Seminar Courses

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Literary and Critical Theory – Prof. Juan Carlos Quintero-Herencia

This course will introduce graduate students into some of the fundamental texts that shaped areas of theoretical meditation around topics such as language, representation and the specificity of the written text. Specifically, we would like to examine what it means to read, and think about reading experience. We will also discuss contemporary texts that have marked current critical debates. How the specificities of thought, language and literature appear within our texts?


Arlt, Borges, Cortázar y después… – Prof. Saúl Sosnowski

Roberto Arlt (1900-1942), Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) and Julio Cortázar (1914-1984) are markers in Argentina’s literary production (though not just there).  Through a select number of texts from each of them we’ll explore how they viewed Buenos Aires, its inhabitants and its cultures… and, through the prism of the city, the world in which they were written.  We’ll also consider how some of their texts were transformed in film versions. To varying degrees, their works never ceased to be read by other writers.  We’d like to see how and trace “los pasos en las huellas.”


Religion, Love, and Politics in the Spanish Baroque – Prof. Hernán Sánchez

This course is a panoramic survey on Spanish Baroque prose texts. We will study the images, ideas and beliefs, and the fictional and rhetorical strategies of political, religious and love texts of various genres: religious treatise; moral fantasy; picaresque novel; political treatise. Texts: Santa Teresa de Jesús (Las Moradas, 1577); Quevedo (Dreams, 1605-1622); Salas Barbadillo (Celestina's Daughter, 1612); Castillo Solórzano (The Girl of LiesTeresa de Manzanares, 1632); María de Zayas (Exemplary and Amorous Novels, or Spanish Decameron, 1637); Vélez de Guevara (The Crippled Devil, 1641); Gracián (The Hero, 1637; The Oracle Manual, 1647) and Saavedra Fajardo (Selections of his works)


The Polemics of Possession in the Early Modern Hispanic Atlantic – Prof. Eyda Merediz

This course will explore the “polemics of possession” as proposed by Rolena Adorno; that is, the search for territorial, political, cultural and literary authority in colonial texts from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean, New Spain and Peru. Written, cartographic and visual texts will be studied taking into consideration the moment of production with an interdisciplinary critical framework.


Civil War, Exile & Inner Spain, Memories – Prof. José María Naharro

The Spanish Civil War, the prologue to World War II, is one of the key events in the past century that still impacts and reflects decisively our times. A totalitarian uprising led by general Franco tolerated by non-interventionism and with the help of German and Italian Fascism toppled the democratic Spanish Republic and anchored an endless dictatorship (1936-1975). Many Spanish Republicans became refugees and victims in concentration camps in Spain France, Northern Africa or Nazi Germany. What analogies can we draw today from those displacements for our present world conflicts diasporas and economic crisis? We urgently need to reconsider these war testimonies about displacement and Crimes against Humanity, within the present debate between history, justice and memory while hundreds of stateless world refugees are rejected at the frontiers of our developed world. How do the memories that shaped the chasm between Exile and Inner Spain still shape the cultural reconstruction of the period? This seminar will attempt to question some of the givens about the so-called historical memory of the period.


Towards a Theory of Writing: A Reading Machine – Prof. Laura Demaría

This seminar proposes to inscribe a textual montage or a reading that would allow us to reflect on writing as a theory and as a practice. By playing with the materiality of language, this course will rethink, once again, the very scope of representation, the limits of referentiality, and the place of fiction. In other words, the seminar will articulate a theory of writing as a reading machine to critically reflect on words and things.


Words in History – Prof. Carmen Benito-Vessels

This seminar will explore how the Spanish we speak today dialogues with its history; how knowing the past explains the poetic use of language and the so-called conceptual and ideological Spanish metaphors. We will study language as a being (Dasein), how language use reveals the time period, the geopolitical configuration, the genre, the authorial hand, and ultimately our own human specificity. We depart from the basic idea that the Spanish language is the most complex and comprehensive tool we use for literature. Language is one of very few elements that, with its variations, trace common paths in the entire Hispanic World. Students will research the political, social, literary implications as present in the writings of contemporary authors and will be able to explain the variations from medieval, renaissance and baroque Spanish authors. Taught in Spanish.


