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Graduate Studies

Graduate Course Descriptions: Spring 2013



Professor Edgar Illas
email: eillas

C619    Topics in Catalan Studies
TR 8:00a – 9:15a/section #32797/ 3 cr./BH 336
Topic: “Class Struggle and Revolution in Modern Catalan Literature”

This course explores the question of social revolution in modern Catalan literature. While this literary tradition has often been identified with the politics of bourgeois nationalism, we will focus on the more revolutionary and subversive undercurrents in this corpus. Rather than seeking to establish a canon of Marxist and revolutionary literature, however, the course proposes to examine a variety of literary texts of all ideological perspectives and see how they respond to the problematics of class struggle, capitalist exploitation, individual militancy, and collective emancipation. We will pay special attention to the Civil War and the way Catalan literature has expressed, or repressed, the crucial dilemmas that traversed this historical episode. We will read novels, poems, and plays as well as classic texts of revolutionary theory. Catalan authors will include Àngel Guimerà, Víctor Català, Joan Maragall, Josep Pla, Joan Sales, J. V. Foix, Joan Fuster, Manuel de Pedrolo, Joan Brossa, Vicent Andrés i Estellés, among others.
The course will be taught in Catalan. Students who have not taken Catalan should seek the consent of the instructor. This course can fulfill the elective 300/400 level requirement for the Spanish major.



Professor Estela Vieira
email: evieira

P567    Contemporary Portuguese Literature
TR 4:00p – 5:15p/section# 30593/3 cr./BH 231
Topic: Love and War in Portuguese Poetry

This course will introduce students to the major writers and literary periods of twentieth-century Portuguese literature. It will provide an overview of the foremost aesthetic and cultural trends from 1915 to the present beginning with Fernando Pessoa and modernism, the “Presença” generation, neo-realism, existentialism, surrealism, and post-modernism. We will read closely a variety of different genres, including poetry, short story, novella, novel, and essay. The final grade will be based on a midterm, final exam, presentation, and research paper. Course meets jointly with Hisp P467 and Hisp P498.

Professor Darlene Sadlier
email: sadlier

P751    Seminar in Brazilian Literature
W 4:00p – 6:30p/section# 30599/3 cr./WH 205
Topic: The African-Brazilian Experience

Brazil has the largest African-descendant population outside of the African continent and that reality is increasingly a focus of writers and other artists. Stronger political and cultural ties between Brazil and Africa in the last decade have also led to greater scholarly interest in the subject of blackness in Brazil. The objective of the seminar is to familiarize students with a range of materials about the African-Brazilian experience, with emphasis on literary production by both white and black authors. The course will begin with Basílio da Gama’s Quitubia (1791), the first work by a Brazilian about an African, and end at the turn of the 21st century with poetry from the Quilombhoje collective’s Cadernos negros. We will focus primarily on literary texts, but will supplement with readings from areas such as anthropology and sociology. A seminar paper will be required of all students.


Professor Erik Willis
Email: ewwillis

S509    Spanish Phonology
TR 2:30p – 3:45p/section #30745/3 cr./BH 108

This course examines the sound system of Spanish and introduces theoretical models that account for the system.  The course delivery includes both lecture and student presentations of specific topics.  Evaluation will be based on homework assignments, an exam, presentations, and a final paper.


Professor Ryan D. Giles         
email: rdgiles                                                                          

S518    Spanish Medieval Literature
MW 2:30p – 3:45p/section #30749/3 cr./BH 235

This course will offer both a survey of Spanish medieval literature and an
in-depth reading of specific literary works, which will be examined in close connection with the historical and cultural contexts that produced them, and with the literary traditions, conventions and genres to which they belong.

The aim of S518 is to develop in students the interpretative acumen and analytical skills that will enable them to comment cogently on Spanish medieval texts and on the world view they reflect.

The reading list will include Poema de mio Cid, Milagros de Nuestra Señora, El Conde Lucanor, Libro de buen amor, Cárcel de amor, La Celestinaand a course packet containing shorter texts.

