Past Courses

FALL 2014

SPANPORT 401:  Intro to Literature and Cultural Theory:

The Letter in Latin America

This course has two goals. First, it seeks to familiarize students with Latin American intellectual traditions in the modern period. In order to do so, it surveys a representative selection of pivotal figures in three different, and crucial, historical moments: the post-revolutionary 19th century and its responses both to Independence and an emerging neocolonial order; the frenetic 1920s and 30s and the articulations of a properly Latin American identity and culture; and the late 20th century, which has witnessed an attempt to reckon with the failure of the revolutionary projects of the mid-century. Second, within and across these historical constellations, the course will analyze prominent conceptual paradigms that have defined intellectual discourse in the region, such as mestizaje, hybridity, and heterogeneity, focusing particularly on their evolution and metamorphoses. As we consider the advent and waning of elite, lettered production’s influence and power to shape national and regional conceptualizations, we will pay special attention to how alterity, gender, and coloniality inflect the region’s intellectual production. Readings will be derived from a list of primary texts with supplements from other sources.

Instructor:  Jorge Coronado

Offered:  Th 2-4:50pm

SPANPORT 425: Studies in Contemporary Literature and Culture

Exile and Diaspora in Contemporary Caribbean Literature

This course will examine how the experiences of exile and diaspora (both political and economic) have helped shape Caribbean literature.  We will examine a diverse array of texts – poetry, novels, short stories, films and critical essays – produced in both Spanish and English both in the Caribbean and in the United States by writers of Puerto Rican, Dominican and Cuban origin.  As we read, we will use exile and diaspora as experiences as lenses through which to interrogate other aspects of Latino-Caribbean literature.  How are these experiences portrayed, and what role have they played in the construction of identities, both personal and collective?  How have these situations shaped the development of Caribbean communities (both physical and literary) within the continental U.S.?  Should exile and diaspora be seen as patterns connected to globalization, thus serving to complicate our idea of what is Caribbean, or can they in fact be seen as fundamental to the construction of Caribbean-ness?  We will look at how these movements affect the treatment of race and gender in these works, and we will analyze the role of nostalgia and humor in the navigation of different cultural and geographic spaces.

 Instructor:  Emily Maguire

Offered:  TU 2-4:50pm

SPRING 2014

SPANPORT 415-0 Studies in 19th Century Literatures and Cultures

The course will discuss theories and practices of 19th-century European Realist novelists.  It will explore the aesthetic and ideological foundations of Realist mimesis and representation. In particular, it will focus on the problematics of desire in Realist writing and the Realist   construction of the modern image of the city. The literary city will be analyzed in relation to the development of urban planning and new spatial practices. We will read works by Honoré Balzac, Charles Dickens, Narcís Oller, Benito Pérez Galdós, and Émile Zola. All works will be read in their original language whenever possible, or in English or Spanish translations. We will visit the Art Institute to discuss Realist painting and nineteenth-century representations of the city and the urban experience.

Instructor: Elisa Marti-Lopez

Offered: M 2-5pm

SPANPORT 455-0 Comparative Studies in Latin America and/or Iberian Literature and Cultures: Latin American Avant-gardes: Poetics and Polemics

This course will host a critical discussion on the aesthetic and political dimensions of Latin American vanguardias, paying equal attention to the theories and programs of artists as to the polemics that stemmed from their work. Readings include manifestos, poetry and fictional prose along numerous thematic axes: the reconsideration of the popular; indigenismo, negrismo, antropofagia; nationalism/internationalism; rupture/continuity; utopias; the city and its relation to heterogeneities and confluences.

Instructor: Viviana Gelado

Offered: T 2-5pm

SPANPORT 496-0 Dissertation Prospectus Writing Workshop

Course Description: This course seeks to impart to students the knowledge necessary to answer   the questions: what is a dissertation, and how do I write one? In the spirit of a workshop, we will work as a group to foster and cultivate the skill sets necessary to formulate and articulate an organizing question adequate to the charge of a significant, independent, multi-year research project. We will call this first stage the prospectus, and we will figure out what it is and how best to write it. We will try to distill multiple and often conflicting statements, expectations, and/or fears about what the dissertation is so we can effectively undertake its preparation and writing.

Instructor: Emily Maguire

Offered: TH 2-5pm

Winter 2014

SPANPORT 450-0 Cultures of the Image. Literature and Visual Culture in Contemporary Latin America

Course Description: This course will trace a possible genealogy of the rapport between literature and visual culture by looking closely at a number of literary and theoretical texts that differently address questions central to both literature and image culture: questions about how we experience and represent the world around us, perception, reproduction, memory and forgetting, history and knowledge. In particular, we will explore how photography has been since its advent a privileged figure in literature’s reflection on its own modes of representation. Reading texts by Benjamin, Kracauer, Adorno, Barthes, Foucault, Derrida, Jay, Didi- Huberman, Rancière we will pay close attention to their explicit discussions on the aesthetic image, photography, film and how they account for what is cultural about vision and what is visual about modern culture. Guided by these questions, we will throughout think about the relation between vision and language in the fiction of Borges, Cortázar, Onetti, Saer, and Puig.