Gender and Sexuality in Mexican Literature – Prof. Ryan Long

This seminar presents us with the opportunity to study the interrelated topics of gender, sexuality, literary representation, and power through the critical interpretation of Mexican literary texts, primarily from the 20th century and the present. We will read literary and theoretical texts alongside one another, asking how both types of text help us think about the topics that present points of contact and divergence among them. We will read from theories of feminism, queerness, and affect, among others. We will study works by a range of writers, including Ines Arredondo, Luis Zapata, Cristina Rivera Garza, Sara Uribe, and Guadalupe Nettel. Taught in Spanish.


Central American Diasporas Across the Transisthmus – Prof. Ana Patricia Rodríguez

This course examines Central American literary and cultural production as a transnational or transisthmian field of knowledge production, research, and engaged social practices. We will read representative texts from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá, and their respective diasporic communities across a spectrum of genres and historical periods to gain a wide view of the region and its cultural imaginaries. Among the topics explored will be violence, displacement, diaspora, space, and cultural resilience.


(Un)Doing Gender and Sexuality circa 1800: French, Germanic and Hispanic Discourses – Prof. Mehl Penrose (co-taught project)

This seminar examines representations of gender and sexuality in the French, Germanic and Hispanic literary and cultural traditions around 1800. Mobilizing current critical and theoretical approaches, the course interrogates discourses within and between the French, Germanic and Hispanic worlds focusing on normative and transgressive expressions of femininity, masculinity, and sexuality. Social, political, scientific, and martial instabilities littering the landscape of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe fostered radical as well as reactionary re-negotiations of notions of gender and sexuality in the French-, German- and Spanish-speaking worlds. This reconsideration of what it meant to be a man or woman emerged, in part, from the circulation and popularity of ideas promulgated by French social theorists and writers (Rousseau) as well as members of the scientific community (Roussel) and was compounded by the upheaval unleashed by the French Revolution and subsequent wars. Taking the works of French, German and Spanish authors of the Enlightenment, Classicism, and Romanticism as our focal point, we will apply modern critical theories to primary texts (prose, lyric, drama, treatises, etc.) to elucidate the complex and often fraught constellations linking gender, sex, sexuality, and power in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. What nodes of commonality or points of departure do French, Germanic and Hispanic approaches to gender, sex, and sexuality iterate and what might they tell us about theories of culturally and historically constructed femininities, masculinities, and sexualities? How is our modern understanding of gender and sexuality altered or amplified by examining the unstable categories of gender and sexuality around 1800? In what ways do the representatives of these three cultural and literary traditions inform and engage in dialog with one another to (re)define modern conceptions of self at the turn of the eighteenth to the nineteenth century. All seminar readings and discussions will be conducted in English. Students are encouraged to read texts in their original language, when accessible. However, students should be prepared to discuss the works in English.


Brazilian Modern and Contemporary Literature – Prof. Thayse Lima

This course will address the main trends in Brazilian literature from the 1920's Modernist Movement to the present. Focus will be on the development and contestation of national identity and how it affected modes of representation, aesthetics choices and meta-critical reflections on the function and form of literary works. Narrative and poetic works will be paired up with literary critique and theoretical studies.


