Spanish and Portuguese | Topics in Colonial Spanish American Literature
S659 | 27233 | K. Myers

Professor Kathleen Myers
email:  myersk

S659	Topics in Colonial Spanish American Literature

W 4:00p – 6:30p/section# 27233/3 cr./SE 009

Topic: 	The Contact Zone:  Mesoamerica and New Spain

The Cuban ethnographer Fernando Ortiz coined the term
transculturation in 1940 in an important study of Cuban culture.  In
1991, literary critic Mary Louise Pratt invented the phrase “contact
zone” to better describe the process of transculturation in the
Americas after the Spanish Conquest.  She defines contact zones as
the “social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each
other.”  S659 will examine the diversity of imperial discourses
about the conquest as well as indigenous responses to it.  We will
analyze Spanish, indigenous, and mestizo political and religious
documents, including works by Cortes, Motolonia, Alva Ixtlilxochitl,
Tezozomoc, Sahagun, and period codices.  Theoretical readings about
cultural imperialism, syncretism, and colonial hybridity will help
us tease apart the problematic categorization of the processes of
cultural transfer, accommodation, and resistance.  Although our
focus will be on the early years of colonization, we will also study
the attempts by the ruling classes in later periods to co-opt a
multiethnic indigenous culture in their efforts to create a criollo
identity and, later, a mestizo nation.