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Graduate Studies

Graduate Course Descriptions: Spring 2010


Professor Edgar Illas
email:  eillas

C618    Topics in Catalan Literature

TR 9:30a – 10:45a/section# 27231/3 cr./BH 238

Topic: The Making of Barcelona: Architecture and Nationalism in Modern Catalonia

This course will study the relationship between architecture and nationalism in Catalonia from the nineteenth century until the present day, focusing especially on the urban development of modern Barcelona. Catalonia’s politics of space constitute a fascinating mixture of splendid architecture (Antoni Gaudí is only one example among many others) and nation-building policies that sometimes have expressed and sometimes have repressed the class struggles that traverse Catalonia’s modern history. The course will also examine the ways in which some literary works and films have portrayed these politics of space. Finally, the course will include a series of more general texts on urban theory and nationalism that will allow us to understand the context of Catalonia and Barcelona vis-à-vis Spain, Europe, and globalization.

 The course will be taught in Catalan. Meets jointly with C494.

Prerequisite: C400 or previous knowledge of Catalan.


Professor Luciana Namorato
email:  lnamorat

P501    Literature of the Portuguese-Speaking World II

TR 1:00p – 2:15p/section# 27094/3 cr./BH 238

The second semester of a two-semester survey on the literatures of the Portuguese-speaking world. In this course, we will examine the concept of “Realism” – its adoption, transformation, and rejection – by late nineteenth and twentieth-century Lusophone authors. We will read prose, poetry, and essays from Lusophone Africa, Brazil, and Portugal.

All students will write a midterm and final exam. Undergraduate students will write a short paper (6-8pp) and graduate students will write a longer research paper (10-12pp) on a topic to be approved by the instructor.

Course meets jointly with Hisp P401 & P498.

Professor Darlene Sadlier
email:  sadlier

P515    Women Writing in Portuguese

TR 4:00p – 6:30p/section# 27094/3 cr./BH 238

This 8-week survey will focus 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.

Selections to be read include poetry, theater, fiction, essay and didactic works or “how to” guides for young women. The last weeks of the course will include women’s writings from Lusophone Africa. Topics to be addressed include feminism, motherhood, idealized and erotic love, 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.

Requirements include an exam and a research paper.

Course meets jointly with P415 and P498.


Professor J. Clancy Clements
email: clements

S511    Spanish Syntactic Analysis

TR 9:30a - 10:45a/section# 27228/3 cr./BH 231

This course covers several major issues in Spanish syntax, within a framework of functional-typological grammar, with some additional readings.  As a basis, we will study some introductory material that introduces us to a variety of general questions (the basics of the semantics-syntax and discourse-syntax interfaces). We study these pertain to key questions of Spanish syntax, such as verb form use, word order, pronominal systems, ser-estar etc.). Class time will consist of lecturing and extensive discussion of readings and supplementary materials.  Attention will be given to problem solving, understanding different sides of an issue, and becoming aware of the basic theoretical assumptions behind each issue. The aim of this course is to provide the student of Spanish linguistics with:  (1) a good basic understanding of some key issues in Spanish syntax from a general functionalist perspective, and (2) the essential analytical skills to sort out general advantages and limitations of such a model.

There will be a course packet. Exams will include two major assignments, various short exercises, and a final project.

Professor Maryellen Bieder
email: bieder

S548    Spanish Literature of the 20th & 21st-Centuries

TR 2:30p - 3:45p/section# 27229/3 cr./BH 142

An exploration of some of the styles, trends, and experiments in texts across the 20th century and into the 21st century, with an emphasis on changing attitudes towards Spain and modernity. The course incorporates a reconsideration of classificatory terminology and literary movements, from naturalism (La barraca) and realism, to the Generation of 98, peninsular modernism, the Generation of 27 and other generational labels, metafiction, narrative experimentation, self-reflexive narratives, and historical memory. Following the M.A. Reading List, the texts include novels, one play and poetry, the latter available on On Course. The course situates each work within its historical, social, and gender parameters and identifies the degree to which each author conceptualizes Spain as a problem. It reviews Spain’s historico-political trajectory from the monarchy of Alfonso XIII and the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, to the Second Republic, the Civil War, the Franco dictatorship, the Transition, and the current constitutional democracy. A selection of critical studies that incorporate different theoretical models will accompany the reading of primary texts; these will be available on On course.