Caribbean archipelago ( : ) politics, infrapolitics - Prof. Juan Carlos Quintero-Herencia

¿Qué es un archipiélago?, ¿Es un mar o un conjunto de islas? ¿Qué es un mar? ¿Qué es una isla? ¿Cuándo y cómo estas figuraciones dejan de ser parte de nomenclaturas geográficas y hasta antropológicas para devenir teorías de la imagen y de la singularidad caribeñas? Este curso desea darle y abrir el cuerpo a ciertas experiencias literarias que trabajarían, aunque fuese por un instante, un sensorio afectado por lo que denomino un efecto archipiélago. Esta mirada parcial al canon contemporáneo del Caribe hispano es también una manera de pensar cómo la literatura piensa sus adentros y sus afueras, su “politicidad” y sus modos de aparecer en la comunidad democrática. Leeremos y comentaremos textos de Antonio Benítez Rojo, Massimo Cacciari, Emmanuel Coccia, Julia de Burgos, Gilles Deleuze, Juan Duchesne-Winter, Edouard Glissant, Rita Indiana Hernández, Jamaica Kincaid, Eduardo Lalo, Georges Lamming, Alberto Moreiras, José Lezama Lima, Luis Palés Matos, Antonio S. Pedreira, Virgilio Piñera, Homero Pumarol, Rubén Ríos Ávila, Derek Walcott, María Zambrano entre otros.


Passengers in Transit: Territoriality and Memory in Post-Authoritarian Chilean and Argentine Narratives – Prof. Saúl Sosnowski

This seminar, to be taught jointly with faculty from the Universidad Catolica de Chile and the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, will address the long-term legacies of the dictatorship in Argentina and Chile and the changes that have taken place since the transition/return to democracy.  Nation, identity, exile, memory, the retrieval of shifting territories will be analyzed in prose fiction of the last couple of decades.


Cervantes and Don Quixote – Prof. Hernán Sánchez

The course consists in a chapter by chapter commentary of Don Quixote, alongside a selection of the works of Cervantes. The novel will be commented at the literal and historical levels, as well as in its philosophical and widely anthropological dimensions. We will attempt to establish a dialogue between Don Quixote and the narrative and philosophical traditions of the West. In order to test the continuity and vitality of the previously mentioned Quixotic principles in the Western literary tradition, we will contrast Don Quixote to a selection of major Modern novels.


On Latin America: Transatlantic Meets Colonial and Coloniality – Prof. Eyda Merediz

This course will explore the intersections between the field of Colonial Latin America and Transatlantic Studies. Este curso explorará las confluencias que existen entre el campo de los estudios coloniales latinoamericanos y los llamados estudios transatlánticos que formulan otro ángulo desde dónde leer los textos, archivos y tradiciones. Intentaremos trazar un itinerario de textos coloniales más o menos canónicos y acercamientos críticos transatlánticos, de modo que hagamos una reflexión sobre una metodología interdisciplinaria. Consideraremos además otras articulaciones teóricas que va más allá de lo colonial y hablan de colonialidad y postcolonialidad.


Spanish Civil War Chasms – Prof. José María Naharro

This seminar will attempt to evaluate an ample variety of texts dealing with the Spanish Civil War cataclysm and its aftermath. Analysis and critique on diverse reflections and representations of the causes, variations, and readings of the conflict through multiple formats (literature, film, essay, photography, comic books, etc). Focuses on the uses and abuses of memory as a cultural and differing tool.


Rewriting History, Creating Memories – Prof. Laura Demaría

This seminar will focus on Argentine and Uruguayan writers who were forced into exile or lived through in-sile during the last military dictatorship. While some had addressed the official versions of history before the 1970s, others offered alternate strategies as a result of that experience. We’ll explore, among others, works by Carlos Liscano, Cristina Peri Rossi and Mauricio Rosencof (Uruguay) and David Viñas, Tununa Mercado and Andrés Rivera (Argentina).


History of Spanish – Prof. Carmen Benito-Vessels

Este seminario tiene un doble objetivo: (A) Análisis de los cambios fundamentales en la evolución del español desde la Edad Media hasta nuestros días y estudio de la lengua como sujeto único y esencial a través de la literatura y la historia. (B) Otros temas que se tratarán en el curso son: elementos de poética, el cambio de lengua, las metáforas conceptuales, la gramaticalización y el cambio semántico. Todos ellos son de importancia capital para el análisis de obras literarias pertenecientes a cualquier género y a cualquier época.


