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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Raquel Albarran
SPAN 597
Seattle Campus

Literary Problems: Spanish-American Colonial Literature

Class description

"Latin American Colonial Discourse and Material Culture": This course analyzes the discursive structures and rhetorical strategies of colonial Latin American texts. We will engage in a re-reading of key accounts to unearth the politicized traces of physical objects and spaces by establishing a dialogue with contemporary studies on material culture and colonial and postcolonial theory. Although the constitution of a colonial subject will provide a consistent thread in these histories, the aim of this course is to consider how “materiality” complicates the verbal strategies of the chronicles and other written testimonies of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. We will study texts by Cristóbal Colón, Hernán Cortés, Bartolomé de Las Casas, Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Bernardo de Balbuena, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Secondary readings will include selections from: Rolena Adorno, W.J.T. Mitchell, Aníbal Quijano, Silvia Spitta, Gustavo Verdesio, Stephen Greenblatt, Peter Hulme, Enrique Dussel, Alessandra Russo, Edmundo O’Gorman, Martin Lienhard, José Rabasa, Antonio Cornejo-Polar, Mary Louise Pratt, Neil Saffier, John Beverly, Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel, Stephanie Merrim, Josefina Ludmer, Judith Butler, José Antonio Mazzotti, Daniel Nemser, Zeb Tortorici, and Anna Tsing, among others.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Through a combination of lectures, student presentations, class discussions, and writing exercises, we will explore a variety of discursive formations (personal accounts, histories, poetry, and theater) and material expressions.

Recommended preparation

To succeed in this course, students will read a set of primary texts and critical works for each session.

Class assignments and grading

Students will be evaluated according to the following requirements:

4 reflexiones; 1 oral report; a paper proposal; an oral presentation; a final essay; attendance and participation


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Raquel Albarran
Date: 01/04/2013