Going to Barcelona or just want to know more about the region?
Catalan Language and Culture (HISP – C105/C491/C494)
Prof. Edgar Illas
Office: Ballantine Hall 875; Phone: 855-8907
Globalization has evidently unified economies, torn down political barriers, turned local spaces into tourist attractions, and made English and other major languages the most efficient communication tools. In this context, Barcelona has become since the Olympic Games of 1992 a successful global city that offers a balanced combination of European economic prosperity and Mediterranean lifestyle. Barcelona is one of the world’s most fashionable cities, with cultural centers and sunny beaches, a rich architectural heritage and a cool nightlife.
But at the heart of this success there seems to be an enigmatic element that, given the main tendencies of globalization, one might not know how to explain: the presence of Catalan language. In the last decades, Catalan, spoken by approximately 10 million people, has not only maintained its high cultural prestige but it has also increased its public presence and remained a key political tool in Catalonia.
This introductory course to Catalan language and culture has three main goals. First, it aims to provide a basic knowledge of the Catalan language. The course will be an intensive study of the language, geared primarily at reading knowledge, but not limited to it. Secondly, the course will also consist of a cultural overview of Catalunya and the Catalan linguistic area (País Valencià, Illes Balears, Andorra, Rosselló-Catalunya Nord, and the city of l’Alguer). We will focus on the cultural history of this nation in its always conflictive relations to the Spanish and French states. Finally, the case of Catalonia and its both unique and exemplary characteristics will be a perfect occasion to undertake more general reflections on the intricate relations between language, culture, the modern state, and globalization.
This class may count as an elective for the Major in Spanish (for the three tracks--Literature, Linguistics, and Hispanic Studies). The continuation of this course (C450 or C494) may also count as an elective for the three tracks of the Major.
Knowledge of another Romance language is not required.