Through a wide spectrum of sources (essays, fiction, poetry and art), this graduate seminar will examine commonalities and the discontinuities among the last Spanish colonies (Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic). We will explore the ways in which writers told an origin story and attempted to foster a sense of common destiny and of belonging to a nation. Rather than strive for breadth of coverage, the course opts for depth: we will delve into the major themes that shaped modern Caribbean literature and culture in the 19thand 20thcenturies: slavery, plantation and capitalism; race relations and whitening ideologies; colonialism and imperialism; nation, exile and diaspora; revolution, utopia and dictatorship. We will pay close attention to the ways in which literary, racial and national imaginaries were constructed and consolidated through the 19th century, and the long-lasting impact they had in the 20th and 21stcenturies.
The readings will include works by Virgilio Piñera, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, José Luis González, Antonio S. Pedreira, Reinaldo Arenas, Alejo Carpentier, Salomé Ureña, Cirilo Villaverde, Fernando Ortiz, Eugenio María de Hostos and Salvador Brau, among others. Critical and theoretical essays by Antonio Benítez Rojo, Susan Buck-Morss, Èdouard Glissant, Peter Hulme, Sidney Mintz, among many others.