Nineteenth-century Latin America has been historically defined as a period in which Spanish colonialism was defeated by wars of independence, fought almost all over the region, and also as the historical moment in which the modern conception of the nation state emerged. Considering this background, this course explores fundamental cultural aspects of this period and some representative literary works, focusing primarily on three novels: Don Catrín de la Fachenda (1832) by José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi, Sab (1841) by Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, and Don Guillermo (1860) by José Victorino Lastarria. All of these works deal with a wide array of topics through which authors criticized diverse aspects of nineteenth-century Latin American societies. Criticism of slavery, the rigid social class system, sex-role stereotypes, ethnic divisions, and colonial institutions that persisted after the wars of independence, as well as discussions about liberal and conservative lifestyles, are featured in these novels. Besides these works, we will also examine essays and short stories devoted to discussing emerging Latin American identities.
Assignments: 2 short essays (3-4 pages in length, 20% each), 1 presentation (10-15 mins., 15%), and a final essay (8-10 pages in length, 30%). Participation and attendance matter: 15%. You will read an average of 60 pages per week.