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Performing Ethnicity: Gypsies and the Culture of Flamenco in Spain
SPAN 257
Spring 2020 not offered
Crosslisting: COL 271

In this course, we will analyze how Gypsies and flamenco are associated, in fact and in fiction, and how and why they have emerged into the limelight of Spanish national cultural discourses. Although they represent discrete realities--not all Gypsies identify with flamenco and not all flamenco artists are Gypsies--correlations between the two have nonetheless been exploited by the media and by artists as an often unwanted emblem of Spanishness. The tensions surrounding this practice seem related to an undisputed fact of Spanish cultural history: Flamenco is unique within European culture; with a population of nearly one million, Gypsies are Spain's dominant minority; yet recognition of the artistic value of the former and acceptance and assimilation of the latter have been slow to congeal within Spanish society. Our practical aim will be to analyze these important aspects of Spanish culture in their historical context. We will study how the connection between Gypsies and flamenco has emerged; we will evaluate the extent to which it is valid; and we will attempt to assess what seems to be at stake in the struggles between those who promote and those who resist this connection as distinctive of Spanish national culture. In doing so, we seek to foster a deeper understanding of the importance of the Roma community within the framework of European and Spanish culture and a deeper appreciation for flamenco as a unique form of cultural expression. On the theoretical plane, we seek to understand how music, dance, literature, cinema, performance, and art can give expression to ethnicity; how cultural hegemonies emerge; and what role artists play in supporting or contesting those hegemonies. In general, this course is designed to help students develop critical skills of cultural analysis while increasing their proficiency in Spanish.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA RLAN
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (COL)(HISP)

Last Updated on JUN-15-2024
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