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Experiences of Disease and Health through Hispanic Literature and Culture

Instructor: Prof. Juan Carlos González Espitia

This course seeks new perspectives on disease, literature, and culture in the Hispanic milieu. 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, ethics, artistic pursuit, economics, aesthetics) and gain a wider understanding on how this experience is lived beyond the United States. Through readings, written work, and class discussions, participants will have the opportunity to contrast worldviews. Understanding disease through the lens of literary texts, plastic art manifestations, and filmic texts will foster the capacity to challenge received bias and engage in the creation of new knowledge about the lived experience of health and disease in other cultures. Some of the broad topics we will 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 contagion.

Prerequisite: SPAN 261 or SPAN 267

IDEAs in Action Gen Ed: FC-Knowing