CLS 413: Comparative Studies in Theme: Generation, Degeneration, Miscegenation

CLS 413: Comparative Studies in Theme: Generation, Degeneration, Miscegenation

Northwestern University
Winter 2012

CĂ©sar Braga-Pinto, Associate Professor of Brazilian Studies

In this seminar we will discuss how and why late 19th-century and early 20th-century fiction often represented a crisis in models of biological reproduction. We will investigate how anxieties regarding miscegenation and degeneration impacted this three-part pattern:

(1) the “family romance” in Latin America (and elsewhere); (2) the  so-called generative crisis in the turn of the century; (3) the homosocial, “horizontal” forms of association or affiliation that were evoked to compensate the crisis in the generative model. We will also consider the meanings of the term “generation” as a form of “affiliation” in multi-racial societies such as Brazil.

Although we will focus primarily on Brazilian fiction, the approach will be comparative (hemispheric and/or transatlantic), and final papers may focus on U.S., Latin American, European, African or other post-colonial literatures (primarily from the period 1850’s-1930’s).

Class Materials:

ALL WORKS ARE AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION.

Secondary sources may include works by Doris Sommer, Edward Said, Franz Fanon, Eve Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Roberto Schwarz, Silviano Santiago and Jacques Derrida.

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