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SPAN 650

Playing the Spaniards: The Politics and Poetics of Identity in Early Modern Spanish Theatre

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Juan Carlos González Espitia
Advisor for Spanish Graduate Studies
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Lauren Lisinski
Graduate Student Services Manager

Fall 2022 - Playing the Spaniards: The Politics and Poetics of Identity in Early Modern Spanish Theatre

Tu 3:30-6:00, Dey 301

Prof. Carmen Hsu (carmen.hsu@unc.edu)

What does it mean to be a Spaniard in 1600? How does one act the part? Is acting the same as being? Using history, myth, legend, news, and Spain’s poetic traditions, playwright mirror familiar roles, but reshape them and fashion new ones for a changing society in an expanding world. Signature Comedia themes – honor, decorum, virginity, masculinity – examined in plays by Cervantes, Lope, Alarcón, Tirso, Miras de Amescua, through inquiries into Spanish identity in relation to peoples from various regions beyond Iberia (American, African, Asian), complex relationships between theatre, myth, and imperialistic discourses, the role of gender in representations of cultural difference.

All readings and class discussions will be in Spanish. For undergraduate students, the course will count as one coursework for major. For graduate students, the course will count as either MA or PhD coursework. Open to graduate students or advanced undergraduate students who have taken SPAN 370 or 373 or permission of the instructor.

Previous Semester

This course explores the representations of love, honor, and identity in some of the most emblematic plays written by Cervantes, Lope, Tirso, Alarcón, and Calderón, among others. While we will examine the various ways in which different playwrights interpret, stage, and adapt such themes as love, honor, and identity, we will also deliberate over the extent to which their representations engage with history, religion, politics, and other literary genres. Moreover, we will combine our critical discussions of these topics with a thorough study of Spanish dramaturgy as it developed from late 12th century until late 17th century.

Prerequisites: SPAN 371 and 373; permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.