SPANPORT 420-0-1: Studies in 20th Century Lit & Cultures: Body Fictions
Testimonial narrative is among the most prominent--and most controversial--currents to have emerged in Latin America following the 1960s-1970s Boom era. Having now achieved canonical status within Latin American literary and cultural studies, the testimonial genre has generated discussion and debate inside and outside the academy about literature as an institution, authorship, truth, representation, memory, and subjectivity, among other topics. Anchoring our work overall in the question "How to read?" we will begin by investigating the family of words and concepts that frame discussion of the genre and that testimonial works also interrogate. Next, we will take up theories and models of testimony drawn from a variety of sources inside and outside Latin America. The properly analytical body of the course will be organized around three clusters of materials, which offer different--yet related--angles from which to consider testimonial narrative. The first cluster will take Menchú's Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú as its focus, drawing into its orbit related testimonial narratives (e.g., Barnet), authorial theories of testimonio, and critical debates about the genre. The second cluster will center on Timerman's Preso sin nombre, celda sin número, focusing attention especially on the survivor-witness as the subject and object of testimonial works and theory, dramatized twenty years earlier by Walsh's Operación masacre. The third cluster will place in dialogue García Márquez's La aventura de Miguel Littín clandestino en Chile and Littín's film Acta General de Chile, and also set the stage for the "concluding testimony" of Patricio Guzmán's Nostalgia de la luz. The last two class sessions will be dedicated to seminar presentations that draw on materials from students' areas of research in relation to the seminar's topic. The class will be conducted in English; primary texts are in Spanish (English editions can also be purchased to accompany original texts, if needed); secondary readings are in English and in Spanish.
Tuesdays: 2:00 - 4:50pm
SPANPORT 450-0-1: Topics in Cultural Studies
Utopia and Dystopia in Caribbean Literature and Culture Since its "discovery" and subsequent colonization by European explorers, the Caribbean has been a canvas onto which imaginings, dreams, and fears about civilization, society, identity, and modernity have been projected. This course will trace the utopian desires and dystopian anxieties running through Caribbean literary discourse and cultural production in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will begin our exploration in the early twentieth-century, when writers in the Hispanic Caribbean looked at both literature and the nation as spaces with utopian potential, even as they were also sites of post-colonial anxieties. We will then move to examine the particular utopian discourse articulated by the Cuban Revolution, as well as the ways in which that discourse has been challenged by both subsequent events (the so-called Special Period) as well as literary and intellectual interventions within Cuba and abroad. The course will end by exploring how utopia and dystopia have been employed to construct and describe spaces of communitarian identity, to name and engage with processes of disempowerment, exclusion, or dehumanization, and to (re)negotiate the region's relationship to temporality. Readings will include works by Miguel de Carrión, Jorge Mañach, Luis Palés Matos, Antonio Pereira, Reinaldo Arenas, Antonio José Ponte, Reina María Rodríguez, Michel Encinosa Fu, Jorge Enrique Lage, Luis Negrón, Eduardo Lalo, and Rita Indiana Hernández, as well as the cinematic work of Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Sara Gómez. Critical and theoretical readings will draw on the work of Ernst Bloch, Édouard Glissant, Antonio Benítez Rojo, Fredric Jameson, José Esteban Múñoz, and Sylvia Wynter, among others. The class will be conducted in Spanish. Readings will be in Spanish and English.
Thursdays: 2:00 - 4:50pm