half of the semester the course follows a chronological approach, covering the political and socioeconomic development of the country from the Cuban revolution to the present. In the second half of the semester, it examines a series of sociocultural issues that are central to the life of contemporary Cubans, on the island and abroad. At the core of the class lies an interrogation of the relevance of the Cuban case for larger discussions on colonialism, modernity, socialism and development.

Instructors: Adrian Lopez-Denis
Public Health and Private Healing in the Atlantic World

This seminar explores the impact of transatlantic exchanges between Europe, Africa and the Americas on the development of the environmental, political and sociocultural trends that affect our health and our ability to heal today. During the first half of the semester we will reconstruct the interconnected histories of the medicalization of the West and the westernization of the Rest, from the Renaissance to the end of the twentieth century. In the second half of the semester we will explore the contemporary consequences of these historical developments.

Instructors: Adrian Lopez-Denis
Cuban Cinema and Literature under an Authoritarian Regime: 1960-2010

An overview of Cuban cinema since the beginnings of the national film industry - and the start of censorship - until the proliferation of today's independent and oppositional films. There will be a parallel discussion of literature during the same period, emphasizing individual attitudes ranging from rebellion to publishing abroad. We will discuss the self-representation of political power and the image of contemporary Cuba constructed in recent films.

Instructors: Antonio Jose Ponte
Introduction to Portuguese I

Students will be taught the fundamental skills of oral comprehension, speaking, reading and writing, while gaining exposure to the Portuguese-speaking world through the media, literature, film and the music of Brazil, Portugal and Lusophone Africa.

Introductory Portuguese for Spanish Speakers

Normally open to students already proficient in Spanish, this course uses that knowledge as a basis for the accelerated learning of Portuguese. Emphasis on the concurrent development of understanding, speaking, reading, and writing skills. The two-semester sequence POR 108-109 is designed to provide in only one year of study a command of the language sufficient for travel and research in Brazil and Portugal.

Instructors: Luis Gonçalves
Intermediate Portuguese

Students will further develop their language skills, especially those of comprehension and oral proficiency, through grammar review, readings, film and other activities. The two-semester sequence POR 108-109 is designed to give in only one year of study a command of the Portuguese language sufficient for travel in Brazil, Portugal and beyond.

Instructors: Andréa de Castro Melloni


For more detailed information including course description, sample reading list, and instructor, please visit the Registrar's Office.