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Graduate Studies

Graduate Course Descriptions: Fall 2011

Literatures in Spanish
Hispanic Linguistics


Professor Darlene Sadlier
email: sadlier

P500   Literature of the Port-Speaking World I

TR 1:00p – 2:15p / section# 28959 / 3 cr. / WH 119

The first of a two-part survey of literature in Portuguese, this course will cover works written from the medieval period through romanticism in Brazil and Portugal. The emergence of an African and African/Brazilian literature will also be discussed. Representative literary authors and works serve as the basis for interdisciplinary and cross-cultural commentary of important social, political and historical issues, including imperialism and overseas expansion, nation building and revolution.

Course meets jointly with P400.


Professor Darlene Sadlier
email: sadlier

P695    Luso-Brazilian Colloquia

TR 4:00p – 5:15p / section# 28960 / 3 cr. / BH 315     

Topic: Travel Literature in Portuguese

The idea of travel is implicit in the novel whose structure is often described along the lines of an individual’s journey through society and life.  Our course will examine various literary genres in which travel is a dominant or implicit motif and will include selections from the medieval period to the present day. The focus is transnational and will include readings from Portugal, Brazil and Lusophone Africa. Topics to be discussed in connection with the literature include empire and expansionism, migration, Orientalism, Lusotropicalism, and diaspora.

This course meets jointly with Hisp P495 and Hisp P498.



Professor Laura Gurzynski-Weiss
email: lgurzyns

S517    Methods of Teaching College Spanish

MWF 12:20p – 1:10p / section# 6374 / 3 cr. / AC C102 

This course is designed to provide graduate students with a foundation in theory and techniques for teaching university-level Spanish and Portuguese foreign language. The theoretical background of communicative language teaching will be highlighted, with particular attention to the interaction approach and task-based language teaching. Students will critically review second language acquisition research and learn how to translate current findings into effective teaching practices. Internal and external factors that affect the foreign language acquisition process in a classroom setting will be discussed, as well as how instructors can maximize in-class learning with their role as teachers. Throughout the semester students will participate and lead in-class discussions, present articles and teaching workshops, and complete self-critiques and teaching observations. Students will also collaboratively design classroom tasks, assessments, and lesson plans, and create an online teaching portfolio.


Literatures in Spanish


Professor Reyes Vila-Belda
email: rvilabel

S548    Spanish Literature of the 20th & 21st Centuries

TR 8:00a – 9:15a / section# 31388 / 3 cr. / BH 321       

Topic: “20th-century Spain: Intellectual and Popular Responses to Power”

The aim of this course is to survey 20th century Spanish literature, situating literary texts in their intellectual and socio-historical context. This will allow us to rethink their cultural meanings and implications, as well as to view them as a response to power. Reading works by authors such as Machado, Valle-Inclán, García Lorca, Martín Santos, Martín Gaite, and Vázquez Montalbán, among others, will enable us apply techniques and theories of literary analysis to the cultural and historical developments that have shaped contemporary Spain.  Starting with the Fin de siglo, we will consider the cultural implications of the Institución Libre de Enseñanza and the Residencia de Estudiantes, the Vanguardias, the Second Republic, the Civil War, the dictatorship of Franco and the transition to democracy.  Along the way, we will discuss concepts such as national identity and periphery, hegemony and popular culture.  

This course is entirely conducted in Spanish.

Requirements: two exams (midterm and final), class presentations and one research paper.

Active participation in class discussion is expected.


Professor Patrick Dove
email: pdove

S578    20th & 21st Century Spanish American Literature

TR 11:15a – 12:30p/section# 28968/3 cr./WY 111

This course examines trends in Spanish American literature after World War II. Special attention will be given to the emergence of the literary “Boom”—or, roughly speaking, the period between the 1959 Cuban Revolution and the spread of military dictatorships throughout Latin America during the 1970s.

Our discussions will consider several influential interpretations of the “Boom” and its relation to literary history in Latin American and beyond. One such interpretation is found in José Donoso’s claim that the “Boom” novel inaugurates a new era of cultural freedom in Latin America; with the translation of García Márquez’s Cien años de soledad into more than two dozen languages, the “Boom” is seen as proof that Latin America is no longer relegated to consuming—and producing bad copies of—the great works of the European tradition. At the same time, and in light of its intimate links to the Cuban Revolution, the “Boom” has also been seen as a cultural avatar of emancipation in the region, as an attempt to narrate—and thereby to put an end to—the region’s long history of imperialism, dependency and authoritarianism. A similar view of the connection between literature and social history could also be drawn from Mario Vargas Llosa’s famous literary query, “)Cuándo se jodió el Perú?”; that is, the Boom novel as providing a prism—through allegory, mimesis and so on—in which the historical “dependency” and “underdevelopment” of the continent can be interpreted in new ways (and perhaps then transformed).

