Spring 2023


Listed in: Latinx and Latin Amer Studies, as LLAS-485  |  Spanish, as SPAN-485


Ilan Stavans (Section 01)


(Offered as SPAN 485 and LLAS 485) Arguably the most influential popular form of cultural expression in Latin America, a single episode of any prime-time telenovela is watched by more people than all the accumulated number of Spanish-language readers of One Hundred Years of Solitude over time. The course will explore the historical origin and development of telenovelas as well as various production techniques, the way scripts are shaped and actors are asked to perform, the role of music and other sounds, etc. Each country in the region has its own telenovela tradition. We will look at Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, and the Spanish-language productions of Univisión and Telemundo in the United States, among others. But the main objective of the course will be to analyze the performative nature of emotions in telenovelas and also gender, class, and political tension on the small screen. And we will delve into the strategies various governments have used by means of telenovelas to control the population (“melodrama is the true opium of the masses,” said a prominent Mexican telenovela director), their use as educational devices, and the clash between telenovelas and fútbol in the region’s celebrity ecosystem. Conducted in Spanish.

Prerequisite: SPAN 301 or consent of the instructor. Limited to18 students. Spring Semester: Professor Stavans.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority given to Spanish majors

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Critical thinking, active participation in class discussions, reading of the material and contextual research before class, daring spirit in creative writing, only one absence accepted throughout the entire semester.

LLAS 485 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM FOHA 120
Th 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM FOHA 120


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2023