RLSP 311
The Politics of Love in Latin American Literature Fall 2023
Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
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Class Details

Cynical, sincere, confused and confusing, love and politics have a lot of complicated history together in Latin America. This course considers works of literature and other cultural texts in which love and politics are explicitly intertwined: the authors, artists and activists we consider profess love for their followers and would-be converts, represent love as a (revolutionary) political force, contest the legitimacy of patriarchal heteronormativity, and sometimes all three. We will consider writings by 20th and 21st century political leaders whose speeches and other writings convey the melodrama of radionovelas (Eva Perón) as well as the sacrificial love of the guerrillero (José Martí, Che Guevara) and the anarchist (Rafael Barrett). We may also consider the love professed by historical figures including Catholic missionaries (Antonio Ruiz de Rivera) and 19th century abolitionists (Juan Francisco Manzano, Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda) and/or nation-builders (Mármol, Sarmiento). We may examine tensions around the domestication of love in writings in translation by Brazil’s Clarice Lispector and the torment of eros in Elena Garro’s political novel Memories of the Future. We will likely read poems of grief and love for those murdered in the secret detention centers of the Southern Cone dictatorships (Raúl Zurita, Juan Gelman). We will delve into the politics of queer love, solidarity and mourning with authors such as Mario Puig, Reinaldo Arenas, and Cristina Peri Rossi, and in Sebastián Lelio’s 2017 film, A Fantastic Woman. We will conclude by considering the politics of love as articulated by Black Lives Matter, particularly as the movement has taken shape in Latin American countries, and its impact in Colombia and elsewhere. Conducted in Spanish.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 10
Class#: 1144
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Regular preparation for class is required, as is thoughtful participation in class discussions. Students will be evaluated for both. Students will also be evaluated for discussion-leading and making presentations on their original research in progress. There will be two graded essays, one of 5-7 pages and the other 15-20.
Prerequisites: One RLSP course at the 200 level.
Enrollment Preferences: Students majoring or completing a certificate in Spanish.
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
WS Notes: Students will be writing and rewriting roughly twenty pages. Longer assignments will be broken down into stages (proposal, bibliography, research, analysis, draft, revision) with feedback from the instructor at every stage.
DPE Notes: Using literary texts, we will delve into the ways a wide variety of political actors -- from the mainstream to the radical fringe -- talk about love in Latin American contexts. Some of them will seem comparatively cynical, but in other cases we will be looking at how people contest the hegemony of patriarchal, capitalistic and heteronormative definitions of what "counts" as true love.

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