Post-Revolutionary Mexican Literature: Stock Stories and Counterstories – Prof. Ryan Long

Literary histories bound to and for national definition are dynamic fields of contestation. For example, individual literary texts often exhibit formal and thematic traits that simultaneously underwrite and resist hegemonic discourse and practice. When scholars and critics incorporate individual texts into a national literary history, this tension between underwriting and resistance takes on even greater significance. This graduate seminar about Mexican literature considers the critical categories of stock stories and counterstories as a point of departure for advancing students’ understanding of how to consider literary texts in relation to politics. One of the seminar’s guiding questions is: to what extent is it viable to imagine and comprehend literature as something apart from territorialization. The seminar’s primary texts are selected from the 1920s to the present, and they correspond to several genres, including novel, chronicle, and testimonial.


Benito Perez Galdós – Prof. Mehl Penrose

The objective of this seminar is to study the novelistic corpus of the most prolific Spanish writer of the nineteenth century, with a special focus on the problematic of gender and sexuality.


Theory-Politics-Literature: A Caribbean Seascape – Prof. Juan Carlos Quintero-Herencia

In this open graduate seminar, we would discuss the elements of the triptych that informs our title. We would plunge the title into an image —the Caribbean Sea— as a way of de-authorizing or marinating any linear causalities between the elements of the triptych. We would not revamp the predictable dichotomies that mobilizes current university discourse on any of the elements of our title. It is our desire to de-frame, and de-stabilize the hegemonic modes of thought that link and separate the elements of our triptych. It is not our purpose to apply any identity template to a Caribbean corpus, nor to collect them. We aspire to abandon any disciplinary narrative of subordinations, verifications, or dispose of the how-to-make-a-paper blueprints ubiquitous in academic venues. This course will become an exploration on the rigors and pleasures of thought facing the sea. The course will be conducted in Spanish, but students’ papers, comments and presentations can be written, either, in English or Spanish.


Borges – Prof. Saúl Sosnowski

This seminar will analyze various lines of inquiry that emerge from Borges's work, starting with Fervor de Buenos Aires (1923) and running through his poetry and fiction, as well as from texts that were recovered after 1986 when he took up residence in Geneva.


Golden Century Theater (Cervantes to Calderón) – Prof. Hernán Sánchez

El Teatro español del Siglo de Oro es uno de los conjuntos teatros imprescindibles de la literatura universal. En este curso se estudia la teoría y la práctica teatral de los más destacados dramaturgos del Siglo XVII. Las piezas dramáticas leídas en el curso se enmarcan en su contexto social e histórico, y se analizan en su composición, trama y pensamiento, así como en sus dimensiones antropológicas, filosóficas y simbólicas. Por último, se investiga la influencia de este teatro en la literatura europea posterior.


Cinema from Spain: AUTEURIST and National Tensions – Prof. José María Naharro

Film as narrative and industry in Spain has displayed a rich variety of national and ideological tensions viewed through a display of auterist lenses that have also attempted to decode their decisive dependency with literary icons. Visions and fictions that   try to explore and broaden their national frontiers as well as their abject objects of desire.


Writing the Present: Reflections on Our Times – Prof. Laura Demaría

What the present is or what our present is are the two questions this class will not address. More than an ontological view of the present, this course explores the fluidity of a time that is extremely difficult to grasp. Thus, the present time we purposely seek to reflect upon is a cultural topography in constant change. In other words, our goal will be to revise contemporary cultural artifacts and theoretical debates to propose a reading machine to help us understand our own critical place.


