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The ancient rivalries between Madrid and Barcelona may be best known because of their internationally watched soccer teams, but there’s much more to the story than meets the eye in a stadium. Barcelona, immortalized for world audiences in George Orwell’s classic Homage to Catalonia(1938), has a complicated political and cultural history. Catalans have a fascinating and unique culture and language. Their identity has often been cause for political unrest in their relationship with the rest of Spain, and even amongst Catalans themselves. In recent years, tensions with Spain’s capital, Madrid, home to the central government and the Royal family, have filled headlines and divided politicians and even families.
In this senior seminar we will focus on these two cities in their own right, and explore the counterpoints between them. We will consider the historical roots of lesser known aspects of Catalan culture and identity in order to tease out some of the myriad perspectives that are at play in Spain today.
Materials will come from many different media: historical pieces, music, art and architecture, classic novels and films, recent fiction and essays by second generation authors who have been raised by immigrant parents in both cities, and media pieces. We will also invite cultural observers and players to be guest speakers and help us stay up to date as we follow this ever evolving relationship that keeps journalists and politicians on tenterhooks.
Format: seminar; Remote Instruction.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
This course will be conducted entirely in Spanish. Students will be expected to participate actively in weekly online classes. There will be two short writing assignments of 3-5 pp. Each student will prepare a presentation for one of our class meetings, and be a discussion leader for part of another meeting. Students will be expected to schedule remote office hours with me individually, and to work on an independent research project towards the end of the semester which will culminate in a final paper of 10-15 pp.
Students should be seniors on the road to fulfilling their degree requirements for the Spanish major.
Senior Spanish Majors. This is the 20-21 Senior Seminar for the Spanish Major.
Difference, Power, and Equity
This course fulfills the DPE requirement because it compares two rival cities and the struggles for power between a majority (Spanish) and minority (Catalan) culture and language. We will also read texts by first generation authors for whom Spanish and Catalan are dominant but secondary languages and cultures. The syllabus seeks to offer a multiplicity of perspectives in order to help students critically engage with centuries-old patterns of difference and exclusion.