(same as SPAN-UA 640.001)
Monday and Wednesday, 9:30am – 10:45am
The Caribbean has historically been known as a place of transit. In this course, students will examine Dominican travel narratives as a way through which authors gain new self- understanding while traveling within and beyond national borders. We will draw on a series of theoretical approaches, canonical and extra-canonical sources—from novels, poems chronicles, and postcards to merengue pop, photographic essays, and films—covering key Dominican movements and historical contexts from the heyday of imperial travels to the Caribbean in the nineteenth century to contemporary diasporas in the U.S. What insights do Dominican travel narratives reveal about gender, immigration, imperialism, modernity, and race in the greater Hispanic Caribbean? How and to what end do travelers to the Dominican Republic, or Dominican travelers abroad, witness revolution, participate in political schemes, make souvenirs out of mass culture? Particular attention will be given to honing students’ analytical skills by studying how experiences of adventure, curiosity, and wonder transform aesthetic expressions of familiarity, prejudice, and nationalist feeling. We will look at works by Junot Díaz, Frederick Douglass, Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas, Scherezade García, Eugenio Granell on André Breton, Pedro Henríquez Ureña, Audrey Hepburn, Rita Indiana, Laszlo Kovacs, José Martí, Abigaíl Mejía, Pedro Mir, Camille Pissarro, Nelly Rosario, José Vasconcelos, LIFE magazine and Barceló adds, among others. The class will be taught in Spanish and includes mandatory field trips to libraries, museums, and neighborhoods in New York City.