SPN 325L • Introduction to Spanish American Literature Since Modernism
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
This course offers a comprehensive introduction to the literature of Spanish America from the end of the Nineteenth Century to late Twentieth Century. For the sake of chronology, our readings will be divided into five clusters: Modernismo, las Vanguardias, Modernizacion (precursors of the Boom), the Boom, and the Post-Boom generation. We shall seek to understand the extent to which each one of these canonical literary periods belies a profound heterogeneity, as the production of specific cosmological metaphors that engage local realities of intersected race, place, money, power, sexuality, language and labor is not withheld in any one canonical division. For example, we will find that indigenista writing can take many forms, and speak through many voices; that concerns of inclusivity and exclusivity are not restricted to any one category, but that instead they arise from any combination of the intersections above, and others not mentioned. We will discover how, in what ways, the conflagration of dominant cosmologies (indigenous, eurocentric, African) is an ongoing one, despite the time, or the place of the particular writer. From this conflagration surges a plethora of issues, which includes: the artifice of identity-creation (i.e. the self-consciousness of the Modernistas with regards to their european-ness or american-ness); the question of the sacred and the profane; use versus exchange values as economic foundations; eurocentric biases regarding Culture (often material and artifactual) versus indigenous and African biases (often oral and intangible); problems of identity and transculturation; and the more mundane, though ever-present, virulence of social stratification and hierarchization along markedly racist lines. With certain authors, we will listen to metaphors of place, as they engage the often intense realities of ecology which characterize much of Spanish America, for such physical realities coexist with and inform, symbiotically, the cultural and material economies. Finally, but not exhaustively, throughout the semester we will keep our minds open to the nature of these modernist and post-modernist writings originating in peripheral modernities and post-modernities. The course will be conducted entirely in Spanish, and students are responsible for completing the assigned readings before each class.
Four short essays (3 pages, approx.) 25% Midterm exam (essay) 30% Final exam (essay) 30% Attendance, active participation and preparation 15%
Raquel Chang-Rodríguez and Malva E. Filer, Voces de Hispanoamérica. Boston: Heinle and Heinle, 1996. 2nd ed. A required course packet which contains supplementary readings.