Each student is expected to participate actively in class discussion of each work. In addition to critical studies read and analyzed by the entire class, each student will present one critical article to the class for discussion. Two short (2-page) papers and one longer research paper using MLA style (10-12 pages, including bibliography), on a topic agreed upon with the professor.

Books ordered:

Valle-Inclán, Ramón María del. Sonata de otoño. Madrid: Espasa-Calpe. Paper. 9788467021714
Unamuno, Miguel de. Niebla. Madrid: Cátedra. Paper. 9788437603476
Buero Vallejo, Antonio. El sueño de la razón. Madrid: Espasa-Calpe. Paper. 9788467031133
Martín Santos, Luis. Tiempo de silencio. Madrid: Crítica. Paper. 9788484326465
Goytisolo, Juan. Señas de identidad. Belacqua. Paper. 9788492421459
Martín Gaite, Carmen. El cuarto de atrás. Barcelona: Destino. Paper. 9788423327416
Muñoz Molina, Antonio. Beltenebros. Barcelona: Seix Barral. Paper. 9788432217357
Riera, Carmen. La mitad del alma. Punto de lectura. Paper. 9788466307239

Poetry (On-Course): Selected poems

Ángel González
Gil de Biedma

Professor Carl Good
email: carlgood

S578    20th & 21st Century Spanish American Literature

TR 11:15a - 12:30p/section# 27230/3 cr./WH 204

Although the goal of this course is to provide an introductory survey of 20th-century Spanish American literature, we will place equal emphasis on exploring problems in the interpretation of the texts read.  That is, in addition to the primary works on the syllabus, we will examine numerous critical articles which are representative of work that has been done in the study of Spanish American literature.  We will also discuss the relevant historical and cultural contexts of the works being studied, although seeking to allow contextual factors to emerge from the works being read, rather than using them to frame critical possibilities in advance.  The most important objective of the course will be to consider and explore a variety of imaginative openings for interpretation of the primary readings. 

Course particulars: one short response paper, one class presentation and a final research paper (15 pp. min.).  Readings will include Los de abajo (Azuela); La amortajada (Bombal); selected short stories by Borges and Cortázar; El reino de este mundo (Carpentier); Pedro Páramo (Rulfo); La muerte de Artemio Cruz (Fuentes); Beso de la mujer araña (Puig), and Respiración artificial (Piglia).


Professor Kimberly Geeslin
email:  kgeeslin

S614    Topics in the Acquisition of Spanish

T 4:00p – 6:30p/section# 27231/3 cr./BH 147

Topic: Variation in second language grammars

This course examines the intersection of research on language variation and studies of the stages through which learners pass as they acquire variable norms.  Arguably one of the most difficult aspects of a second language to acquire, norms for variation involve an understanding of which forms are appropriate for the expression of a given meaning in a single discourse context. The acquisition of these norms is inextricably linked to a second language speaker’s ability to indicate group membership through phonological, morphological, syntactic and lexical choices. Questions such as when learners begin to acquire variation in the second language, whether or not advanced learners achieve native-like variation and what form this variability takes across time will be addressed. Course readings include theoretical treatments of how variation might be incorporated into mental grammars as well as recent examples of original research on the variation of a particular grammatical structure in learner grammars. Particular emphasis will be placed on the development of research skills including task design and data analysis with the goal of promoting individual scholarship.
Students should have access to a general reference text on sociolinguistics (such as those from S513) and on second language acquisition (such as those listed on the MA reading list, or required for S515).

