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The threat of disease lurks ominously. It is only revealed through narrativization. Literary criticism has produced a growing number of studies on the interconnections between illness, creation, and representation. Nevertheless, as exemplified by the fragments quoted on the side, the focus has remained constrained to a North Atlantic perspective. This seminar seeks new perspectives on disease and literature in the Hispanic milieu, and its myriad representations in both sides of the Atlantic.
We will examine texts that present disease as theme, as aesthetic approach, as self-representation, or as metaphor in the Spanish-speaking world. Disease and illness, or the sick and diseased as represented in literature will serve as vehicles to assess cultural tensions (i. e., politics, artistic pursuit, economics, aesthetics). The first third of the course will be devoted to studying general theoretical, critical, and aesthetic approaches to the understanding of illness. In the second third we will revise a group of relevant canonical works from the comprehensive list under the lens of disease studies. The last third will be dedicated to study and discuss the texts chosen by the seminar participants.
Before the seminar begins, participants will consult and agree with the instructor on the book or author they have chosen for their personal project. In order to have a true seminar format, all participants will read in advance the texts chosen by their peers. This is a discussion-based seminar course. Some of the broad topics we may engage with are: disease as cultural contact zone or as cultural marker, the rhetoric of disease,
disease/illness and government, disease/illness as biographic departure, relationship between place, literary production and disease/illness, the rhetoric of disease/illness, metaphors of infection, survival, and


In general literary terms, Indigenismo in Latin American refers to the discourse about the “Indian” that is written and produced by non-Indian writers and intellectuals. This movement can be traced back to the conquest, but in literature it emerges with the publication of Clorinda Matto de Turner’s Aves sin nido (1889). The movement consequently gained much of its prominence after the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) with a cultural and political agenda that sought to re-vindicate the “Indian” from its subaltern condition through mestizaje, land reform, education, etc. How do we read Indigenismo in light of the emergence of indigenous rights movements such as the Zapatistas, the Maya movement, and The Movement Toward Socialism? What is the cultural and political relevance of Indigenista textual production today? In this graduate seminar, we will explore these questions by studying canonical and non-canonical works from the genre. Additional questions we will consider include: how does the indigenous world become an object of artistic study and expression, and a fundamental component of Latin American literatures and cultural/national(ist) production? Why has the indigenous world become so appealing to non-Indians? What have been, and what are, Indigenismo’s cultural and political implications today? In trying to answer these questions, we will explore indigenismo’s discursive differences and transformations since 1889 by, first, understanding the literary works we will study in their respective geo-cultural, political and historical contexts. Second, we will reflect upon Indigenismo’s literary and cultural contributions and shortcomings then and now. Theoretically, we will (re)read these narratives from postcolonial perspectives in order to think of decolonizing conceptual frameworks and productive intercultural dialogues. The literature we will read will be complemented with short stories, films, documentaries and paintings in order to scrutinize Indigenismo’s diverse manifestations.

  • Aves sin nido by Clorinda Matto de Turner
  • Balun Canan by Rosario Castellanos
  • Huasipungo by Jorge Icaza
  • Leyendas de Guatemala by Miguel Angel Asturias
  • Los ríos profundos by Jose Maria Arguedas
  • Boderlands/La frontera by Gloria Anzaldua

Additional PDFs will be made available on Sakai.

El seminario graduado de Poesía Transatlántica tiene tres objetivos:

  1. Estudiar todos los poemas de la lista de MA Comps de la época moderna y contemporánea en la Península Ibérica y en Latinoamérica en sus respectivos contextos
  2. Aprender a través del análisis de poesía las características de los movimientos estéticos más importantes de los últimos siglos
  3. Dominar el análisis literario aplicado a la poesía como lenguaje específico, y adaptar las teorías a nuevos contextos y definiciones del texto poético, especialmente tras el advenimiento de la poesía digital, que ha revolucionado el modo de leer y componer poesía

La evaluación del curso se hará a través de cuatro comentarios de texto y un trabajo final.

Topic: Sameness and difference in nineteenth-century Latin American literature.

This seminar explores the role of mimesis in the creation of political and national imaginaries in nineteenth-century Latin American literature. Departing from Homi Bhabha’s and Michael Taussig’s conceptualization of the “colonial space” through the investigation of the relationships between mimesis and alterity, we will examine how Latin American literature has engaged with the production of spaces of equality and of extreme differentiation. We will study the role of literature in political, scientific and legal processes that aimed at organizing and rationalizing social spaces, identifying and marginalizing deviant subjects, and creating social, racial and gender classifications within the context of the formation of supposedly homogeneous territories or nation-states. Readings include Villaverde’s “Cecilia Valdés,” Sarmiento’s “Facundo,” Hernández’s “Martín Fierro,” Manzano’s “Autobiografía de un esclavo,” Da Cunha’s “Os sertões,” and Assis’s “O alienista.” Finally, we will discuss how the concept of mimesis can offer new insights into familiar topics, such as state-building, writing the nation, civilization and barbarism, racial discourses, and modernization. Brazilian texts may be read in the original or in Spanish translation.

