Eduardo Lago

MA, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. PhD, Graduate Center, City University of New York. Special interests: Spanish and Latin American literature, US Latino writers, European literature. Author of the award-winning novel, Call Me Brooklyn (2006), translated into 15 languages. Other fiction works include short-story collections Scattered Tales and Map Thief and I Always Knew I Would See You Again, Aurora Lee, a novel (2013)—all in Spanish. Translator into Spanish of works by John Barth, Sylvia Plath, Henry James, Junot Díaz, Hamlin Garland, William Dean Howells, and Charles Brockden-Brown. Recipient of the 2002 Bartolomé March Award for Excellence in Literary Criticism for his comparative analysis of James Joyce’s Ulysses translations into Spanish. Director of the Cervantes Institute in New York, 2006–2011. Holder of a Chair of Excellence at Carlos III University, Madrid, in 2008. His collection of essays The double helix of North American Literature, will be published at the end of 2018 in Mexico and Spain. SLC, 1993–

Undergraduate Courses 2019-2020

Spanish

Beginning Spanish

Open , Seminar—Year

The aim of this course is to enable students without previous knowledge of the language to develop the skills necessary to achieve effective levels of communication in Spanish. From the start, students will be in touch with authentic Spanish-language materials in the form of newspaper articles, films, songs, and poems, as well as short literary and non-literary texts. In the regular class meetings, we will actively implement a wide range of techniques aimed at creating an atmosphere of dynamic oral exchange. The acquisition of grammar structures will develop from the exploitation of everyday situations through the incorporation of a wide set of functional-contextual activities. Group conferences will help hone conversational skills and focus on individual needs. Both in class and in conference, we will explore the multiple resources provided by the Internet, retrieving all sorts of textual and visual tools. Later, these will be collectively exploited by the group. The viewing of films, documentaries, episodes of popular TV series, as well as the reading of blogs and digital publications will take place outside the seminar meetings and serve as the basis of class discussions and debates. Weekly conversation sessions with the language assistant are an integral part of the course.

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Literature

First-Year Studies: European Literature: Past and Present

Open , FYS—Year

Literature defines the identity of cultures and nations perhaps more powerfully than anything else, bringing together peoples, races, and communities. This gives a special significance to the importance of translation. In a world where borders have become obsolete in many ways, approaching other cultures through their artistic manifestations is an essential necessity. Literature is one of these manifestations, as it defines societies and communities beyond the fluid notion of nationality, now in process of transformation worldwide. Geopolitically, all continents have an astonishing wealth of literatures; and in a global context, Europe—the subject of radical transformations in the last decades—is just one of them. The seat of ancient civilizations and empires that conquered the rest of the world, the Europe of today is dramatically different from what it once was. After the devastation brought by war and genocide and the collapse of formidable utopias, contemporary European reality is extraordinarily elusive and complex. Immigrants and refugees are at the base of the radical transformation being experienced on the continent. More than 40 languages are spoken in almost as many European countries nowadays, each of them represented by a vibrant body of literature produced, to a great extent, by men and women with deep cultural roots in distant places. The face of Old Europe has changed through a process that cannot be reversed and has become unrecognizable. In this course, we will study the literary manifestations of the new Europe, a multicultural, multiethnical, linguistically diverse, and immensely varied conglomerate of societies. Before we confront the vitality of the newer literary manifestations, we will study a number of canonical texts from the past. In our approach, we will pay special attention to Europe’s youngest generations of authors, with a special focus on women writers. We will examine sociopolitical displacements resulting from the impact of immigration and the incessant arrival of unwanted refugees. In group conference, we will pay attention to other cultural manifestations—mainly studying old and new forms of music and, very specially, film. Individual conference meetings will alternate biweekly with small-group conference meetings that will incorporate research methods, writing workshops for conference projects, field trips, and films, as well as the study of old and new forms of music complementing our texts.

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Previous Courses

Advanced Beginning Spanish

Open , Seminar—Year

The aim of this course is to enable students who took some Spanish in the past but have not used it in a while to develop the skills necessary to achieve effective levels of communication in Spanish. Before fully embarking in the usage of the language in an active, comprehensive way, we will conduct a thorough review of the grammatical system. Simultaneously, we will proceed to recover, consolidate, and expand a substantial basic vocabulary through a program of integrated readings and communicative activities, including the exploitation of audiovisual resources aimed at developing good aural/oral skills. The main goal of the class is to achieve effective communication in Spanish in a relatively short span of time. From the start, students will be in touch with authentic Spanish-language materials in the form of newspaper articles, films, songs, and poems, as well as short literary and non-literary texts. The viewing of films, documentaries, episodes of popular TV series, as well as the reading of blogs and digital publications will take place outside the seminar meetings, serving as the basis of class discussions and debates. Weekly conversation sessions with the language assistant are an integral part of the course.