Instructor: Maria Alejandra Uslenghi

Offered: TH 2-5pm

SPANPORT 495-0 Practicum in Scholarly Writing and Publication

Course Description: This course seeks to impart to students the knowledge necessary to answer the questions: what is a dissertation, and how do I write one?  In the spirit of a workshop, we will        work as a group to foster and cultivate the skill sets necessary to formulate and articulate an organizing question adequate to the charge of a significant, independent, multi-year research project.  We will call this first stage the prospectus, and we will figure out what it is and how to best to write it. We will try to distill multiple and often conflicting statements, expectations, and/or fears about what the dissertation is so we can effectively undertake its preparation and writing.

Instructor: Lucille Kerr

Offered: T 2-5pm

Fall 2015

SPANPORT 480-0-20  Special Topics:  Phantasmagorias of Progress: Exhibitions, Photography and Literary Writing in Turn-of-the-Century Latin America.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course will explore how visual culture at the turn of the nineteenth-century became a significant source for articulating modern experience and utopian visions of progress. We will examine specific images/objects /texts but also reach beyond them to include a history of vision, visual experience, and its historical construction. We will discuss the theoretical frameworks that have come to shape this period and its relation to literary modernism: phantasmagoria, spectatorship, technological reproduction, exhibitionary complex, mass media and consumer culture. We will read texts by T. Adorno, W. Benjamin, S. Kracauer, J. Crary, G. Didi-Huberman, K. Silverman, J. Rancière, M. Hansen, M. Doane.   

María Alejandra Uslenghi

Tuedays 2:00 - 4:50

SPANPORT 415-0-1  Studies in 19th Century Lit & Cultures: Adulterated Nation: Illicit Passions in Turn-of-the-Century Latin America

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literatures and Cultures: graduate seminar (taught in Spanish). Examines narratives of adultery from late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century Latin America that reveal the contradictions and complexities in the construction of the national culture

Nathalie Bouzaglo

Thursdays: 2:00 - 4:50

Winter 2016

SPANPORT 455-0 Comparative Studies in Latin American and/or Iberian Literature and Cultures

Literature and Anthropology

Course Description: In his Tristes Tropiques (1955), Claude Lévi-Strauss refers to Jean de Léry's History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil (1578) as the "breviary of the anthropologist.” Indeed, since the Renaissance, accounts of the native cultures of Brazil (sometimes utopian, sometimes nostalgic and melancholic) have played a central role in Western epistemologies, as well as in the construction of the modern Brazilian nation and aesthetics. By studying ethnographic and fictional narratives about Brazilian indigenous peoples, this course is intended first, to understand the role played by ethnographic accounts in the construction of nationality in Brazil (and in Latin America in general) and, second to understand the role of the imagination in 20th anthropological writing. We will analyze, for example, how the Brazilian lettered elite responded to the image of Brazil that was constructed by Europeans as an exotic space, and how they incorporated it into their projects of nation building (from 19th-century Romanticism to Modernist Avant-gardes and beyond). In addition, we will discuss how indigenous cultures remain a heterogeneous space in the national and global imagination, and the political consequences of this contradiction in contemporary societies. Readings will include travel narratives, novels, poems, essays, ethnographic accounts and films. Essays by Montaigne, Jacques Derrida, Frank Lestringant, Michel de Certeau, Silviano Santiago, James Clifford, Johannes Fabien, Philippe Descola, Viveiros de Castro, among others. Assignments for the first class will be posted on CANVAS.

Offered: TH 2-4:50pm

Instructor: Cesar Braga-Pinto

SPANPORT 495-0 Practicum in Scholarly Writing and Publication

Course Description: This seminar course explores Iberian and Latin American cultural and political issues in relation to particular representational techniques, prominent literary traditions, subject-and national-making practices, and varied forms of writing literary texts. Topics vary.

Offered: T 2-4:50pm

Instructor: Lucille Kerr

Spring 2016

SPANPORT 415-0 Studies in 19th Century Literatures and Cultures

Course Description: The course will discuss theories and practices of 19th-century European Realist novelists. It will explore the aesthetic and ideological foundations of Realist mimesis and representation. In particular, it will focus on the problematics of desire and the construction of the modern discourse on the city.  We will read novels by Honoré Balzac, Gustave Flaubert, Narcís Oller, and Émile Zola; Benito Pérez Galdós's journalistic chronicles on the crimen de la calle Fuencarral; and short stories by Emilia Pardo Bazán. All works will be read in their original language whenever possible, or in English or Spanish translations. We will visit the Art Institute to discuss nineteenth-century representations of the city and the urban experience. The course will be taught as a seminar.

