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Advanced Literature Seminar - "Las Batallas en el Desierto y otros cuentos"

Las Batallas en el DesiertoCourse Description: Delve into a story of impossible love in the midst of the watershed moment that forever transformed middle class Mexican society as it was strongly influenced by American pop culture by the end of the 1940’s. Las Batallas en el desierto by José Emilio Pacheco (Mexico City, 1939-2014) has been one of the most representative and widely read works of 20th century Mexican Literature. In this brief 65-page novella, Pacheco masterfully weaves myriad cultural references into the coming of age story of a young boy in the traditional "Roma" middle-class neighborhood of Mexico City. Surprisingly profound and universal, this book will serve as a fascinating springboard into discussion about history, politics, pop culture, love and innocence.

Through multimedia materials we will discover a variety of cultural and historical icons from the era referenced in the book: from presidential figures like Miguel Alemán and Harry Truman to extraordinary comedian movie actors Cantinflas and Tin Tan; from the origins of the Mexica (Aztec) metropolis of Tenochtitlan to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. All in all, students will attain deep insight into the societal and political changes of that time that shaped modern Mexican society.       

Designed for students with advanced reading and speaking skills in Spanish, this course will give you the opportunity to continue polishing your comprehension and conversational fluidity while we embark on this literary adventure. Once immersed in Pacheco's literary works the inevitable reflection of the past will make us wonder if as a society, as a world, we have really evolved towards good or not, if we are in reality much different from what we used to be then.

Best suited for: Spanish Advanced I or equivalent

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