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Past Graduate Courses

Previous Graduate Courses that fulfill LACS Cluster Requirements


Fall 2017

ENGLISH 471-0-20 – Studies in American Literature: Border Literature 

M 2pm – 4:50pm
John Cutler

Course Description: 

The US-Mexico border has been the site of intense cultural conflict since the mid-nineteenth century. It marks both the connection and the division between two nations, and many of our most fraught conversations concern whether the border should be a bridge or a wall. As an entry point into these conversations, this course will survey literature and film centering on the US-Mexico border. Students will become familiar with the history of the border, beginning with the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848 and extending through NAFTA and up to the current political climate. Together we will consider how the border has become such a potent site for contemporary mythmaking, a flashpoint for anxieties about race, labor, gender, and sexuality.

HISTORY 405-0-20 – Seminar in Historical Analysis: Borderlands 

T 2pm – 4:50pm
Geraldo Cadava

Course Description: 

We will read recent works about borders and borderlands around the world in order to compare the similarities and differences between them, and to gain an understanding of "borderlands" history as a field of study and methodological approach. The themes we will explore include the demarcation of borders at different times and places; the ethnic and national groups that come together in cooperation and conflict along internal, regional, or international boundaries; and border architecture. We also will address different legal regimes and differential power relations in border regions; immigration, citizenship, human rights, and sovereignty; nationalism, transnationalism, and internationalism; openings and closings of borders; and the multiple meanings and locations of borderlands. For your final assignment, you will write a 10-page essay about how your current research agenda (your 570, 580, dissertation projects) might incorporate a borderlands approach. Other than that, I expect you to attend each session, and come prepared to engage your classmates in a conversation about the weekly readings.

SPANPORT 480-0-1 – Topics in Latin American and/or Iberian Literature and Culture

Th 2pm – 4:50pm
Cesar Braga-Pinto

Course Description:

In this course, we will discuss works by Brazilian writers ranging from the abolition of slavery (1888) and the proclamation of the Republic (1889), to the 1920’s avant-garde movements. We will be particularly interested in understanding the debates on modernity and imitation of French culture at the turn of the century, and the extent to which post-1922 Modernism, and the anthropophagic movement in particular, represented a solution for the anxieties and aspirations of the writers of the period. The course is organized in conjunction with the conference Beyond Anthropophagy: Cultural Modernities between Brazil and France (October 20th). Reading knowledge of Portuguese or Spanish is helpful, but not required.

Spring 2016

SPANPORT 415-0-1 – Studies in 19th Century Literatures & Cultures
Tu 2pm – 4:50pm
University Library 3322
Professor Elisa Marti-Lopez

Course Description: 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.

SPANPORT 430-0-1 – Topics in Latino/a Literatures & Cultures - Tracing Latinidades
Th 2pm – 5pm
University Library 4646
Professor Frances Aparicio

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.

Winter 2016

SPANPORT 450-0-1: Topics in Cultural Studies

Nociones de lo andino: región y cultura 1827-2015

W 2pm – 5pm
Univ. Library 3322
Professor Jorge Coronado

Course Description: This seminar explores the notion of ‘lo andino’ as it has been elaborated in Andean and Andeanist lettered and other cultural production from the Independence to the current moment.  Given the exceptional diversity of the notion’s manifestations over this long period, we will focus on its articulation within three particular areas: literature, anthropology and archeology, and mass culture.  Within these areas, we will attend to the notion’s historical development, its utility in theorizing an idea of region in counterpoint to nation and globe, as well as its designation of particular political, social, and consuming subjects and circuits.  A reading knowledge of Spanish is required. Primary figures to be studied may include Mariano Eduardo de Rivero y Ustariz; Juan León Mera; Manuel González Prada; Federico More; Julio C. Tello; Arturo Poznansky; José María Velasco Maidana; José Carlos Mariátegui; Elena Izcue; Jorge Icaza; Gamaliel Churata; José María Arguedas; Agustín Cueva; Fausto Reinaga; Jorge Sanjinés; Alberto Flores Galindo; Sara Castro-Klarén; Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui; Freddy Mamani

SPANPORT 455-0-1: Comparative Studies in Latin American and/or Iberian Literature & Culture

Brazilian Literature and Anthropology

Th 2pm – 4:50pm
Univ. Hall 121
Professor Cesar Braga-Pinto

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. Taught in English.

SPANPORT 495-0-20: Practicum in Scholarly Writing and Publication

Tu 2pm - 4:00pm
Professor Lucille Kerr

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. Workshop intended to help students to design, research and write a scholarly article. Required for all graduate students in their second year.

