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Fall 2020 

SPAN 597 - Latin American Photography: Archives, Practices, and Theories

Instructor: Professor Marco Martínez 
Course Description: Since the nineteenth century, Latin American photography has generated a massive visual archive of great quality, powerful artistic practices and movements, and theoretical reflections. By focusing on the aesthetics associated with the exotic and picturesque as well as with modern photography, this seminar will examine how this form of art has been defined in practice and theory for more than a century now (since the 1850s). We will also look closely at a selection of materials that addresses challenges related to photo techniques and forms of reproduction; working with visual archives; dynamics of memory; national imaginaries; and photography as a mechanism of social control as well as of resistance. Additionally, we will analyze how these particular reflections on Latin American photography enter in dialogue with their specific local contexts and with a global artistic sensibility, impacted by ¿the age of mechanical reproduction¿ (Benjamin) and, more recently, the advent of virtual reality. Some of the photographers that will organize our discussions are Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Héctor García, Nacho López, Graciela Iturbide, Pedro Meyer, Silvina Frydlewsky, Daniela Rossell, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Enrique Metinides, and Gian Paolo Minelli, among others. Readings for this seminar will be mostly in Spanish and will be drawn from contemporary critical theory in art, philosophy, history, and popular culture.

SPAN 597 -  Latin American Cosmopolitanisms

Instructor: Professor Krista Brune
Course Description: This seminar explores theories and expressions of cosmopolitanism emerging from Latin America beginning in the mid-nineteenth century and continuing through the contemporary moment. The class will consider how understandings of cosmopolitanism have changed in recent decades as Bruce Robbins, Pheng Cheah, and Homi Bhabha, among others, have embarked on a project of ¿new cosmopolitanisms.¿ By following a more nuanced comparative perspective, this course recognizes that cosmopolitanism is no longer privilege of the elites, but rather an experience shared with the poor and others. Latin American scholars Silviano Santiago, Mariano Siskind, and Ignacio Sánchez-Prado invite us to think about cosmopolitanisms in relationship to peoples, languages, and cultures often relegated to the periphery of world literary and cultural systems. In reading their theoretical interventions alongside philosophical texts by Immanuel Kant, Martha Nussbaum, and K. Anthony Appiah and literary works by Brazilian and Spanish American writers, this seminar proposes an investigation into the meanings and expressions of Latin American cosmopolitanisms. The following questions will animate course readings and discussions: How does a study of cosmopolitanism contribute to our understanding of the place of Latin America and its writers in the world? How do Latin American writers exude a desire for the world, which Siskind considers constitutive of cosmopolitanism? To what extent do Latin American cosmopolitanisms vary over time, in response to global geopolitical, economic, and cultural developments?

SPAN 561 - The Cinematic Pluriverse of Pedro Almodóvar

Instructor: Professor Matthew J. Marr
Course Description: This seminar will examine the cinematic imagination of Spain's most internationally celebrated filmmaker, Pedro Almodóvar. Topics to be considered will include Almodóvar's lensing of gender politics, sexuality, multiculturalism, and national identity in post-dictatorial Spain; his nimble negotiation of the local and the global; his taste for cinephilic self-referentiality and hybridity of genre; and a distinctive tendency toward thematic idiosyncrasy. all of which are signature features of his postmodern "brand." Significant attention will be devoted to approaches and trends within the vast corpus of scholarly criticism dealing with the filmmaker¿s oeuvre, and our engagement with film theory will arise organically out of the references from these texts. Some basic tools, techniques, and language of film analysis will be considered, as will a general understanding of field-specific norms of film studies as practiced in North American and U.K. Hispanism.