Español 140: Survey of Latin American Literature



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Fall 2010, SMC

ML Ruiz


Español 140: Survey of Latin American Literature :


la creación literaria de “América Latina”

Profesora: hora de clase:

María Luisa Ruiz 10:20-11:20 (M/W/F)

Oficina: Dante 317

925.631.4568 horas de oficina:

[mlruiz@stmarys-ca.edu] lunes/miércoles 3:15-5

and by appt.




Descripción del curso:


americaeden.jpg
What is Latin America? How did conquistadores, royal envoys, members of the clergy, earnest statesmen narrated “the New World”, as it emerged in European consciousness? In what ways did indigenous voices respond to the European vision of their world? How did the conquest, colonization impact the direction of Latin American literary history? How was the development of independent Spanish-speaking nations narrated? This survey course intends to address these and other questions relating to the development of Latin American literature and literary history. The course covers the pre-Columbus period, Spanish colonialism, independence movements, and concludes with the nascent independent Latin American nations’ attempts to define themselves.

While political borders of distinct nations didn’t exist during this early period, during the class we explore these changing identities between the “Old and New Worlds”. For example, after weeks of discussing the worldviews presented in prose and poetry of Nahuatl and Mayan indigenous groups, we then compare and contrast the writings of Bernal Díaz de Castillo, a Spanish foot soldier who marched with Hernán Cortés, selections from Columbus’ diary, selections from the conquest-era Chilam Balam and Aztec poems that describe the siege and conquest of Tenochitlán. We do this in order to discuss the ways in which these different non-western and western communities describe their societies and cultures and how these different perspectives shape narratives and points of view.

Students compare and contrast how representative authors employ different literary genres; analyze individual texts using appropriate literary terminology; and engage critically in questions about Latin America’s indigenous heritage, colonial legacy, nation-building; identify tensions between consumers and producers of knowledge and culture from the perspective of individual writers in different parts of the Spanish-speaking world.

The course examines a wide range of genres and representative authors of Spanish–speaking America with special consideration given to the political, social and historical dimension of literature and its role in the development of an awareness of ‘identities’ (national, regional, continental, western and non-western), its colonial legacy and the place race, class, and gender hold in its construction. While primarily focusing on literature, we will also look at other examples of cultural expression in order to gain a more complex and nuanced understanding of the dynamic and often contentious development of Latin America and ‘literature’.

Course objectives:
At the end of the semester, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate familiarity with the literature of Latin America through exposure to a broad selection of exemplary works,

2. develop an understanding of how ‘Latin America’ as a category develops through literary works from a specific non-U.S. and non-Western European viewpoint,

3. apply a critical understanding of the major elements of poetry, drama, and fiction to the literature read in class

4. study and compare themes (i.e. race, class, gender) as manifested in early Latin American texts and how they are different in distinct communities,

5. gain an awareness of the most significant authors from the pre-Conquest period until Modernismo in order to compare and contrast how societies and cultures connect, develop and change over time and place.

6. distinguish literary genres from one another by recognizing unique features of each and place the texts in correct literary period

7. develop a reasonable interpretation of a literary text and to support that interpretation with evidence from the text

8. write clear, precise, and well-organized short papers and longer essays using conventions of the MLA style,

9. improve Spanish language skills especially in terms of reading, writing and speaking,

10. draw upon course materials to develop further, meaningful questions 
about the political, social and historical dimension of literature

11. develop an awareness of ‘identities’ (national, regional, continental, western and non-western), its colonial legacy and the place race, class, and gender hold in its construction.

11. present well-thought out ideas on texts during class discussion and formal presentations.

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Required texts:



Huellas de las literaturas hispanoamericanas, 2nd Edition. Garganigo, de Costa, et al.

Latinoamérica: su civilización y su cultura, 4th ed. Chang-Rodríguez, Eugenio

*additional course material will be handed out in class

You are also required to have a Spanish/Spanish or a Spanish/English dictionary for this course.


