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SPAN 321 A: Introduction to Hispanic Literary Studies

Meeting Time: 
TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
SAV 158
Samuel Jaffee

Syllabus Description:

SPAN 321 Introduction to Literary Studies


Course description:


Spanish 321 is an introduction to the methods of analysis, discussion, and creative expression of ideas in literary texts—the short story, chapters of novels, poetry and “videopoems,” theatrical works and  acts of performance, and the crónica (literary journalism) essay—from 21st century Latin America, by the new generation of authors who were voted in 2017 the most promising writers under 40.  We will discuss and debate aspects of written works and study characters’ identities ranging from the national culture to politics, socioeconomic class, ethnicity, religion, and gender identity.  Considering these questions of identities, knowledge, and power dynamics, you will learn the artistry of literature, as well as strategies and skills to read between the lines, think with characters’ life experiences, and form opinions and interpretations.  We’ll all work together to build collective intelligence kits using reasoning, memory, and imagination.  Students in the course will learn to identify the distinct elements that make up literary texts, recognize the characteristics of different genres, and offer considered interpretations of narrative, poetic, dramatic, expository, and performative works.  At the same time you will increase your ability to express yourself in the Spanish language, in spoken, written, and collaborative ways.  Methodology: close reading, passage analysis, argument and counterargument strategies, critical debates, literacy-based collaborative tasks, creative work.  You will be expected to challenge your abilities in argumentation, interpretation, critical thinking, and creative thinking, and be engaged discussants and generous collaborators in an intellectual class community.

Course format:

This course will be taught in person with no simultaneous remote learning option.  Week 1 will be an exception. On Tuesday, January 4 class does not meet; instead of class that day, there may be a task assigned via Canvas. On Thursday, January 6 class will meet on Zoom during class time. We will start meeting in person during Week 2, on Tuesday, January 11.

If there is a change to university policy during the quarter regarding in-person instruction, we will switch to one or both of the following remote learning modes: synchronous class meetings on Zoom during class time and/or asynchronous Canvas Discussions.


The course is designed to ensure the success of students who attend class.  In-class work supports students in preparing for course assignments, and gives students many hours of Spanish language use, practice with course material, and preparatory work for assignments.  In this sense, attendance is an absolute requirement for your success and it makes the course seem coherent.  At the same time, I will understand that this course may be the lowest of your priorities and that you have myriad obligations and demands on your time.  UW policy is that there is no attendance policy for any course.  You don’t earn “points” for showing up; conversely, habitual absences will naturally be reflected in your participation grade.  If you don’t wish to attend class, or cannot attend class, there is no obligation to email me ahead of time.  If your absences become more than you can manage, and if you contact me about it, I may recommend that you consult the Humanities Academic Services office; staff in that office or in your major advising office can probably help you best to make an attendance plan for the rest of the quarter.


Required texts and reference materials: 

Required course text:

This book contains almost all of the readings for the course. Available for purchase at UW Bookstore and from internet retailers.  There is also a copy of the book on course reserves at Odegaard Library (2-hr checkout period), which you can photocopy and bring the copies to class.

Bogotá 39: Nuevas voces de ficción latinoamericanas. Barcelona: Galaxia Gutenberg, 2018.  ISBN: 978-8417088835

This is the book on Amazon:


These are the authors whose works appear in the book.  We will read about 15 of these authors (to be decided):



The University of Chicago Spanish-English Dictionary is available for purchase at the UW Bookstore as a recommended book for this course. Also available from internet retailers. A good, thick, well-edited academic Spanish-English dictionary is required for this course and is critical for your success in mastering writing in a second language.  You must bring your dictionary to all class meetings in order to consult it during group work, discussions, activities, and writing practice.  The use of cellphone-based dictionaries or Internet programs will hinder the versatility of your Spanish writing.  Use a well-edited dictionary instead; you will benefit from the guidance of an academic editor.

This is the University of Chicago Spanish-English Dictionary on Amazon:


Catalog Description: 
Acquaints the third-year student with elementary techniques of literary analysis, as applied to examples of narrative, poetry, and theater, within the context of the Spanish and Latin American literary traditions. Prerequisite: either SPAN 301 or SPAN 314, or SPAN 302, SPAN 303, SPAN 310, SPAN 315, SPAN 316, or SPAN 330, any of which may be taken concurrently. Offered: W.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
October 18, 2021 - 8:58pm