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Graduate Studies

Graduate Course Descriptions: Fall 2014

Hispanic Linguistics
Hispanic Literatures


HISP-C 491 Elementary Catalan for Graduate Students (3 credits)
                            # 16210     11:15A-12:05P  MWF           BH 317     STAFF
This class meets with HISP-C 105 & C 494

Globalization has unified economies, torn down political barriers, and turned local spaces into tourist attractions. In this context, Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, has become a successful global city that offers a balanced combination of vibrant economic activity and Mediterranean relaxed lifestyle. Its cultural centers, its architectural and artistic heritage, its sunny beaches, and its cool nightlife have also turned Catalonia into one of the world’s most fashionable tourist destinations. The names of some modern Catalan creators are familiar to all: Gaudí, Miró, Dalí, to name just three.

At the heart of this success lies an enigmatic element: the presence and vitality of the Catalan language. In the last decades, Catalan, spoken by approximately 10 million people, has both maintained a high cultural prestige and increased its public presence remaining a key political tool in Catalonia and the other Catalan-speaking areas.

This introductory course to Catalan language and culture aims at providing a basic knowledge of the Catalan language. The intensive study of Catalan, geared primarily at reading knowledge, but not limited to it, will be complemented with a cultural overview of Catalonia and the Catalan-speaking lands (Catalunya, País Valencià, Illes Balears, Andorra, Catalunya Nord, and the city of l’Alguer in Sardinia). The case of Catalonia and its unique and exemplary characteristics will be a perfect occasion to undertake more general reflections on the intricate relations between language, culture, politics, and globalization.



HISP-P 491 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      #8696    9:05A-9:55A   MTWR       BH 307      STAFF

Note: Above section meets jointly with HISP-P 135, #12180

HISP-P 492 Reading Portuguese for Graduate Students (3 credits)

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     #8697    11:15A-12:05P     MWF       BH 140          STAFF

Note: Above section meets with HISP-P 317 #33764

HISP-P 500 Literature of the Portuguese-Speaking World I (3 credits)
                            #30418   1:00P-2:15P   MW      BH 235 
This class meets with HISP-P 400 & HISP-P 498   

Prof. Luciana Namorato
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.

HISP-P 511 Portugal: The Cultural Context (3 credits)
                            #30424  2:30P-3:45P   TR      BH 240        
This class meets with HISP-P 411 & HISP-P 498

Prof. Estela Vieira

Founded as a kingdom in 1143, Portugal is one of Europe’s oldest countries. Its seafaring past, imperial and diasporic history, and long twentieth-century dictatorship have shaped present-day Portugal in profound ways. This course focuses on contemporary Portugal: on the radical changes the country has experienced in the last couple of decades. Our attempt will be to understand these recent political, social, and cultural developments within the country’s historical context. We will begin with the colonial wars in Africa, the April 1974 revolution, and the demise of Salazar’s forty-year long regime, examine the democratic transition that followed, and look at the country’s current position vis-à-vis the European and international contexts. Some of the issues discussed include: the role of women in Portuguese society, emigration, economic crises, and the more controversial debates over abortion and gay rights. Our objective will be to analyze how these political and social circumstances emerge in the country’s literary, artistic, and social manifestations; how in a short amount of time these changes have transformed generations, value systems, and social codes. Examining a selection of the country’s contemporary fiction, film, architecture, and painting against this historical background, will help us appreciate the complex relationship between these cultural expressions and Portuguese politics and society. The course is taught in English and is open to undergraduate and graduate students.

HISP-P 655 Camões (3 credits)
                            #30430   4:00P-6:30P   T    BH 144

Prof. Estela Vieira

This course studies Portugal’s most renowned Renaissance poet, Luís de Camões (1524-1580). Beginning with his lyrical compositions, which are often compared to the poetry of Dante, Petrarch, and Shakespeare, we will center on the poet’s unique emphasis on affect and the empirical. Few major poets can claim the same wealth of knowledge as Camões, whose range of experiences was not just drawn from Europe, but from Africa, India, and Asia. We will learn how he intertwined these encounters with the writing of poetry and his evolving concept of empire. While a product of the Renaissance tradition and of European expansion, Camões’s work also deviates from and critiques his dynamic historical moment. In addition to the lyrical poetry, we will read a dramatic piece, before focusing on Camões’s classic, Os Lusíadas (1572). Considered by some critics as the epic of humanism and the first epic poem for the modern world, Os Lusíadas narrates Vasco da Gama’s dramatic voyage to India. While examining the historical and mythological contexts, which will inform our formal analysis of the poem, we will explore how the writer uncovers new meanings and forms of understanding the diverse worlds he encounters. The course is taught in Portuguese.