How Early is Early Modern? Spain and Hispanoamérica del Norte – Prof. Carmen Benito-Vessels

What can the Middle Ages teach us about the present? Why do we use the term “Early Modern” and to which cultures do we apply it today? Were 14th and 15th century Castilian literary works Early? Were they modern? Did they have an impact in the New World? What were Spanish North America and the Spanish Borderlands? Can we connect 13th -14th and 15th century Spain with 16thcentury Perú, Florida and the US East Coast? We have numerous literary texts, chronicles, private letters, maps and other documents that can help us discuss these questions.  Among others, we will read selections or complete primary literary works related to history (Juan Manuel, Garcilaso de la Vega el Inca, Fray Jerónimo de Oré); novels by Diego de San Pedro (Cárcel de amor), Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo (Esplandián).  We will also examine English and French narratives (in translation) related to the same events that were originally written in Spanish. A wide range of contemporary scholarly essays will be part of our reading list.


Interpretation in Theory and Practice: The Case of Roberto Bolaño – Prof. Ryan Long

Through readings of relevant critical and theoretical texts and a selection of Bolaño’s novels, short stories, and poems, students in this course will develop their skills in literary analysis and their knowledge of critical theory. Central topics include but are not limited to: gender and sexuality, literary geopolitics, genre, intertextuality, intermediality, the representation of violence, literary history, and autobiography.


Poetics and Politics of the Latin American Essay – Prof. Juan Carlos Quintero-Herencia

This course aspires to become a collective exercise on the practice of writing, including the theoretical practice embedded in the Latin American essay. This course, especially, mobilizes a kind of pendulum, a back and forth between a few essential essays in the history of modern and contemporary literary theory and crucial Latin America essays.


Cervantes – Prof. Hernán Sánchez

The course will consist in a chapter by chapter commentary of Don Quixote (1605; 1615), with selections from Miguel de Cervantes' (1547-1616) other works: La Galatea, Novelas ejemplares, Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses, Persiles y Sigismunda, El viaje del Parnaso and Poetry. The novel will be commented at the literal and historical levels, as well as in its symbolical and widely anthropological dimensions. We will attempt to establish a dialogue between Don Quixote and Cervantes’s oeuvre and the narrative and philosophical traditions of Europe, United States and Latin America. We will also take into consideration Don Quixote’s universal impact in music, popular culture and the visual arts.


Nation/State/Subjectivity: Revisiting Modernity in Latin America – Prof. Laura Demaría

The scope of this graduate seminar is twofold: on one hand, we will explore the national foundation process in Latin America, the production of a national space and the emergence of political subjects; on the other hand, we will examine a variety of theoretical approaches to Modernity. Special attention will be given to theories of Modernity anchored in Latin America. Therefore, approaches by Rama, Cornejo Polar, Moraña, Bolívar Echeverría, Sarlo, Bonaventura de Sousa Santos, Schwartz, Palti, Ramos, Mignolo will be discussed next to the usual suspects. 


The History of the Spanish Language – Prof. Carmen Benito-Vessels

Este seminario tiene un doble objetivo: (A) Análisis de los cambios fundamentales en la evolución del español desde la Edad Media hasta nuestros días y estudio de la lengua como sujeto único y esencial a través de la historia. (B) Estudio del concepto de la lengua en la literatura: énfasis en la Edad Media y Siglos de Oro. La morfosintaxis y la morfofonología del español, son los temas centrales de la primera parte del curso; asimismo, las circunstancias literarias que acompañan e incentivan los cambios lingüísticos serán sujeto primordial de estudio en este seminario.


Writing Mexico: Text, Voice, and Nation – Prof. Ryan Long

This seminar focuses on the different ways in which twentieth-century and contemporary works of fiction from Mexico develop commentaries on their own representative capacities, especially regarding their depictions of topics relevant to the nation and other ways of imagining community. Such commentaries may take various forms, including but not limited to the development of writing as a topic; the establishment of dialogues with other media, such as music or film; the written construction of orality; and autobiography. Relevant fictional and theoretical texts will be assigned.


