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Spring 2018

SPAN 597 (M 6:00-9:00)

A Poetry of Things: Material Culture in the Spain of the Austrias
Mary Barnard

With the rise of Spain in the sixteenth century as a trans-European and global power, social, political, and aesthetic ideals were aligned with the court, empire and modernity. This course will focus on how major poets of Habsburg Spain use artifacts as material sites of discourse to explore connections to antiquity, cultural memory, political and social events, space, self-representation, and status. Artifacts range from large decorative objects, like tapestries, paintings, and frescoes, to trinkets and accessories in "cabinets of curiosities." The course will examine diverse topics such as the city as text, specifically how a "pilgrim"  and learned humanist from Spain reads a Rome of ruins and museum artifacts; how objects like tapestries and paintings are used to explore questions of patronage, social networking, and gift-giving as well as to celebrate imperial politics and ideology; how  mirrors and portrait miniatures are used for examining questions of introspection and self-reflexivity of an incipient modern self; and how inscriptions on tombs and urns explore the interplay between orality and writing, voice and memory. Since the topic is part of a larger European phenomenon, the course will include Spain's cross-cultural relations with Italy, a major source of cultural objects. Time will be devoted to early modern collectionism as a backdrop to textual and artistic production.

Spanish 597 (T 6:00-9:00)

Voices of the Povo/Pueblo 
Krista Brune
This course examines the relationship between public intellectuals and the "people" by analyzing various voices of the povo and the pueblo in Latin American literature, visual art, music, and film since the early twentieth century. The class conceives of public intellectual in a broad sense to include, among others, essayists Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, Fernando Ortiz, and Carlos Monsiváis, musicians Chico Buarque and Violeta Parra, filmmakers Glauber Rocha and Octavio Getino, and painters Tarsila Amaral and Wifredo Lam. By reading works by Brazilian and Spanish American artists and intellectuals together, we will explore the intersections of the intellectual, the popular, the national, and the political in modern and contemporary Latin America. Theoretical and critical texts on the role of public intellectuals, the concept of the national-popular, the testimonial, and the voice will complement our study of literary and artistic works.

SPAN 597 (R 6:00-9:00)

Latin American Modernisms and (Old) New Media
Sarah J. Townsend 
In recent years the rise of digital technologies has led critics to reconsider the category of “literature” and look back at the ways in which it has changed throughout history in response to the advent of new media. In this course we will take up this question in the context of Latin America, beginning in the late nineteenth century and continuing into the present. Among the questions we will ask: How might shifting the focus to regions often regarded as “backward” and “behind” help challenge the rhetoric of rupture and historical amnesia that often accompanies the introduction of “new” media? Given the (in some places) high rates of illiteracy, has literature in Latin America responded differently to the challenges posed by new media? How has the "embodied" art of theater responded to changes in the mediascape, including the invention of the phonograph, film, radio, and digital media? Each week we will read key works of media theory and criticism alongside literary and artistic works by a wide array of Latin American writers. The course will cover a number of works on the MA list for students in SIP, including modernista poetry and other types of texts by José Martí, Miguel Ángel Asturias's El señor presidente, Roberto Arlt's play Saverio el cruel, Gabriel García Márquez's Cien años de soledad, and stories by Jorge Luis Borges; it will also include a few texts in Portuguese by writers such as the Brazilian concrete poets, which we will consider in relation to the rise of cybernetics. For those with no background in Portuguese, these texts will either be available in translation, or (as in the case of concrete poetry) will be simple for readers of Spanish to decipher.