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UHL Maymester 2011

UNHL 3995 - Cultures of Contemporary Spain

In January 1492, Granada, the last stronghold of Spanish-Muslim civilization fell to Christian armies.  By spring, Ferdinand and Isabella, Los Reyes Catolicos, issued the Edict of Expulsion bringing to an end the 800 year convivencia of the three abrahamic faiths on the Iberian Peninsula. Mass conversions of both Jews and Moors to Christianity followed and within decades questions of purity of blood and heresy flamed by the inquisition led to strict adherence by common peasant and gentry alike to the expectations of church and state. Driven for centuries by a mania for homogeneity, the country eradicated any social variation and a long period of stagnation and isolation ensued.

After the death of Franco and the subsequent social and political revolution of the 70s, Spanish society rapidly modernized. Inclusion in the European Union and the economic boom of the 90s compelled Spaniards to re-examine the definition of their national identity as more than five million immigrants from the Americas and North Africa entered Spain to make new lives for themselves and their families in the burgeoning construction and tourist industries.

This summer, join Dr. Marisa Fernandez-Martinez of the UC Denver Department of Spanish as she leads a group of UHL students on a unique three week trip to Granada, Spain to explore the evolving contemporary Spanish identity within the context of the country’s transformation from an anachronistic dictatorship to a dynamic democracy while addressing the social, economic and political challenges of an increasingly pluralistic society.

Students will experience a dynamic immersion into the fascinating urban spaces of Granada, a philosophical vision of the Spanish landscape, a critical analysis of the Spanish contemporary cultural and artistic plurality and a deeper knowledge and communicative practice of the Spanish language.

The program will be housed at the Universidad de Granada which was founded in 1531 by Emperor Charles V.  While famous for its vibrant mixture of Moorish, Christian and Jewish influences, Granada is above all a university town in the medieval tradition and the Universidad occupies many of the oldest buildings in the city.

During the program students live with local Spanish families exploring daily themes which will be connected with the student’s cultural experience. Discussions on the Spanish civil war, for instance, will include reading the works of literary/historical figures such as Federico Garcia Lorca while meetings with elderly Spaniards to speak about the memoria historica will help participants understand how the war, famine and ensuing years of franquismo transformed individual lives.

Guided visits to the cultural treasures of Granada and guest lecturers from government, business and civil society, as well as a long weekend in Madrid at the end of the program, promise to make this an exceptionally unique educational and cultural experience that you won’t want to miss.

Hablar. Aprender. Entender. Crecer. Vivir. Divertirte en Espana este verano!


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