Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
spanish masthead
Jill Robbins, Chair 150 W 21st Street, Stop B3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4936

Michael P Harney

Associate Professor Ph.D.-Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley

Michael P Harney



Michael Harney. Born Vancouver, BC., 1948. EDUCATION: B.A. English, UCLA, 1971; M.A. Comparative Literature, Univ. California, 1975; Ph.D. Comparative Literature, Univ. California, 1983. EMPLOYMENT: Univ. Texas-Austin, 1986 to present. ADMINISTRATIVE: Grad. Chair, UT Span. & Port. (2004-2008); Acting Dept. Chair, UT Span. & Port. (Fall 2001); Program Director, Grad. Chair, UT Comparative Lit. Program (1998-2001); Faculty Council, Univ. Texas-Austin (2003-2004); Chair, MLA Div. Span. Medieval Lang. & Lit. (2003); Exec. Committee, MLA Div. Span. Medieval Lang. & Lit. (2000-2004). PUBLICATIONS: The Epic of the Cid, translation & edition (Hackett 2011); Kinship & Marriage in Medieval Hispanic Chivalric Romance (Brepols, 2001); Kinship & Polity in the "Poema de Mio Cid" (Purdue Univ. Press, 1993).


Medieval and Renaissance Spanish Literature, Comparative literature, literary theory, cultural theory.

SPC 320C • Lost Worlds: Utopias/Distopias

46860 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm BEN 1.104
(also listed as LAS 328 )
show description

Latin American Studies 328 and LAS 370S may not both be counted unless the topics vary

ILA 387 • Indigeneity In Iberian World

46560 • Fall 2013
Meets W 100pm-400pm BEN 1.118
(also listed as LAS 392S )
show description


The Eurocentrism underlying the problematic relationship of explorers, conquerors, and colonizers with populations classified as native originates long before the first encounters between Europeans and other peoples.  From an early date the related concepts of authochtony and indigeneity prepare the way for globalized identifications of visitors/newcomers and hosts/aborigenes. Indigenous difference and ethnic identity begin, in other words, as a collateral expression of both racialization and caste thinking.  Precedents were readily available in the Bible and in classics read throughout the Middle Ages (e..g, the concept of Chosen Peoples propounded by the Bible and by Virgil). Indigeneity, furthermore, can be imputed or alleged from various viewpoints. The Iberians who imposed themselves on host communities in Al-Andaluz, Africa, the Canaries, and the New World saw themselves as descendants of native peoples once invaded and colonized by Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, Muslims (e.g, the many contacts and conflicts dramatized in medieval Chronicles and in the Iberian ballad tradition). This course traces the history, in ancient, medieval, and early modern texts, of indigeneity and related concepts.


1 term paper, 15-20 pages (longer papers welcome):                50%

1 15-20-minute research topic presentation                             15%

1 10-15-minute topical presentation                                      15%

1 250-word précis per assigned reading                                  20%


Sagrada Biblia (selections)

Virgilio, Eneida (selections)

Cantar de Mio Cid (selections)

Libro de Alexandre (selections)

Primera Crónica General (selections)

Libro del caballero Zifar (selections)

Libro del conoscimiento de todos los regnos (selections)

Clavijo, Embajada a Tamorlán (selections)

Tafur, Andanzas (selections)

Libro de Marco Polo (selections)

Amadís de Gaula (selections)

Columbus, Diarios (selections)

Cortés, Cartas de relación (selections)

Juan de Mandevilla, Libro de las maravillas del mundo (selections)

Romancero viejo (selections)

Bartolomé de las Casas, Brevísima relación

Bernal Díaz del Castillo, Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España (selections)

Don Quijote (selections)


de la Cadena, Marisol, and Orin Starn, eds. Indigenous Experience today

Gruzinski, Serge. La guerra de las imágenes: de Cristóbal Colón  a “Blade Runner” (1492-2019)

Fernández-Armesto, Felipe. Before Columbus: Exploration and Colonisation from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic: 1229-1492

Francis, John Michael, ed. Iberia and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History (3 vols.)

Mann, Charles C. New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

Traboulay, David M. Columbus and Las Casas: the conquest and Christianization of America



SPN 387 • Violence In Medvl Spanish Lit

46740 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm BEN 1.118
show description


This course examines literary manifestations of violence, both literal and metaphorical. Recent studies of media violence and audience responses to it suggest that media violence can be classified according to intensity (playful or unrealistic; realistic or graphic), authenticity (i.e., involving violence close to the viewer's reality, such as domestic violence, or as in news footage or documentaries), or degrees of metaphor or literalness. Theoretical analyses and literary representations of violence can range from the very abstract and detached to the very specific and meticulous. Some of these analytical schemes can be applied to literature of the past; others are more problematic. What is clear is that medieval and early modern Spanish literature exhibits its share of violence, both literally graphic and metaphoric-hegemonic. The Cantar de Mio Cid is about feudal and frontier warfare. But its most violent depictions involve extreme domestic violence (assault and rape). Berceo's Milagros de Nuestra Señora express virulent anti-Semitism and clearly approve of inquisitorial interrogation and pogroms. Amadís, the most famous and popular chivalric romance, contains numerous scenes of violence worthy of the most graphic horror films of the present day. La Celestina, wallowing in a sordid urban reality that prefigures the dog-eat-dog naturalism of a Pardo Bazán or a Zola, culminates in murder and execution. Bernal's Historia verdadera depicts big-canvas scenes of slaughter, mayhem, and torture. Lope's Fuenteovejuna dramatizes a story arc of seignorial oppression in the form of rapes and beatings, of peasant uprising that takes the form of quasi-ritual lynch mob violence, and of monarchic investigation involving mass torture of an entire community.  Don Quijote often provokes hilarity by its scenes of violence, which seem cartoonish (beatings, thrashings, lopped ears, smashed teeth, thwacked skulls, etc.), until we directly compare them to analogous scenes in the romances. The course interprets violence as a diffuse but omnipresent cultural system that involves both elite and subaltern groups.