Topic: “Addressing Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: texts, contexts, prevalence”

In this course we will engage in close, contextualized readings of a broad sample of the primary and secondary works of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the celebrated “Tenth Muse” of seventeenth-century Mexico. A recognized leading figure in Colonial and Golden Age Hispanic letters, the cloistered nun produced masterful works of poetry, drama and prose that, given her gender and position, marked her as a rara avis of her time and beyond. Topics to be considered include: Constructing a New World Baroque; The constraints and usefulness of rhetoric; Writing and femininity; The cloister as limitation and liberation; Gender and authority; Representing race, gender and ethnicity; The role of the confessor; Transatlantic mediations; Contemporary reimaginings.

Grade distribution: Midterm exam 40%, final research paper 60%.

How have key concepts of nation and Latin(a) American identity been defined and continue to be reworked in the cultural imaginary, as well as represented textually since the 19th Century?Why have borders and immigration — legal and undocumented — become such controversial issues? In order to understand how such notions evolved, we need to explore not only some of the background surrounding such controversies and their impacts, but also intersections of race, ethnicity and gender with nation and the transnational. We’ll use historical and current events, multimedia, lectures, presentations, discussions, debates, theory, as well as selected 19th and 20th century literary works as sources to see how these polemics have been defined within and without Latin America. We’ll also discuss such ideas as postcolonialism, borders/borderlands, (im)migration, diaspora, slavery, hybridity, transculturation, stereotypes, etc. We’ll read the following, required texts (some may change due to their availability): Martí, “Nuestra América”/“Our America” (essay, coursepack); Manzano, Autobiografía de un esclavo/Autobiography of a Slave (slave narrative in a bilingual ed. by Ivan Schulman); Matto de Turner, Aves sin nido/Birds without a Nest (novel); Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab/Sab (novel); Castillo, So Far from God (novel); Fuentes, “La frontera de cristal”/ “The Crystal Frontier” and “Río Grande, Río Bravo,” La frontera de cristal/The Crystal Frontier (short stories, coursepack); García, Dreaming in Cuban (novel); Menchú, Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú/I, Rigoberta Menchú (testimonial narrative); Alvarez, How the García Girls Lost Their Accents (novel); Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La frontera (essay, selection, coursepack). Work for the course: active class participation, presentation (40% of grade), and research paper (60%).

This course is crosslisted with CMPL 835.

This seminar examines the place of theory in Latin American cultural studies. We will focus on literature, visual culture, intellectual debates, and political movements that construct and deconstruct notions of Latin Americanism. We will question the divide between theory “by” and “about” Latin Americans, read new and canonical works of theory and fiction, and discuss topics such as Latin American particularity, race and migration, subalternity and difference, memory and violence, politics and the environment, indigenous and gender studies.

Required readings include canonical works from the Qualifying Exam List by Martí, Mariátegui, Rodó, Retamar, Menchu, Paz, and Arguedas as well a prominent contemporary authors in the field of Latin American literary and cultural studies, such as Sylvia Molloy and Julio Ramos. We will also discuss female critics whose voices have not been as widely disseminated in the field of Latin American Studies, such a Denise Ferreira da Silva and Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui.

The aim of this course is to experiment with varied critical vocabularies for analyzing modern and contemporary Latin American literary and cultural texts as well as prepare students to develop their own approach to different notions of Latin Americanism.

Our world is saturated with news regarding illegal immigration, the construction of a wall between the US and Mexico, and the deportation of those who do not have documentation to stay in this country, like the dreamers, who entered the US as undocumented children. This graduate seminar explores the literary and cultural representation of this current scenario of violence, discrimination, gender struggles, and the formation of otherness. We will examine canonical works by Juan Rulfo, Carlos Fuentes, Carlos Monsiváis, and Gloria Anzuldúa, as well as more recent works by Sonia Nazario, Antonio Ortuño, Daniel Sada, Daniel Alarcón, Maya Chinchilla, Valeria Luiselli, Jorge Volpi, and Horacio Castellanos Moya, among others.

Through a critical examination of literature and film, this course will explore how Central American authors and film directors address the root causes of migration, the journey north or south, settlement, and the challenges Central American migrants face in the new country. We will discuss the social, cultural, economic, and political histories of migrants’ countries of origin, including the effects of U.S foreign policy and economic power dynamics in these regions. We will also explore the transnational links that migrants create and maintain with their communities as well as the relationship between migration and larger global, imperial, and colonial socio-economic forces operating in Central America-American contexts.

Required texts:

Migrante by Marcos Antil

Trece colores de la resistencia hondureña by Melissa Cardoza

Los migrantes que no importan by Oscar Martinez

On Heroes, Lizards and Passion by Zoila Ellis

El país bajo mi piel de Gioconda Belli

The World in Half by Cristina Henriquez

Previously Offered:

Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021