SPAN-398 Literature, Film, Music & Human Rights
Fall for 2015-2016
Faculty:
This course, which will be taught in Spanish, will study diverse intersections of the arts and human rights issues in the Americas and elsewhere. Through analysis of literature, music, and film and other visual arts, students will interrogate representations of human rights violations of indigenous communities, women, political prisoners, the transnational poor, workers, ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians, and others. Students will also read major human rights documents from the French Revolution onward and theoretical literature that conceptualizes human rights.

The course will be structured via five units. The first three will study Guatemala (indigenous people and the civil war, testimonial literature), Chile (the Pinochet coup and its aftermath), and Colombia (magical realism and torture). The next two units will be devised and led by students and will focus respectively on the Caribbean (Cuba, Puerto Rico and/or the Dominican Republic) and on one other country or region of their preference anywhere in the world. Transnational connections to people, institutions and issues in the District of Columbia will be encouraged throughout the course.

In addition to oral presentations and other class assignments, all students will be required to participate at least five times during the semester with a human rights groups or campaign and to reflect regularly on those experiences – and how they relate to course readings – in a journal.

By the end of the semester, students will be able to discuss and debate in nuanced ways principal questions of human rights as refracted through the arts. The final paper will demand original research and may focus on any region of the world.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

Sections:

SPAN-398-01 Film, Literature, Dictatorship
Fall for 2015-2016
Faculty:
In the twentieth century, Spain and many countries in Latin America have been united by the common experience of dictatorship. Non-democratically elected regimes in a number of settings and historical periods have censored literature and journalism; imprisoned citizens with opposing viewpoints; and even tortured and killed thousands of people identified by the government as “subversive.” In this course, we will examine novels and films that represent these oppressive regimes, examining the roles of historical memory, law, and ethics as they relate to literature and society. Just a few of the contexts we will explore include Argentina’s “dirty war”; Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile; and Franco’s rule in Spain. We will read novels by authors such as Mario Vargas Llosa (La fiesta del chivo), Valle Inclán (Tirano Banderas), Francisco Ayala (Muertes de perro), Ariel Dorfman (Viudas), and Luisa Valenzuela (Cambio de armas) and watch films such as La historia oficial, Four Days in September, Garage Olimpo, and Los rubios. All readings, written assignments, and discussions will be in Spanish.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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