Colonial Spanish American Literatures: Sight and other senses


Colonial Spanish American Literatures | Colonial perceptions: Sight and other senses from the Renaissance to the
Baroque of Indies.

Course Description
Visual iconic images and their process of creation imply visual events and a subject that takes part in those experiences. Perception of what one sees (and does not see) joins one’s imagination fostered by the reading of texts about the unknown. In this way, written and visual representations of the unknown, the Indies for example, are built. This course examines the manner in which indigenous groups, Europeans and other social and ethnic groups of Spanish America “saw” their world and the means by which they tried to recreate their visual experiences to others. We study how visual images offered an account of the practices of negotiation, domination and resistance that were involved in the process of the conquest and colonization in Spanish America by becoming an intrinsic part of the identity construction of the colonial subject. We also pay attention to hearing, and other senses, utilized in the recollection of information and its representation. Part of this course is be devoted to theoretical discussions pertaining colonialism and two authorizing practices to record information: testimonio de vista and testimonio de oídas.

Learning Goals
At the end of this class, students should be able to:
1. Reflect critically about what constitutes visual events, experiences, and subjects in colonial Spanish America
2. Discuss and analyze the correspondences between written and visual representations
3. Understand the ways in which visual experiences relates to the construction, transformation and/or reaffirmation of one’s and other’s identity

Required Materials
Acosta, Joseph de. Historia natural y moral de las Indias
Colón, Cristóbal. Carta del Descubrimiento in addition to the illustration to the Basel Latin edition (1494)
Cortés, Hernán. The description of Tenochtitlan in his “Segunda carta de relación.” In addition, Cortés’s map of Tenochtitlán (1524) vis-à-vis T-in-O maps
De Bry, Theodore. The Grand Voyages, 13 vols. Selected volumes on Colón and Acosta.
Fuentes, Carlos. El espejo enterrado. Selected chapters: “El Siglo de Oro,” “La cultura barroca del Nuevo Mundo”
Guamán Poma de Ayala, Felipe. Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno. Selected chapters and illustrations
Las Casas, Bartolomé. Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias in comparison with De Bry’s illustrations of his German and Latin editions of this work
Cruz, Sor Juana Inés. Selected “poemas de retrato” in Obras Completas