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

Spring 2009

SPN 380K • Archival Fashioning and Politics in the Caribbean

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
47395 M
12:00 PM-3:00 PM
BEN 1.118

Course Description

What is the relationship between the Caribbean as an field of study and the creation of archives? How do archives contribute to canonize or monumentalize a Caribbean writer or a historical figure? What forms of archiving--preservation of government records, manuscripts, letters, and unpublished materials; the search for and publication of "secondary" forms of writing--emerge in relationship to the study and the definition of the Caribbean as a region? How has the relationship between culture and archiving developed in colonial and postcolonial regions such as the Caribbean? How are race, slavery and post-slave society, class, and gender implicated in these issues? Is the Caribbean "archive" national, transnational, or diasporic? How have archival politics determined the relationship between literature and historiography in the Caribbean? This seminar will address such questions from contemporary archival theory while reviewing genre forms in Caribbean literature that occupy a hybrid space between fiction and documentation, literature and history, fantasy and fact: legends, memoirs, crónicas, epistolaries, historical novels, and testimonial narratives. We will look into several "case studies" of archival fashioning--the "archivo colombino," "archivo del 1898," "archiving" slavery, documenting the Cuban Revolution, among others-- to investigate epistemological, esthetic, and hermeneutic issues in the definition of what is Caribbean history and literature from the sixteenth century to the present. The course will be organized around the figures and work of archivist-writers. These are either literary writers, historians, or intellectual figures that have been involved in, have inspired or questioned the production, consolidation, or theorization of important Caribbean or Caribbean-related libraries, archives, or collections. In the case of some writers, these archives in question may be the background for the production of works of historical fiction that we will discuss in class

Grading Policy

One 9-12 page take-home midterm (20%). Class participation, including oral presentations (20%). One 15-20 page term paper (60%).


Alejo Carpentier, El arpa y la sombra (COOP Custom Publishing) Antonio Benitez Rojo, El mar de las lentejas (COOP Custom Publishing) Alejo Carpentier, El reino de este mundo (COOP) Abdeslam Azougarh, ed. Juan Francisco Manzano: Esclavo y poeta en la isla de Cuba (COOP) Anselmo Suárez y Romero, Francisco, el ingenio, o las delicias del campo (COOP Custom Publishing) Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, Mis memorias (COOP Custom Publishing) Jose Martí, En los Estados Unidos(COOP) José Luis González, La llegada (COOP Custom Publishing); La luna no era de queso (CCP) Mayra Montero, Del rojo de tu sombra (COOP Custom Publishing) Edgardo Rodríguez Julía, La renuncia del héroe Baltasar (COOP Custom Publishing), Caribeños (COOP) Rosario Ferré, Vecindarios eccéntricos (COOP), Memorias de Ponce (CCP) Ana Menéndez, Loving Che Packet of readings Archival Theory with essays by Michael Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Giorgio Agamben, Diana Taylor, Michel Rolph-Trouillot, Linda Hutcheon, Roberto González Echevarría. and others.


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