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Advanced Undergraduate and MA-level Courses | FALL 2018


Advanced undergraduate and MA-level courses to be offered during the fall 2018 semester. Please contact LAIC's Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Bruno Bosteels, if you have any questions.


  • Advanced Language Through Content (SPAN UN3300)

An intensive exposure to advanced points of Spanish grammar and structure through written and oral practice, along with an introduction to the basic principles of academic composition in Spanish. Each section is based on the exploration of an ample theme that serves as the organizing principle for the work done in class (Please consult the Directory of Classes for the topic of each section.) This course is required for the major and the concentration in Hispanic Studies.

  • Hispanic Cultures I (SPAN UN3349)

Provides students with an overview of the cultural history of the Hispanic world, from eighth-century Islamic and Christian Spain and the pre-Hispanic Americas through the late Middle Ages and Early Modern period until about 1700, covering texts and cultural artifacts from both Spain and the Americas. All primary materials, class discussion, and assignments are in Spanish.

  • Hispanic Cultures II (SPAN UN3350)

This course surveys the cultural production of Spain and Latin America from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Students will acquire the knowledge needed to study the cultural manifestations of the Hispanic world in the context of modernity. Among the issues and events studied will be the Enlightenment as ideology and practice, the Napoleonic invasion of Spain, the wars of Latin American independence, the fin-de-siècle and the cultural avant-gardes, the wars and revolutions of the twentieth century (Spanish Civil War, the Mexican and Cuban revolutions), neoliberalism, globalization, and the Hispanic presence in the United States. The goal of the course is to study some key moments of this trajectory through the analysis of representative texts, documents, and works of art. All primary materials, class discussion, and assignments are in Spanish.

  • Senior Seminar: Vanguardias y retaguardias: en el siglo veinte latinoamericano (SPAN UN3991) | Karen Benezra

This course proposes an examination of theories and illustrations of radical art and politics over the course of the twentieth century in Latin America. A military metaphor that first came into use in literary circles in the 16th century only to find a second life in the radical politics of the Jacobins following the French revolution, the history of the term “avant-garde” is one of migration and contamination between the fields of art and politics, as well as their mediation by a militant vision of social transformation. If, by 1905, Lenin had adapted the term “avant-garde” to refer to the mission and position of the revolutionary party, by the second decade of the twentieth century it referred to any number of experimental styles in literature and visual art. Often associated with the creative destruction of tradition, the idea of the “avant-garde” also implied an experience of time and vision of a future to come that may seem quite foreign to us today and that was most certainly the focus of criticism and reformulation among Latin American authors working in the apparent periphery of capitalist modernity. By contrast, the military term “rear-guard” connotes a stance among artists who refused the imperative of stylistic innovation either in the name of political commitment or a conservative vision of social life integrated with aesthetics through ritual. By articulating theoretical, literary and visual texts, the course aims to trace the ways and contexts in which art imagined its real or metaphorical ability to create a new world, or, on the contrary, to return to or conserve the past. As a senior seminar, the course also encourages students to integrate individual research and writing assignments into class discussions as a way of perfecting these academic skills.


  • Advanced Language Through Content: Sexualidades LGBTT no Brasil (PORT UN3300) | João Nemi Neto

Corequisites: PORT UN1220 An intensive exposure to advanced points of Portuguese grammar and structure through written and oral practice, along with an introduction to the basic principles of academic composition in Portuguese.  This course is required for the concentration  in Portuguese Studies. This course is intended to improve Portuguese language skills in grammar, comprehension, and critical thinking through an archive of texts from literature, film, music, newspapers, critical reception and more. To do so, we will work through Portuguese-speaking communities and cultures from Brazil, to Portugal and Angola, during the twentieth and twenty-first century, to consider the mode in which genre, gender and sexuality materialize and are codified, disoriented, made, unmade and refigured through cultural productions, bodies, nation and resistant vernaculars of aesthetics and performance, always attentive to the intersections of gender with class and racism.

  • Conversations About the Lusophone World (PORT UN3101) | Daniel Da Silva

Prerequisites: PORT W1220. This conversation class will help students develop their oral proficiency in Portuguese. We will discuss current events, participate in challenging pronunciation exercises, improve understanding of Portuguese idioms, develop conversation strengths, confront weaknesses, and increase fluency in spoken Portuguese.