1 term paper, 15-20 pages (longer papers welcome):              50%

1 15-20-minute research topic presentation                            15%

1 21-20-minute topical presentation                                        15%

1 WEEKLY 250-word précis of assigned reading                      20%


Cantar de Mio Cid (selected passages)

Berceo, Milagros de Nuestra Señora (selected passages)

Amadís de Gaula  (selected passages)

La Celestina

Hernan Cortés, Cartas de relación (selections)

Bernal Díaz del Castillo, Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España (selections)

Don Quijote (selections)

Lope de Vega, Fuenteovejuna


Mikhail Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination

Jody Enders, The Medieval Theater of Cruelty: Rhetoric, Memory, Violence

Anthony Giddens, The Nation-State and Violence

René Girard. Violence and the Sacred

Serge Gruzinski, La guerre des images: de Christophe Colomb à “Blade Runner” (1492-2019)

Nancy Armstrong and Leonard Tennenhouse, eds. The Violence of Representation. Literature and the history of violence



SPN 387 • Old Spanish Literature

46625 • Fall 2011
Meets MW 200pm-330pm BEN 1.118
show description


The medieval and early-modern Spanish works contemplated by this course are important landmarks in Peninsular literary history. The themes singled out for discussion are those centering on travel and tourism. In these aspects, the works studied show striking affinities with certain ancient and medieval antecedents, especially Herodotus and Marco Polo. Akin to these predecessors in their touristic and ethnographic orientation, the works in question differ from them in their commitment to a narrative of journeys. They also articulate with various other literary genres and disciplines, such as biography, chivalric romance, geography, and history. Topics covered in the course include: narratological issues and problems in generic classification; empirical description and ethnographic relativism; touristic themes; the parallelism of late-medieval and early-modern tourism and knight-errantry; the perception of cultural and political boundaries and discontinuities; the manipulation of “storyscapes” that highlight otherness within touristic space; role-playing (e.g., traveling incognito, going native); literary tourism as an element of the ancestral entertainment industry.


1 term paper, 15-20 pages (longer papers welcome): 50%

1 20-30-minute research topic presentation 15%

1 20-30-minute topical presentation 15%

1 250-word précis of each assigned reading 20%


Libro de Alexandre (selections)

Berceo, Milagros de Nuestra Señora (selections)

Libro del caballero Zifar (selections)

Libro del conoscimiento de todos los regnos (selections)

Embajada a Tamorlán

El Victorial (selections)

Andanças e viajes de Pero Tafur

Libro de Marco Polo (selections)

Amadís de Gaula (selections)

Columbus, Diarios (selections)

Cortés, Cartas de relación (selections)

Juan de Mandevilla, Libro de las maravillas del mundo (selections)

Bernal Díaz del Castillo, Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España (selections)

Bartolomé de las Casas, Brevísima relación

Don Quijote (selections)

Electronic reader (various excerpts)

SPN 387 • Mester De Clerecia

46775 • Fall 2010
Meets MW 200pm-330pm PAR 302
show description

MW 2:00-3:30 PM


Medieval Spanish literary history offers one of the most striking examples of a literary genre self-consciously defined as a reaction to another genre and to the audience of that genre. At the same time, Mester de clerecía was as often as not aimed at "popular" audiences, while mester de juglaría might well have been sometimes aimed at socially elite audiences. The mester de clerecía is not just a metrical style. It is, variously, a literary and rhetorical movement a world view, a narrative poetic style, a social and political outlook, a concept of history. While the practitioners of this system differed greatly among each other--there is a world of difference between a Berceo and a Lopez de Ayala, between the Libro de Alexandre and the Libro de buen amor--the challenge to our interpretative ability in dealing with this school is not in noting the obvious differences and contrasts. The aim of this course is to explain, or to suggest the outlines of an explanation, of the common denominators among the various practitioners of this poetic mode.


1 term paper, 15-20 pages (longer papers welcome): 50%

1 20-30-minute research topic presentation 15%

1 20-30-minute topical presentation 15%

1 WEEKLY 250-word précis of assigned reading 20%


Libro de Alexandre (selected passages)

Berceo, Milagros de Nuestra Señora

Libro de Apolonio

Poema de Fernán González (selected passages)

Juan Ruiz, Libro de buen amor

Sem Tob, Proverbios morales

Pero López de Ayala, Rimado de palacio


Américo Castro, The Spaniards

Charles Fraker, The Libro de Alexandre: Medieval Epic and Silver Latin

Julian Weiss, The 'Mester de clerecia': Intellectuals and Ideologies in Thirteenth-Century Castile

Ben E. Perry, Ancient Romances: A Literary-Historical Account of Their Origins



bottom border