Archipielago Effects – Prof. Juan Carlos Quintero-Herencia

¿Qué es un archipiélago?, ¿es un mar o un conjunto de islas? ¿Qué es un mar? ¿Qué es una isla? ¿Cuándo y cómo estas figuraciones dejan de ser parte de nomenclaturas geográficas y hasta antropológicas para devenir teorías de la imagen y de la especificidad caribeñas? Este curso desea darle y abrir el cuerpo a ciertas experiencias literarias que trabajarían, aunque fuese por un instante, un sensorio afectado por lo que denomino un efecto archipiélago. Esta mirada parcial al canon contemporáneo del Caribe hispano es también una manera de pensar cómo la literatura piensa sus adentros y sus afueras. ¿Es posible establecer estas distinciones espaciales al hablar de lo literario?

Nos interesa meditar proposiciones caribeñas que llevan décadas proponiendo que el imaginario de las aguas y las tierras caribeñas no es siempre la figuración exacta de lo aislado, de lo fijo, aquello desentendido de su inmediatez o queda sus espaldas a lo extraño o alejado. También interesa reflexionar sobre las maneras de los propios textos, en ocasiones, erosionar la lógica metafórica que privilegian al momento de producir sentido.

Así, regresaremos una y otra vez —como el oleaje— a las mismas preguntas que luego devendrán otras: ¿cómo presentar una experiencia archipiélago que desatienda (feliz) el reclamo de nominación geográfico, inclusive demográfico como condición de visibilidad histórica para lo caribe?  ¿Por qué aquí el archipiélago es una experiencia que también se nombra como efecto?  ¿Cuándo o cómo esta presentación de un imaginario archipelágico podría movilizar un pensamiento crítico ante la singularidad política de algunas estéticas caribeñas?


Text and Image: Approaches through Critical Theory – Prof. Laura Demaría

Text and Image is a seminar designed to explore theoretical approaches that reflect on the construction and production of these cultural artifacts. The seminar is not intended to be a linear survey on literary and cultural theories that are current in our daily routines as literary and cultural critics. On the contrary, the seminar intends to function as a toolbox and as such it will propose different tools taken from a variety of disciplines (literary studies, philosophy, visual arts, history) to help us make legible cultural practices.


Mexico 68: Culture, Politics, Memory – Prof. Ryan Long

Este curso propone que se pueda acercarse de manera productiva a varias preguntas al trazar los efectos de un evento histórico sobre la representación literaria de una nación. Algunos ejemplos de tales preguntas siguen. ¿Cómo se pretende narrar una colectividad? ¿Cómo funciona la caracterización individual como fuerza o centrífuga o centrípeta que determina o mina la coherencia de una representación? ¿Es posible narrar el trauma? ¿Cómo afecta el trauma la coherencia narrativa? El evento histórico en que este curso se concentra es el movimiento estudiantil mexicano de 1968. En el curso leeremos una serie de textos que forman una trayectoria literaria que traza varias maneras de imaginar y definir la historia y el presente mexicanos.


How to Do Things with Words?: Rethinking a Practice through Contemporary Narratives from the Southern Cone – Prof. Laura Demaría

How to do things with words? is by now a question that does not need much explanation, as it has become a common place to think language as a practice. In our seminar we will explore in depth this question by focusing on contemporary narratives that reflects on what implies to practice writing. Expect to read narratives by Saer, Aira, Eltitt, Fogwill, Piglia, Levrero, Lemebel, Bolaño, Pauls, Chejfec, Meruane, Zambra, Fernández, Ronsino, Ratto, Falco.