S518 will be taught in Spanish. Lectures will alternate with seminar-type classes. Close reading of each work, and familiarization with the fundamental criticism and bibliographyof Spanish medieval literature will constitute the core of the course. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their participation in class discussions, preparation of critical readings,  a final research paper and written examination.


Anke Birkenmaier
email: abirkenm

S588    U.S. Latino &/or Caribbean Studies
MW 9:30Aa– 10:45a/section #30753/3 cr./BH 235

In this course we study questions of intertextuality in Spanish Caribbean and Latino literature in relation to the rest of Latin America and the United States. We will focus on four areas of literary history where citation, pastiche and other forms of literary referencing figure prominently: Afro-Caribbean literature; Cuban literature of the Revolution and the Boom; women’s literature, and Latino migrant identities. We will read novels by Carpentier, Sarduy, Cabrera Infante and Cristina García as well as non-fictions by Arenas, Richard Rodriguez and Gloria Anzaldua, next to short stories and poems. Readings in theories of intertextuality (Kristeva, Genette, Bakhtin, Hutcheon) will accompany our discussions throughout. Requirements: One presentation, two short papers, one final paper.


Professor J. Clancy Clements
Email: clements

S611    Advanced Spanish Syntax
TR 1:00p – 2:15p/section #30757/3 cr./WH 204

The goals of this course are to provide students with: (1) a solid understanding of several key issues in Spanish syntax from a cognitive-functional-typological perspective, (2) analytical skills of syntactic argumentation, (3) a good idea of how to write conference abstracts, and (4) all the support necessary to produce an original piece of research on a topic related to Spanish syntax.

   This course takes as its points of departure: (1) the notion of Transitivity, as conceived and developed by Hopper and Thompson (1980), (2) the Causal Chain Hypothesis developed by William Croft (1991), and (3) the assumption that processing and production constraints are important for molding and changing the architecture of languages.  Throughout the semester, we will study thematic relations, speech acts, language processing, anaphoric relations, among other topics.

   Class time will be used for the discussion of the various articles chosen for the course.  Attention will be given to the details of the theoretical and empirical argumentation behind each issue. Students will be required, among other things, to prepare readings, complete several assignments, and write a final paper. 


Professor César Félix-Brasdefer
email: cfelixbr

S612    Topic in Linguistics: Variation & Language Content
TR 11:15a – 12:30p/section# 30760/3 cr./WH 204
Topic: Current Issues in Pragmatic & Sociolinguistic Variation

The aim of this course is to examine the interface of sociolinguistic and pragmatic variation from an interdisciplinary perspective and the methods used to examine linguistic and social variation. In this course we will critically review the variationist model to analyze the extent to which this model can be applied to investigate variation at the pragmatic/discourse level (regional, social, age, and gender variation). There is current work by sociolinguist and pragmatic analysts who are trying to extend the variationist model (a la Labov) to the analysis of pragmatics, but the results are mixed. The first part of the course will describe fundamental concepts of pragmatics, followed by a review of two current models of linguistic variation, namely, the 'variationist linguistic model' (beginning with Labov's notion of the 'linguistic variable,' and extended to examine the pragmatic variable at the discourse level); the second model, ‘variational pragmatics’, examines variation in pragmatics from a sociolinguistic (dialectology/applied linguistics) perspective. The second part of the course will examine empirical studies that have analyzed variation in pragmatics/discourse from a variationist and/or variational perspective. Research methods for the analysis of pragmatic/discourse variation will also be covered. (Students will write a research paper on a topic that addresses the interface of pragmatics/sociolinguistics in L1 or L2 contexts).


