Hispanic Cultures II: Modernity in Dispute


This course surveys cultural production of Spain and Spanish America from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Students will acquire the knowledge needed for the study of the cultural manifestations of the Hispanic world in the context of modernity.
Diego Rivera, Detroit Industry, 1932-33

This course provides students with the historical and cultural background necessary for the study of Hispanic cultures in the context of modernity. We will examine materials from the temporal arch that comprises the periods between the 18th and 20th century both in Spain and Spanish America. Due to the scope of the course, both chronological and historical, the selection of sources revolves around moments in which specific modernization projects were disputed culturally and politically. Materials include short stories, poems, novels, films, essays, music, paintings as well as other forms of cultural production. All primary materials, class discussion, and assignments are in Spanish.

In the first part of the semester students will familiarize themselves with the cultural, political, and economic implications of Enlightenment thought, and its aftermaths on the ways modernity was elaborated intellectually in the Old and the New World.

In the second section we will analyze the wars of independence in Spanish America and their effect in Spain. We will concentrate on the 19th century nation-building process to understand how political and cultural sovereignty was shaped around the idea of what it meant to be modern through tropes such as “civilization and barbarism.”

The third part focuses on the 20th century. We will pay particular attention to how modernization projects were disputed through revolutions and civil wars, ending with the Hispanic diaspora in the United States.

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