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Jill Robbins, Chair 150 W 21st Street, Stop B3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4936

Fall 2003

SPN 378H • Honors Seminar

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
45130 MWF
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
Batts 302

Course Description

In this course we will explore the written works (poetry, theater, and letter) produces by the celebrates seventeenth-century Mexican nun, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Two of the major themes we focus upon are, on the one hand, the construction of a gendered, female voice in Sor Juana’s works despite the confines of a rigidly controlled patriarchal society and cultural tradition, and on the other, the elaboration of a creole, New World consciousness or identity in New Spain during her lifetime. Of particular interest in this regard will be the reading of Sor Juana’s works in the context of the overall set of cultural phenomena associated with Mexican Baroque. In addition to Sor Juana’s own writing, we will examine some of the most influential currents of recent Sor Juana studies, including analyses by scholars such as Octavio Paz, Georgina Sabat-Rivers, Emilie Bergmann, José Pascual-Buxó, Margo Glantz, Elías Trabulse, Betty Sasaki, Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel, Stephanie Merrim, Sara Poot Herrera, and Electa Arenal, among other. In addition to literary criticism, per se, we will also approach the subject through the work of historians and, particularly, historians of Art. The course will be conducted as a seminar entirely in Spanish, but grammatical evaluation in itself will not form part of the grade. Because this is a Substantial Writing Component (SWC) course, special attention will be given to the student’s writing in terms if research, organization and presentation of analysis in the course term paper. In consultation with the instructor, the student will formulate a research topic that will focus on, or at lest include, some aspect of Sor Juana’s written work. This topic will form the basis of the course term paper. According to a prearranged schedule, the student will turn in a detailed outline and bibliography (approx. 5 pp.), then a preliminary draft (10pp.), and finally, a polished final version (15pp.) of the course term paper. Each student will also make a brief oral presentation on their term paper topic. Special emphasis will be placed on developing the student’s skills in terms of the written presentation of the results of their research through detailed instructor critiques of the student’s writing at each stage of preparation.

Grading Policy

Detailed outline of term paper & bibliography (approx. 5 pp.) 10% Preliminary draft of term paper (10 pp.) 20% Final draft of term paper (15 pp.) 30% Oral presentation 10% Mid-term exam 10% Final exam 10% Class participation 10%


Cruz, Sor Juana Inéz de la. The Answer/La Respuesta. Ed. and Trans. Electa Arenal and Amanda Powell. New York: Feminist Press, 1994. --. Obra completas. Intro. Francisco Monterde. México: Porrúa, 1969. Paz, Octavio. Sor Juana Inéz de la Cruz o las trampas de la fe. 3a ed. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1994. Pérez Amador Adam, Alberto. El precipicio de Faetón. Madrid: Iberoamericana, 1996. Photocopied Course Reader, hereafter referred to as El Cuaderno; can be purchased at Abel’s Copies, University Towers, 715-D W. 23rd St, 472-5353. Recommended: MLA Handbook for Writing Research Papers. New York: MLA, latest ed.


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