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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cynthia Duncan
T HISP 463
Tacoma Campus

Contemporary Cuban Culture

Examines contemporary Cuban literature in English translation, film, music, dance, and the visual arts in Cuba as a representation of cultural identity. Focuses on class, race, and gender issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. Includes work by Cubans on the island and in exile. No knowledge of Spanish required.

Class description

This class examines the culture of contemporary Cuba using an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach. It includes a brief introduction to Cuban history prior to the 20th century, but the focus of the course is 1959-present. We look at scholarly articles written by a variety of experts on Cuban history, politics, economics, and culture, along with specific works of literature, music, art and film as examples of cultural production. Throughout the quarter, we'll consider how economic, political and social factors influence the development of culture on the island and how emigration/ exile has shaped Cuban identity in a broader context.

Student learning goals

Students will develop an understanding and appreciation of interdisciplinary scholarship through course assignments and class discussion.

Students will develop and fine tune critical thinking skills through the reading and analysis of scholarly and literary works.

Students will acquire a better understanding of contemporary Cuban culture, as well as the relevance of Cuban culture internationally.

Students will engage in intellectual dialogue about the way cultural texts configure national reality and reach a better understanding of the problems and challenges facing Cubans today

General method of instruction

interactive class discussion, some lecture

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites, no knowledge of Spanish required.

Class assignments and grading

You can expect a quiz every week. The quiz can happen at any point during class, so it's important you arrive on time and stay for the entire period. Quizzes are short and specific (15 minutes). Quizzes usually cover the assigned readings, class discussions and lectures from previous class periods, plus any films or other cultural texts we've looked at or listened to in class. Youíll need to pay attention to detail, take good notes, review, study. Do not rely on memory or vague impressions. Quizzes may be short answer, multiple choice, matching or true and false. No make ups are possible for quizzes, but at the end of the quarter, you can drop your lowest quiz score, including a zero.

For the short papers, no outside research is required. Iím interested in seeing your analytical and critical thinking skills. Youíll be graded on the complexity and sophistication of your ideas, the amount of detail you include, and your ability to organize and present ideas in a clear, meaningful way. I will give more details about the short papers, along with my grading criteria, when the time draws near. By short, I mean around 1200 words. DUE DATES FOR SHORT PAPERS: Paper 1 October 30 Paper 2 December 6

If you turn your paper in after the due date, you will lose 10 points for every 24 hour period that it is late. Four days beyond the due date, I will not accept the paper unless you have a documented family or health emergency.

Plagiarism or Cheating on assignments, quizzes or exams will result in an automatic zero for the assignment, and charges of misconduct will be filed against you. Read the UW policy about Academic Honesty here: http://depts.washington.edu/grading/issue1/honesty.htm

Class participation is an important part of class, since you must be actively engaged in order to learn. Participation is more than being present in the room. It means you are listening attentively, paying attention, taking notes, engaging in discussion when appropriate, carrying out in-class tasks in a focused and efficient way, and that you make a contribution to the learning environment of the class. Talking a lot doesn't necessarily mean you are making a great contribution to the class. I encourage free exchange of ideas, but I most value intelligent and thoughtful commentary that is relevant to the topic under discussion.

quizzes 50% two short papers 40% class participation 10%


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 Cynthia Duncan
Date: 09/22/2012