We will begin the semester examining several of the so-called “precursors” to the “Boom:” Borges, Carpentier and Rulfo. After reading a selection of canonical works by “Boom” writers such as García Márquez, Fuentes and Cortázar—we will then proceed to look at writers who were for one reason or another typically left out of the canon (Elena Garro, Silvina Ocampo). In conclusion we will then examine several contemporary novelists who give evidence of new ways of thinking about the connections between literature, politics and life: Roberto Bolaño, Rodrigo Rey Rosa and Sergio Chejfec. Our discussion of primary works will be informed by secondary critical readings reflecting a variety of methodological and critical tendencies (Marxism and post-Marxism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminism, subaltern studies).


Professor Olga Impey
email: impey

S618    Topics in Spanish Medieval Literature

TR 2:30p – 3:45p / section# 31389 / 3 cr. /BH 314  

Topic: Sentimental Narrative: Continuity and Change

This course aims to encompass the research interests not only of students who specialize in medieval literature, but also of those who are interested in tracing medieval traditions in Golden Age and modern literary works. The purpose of the course is threefold:

  1. To inquire into the much debated question of the existence of a sentimental genre in Spanish medieval literature. This stage of the course will cover contemporary criticism in the matter, such as Regula Rohland de Langbehn’s La unidad genérica de la novela española de los siglos xv y xu, Robert Folger’s Images in Mind. Lovesickness in Spanish Sentimental Fiction & Don Quijote, Studies on the Spanish Sentimental Romance (Eds. J.J. Gwara and Michael Gerli), etc.
  2. To analyze the main Spanish sentimental texts of the Middle Ages: Juan Rodríguez del Padrón’s Siervo libre de amor, Diego de San Pedro’s Cárcel de amor, Juan de Flores’ Grisel y Mirabella and Grimalte y Gradisa, the anonymous Works Triste deleytaçion and Question de amor. A thorough analysis, based on narratological, comparative and psychological approaches, will allow students to identify a number of features that appear in all the texts, features that will lead to a positive definition of a sentimental genre or to it rejection.
  3. To complete an annotated bibliography and a 20 pp. Research paper, whose aim would be to prove either the continuity or the demise of the medieval sentimental mode in pre-modern and modern Hispanic literary Works (Cervantes’ Don Quijote, Julian Marias’ El hombre sentimental, etc.).


Professor Kathleen Myers
email: myersk

S659    Topics in Colonial Spanish American Literature

M 1:25p – 3:55p / section# 28971 / 3 cr. / LL 105

Topic: Colonial Studies: The State of the Field

Latin American Colonial Studies has undergone a complete transformation since the Quincentennial of Columbus’ landfall in the Americas (1492 – 1992).  Critics used to focus almost exclusively on the literary talents of Spanish and criollo male authors, with mestizo El Inca Garcilaso and nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz given as extraordinary exceptions to the linear development of Spanish American textual culture.  Today, the field—often referred to as Colonial discourse--has broadened in every direction around ideas of race, gender, and different forms of culture.  This topics course will be developed around students’ interests with a special focus on newer areas of analyses within colonial studies.  In particular, we will study traditionally marginalized genres (such as religious texts and indigenous codices) and voices (including women, Afro-Hispanics, and indigenous and mestizo populations).   We will begin by discussing a common set of readings (3 to 5 standard works) in each of the following areas:  religious discourse (with a special emphasis on women), indigenous cultures, and non-canonical secular texts. Students will choose one area to specialize in during the course of the semester.  They will select foundational primary sources and secondary criticism, find materials in the archive, and develop a working methodology.   Next, students will develop a paper and annotated bibliography with primary, secondary, and theoretical works that discuss the “state of the subfield” within colonial studies they have chosen.   Working with others studying their subfield, students will then conduct a seminar class on their area. 


Professor Melissa Dinverno
email: mdinvern

S708    Seminar in Hispanic Studies

TR 9:30a – 10:45a / section# 28972 / 3 cr. / WY 111  

Topic: Reading and Rewriting García Lorca

Political poster child, cultural icon, artistic genius, defender of the marginal, Federico García Lorca enjoys an almost mythic presence in Spain's cultural identity and is widely considered perhaps the most important modern Spanish writer.  Indeed, Lorca’s reach and popularity grew rapidly during his lifetime, but he is one of the few Spanish writers that continues to have an enduring presence in dialogues on contemporary Spanish and Hispanic culture.  This seminar will both return to Lorca’s artistic production in an effort to study the multifaceted corpus he created during the 1920s and 30s and analyze how his corpus has been constructed by literary critics.

