Spanish 577 Space as Text

Instructor: Gustavo Fares

Office: Main Hall 321  Phone: 6691    E-mail:

Office hours: 11:00-12:00 or by appointment

Required Readings (see attached)

Course Description

A critical analysis of the role of space and borders in contemporary literature. We will examine critical theories on the topic and apply those insights to texts mainly from or about Latin American and the Atlantic regions. We will include spatial representations from the visual arts and films.

The course is an introduction to the study of space and borders as presented in three types of texts from or about the Latin American and Atlantic regions. We will examine some of the theoretical approaches to the topic of literary and visual spaces, read travel literature authored by travelers from Latin America who visited other areas of the world, such as Julio Cortázar’s stories based on Greece. We will study descriptions of space from writers who never traveled to the places they discuss, such as Borges’s incursions into Tlön or the realm of the Aleph. Finally, we will analyze the role of space in contemporary literature by native authors who write about several different regions they know, such as Camilo José Cela’s Spain, Paul Bowles’s Morocco, and Juan Rulfo’s Mexico. The course will include relevant examples of spatial representations both in the visual arts and in films.  Students are expected to become conversant on the ways in which critical theories can be used to read texts, both literary and visual, relating those theories and texts to a given topic, space in our case.

Examining diverse regions, times, and cultural movements, through an interdisciplinary, and internationally-oriented approach, are themes present in Lawrence’s mission.

The course will be taught as a lecture/discussion and will include students’ presentations, class debates and participation, and informal conversations.

Goals and Objectives

•           Literary: The student will be able to give evidence in Spanish of having read the selections and acquired knowledge about the characteristics of the major genres and works of Atlantic literature in Spanish covered in the course.

•           Historical: The student will be able to demonstrate that he/she can make connections between the literary works read and the historic-political context in which they were written.

•           Linguistic: Language skills will be reinforced through lectures, discussions, essays, journals, and exams

•           Cultural: The students will be able to give evidence of their knowledge of Latin American and Spanish culture. This knowledge will foster in the students a new awareness and appreciation of values different from their own. The exposure to other cultures and ways of interpreting the world will also entail a new awareness of the students’ own culture.

Grade Distribution:           

Attendance and participation                                                                    20%

In class                         10%

Outside class                         10%

Homework completion                                                                              15 %

Paper                                                                                                   20%

Oral Presentation                                                                                 15%

Exams                                                                                                  30%

Exam 1                                                15%

Exam 2                                                15%           

  • Attendance and participation                                                                                                  20%
    • In class 10%
    • Outside class 10%
      • 2 points for Attendance and a brief report (500 words typed in Spanish) to each of 5 activities of the Spanish Department Spring 2014
        • 9-12 de abril: Latin American and Spanish Film Festival
        • 15 de abril: Povolny Lecture. Teresa Langle de Paz (U Houston)
        • April 16 Beth Zinsli, “Embodying the Ruins of Havana: Carlos Garaicoa’s Photographs on Bone”
        • 18-20 de abril: Inmersión de español en Björklunden
        • 26 de abril: Teatro en español. Entremeses
        • 16 de mayo: “Women from the Periphery in Don Quixote.” Frederick de Armas (U Chicago)
        • 17 de mayo: Harrison Symposium (Spanish panel)



3 (three) absences are allowed during the term; each absence in excess of 3 will lower your participation grade / score by 10% percentage points each. Tardiness (being late) will be treated as 1/2 absence each time and will affect the participation score.

  • Homework completion                                                                                               15%
    • Cornell Notes. Each student will complete a Cornell Note for each reading. The Cornell Notes will be checked periodically not for accuracy, but for completion.
    • Research and write one paper on a topic agreed upon between the professor and the student. 15%
      • Format: The paper will be typed with word processor on a computer.
  • Paper                                                                                                              20%

Margins: 1″ from each margin
Space: 1.5 line spaces
Font: Times New Roman 12 cpi
Title, name, and date should not take more than two lines.
Extension: 5-7 pages long

  • Bibliography : You must compile a list of at least three critical works relevant to the argument of your paper.
  • The paper should discuss at least 2 films of the Latin American Film Festival, as well as at least 1 literary text, incorporating ONE the theoretical frameworks examined in the course.


Oral Presentation                                                                                           15 %

Students will give ONE oral report to the whole class on the topic for the day’s class. After the oral report is presented, discussion will follow. Presentation should be about 10 minutes long. The presentation will take place during the class session when the related topic is discussed. NO MAKE UPS.

Exams                                                                                                                         30%

  • Exam 1                              15%  
  • Exam 2                              15%

Students are expected to take the Exams on the scheduled day.  NO MAKE UPS

Honor Code.  I expect you to follow the LU Honor Code. Remember to sign and pledge all your written assignments.  Late assignments are welcomed, with a 50% reduction on grade

 Final Grades


A         100-93                                                  C+        79-78

A-        92-90                                                    C          77-73

B+        89-88                                                    C-        72-70

B          87-83                                                    D+       69-68

B-        82-80                                                    D         67-63

D-        62-60

F          59 and Below