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Course Offerings

Fall 2011-2012

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


LAS 308/SPA 322
Tijuana, Mexico City, Havana, Buenos Aires: Fact and Fiction
The course will examine daily life in four cities through major works of fiction. Urban centers discussed will include Tijuana, a site of cultural crossovers; Mexico City, one of the world's largest cities; Havana, a site of cultural tensions under a socialist regime; and Buenos Aires, the Latin American stronghold of cosmopolitan literature. The works of Borges, Arlt, Monsiváis, Cortázar, Fuentes, Cabrera Infante, Ponte, Crosthwaite, and others will be used as a map for an uncharted reality. To expand the knowledge of these narratives, we will study other cultural artifacts including photography, cinema, music, and television. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Course will be conducted in Spanish.
Juan Villoro. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 W.

LAS 317/ART 397
Photography and History in Mexico
This course will offer an introductory history of Mexico since 1839 through its photography (by Mexicans and foreigners). It is structured chronologically, from the arrival of daguerreotypes in the country to digitalization. This course also offers an examination of photographic genres and the methodologies with which we can analyze them. A major focus of the course is on developing methods for incorporating photographs into studies in the humanities and the social sciences; it will engage in an interrogation of photography as a historical source, as a way of communicating history research, and as a technique of teaching history. Other information: Students pursuing a Certificate in SPA or POR are required to complete all written work in the target language.
John Mraz. Schedule: S01 7:30pm–10:20 T.


ART 369/LAS 369
From Contact to Independence: Art and Architecture in Latin America
The Art and Architecture in the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking parts of the Americas from 1492 to 1810. Indigenous, Spanish, Portuguese and other contributions treated in relation to each other, and to other aspects of colonial society and culture. Other Information: Two-one and one-half hour classes of lecture and discussion. For department majors, satisfies Renaissance/Baroque/late Islamic distribution requirement.
Thomas D. Kaufmann. Schedule: C01 11:00am–12:20pm TTh.

ART 394/LAS 394
Pre-Columbian Maya Art: Elite and Popular Discourses
This course examines Pre-Columbian Maya art and archaeology from the perspective of intersecting aesthetic, ritual, and social traditions: official state art and popular representations and practices. Drawing on critical social theory as a basis for our analyses, we will examine the relationship between royal mural paintings and cave art, patronized art and graffiti, large-scale stone monuments and small-scale figurines, "readable" hieroglyphic texts and pseudo writing, and civic-ceremonial architecture and vernacular household architecture. Other Requirements: Not Open to Freshmen. Prerequisites and Restrictions: The course will include a study trip to Guatemala to visit world-renown archaeological sites, national museums, and archaeological storage collections not available to the general public. Other information: For department concentrators, satisfies African/Pre-Columbian distribution requirement. To fill out the application for this course go to the Dept. of Art and Archaeology website:
Christina T. Halperin. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:30 M.

GSS 302/LAS 314
Topics in the Study of Gender - Liberalism, Individualism, and Gender
Advanced seminar; focus changes from year to year. In general the seminar uses contemporary and classic works of feminist theory to examine ideas about gender that have shaped modern culture. Topics have included feminism and liberalism, literature and ideology, and psychoanalysis and feminism. Other Requirements: Required Course for GSS Concentrators. Not Open to Freshmen.
Jessica Delgado. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 M.

HIS 303/LAS 305
Colonial Latin America to 1810
This course begins with the origins and consolidation of the Aztec, Inca and Iberian polities and ends with the severance of colonial ties. It combines an overview of the political economy of the region over three centuries with a study of how social groups interacted among themselves and with imperial rule over time through accommodation and conflict. We pay special attention to comparisons and contrasts —— centers and frontiers of settlement, urban and rural life, indigenous and African populations, religion and transgression, Portuguese and Spanish models of rule —— and to long-term processes and implications of environmental change.
Vera S. Candiani. Schedule: L01 11:00am–11:50 MW, P01 TBA.

POR 300/LAS 315
Luso-Afro-Brazilian Literary Traditions
This course focuses on literary and artistic works that have been key in shaping the cultural traditions of Portuguese language, from colonial to postcolonial times. The theoretical perspective to be adopted for the close reading of texts written in modern Brazil, Portugal and the Lusophone Africa will be taken from the postcolonial bibliography (in English and Portuguese) with emphasis on intertextuality. We will read selected essays and selected literary texts by writers such as Fernando Pessoa, Cesário Verde, Machado de Assis, Mário de Andrade, Oswald de Andrade, Carlos Drummond de Andrade and Rui Knopfli. Prerequisites and Restrictions: POR 208 or POR 209 or instructor’s permission. Other Information: Course will be taught in Portuguese.
Staff. Schedule: C01 1:30pm–2:50 MW.

SOC 315/LAS 316/AAS 315
Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism in Latin America
Examines a wide range of issues regarding race, ethnicity and nationalism globally, but with an emphasis on Latin America. We will explore the basic sociological, political and cultural concepts of nation, race and ethnicity, emphasizing how they are used and their relation with one another in various contexts. For example, race and ethnicity have taken on special meanings in Latin America where they are central to ideas about the nation. Much of the course will focus on how that came about and how race is manifested in different national contexts. We will emphasize comparisons to the U.S. as well as across countries within Latin America.
Edward E. Telles. Schedule: L01 12:30pm–1:20 MW, P01 TBA, P02 11:00am–11:50am, P03 3:30pm–4:20pm Th.

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. Other Requirements: Open to Freshmen and Sophomores Only. Prerequisites and Restrictions: SPA 207 or higher or instructor's permission. Other Information: Course taught in Spanish.
Rachel L. Price. Schedule: C01 1:30pm–2:50 TTh.

Topics in the Intellectual History of Modern and Contemporary Spain — Connected Stories/Histories: Spain and the Americas (1898-1940)
An examination of the political and cultural relationships and perceptions between the United States, Latin America, and Spain from mid-19th century to the beginning of Franco's regime in the 1960s. We will examine the cultural productions from four relevant moments in these relationships: the Spanish-Cuban-American War and its consequences (1880-1910); the War of the Philippines in the turn of the 19th century; debates about Hispanidad and Pan Americanism; the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), how Americans and Spaniards viewed and lived it, and the relationships and views of Americans about Franco's regime. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Reading knowledge of Spanish required. SPA concentrators and Certificate in Spanish applicants are required to write all papers in Spanish. Other information: Course taught in English. Reading knowledge of Spanish required. Certificate applicants and department concentrators are required to write all papers in Spanish. LAS concentrators must write their final paper on a Latin American topic.
Antonio Feros. Schedule: C01 1:30pm–4:20 W, F01 7:30pm–10:20 M.

SPA 331/LAS 331
Modern Latin American Fiction
The Art of the Short Novel in Latin America, a narrative form practiced in Latin American literature with exceptional success. Between the narrative intensity and the technical economy of the short story, and the exploration of psychology and history of the novel, the short novel represents a suggestive challenge to the fiction writer. The course explores authors and texts from different countries and periods, including García Márquez, Rulfo, Onetti, and Bolaño. Besides the formal features of the texts under consideration, we will study cultural and literary categories such magic realism, the colonial gaze, visual narratives, and memory. Prerequisites and Restrictions: A 200-level Spanish course or instructor's permission. Course open to first-year students with advanced standing in Spanish. Other information: Taught in Spanish.
Juan Villoro. Schedule: C01 11:00am–12:20pm TTh.

SPA 342/LAS 342
Topics in Latin American Modernity: Latin American Literature after Latin America
This course examines recent literature and film from Latin America (~ past ten years). In the globalized present, does it make sense to speak of "Latin America" or "Latin American literature" as coherent entities? While reviewing some 20th century reflections on "Latin America," the course mainly focuses on novels that address a variety of issues, most of which are not unique to the region. Are old categories like nation and region relevant to contemporary work? What remains singular and what common to various experiences in global mega-cities and in the wake of widely implemented neo-liberal economic policies? Prerequisites and Restrictions: A 300-level SPA course; or fluency in Spanish; or instructor's permission. Other information: Course taught in Spanish.
Rachel Price. Schedule: C01 3:00pm–4:20pm TTh.


ECS 317/COM 317
Transnational Modernism
How did modernist writers around the world imagine and represent other worlds in relation to their own? How were tangled lines of connection and disjuncture, locality, inter- and outer-nationality, movement and stasis, given form in different places and situations? Does this have anything to do with the specificity of what we call "modernism" in literature? Can modernism sabotage a globalizing modernity? We trace lines of (dis)connection——from Harlem to Paris to a wider black diaspora encompassing Africa and the Caribbean; from England to the Americas; below the nation in colonial India; and from the Antilles to Algeria to France. Other Requirements: Not Open to Freshmen. Other Information: Note: Program in Latin American Studies Concentrators must write on a Latin American topic and provide a copy of the final paper to PLAS in order to receive certificate credit.
Benjamin Conisbee Baer. Schedule: S01 1:30pm–4:20 Th.

