Spanish 355 -- Madrid

Submitted by Sara J. Brenneis on Wednesday, 1/18/2012, at 2:15 PM


Spring 2012

T, Th 2:00-3:20                                                                                              

Chapin 204                 

Profa. Sara J. Brenneis

office: Barrett 106

office hours: Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:30 and by appointment

 I.              Course Description


Considered the heart of Spain by some and an authoritative figurehead by others, Madrid is unquestionably a space of cultural and political conflict while serving as a visible intermediary between the Iberian Peninsula and the world. Incorporating an interdisciplinary study of film, popular music, fiction, plastic arts, political movements, history and topography of the city, this course will seek to explore the place of Madrid in the Spanish and global popular imagination.  Although we will delve into the city’s history, the course will place particular emphasis on the 1980s movida madrileña through the present-day role of Madrid in global politics, particularly as pertains to the 2004 terrorist attacks and their political and cultural aftermath.

 II.            Objectives and Grading


Through readings, films, music, art and other visual materials, students will analyze the city of Madrid and its impact on its inhabitants and visitors from a variety of perspectives, time periods and genres.  During classroom activities and discussions, students will consider the course material through historical, cultural and social lenses.  The participation grade is based on the students’ preparation, contribution to and engagement in classroom discussions, which are essential; students may occasionally be asked to facilitate classroom discussions as well.  Students will write short reaction papers after selected readings and films, take the occasional (announced and unannounced) quiz, and write two longer essays based on the course material.  Students may rewrite either or both of the two essays; the rewrite must be submitted within one week of receiving my comments and the grade. Rewrites should correct the grammar and revise structure and content; the final paper grade will be calculated based on the average of the original paper grade and the rewrite grade.  The final take-home exam will ask the student to synthesize the material studied throughout the semester, with an emphasis on the material covered in the last five weeks of the course.


Essays (2) – 30%

Classroom participation and oral presentations – 25%

Short written assignments and quizzes – 25%

Final Take Home Exam – 20%



III.      Student Responsibilities

Students must adhere to Amherst College’s Honor Code at all times.  Students with disabilities or specific limitations that will affect their participation in the course should speak with the professor privately as soon as possible to make arrangements.  Regular attendance is required and absences will adversely affect the participation grade.  If students must miss a class, regardless of the reason, they should communicate with a classmate about what they missed and inform themselves of the homework for the next class.  In order to respect the professor and the students, cell phones and other technological distractions are not permitted during class.  This course is conducted entirely in Spanish: respectful dialogue en español is expected at all times!



IV.      Course Materials:


1) Required Texts (Available at Amherst Books and on Reserve at Frost Library)

  • Tiempo de silencio, Luís Martín-Santos (Seix-Barral: Spain)
  • Noche de guerra en el Museo del Prado. El hombre deshabitado, Rafael Alberti (Biblioteca Nueva Spain)
  • 11-M, la novela gráfica (Panini Comics)
  • Spanish-English dictionary (Oxford hard copy or digital)
  • Course Packet (available in Barrett 201)


2) Films (Streaming and DVDs on Reserve @ Frost)

  • “Canciones para después de una guerra,” (1976) Basilio Martín Patino
  • “Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón” (1980), dir. Pedro Almodóvar
  • “La soledad” (2007), dir. Jaime Rosales


3) Website: The syllabus, announcements, writing assignments, audiovisual material, e-reserves and additional resources will be updated continuously on our course website. Check back often.


V.        Campus Resources:


The Writing Center: An invaluable resource for help on your papers, before, during and after you write them, even when they’re in Spanish.  Located at 101 Charles Pratt Hall.

Spanish Writing Center: Staffed by student writing fellows, the Spanish Writing Center can help with your writing in Spanish.  You will be notified via email of its Spring semester hours.

Grammar and Reference:

  • The Diccionario de la Real Academia Española and the Oxford Spanish Dictionaries are both online and free through the Amherst network.  Bookmark them and use them often.
  • The reference area in Frost (near the reference desk, main floor) has a wonderful supply of Spanish-English, Spanish-Spanish, illustrated Spanish dictionaries and encyclopedias. They cannot be checked out, but you’ve been meaning to spend more time studying in the library anyway, haven’t you?
  • The Spanish Department Library, in Barrett 202, has a collection of Spanish dictionaries, grammar manuals and textbooks.  I recommend John Butt’s A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish to help you solve lingering grammatical and language issues. 