HISP-S 509 Spanish Phonology (3 credits)
                             #30472   2:30P-3:45P   TR    LH 030

Prof. Erik Willis

Introduction to the sound system of Spanish. This course reviews the sound patterns of Spanish and introduces various theoretical explanations for the patterns.  Variation within Spanish and learners will also be discussed.


HISP-S 517 Methods of Teaching College Spanish
                            #20215   1:00P-2:15P   TR    BH 315

Prof. Laura Gurzynski-Weiss
This course provides a foundation in the theory and techniques for teaching university-level foreign language in a classroom setting.  The theoretical background of communicative language teaching will be emphasized with particular attention to task-based language teaching.  Students will critically review theories on second language acquisition and learn how to implement current research findings into effective teaching practices.  Internal and external factors that affect the language acquisition process will be discussed, as well as how instructors can maximize in-class learning in their role as instructors.  The relationships between instructor characteristics and learning opportunities will also be examined.  Throughout the semester, students will lead and participate in discussions, complete classroom observations, and carry out teaching evaluations.  Students will also collaboratively design classroom tasks, assessments and lesson plans for future use in an online teaching portfolio.  This course is guided by three basic questions:

  1. How do adult students learn a foreign language in a classroom setting?
  2. What internal and external factors contribute to/complicate learning in this context?
  3. How can we as instructors utilize this information to maximize opportunities for language learning within our current and future classrooms?

HISP-S 614 Topics in Acquisition Spanish (3 credits)
                             #30488   4:00P-6:30P   T    BH335
Topic:  Cognitive-interactionist research methods in instructed SLA

Prof. Laura Gurzynski-Weiss

This course offers an in-depth look at quantitative and qualitative research methods utilized in the field of instructed second language acquisition from a cognitive- interactionist perspective. Topics include: identifying and formulating measurable and impactful research questions; selecting, adapting, and creating data elicitation instruments, as well as evaluating their reliability and validity; ethical considerations of human subject research, exempt and expedited submission of research projects to an Institutional Review Board; describing, coding, and analyzing data via statistical and qualitative software; and appropriate interpretations and reporting of data (to include generalizability, statistical power, effect size, etc.). These topics will be discussed in relation to central areas of research within this theoretical framework.

Students will engage in hands-on work with data and instruments from L2 Spanish in instructed contexts, complete two short assignments and two exams, and guide an in-class critique of the methods and analysis from an existing study. The final course project will be the development of a research project proposal, with the methods piloted, coded, and analyzed. As students may be at different stages of their graduate career, the final project may be a new research project idea, implementation of a novel methodology for a previously investigated research question, or a pilot for a doctoral dissertation.

Students enrolled in this course should have a background in the field of second language acquisition and linguistic theory (S515 or equivalent), and permission from the instructor.

HISP-S 712 Seminar: Themes in Spanish Linguistics (3 credits)
                             #30511   7:00P–9:30P  M   BH 137
Variable Title: Language Contact and Language Change

Prof. C. Clancy Clements

We consider three models of contact-induced language change: that proposed by Thomason and Kaufman (1988) and Thomason (2001), that proposed by Van Coetsem (1988, 1995), and the model advanced by Croft (2000) and Mufwene (2001), with a particular focus on the last one. With the models as a basis, we will read about various language varieties that either exhibit traits due to contact with another language or have emerged through contact among languages. We will study, among other things, different linguistic outcomes of language contact: areal phenomena (e.g. the Indic languages, Balkan languages), mixed languages, immigrant speech, and pidgins and creoles.
Students are expected to complete various assignments, study and write responses to the readings, and contribute actively in the class discussions. Within the first month, students are expected to have chosen a paper topic on some aspect of contact-induced language change, develop the topic during the semester, write an abstract for their paper, and turn in a 20-25-page original piece of research at the end of the semester. Each student will also be expected to give a formal presentation of their paper at the end of the course in a mini-conference.




HISP-S 512 Theory and Criticism (3 credits)
                            #30478    8:00A-9:15A   MW    BH 335

Prof. Edgar Illas

This course will explore some of the fundamental problematics of critical theory and of the theory of literature. We will approach a constellation of ideas (including text, form, subject, culture, history, power, body, system, gender, empire, production, etc.) and we will examine the connections and disconnections between them and the mysterious experience of literature. Our goal, in other words, will be to explore the illuminating short-circuits between critical theory and literary works. The task proves to be difficult, as we will try to clarify the often incomprehensible ideas of theory vis-à-vis the unfathomable phenomenon of literature, but it also promises to be rewarding.
Primary texts will come from the usual suspects: Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Schiller, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, Freud, Benjamin, Heidegger, Althusser, Foucault, Derrida, Butler, de Man, Jameson, etc. Other readings will include short poetic and narrative works.

