Seminar Spanish/Spanish American Transatlantic Topics

The fear of communicable disease is way older than our present COVID-19 fright. Contagion is linked to literature because it is usually presented as a narrative (crisis in medias res, search for cause, characters, setting, plot, conflict, desired resolution). Contagion and disease are also a rich source of knowledge for literary critics because of their high allusive power. This seminar seeks to study the complexity of representation of two illustrative contagions in the cultural exchange between Iberia and Spanish America: smallpox (viruela) and syphilis. We will examine sample cases parallel to literary movements in both sides of the Atlantic to observe contextual answers to these social experiences through the perspective of disease (from early modern and Crónicas to the Enlightenment, to twentieth century and present-day texts). Although there is a strong emphasis on literary and filmic instances, we will also discuss critical considerations on outbreak narratives (e.g. philosophy, history, biopolitics, anthropology, public policy, sociology). It is important to underline that this is a seminar course, not a lecture class. Search for sources with the help of the instructor, class presentation and discussion, and dynamic and continuous engagement is expected of all participants.

Previously Offered:

Fall 2020