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

Spring 2004

SPN 378H • Convivencia: Christians, Muslims, and Jews from Spain to the New World

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
43935 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
BAT 318

Course Description

This honors seminar will present the problematic concept of convivencia (coexistence of ethnic groups) as a way of studying the historical roots of Hispanic culture from the middle ages in Christian and Islamic Spain to the colonial period in Latin America. We will read a selection of literary and cultural readings representative of the complex cultural interaction in Spain, Mexico, and the American Southwest and will also study elements of art history, architecture, music, and material culture that reflect these multicultural societies. As we trace the cultural contributions of Christians, Muslims, and Jews from Spain to Latin America, where they combine with indigenous elements, we will consider such topics as the fictional reconstruction of history, the representation of the “other,” the formation of cultural identity, describing the “New World,” the Mediterranean honor code in Spain and Latin America, mudéjar as a multicultural form, the casta system of Colonial Mexico, religious syncretism in Latin America and the Southwest, the figures of the Virgin of Guadalupe and Santiago, and the constructive and destructive aspects of convivencia. As an advanced seminar, this course requires active student participation and discussion. Class meetings and all work will be conducted in Spanish. This course contains a substantial writing component and fulfills part of the basic education requirement in writing. The prerequisites are one semester of introductory literature and approval of the departmental honors adviser.

Grading Policy

Midterm 20% Writing exercises 10% First term paper draft (5-8 pages) 20% Final term paper (10-15 pages) 30% Class work (participation and oral report) 20%


Cultural and historical readings (packet) Hispano-Arabic poetry Baer, El puente de Alcántara Muñoz Molina, Córdoba de los Omeyas El cantar de Mio Cid (selections) Cervantes, Numancia Lope de Vega, Fuenteovejuna Columbus letters and log Cabeza de Vaca, Naufragios Bartolomé de las Casas, Destrucción de las Indies García Márquez, Crónica de una muerte anunciada


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