Spanish and Portuguese Graduate Courses 2023-24

includes cross-listed courses

Please check the Yale Course Search  site for the most up to date information, as well as the course descriptions and locations.

Fall 2023

SPAN 740 Ritual and Performance in Colonial Latin America                          Lisa Voigt            T 1:30-3:20

This course investigates how public rituals, ceremonies, and festivals enabled European conquest and evangelization in the Americas, as well as how Indigenous and Afro-descendent groups used ritual and performance to continue their own cultural traditions and to challenge or negotiate with colonial power. We study a range of primary sources—narrative, poetic, theatrical, and pictorial—and consider a variety of cultural practices, including performance, visual art and architecture, dress, music, and dance, in order to address issues of coloniality and transculturation in Latin America from 1492 to the eighteenth century.

SPAN 845 Introduction to Digital Humanities I: Architectures of Knowledge                  Alex Gil                     W 1:30-3:20

The cultural record of humanity is undergoing a massive and epochal transformation into shared analog and digital realities. While we are vaguely familiar with the history and realities of the analog record—libraries, archives, historical artifacts—the digital cultural record remains largely unexamined and relatively mysterious to humanities scholars. In this course students are introduced to the broad field of digital humanities, theory and practice, through a stepwise exploration of the new architectures and genres of scholarly and humanistic production and reproduction in the twenty-first century. The course combines a seminar, preceded by a brief lecture, and a digital studio. Every week we move through our discussions in tandem with hands-on exercises that serve to illuminate our readings and help students gain a measure of computational proficiency useful in humanities scholarship. Students learn about the basics of plain text, file and operating systems, data structures and internet infrastructure. Students also learn to understand, produce, and evaluate a few popular genres of digital humanities, including, digital editions of literary or historical texts, collections and exhibits of primary sources and interactive maps. Finally, and perhaps the most important lesson of the term, students learn to collaborate with each other on a common research project. No prior experience is required.

SPAN 867/AFAM 867/CPLT 958/EMST 667/ER&M 677 Black Iberia: Then and Now         Nick Jones            M 1:30-3:20

This graduate seminar examines the variety of artistic, cultural, historical, and literary representations of black Africans and their descendants—both enslaved and free—across the vast stretches of the Luso-Hispanic world and the United States. Taking a chronological frame, the course begins its study of Blackness in medieval and early modern Iberia and its colonial kingdoms. From there, we examine the status of Blackness conceptually and ideologically in Asia, the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America. Toward the end of the semester, we concentrate on black Africans by focusing on Equatorial Guinea, sub-Saharan African immigration in present-day Portugal and Spain, and the politics of Afro-Latinx culture and its identity politics in the United States. Throughout the term, we interrogate the following topics in order to guide our class discussions and readings: bondage and enslavement, fugitivity and maroonage, animal imageries and human-animal studies, geography and maps, Black Feminism and Black Queer Studies, material and visual cultures (e.g., beauty ads, clothing, cosmetics, food, Blackface performance, royal portraiture, reality TV, and music videos), the Inquisition and African diasporic religions, and dispossession and immigration. Our challenging task remains the following: to see how Blackness conceptually and experientially is subversively fluid and performative, yet deceptive and paradoxical. This course will be taught in English, with all materials available in the original (English, Portuguese, Spanish) and in English translation.

SPAN 901/CPLT 904/FILM 617/FREN 875/GMAN 617 Psychoanalysis: Key Conceptual Differences between Freud and Lacan I         Moria Fradinger      T 3:30-5:20

This is the first section of a year-long seminar (second section: CPLT 914) designed to introduce the discipline of psychoanalysis through primary sources, mainly from the Freudian and Lacanian corpuses but including late twentieth-century commentators and contemporary interdisciplinary conversations. We rigorously examine key psychoanalytic concepts that students have heard about but never had the chance to study. Students gain proficiency in what has been called “the language of psychoanalysis,” as well as tools for critical practice in disciplines such as literary criticism, political theory, film studies, gender studies, theory of ideology, psychology medical humanities, etc. We study concepts such as the unconscious, identification, the drive, repetition, the imaginary, fantasy, the symbolic, the real, and jouissance. A central goal of the seminar is to disambiguate Freud’s corpus from Lacan’s reinvention of it. We do not come to the “rescue” of Freud. We revisit essays that are relevant for contemporary conversations within the international psychoanalytic community. We include only a handful of materials from the Anglophone schools of psychoanalysis developed in England and the US. This section pays special attention to Freud’s “three” (the ego, superego, and id) in comparison to Lacan’s “three” (the imaginary, the symbolic, and the real). CPLT 914 devotes, depending on the interests expressed by the group, the last six weeks to special psychoanalytic topics such as sexuation, perversion, psychosis, anti-asylum movements, conversations between psychoanalysis and neurosciences and artificial intelligence, the current pharmacological model of mental health, and/or to specific uses of psychoanalysis in disciplines such as film theory, political philosophy, and the critique of ideology. Apart from Freud and Lacan, we will read work by Georges Canguilhem, Roman Jakobson, Victor Tausk, Émile Benveniste, Valentin Volosinov, Guy Le Gaufey, Jean Laplanche, Étienne Balibar, Roberto Esposito, Wilfred Bion, Félix Guattari, Markos Zafiropoulos, Franco Bifo Berardi, Barbara Cassin, Renata Salecl, Maurice Godelier, Alenka Zupančič, Juliet Mitchell, Jacqueline Rose, Norbert Wiener, Alan Turing, Eric Kandel, and Lera Boroditsky among others. No previous knowledge of psychoanalysis is needed. Starting out from basic questions, we study how psychoanalysis, arguably, changed the way we think of human subjectivity. Graduate students from all departments and schools on campus are welcome. The final assignment is due by the end of the spring term and need not necessarily take the form of a twenty-page paper. Taught in English. Materials can be provided to cover the linguistic range of the group.