Prerequisite: Hisp S515

Professor Olga Impey
email: impey

S618    Topics in Spanish Medieval Literature

TR 4:00p - 5:15p/section# 27232/3 cr./BH 231

Topic: The Triumph of the Ladies: On the Defense of Women in Fifteenth-Century Castile

This course will examine the defense of women in fifteenth-century Spanish literature. The introductory part will deal with the impact that Queens (María of Castile, María of Aragon, Isabel of Portugual and Isabel of Castile, the Catholic queen), women writers (Leonor de Córdoba, Teresa de Cartagena, Isabel Villena, etc.), and fictional literary characters had in offsetting the misogynist tradition in Spain. The close reading of two works representing this tradition, A. Martínez de Toledo’s Arcipreste de Talavera (1438) and pere Torrellas’ “Coplas de maldezir de mugeres,” will be followed by an in-depth analysis of the first Castilian treatise in praise of women, Juan Rodríguez de Padrón’s Triunfo de las donas (cc. 1440). After placing it within the historical context that produced it (Juan II’s and Queen María’s Castilian court), we will compare the arguments in defense of women brought forth by Rodríguez del Padrón with those advanced by Boccaccio in Famous Women (De mulieribus claris) and by Christine de Pizan in The City of Ladies. We will demonstrate afterwards that the difference in the evaluation of the worth of women was motivated both by the gender of the writers and by the dissimilar cultural milieu in which they wrote their works.

The following section of the course will cover subsequent treatises (those of Álvaro de Luna de of Diego de Valera), and two fictional narratives, Diego de San Pedro’s Cárcel de amor and Juan de Flores’ Grisel y Mirabella, that refute the defamation of women. Finally, we will underline the correlation between the arguments presented in Diego de San Pedro’s and Juan de Flores’ defensas de mujeres and the new ideology of “resisting female,” redear and ruler, that emerged in the last decades of fifteenth-century Castile.
The theoretical and critical framework of class discussions will be based on studies by Iris Zavala, M.E. Lacarra, B. Wissberger, L. Irigaray, J. Butler, G. Duby and Michelle Perrot.

The course will be conducted in Spanish. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their active participation in class discussions 920%) of the grade), a written and oral presentation of an article of literary criticism (15%), a short paper comparing two defensas de mujeres (10%), an annoted bibliography for the research paper (15%), and a research paper on a theme akin to the topic of the course (40%).


Professor Kathleen Myers
email: myersk

S659   Topics in 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.

Professor Gustavo Sainz
email:  sainz

S688    Topics: U.S. Latino/Caribbean Literature

TR 8:00a – 9:15a/section# 27234/3 cr./WH 118

Topic: Contemporary U.S. Latino and Caribbean Literature

Revisaremos ensayos y novelas sobre los emigrantes indocumentados, la maquiladora, el turista receloso, el cholo barriobajero, el viejo gringo, el greaser ladino, el aventurero y el próspero emprendedor en los suburbios lujosos de New York o Chicago, Cuba, Nuevo México, Puerto Rico o República Dominicana. Nuestra mirada intentará descubrir si algo nuevo y valioso en estas nuevas aportaciones. La asistencia y la discusión en clase afectarán la calificación final. Los alumnos harán cuatro composiciones y dos exámenes parciales. Habrá examen final.


Lester D. Langley: MexAmérica. Dos países, un futuro. Pedro Juan Soto: Spiks. Emilio Díaz Valcárcel: Harlem todos los días. Luis Rafael Sánchez: La guaracha del macho Camacho. Julia Alvarez: ¡Yo! Reinaldo Arenas: Antes de que anochezca. Juan Estevan Arellano: Inocencio, ni pica ni escarda pero siempre se come el mejor elote. Tino Villanueva: Chicanos. Antología histórica y literaria. Severo Sarduy: Colibrí.

Professor Erik Willis
email:  ewwillis

S712    Themes in Spanish Linguistics

TR 1:00p – 2:15p/section# 27094/3 cr./BH 238

Topic: Spanish Laboratory Phonology with a focus on prosody

This course examines issues in the Spanish Phonological system based on laboratory data with a significant portion dedicated to issues in prosody.  A 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, beyond basic laboratory analysis, will include intonation and variation, stress, hiatus resolution, utterance signaling, and the perception of intonation.  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), Intonational Phonology (2008) and assigned articles.