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Course Offerings

Fall 2012-2013

Click on the course title to visit the course page on the Registrar's site.


LAS 322/SPA 324
Gossip: Autobiographical Fiction from Vargas Llosa to Bolaño
Thirty-five years ago, Vargas Llosa's La tía Julia y el escribidor had a cold reception because of its autobiographical content. Today Bolaño's Los detectives salvajes, an autobiographical novel, is the most influential book in Spanish. Globalization, democracy, the rise of Latin America's middle classes, produced a different idea of what literature should say. Personal matters became public, politics private, nationalities indistinct and allegories hollow. We will read a series of intimate fictions in search of the traditions that interweave them, developing a corpus of ideas that can explain the reason for the success of this hybrid genre. Prerequisites and Restrictions: A 200-level Spanish course or equivalent. Other information: Course will be taught in Spanish. The readings are in Spanish. Discussions can be conducted in Spanish, English or both.
Álvaro Enrigue. Schedule: S01 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm T.

LAS 401 / ANT 434
Latin American Studies Seminar - The Politics of Ethnicity in Latin America
In the late 20th century, an acknowledgment of ethnic and cultural diversity in Latin America influenced politicians to rethink their definition of citizenship in order to, at the very least, publicly demonstrate interest in fostering democratic forms of government. This opened up channels through which indigenous leaders organized their constituent communities by strategically using ethnicity as a platform for political participation. This seminar focuses upon Latin American indigenous movements with an eye towards anthropological concerns with representation, voice, and the precarious balance between solidarity and academic critique. Prerequisites and Restrictions: There are no prerequisites for this course, although a working knowledge of anthropological theories, the practice of ethnography, and some familiarity with Latin America (either through literature or field experience) will be useful. Other information: This course is open to advanced undergraduate students and graduate students.
Timothy Smith. Schedule: S01 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm Th.

LAS 402 / SPA 407 / ARC 402
Latin American Studies Seminar - Architecture as a Mechanism of Social Inclusion
Architecture as a mechanism of social inclusion investigates the processes that are transforming urban structures, in particular the public and common spaces. Latin America has become an urban laboratory of unique living experiences, becoming a scenario to look into new solutions for contemporary challenges. We will begin with a broader study that explores the characteristics behind the informality and urban plans, understanding the stories behind the new forms of city development, the related forms of democracy and governance in the Latin society; together with the power of architecture as a mean to transform social realities. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Recommended that student has previous understanding of urban realities. The course will be taught in Spanish, therefore it is mandatory to understand and speak the language. The readings must be done in Spanish. Discussion can be conducted in Spanish, English or both. Other information: The course will be taught in Spanish. The course will be developed as lecture/discussion sessions. Students expected to work in groups comprised of students from different academic backgrounds.
Giancarlo Mazzanti. Schedule: S01 7:30 pm - 10:20 pm T.


ARC 505C/LAS 506
Architecture Design Studio
Explores architecture as a social art and the spatial organization of the human environment. Projects include a broad range of problem types, including individual buildings, groups of buildings, urban districts, and landscapes. Other Requirements: ARC Graduate Students Only.
Giancarlo Mazzanti Sierra. Schedule: 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm M W F.

ART 443 / LAS 443
Global Exchange in Art and Architecture
This course examines the global exchange in art and architecture between and among the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas in the period 1492-1800. The course focuses on the geographical, historical, religious, anthropological, and aesthetic aspects of issues such as cultural encounters, diffusion, transculturation, regionalism, and related topics. Other information: This course should be of interest to students in all aspects of regional studies, in history, art, and in general to all concerned with global questions. For department majors, satisfies Renaissance/Baroque/late Islamic distribution requirement. [NOTE: LAS Concentrators must write their final paper on a Latin American topic and provide a copy of the final paper to PLAS in order to receive certificate credit.]
Thomas D. Kaufmann. Schedule: S01 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm M.