Paisajes, ciudades y provincias: Representaciones del espacio en la literatura contemporánea (y no tanto) del Cono Sur – Prof. Laura Demaría

Las cartografías existen en plural y sobre la pluralidad de los espacios no hay duda. Sin embargo, la pregunta que surge frente a esa multiplicidad es cómo leer esos mapas, ya que los mismos son relatos espaciales que matrizan y son matrizados por una cultura, por un lugar, por una genealogía. Así, más allá de pensar en el espacio como el receptáculo en el cual se producen los eventos, esta clase propone pensarlos como espacios producidos en y por los artefactos culturales que leeremos mientras que dichos espacios se vuelven, a su vez, los soportes materiales de esos mismos artefactos. Las ciudades, los paisajes, las provincias, la nación, las fronteras, los centros y las periferias a los que recurriremos durante este seminario se presentan, entonces, como relatos espaciales que vienen a nombrar modos de articulación cultural. Frente a este diseño cartográfico de múltiples historias, esta clase se propone problematizar la localidad de una cultura, los diseños globales, la fijación de lo nacional, los nomadismos de lo “trans-” hasta llegar a proponer un modo de estar. En otras palabras, intentaremos explorar una serie de historias espaciales contemporáneas como un modo de visualizar una política del espacio que problematiza tanto las narrativas globales del presente como las nacionales del pasado, junto con una apuesta estética que busca repensar los alcances mismos de la representación y la referencialidad a través de una reflexión sobre los límites del lenguaje.


Cartografiar las vanguardias en el Cono Sur, trazar una teoría. A Cartography for the Avant-Gardes in the Southern Cone: Tracing a Theory – Prof. Laura Demaría

la definición por la negación, es decir, postulo lo que esta clase no es. Un modo, digamos, de empezar por los desvíos. En primer lugar, esta clase no se propone realizar una lectura cronológica y minuciosa de las vanguardias prestando particular atención a las especificidades de los diversos ismos y a los campos intelectuales que se gestaron. No nos detendremos, por lo tanto, a analizar críticamente los diferentes textos programáticos (manifiestos, proclamas y polémicas) ni a buscar la aplicación de dichos principios en los textos seleccionados. Tampoco la clase busca realizar una lectura comparativa para leer los grados de “originalidad” y de rupturas de las vanguardias del Cono Sur en relación al resto de las vanguardias latinoamericanas, o de las europeas o de las norteamericanas. Pero quizás el “peor” desvío que esta cartografía presenta se inscribe a nivel de género, ya que el seminario se articula a partir de una elección (una apuesta) por la narrativa. Elección que, por supuesto, supone un recorte—quizás reductivo—porque al desplazar a la poesía de nuestras reflexiones dejaremos literalmente afuera gran parte de la producción vanguardista. La cartografía esta que propongo encierra, a su vez, una genealogía que como toda genealogía—si le creemos a Foucault—tiene una íntima conexión con el presente. Así, lejos de recuperar una linealidad quiero que pensemos los varios textos que vamos a trabajar engarzados en un diálogo hecho de un instante condensado. Por eso, las llamadas vanguardias históricas—que tienen su auge en la década del veinte—se deslizan más allá y nos permiten repensar las relaciones entre estética y política, entre arte y vida, entre ficción y experiencia en los otros textos de la genealogía. El seminario que les propongo es, en consecuencia, una lectura—y con el artículo indefinido enfatizo la (mi) limitación—que no pretende construir una “gran narrativa” ni teórica ni histórica en torno a las vanguardias en el Cono Sur. Por el contrario, diría que el seminario es sólo un intento por explorar esta genealogía, arbitraria y discontinua. El núcleo que ha guiado la construcción de esta genealogía que les propongo es la proyección de una serie de preguntas recurrentes ya en pleno auge de las vanguardias históricas: la relación del arte con lo real, la mediación del lenguaje, los alcances de la ficción, las posibilidades de la representación de la experiencia. Teniendo como nudo esta serie de preguntas el seminario que les propongo apunta a reflexionar sobre la posibilidad de inscribir una teoría de la escritura que nos lleve a aproximarnos a la política y a la ética.