The social, cultural, aesthetic, and political projects of pre-Civil War Spain will contextualize our work with a range of literary and visual texts such as Suites, Canciones, Amor de don Perlimplin, Romancero gitano, Poeta en Nueva York, El público, conferencias, the “Rural Triptic/Trilogy”, and the Sonetos del amor oscuro.  We will engage the extensive critical discourse on lorquiana as we analyze the texts, attempting to characterize the critical construction of this corpus and identify new lines of inquiry.  With this in mind, we will look at both Lorca’s canonical works as well as less studied pieces that may contest and/or complement current constructions of the author and his work.  Our explorations will be informed by theoretical readings regarding the main issues we will follow throughout the course, such as aesthetic experience and notions of modernity, power, gender/sexuality, and desire.  Some of the questions we will deal with include:  What projects or practices of the Spanish avant-garde does Lorca engage or contest, or what are the philosophical and aesthetic premises of his work?  How does Lorca’s discourse on gender and sexuality change over time, and in what ways does it respond to gender/sex politics of 1920s and 1930s Spain?  How does Lorca’s work engage notions of the subaltern and either break or reinforce hegemonic power relations?  In what ways does Lorca’s artistic corpus respond to modernization, mechanization, and modernity in Spain and beyond, and how does it dialogue with ongoing debates at the time?

Course evaluation will likely include 2 oral presentations, an annotated bibliography and abstract, and a final research paper.


Hispanic Linguistics

Professor Miguel Rodríguez-Mondoñedo
Email: migrodri

S511    Spanish Syntactic Analysis

TR 1:00p – 2:15p / section# 28965 / 3 cr. / WH 111

This course is an introduction to theoretical syntax, using Spanish as a point of departure. The course has two interdependent goals. On one hand, we aim to ascertain the contributions of Spanish syntactic analysis to better our understanding of Universal Grammar. On the other hand, we seek to identify the theoretical tools developed for the study of Universal Grammar, and to use them to better understand Spanish syntactic structures. We will develop the skills to understand the main issues on Spanish Syntax, as well as the main issues on Syntactic Theory.


Professor Kimberly Geeslin
email: kgeeslin

S515    Acquisition of Spanish as a Second Language
            La adquisición del español como segundo idioma

TR 2:30p – 3:45p / section# 28966 / 3 cr. / WH 002    

This course provides an introduction to the wealth of empirical research focusing on the acquisition of Spanish as a second language. Being introductory, the course begins with an analysis of early research on error analysis and traces the development of second language acquisition theory through the morpheme acquisition studies, studies on Interlanguage development and research on language processing (input and output). In addition to answering the question, How has the field of Spanish second language acquisition developed and evolved over the years, this course focuses on the paths of acquisition of non-native linguistic systems. In order to address both progress in second language acquisition theory, and the current knowledge of the development of non-native Spanish, this course is organized according to grammatical topics that have been identified as particular challenges for English-speakers. Each individual construct is analyzed in terms of its historical context and contemporary findings.


Daily preparation and active participation in class discussions will be an essential component of this course. Students will complete graded homework Assignments and class presentations, organized around the primary themes of the course, requiring synthesis of course discussions and class readings and application of theoretical constructs to the study of second language acquisition data. There will be two exams, a final project and a presentation of that project to the class at the end of the semester.


Professor Erik Willis
Email: ewwillis

S609    Spanish Phonology II

MWF 10:10a – 11:00a / section# 28969 / 3 cr. / BH 134

Topic: Spanish Laboratory Phonology

This course examines issues in the Spanish Phonological system based on laboratory data.  The initial portion of the class will be devoted to reviewing methods and techniques employed by Laboratory Phonology studies in general, followed by specific topics in Spanish Phonology.  Spanish topics will include voicing distinctions, hiatus resolution, nasals, the vowel system, lenition, stress and accent, and intonation.  The majority of these topics will also address variation with the system.   The skills and methods employed in this course will be applicable to a variety of phonological research purposes such as second language acquisition, bilingualism, dialectology and variation.  A primary goal of the course is to enable students to conduct original research in Spanish laboratory phonology. 

Course requirements include a series of phonetic and phonological analyses, class presentations, article reviews, and a final research project.  Course materials include the acoustic analysis software PRAAT, texts Phonetic Data Analysis (2003) and The Sounds of Spanish (2005), and assigned articles.