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Advanced Book Seminar: "Los de abajo"

Course Description: Delve into a fascinating tale of a group of Mexican revolutionaries led by charismatic general Demetrio Macías around 1913. A historical novel, Los de abajo narrates the lives and adventures of this small group of men during the Mexican Revolution. The book provides readers fascinating insight into the daily lives of Mexican revolutionaries, their hopes, struggles, and search for meaning, offering a unique perspective not found in academic articles or textbooks. Author Mariano Azuela was a medical surgeon who decided to join the Revolution in 1913 as a field doctor, traveling with the military forces of one of Pancho Villa’s revered generals, Julián Medina. Greatly impacted by this first hand experience, Azuela was inspired to create his novel based on what he observed in the events of the revolution and in the hearts of the revolutionaries who surrounded him.

2016 marks 101 years since Los de abajo first appeared as a series of short installments in a newspaper from El Paso Texas in 1915, where Azuela sought refuge in exile after the defeat of Villa and Zapata´s armies by Venustiano Carranza’s forces. He returned to Mexico in 1916.

Designed for students with advanced reading and speaking ability, this engaging and highly participatory seminar style course will include multimedia presentations and group discussions exploring the language and content of the book, as well as the historical context of the story. Students can expect to read assignments of 15-20 pages per week, a great opportunity for motivated students seeking to increase and polish comprehension skills and deepen cultural understanding under the guidance of a knowledgeable instructor.

Best suited for: Spanish Advanced I or equivalent

Book edition: This course will use the 100th anniversary commemorative edition from the series "Letras Mexicanas", Fondo de Cultura Económica 2015. The book can be purchased at Tierra for $12. There is also a Kindle edition on Amazon or you can find this 2015 edition at Powell's.

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