Bartolomé de las Casas through the Centuries – Prof. Eyda Merediz

This course will explore how visions of history, cultural difference, and justice were conceptualized by one of Spain’s greatest thinkers and activists of the early modern period, Bartolomé de las Casas. His works will be situated in dialogue with his allies and opponents at the time but also explored in terms of the lasting value of his legacy as a historian, ethnographer and canon lawyer. We will orient the course around Las Casas major writings (Historia de Indias, Apologética Historia Sumaria, Tratados, etc) and examine his contributions to cultural and intellectual history. We will then, turn our concerns to Las Casas lasting influences in subsequent generations of Latin American thinkers: on the rise of criollo consciousness in Latin America from the last decade of the 17th century to the 1900s; on the 19th century and the articulation of nationalism; and on 20th century’s reformulations of human rights and liberation philosophy and theology.


Queer Readings of Spanish Romantic, Realist and Naturalist Writings – Prof. Mehl Penrose

El objetivo de este seminario es estudiar las figuras marginadas en la literatura decimonónica por su falta de conformismo a las normas de la feminidad, masculinidad y sexualidad.

Uno de los propósitos principales del curso es definir lo que significa “queer” o “torcido” desde un punto de vista crítico actual. Además, aplicaremos este concepto a varios escritos literarios del diecinueve para entender cómo España construyó una noción no normativa del género y de la sexualidad de ese entonces. Analizaremos en profundidad estas figuras no normativas, frecuentemente representadas en la literatura como marginadas y apenas estudiadas en la crítica literaria hispanista.


Las Casas and Sor Juana in Dialogue with Their Contemporaries – Prof. Eyda Merediz

This course will primarily explore two important figures from the Colonial period who encapsulate unique subversive aspects of their respective cultural milieu: Bartolomé de las Casas and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (as they debate their contemporaries). The writings of Bartolomé de las Casas (1484-1566), are essential to understanding the cultural and political history of the early colonial period in the Americas and its heated debates. His emphatic political interventions in the transatlantic arena presented the most persuasive and polemical defense of Amerindian self-governance and property rights, and an advocacy for justice and restitution during the Spanish war waged against the Amerindians. He narrated and described one the most important events in the development of capitalism and articulated one of the most pervasive discourses on human rights across the centuries. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648-1695), was a successful poet and scholar who showed her erudition and genius by challenging gendered scholastic norms. Facing patriarchal opposition and ecclesiastical restraint, Sor Juana managed to establish a transatlantic dialogue with European writers and literary traditions that helped shape a Barroco de Indias and a feminist agenda avant la lettre. Ultimately, through Las Casas and Sor Juana, we will reach a more comprehensive understanding of the nature of dominant and/or resistant colonial discourses which prevailed in the New World of the 16th and 17th centuries.


From Sinner to Madman: The Gender-Sexual 'Invert' in Nineteenth-Century Spanish Cultural Discourse – Prof. Mehl Penrose

El propósito de este seminario es trazar el desarrollo de nociones acerca de la masculinidad y la sexualidad de los hombres en la España decimonónica. Empezaremos el curso analizando textos literarios y periodísticos para entender lo que se consideraba “aberrante” en la expresión de la sexualidad masculina.

Analizaremos no sólo el discurso literario y periodístico, sino además tratados médico-legales y manuales de conducta y de higiene para comprender cómo el debate sobre las expresiones de género y sexualidad no normativas evolucionó del tono moralista al médico-legal. También estudiaremos cómo los escritores, abogados, médicos, psicólogos, pedagogos y moralistas de la época pudieron definir y categorizar patológicamente a los llamados entonces “aberrantes sexuales” y hombres afeminados, en particular el invertido.

Situaremos los comentarios sobre los debates de ese siglo acerca del género y de la sexualidad dentro de un marco teórico, utilizando los escritos de los renombrados Judith Butler, Eve K. Sedgwick, Michel Foucault, Rictor Norton, Thomas Laqueur y otros. Uno de los temas principales a tratar en este seminario es si los “expertos”  intelectuales y médico-legales de ese entonces inventaron la sexualidad no normativa o si sólo la descubrieron en la población a la cual observaban.