SPANISH 640 - Minority Literature and Cultures of the Iberian Peninsula
Fall 2019, Section 001 - Medieval Iberian Otherness
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Spanish (SPANISH)
Department: LSA Romance Languages & Literatures
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Waitlist Capacity:
Enforced Prerequisites:
Graduate standing.
May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:


This seminar will explore cultural production in the Iberian Peninsula dealing with otherness, difference, and foreignness in the Middle Ages.

Medieval Iberia is characterized as a land in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims came into regular contact and conflict. How are the different ways in which that history is told part of the history of Spain itself? How are modern vocabularies of “otherness” limited or biased in exploring that history? This seminar will be focused partly on medieval conceptions of difference—how groups in medieval Iberia thought of each other as different and why—and partly on modern responses to and theories of that history. These include debates over tolerance and “convivencia,” the idea of Spain as a “land of three cultures,” and over how to imagine medieval history and literature in the present (Was there a “reconquest” or were there repeated “conquests”? Are Muslims and Jews part of “Spanish” history or are they considered foreigners? Are Arabic and Hebrew “Iberian” languages? Is Spain “different” from other regions?) We will consider how these ideas have changed in recent decades in the context of contemporary cultural and geopolitical trends.

Course Requirements:

Readings will include primary texts dealing with and characterizing “otherness” (selections from medieval epic, poetry, and chronicles as well as modern Spanish authors such as Ortega y Gasset who wrote about the medieval past) and secondary sources about Spain’s history (from Miguel Asín Palacios to David Nirenberg). We will also read some theoretical texts about “difference,” alterity, and hybridity (Bhabha, Deleuze, Taussig, Levinas).

Class Format:

Discussion will be in English. Readings will be in English and Spanish. For those without Spanish reading ability, alternative readings can be assigned.


SPANISH 640 - Minority Literature and Cultures of the Iberian Peninsula
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
2Graduate Standing
W 1:00PM - 4:00PM

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