A copy of the textbooks and additional reading materials are available on reserve at the library under the course number. You can also access the additional reading materials. Log on to Blackboard, go to Spanish 140
Course Requirements:

Evaluation:

Your course grade will be based on the following:

Class participation/Activities/attendance: 15%

Response papers on readings: 20%

Presentations: 5%

Midterm Project/Exam: 30%



Final paper/Exam: 30%

Total 100%
Class Participation/Activities/Attendance: 15%

We will have a series of in-class activities that involve group work, work in pairs and discussion. Therefore, it is important that you attend class on time and come prepared to participate as fully as possible. You are expected to complete all reading assignments before coming to class. In addition to the readings, I will, on occasion, assign activities such as bringing advertisements from magazines or writing poems or other creative pieces. These will count towards your participation grade.



*You may miss two classes during the semester without being penalized. Your grade will go down for each absence beyond two.

*In addition, you may be late for class or leave class early twice during the semester without being penalized. After that, arriving late or leaving early counts as one half of an absence.

*On those rare occasions when you do miss all or part of a class, you are responsible for finding out about any information that you missed (especially additional or modified assignments). Talk to a classmate or to me.

Response Papers: 20%

You are to write a FULL one page, (typed, double spaced, 12 font New Times Roman, one inch margins) on the readings for the week, in which you attempt to formulate an answer to an evaluative question based on the texts. You may focus on just one aspect of a text, or compare the different themes found in the readings (i.e. race, class, gender), in order to develop meaningful questions 
about the political, social and historical dimension of literature. These will be used as part of our in class discussions and can be used to develop paper topics for your final project. These are due on FRIDAYS, unless otherwise noted. No late, Emailed, or hand-written papers will be accepted.


These typed responses will be graded as a whole at the end of the semester. Save all of your responses. You will receive brief comments on them, indicating with a check +, check, or check- how well you are meeting class objectives and making suggestions about how you can improve. Please note that if you miss class, you are still responsible for turning in a reading response for that day. You must turn it in by the end of the day in my box (Dante 301).

**You are allowed to miss 2 responses during the semester without penalty.**
Presentations: 5%

For each of the topics and texts discussed in class, you are asked to give in-class presentations. These are planned as paired/group activities, depending on class enrollment. The groups will make a 15-20 minute presentation about the texts assigned for that day. This presentation should include:

  1. general information about the significance of the text (beyond the information presented in textbook),

  2. clarification of significant vocabulary related to the class

  3. questions for class/group discussion.

  4. The rest of the class will be spent on discussing the questions brought by the presenters

  5. The presentations can be used to explore potential topics for your final papers, thus, I ask the groups to submit a one page, typed summary/outline of their presentation.

  6. These presentations should be creative, interactive and demonstrate that the group has read the text. For example, the group presenting can act out a scene from a play and use that as a way to begin the discussion, or the presenters can have the class be the jury in a trial in which the antagonist or protagonist stand accused of the crime in the story.

  7. Questions can be about: the political, social and historical dimension of the readings, the development of Latin American ‘identities’ its colonial legacy and the place race, class, and gender hold in its construction, themes (i.e. race, class, gender) as manifested in early Latin American texts and how they are different in distinct communities,

  8. I strongly suggest that the groups meet with me prior to their presentation.



Midterm Project: 30%


Your midterm essay is a way for you to demonstrate your understanding of the readings, the themes in the texts, and of general concepts related to the historical/cultural development of writing and literature in Latin America. The essay is to be between 5-6 pages (typed, double spaced, Times New Roman 12pt. font, one inch margins) and should follow standard MLA format. Possible topics could include a comparison of three versions (one indigenous, one Spanish, and one from the Church) of the conquest of Mexico and discuss how each version of events presented. Further details about the midterm essay will be discussed in class well before it is due, but the assignment asks students to use the class readings to discuss the political, social and historical dimension of literature and its role in the development of an awareness of ‘identities’ (national, regional, continental, western and non-western), its colonial legacy and the place race, class, and gender hold in its construction. There will be an additional in-class portion to the midterm as well, which will asks students to demonstrate awareness of the most significant authors from the pre-Conquest period to Modernismo in order to compare and contrast how societies and cultures connect, develop and change over time and place.

