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Graduate Studies

Graduate Course Descriptions: Fall 2013

Hispanic Linguistics
Hispanic Literatures


C491  Elementary Catalan for Graduate Students
            #11542      2:30P-3:45P   MW    BH 315
This class meets with HISP-C 105 and HISP-C 494

Prof. Edgar Illas
Office: Ballantine Hall 875; Phone: 855-8907

     Globalization has evidently unified economies, torn down political barriers, turned local spaces into tourist attractions, and made English and other major languages the most efficient communication tools. In this context, Barcelona has become since the Olympic Games of 1992 a successful global city that offers a balanced combination of European economic prosperity and Mediterranean lifestyle. Barcelona is one of the world’s most fashionable cities, with cultural centers and sunny beaches, a rich architectural heritage and a cool nightlife.

     But at the heart of this success there seems to be an enigmatic element that, given the main tendencies of globalization, one might not know how to explain: the presence of Catalan language. In the last decades, Catalan, spoken by approximately 10 million people, has not only maintained its high cultural prestige but it has also increased its public presence and remained a key political tool in Catalonia.

     This introductory course to Catalan language and culture has three main goals. First, it aims to provide a basic knowledge of the Catalan language. The course will be an intensive study of the language, geared primarily at reading knowledge, but not limited to it. Secondly, the course will also consist of a cultural overview of Catalunya and the Catalan linguistic area (País Valencià, Illes Balears, Andorra, Rosselló-Catalunya Nord, and the city of l’Alguer). We will focus on the cultural history of this nation in its always conflictive relations to the Spanish and French states. Finally, the case of Catalonia and its both unique and exemplary characteristics will be a perfect occasion to undertake more general reflections on the intricate relations between language, culture, the modern state, and globalization.

     Beginning with the second week, the class will be primarily conducted in Catalan. Students will be expected to use Catalan in class after the sixth week.




P491 Elementary Portuguese for Graduate Students  (3 credits)

An accelerated introduction to the structure of the Portuguese language, covering in one semester content matter usually reviewed in two semesters.  This course is taught in Portuguese.

HISP-P 491    #3188     9:05A-9:55A   MTWR    SY 210    STAFF

Note:  Above section meets jointly with HISP-P 135, #6885.

P492 Reading Portuguese for Graduate Students  (3 credits)
Prerequisite: P491 or equivalent.

An advanced course on Portuguese composition and grammar, designed to refine students’ knowledge of several language skills.  Emphasis on writing, with special attention to syntax and vocabulary development and usage.  Students will write compositions, increasing in length and complexity as the semester progresses.

This course is a continuation of P491 and is taught in Portuguese.

HISP-P 492    #3189    11:15A-12:05P     MWF    BH 332     STAFF

Note:  Above section meets jointly with HISP-P 311.

P510    Brazilian Cinema
TR 1:00p – 2:15p/section #29508/3 cr./BH 246

Film Showing: T 6:30p – 9:00p/BH 337

Professor Darlene Sadlier
email: sadlier

A survey of Brazilian cinema from the early 20th century to present day. The course will give special attention to representative filmmakers and their works, beginning with Mário Peixoto’s Limite (1930), which is regarded as one of the masterpieces of silent cinema. Other subjects to be explored include the chanchada, or Hollywood-style musical comedies of the 1940s and 1950s, the Vera Cruz Studio of the 1950s, and the New Cinema of the 1960s and 1970s. The course will tend to focus on more recent films that have appeared since the country’s return to democracy in the mid-1980s, after more than 20 years of military dictatorship. Topics to be discussed during the semester include the chanchada and its re-evaluation as a distinctly Brazilian genre; Third Cinema; the “aesthetics of hunger” and the theoretical writings of filmmaker Glauber Rocha; the relationship between popular culture and radical cinema; and film adaptation. The course is taught in English. Films are in Portuguese with English subtitles. Undergraduate students who are taking the course for credit in Portuguese will be required to read materials and write their exams and research paper in the language.

Course Meets jointly with Hisp P410, LTAM L426/526.

P515    Women Writing in Portuguese
TR 4:00p – 5:15p/section #29515/3 cr./HU 217

Professor Darlene Sadlier
email: sadlier

This survey focuses on writings by women from Portugal, Brazil and Lusophone Africa. Although women produced occasional texts in the medieval period, our primary readings will begin with selections by the 17th-century Portuguese poet, Maria Violante do Céu.  Readings will alternate between Portugal and Brazil as we move forward in time and will include poetry, theater, fiction, and essay. The last weeks of the course will focus on works from Lusophone Africa. Topics to be addressed include feminism, motherhood, idealized and erotic love, and race and political oppression in a transnational context. We will also consider why certain women were included in the literary canon while others were not.
This course meets jointly with Hisp P498 & P415.

