Fall 2017



Sara J. Brenneis (Section 01)
Kristen Brookes (Section 01)
Megan B. Lyster (Section 01)


“Exile” is both a person who is forced to leave his or her native country and a state of exclusion; both an individual and an experience. This class attempts to understand the exile experience through the work of artists, writers and thinkers from Spain and Latin America who were forced from their homelands. We will trace the reasons, confusions and consequences that the experience of exile produces by examining the lives and works of artists such as Cristina Peri Rossi, Jorge Semprún, Julio Cortázar, Reinaldo Arenas, Rigoberta Menchú, and Pablo Picasso, among other examples, as they enter into states of exile and self-consciously examine their own limbo between two countries.  Many of these individuals and works of art left Spain or countries in Latin America because of their political opposition to the ruling regime; we will delve into the historical, political and cultural backgrounds that resulted in their exile. In addition, we will linger over the larger questions exile raises: Is there a difference between immigration and exile? Can the exile ever return home? Are the children of exiles also exiles?

As an interdisciplinary approach to the topic of exile, this course will expose the student to a variety of fields of inquiry central to the liberal arts, including literary, film, historical, political, and cultural studies. The class focuses on Spain and Latin America, and some texts will be available in both English and Spanish; however, knowledge of Spanish is not required.  This course will be discussion based, meaning that students will be expected to come to class having read and studied the reading for the day prepared to share reactions, questions, and doubts about the assigned texts and films as well as to listen and respond thoughtfully to their classmates’ contributions: active participation is crucial.  We will work on critical reading and interpretation, analytical writing and the thoughtful oral articulation of ideas as necessary skills to a student’s success at Amherst College.  Special attention will be given to writing: students will compose frequent short response papers, longer essays focusing on diverse approaches to academic writing, and will participate in writing workshops and peer review sessions in class.

Fall semester.  Professor Brenneis.


Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English, Writing Intensive


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017