Hispanic Cultures II: Thresholds of Modernity, The Art and Politics of Change in the Hispanic World


The objective of this course is to provide students with the necessary historical and cultural background for the study of Hispanic cultures in the context of modernity. We will explore the relation between politics and cultural production in Latin America and Spain from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century.
Starsky Brines,

This course builds on the concept of threshold to address the new ideas, subjects, and objects that appear in the Hispanic imagination during times of intense political, economic, and social change. In the first part, “Fundamentos,” we will analyze the role of the Enlightenment in the development of the modern world. In the second part, “Umbrales,” we will discuss the ideological processes through which Spanish American former colonies found their independence, as well as the intellectual climate in Spain after the loss of its New World empire. The third section, “Circulation,” looks at the transnational movement of commodities, ideas, and money as cultural processes inherent to the logic of globalized consumption. We will start by examining Spanish American modernismo and finish with a note on the poetics of recent Spanish economic crises. The fourth part, “Monstruos,” considers the political and cultural significance of different monsters (figures that are half-human, half-beast) appearing in the literature and philosophy of the Hispanic world during times of turmoil. Finally, in “Naturaleza” we will take an ecocritical view of some key literary works (and the recent Academy Award-nominated film El abrazo de la serpiente), to reflect upon the ultimate threshold, that between humanity and nature, as a space of continuous interchangeability.

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