P525: Structure of the Portuguese Language (3 credits)

Introduction to the study of the structure of the Portuguese language, both from a prescriptive and a descriptive point of view. Readings will focus on phonetics, phonology, morphology, and syntax, including relevant aspects of Portuguese historical grammar, dialectology, semantics, and pragmatics. We will discuss of topics that are particularly challenging to native speakers of English and Spanish, such as verbal aspect and mood, uses of “ser” and “estar,” the subjunctive, as well as most common pronunciation difficulties, among others. We will conclude by examining applications of our discussions to the study of literary and journalistic texts. Readings and class discussion in Portuguese.

Students will write a midterm exam, give two short presentations on selected topics, and write a longer research paper.

Note: This class meets with HISP-P425


S508    Introduction to Hispanic Pragmatics

TR 9:30a – 10:45a/section #29172/3 cr./KH 200

Professor César Félix-Brasdefer
email: cfelixbr

This course provides an introduction to the fundamental concepts and topics traditionally covered in a (Hispanic) Pragmatics course from a cognitive and sociocultural perspective. After examining the scope of pragmatics, the main components of the field will be reviewed, including speech act theory, deixis, presupposition, implicature, information structure, and different theories that account for the study of ‘meaning’. Since pragmatics examines meaning in context, the semantic-pragmatic distinction will be discussed in relation to other areas of linguistics. The last component of the course examines pragmatic concepts within the fields of discourse analysis, second language acquisition, and sociolinguistic variation. Methodological issues in pragmatics research will also be reviewed. This course provides the foundation for future advanced courses in pragmatics, discourse analysis, and interlanguage pragmatics. Examples will be taken from different varieties of Spanish and English. 


S515    Acquisition of Spanish as a Second Language

TR 1:00p – 2:15p/section #29181/3 cr./KH200

Professor Kimberly L. Geeslin
email: kgeeslin

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 a brief analysis of early research and traces the development of second language acquisition theory through the morpheme acquisition studies, studies on Interlanguage development,  research on language processing, and internal and external influences on acquisition. 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 two exams, 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 a final project and a presentation of that research to the class at the end of the semester.

S612    Topics in Linguistics: Variation and Language in Context

Topic: New Challenges for Variation Studies in Spanish

TR 4:00p – 5:15p/section #29223/3 cr./KH 200

Professor Manuel Díaz-Campos
email: mdiazcam

This class is an advanced research-oriented course in language variation and change focusing on current issues in the study of Hispanic Sociolinguistics. Students will develop a research paper that will address a current issue of sociolinguistic variation depending of his/her interests.

Theoretical discussion and practical exercises will be incorporated during the semester with the purpose of encouraging critical thinking and solving-problem skills.

Some of the topics to be included are: 1) An overview of socio-phonological variation in Latin America and Spain, 2) Experimental approaches in socio-phonology, 3) theoretical frameworks to study sociolinguistic variation, 4) Overview of mophosyntactic variation in Latin America and Spain, 5) Variation and Gramaticalization, 6) Acquisition of sociolinguistic variables, 7) forms of address, 8)  statistical analysis, 9) Social factors, and 10) Speech perception and attitudes.

Class time will be divided in lecturing, class discussion, and solving problem exercises.

Prerequisite:  S513 or equivalent


After successful completion of this course, the student will:


S548    Spanish Literature of the 20th & 21st Centuries
Topic: Contesting Repression: XXth Century Spanish Cultural Production

MW 11:15a – 12:30p/section #29189/3 cr./BH 137

Professor Melissa Dinverno
email: mdinvern

During the turbulent years prior to the Civil War, Spain began one of the most complex periods of its history.  The pre-war years, the experience of the war itself, and Franco’s repressive dictatorship have been determining factors in Spain’s cultural production in the twentieth century.  Ultimately permeating society, their effects have lingered on well past even the country’s recent transition to democracy.  This course will analyze contemporary Spanish cultural production within the frame of repression and resistance.  Departing from various formulations of repression (gendered, sexual, class, racial/ethnic, political, etc.), we will look at ways intellectuals have configured and contested forces of constraint.

In the first section we will look at different artistic projects that react to repressive political, social and economic conditions in pre-war Spain.  What central issues in the Spanish cultural landscape are embodied in the creative projects of the late 20s and early 30s?  In what ways do intellectuals engage in contestatory practices and to what degree do their projects give in to the forces they are resisting?  The second section aims to explore how artists both represent and contest repression and the totalitarian state from within the system itself.  How can those within position themselves in order to contemplate and resist a system that labels and combats both of these very acts as subversive?  We will explore the kinds of spaces writers create that allow them room for maneuver and within which they can both struggle with authority and speak of the experience as a subject of totalitarianism.  The third and final section examines the idea of contesting in terms of “response” as the country undergoes a transition and moves beyond the Franco regime.  Here, we will look at the way these texts respond to the Franco era as a past event, as they not only reexamine the Civil War and life under Franco, but also voice a preoccupation with self-construction and defining the emergent nation.