ART 469 / LAS 469
Maya Painting
Painting was the ancient Maya expressive mode par excellence. Whether depicting mythology, history, or hieroglyphic writing, painting was for more private acts of visual consumption than architecture or sculpture. This seminar invites students into this private realm of ancient Maya scribes, nobility, and royal patronage. The course explores the 1500-year history of Maya painting, including murals, ceramics and books. We will consider techniques of production, iconography, aesthetics, and social context. Students will gain basic literacy in Maya writing and training in Maya astronomy. Other Requirements: Not Open to Freshmen. Prerequisites and Restrictions: ART267 and/or ART268 recommended; ability to read Spanish recommended. Other information: For department majors, satisfies Pre-Columbian distribution requirement.
Bryan R. Just. Schedule: S01 1:30 – 4:20 pm Th.

COM 574 / SPA 587 / LAS 574
Roberto Bolaño: Adventures in Culture Land
Forty years after the emergence of Gabriel García Márquez, the narrative works of Roberto Bolaño have once again put Latin American literature at the center of the world's cultural mainstream. Within epics of travel, adventure and youth culture, he combined literary traditions that until then seemed incompatible. This course will explore the fictional world, the poetics, and the artistic strategies of an author that made Jim Morrison dialogue with James Joyce, who resuscitated the myth of the Latin American avant-gardes, and who in less than ten years went from being an anonymous eccentric to a New York Times bestseller. Other Requirements: Open to Graduate Students Only.
Susana Draper. Schedule: S01 1:30 pm – 4:20 pm W.

POL 423 / LAS 423 / LAO 423
Seminar in American Politics - Latino Politics in the U.S.
What is the history and contemporary role of Latinos in U.S. politics? Will the growing Hispanic population reconfigure the presidential contest in 2012 or beyond? This seminar will use social science to examine these and other questions on how Latinos are shaping state and national politics. Topics include: immigration and its political impact; civil rights mobilization and political gains for Latinos; patterns of political participation and strategies for engaging Latino voters; public policy issues that concern them; and the importance of subgroup differences such as national origin and religious affiliation for Latino political behavior. ENROLLMENT BY APPLICATION OR INTERVIEW. DEPARTMENTAL PERMISSION REQUIRED. Other Requirements: Not Open to Freshmen. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors from any concentration. Ideal for sophomore and junior social science concentrators interested in developing a research proposal on the course topic(s) that can later be used (after the course is finished) as the basis for a junior paper or senior thesis project. Students will have the option of a final paper in lieu of a research proposal. No prior knowledge of the topic is required, but familiarity with the basics of American politics and scientific inquiry will be very helpful. Other information: To apply for enrollment, please contact Esther Kim ( by 4/18/2012 and provide her with: your year, concentration and subfield (if applicable), whether you are taking this course to (possibly) develop a junior research paper or senior thesis project, and your experience, if any, with research design. [NOTE: LAS Concentrators must write their final paper on a Latin American topic and provide a copy of the final paper to PLAS in order to receive certificate credit.]
Ali A. Valenzuela. Schedule: S01 3:00 pm - 4:20 pm T Th.

POR 301 / LAS 303
Modern Brazilian Literature and Culture
A study of 20th- and 21st-century literature, this course aims at refining the students' command of the Portuguese language. It will focus on the blossoming of new narrative and poetic forms in Brazil. We will read authors such as Manuel Bandeira, Graciliano Ramos, Clarice Lispector, Luiz Ruffato, Adriana Lisboa and Ricardo Lisias. As part of the course activities, contemporary Brazilian writers will come to Princeton and give a workshop on their literary production. Prerequisites and Restrictions: POR 208 or POR 207B or instructor's permission. Other information: Classes will be taught in Portuguese.
Pedro Meira Monteiro. Schedule: C01 7:30 pm – 8:50 pm M W.

