Spring 2024

Tango to Reguetón: Popular Music in Latin American Literature

Listed in: Latinx and Latin Amer Studies, as LLAS-319  |  Music, as MUSI-142  |  Spanish, as SPAN-319


Sarah M. Piazza (Section 01)


(Offered as SPAN-319, MUSI-142 and LLAS-319) The early twentieth century development and popularization of new technologies like the radio and the phonograph fomented a shift in Latin America toward popular music production that could reach an international, Spanish-speaking audience. Musical genres that Ángel Quintero Rivera terms “músicas mulatas” question boundaries between races, social classes, and nations. In this course, we will investigate how Latin American short stories and novels from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries represent these “músicas mulatas” as the site of different kinds of transgression and fusion. Specifically, we will study the possible functions and effects of incorporating el tango, el bolero, la bachata, la salsa, and el reguetón into literary texts. By reading a variety of voices, particularly those of Afro-descendent and women authors, we will pay special attention to the ways in which musicalized texts create and question representations of race and gender and seek to transgress borders of all kinds. To enrich our study of literature, we will learn about each of the featured musical genres through secondary readings, guest lectures, and several dance classes. Students will have the opportunity to annotate a text with links to musical intertexts and create a podcast, among other assignments. No prior experience with musicology or performance is expected. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 301 or permission of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Lecturer Piazza.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority will be given to Spanish majors. I will maintain an informal waitlist and try to balance the numbers of students from each year: freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: literary analysis; application of musicology and secondary sources to literature; an emphasis on reading, writing, listening, and speaking in Spanish; partner and small group work; participation in a discussion forum; annotation of a literary text with musical intertexts; class presentations; short essays; a podcast as a final project.

LLAS 319 - LEC

Section 01
M 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM CHAP 201
W 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM CHAP 201