Hispanic Cultures II. Global Perceptions from here and beyond: Between Rupture and Tradition


This course focuses on the main cultural and political events of Latin American and Iberian Cultures between the 18th and 21st centuries within a global perspective. Through an active reading of music, poetry, films, political essays, and short stories, students will engage with rich material that will make them think critically about Hispanic Cultures and their relationship with Western History. We will think about time dynamics through the concepts of secularization, revolution, memory, dictatorship, and memory. A good metaphor of such thinking on time is embodied in Paul Klee's painting, The Angel of History (see the course pic)

The objective of Spanish 3350 is to provide students with the historical and cultural background necessary for the study of Hispanic cultures in the context of modernity. The course covers materials from the temporal arch that comprises the periods between the late 18th century and the 21st century both in Spain and Spanish America. The Enlightenment, the wars of independence in Spanish America and their effect in Spain, the revolutions and civil wars of the 20th century comprise some of the nodes around which the course will be articulated. Due to the scope of the course, both chronological and historical, students will approach this large corpus of sources, both in relation to their own historical context and specificity and in relation and dialogue with each other. The objective of the class, however, is not to present a solid cohesive causal narrative of directly interrelated events and sources pertaining to Spain and Spanish America but to provide representative examples of these time periods through both area specific and wide ranging cultural and political artifacts. Materials will include a wide array of different forms of cultural production.

“Global perceptions from here and beyond: Between rupture and tradition” will focus on different spaces (geographical, architectural, economic, political, etc) which are crucial to understand the dynamics of Latin American and Iberian cultures and their relationship of both closeness and difference with mainstream Western History. We will connect the Hispanic World to major intellectual, cultural, political, and artistic streams from the beginning of the Eighteenth century until the end of the Twentieth such as the Enlightenment, Nation-making discourses, The First War World, Fascism, Communism, May 1968, and the Cold War. Since much of the history of Hispanic Cultures has been relegated to a second range category in manuals, this course will argue that the study of Hispanic Cultures is crucial to understand Global History. We will analyze the different ways in which the idea of ‘the new’ intertwines with tradition and how the harmonization and/or rupture between both articulate different discourses. In this regard, one of the main leitmotivs of the course will be the critical thinking of time dynamics through revolution, secularization, dictatorship, democracy, and historical memory. The course will be seminar-based and will include visits in the city as a fieldwork.

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