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Gender and Authority in the Spanish Comedia and Empire: The Spectacle and Splendor of Women in Power
SPAN 245
Spring 2012
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: IBST 245, THEA 242, COL 209

In this course we will trace portrayals of women in positions of authority in Spanish Golden Age comedias as if we were following Ariadne's thread. Along our route we will encounter the Jewish queen Esther in Lope de Vega's La hermosa Esther, a Spanish Sultana in Cervantes' La Gran Sultana, Queen Zenobia of the ancient Palmyrene empire in Calderón's La gran Cenobia, the Baroque princess Estrella in his La vida es sueño and América, the self-possessed Aztec in his Divino narciso. We will focus on geographical, political, social, and religious factors insofar as they relate to the representation of authority and gender in these plays. We will assess as well the various relationships--love, captivity, cooperation, and subordination, for instance--that women in power establish with their male counterparts. We will explore, finally, the parallels that exist between the literary and political culture of the Spanish empire by comparing these dramatic representations of authority to symbols employed in official artistic representations by the Royal Court during the time of Philip III and Philip IV. J.P. Rubens' Medici Cycle--commissioned portraits of Maria de Medici, the mother of Elisabeth de Bourbon, the Queen consort of Philip IV--will be especially useful in this regard. Our overarching aim is to evaluate the extent to which literary culture--in this case, the representation of women in power--may have influenced how female authority was conceived and portrayed in the public (political) sphere, in Spain and in the Spanish colonies. For that purpose we will conclude by studying textual and pictorial accounts of Queen Isabel de Borbón composed in different Mediterranean and New World cities (Milan, Naples, and Rome; Puerto Rico, Lima, and México).

Essential Capabilities: Intercultural Literacy, Interpretation
Intercultural Literacy: This course encourages a comparative reflection about cultural practices within a global framework during the Early Modern period in the Spanish empire.
Interpretation: Students will be challenged to elaborate a hermeneutical approach to material brought from different area of expertise: poetry, religion, philosophy and Italian renaissance art.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA RLAN
Course Format: DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (COL)
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUN-24-2024
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