Professor Melissa Dinverno
email: mdinvern

S648    Topics in Contemporary Spanish Literature
TR 9:30a – 10:45a/section #30030/3 cr./WH 204
Topic: Cultural Memory and the Negotiation of the Past in Democratic Spain

Prior to Francisco Franco’s death and especially since the early years of democracy, the writing of the recent past has been at the forefront of Spanish politics, society and cultural production.  How should Spain’s past of Civil War and of the repression of the subsequent dictatorship be narrated in contemporary society?  What place do the ghosts of the past have in the formation of a “new” national identity, in a politics of reconciliation or rejuvenation, in a new cultural landscape?  Debates over these and related questions have played out in the cultural landscape time and again in recent years and have now taken on a more urgent tone as the recuperation of this painful past has taken shape in efforts to unearth graves of the Civil War and dictatorship.  This course will analyze the way that writers and directors have dealt with issues of memory, history and the collective negotiation of Spain’s difficult and contentious past.  Focusing on recent texts, we will examine the varied positions that these intellectuals have formulated and the ways in which they have negotiated concepts such as witnessing, cultural memory, and individual and national identity in their work.  Taking an interdisciplinary approach including literary and film studies, sociology, and history, we will also look at the degree to which these stances dialogue with or participate in the construction of wider social discourses on the past in democratic Spain.
Some of the questions we will deal with may include:  What role does culture play in the construction of the past?  What place have trauma and witnessing been given in talking about Spain’s relationship to the Civil War and Francoism?  How does the “ghostly” manifest in contemporary discussions of memory in and on Spain?  Given that understandings of the past shift over time, in what ways have intergenerational issues of transmission of the past and the construction of memory been represented?  How does Spain’s painful past affect those who never experienced it and what claim to that past do younger generations have?
Evaluation will likely include presentations, a midterm paper and a final research paper.


Professor Alejandro Mejías-López
email: amejiasl

S668    Topic in 19th & 20th-Century Spanish American Literature
Topic: Modernismo: 1880 - 1930
T 5:30p – 8:00p/section #30037/3cr./WH 205

Tras originarse en Hispanoamérica alrededor de 1880, el Modernismo fue un movimiento literario e intelectual que consiguió transformar radicalmente la expresión literaria en español tanto en Hispanoamérica como en España.  Este seminario se propone ofrecer una mirada detallada de este movimiento prestando atención a sus diferentes manifestaciones en poesía, narrativa, ensayo, y teatro.  Algunos de los temas que se discutirán el clase son: el modernismo frente a otras estéticas contemporáneas (realismo, parnasianismo, simbolismo, decadentismo, regionalismo); el modernismo y la modernidad occidental; el modernismo como movimiento poscolonial y como movimiento transatlántico; y la relación entre el modernismo hispánico y el así llamado  modernismo anglo-europeo.  La clase será enteramente en español.   


Professor Kathleen Myers
email: myersk

S708    Seminar in Hispanic Studies
Topic: The Construction of Indigenous Identity in Latin America: Historical Cultural Formations and Disciplinary Methods
M 4:00p – 6:30p/section #30044/3cr./WH 205

From Columbus’ infamous misnomer “indio” for the indigenous populations of the Americas, through the identity politics of contemporary Latin America, representations of indigenous cultures over time have shaped historical discourse, religious and national campaigns, and the construction of colonial and post-colonial identities. This course will examine the cultural formation of identity from colonial times into the twenty-first century. We will focus on Mexico, but encourage interested students to specialize in other areas parallel with our Mexican case study.  We will draw heavily on methods from other disciplines in order to critique how the 19th century formation of academia and the 20th century use of anthropology and history in Mexico have influenced our understanding of indigenous identity. In particular, we will study theories of performance, ethnography, and ethnogenesis with an eye toward a postcolonial critique of the academy.  We will emphasize three specific historical periods in Mexico: colonial, post-revolutionary, and 1992-2012 (from Zapatismo to 21st century constitutional amendments). We will link readings of chronicles, codices, and literature (Bernal Díaz, Motolonía, Codex Mendoza, Octavio Paz, Jorge Montemayor, etc.) with historical documents (the requerimiento, Constitución de 1917/amendment 2001, EZLN’s El Despertador Mexicano, etc.) and a variety of other cultural materials (John Steinbeck’s “Forgotten Village,” Diego Rivera’s murals, weekly T.V. program Raíz de Luna, and so on). The course will culminate with individual student oral and written presentations based on their research.