VI.        Course Schedule & Texts



Semana 1:

martes 24:        Introducción al curso


Impresiones de Madrid


jueves 26:        Course Packet: “Domingo de invierno,” Francisco Umbral

Course Packet: “Lejos de Madrid,” Lorenzo Silva



Semana 2:

martes 31:        Course Packet: “Ciudad y campo: De mis impresiones de Madrid,” Madrid, Castilla, Miguel de Unamuno




jueves 2:          Course Packet: “Madrid: La vida ideal de la ciudad. (1925)” César Vallejo

Course Packet: “Madrid. (1929)” Miguel Ángel Asturias

Course Packet: “Bajo el signo de la Cibeles. (1934)” Alejo Carpentier


Semana 3:


m 7:                 Course Packet: “Prólogo,” Edward Baker y Malcolm Alan Compitello, Madrid: De Fortunata a la M-40     


j 9:                   Course Packet: “Culture and Modernity: The Case of Spain” Spanish Cultural Studies, Helen Graham y Jo Labanyi

Course Packet: “De Madrid al cielo,” Manuel Vázquez Montalbán


Madrid en tiempos de guerra y dictadura

Semana 4:

m 14:               Course Packet: “Madrid sitiado, en su sitio. (1937)” Nicolás Guillén

                  Course Packet: “The Chauffers of Madrid” y “A Brush with Death,” (1937) Ernest                          Hemingway


j 16:                 Course Packet: Selecciones de Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag

Artstor: Los desastres de la Guerra por Goya

                        Introducción al museo del Prado y la obra de Alberti


Semana 5:

m 21:               “Noche de guerra en el museo del Prado,” Rafael Alberti – prólogo, acto único (133-168)


j 23:                 “Noche de guerra en el museo del Prado,” Rafael Alberti – acto único (168-201)


Semana 6:

m 28:               Streaming: “Canciones para después de una guerra,” (2003) Basilio Martín Patino

Course Packet: “Madrid cuando era aldea. (1985)” Mario Vargas Llosa




j 1:                   ENSAYO #1

Course Packet: “Las buenas familias,” Manuel Longares

Introducción a Tiempo de silencio, Luís Martín-Santos


Semana 7:

m 6:                 Tiempo de silencio, Luís Martín-Santos: Núcleo 1


j 8:                   Tiempo de silencio, Luís Martín-Santos: Núcleo 2


Semana 8:

m 13:               Tiempo de silencio, Luís Martín-Santos: Núcleo 3


j 15:                 Tiempo de silencio, Luís Martín-Santos: Núcleo 4




Semana 10:

m 27:               Tiempo de silencio, Luís Martín-Santos: Núcleo 5


j 29:                 Course Packet: “La destrucción citadina en el Madrid del silencio,” Paloma                                     Martínez Carbajo

Introducción a la Transición y la movida




La muerte de Franco, la Transición, y la movida madrileña

Semana 11:

m 3:                 Course Packet: “1974,” Juan Luís Cebrián

                        Online: El País en el 23-F (


j 5:                   Streaming/Reserves: “Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón,” Pedro Almodóvar (1980)

Course Packet: “Prólogo-entrevista: Pedro Almodóvar”

Course Packet: “Noviembre – Noche ½,” Francisco Umbral


La Madrid del S.XXI


Semana 12:

m 10:               ENSAYO #2

Course Packet: “11-M: moros y cristianos,” Giles Tremlett

Trasfondo al 11-M


j 12:                 11-M, la novela gráfica, Pepe Gálvez y Antoni Guiral (pp. 1-43)



Semana 13:

m 17:               11-M, la novela gráfica, Gálvez y Guiral (pp. 44-105)


j 19:                  No hay clase


Semana 14:

m 24:               Course Packet: “Ana el Once de Marzo,” Paloma Pedrero



j 26:                 Course Packet: “Harira,” Ana Diosdado

                        Course Packet: “Oxígeno,” Yolanda Dorado




Semana 15:

m 1:                 Streaming/Reserves: “La soledad” (Dir. Jaime Rosales, 2007)


j 3:                   **Clase en 102 Webster**:

                        Conclusiones, evaluaciones, repaso, distribución del Examen Final.   


jueves, el 10 de mayo:

Examen Final entregada en 106 Barrett, antes de mediodía




j 19:                  TBD


Semana 14:

m 24:               Course Packet: “Ana el Once de Marzo,” Paloma Pedrero



j 26:                 Course Packet: “Harira,” Ana Diosdado

                        “Oxígeno,” Yolanda Dorado




Semana 15:

m 1:                 Streaming/Reserves: “La soledad” (Dir. Jaime Rosales, 2007)


j 3:                   Conclusiones, evaluaciones, repaso, distribución del Examen Final.   


jueves, el 10 de mayo: Entrega el Examen Final en 106 Barrett, antes de mediodía