Summer 2004

HUMS 640
The Ethics and Aesthetics of the Spanish Civil War


06/28/2004 - 07/15/2004
Monday-Thursday 06:00 PM - 09:00 PM

Fisk Hall 302

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was an ideological battleground for all of western Europe, fought not only in military battle but in the public sphere through propaganda and the arts. The artistic/cultural expression of the times was devoted to either attracting support for the legitimate government of the Republic or to justifying the uprising led by Franco and the military.

This course offers a multidisciplinary study of the ideologies and aesthetics of the Spanish Civil War, exploring the political and ethical commitments of both Spanish and foreign intellectuals and artists, and the propagandistic role of their aesthetic production during the war years and after. Recuperative and vindictive representations of the conflict and its consequences reemerged after the end of the dictatorship (1975-on). In the second part of the course we will study how the war has been portrayed from the transition to democracy until the present, looking closely at the role that nostalgia plays in recent configurations of the war, mainly through the construction of a collective memory and the intra-historic rehabilitation of marginal characters and groups such as children, women, milicianos/as, maquis, and exiles.

Sources of study include historical, literary and memory texts, films, posters, photography, and plastic arts, with works by Max Aub, Rafael Alberti, Cesar Vallejo, Pablo Neruda, Maria Teresa Leon, Andre Malraux, George Orwell, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, Pablo Picasso, Luis Bu?uel, Robert Capa, Alain Resnais, Basilio Martin-Pati?o, Ken Loach, Vicente Aranda, and Javier Cercas. All texts will be read in English translation or watched with English subtitles, although students who can are welcome to read/watch Spanish-language texts in the original.

Students will be responsible for class participation, an oral presentation of a midterm project, and a final paper.

By student petition, this course may count toward the social sciences concentration.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
Course Syllabus

Isolina Ballesteros (B.A. University of Zaragoza, Spain, Ph.D. Boston University) teaches at Vassar College. She is author of Escritura femenina y discurso autobiografico en la nueva novela espanola [Feminine Writing and Autobiographical Discourse in the New Spanish Novel] (1994), and Cine (ins)urgente: Textos filmicos y contextos culturales de la Espana posfranquista [(Ins)urgent Cinema: Filmic Texts and Cultural Contexts of Post-Franco Spain] (2001). [She was visiting associate professor of romance languages and literatures at Wesleyan, 2003-2005.]


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Carlos Bauer, CRIES FROM A WOUNDED MADRID (Swallow Press), Paperback

Javier Cercas, SOLDIERS OF THE SALAMIS (Bloomsbury), Paperback

Andre Malraux, MAN'S HOPE (Random House), Paperback

George Orwell, HOMAGE TO CATALONIA (Harcourt Brace Jovanorich), Paperback

Merce Rodoreda, THE TIME OF THE DOVES (Graywolf Press), Paperback

PLEASE NOTE: A course packet will be available for purchase at Pip Printing, 179 Main Street, Middletown, (860) 344-9001


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