REL 378 / GSS 378 / LAS 379
Religion, Gender, and Sexuality in Early Latin America
This seminar explores scholarship on the history of religion, gender, and sexuality in Latin America, focusing primarily on the mainland colonial period (1492-1821), but including some pre-colonial and the nineteenth century material. Through historical studies, primary documents, and discussion, students will consider connections between religious beliefs, spiritual and sexual practices, gendered social relations, and the ways race, class, and gender intersected with ideas about moral and social order in the period under study. We will also think critically about how scholars have portrayed these subjects. Other information: Some previous work in Religion, OR Latin America, OR gender and sexuality studies is advised but not required.
Jessica Delgado. Schedule: S01 1:30 pm – 4:20 pm W.

REL 505 / LAS 505
Studies in the Religions of the Americas - Religion and Church in Mexican History
This course explores important questions in the study of religion and church in Mexican history. Readings will focus on the colonial era but will also include some 19th and 20th century material and some theoretical and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of religion in Mexico. Topics will include: religious conversion; religious institutions and religious practice; clergy and laity; gender and sexuality; race and spiritual status; and local and lived religion. The course is designed to give graduate students a strong beginning foundation in Mexican religion as a primary or comparative teaching and research field. Other Requirements: Open to Graduate Students Only.
Jessica Delgado. Schedule: S01 10:00 am - 1:00 pm T.

SOC 210 / LAS 210
Urban Sociology: The City and Social Change in the Americas
By taking a comparative approach, this course examines the role of social, economic, and political factors in the emergence and transformation of modern cities in the United States and selected areas of Latin America. We consider the city in its dual image: both as a center of progress and as a redoubt of social problems, especially poverty. Special attention is given to spatial processes that have resulted in the aggregation and desegregation of populations differentiated by social class and race.
Patricia Fernández-Kelly. Schedule: L01 12:30 pm – 1:20 pm M W, P01 TBA.

SPA 222 / LAS 222 / LAO 222
Introduction to Latin American Cultures
This course offers an introduction to modern Spanish American literature and culture. It focuses on the complex ways in which cultural and intellectual production anticipates, participates in, and responds to political, social, and economic transformations in the 20th and 21st centuries. Through a wide spectrum of sources (essays, fiction, poetry, film, and art), students will study and discuss some of the most relevant issues in Latin American modern history, such as modernity, democracy, identity, memory, and social and economic justice. Prerequisites and Restrictions: SPA 207 or higher, or instructor's permission. Other information: Course taught in Spanish.
Rachel L. Price. Schedule: C01 1:30 pm – 2:50 pm M W.

SPA 331 / LAS 331
Modern Latin American Fiction
"Las afueras" - This course focuses on the analysis of Latin American fiction that doesn't speak about Latin America, but about other times and places. Even if we tend to think that mainstream tradition of Latin American literature always deals with the problems of Latin American identity, there has been a strong tradition of Latin American literature that tries to take distance from its boundaries and explore other realities. The course will examine how many Latin American writers of the 20th Century had reinvented European and Asian traditions, and what their narratives show us about Latin America. Prerequisites and Restrictions: A 200-level Spanish course above SPA 209 or instructor's permission. Other information: Visiting Professor Jorge Volpi is a literary critic and renowned Mexican writer. Taught in Spanish.
Jorge Volpi. Schedule: C01 11:00 am – 12:20 pm T Th.

SPA 342 / LAS 342
Topics in Latin American Modernity - Autobiographies of the 20th Century
This course will focus on autobiographical writings of some of the most important Latin American writers of the 20th Century. It's a common place to say that Latin America doesn't have a strong autobiographical tradition, but this seminar aspires to demonstrate the falsity of this remark. From the seminal memoir of José Vasconcelos at the beginning of the 20th Century to the most recent autobiographical narratives of some young authors, the course will also explore the relation between literature and politics in Latin America. Prerequisites and Restrictions: A 200-level SPA course above SPA 209 or instructor's permission. Other information: Visiting Professor Jorge Volpi is a literary critic and renowned Mexican writer. Course taught in Spanish.
Jorge Volpi. Schedule: C01 3:00 pm – 4:20 pm T Th.

