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Advanced Undergraduate and MA-level Courses | SPRING 2018


Advanced undergraduate and MA-level courses to be offered during the spring 2018 semester. Please contact LAIC's Director of Undergraduate Studies 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.


  • Introduction to Portuguese Studies (PORT UN3330) | João Nemi Neto

This course presents the students with the information and basic tools needed to interpret a broad range of topics and cultural production from the Portuguese-speaking world: literary, filmic, artistic, architectural, urban, etc. We will use a continuing cross-disciplinary dialogue to study everyday acts as a location of culture. This course will center on interpretation as an activity and as the principal operation though which culturally sited meaning is created and analyzed. Among the categories and topics discussed will be history, national and popular cultures, literature (high/low), cultural institutions, migration, and globalization. Students will also acquire the fundamental vocabulary for the analysis of cultural objects. This course is required for the concentration in Portuguese Studies.

  • Lusophone African and Afro Brazilian Cultures (PORT UN3350) | João Nemi Neto

This course focuses on Lusophone African and African Brazilian cultures and the relations, continuities, ruptures and influences between them. Brazil is the result of the miscegenation of Ameridians, African and Europeans, and this means that is also a cultural mélange of these groups. The African cultural contribution to Brazilian culture and grand-narrative is the primary focus of this course, however, to understand Brazil one needs to understand the cultural diversity found in Lusophone Africa, with which Brazil has had a long relationship. The readings for this course include texts from different disciplines and genres. We will study texts, movies and other forms of visual arts from the following authors: José Eduardo Agualusa, Pepetela, Mia Couto, Jorge Amado, Achille, Mbembe, Hilton Costa, Jocélio Teles dos Santos, Livio Sansone, José Luis Cabaço, Benedita da Silva and Solano Trindade.

  • Brazilian Society and Civilization (PORT UN3490) | Daniel Da Silva

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.


  • Global Dis-orientations: Travels, Exchanges & Interactions in the Early Modern World (1492-1808) | (SPAN UN3342) | Miguel Ibáñez-Aristondo | Wednesdays, 12:10 – 2:00 p.m.

The early modern period has been typically studied through the activities of European nations and empires. In this historical narrative, Europe was the main agent of a global process of domination beginning with the Iberian voyages of discovery in the 1400s. This Iberian process culminated in the subsequent achievement of nation-states and industrial capitalism as the best forms of political and economical organization. However, scholars have recently identified inadequacies in this longstanding narrative. First, it places the early modern and modern periods in a sort of problematic ideal Eurocentric continuity. Second, it relies on simplistic cultural stereotypes that depict non-Europeans as a passive agent that had no influence in the making of global exchanges and interactions. And third, this historical narrative has associated globalization to westernization by ignoring the complex dynamics linked to the construction of imaginaries related to the East during the early modern period.

Before the nineteenth and twentieth western cultural production related to Orientalism, however, the exchanges and travels of the early modern period reoriented the relationship between East and West, producing a particular cultural production related to the regions of Asia and the Americas. In this course, the period of global circumnavigations and discoveries in the 1500s and 1600s is put in dialogue with the modern constructions and interaction between different western and eastern worlds: China, Japan, New Spain, Spain, and the Netherlands among other regions and places. Starting on that crucial period around the turn of the sixteenth century, when the emergence of print and the rise of global exploration created new forms of representing remoteness, this class examines the relationship between early modern global cultures and the theories of Orientalism, exploring the early modern media-technological conditions with the purpose of defining particular aspects and transformations related to a long periodization of globalization. Readings and visual materials by Pietro Martire de Anghiera, Bartolomé de Las Casas, Fernando Mendes Pinto, as well as scholarship by Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Peter Sloterdijk, Serge Gruzinski, and Anthony Grafton.

  • In the Eyes of Another: Tourism and National Identity in Contemporary Spain (SPAN UN3556) | Alberto Medina | Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:40 – 3:55 p.m.