Fall Quarter 2015

ANTHRO 490-0-23 – Topics in Anthropology - Materialisms and Materialities
M 7pm – 9:30pm
Anthro Seminar Room 104
Professor Mary Weismantel

The terms ‘new materialism’ and ‘the ontological turn’ have recently surfaced within theoretical conversations in a number of fields – philosophy, anthropology, archaeology, history and art history, to name only a few. Latin Americans and Latin Americanists are deeply involved in these conversations, most notably through the influential writings of the Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro. In this class, we will survey these conversations from an anthropological and Latin Americanist point of view. Our focus is less on theory than method: how to operationalize these ideas in your own research, whether that research is ethnographic, archaeological, or historical. Each week, we will read excerpts from influential theorists, paired with examples of published research projects that use these theories in some way. Most of these examples are either archaeological or ethnographic studies from/of Latin America; authors may include Viveiros de Castro, Phillippe Descola, myself, Bill Sillar, Gastón Gordillo, and Eduardo Kohn.

French 470: “Revolutions in Haitian Literature”
We 5:30pm – 7:50pm
Locy Hall 106
Professor Doris Garraway

In this course, we examine the powerful innovations of form, style, subject matter, and ideology that have marked Haitian literature from the early nineteenth to the late twentieth centuries in relation to the cultural legacy of the nation’s revolutionary founding. Against the view that modern Haitian literature has evaded historical concerns in favor of more pressing contemporary social and political problems, we explore how the revolution itself generated a rhetorical, literary, and ideological foundation for the emergence and continuous renovation of an intellectual and aesthetic tradition in Haiti, as well as the degree to which subsequent aesthetic revolutions in Haitian literature have been a response to perceived repetitions of the historical past. Beginning with a reading of foundational Haitian political writings together with theoretical texts by authors such as C.L.R. James, Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Sibylle Fischer, Étienne Balibar, Jacques Rancière, and René Girard, we go on to analyze the twentieth-century literary and artistic movements that were catalyzed by the first U.S. occupation of Haiti and the rise of the Duvalier dictatorship. These include Indigenism (Jacques Roumain), Marxism (Jacques-Stephen Alexis, René Depestre), Negritude (Depestre), Magical Realism (Alexis), and Spiralism (Jean-Claude Fignolé). Throughout, we will pay close attention to gender and sexuality in mediating representations of Haitian history, as well as the contribution of women authors (Virgile Valcin, Annie Desroy, and Marie Chauvet) in advancing radical critiques of both neocolonialism and the operations of violence, desire, and domination within Haitian society. Taught in French.

PERF_ST_515-0_SEC1: Seminar: Transnational Flows of Performance
We 2:00pm - 4:50pm
Annie May Swift Hall 110
Professor Marcela Fuentes

This course explores transnationalism through the lens of performance studies. Whereas transnationalism refers to the rapid flow of goods, information, and capital across fluid geographical borders, performance studies provides us with a rich conceptual understanding of embodied culture, the politics of location, and diasporic identities. The class thus offers a unique methodology that combines social and aesthetic theory in the analysis of performance practices engaging transnational aesthetic, social, and political processes. Although the course will be global in scope and reference, particular emphasis will be placed on performances of the Americas.

SPANPORT 415-0-1 – Studies in 19th Century Literatures & Cultures
Th 2pm – 4:50pm
University Library 5322
Professor Nathalie Bouzaglou

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.

SPANPORT 480-0-20- Topics in Latin American Literature and/or Iberian Literature & Cultures
Tu 2pm – 4:50pm
Univ. Library 4646
Professor Maria Uslenghi

Phantasmagorias of Progress: Exhibitions, Photography and Literary Writing in Turn-of-the-Century Latin America 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.

Spring Quarter 2015

SPANPORT 410-0-20: Topics in Early Modern Literatures and Cultures
W 2:00pm – 4:50pm
Instructor: Prof. Dario Fernandez-Morera
University Library 4670

Cervantes and the Rise of the Novel Cervantes' formidable presence can be found in many other European, U.S. American, and Latin American writers, from Fielding, Sterne, Flaubert and Mark Twain to Jorge Luis Borges and Mario Vargas Llosa. The figure of Don Quixote has become one the enduring myths of Western civilization, and it has had an impact on other forms of human creativity, from painting to ballet, to tone poems to plays to musicals to film. This class will focus on Don Quixote and its position in the development of the novel, paying attention to its formal devices, its historical context, and its thematic richness within the narrative genre. Two or three preceding and subsequent narratives will also be read as part of the comparative approach of this class. All works will be read in their original language whenever possible.