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Advanced Spanish: Introduction to Literature

Advanced , Seminar—Year

This seminar will operate on two distinct levels: 1) language work at an advanced level, and 2) an introduction to the literature(s) of the Spanish-speaking world via the study of relevant works by very recent authors. Initially, the emphasis will be on the study of grammar, syntax, and the acquisition of a solid body of vocabulary at a sophisticated level. During the first weeks of the fall semester, we will focus on the consolidation and integration of linguistic skills. While we do this, we will explore all forms of culture—making use of different kinds of audiovisual resources such as audio podcasts, interviews, documentaries, TV programs, and other formats. We will also start a program of thorough readings centered on a wide range of disciplines and fields. Art, film, music, photography, theatre, science, politics, comics, video games, gastronomy...all forms and manifestations of culture, high and low, will be the object of our attention as long as the vehicle of expression is Spanish. Students will be encouraged to contribute to the syllabus by locating on the Internet different kinds of Spanish-language materials. Once the theoretical comprehension of grammar—together with the mastery of linguistic skills and the acquisition of both a sophisticated reading capacity and a rich vocabulary—is secured, we will start to give priority to the study of literary works. That will constitute the center of classwork in the second part of the year. During the spring semester, the class will fully operate as a literature seminar: TSUNAMI: THE YOUNGEST GENERATION OF WOMEN WRITERS FROM THE SPANISH-SPEAKING WORLD. Recently, the most representative authors writing in Spanish today gathered at FIL (Feria Internacional del Libro), which took place in Guadalajara, Mexico. FIL is the largest annual literary encounter celebrated in the Spanish-speaking world and, on a global scale, is only second to the Frankfurt Book Fair. During the encounter, writers from all latitudes joined around the most celebrated voices from the 24 countries who share Spanish as their vehicle of literary expression. In its most recent edition, one factor stood out: the formidable explosion of talent represented by the emergence of extremely young female voices hailing from all corners of Latin America and Spain. The magnitude and scale of this phenomenon is still to be adequately measured, but its impact on the culture marks the advent of an era that transcends national and linguistic boundaries. When, in the 1960s, the world at large discovered the extraordinary richness of Spanish-language literature in what was then labeled as el boom, the phenomenon was reduced to the representation of male voices. It was not so much that women writers did not exist; rather, they were ignored and silenced. In recent years, such neglect became untenable—the arc of erased voices had to come to light at one point. The process began in the last 10 years, and the explosion witnessed at the recent FIL was simply the acknowledgement of an undeniable state of affairs. Culturally and socially, what is happening now in the realm of Spanish-language literature is part of a phenomenon of significant global impact, whose connections across languages and the cultures that they represent require an in-depth exploration. During the last edition of FIL, an anthology of female writers, duly titled Tsunami (a sum of feminist voices), became one of the natural centers of discussion of the encounter. In this course, entirely taught in the original language (virtually none of the works that we will read are yet available in English), we will explore the new literary map of the Spanish-speaking world resulting from the appearance of radically new female voices. Some of the authors under study are: Samanta Schweblin, Clara Usón, Mariana Ojeda, Fernanda Trías, Guadalupe Nettel, Cristina Rivera Garza, Brenda Lozano, and Liliana Bloom.

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Intermediate Spanish II: Culture in the Information Age

Intermediate , Seminar—Year

This course is taught in Spanish. Please take the Spanish placement test prior to interviewing with the instructor.

Once students have reached the linguistic command required to work at an advanced-intermediate level, they are in an ideal position to begin to explore the numerous resources that can be found on the Internet. Instrumentally, we will focus on the multiple uses of Spanish to be found in the virtual world, making use of its many possibilities such as blogs, newspapers, magazines, and other formats. We will identify the most relevant Web pages from the Spanish-speaking world, extract the adequate information, and exploit it in class jointly, making the necessary adjustments. Access to authentic sources from all over the Spanish-speaking world will give us an excellent idea of the varieties of the language used in more than 20 countries. We will explore all forms of culture, paying special attention to audiovisual resources such as interviews, documentaries, TV programs, and other formats—all of which will be incorporated into the course of study, complete or in fragments, depending on the level of difficulty. Art, film, music, photography, theatre, science, politics, comics, video games, gastronomy—all forms and manifestations of culture, high and low—will be the object of our attention, as long as the vehicle of expression is Spanish. We will minimize the use of printed matter, which will be devoted mainly to a more classical exploration of grammar. The class as a whole, as well as students on an individual basis, will be encouraged to locate different kinds of materials on the Internet. Weekly conversation sessions with the language assistants, in small groups, are required.

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First-Year Studies: New Literature from Europe

Open , FYS—Year

Perhaps more than anything else, literature defines the identity of cultures and nations. At the same time, few cultural manifestations help to bring together peoples and cultures as powerfully as literature, which gives a special significance to the fact that only three percent of the books published in the United States are translations. In a world where technology has made borders obsolete in many ways, the lack of curiosity for the great literatures of the world is an alarming symptom of North America’s cultural isolation. Starting with Latin America, all continents have an astonishing wealth of literatures. Europe is just one of them. The seat of ancient civilizations and empires that conquered the rest of the world, the Europe of today is dramatically different from what it once was. After two world wars and the collapse of formidable utopias, contemporary European reality is extraordinarily elusive and complex. Forty languages are spoken in almost as many European countries nowadays, each of them representing a vibrant body of literature. In this course, we will study the literary manifestations of the new Europe, paying special attention to her youngest authors. In our approach, we will focus on sociopolitical displacements such as the reshaping of the European identities, resulting from the influx of immigrants from all over the world, and the conflicts derived from the dream of a unity that coexists with the birth of a whole set of youthful countries that transcend the notion of nationality—ethnically, culturally, and linguistically.

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