Colonial Spanish American Literatures: The Imperial Gaze


Colonial Spanish American Literatures | The Imperial Gaze and the Discursive Canon of Colonial Letters

Course Description
This course examines the early historiography about the Indies paying special attention to the mental processes by which the lack of understanding of an unknown world (B. Pastor) set the foundation for “the invention of America” (E. O’Gorman). The rhetoric of creating new entities departing from known points of reference (European, Orientalism) also produced canonical discourses that ruled the writing works in and about colonial Latin America. In this works, the Indies and its people occupied the space and position of the “other,” dangerous and threatening, and fascinating and exotic at the same time.

Learning Goals
At the end of this class the students should be able to:
1. General knowledge of the origins of Latin America literary and historical canon
2. Engage critically with literary texts within their specific cultural context
3. Understanding the present in relation to the historical occurrences of the past
4. Write research papers with a publishable quality

Required Materials
Cristóbal Colón: Diario, Carta a Luis de Santángel, Relación del tercer viaje
Pané, Fray Ramón Pané. Relación de las antigüedades de los indios
Casas, Bartolomé de las. Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias
Cortés, Hernán. Cartas de relación
Díaz del Castillo, Bernal. Historia verdadera de la conquista de Nueva España
Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Alvar Naufragios
Fernández de Oviedo, Gonzalo. Sumario de la natural historia de las Indias
Acosta, Joseph de. Historia natural y moral de las Indias
Ercilla, Alonso de. La Araucana
Garcilaso de la Vega, el Inca. Comentarios reales de los Incas
Conquest of Paradise (dir. R. Scott, 1992)
Joffe, Roland. The Mission (dir. R. Joffe, 1986)
Cabeza de Vaca (dir. N. Echevarría 1989)