Inner Travel (SPA4604.01)

Jonathan Pitcher

Beyond Columbus’ errant journey into the abyss and the ensuing quest for El Dorado, or Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle, Latin America’s interior has often enticed its own learned population. Their travels, in space, time and thought, do not merely present a physical confrontation with alterity, with the continent’s supposed heart of darkness, but an intellectual clearing, an origin, from which a more equitable politics may begin. To name but one example, Alejo Carpentier’s Los pasos perdidos, the tale of a New York composer’s journey to the beginning of society and music, is often seen as the touchstone of Latin American identity. Through accounts of real and fictitious travels, from Carpentier to the crassest of guidebooks, we will study such quests for self.
Such domestic departures will frame debates on ethics, representation, and epistemology. Discussions and presentations will facilitate the development of oral fluency. Students will expand their descriptive, analytical and polemical vocabulary. Written work, including an appropriate research project, will solidify familiarity with linguistic structures. Readings will include work by Sarmiento, Gorriti, Mansilla, Vasconcelos, Borges, Bioy Casares, Che Guevara, Allende, Sepúlveda, and Crosthwaite. For comparison’s sake, there will be occasional primary and secondary texts in English. Conducted in Spanish. High-intermediate level.

Learning Outcomes:
Objetivos cognitivos del curso

Entender, localizar, valorar y criticar el discurso del viaje de cualquier país moderno
Establecer sus propias relaciones entre los materiales más allá de la manipulación excesiva del profesor
Interpretar una serie de auto-representaciones de varios campos
Conectar las narrativas y la sociedad
Mejorar la sofisticación del español

Objetivos lingüísticos

Mejorar la gramática
Enriquecer el vocabulario
Perfeccionar el lenguaje histórico-político-literario
Elaborar la explicación, el discurso retórico, la composición
Desarrollar argumentos coherentes

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: 5 terms of Spanish at Bennington, or please contact Dr. Pitcher at
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 1:40PM - 3:30PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 15
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Spanish