Offered: T 2:00-4:50pm

Instructor: Elisa Martí-López

SPANPORT 430-0 Topics in Latino\a Literatures and Cultures

Course Description: This graduate seminar will explore the diverse and multiple significations of the critical concept of Latinidad/es within Latino USA.  While referring to a sense of collectivity, Latinidad/es also signals the tensions within, the horizontal hierarchies that structure different national communities of Latin American descent, and the power differentials within our population.  We will explore both the fellowships and frictions that the term suggests, as well as the multiple social affiliations as these are inscribed in scholarship, fiction, and memoirs.  Readings will focus on the geocultural urban spaces of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, examining interlatino power dynamics and intralatino/a subjectivities.

Offered: Th 2-5:00pm

Instructor: Frances Aparicio

SPANPORT 496-0 Dissertation Prospectus Writing Workshop

Course Description: This course seeks to impart to students the knowledge necessary to answer the questions: what is a dissertation, and how do I write one?  In the spirit of a workshop, we will work as a group to foster and cultivate the skill sets necessary to formulate and articulate an organizing question adequate to the charge of a significant, independent, multi-year research project.  We will call this first stage the proposal, and we will figure out what it is and how best to write it. We will try to distill multiple and often conflicting statements, expectations, and/or fears about what the dissertation is so we can effectively undertake its preparation and writing.

Offered: W 2-5:00pm

Instructor: Emily Maguire

Fall 2016

SPANPORT 415-0-1: Studies in 19th Century Lit & Cultures: Body Fictions

Can the body disobey the limits imposed by the materiality of sex? Is it possible to disorganize the binary opposition without reinforcing its normativity? Can gender have a decisive bearing on bodily materiality? My seminar answers these questions, exploring the work of Latin American writers and artists who aim to defy the norms imposed by the heterosexual imperative. I propose that the possibility of a new body depends on its visuality and visibility to enable the deactivation of the culture's preferred categories.

Nathalie Bouzaglo

Thurdsays: 2:00 - 4:50pm

SPANPORT 401-0-1: Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory: The Letter in Latin America

This course has two goals.  First, it seeks to familiarize students with Latin American intellectual traditions in the modern period.  In order to do so, it surveys a representative selection of pivotal figures in two different, and crucial, historical moments: the post-revolutionary 19th century and its responses both to Independence and an emerging neocolonial order and the frenetic 1920s and 30s and the articulations of a properly Latin American identity and culture. Second, within and across these historical constellations, the course will analyze prominent conceptual paradigms that have defined intellectual discourse in the region, such as mestizaje, hybridity, and heterogeneity, focusing particularly on their evolution and metamorphoses.  As we consider the advent and waning of elite, lettered production’s influence and power to shape national and regional conceptualizations, we will pay special attention to how alterity, gender, and coloniality inflect the region’s intellectual production.  Readings will be derived from a list of primary texts with optional supplements from other sources.

Reading knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese is required as is a familiarity with the history of Latin America. The language of class discussions will depend on the class registration.

Jorge Coronado

Mondays: 2:00 - 4:50pm

Winter 2017

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.

Lucille Kerr

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

Emily Maguire

Spring 2017

SPANPORT 455: Comparative Studies in Latin American and/or Iberian Literature & Cultures - Critical Cosmopolitanisms

The seminar seeks to critically engage with two master narratives that have been instrumental in an understanding of subjective universal desires, interrelations and fictions of integrated totality, as well as material processes of global dislocation, disjuncture and displacement: cosmopolitanism and globalization. Can these concepts still provide us with an account of present cultural-political moment? What has historically been their critical potential? The experience of destitution and dislocation, of not belonging, the discontent of those could cannot leave or return, the new forms of crossing borders, and the displacement of immigrants and refugees, as they have been articulated in both aesthetic formations and theoretical discourses in Latin America, point us to re-examine the reconfigurations of this translocal space we call “the world”and historicize its imaginative forms. 

We will discuss readings by 19th century writer Eugenio Cambareres, Rubén Darío and Latin American and French avant-garde writers, Jorge Luis Borges, Roberto Bolaño, João Gilberto Noll, César Aira, films by Wong Kar Wai, as well as Nussbaum, Brennan, Jameson, Appadurai, Derrida, Arendt, Foucault and Butler. 

Alejandra Uslenghi

Tuesdays 2:00 - 4:50pm

SPANPORT 401: Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory - The Letter in Latin America, part ii 

This course has two goals. First, it seeks to familiarize students with Latin American intellectual traditions in the twentieth century. In order to do so, it surveys a representative selection of pivotal figures in two different, and crucial, historical moments: the frenetic articulations of a properly Latin American identity and culture that pertain to the first half of the 20th century, and the attempts to reckon with the repercussions of the revolutionary projects of the mid-century that characterize the century’s last decades. Second, within and across these historical constellations, the course will analyze prominent conceptual paradigms that have defined intellectual discourse in and about the region, such as mestizaje, hybridity, and heterogeneity, focusing particularly on their evolution and metamorphoses. As we consider the advent and waning of elite, lettered production’s influence and power to shape national and regional conceptualizations, we will pay special attention to how alterity, gender, and coloniality inflect the region’s intellectual production. Readings will be derived from a list of primary texts with optional supplements from other sources. 

Jorge Coronado

Thursdays: 2:00 - 4:50pm