HISP-S 588 U.S. Latino Literature (3 credits)    
                            #30483   2:30P-3:45P   MW    BH 335

Prof. R. Andrés Guzmán

This course will give students a panoramic view of U.S. Latina/o literature, with the objective of covering a significant number of texts included in the U.S. Latina/o section of the M.A. Reading List. We will study Latina/o literary production through close readings of short stories, poems, plays and novels. In addition, our readings will be informed by secondary literature on Latina/o subjectivities, nation/nationalism, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and socio-political history, with the aim of giving students insights into recent critical trends in the field. Among the authors we will read are included Tomás Rivera, Américo Paredes, Junot Díaz, Gloria Anzaldúa, Helena María Viramontes, Cherríe Moraga, and Julia de Burgos.

HISP-S 628 Topic in Early Modern Spanish Literature (3 credits)
#30494   11:15A-12:30P   TR    BH 335
Topic: Cervantes and the Senses

Prof. Steven Wagschal
This course will explore Don Quixote and other early modern texts (La Lozana Andaluza and/or La Pícara Justina or Guzmán de Alfarache) in their cultural and historical context, with special emphasis on bodies, minds and the senses, alongside readings in early modern scientific and philosophical thought as well as current theories from cognitive studies.

HISP-S 678 Topics in Contemporary Spanish American Literature (3 credits)
                            #30500   4:00P-6:30P   W    BH 335
Topic: Out of Time: History and the Crisis of Modernity in Contemporary Latin American Narrative

Prof. Patrick Dove

Whereas Aristotle famously defined time in terms of change, because it is in things undergoing transformation that we first encounter temporality, a number of 20th century thinkers have proposed to reverse that traditional configuration and to think change through time. One of the unavoidable implications of this reversal is that what we call “time” can no longer be said to have a single proper sense or meaning. And once its meaning becomes a matter of contestation and dissensus, as Peter Osborne puts it, time becomes the subject of a politics.
In this course we will look at a selection of late 20th century and contemporary Latin American novels that are marked by the crisis of modernity, of modernity’s legitimating narratives and its conceptual vocabulary (the nation, sovereignty, development, inter-state systems and organizations designed to regulate relations between states, and so on). While many of these literary works explicitly thematize modernity’s crisis (the violence of the narco wars, neoliberalism privatization and the demise of the national-popular, the increasing inability of national states to administer either the ebbs and flows of global capital or the migrant populations displaced through globalization), these texts also bring to light a correlation between modernity and time that can prove helpful for thinking about the limits of modernity as historical project today. On one hand we will explore the possibility that the crisis of modernity stems from an inability to secure a single, proper meaning for time itself—an inability that is intensified, ironically, by increasing interconnectedness between regions of the globe. This inability spells ruin both for the dominant liberal conceptualization of modernity (based on Hegel’s theorization of historical time in terms of development) as well as for many traditional Leftist and nationalist critiques of liberalism (which are ultimately based on nothing other than competing conceptualizations of developmental time). On the other hand we will also ask how these literary texts, in and through their own narrative practices, open themselves up to alternative ways of thinking about and experiencing (historical or subjective) time.
The reading list will draw from two separate archives. One is the Continental philosophical tradition, from which we will read key meditations on time, change and history by Aristotle, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Benjamin, Mariátegui, Aricó, Heidegger, Derrida, Lacan, Ricoeur and Malabou. The other consists of 20th century and contemporary novels and short stories by Horacio Castellanos Moya, Sergio Chejfec, Marcelo Cohen, Cristina García-Garza, Augusto Roa Bastos, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Jorge Luis Borges and others.

HISP-S 695 Graduate Colloquim (3 credits)
                            #30506   9:30A-10:45A   MW    BH 335
                            Film Showing   6:30P-9:00P   M   WH 114
Variable Title: Film Analysis and Hispanic Cinema

Prof. Jonathan Risner

This course will be organized around modules of topics which will be explored within the context of specific Latin American countries, Spain, and/or, in the case of Latina/o cinema, the U.S.-Latin America-Spain. These topics will include: 

Early cinemas and modernities
Cinema, nation, and transnationalism
Third cinema/Counter-cinemas
Genre cinema
Minor cinemas and cinema of ‘small nations’
Cinema and the senses
Literature and cinematic adaptations
Latina/o cinemas

In addition to an exploration of the aforementioned themes, during the first several weeks of the course, we will practice the terms of film analysis (lighting, lenses, camera movement, framing, etc.), so as to enable a deeper engagement with the films and with historical and theoretical texts. Students will do two short presentations (one on a theoretical or historical text) and another shorter one on a particular film in collaboration with two other peers. Students also will write at least two short film analysis papers (2 to 5 pages) and a final paper (15-20 pages).