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SPAN 834: Sepharad: Modern Spain in Transatlantic and Mediterranean Dialogues

Tuesday/Thursday 11:00-12:15, Prof. Adam Cohn (

This seminar explores how Sephardic and Jewish topics have evolved as a means of discussing questions of statehood and national identity in Spain from the mid-19th century to the present. Using an expansive geographic scope, our approach will pay special attention to Spain’s exchanges with Latin America and the Mediterranean world through which discourses of Jewishness have developed. Topics of study will include:

• Jewish characters in the Spanish canon (Benito Pérez Galdós and Emilia Pardo Bazan)
• Hispanidad, colonialism, and imperialism in the broader Mediterranean basin (Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, Ángel Pulido, and Ernesto Giménez Caballero)
• Transatlantic imaginings of Sepharad (Jorge Luis Borges and Rafael Cansinos-Asséns)
• Exiled Spanish intellectuals in the Americas (Max Aub and Máximo José Kahn)
• Historical fiction about crypto-Jews in colonial Cuba (Carme Riera)
• Contemporary Hispanic Jewish writing (Argentine-Spanish playwright Solly Wolodarsky and the collaboration between Moroccan-Spanish author Esther Bendahan Cohen and Chilean-Israeli novelist Esther Benari)
• Jewish heritage tourism
• 2015 Sephardic Citizenship Law


Previously Offered:

Fall 2023: Seminar in Peninsular Spanish Literature and Culture — Cervantes’s Masterpieces

TR 2:00-3:15, Dey 301
Prof. Carmen Hsu (

Studying most emblematic works by Miguel de Cervantes, we explore the wide range of the Spanish author’s dialogic creativity, emphasizing the technical, cultural, historical, and literary aspects of his reinvention of inherited genres in narrative fiction and drama. Structure around a series of the most representative topics, our study of Don Quijote I and II, the Novelas ejemplares (selections), and Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses nuevos (selections) will explore how Cervantes engages with different literary genres, such as fictional and non-fictional prose (romance, novella, history, etc.), poetry (epic, ballad), and drama (comedia nueva). In line with this, we approach each topic from an interdisciplinary perspective by situating the author and his works in the wider historical and cultural context of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe. For instance, we will consider how Cervantes absorbs and responds to humanist ideals of peace and war, marriage, and history, to the notions of verisimilitude according to classical and early modern Spanish poetics, to religious movements and sociopolitical policies, like Counter-Reformation and the expulsion of the Morisco, to Hispano-English and Hispano-Turkish relations, and to Spain’s encounters with China.

Repeat rules:
May be repeated for credit; may be repeated in the same term for different topics; 9 total credits. 3 total completions.