Hispanic Cultures II: Contesting State


Until the eighteenth century, the Spanish empire was the largest in the world. Over the 19th and 20th centuries the global empire would collapse giving way to the emergence of new Nation States in the former Spanish American Viceroyalties, as well as in the other overseas territories and colonies. During that time, the structure of the Spanish State underwent profound changes, from empire to a short lived republic, to monarchic rule, back to a republic and then onto a civil war that resulted in the establishment of a 39 year old dictatorship. That dictatorship would in turn lead to the formation of a constitutional monarchy.

Against this background, and through a large array of sources, the class addresses several forms of discursive and visual cultural production that posed social and political critiques that challenged overarching notions of the State or that produced alternative imaginations of what the State was in their context of production and reception. These critiques versed upon topics like slavery, religion, the role of women in society, the place of indigenous populations in the nation, the autonomy and independence and incorporation of culturally diverse regions into national discourse and social and economic inequality among others.

The variety of the sources that make up the class: novels, short stories, essays, newspaper articles, manifestos, chronicles, autobiography, biography, conference addresses as well as film, documentary, theatre and painting, serves a two-folded intention. First, to expose students to a myriad of representative cultures and cultural production from Spain and some of its autonomous regions such as Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque country, and some of the nations that compose Spanish America: Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, Colombia. Second, to elicit answers to questions about the composition of meaning in critical discourse in a wide scope of discursive forms both textual and visual.

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Completion of Spanish UN3300 is required.