  • Brazilian Society and Civilization (PORT UN3490) | Alexandra M. Cook

This course introduces students to crucial intellectual and cultural trajectories traversing fields such as gender, race, sexuality, religion, media, technology, aesthetics, politics, and popular cultures in modern and contemporary Brazil. Historical periods will be presented in connection to a particular theme of ongoing cultural expressions. Diverse elements of popular culture are included in order to grasp an ample understanding of the underlying Brazilian historical moments. Students are expected to comprehend the background information but are also encouraged to develop their own perspectives and interests, whether in the social sciences, arts, gender and sexuality, or other areas of knowledge. Students will actively approach Brazilian history and produce analytical and critical approaches to understand and account for the intricacies underlying the dynamic development of Brazilian civilization to the contemporary moment.


  • Circulation of Objects: Material Culture in Latin America | (SPAN UN3346) | Graciela Montaldo

The course focuses on material culture in contemporary Latin America throughout literature, essays, visual texts, films and new cultural experiences. Materiality is the media but also is part of the symbolic choice of artists and cultural agents. The course discusses the problem of peripheral countries in the globalized economy and how culture offers a place of reflection and interchange of new experience. In the frame of the new material culture studies, we will study works and practices where documentality, archive practices, objectuality are political issues plenty of potential meanings. Students will be introduced to theoretical writing on material culture in different contexts (Argentina, Brazil, México, Perú). This course will provide students with an accurate understanding of some of the topics of contemporary Latin American culture related to the market, aesthetics and politics including topics as elite culture vs. popular culture, practices of resistance, representation of the violence, cities as spectacles and new phenomena as landfill and poverty art. The class will be conducted in Spanish and all written assignments will also be in that language.

  • What is Ideology? (SPAN UN3362) | Karen Benezra

The populism that arguably defined twentieth century politics in Argentina challenged liberal and left wing thinkers to reconsider the cultural imaginaries, habits, and organizational structures moving the masses. Irreducible to either doctrine or illusion, ideology would become the center of politics. The issue of what it is and how it works would likewise assume a pivotal place in both literature and social thought.

This course will examine Argentinean narrative, film, political rhetoric, and social theory from the 1930s through the 1970s in order to explore the tension and intersection between two different approaches to the question of ideology. The first, which derives from moral and political philosophy, presumes that individuals are inherently free and asks why, given this condition, we would submit to the unjust authority of others. The second, which derives from the Marxist tradition, argues that ideas emerge from an exploitative social division of labor and yet blind the exploited (and exploiters) to these same material conditions. Combining these two approaches, the texts surveyed ponder the fact that while the genesis of our ideas and customs may be social and objective, they are only actualized and made relevant in the highly subjective realm of politics.

We will study notions such as class and class-consciousness, the revolutionary party, the leader, populism, and madness in the work of Antonio Gramsci, Roberto Arlt, Jorge Luis Borges, Juan Domingo Perón, Ernesto Laclau, and Rodolfo Walsh, among others. Readings and discussions will be in Spanish. Hispanic Culturess II or special permission from the profesor required.

  • Medieval Spanish Literature Outside the Box (SPAN UN3363) | Jesús R. Velasco

In this course, we will enjoy reading and discussing some canonical literary texts from the Iberian Peninsula (sometimes known as Spain and Portugal). We will discuss the following themes, among others: 1. multilingualism and tongue trading 2. differences of faith or religion 3. problems regarding coexistence, tolerance, and convivencia 4. race 5. gender 6. frontiers 7. transactions across borders 8. forms of exclusion and strategies of inclusion 9. why would Medieval Iberian literatures matter to us, 21st-century citizens?

We will base most of our work on the close reading of our primary sources, which we will complement with secondary sources. We will hold five research workshops on: 1. Al-Andalus 2. Aljamiado literature (we will even learn the Arabic script) 3. Visual arts and literature 4. Music and poetry 5. Women writers in the Middle Ages, inside and outside the Iberian Peninsula During these workshops we will have an opportunity to delve further into these themes, while we explore and come up with new research projects and ideas. In addition to these workshops, students will be required to blog about their research throughout the course. We will explore blogging techniques so that our posts are, at the same time, enjoyable and intellectually productive.

