Hispanic Literary Genres


Hispanic Literary Genres | The Latin American Historical Novel

Course Description
When does the idea of “Latin America and the Caribbean” start in public discourses of representation? Is it possible to delve features that will facilitate speaking of “Latin American-ness” and/or “Caribbean-ness”? The overall goal of this course is to search answers to these questions that underlie various research agendas about perceptions, interpretations and representations of Latin American and Caribbean identities and otherness. To embark in this journey, we study Latin American and Caribbean (historical) narratives that recreate the colonial past of our continent by either mimicking stories and accounts produced between 1493 and early 1800s and/or offering alternative representations of events and characters that are deemed “historical” by canonical discourses that intended to build “Latin American-/Caribbean-ness.” In the process of constructing narrations of the origins, foundation and history of Latin America and the Caribbean, we address issues of representation that include the impact of personal and public interests, the circulation of (visual and written) images, the formation and enforcement of stereotypes and the reasons for an overarching interest to explore our origins.

Learning Goals
At the end of this class, students will be able to:
1. Analyze and critically comment contemporary historical novels that deconstruct foundational stories of Latin America
2. To apply key concepts of postcolonial theory and subaltern studies that may be pertinent to approach and deconstruct historical narratives of the past and their contemporary renderings
3. Engage in discussion about the latest reflections of de-colonizing literary studies

Required Materials
Contemporary novels and media
Alejo Carpentier El arpa y la sombra
Abel Posse, Los perros del paraíso
Isabel Allende, Inés del alma mía
Carmen Boullosa, Son vacas, somos puercos
Photographic exhibit “In the Shadow of Cortés: From Veracruz to Mexico City
by Kathleen Myers

Colonial Texts
Cristóbal Colón “Carta del descubrimiento” y “Relación del tercer viaje”
Hernán Cortés, “Segunda carta de relación”
Miguel López-Portilla, Visión de los vencidos
Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Naufragios
Inés Muñoz “Carta en la que reclama su encomienda” e Isabel de Guevara “Carta a la princesa doña Juana”
Hans Staden, Verdadera historia y descripción de un país

Colón-Carpentier-Posse (Columbus and alter-ego’s voices)
2. Cortés-León Portilla-“In the Shadow of Cortés” Photo Exhibit (conquistador’s and voices of the conquered).
3. Muñóz-Guevara-Allende (Spanish women’s voices)
4. Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca-Staden-Boullousa (castaway’s and pirates’ voices)