Colonial Spanish American Literatures: Sight


Colonial Spanish American Literatures | Sight: Visual and Textual Representations of the New World

Course Description
With the arrival of the Spaniards to the Americas, Colonial Spanish America became as Serge Gruzinski suggests in “un fabuloso laboratorio de imágenes” in which images represented vehicles of all kind of power and personal experiences. This course pays attention to the crucial role that such images played in the conquest and colonization of the “New World.” We discuss the manner in which indigenous groups, Europeans and other castas pictured and visualized their existence in the colonial world through written words or visual systems of recording information. Focusing on engravings, drawings, illustrations and maps that accompanied many colonial texts, and colonial paintings, we discuss the cultural and political agendas that marked the inclusion and creation of such images as a way to convey a visual message and contribute to the colonization of the Indies.

Learning Goals
At the end of this class, students should be able to:
1. Reflect critically about what constitutes canonical and non-canonical literary and visual representations in colonial Spanish America
2. Understand the ways in which visual experiences relates to the construction, transformation and/or reaffirmation of one’s and other’s identity
3. Distinguish between being (European/Indigenous) subject and/or maker of visual (fine arts) and verbal (literary, historical) representations
4. Write and revise research papers with a publishable quality

Required Materials
Acosta, Joseph de. Historia natural y moral de las Indias
Colón, Cristóbal. Carta del Descubrimiento y Relación del Tercer Viaje
Fuentes, Carlos. The Buried Mirror. Selected chapters: “The Conflicts of the Gods,” “The Baroque Culture of the New World”
Guaman Poma de Ayala, Felipe. Nueva corónica y buen gobierno
Las Casas, Bartolomé. Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias
de la Cruz, Sor Juana Inés. “Respuesta a Sor Filotea de la Cruz” y selección de “poemas de retrato” en Obras Completas
Sánchez Gallque, A. Tres caballeros mulatos de Esmeraldas
Various artists, Casta paintings
Various cartographers, maps of the Indies/America (16th-17th centuries)
Velázquez, Diego de. Las meninas