The French-Latin American Connection: Arts and Literature.

Group Contract Spring 1999 Syllabus


Marianne Bailey. Lab. II 2262, ext. # 6438
Evelia Romano. Sem. 3113, ext. # 6434

Language Instructors:

Hugo Flores. Lib.3212, ext.# 6390
Judith Gabriele. Lib. 3226, ext. #6736

Library Faculty:

Ernestine Kimbro. Lib. 3308 ext # 6715

Secretary: Mary Hansen. Lab. II 2250, ext. #6102

Course description

During the first half of winter quarter, we explored the fin de siècle artistic trends in France and their influence on the emergence and development of Latin American Modernism. In the second half of the past quarter, we focused on the surrealist movement in France and the corresponding interpretations and reactions in Latin America.

Spring quarter we will continue directly from winterÕs work, taking up Aimé CesaireÕs later poetry and Jorge Luis BorgesÕs short stories and essays as models and catalysts for the profoundly syncretic and experimental work in narrative and drama emerging in the last 3 decades of this century in the Caribbean and Latin America. Here, not only does language continue to work as a tool for defining reality and for shaping identity but also genre confines are ignored, and orality inflects literary narrative. The re-working of absurdist and existentialist stances toward art and life will offer further evidence of French-Latin American reciprocity of influence. For the first five weeks, our schedule will proceed as usual, as indicated in the time/space chart below. Beginning and advanced Spanish and French language modules will be taught to students interested in enhancing their Spanish and French skills.

Schedule: A typical week


AM 9:00 -12:00 Lecture LH 2

PM Spanish SE 3153 SE 3155


AM 9:00-11:00SeminarL2218/2219

PM 12:30-3:00 Workshop L 1316


AM 10:00-1:00 Spanish SE 3151 SE 3153

10:00-2:00 French Conversation Lab II, 2nd Floor ÒFishbowlÓ

PM 1:00-5:00 French/Spanish Conversation SE 3161 L2129

3:00-5:00 Beg. French Lib. 2101

Students at the intermediate level should enroll in the evening part-time classes for four credits.

Seminar and Workshop

Seminars will focus on the analysis of the readings, enriched by the information provided in lectures and workshops. Students are expected to achieve a thorough understanding of the material and provide informed comments and questions for discussion during seminars. Each workshop will focus on specific texts and art examples. Students will work in groups and will be responsible for preparing readings and materials to accomplish activities during workshops. Aactive participation in discussions and workshops are important requirements for receiving full credit.


One formal essay combining all the material studied in class is one of the major written assignments for this quarter. The first essay is due on Friday of week 4, with the possibility of a rewrite which will be due on Friday of week 6. Students should turn in work on time; late essays will not be corrected or considered for credit.

Spring Project Assignment

After week 5, students will carry out their previously conceived and planned individual (or group) project activities related to program materials and will meet once weekly with faculty in smaller interest groups. Here students will report formally on their progress and share insights and advice with one another. These projects are to be planned in writing according to the description attached, by Monday of week 3. The final version project description should be revised and turned in by Monday of week 5. A 5-8 page written summary of the theoretical and methodological tenets of your project is due on Friday of week 8. During the last two weeks of the quarter, students will present their papers orally to the rest of the class.

Credit, evaluation and conferences

All the activities mentioned above are absolutely required in order to receive full credit. Credits will be awarded in Latin American Intellectual History, French Intellectual History, Art History, French and Francophone Literature, Latin American Literature, and for those students enrolled in Spanish and French modules, Spanish language and French language.

If students have problems with any aspect of the programÕs contents or activities, it is their responsibility to contact the faculty immediately in order to face difficulties squarely instead of letting them worsen.

Reading list

1) Cesaire, Aimé. Collected Poetry

2) Borges, Jorge Luis. Labyrinths

Foulcault, Michel. The Order of Things. ("Preface" and "Man and His Doubles")

3) Maximin, Daniel. Lone Sun.

4) Gambaro, Griselda. Three plays.

5) Chamoiseau, Patrick. Solibo Magnificent.

During project preparation weeks, we ask you to read and prepare for a fishbowl discussion on The Witness by Juan José Saer (week6) and on either Bridge of Beyond or Between 2 worlds by Simone Schwarzbart (week 7).

Week 1

Monday, March 29

Lecture: Introductions. Cesaire and his poetry after Cahier du Retour.

Tuesday, March 30

Seminar: Cesaire's poetry.

Workshop: Students' performance of selected poems from last quarter. Poetry analysis.

Week 2

Monday, April 5

Lecture: Borges: The order of literary imagination.

Tuesday, April 6

Seminar: Jorge Luis Borges: short stories, essays, poems.

Workshop: Group work on Borges and Foucault. Analysis of selected short stories.


Week 3

Monday, April 12

Lecture: French Caribbean Narrative: Time, History, Myth.

Tuesday, April 13

Seminar: Maximin's Lone Sun.

Workshop: First sharing of projects. Work in groups.

First version of project descriptions due on Monday, April 12 in faculty mailboxes by 4 PM.

Week 4

Monday, April 19

Lecture: Griselda Gambaro: In Search of a New Theatrical Expression.

Tuesday, April 20

Seminar: GambaroÕs plays.

Workshop: Work on GambaroÕs plays: the absurd aspects of reality. Links to Artaud, surrealism and postmodernity.

Formal essay due on Friday, April 23.

Week 5

Monday, April 26.

Lecture: Orality and Creolity in Caribbean Narrative

Tuesday, April 27

Seminar: ChamoiseauÕs Solibo Magnificent

Workshop: Conclusions: from the beginning to the end.

Revised and final version of project descriptions due on Friday, April 30 in faculty mailboxes by 4 PM.

Week 6

Project preparation.

Tuesday, May 4

Morning: Fishbowl on SaerÕs The Witness.

Afternoon: Group meetings

Week 7

Project preparation

Tuesday, May 11

Morning: Fishbowl on SchwarzbartÕs Between Worlds or Bridge of Beyond.

Afternoon: Group meetings

Week 8

Project preparation

Tuesday, May 18

Group meetings

Rewrite of formal essay due on Friday, May 21. 8-page paper containing theoretical and methodological explanations of final project, plus bibliography, due on Friday, May 21.

Week 9

Monday, May 24

StudentsÕ presentations

Tuesday, May 25

StudentsÕ presentations

Week 10

Monday, May 31 Campus Holiday Memorial Day

Tuesday. June 1

SudentsÕ presentations.