Stories and Histories: El Cuento Latinoamericano

Spring 2020
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 25
16 Credits per quarter
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PLEASE NOTE: This program is designed for Intermediate to Advanced students of Spanish. All readings, assignments, and program activities will be carried out entirely in Spanish.

The word “historia” in Spanish means both “story” and “history”: its dual meaning embodies the deeply intertwined relationship between historical events and forms of storytelling in Latin America. While historical forces have shaped how and which stories are told, stories have also shaped historical events in the region and the way we understand them. In this program, we will explore the complex interrelationship between history and storytelling in greater Latinx America through the lens of short stories by Latin American and U.S.-based Latinx writers. We will explore questions such as: How have stories represented, shaped, and intervened in Latin American history? How does history, in turn, shape and affect the way that stories are told in Latin America? What stories are given voice? What stories are silenced? How are different stories told by various communities in Latin America?

In order to strengthen students’ linguistic skills and provide greater access to materials from Latin America, all program activities will be conducted entirely in Spanish. Our readings will focus on stories by twentieth- and twenty-first-century authors like Jorge Luis Borges, José María Arguedas, Luisa Valenzuela, Julio Cortázar, Elena Garro, Ana Castillo, and Daniel Alarcón, among many others. While reading these stories, we will analyze the way they represent historical events like the Spanish conquest of the Americas and indigenous resistance, the Mexican Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, dictatorships in the Southern Cone, and Latinx migration to the United States. We will also explore how these stories reflect on the act of storytelling and the ways in which it is carried out, both through writing and through other media like the oral tradition, music, and digital forms. In addition, students will also participate in various forms of storytelling that will allow them to refine and strengthen both their Spanish-language and storytelling skills.

The primary learning goals of the program include: strengthening Spanish-language skills in intermediate to advanced speaking, reading, and writing, furthering an understanding of cultural production in Latin America s its interrelationship with historical contexts; and developing skills in literary and artistic interpretation, critical thinking, analytical and creative writing, and cross-cultural communication. Program activities will include lectures, seminar, writing workshops, a weekly focus on grammatical forms, and screening of films or other media; assignments will include grammatical exercises, class presentations, creative writing exercises, and analysis papers. The program’s objective is to strengthen students' Spanish-language skills through immersion in the various modes of storytelling in Latin America and their relationship with historical contexts.



The program will be taught entirely in Spanish, with all readings, lectures, assignments, seminars, and other program activities conducted in Spanish. Students registering for the program should be clearly prepared for Spanish-language study at the Intermediate-Advanced levels (a minimum of 1-2 years of college-level Spanish, such as in The Spanish-Speaking World program or equivalent) and should have familiarity reading and writing in Spanish. To make sure they are correctly placed in terms of their Spanish skills, students should contact the faculty and outline previous Spanish-language experience.

Spring 2020 Registration

Signature Required

Students registering for the program should be clearly prepared for Spanish-language study at the Intermediate-Advanced levels. Students are encouraged to come talk to faculty member Catalina Ocampo at the Academic Fair or contact her at by week 10 of winter quarter. Students will be asked to read a brief text and answer a series of questions, and to complete a short interview (both available during the academic fair) to determine language level.

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 30225
Fr (16): 30228

Academic details

Preparatory For

Latin American and international studies, literary and cultural studies, careers requiring Spanish language (including human and social services), politics, history, writing.

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SEM 2 E3107 - Seminar
DateRevision 2020-04-13 $125 student fee removed due to field trip cancellation