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SPAN 307 A: Introduction To Latin American Literature: Colonial Era Through Early Independence

Meeting Time: 
TTh 1:30pm - 2:50pm
LOW 102

Syllabus Description:


"Introduction to Latin American Literature: Colonial Era through Early Independence"


Codex Mendoza, detail


Narrative Description

In this course students will learn how to read, analyze and write about a range of literary and cultural productions of colonial and post-colonial Latin America, from the sixteenth- to the early nineteenth-centuries. This class will enable students to think critically and discuss, in Spanish, how españoles, indigenous actors, mestizos, blacks, criollos and other human groups (conquistadores, soldiers, scribes and nuns, among others) experienced the New World and, later on, the first revolutionary impulses of the southern Americas. We will center on the implications of and conceptual challenges arising from an understanding of the region as a discursive and lived battlefield where disparate worldviews entered in complex relations of cultural contact, clash, and subordination. Through a combination of lectures, class discussions, and guided writing exercises, we will explore these problems in a variety of discursive formations (personal accounts, histories, poetry and essays), audio-visual sources and material expressions. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to appraise the general impact colonialism and early republican formations continue to have in current understandings of the region, and will be encouraged to make further connections between the topics discussed and their individual academic and professional pursuits. 

Learning Goals

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Discuss colonialism and nationalism in Latin America, particularly in relation to the discursive formulation of ethno-racial and gendered dynamics.

  • Summarize key characteristics of the following socio-cultural and artistic processes: 1) imperial pre-Columbian formations, 2) the encounter, conquest and subsequent colonization of the region, 3) the Baroque, 4) the Enlightenment and 5) early revolutionary debates of the nineteenth century.

  • Identify and explain some of the conceptual vocabulary (such as colonialism, coloniality, race, gender, transculturation, nationalism) used to frame different cultural productions.

  • Demonstrate basic familiarity with the following methodological approaches: close reading and historical analysis.

  • Connect class readings and discussions to a range of personal interdisciplinary interests.

  • Assess how written and visual texts can be used to interrogate the past and, equally important, to envision how seemingly remote events continue to impact us in the present.

  • Describe how literary and cultural critics tackle and think through major colonial and post-colonial themes and conceptual problems by attending to the linguistic, historical and cultural specificities of different subjects and cultural productions in the New World and Latin America. 

Catalog Description: 
Study of selected works from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century, with special emphasis on their historical and cultural relevance. Development of reading and writing skills. Prerequisite: either SPAN 301, SPAN 302, SPAN 303, 310, SPAN 314, SPAN 315, SPAN 316, or SPAN 330.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
April 29, 2016 - 1:34pm