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Ph.D. Seminars | FALL 2019


Ph.D. seminars to be offered in the fall semester of 2019. Should you have any questions, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies.


  • Professional Development Workshop I (SPAN GR6100) | Alessandra Russo | Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m.  12:00 p.m. | All LAIC first-year Ph.D. students must register
  • Colloquium in Latin American & Iberian Cultures I (SPAN GR9045) | Thursdays, 6:00  8:00 p.m. | All LAIC first-year Ph.D. students must register
  • Didactics of Spanish Language and Culture (SPAN GR6000) José Plácido Ruiz-Campillo Fridays, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. | All LAIC second-year Ph.D. students must register

Teaching in a foreign language, regardless of the content of the course, requires not only specific understanding of the target language itself, but also a solid knowledge of pedagogy, which ranges from operative skill in classroom management and dynamics, to the comprehension of how affective and cognitive factors impact both the learning process and the processing of the language. Pedagogical success is measured in the balanced theoretical knowledge of what triggers learning and the processing of new information with the techniques and methodologies that foster and activate that process. SPAN GR6000 will explore that balance by providing hands-on workshops by both the instructor and other invited speakers that combine pedagogical reflections on theories of learning and language acquisition with methodological approaches to teaching and didactic planning.


  • Theories of Universalism (SPAN GR6472)Seth Kimmel |   Mondays, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

The goal not only of knowing all that there is to know, but also of organizing and representing such universal knowledge in books, maps, archives and other forms may seem foolhardy, even in our digital age. Yet even for those of us who are only too aware of our lack of knowledge, this dream of comprehensiveness nevertheless tends to inform our scholarly methods and structure our presuppositions about how people, capital, and information move and interact in a globalized world. Fields like world history, world literature, digital humanities, and global studies are attempts to make sense of this interconnectivity at a sufficiently broad scale. Religious, legal, and political claims to universality may blunt or buttress the force of the market’s ubiquity and the flattening power of linguistic and cultural imperialism. These various sorts of universalism may at first glance seem unique to the contemporary moment, but, as we will see in this class, they are not. Focusing on that crucial period around the turn of the sixteenth century, when the emergence of print and the rise of global exploration rendered claims to comprehensive knowledge and power both newly relevant and patently inadequate, this class examines the relationship between early and late modern theories of universalism.

Readings and visual materials by Hernando Colón, Conrad Gesner, Isidore of Seville, Pedro Mexía, Sebastian Münster, Antonio de Nebrija, Juan Páez de Castro, Alonso de Palencia, Ptolemy, and others, as well as scholarship by Alain Badiou, Ann Blair, Fernando Bouza Álvarez, Umberto Eco, and more. This course will be conducted in English, Spanish, or a mixture of both, depending upon the preferences of the students who register.

  • “Pueblos en lucha”: The Agency of the People in Latin American Culture (SPAN GR6003) | Graciela Montaldo | Tuesdays, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

This graduate seminar focuses on the role of the “people” as a constellation of meanings in Modern Latin America culture throughout literature, essays, visual texts, films, and new cultural experiences. We will discuss a theoretical frame that includes historical texts by Gustave Le Bon and Benedict Morel and the new approaches of Susan Buck-Morss, George Didi-Huberman, Jonathan Crary, Arlette Farge, and Jacques Revel, Stefan Jonsson, Ernesto Laclau, or Peter Sloterdijk, among others.

The course has built an archive of modern Latin American texts focused on the masses and the people. That archive includes literary texts, films, and artworks. Throughout the works of Domingo F. Sarmiento, Manuel Díaz Rodríguez, Tarsila do Amaral, Jorge L. Borges, Diamela Eltit, and films by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Lucrecia Martel, among many others. We will discuss values, political locations, aesthetics forms in which the people became visible. Those works question the function of intellectuals, artists, institutions, and the lettered city. We will see the production of the people in different cultural and political contexts (Mexican and Cuban revolutions; Argentinian massive repressions, Neoliberal economies, mainly). This course will provide students with an understanding of key aspects of modern Latin American culture. The seminar will be conducted in Spanish.

  • Blood/Lust: Early Modern Mediterranean (CPLS GR6454) | Patricia Grieve Thursdays, 2:10 p.m. – 4:00 noon | 505 Casa Hispánica

This course examines, in 16th- and 17th-century Spain and England (1580-1640), how the two countries staged the conflict between them, and with the Ottoman Empire. That is, how both countries represented national and imperial clashes, and how the concepts of being “Spanish”, “English”, or “Turk” often played out on the high seas of the Mediterranean with Islam and the Ottoman Empire. We will consider how the Ottoman Empire depicted itself artistically through miniatures and court poetry. The course will include travel and captivity narratives from Spain, England, the Ottoman Empire, and the Barbary States.

  • Utopia and the Machine: Cities, Non-places, and Capital in Spain from Enlightenment to the Digital Age (SPAN GR6015) | Alberto Medina | Wednesdays, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

In his “Fragment on Machines” and following the steps of Charles Fourier’s utopian thought, Marx points to the role of love and desire as the mediator in the relationship that brings together capital, machine and labor. One step farther, the spatial implications of his analysis include the city as the necessary stage were the mechanisms of the factory overflow in a wider dimension of “production” that affects every aspect of life. This course explores the circulation of desire that brings together body, machine and the city as staged in utopian “narratives” conceived in the Spanish context from the Enlightenment to the present. The “late” arrival of industrialization together with the traces of the colonial experience constitute the breeding ground of fantasies and less imaginary urban and architectural interventions where expectations of a long awaited modernity and post-imperial nostalgia come together in the form of urban utopias. Scripts of the future and ruins of another future that never was blend giving form to a specific utopianism that sublimates but also questions the conflicts of capitalism in the Spanish context.Literary and fictional sources from both well-known authors (Montengón, Gómez de la Serna, Baroja, Savater…) and more obscure visionaries and political writers are put in dialogue with the work of architects, urban planners and social reformers whose work was essentially shaped by utopian thought (Olavide, Guastavino, Cerdá…).

Last Updated 1 year ago


LAIC, « Ph.D. Seminars | FALL 2019 », Blogs, Columbia University | LAIC, Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures (online), published on April 13, 2019. Full URL for this article

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