  • Commons and Commodification in Contemporary Spain (SPAN UN3364) | Ana M. Fernández-Cebrián

The topic of the common(s) is a growing field in the humanities and social sciences. The main purpose of this course is to explore the wide semantics and potentials of the term in relation to domains such as culture and knowledge, economics, law, and digital, urban, and rural spaces in connection with the commodification of goods, services, and nature.

Our interest in the common(s) and commodification is grounded in two interrelated key motives: the first addresses it as an object of study in its own right. The second inquiries about its potentials as a methodology. We will, therefore, be relating to the common(s) and the processes of commodification as dynamic social relations configured and reconfigured through historical practices with which to think Iberian cultures across space and time. To address this issue, we will not only read a number of essays, poems, short stories and theoretical production but also engage in the study of artwork and new Iberian democratic experiences and the development of the study of the common(s) in literature and the arts today.

Taking a cue from the proliferation of forms of common(s) in Contemporary Spain, the course is organized around specific themes. From the debate over the commodification of communal rights and the (dis)possession of goods and services to diverse participatory modes of governance and co-responsibility, the guiding question is how cultural logics interfere the very nature of how we think collective subjects, emancipatory cultures, and political transformation. The class will be conducted in Spanish and all written assignments will also be in that language.

  • Short Fiction in Spanish America (SPAN UN3450) | Gustavo Pérez-Firmat

In this course we will discuss the theory and practice of short fiction by the leading exponents of the genre in Spanish America. Authors to be discussed may include: Horacio Quiroga, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Juan Rulfo, José Donoso, Rosario Castellanos, Augusto Monterroso, Rosario Ferré, Gabriel García Márquez, Angélica Gorodischer, Roberto Bolaño, and Andrea Maturana.

  • Literature in Catalan Cinema (CATL UN3500) | Elsa Úbeda

The main goal of this course is to study the close relationship between Catalan literature and cinema during the 20th century. Through the reading and viewing of the selected works, the students will explore examples of Modern Catalan Literature and Film in the Catalan-speaking territories, while deepening their understanding of the cultural, historical, and sociopolitical aspects of each period.  At the end the course students will be able to analyze how literary procedures are translated into film, in addition to the formal and cultural implication of each particular work. The course will be taught in Catalan.

The overarching objectives of the course are:

1. To acquire a basic knowledge of the history of modern Catalan cinema and literature and their cultural and historical contexts. 2. To be able to recognize and analyze the main literary procedures used in movies. 3. To analyze the influence of Catalan literature on Catalan cinema 4. To develop an awareness of critical and technical terminology for discussing literature and film

  • Spanish Pragmatics (SPAN GU4030) | Francisco Rosales-Varo

In one sense, Pragmatics is concerned with how we use the language, why and how the speakers communicate in social interactions. The interpretation of meaning in context is probably the main field of study of this multidiscipline, considering the speaker-meaning as the central point of departure. The term Pragmatics refers to a broad perspective on different aspects of communication, including linguistics, but also cognitive psychology, cultural anthropology, philosophy, sociology and rhetoric among others.

Through this course we will study chronologically and apply in specific cases of study of the Spanish language the most meaningful pragmatic theories, such as: Context, Deixis, Speech acts, Implicature, Cooperative Principle, Politeness, Relevance, Pragmatic markers, Metaphors and Cross-cultural pragmatics. Pragmatics, as we know, is a most helpful criterion in the interpretation of many different types of texts. As a course within our Department’s curriculum this instrument of rhetoric analysis is a basic tool in the comprehension of our students’ discourse in their literary, cultural, and critical papers. This discipline goes beyond the analysis of strictly forms or verbal utterances, hence its multidisciplinary applicability to a wide range of fields of studies in Spanish. Whichever the student’s field of study might be, Pragmatics provides a valuable and accurate vocabulary that can be applied to any textual interpretation. In this course, the pragmatic perspective is a starting point to delve into the processes of communication in Spanish. After this first approach, the student will gain an insight into new aspects of the linguistics of language use in general and the use of Spanish in particular.

Last Updated 1 year ago


LAIC, « Advanced Undergraduate and MA-level Courses | FALL 2018 », Blogs, Columbia University | LAIC, Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures (online), published on April 11, 2018. Full URL for this article

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