SPN 350 • Mexican and Mexican-American Ballads
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
Culture clash, social conflict, violent death, disasters and triumphs personal as well as public, heroism and villany from the grand stage of national history down to the most sordid encounter--every value, event or societal current, in fact, that woven together, forms the warp and woof of a people's identity--all are celebrated, commented, lamented, or lampooned in the Mexican ballads known in Spanish as corridos. In this course we will examine the development of the corrido genre in the 19th century and its flourishing in the 20th with special focus on its pivotal role in the great national convulsion of the Mexican Revolution, and in the often traumatic collision between cultures that continues to occur in the vast and constantly expanding Border zone that both bridges and divides Anglo-American and Hispanic-American civilizations.
The course will be conducted in Spanish, but grammatical evaluation in itself will not form part of the grade. A good reading knowledge of Spanish as well as strong listening comprehension skills are highly recommended, although many of the primary materials will be available in English translation as well as in the original Spanish. In addition to printed texts, historical materials, and criticism, we will make extensive use of films, videos, and especially, sound recordings. Most materials for in-class presentation, as well as assigned materials for out-of-class preparation, will be available on the Internet to enrolled students by special password access only. Students will also have online access to the instructor's extensive databases of recorded Mexican and Mexican American popular music, as well as some other materials for research purposes. Instead of writing a traditional research paper, students will work in small teams (two to four persons each) in order to create web-pages on specific coridos, corrido cycles, and/or corrido related issues. Research for the student projects will include library and archival investigation, and may include "hands-on" field work in Texas and/or northern Mexico as well, depending on the topic. Technical support and training sessions will be provided by staff from UT's Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services. LAITS will also provide appropriately equipped work-stations for the various technical phases of the preparation and presentation of the students' projects. The final results of the students' research projects will make an important contribution to a small but growing Internet-accessible archive of vital cultural material, that if not recovered, analyzed, and preserved now, may soon be lost forever
Internet Corrido Project / Total Project Points 50 % Project Proposal 5 % Detailed Site Outline & List of Sources to be Used 5 % 1st Draft of Explanatory Text(s) & Transcriptions & Translations 10 % Final Version of Web Site 30 % 5 five minute quizzes 5 % Mid-Term Exam 15 % Final Exam 20 % Class Participation 10 % Course Total Points 100 %
Paredes, Américo. A Texas-Mexican Cancionero: Folksongs of the Lower Border. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995. (Required) Mendoza, Vicente T. El corrido mexicano. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1954. (Recommended) Corridos y tragedias de la frontera. Intro. Chris Strachwitz. Notes by Philip Sonnichsen and James Nicolopulos. Folklyric CDs or Cass 7019-20. Arhoolie Productions, El Cerrito, CA, 1994. (Recommended) The Mexican Revolution: The Heroes and Events--1910-1920 and Beyond. Guillermo Hernández. Folklyric CDs 7041/44. El Cerrito, CA: Arhoolie/Folklyric, 1996. (Recommended)