Some of the issues we will discuss in our readings are (self)censorship, notions of gender and sexuality, cultural and personal memories, the power of writing/storytelling, exile, and identity construction. 

S568    19th & 20th Century Spanish American Literature
T 5:30p – 8:00p/section #29212/3 cr./KH 200

Professor Alejandro Mejías-López
email: amejiasl

This course covers the literary production in Spanish America during the constitution of the new republics, from Independence to the first decades of the 20th century.  We will study both the most canonical texts of the period as well as lesser studies texts within their aesthetic, historical, social, and ideological contexts.  Special attention will be paid to current theoretical and critical approaches and research areas in 19th-century Latin American literary and cultural studies.  Topics will include:  aesthetic trends and literary canon creation; relationship between literature, nation-building, and state formation; issues of class, race, gender, and sexuality; literature and modernity; regional vs. global cultural production and consumption; nationalism, pan-Latin Americanism, and imperialism.  Class will be conducted entirely in Spanish.  Assignments may include class presentations, textual analysis, an exam, and a final paper.

S618    Topics in Spanish Medieval Literature
Topic: "The Mester de clerecía and Libro buen amor"

MW 12:40p – 1:55p/section #29232/3 cr./LL 105

Professor Ryan Giles
email: rdgiles

The thirteenth-century school of clerical poetry known as the Mester de clerecía has been seen as providing an intertextual background for the writing and early reception of the Libro de buen amor.  This course will reexamine the relationship between the Archpriest of Hita’s irreverent masterpiece and the moralizing poetry that came before, including selected works by Gonzalo de Berceo, the Libro de Alexandre and Libro de Apolonio—all of which were written in the same mono-rhyming quatrains (cuaderna vía).  Our discussions will, at the same time, delve into a larger cultural context by consulting resources from the period housed at the Lilly Library.  Secondary readings include relevant criticism, and scholarship on premodern theories of translation and hermeneutics.  This framework will help us understand how the Libro de buen amor reflects on, remakes, and subverts the poetics of an earlier Mester de clerecía tradition.   

S688    Topics: U.S. Latino/Caribbean Literature
Topic: Representing the Cold War in Latino and Caribbean Literature (1959-present)

TR 9:30a – 10:45a/section #29244/3 cr./BH 137

Professor Deborah Cohn
email: dncohn

In this course, we will explore the ripple effect of the Cold War in literary representations of Latin American history written by Latino and Caribbean authors.  The Cuban Revolution of 1959 sparked hope of establishing political autonomy throughout Spanish America, and authors from the region and throughout the West traveled to the island to participate in the cultural effervescence that followed.  Much has been written on the Spanish American literary Boom that sprung out of this moment, as well as on the U.S. Cold War cultural politics that were put in motion to reach out to Spanish American writers and lure them away from socialism.  This course will take a different approach to this period, looking instead at texts written by Caribbean and Latino authors who explore both the violence and counterrevolutionary measures of Cold War policies deployed by the U.S. and Spanish American states alike in their efforts to stem the spread of Communism, and the extremes to which Castro’s famous 1961 declaration, “dentro de la Revolución, todo, contra la Revolución, nada,” was taken. 
 Readings will include works by Fernando Alegría, Julia Álvarez, Reinaldo Arenas, Junot Díaz, Ariel Dorfman, Francisco Goldman, and others. Our discussions will ask us to engage with questions of what constitutes Latino literature, and, for that matter, authorship. Students will write a short paper and a seminar-length final paper, as well as leading discussion in class and other assignments.
Course meets jointly with AMST G751.


S708    Seminar in Hispanic Studies
Topic: Literary Returns to Realism in the Americas

MW 9:30a – 10:45a/section #29256/3 cr./BH 321

Professor Anke Birkenmaier
email: abirkenm

This course studies a number of fiction and non-fiction novels written since 1989 in Latin America and the United States. We will begin by reading theories of realism (Auerbach, Lukacs, Jameson). From there we proceed to look at Latin American realist modes and manifestos, such as dirty realism, the Crack Manifesto, and the McOndo group with an eye to what can be called a parricidal impulse in Latin American literature of the late twentieth century. Finally, we will discuss more broadly American trends, such as the new journalism and crime fiction and the ways in which Latin American and North American novels have examined the relation between the author and society, national and transnational narratives, and the place of the novel in the digital mediascape. The hypothesis of this course is that many of the novels written since 1989 return to a realist mode of representation, claiming the novel’s social relevance in ways not that different from 19th century realist novels. The goal of the course is to better understand the local and political reverberations of the realist novel in today’s globalized culture.
Readings by Gabriel García Márquez, Tom Wolfe, Antonio José Ponte, Ignacio Padilla, Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, Raymond Carver, Ena Lucía Portela, Roberto Bolaño, Fernando Vallejo, Álvaro Enrigue, Jonathan Franzen.