- Alejandro Mejías-López
- WH 108
- Days and Times
- M 4:45P-7:15P
- Course Description
VT: Cosmopolitanism & Hispanic Literature
Prerequisite: Must be a Graduate student
The 19th century witnessed the rise of national literature, both as a construct that defined literature as the expression of a people with a traceable history, and as a framework and tradition within which writers understood their own work. This process defined the way literature was to be understood, approached, produced, read, taught and studied until today. Yet, the 19th century also saw the rise of a supranational consciousness. The emergence of new empires and nations, of new economic and ideological forces brought about the rise of a new global order and a renewed sense of cosmopolitanism and universalism impregnated literary and cultural production and circulation, giving birth to the notion of World Literature. Since then, the “national” and the “cosmopolitan” have had a conflicted relationship, at times viewed as antagonistic and irreconcilable positions within literary culture. At times, however, both have gone hand in hand under the assumption that only through being one, literature could also be the other. Focusing on the idea of cosmopolitanism (and to a lesser extent on that of World literature), this course aims to explore this complex dynamic in the context of Hispanic literatures, in which the national-cosmopolitan tension has often been marked by post/coloniality and, since the 19th century, by a global political and cultural order that rendered the Spanish-speaking world marginal, when not simply irrelevant.
First, we will look at the development of the concept of cosmopolitanism in western culture from its Greek origins and Emmanuel Kant’s influential formulation in Perpetual Peace (1795) to contemporary theories. In doing so, we will also pay close attention to how cosmopolitanism intersects with nationalism, postcolonialism, and imperialism. We will then explore the relevance of these concepts and practices for our understanding of Hispanic literatures through several texts and authors from different countries and time periods that will serve as case studies. Students will be, however, encouraged to explore these topics following their specific academic interests for the final paper, on which they will work throughout the semester.
The course will be conducted in Spanish (although the final paper can be written in Spanish or English) and, in addition to class discussions, assignments will include presentations and a final research paper.
HISP-S 708 #13320 4:45P-7:15P M WH 108 Prof. Alejandro Mejías-López
Note: Departmental consent required