SPANPORT 410-0-21: Introduction to Colonial Latin America: Narrative, History, Theory
Tu 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Instructor: Prof. Laura Leon-Llerena
University Library 4722

This course will focus on a careful analysis of primary texts from the late fifteenth century to the late seventeenth century. It aims to dispel generic ideas of colonialism that have dominated discussions of the “colonial” in “post-colonial” debates. We will explore narratives that expose a diversity of processes of negotiation, production of knowledges, power struggles, and misunderstandings in different parts of Spanish America. It offers a reflection on how the gradual construction of the history of what we call today Latin America was shaped by multi-faceted colonialism (practices, narratives) and the challenges that it faced over time. Going from primary sources to theory (and not the other way around), this course also intends to make students familiar with major contemporary critical theories and debates that have led to a productive destabilization of terms and concepts such as discovery, conquest, colonization, empire, mestizaje, hybridity, otherness and sincretism. Readings will be in English and Spanish. Class discussion will be in Spanish.

HIST 492-0-20: Topics in History: Native Americans 1750-1850
Tu 2:30pm – 5:30pm
Instructor: Prof. Forrest Hylton
Harris Hall L40

Recent issues of William and Mary Quarterly and the Journal of American History note that Atlantic history and Native American history have passed like ships in the night. Similarly, although historians of Africans and people of African descent have re-configured our sense of time, place, and politics in the Age of Revolution, this new historiography either ignores Native Americans or relegates them to the periphery. What explains this invisibility, and what difference does it make if we put Native Americans at the heart of the Age of Revolution? How does Native American history force us to re-think the revolutionary Atlantic, particularly with respect to sovereignty and settler colonial nationalism? Using cases from North and South America, including pastoralists as well as village-based peasantries, this seminar will focus on networks of kinship, trade, diplomacy, and warfare in relation to colonialism and indigenous autonomy.

HIST 492-0-21: Topics in History: Revolution
W 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Instructor: Prof. Paul Gillingham
Harris Hall L40

This course introduces students to major debates in the comparative history of revolution. The global analysis starts in France; proceeds with the spread of revolutionary ideologies in the Americas; returns to Europe for 1848 and 1917; tacks back to the Americas for peasant revolutions in Mexico and Cuba; and then migrates to China and Iran, before ending by considering the revolutions that never happened. En route we will consider not just current scholarship, but also the intellectual history of revolution in the work of Tocqueville, Marx, Lenin, Guevara and Scott. Assessment will be on the basis of short critical essays, blog posts and a final term paper on a topic of your choice.

Fall Quarter 2014

SPANPORT 401-0-20: Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory
Instructor: Prof. Jorge Coronado
Th 2:00pm - 4:50pm
Parkes Hall 224

The Letter in Latin America Course Description: 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

Fall Quarter 2013

SPANPORT 480: Topics in Latin American Lit and/or Iberian Lit: Brazil and the Ethnographic Imagination
Instructor: Prof. Braga-Pinto
Th 2:00PM - 4:50PM
Kresge Centennial Hall 2-301

Topic: Brazil and the Ethnographic Imagination

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." Since then, accounts of the native cultures of Brazil have played a central role in Western epistemics as well as in the construction of the modern Brazilian nation and aesthetics. This course is intended as both a thematic survey of Brazilian lettered culture and an investigation of the development of modern ethnography. Firstly, we will discuss the role of European accounts of encounters with the Brazilian landscape and indigenous peoples in the development of modern ethnography; then we will analyze 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). Finally, 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, Krupat, Walter Mignolo, V. Crapanzano, Viveiros de Castro, among others.

Spanish 415-0 Studies in 19th Century Literature & Culture
Instructor: Nathalie Bouzaglo
Tues 2:00PM - 4:50PM
Kresge Centennial Hall 2-301

Topic: Illicit Passions at the End of the Nineteenth Century in Latin America

The national romance, as a hegemonic project that arose in the nineteenth century, is seen as the inevitable form taken by turn of the century Latin American fictions. This course takes a contrary view, exploring a group of texts that, even when they try to follow the mimetic imperatives of nationalism, question and even reject the erotic-political utopia of the family. We will read novels, cultural products¿newspapers, magazines, legal texts, medical case studies¿and visual artifacts that approach the subject of adultery as a crime of passion and inevitable bourgeois transgression. The idea of the course is to explore these writers' approach to the character of the adulteress. On the one hand, the work of these writers who are also public officials, medical doctors, lawyers, and judges¿strengthens and reflects the fundamental structure of the nation, that is, the family, or the institution of maternity and biological continuity. At the same time, however, they also take risks in fictionalizing proposals that, although sometimes contrary to the writers' intentions, criticize the nation's modernizing projects and foundation. This transgressive space allows us to question the "visibility" of the offense and, above all, its perpetrator to explore the strategies that these fictions "choose" at the moment of adultery's narration, exhibition, and desire.

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