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

Summer 2004


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
89090 MTWThF
8:30 AM-10:00 AM
GAR 301

Course Description

The course explores the meaning of the term CULTURE, with particular regard for the medieval Iberia context. First we examine the history of the word CULTURE, as used in agricultural, pedagogical, political, and other contexts, and finally in the social and humane sciences. We will discuss the term in conjunction with other important terms, like RACE, ETHNICITY, SOCIETY, POLITY, COMMUNITY, STATE, CLASS, STATUS, CASTE. We will observe how humanists and literary critics have appropriated and adapted many cultural models for application to the study of cultural history. We will then explore the development of a notion of HISPANICITY, viewing the problem of defining Hispanic culture as a case history, with special attention to the two most influential voices in the long-standing controversy, Claudio Sánchez-Albornoz and Américo Castro. We will find that what is interesting about Iberian culture during the Middle Ages was the concerted attempt by the nation states of the Peninsula to construct a unified Spanish, Christian culture. This project of cultural engineering has had an enduring impact in the formation of the modern cultural and geopolitical world.

Grading Policy

5 quizzes (average of quizzes = 25%) 1 mid-term (15%) 1 final exam (25%). Mid-term & final are open-book essay exams (except for memorization component), & include translations, ID questions, brief essays.

Papers: 1 2-page paper (5%); 1 5-page paper (10%) 1 8-page final paper (20%) Note 1: The instructor encourages rewrites of papers (e.g., building on the 2-page paper to produce the 5-pagepaper; the 5-page paper to yield the final paper). Note 2: "Excellent" writing (i.e., A-quality writing) means 2 things: 1. error-free Spanish; 2. an expository essay that clearly and convincingly defends a thesis (i.e., that proves a point). Mere BOOK REPORTS do not constitute excellent writing. Note 3: Regarding the definition of PAGES for papers: for purposes of this class, a PAGE equals 250 words. Thus: a 3-page paper contains around 750 words; 5 pages = 1250 wds; 10 pages = 2500 words.


1. Castro, Americo. La realidad histórica de España. Mexico, Porrúa, 1987. Sepan cuantos, #372. 2. Glick, Thomas. Cristianos y musulmanes en la España medieval. Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1993. 3. Vicens Vives, Jaime. Aproximación a la historia de España. Barcelona: Editorial Vicens Vives, 1988. 5. E-text of excerpts from relevant works.


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