FRS 177
Borges for Beginners

What is an author? As Samuel Becket once wondered, does it matter who's speaking? What does it mean to study a particular oeuvre? What kind of meaning can we find interweaving the individual texts of a writer or a poet? This seminar grapples with the question of authorship and the attribution of meaning in the literature of Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), the legendary Argentine writer whose convoluted philosophical fictions have fascinated and puzzled readers from all over the world for decades. His influence has been so decisive that, according to the Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes, there would not be a modern Latin American novel, and therefore no "magical realism," without the prose of Jorge Luis Borges. Writers such as Humberto Eco, Paul Auster, and Roberto Bolaño, and theoreticians such as Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault found in Borges' literature answers for a wide range of questions. He created a unique world of labyrinthic fictions and poems that explore the aporias of time and space, the paradoxes of identity, as well as the ambiguous frontier between reality and fiction. His stories and essays are magical, curious pieces of prose that often mimic standard genres such as the detective story, the scholarly essay, or science fiction, but that also include subtle and unexpected twists that suddenly leave the reader spinning in a philosophical conundrum about the nature of language, the self, and the universe. This seminar offers an introduction to Borges's literature and its themes from a variety of perspectives, from philosophy and aesthetics to politics and cultural analysis. As we pursue the question of who is "Jorge Luis Borges" through the reading of some of his most famous fictions, essays, and poems, we will discuss four of the philosophical and literary questions that preoccupied him the most. First, challenging short stories such as "Funes, the Memorious" and "The Immortal" will allow us to study how Borges approached the concept of time and memory, and how in his view forgetting could be a productive way of remembering. Second, by closely reading texts such as "The Babel Library" and "Pierre Menard, author of Don Quijote," we will explore the metaphysical consequences brought about by the existence of a book that includes all books, and the scandalous creativity of a man who "re-writes" the famous Spanish masterpiece by literally transcribing it. Thirdly, we will consider Borges's selective re-writing of Argentine local traditions such as tango music and the culture of the gauchos, as well as his appropriation and transformation of the detective story as a literary genre. Finally, we will conclude with a discussion of Borges's disturbing meditations on the notion of identity, the role of the state, and the figure of the traitor. The course will be taught in Spanish, while readings will be in Spanish and English. This course is addressed to students who are interested in literature, philosophy, art and Latin American modernity, and who would like to strengthen and polish their reading, writing, and speaking skills in Spanish.
Gabriela Nouzeilles. Schedule: S01 1:30-4:20pm T.

HIS 504
Colonial Latin America to 1810
An introduction to the scholarship on Latin America's colonial past, ranging from "central" areas in Mexico and the Andes to "marginal" regions. New concepts and topics have emerged. What are these new trends and what do they mean? Why do some types of questions now seem more urgent than others? To explore these questions and find out what problems of past historiographical traditions remain unsolved and deserve a new look, both classic texts and more recent works that display new approaches will be read, often in counterpoint. Other Requirements: Not Open to Freshmen
Vera S. Candiani. Schedule: S01 TBA.

POL 351
Politics in the Developing Countries
This course examines the politics of development through discussions of theory and comparative analysis in selected countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Topics include colonialism, nationalism, ethnic and class conflict, state-building and state failure, globalization, HIV/AIDS and the causes and consequences of democratic regime change. Other Requirements: Not Open to Freshmen. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Not open to freshmen without permission of instructor. Other Information: Note: Program in Latin American Studies Concentrators must write on a Latin American topic and provide a copy of the final paper to PLAS in order to receive certificate credit.
Evan S. Lieberman. Schedule: L01 2:30pm–3:20 T Th; P01 3:30pm–4:20pm T; P02 TBA.

SPA 548/FRE 548/COM 574
Seminar in Modern Spanish-American Literature —— Proust's Latin Americans and Theories of Cosmopolitism
This seminar will examine three Latin Americans who were close to Proust and who influenced the theories about cultural identity in A la Recherche: Reynaldo Hahn, a Venezuelan Jew, was Proust's first and only boyfriend and one of the most important composers of his time; Gabriel Yturri, an Argentinean, was the lover of Robert de Montesquiou, and one of the models for Morel; José María de Heredia, a Cuban, was the first Latin American to enter the Académie Française and one of the most important French poets of the 19th Century. Other Requirements: Open to Graduate Students Only. Prerequisites and Restrictions: Reading knowledge of Spanish or French. Other Information: To understand the experience of these three Parisian Latin-Americans, we will study various theories of a love-based cosmopolitanism. Past decades have seen much interest on traumatic experiences of displacement -exile, diaspora, post-colonial power imbalances; this course will theorize a new experience of traveling across geographical areas, a love-based adoption of a new culture. A cosmopolitanism based on the choice of a different culture and a new language.
Rubén Gallo. Schedule: S01 4:30pm–7:20pm T.

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