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    Vassar College
  Jan 17, 2018
Catalogue 2017-2018
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HISP 388 - Peninsular Seminar

Semester Offered: Fall and Spring
1 unit(s)

A seminar offering in-depth study of topics related to the literary and cultural history of Spain. This course may be repeated for credit when the topic changes.

Topic for 2017/18a: Digital Culture. Digital media are ubiquitous. Through them we communicate, inform ourselves, organize our lives, and watch one another. In effect, we become who we are through media. This course explores how the history, infrastructure, political economy and symbolic and affective meanings gleaned from media have been expressed in Hispanophone contexts across Latin America, the Caribbean, Mexico and Spain. Relevant themes include the definition of digital culture and literacy; the dreams and realities of Cyber culture; social media and the digitization of every day personal and public life; gendered, racialized and classed identities and/or embodiment in network life; online communities; gaming; surveillance; and online, networked social movements and protest. Taught in Spanish. Eva Woods Peiró.

Topic for 2017/18b: Madness, Irrationality, and Artifice: Facing the Limits of Fiction in Cervantine Narrative. Lionel Trilling once said “all prose fiction is a variation on the theme of Don Quixote”. This class will consider the most “extreme” forms of narration that Miguel de Cervantes designed in order to deal with one of the critical philosophical and artistic concerns of its time: the problem of appearance and reality. There are many aesthetic innovations in Cervantes’ narrative model: the creation of a self-conscious narrator, the integration of a multiplicity of styles, the assimilation of many different narrative genres, the problem of various levels of fictionality, the transformation of events into experience through the manipulation of the point of view, the elaboration of a constant and pervasive irony, etc. This course will focus specifically on Cervantes’ reflections about the way people think, change, dream, and fantasize in their quest for deciphering the complex relationship established between illusion and reality. The students will explore two of the Exemplary Novels and several chapters of part 2 of Don Quixote in order to appreciate how Cervantes’ metafictional game came to be interwoven with a deep interest in determining the true nature of madness, perception, and the creative limits of baroque artifice. Nicolas Vivalda.

Prerequisite(s): HISP 216  and one course above 216.

One 2-hour period.

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