This course focuses on tourism in Spain as a means for the construction and commodification of national identity, both for external and internal audiences. Tourism gives the nation a performative quality, not only to attract the gaze of consumers but also to validate its own unity and coherence as a political and symbolic entity for its own citizens. Different stages in the self-fashioning of the nation from the eighteenth century will be traced in institutional discourses and promotional materials as well as literary or cinematic works focusing on the gaze of the foreigner.

The arrival of consumer society in the ’50s and ’60s and the accessibility of travel and holidays for the middle class, progressively turned Spaniards into consumers of their own identity; spectators of themselves. In that context, the performance of the exotic “difference” that made the nation marketable and attracted international interest and capital was simultaneous to a progressive assimilation of modern ideas and habits that threatened to erase that very same “difference.” At the same time, both conservative and progressive discourses reacted with fear and resentment towards what was perceived as the threat of secularism or the standardizing and capitalist values brought by a tourist industry that became essential for the economic survival of the nation.

Finally a democratic Spain, systematically dissolved the difference between culture and international relationships in an attempt to project the image of a re-imagined national project, ascribing considerable responsibility for Cultural Politics to the Ministry of International Affairs.

The primary sources of the course will include literary texts (e.g., Cadalso, Alarcón, Goytisolo), films (e.g., García Berlanga, Ibáñez Serrador, Alex de la Iglesia) Visual arts (García Rodero, Barceló, etc.), together with promotional videos and advertisements produced by state agencies.

  • Latin American Film (SPAN UN3558) | Bruno Bosteels | Mondays & Wednesdays, 2:40 – 3:55 p.m.

This course aims to give students an introductory overview of some of the most salient issues surrounding contemporary Latin American film since the late 1960s. Starting with a selection of films from the experimental “new cinema” or “third cinema” of the 1960s, we will also study the contemporary production of international blockbuster movies in the 2000s, in Argentina, Brazil, Cuba and Mexico. Topics to be covered include the relationship between cinema and underdevelopment; cinema and revolution; cinema and emancipation; documentary film and fiction; gender and sexuality; neoliberalism and the market; spectatorship and subjectivity.

  • Labor Culture in 20th-Century Latin America (SPAN UN3692) | Karen Benezra | Mondays & Wednesdays, 1:10 – 2:25 p.m.

Our seminar will examine the different notions of labor and culture that animated Latin American visual art, film and literature over the course of the short twentieth century. We will explore the changing meaning of these terms, as well as the nature of the relationship that they sustained with one another in different moments and contexts, from the use of industrial materials and techniques among Mexican mural painters in the 1920s, to the experimental documentary portrayal of rank and file members of the Brazilian Worker’s Party in the late 1970s. Class discussions and individual research projects will aim to consider the following questions, among others: What kinds of work and what kinds formal languages do authors privilege at different historical moments and to what ideological ends? Where do such representations locate their own political or aesthetic limitations? How do artists contemplate the nature and organization of their own work or of the difference between manual and intellectual labor more generally? In what contexts and in what ways do workers become the protagonists of radical political change? Inversely, to what extent does political organization itself imply a laborious process of spiritual and corporal activity and self-discipline? How do art, literature and film think the material conditions of symbolic expression at different historical moments? Authors will include Rivera, Siqueiros, Vallejo, Arlt, Guevara and Coutinho, among others.

  • A Cognitive Linguistics Account of Language (SPAN GR5450) | Reyes Llopis-García | Tuesdays & Thursdays, 1:10 – 2:25 p.m.

This course will explore key concepts that define language in the mind in terms of meaning, such as conceptual metaphor and metonymy, mental spaces, prototypes, embodied cognition and gesture, image schemas, Cognitive Grammar, or language learning. There will be a varied range of genres and materials used from a blended learning and flipped classroom perspective: basic and advanced readings from prominent references in the field, Ted Talks, newspaper articles, and also film or music. Individual as well as collaborative work for in and out-of-class discussions will be expected. Open to graduate and undergraduate students from Linguistics and other fields interested in learning about language and cognition.

Last Updated 2 years ago


LAIC, « Advanced Undergraduate and MA-level Courses | SPRING 2018 », Blogs, Columbia University | LAIC, Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures (online), published on November 9, 2017. Full URL for this article

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