SPAN 936 Millenials: Twenty-First-Century Latin American Narrative     Aníbal González-Pérez      W 3:30-5:20

This course deals with a new group of Spanish American writers whose breakout works were published early in the twenty-first century. Topics include postnationalism, the Crack and McOndo groups, autofiction, and genre fiction (noir novels, science fiction, horror). Readings of novels and short stories by Mario Bellatín, Roberto Bolaño, Yuri Herrera, Ena Lucía Portela, Guadalupe Nettel, Pedro Mairal, Luis Negrón, Francisco Font Acevedo, Alejandro Zambra, Santiago Gamboa, Fernanda Melchor, and Mariana Enríquez. In Spanish.

PORT 960/PORT 394 World Cities and Narratives       David Jackson     M 3:30-5:20

Study of world cities and narratives that describe, belong to, or represent them. Topics range from the rise of the urban novel in European capitals to the postcolonial fictional worlds of major Portuguese, Brazilian, and Spanish American cities. Conducted in English.

PORT 967 Machade de Assis: Major Novels              David Jackson     T 3:30-5:20

A study of the last five novels of Machado de Assis, featuring the author’s world and stage of Rio de Janeiro, along with his irony and skepticism, satire, wit, narrative concision, social critiques, and encyclopedic assimilation of world literature.

SPAN 980 The Doctoral and Professional Workshop       DGS      Times & Locations Vary

A yearlong workshop designed for professional development. The subject matter varies from term to term, and from year to year. Students must attend at least three complete Modules throughout the year. Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only; open to all students. Details and schedule are available at

SPAN 984 Digital Humanities Practical Workshop Series          Alex Gil          Times & Locations Vary      

Every term, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the Humanities Program offers practical workshops in the digital humanities designed for graduate students. Workshops can vary between two-hour individual offerings, to series of two or four workshops on a theme or scholarly toolset. Workshops topics may include text analysis, web scraping and data mining, digital editions and exhibits, dissertation, general academic tech, advanced scholarly (re)search techniques, interactive maps and visualizations for humanistic data, data and project management, privacy and security for scholars, copyright law for digital scholarship, cultural analytics, and more. Workshops and workshop series are also available on demand at the request of four or more graduate students. Yale College students do not earn credit for this course.

SPAN 988 Iberian Nights Workshop       Jesús Velasco       Times & Locations Vary

This series is inspired by the spirit of Sheherazade, Dhuoda, Christine de Pizan, Teresa de Cartagena, the pequeñas mujeres rojas, and so many others for whom the practice of literature—in many of its facets—was the matter of survival. They existed in circumstances of physical and sexual violence, of civil war, of racial discrimination, of isolation; they also lived in circumstances that cannot be properly expressed outside their own experiments with literature. Our guests write from many directions, for many audiences, for many souls: novels, reviews, the lives of afrodescendent people, dance, race, sexual violences, asylum briefs, and so many other forms of polyhedric writing that explore the limits of literature—and those of survival. They are in conversation about their work, about their thought, and, certainly, about the joys and frustrations of the literary worlds they inhabit. The thirteen nights in the series will be held from September through November. The full schedule of Iberian Nights will be posted on Canvas. Students who would like to receive credit for attending all thirteen sessions of the Iberian Nights series should enroll in this workshop. Graded SAT/UNSAT.

SPAN 990 Independent Group Study in Digital Humanities          Alex Gil       Times & Locations Vary

Project-based learning and teams are at the heart of Digital Humanities (DH) pedagogy. Most projects in DH are produced by teams of scholars with complimentary skills and domain expertise, and we learn best how to produce digital scholarship while we are working on tangible outcomes. This independent course of study is designed to allow students to form a team with other graduate students to pursue a research question or sets of questions in the humanities and an appropriate research output for their scholarly project. During the course of their research and digital production, student teams are guided and mentored by an instructor and other relevant professionals at the University. Besides the option for pursuing their own original scholarly project, students may also participate in projects designed by the instructor or other faculty in the Humanities.

SPAN 991 Tutorial 

By arrangement with faculty.