No late, Emailed or hand-written papers will be accepted.

Final paper/Presentation: 30%

The final paper is to be between 6-8 pages (typed, double spaced, Times New Roman 12pt. font, one inch margins) and should follow standard MLA format. There will be an additional in-class portion to the final as well. Details about the final project will be discussed in class well before it is due, but it will also ask students to use the class readings to discuss the political, social and historical dimension of literature and its role in the development of an awareness of ‘identities’ (national, regional, continental, western and non-western), its colonial legacy and the place race, class, and gender hold in its construction.
Classroom Rules:

In order to try to insure that all class participants experience a stress-free and non-distracting learning environment, the following are put forth and your cooperation solicited:



  1. Please be on time and don’t leave early.   If you arrive late be sure to just take your seat quietly so as not to disrupt the lecture or other ongoing activity. You are required to attend a full class. If you must leave, be aware that it will count as a tardy. Three tardies count as one absence. You are allowed three absences during the semester. After three missed classes, your grade will go down 1/2 of a letter grade. Tardies/leaving early also affect your overall grade. If you are consistently tardy, I reserve the right to not let you come into class.

  2. You are responsible for any planned class activity such as a test or quiz even if you were absent from an earlier class in which it was announced. Additionally, you are responsible for all the assignments on the syllabus even if I did not mention them during class.   You must contact a fellow class member FIRST or the professor after an absence to inquire about what is going to be happening when you return. Do not email me the night before or the morning of the class and expect me to get your message and follow up with you about the assignments missed or what was discussed in class.

  3. It is totally inappropriate to work on other reading or writing activities at length during class.  Leave the updating of your appointment book, the studying for some other class, and the reading of material related to another course to your own time out of class.  If I see you doing this, you will lose your participation points for the day.

  4. Active cell phones and pagers are not welcome in the classroom.  If you regularly carry one of these devices during the day, make sure you shut it off before coming in class

  5. No prolonged bathroom breaks. If students begin to abuse this privilege, we will no longer be allowed to leave the classroom during class time.

  6. Discussions are in Spanish; please do not use English when discussing texts. Your grade will be affected if you speak primarily in English.

  7. Please allow at least 24 hours for a response to an email.

  8. I do have drop in office hours, but if you need to discuss a paper, or another lengthy topic, please inform me at least two days in advance. Please do not give me, or send me via email, a draft of a paper or a response paper the day before it is due and expect me to read it. If you want feedback on a paper, please give me the paper at least a week in advance before our office hour visit.


Administrative Policies:

No incompletes will be given, except in extreme cases.



No extensions on assignments will be given except in extreme situations.
I would like to reiterate that this is a rigorous and intellectually challenging course and I expect full participation for each of you so that we can reach the objectives of the course successfully. If you feel at any point that you are having trouble keeping up with the course, please see me. Plagiarism and other forms of intellectual dishonesty will NOT be tolerated. In this course, we will adhere to the code of conduct as detailed in the honor code found in the student handbook.
Reasonable and appropriate accommodations, that take into account the context of the course and its essential elements, for individuals with qualifying disabilities, are extended through the office of Student Disability Services. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact the Student Disability Services Coordinator at (925) 631-4164 to set up a confidential appointment to discuss accommodation guidelines and available services. Additional information regarding the services available may be found at the following address on the Saint May’s website: http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/academics/academic-advising-and-achievement/student-disability-services.html

Syllabus 1

Spanish 140, Fall 2010

Version 7/27/2010



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