SPA 346 / COM 346 / LAS 364
Modern Latin American Fiction in Translation
Latin "Camp." Susan Sontag defined camp as an aesthetic sensibility involving "travesty, impersonation, theatricality, seduction," and "flamboyant mannerisms." Camp has also been described as the style of choice for many gay writers - "a type of "coded" or "secret" language destined for those who are in the know. In this course we will explore manifestations of "camp" in some of the most exciting novels and films of the 20th Century, from Manuel Puig's "Kiss of the Spider Woman" to the Reinaldo Arenas' "Before Night Falls." Issues to be discussed include: gender and literary style, politics and aesthetics, and masquerade versus reality. Other information: Class conducted in English. All readings in English. Students pursuing a Certificate in Spanish and/or Latin American Studies will be required to submit all written work in Spanish. If course is full, please email Professor Rubén Gallo at to be placed on waiting list.
Rubén Gallo. Schedule: L01 7:30 pm – 10:20 pm T.

SPA 350 / LAS 349
Topics in Latin American Cultural Studies - Contemporary Cuban Literature and Visual Culture
In this course we will read literature and essays, examine artwork, performances and blogs, and watch films produced in Cuba or the diaspora from the 1990s through the present. Themes include the economic crisis, publishing and new media, post-cubanidad, the Raul Castro era, and others. Authors, filmmakers and artists include: Antón Arrufat, Tania Bruguera, Los Carpinteros, Víctor Fowler, Abilio Estévez, Carlos Garaicoa, Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, Fernandez Pérez, Leonardo Padura Fuentes, Ena Lucía Portela, Antonio José Ponte, Reina María Rodríguez, Juan Carlos Tabío, Anna Lidia Vega Serova, Zoé Valdés. Other Requirements: Not Open to Freshmen. Prerequisites and Restrictions: A 200-level SPA course or instructor's permission. Other information: Course will be taught in Spanish.
Rachel L. Price. Schedule: S01 3:00 pm – 4:20 pm M W.


FRS 137
Soccer and Latin America: Politics, History, Popular Culture
Throughout the semester, we will attempt to understand how soccer captivates the imaginations of so many, viewing its popularization in the context of wider developments like radio, technology to build massive stadiums, European immigration and globalization. At the same time as the sport provides us with a window onto the study of Latin America and beyond, our discussions will account for its more “spectacular” aspects, considering some of the intersections between soccer and dance and theater. Although the course is structured comparatively, it focuses primarily on Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. Other Requirements: Open to Freshmen Only.
Bruno M. Carvalho. Schedule: S01 1:30-4:20pm Th.

FRS 191
Network Society: Global and Local
This seminar examines aspects of what sociologist Manuel Castells termed the Network Society. We will read across a number of fields, considering histories of digital media, new forms of being together, who or what structures and monitors the Internet, and how the global economy and labor have changed in the past decades alongside new technologies. Particular attention will be given to how art, literature and entertainment are changing in response to these new realities. What do video games and “mash-up” music suggest about contemporary sensibilities? What does it mean to write poetry in the Google era? How can novelists represent such a networked world?
The seminar balances the necessarily global dimensions of such change with a regional emphasis, periodically focusing on cultural production from Latin America and Latino America. Specific examples may include Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges’ prefiguration of the Internet; a visit by Brazilian bio-artist Eduardo Kaç; readings from Cuba’s leading independent blogger Yoani Sánchez; and dialogue with itinerant performance artist Tania Bruguera. Several weeks will be dedicated to Chilean author Roberto Bolaño's bestselling novel about the globalized world, “2666.” Readings and films may be complemented by class visits by invited artists. [NOTE: LAS Concentrators must write their final paper on a Latin American topic and provide a copy of the final paper to PLAS in order to receive certificate credit.] Other Requirements: Open to Freshmen Only
Rachel Price. Schedule: S01 1:30-2:50 MW.

