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Department of Spanish

Fall 2014, Spanish XXX,

Schedule: MWF 10:50-11:40

Professor Vanessa Nelsen

Office Hours: MWF & by Appt
Contact: vnelsen@

Site, Image, Sound: A Contemporary Survey of Latin American

& US Latino/a Cultural Production
[Tentative Syllabus for Intermediate or Advanced Undergraduates of
Spanish Literature or Latin American Cultural Studies]
Course Description: This Survey of Mexican/Caribbean/US-Latino and
Argentine media and text explores the relationship between the United States
and Latin America from a variety of angles. Mexican Revolution, the Cuban
Revolution of 1959, and US Civil Rights and Social Rights movements
created a lasting image in national and local narratives; The history
surrounding World War II and US media control in Latin America, seems to
have preconditioned a reaction that would take the form of a single,
continentalized representation shared in places like Argentina and Cuba in
the 1960s. As an autonomous culture industry developed within the
continent, and many writers and artists were exiled, movies, songs, and
dance seem to present a national, often urban, topology as bisecting an
affective turn in modernity that comes with the establishment of voice.
The goal of this course is not only to provide a historically informed survey of influential films in
the Spanish language, but also to provide the critical framework for cultural analysis through use of
diverse media. The course mediates questions of power, politics, geography, and cultural exchange in
order to establish a frame of history for future study within the field. Students will develop and employ
basic vocabulary for discussing film, music, visual arts, and other forms of cultural production, such as
Materials: Course materials will be available for purchase on campus or provided on the course website.
Please recognize that many of the films and clips we will be watching, images and sounds presented in
class, and even texts are difficult to access. Remaining in the course indicates an awareness of the need
for responsibility regarding course materials.
Grading Policies: Students will be required to adapt to their writing and identify film terminology,
follow writing guidelines, attend movie screenings in place of class four times this semester, and privately
arrange any unattended screenings not attended with the class. Grades are based on weekly homework
(30%) and two examination essays (30%), in addition to attendance (10%),
class participation (20%), and preparedness in group and peer assignments
Week One: What Do We Know Of Latin America?
Bizet's Carmen and Beyonce's Hip-Hopera, Memory Exercise
Bachiller and Landaluze. Tipos y costumbres de la Isla de Cuba. (1881)
Selections from Skidmore and Smith's Modern Latin America.
Week Two: Hacia la Modernidad
Luis Buuel. Los Olvidados, Juan Rulfo
Federico Gamboa. Santa. (1931)
La Mujer del puerto. Buenos Aires, Madrid (1931)
Week Three: Rhapsodies In Black


Art of the Harlem Renaissance. London: Hayward Gallery, 1997

Nicols Guilln, Introduction to "Son", "Guguanc", Conversations in Clave: The Ultimate Technical
Study of Four-Way Independence in Afro-Cuban Rhythms. 2000.
Week Four: Modern-Meets Taboo
Dessert Economies and the Casino: Presentation. (Begin reading Fox)
Latin American Broadcasting: From Tango to Telenovela by Elizabeth Fox. (1997)
Selections from Danzn
Week Five: Whose Line Is It Anyways? Impersonation and Appropriation
Weekend in Havana: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2005.
Clips of "I love Lucy", Carmen Miranda, and La Lupe
Presentation: Mid-semester Evals, Questions, Predictions
Week Six: La Revolucin Cubana, An Urban Dialectic
Vampiros en la Habana, United States: Vanguard Cinema, 2002.
Guevara, Ch. El diario del Che,
Memorias del Subdesarrollo. Havana, Cuba.
Week Seven: We Dont Need No Doctor: Solanas Takes the Stage
La Hora de los hornos: Notas y testimonios sobre el neocolonialismo, la violencia y la liberacin.
Buenos Aires, Argentina:
Peer Editing: Final Paper Topics Introduced. Planning Session, Review
Week Eight: Magic And The Kingdom, Revolutionary
Para leer al pato Donald. Dorfman, Ariel.
Clips from Los Tres Caballeros: 1968.
Clips from"La Zafra de los diez Milln"
Week Nine: Cuba and the 1950s: Through the Looking Glass
Cabrera, Infante G. Tres Tristes Tigres. 1967.
Merengue & Bachata. London: World Music Network, 2001.
Peer review sesin (begin reading Canclini)
Week Ten: The Mexican Washing Machine, The Baby, and the Bathwater
Nestor Garca Canclini's Consumers and Citizens: U of Minnesota P, 2001.
Maquilapolis. New York, N.Y: Films Media Group, 2012.
Selections and clips on la Ciudad Jurez
Week Eleven: Point and Counter Point: 'I wanna live in America'?
West Side Story. MGM Home Entertainment, 2003
The Heights (musical only available online)
Tales from the Cuban Empire, El Arte Nuevo de Hacer Ruinas, Jos Antonio Ponte
Week Twelve: Dnde sts corazn?
The Heart That Bleeds: Latin America Now. New York: 1994.
Discussion with artists/novelist on US-Latinos in two contexts: (Gianni Brasci on living in NYC as a
Poet) and actor Efren Ramirez (Napolean Dynamite) on type-casting in Hollywood
First Deadline
Editing Meeting:
Final Paper Due: