SPN 381M • FEMINIST AND GENDER STUDY OF SPANISH-LANGUAGE LITERATURE
11:30 AM-1:00 PM
This course offers a review of the development of feminist criticism, its adaptation to the study of Spanish and Spanish American literature and of the incorporation, during the 1990s and 2000s, of newer concepts of gender into the critical examination of literature written in Spanish. Although the course is primarily on Spanish and Spanish American literary studies, Brazilian literature will come in for comparative mention and students are welcome to write a term paper on a Brazilian topic.
The course will begin with a look at an international sampling of feminist criticism from the 1970s and 1980s, when feminist thought first began to gain a significant place in literary studies. We will look at such landmark studies as Showalter's Feminist Criticism in the Wilderness and Kolodny's Dancing through the Minefield. From there, the course proceeds to the adaptation of feminist criticism to make it applicable to the study Spanish and Spanish American literatures. We will read some notable early examples of feminist criticism of Spanish and Spanish American writing, including selected essays from La sartén por el mango: encuentro de escritoras latinoamericanas, ed. Patricia Elena González y Eliana Ortega, and Cultural and Historical Grounding for Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Feminist Literary Criticism, ed. Hernán Vidal. Much of this research was carried out in U.S. universities, by critics of a wide variety of national origins, some from the United States (Debra Castillo), some from Spanish American countries (Lucía Guerra Cunningham, originally from Chile), and some from Spain or from other European countries. Nonetheless, in this course an effort will be made to include feminist criticism by scholars such as Raquel Olea and Eliana Ortega, who carry out their work while actually based in Spanish American countries. The rest of the course looks at the evolution of feminist criticism since its early years, with particular emphasis on the impact of newer, more fluid concepts of gender. Circa 1990, many academic researchers began expressing dissatisfaction with certain aspects of existing feminist criticism, which they perceived as relying too heavily on such categories as women. From this dissatisfaction came an effort to escape overgeneralization and to take into account the changeable nature of human identity, including gender and sexual identity. Again, the course will first look at international theorists, such as Judith Butler, and then move to Spanish American and Spanish scholars who may be identified with a focus on gender, such as Raquel Olea and Marta Lamas.
Detailed proposal for paper, 32% Final version of term paper, 60%; 15-20 pp. Attendance and participation, 8%
Please note that the final paper should be a full-length (16-20 pages), article-style inquiry into a topic developed by the individual student in consultation with the instructor. It should be organized according to the standard conventions for scholarly articles, including the use of correct MLA documentation style. The topic will need to focus on a feminist and/or gender-studies approach to Spanish, Spanish American, or (if desired) Brazilian literature. While textual analysis is by no means ruled out, the term paper should not be first and foremost the analysis of a given text. Some issue in the development of feminist and gender studies of Spanish-language writing must be at the core of the paper.
Because of the nature of the course, which covers a period (1970-2003) during which feminist and gender criticism has been evolving rapidly, the readings will consist of journal articles and chapters published in books. We will use one anthology that has been published in book form and a course packet. The published anthology is: Warhol, Robyn R., and Diane Price Herndl, eds., Feminisms: An Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism. Rev. ed. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1997. This is a general anthology of feminist criticism and does not focus on Spanish-language literature or literary studies. The course packet, which I will assemble, will be specifically of articles in which scholars analyze Spanish and Spanish-American literature and critical approaches to it from a feminist or gender-studies perspective.