HIS 506
Modern Latin America since 1810
Course examines interactions between states and citizens since Latin American independence with an additional consideration of the region's integration into global economic and political systems. Other Requirements: Open to Graduate Students Only. Other information: Some Spanish is highly recommended. See instructor for more details.
Robert A. Karl. Schedule: S01 9:00 am – 11:50 am W.

POR 210
Portuguese Language and Culture through Cinema
This course will examine a number of recurring cultural topics in Portuguese-language cinema from Africa, Brazil and Europe, such as personal transformations of characters against the backdrop of political turmoil, unusual representations of urban spaces and movement between centers and peripheries. We will situate works within their socio-historical context, explore linguistic regionalisms and registers and analyze cinematography and the process of literary adaptation. Discussions, readings, vocabulary exercises and papers will further increase students' fluency in written and spoken Portuguese. Prerequisites and Restrictions: POR 208 or instructor's permission. Other Information: Films will include: A Costa dos Murmúrios (Margarida Cardoso, 2004) O Gotejar da Luz (Fernando Vendrell, 2002) Vidas Secas (Nelson Pereira dos Santos, 1963) O Caminho das Nuvens (Vicente Amorim, 2003) São Paulo S/A (Luiz Sérgio Person, 1965) Edifício Master (Eduardo Coutinho, 2002) Oxalá Cresçam Pitangas (Ondjaki, 2006).
Pedro Meira Monteiro Schedule: C01 3:00pm – 4:20 pm T Th.

POR 561
Modern Brazilian Literature – Machado de Assis
This seminar will focus on the work of Machado de Assis (1839-1908). Through the analysis and discussion of recent criticism we will be able to perceive that some of the most interesting social issues of contemporary Brazil can be found in Machado's plots, thus raising questions about the relationship between literature and society, writing and politics, center and periphery. Other Requirements: Open to Graduate Students Only
Pedro Meira Monteiro Schedule: S01 4:30 pm – 7:20 pm M.

SPA 209
Spanish Language and Culture through Cinema
SPA 209 is an advanced Spanish course designed to improve oral and writing skills through the analysis and discussion of contemporary Spanish and Latin American films. A significant amount of classroom time is dedicated to intensive debate on a wide variety of topics and features presented in films. The grammar component aims to facilitate a more fluent communication in Spanish. Films are viewed in Spanish with subtitles. ENROLLMENT BY APPLICATION OR INTERVIEW. DEPARTMENTAL PERMISSION REQUIRED. Prerequisites and Restrictions: SPA 108 or SPA 207 in addition to instructor's permission. Please email Alberto Bruzos Moro (
Jorge Alejandro Méndez Seijas. Schedule: C01 11:00 am – 12:20 pm T Th, F01 7:30 pm – 10:20 pm Th.

SPA 224
Hispanic Studies: Introduction to Cultural Analysis
An introduction to the analysis of contemporary cultural texts (narrative, poetry, film, photography, painting, music) from Latin America and Spain, with the support of various theoretical ideas (metafiction, intertextuality, death of the author, the other, mourning and melancholia, the uncanny, orientalism). Prerequisites and Restrictions: Another SPA 200-level course or instructor’s permission. Other Requirements: Not Open to Seniors. [NOTE: LAS Concentrators must write their final paper on a Latin American topic and provide a copy of the final paper to PLAS in order to receive certificate credit.]
Manuel-Angel G. Loureiro Schedule: C01 11:00 am – 12:20 pm MW.

SPA 548
Seminar in Modern Spanish-American Literature - Avant Garde, Media and Modernity
This course will explore various Latin American Avant-Garde movements in a comparative context: Mexican Estridentismo, Brazilian modernismo, Chilean creacionismo. We will examine these movements in the context of other international avant gardes, from Italian Futurism to Russian constructivism; discussions will be framed by various theories of the avant-garde, from Bürger to Perloff. Other Requirements: Open to Graduate Students Only.
Rubén Gallo. Schedule: S01 1:30 pm – 4:20 pm W.

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