Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Gabriela Polit

Associate ProfessorPh.D., New York University

Associate Professor, Department of Spanish & Portuguese
Gabriela Polit



ILA 380 • Intro Thry & Rsrch Of Lit/Cul

45735 • Fall 2017
Meets W 1:00PM-4:00PM BEN 1.118

The objective of this course is two fold. First, it will expose students to a set of significant theoretical texts that have shaped the discussion on the field of Iberian and Latin American literary and cultural studies in the last decades. Since not all the theories and perspectives could be covered in a semester, we will take a historical approach to better understand and critically study the changes in the field. Theoretical discussions will always focus on specific texts or narratives to emphasize the importance of theory as a means to construct an object of study.

Second, the course will familiarize students with the demands of the profession and will give them some specific guidelines regarding practical and strategic ways to 1) write papers an have them published; 2), to prepare oral presentations to be delivered in academic settings; 3) to improve personal profiles through the acquisition of certifications, have and active participation in the profession (etc.)

Theory Readings*

Pierre Bourdieu. The Field of Cultural Production (sel)

M. Foucault. Knowledge and Power (Sel) What is an Author?

R. Williams Literature and Culture (sel)

Said. Orientalism (sel)

Angel Rama. Ciudad letrada.

Anderson Imagined Communities (sel)

Derrida. Before the Law. (sel)

Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui. TBA

Diana Taylor. The Archive and the Repertoire. (sel)

Ann Cvetkovich The Archive of Feelings. (sel)

Depression (sel)

Recommended Texts books

Writing your Journal Article in 12 Weeks, A guide to Academic Publishing Success. (SAGE, Publications, 2009), Wendy Laura Belcher.

Vincent B. Leitch, General Editor, The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism   (Norton, New York, 2010).  Second edition.


Final Paper 50% (7,000 and 10,000 words, including notes and bibliography)

Paper presentation 30% (20 minutes)

Weekly reports (250 words)  20%

* The literary and film narratives included in the syllabus will be announced the first day of class. 

LAS 370S • Love In Times Of Guns

40530 • Spring 2017
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM BEN 1.104
(also listed as SPN 355)

This course will explore how love, care, compassion and solidarity are represented in narratives that deal with violent events.  The aim of the course is to search for humanity in the most unthinkable narratives.  Students will read fiction and non-fiction works, they will also analyze audio-visual material.

ILA 387 • Love In The Times Of Guns

45755 • Fall 2016
Meets T 9:00AM-12:00PM UTC 4.114

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  When studying violence, we know that we need to understand the social and political contexts that trigger a violent event or that reproduce structures of inequality that are in themselves violent. When we think about love, on the contrary, we tend to think about it as a universal, ahistorical and transcendental feeling that bonds parents to their children, adults in a romantic relationship, siblings and friends. But love is more complicated.

In this course we are going to read love stories to understand the social, political and cultural ways in which love is manifested, experienced, shared and suffered. We will read from classical novels of the boom to contemporary novels crónicas and short stories by authors from the Americas, to explore the difficulties of romantic love in heterosexual and homosexual couples, analyze the tensions in love between parents and their sons/daughters; the perils of love among friends and the difficulties of love between siblings.

The wide array of theoretical approaches will enable students to understand, several forms of love, i.e., love and symbolic domination (Bourdieu), love and gender politics, (Benjamin, Scott) love and motherhood (Badiner), love and the search for the disappeared (Cvetkovich, Brennan), love and religion (Mahmood).

Tentative Books

El amor en tiempos de cólera. Gabriel García Márquez

La tía Julia y el escribidor. Julio Cortázar

Primero estaba el mar. Tomás González

La luz difícil. Tomás González

Jamás olvidaré tu nombre and El cielo no me abandona Patricia Nieto (Ed)(selected crónicas)

La casa de los Conejos. Laura Alcoba

Nadie me verá llorar. Cristina Rivera Garza

At Night we walk in Circles. Daniel Alarcón

Dame pelota. Dalia Rosetti.

Walsala. Gioconda Belli

Selected shorts stories byInés Arredondo

Tentative Movies

El elefante blanco. Pablo Trapero (2012)

Relatos Salvajes. Damián Szifrón (2014)

Los colores de la montaña. Carlos César Arbeláez


Masculine Domination. Pierre Bourdieu

Bonds of Love. Jessica Benjamin.

The Archive of Feelings. Ann Cvetkovich

The Theory of the Affect. Teresa Brennan

Politics of Piety. The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject. Saba Mahnood

The Fantasy of Feminism (Joan Scott)

The Conflit. How Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women. Elisabeth Badinter.


- Students will have to write a reaction page and post it in CANVAS the night before the meeting.

- They will have a class presentation of 20-30 minutes in which they have to discuss the readings for the day and lead the discussion.

- Although reactions papers and presentations are mandatory, the final grade (100%) for the course is based on the FINAL PAPER that the student needs to write. It should be a 25-30 pages long, MLA style, essay. Students will discuss in advance with the professor, the topic on which they want to write. 

LAS 370S • Nonfict Narratives Lat Amer

39785 • Spring 2016
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM BEN 1.122

Please check back for updates.

LAS 392S • Fictions Of The Real

39710 • Fall 2015
Meets T 9:00AM-12:00PM BEN 1.118
(also listed as ILA 387)


Most of our knowledge of Latin America’s dramatic events, such as the expansion of informal markets, state abuse, paramilitarism, sexual violence, narcotrafficking, exploitation of natural resources, displacements, forced disappearances, (etc.), come from journalistic reports. Journalism is in Contemporary Latin America, one of the most important discourses, innovative, at times risky and has even become a dangerous profession.

This course is designed to read the most relevant non-fiction works produced in the region in the last 60 years. The course has three objectives:

1. Review the history of the genre in the region; learn about its literary and political importance as well as its status in the field of contemporary Latin American literary production.

2. Learn about the writing conventions used in non-fiction works.

3. Explore the ethical and affective quandaries that writing (and reading) such texts entail.

The course is divided in three sections. During the first part of the semester, students will read books written as political interventions. (Operación Masacre, Rodolfo Walsh; La noche de Tlatelolco, Elena Poniatovsk; En el camino,

Oscar Martínez; Fuego cruzado, Marcela Turati and short crónicas about (current) forced disappearances by Daniela Rea.

The second part of the course will focus on the creation of characters. We will read La parabola de Pablo. Auge y caída de un narcotraficante by Alonso Salazar, Cuando me muera quiero que me toquen cumbia by Cristian Alarcón and La eternal parranda by Alberto Salcedo Ramos.

The third part of the course will focus on narratives of contemporary events Historia de un secuestro, Gabriel García Márquez; Los Escogidos and Muerte en el paraíso, Patricia Nieto; Sangre Salada by Sebastián Hacher.

The readings will deal with the visible and invisible hand of the writers (i.e. links between journalism and the mystery novel, the use of language). We will read material on the conventions of non-fiction writing and about interviewing strategies. We will schedule a skype discussion with Roberto Herrscher. (Journalism Professor in Barcelona and one of the Fundación García Márquez’s “maestros.”)

While learning the importance of the genre in the history of the region in the last 70 years, and its effects in the field of literary production (Bourdieu), students will also be able to discuss how we come to understand certain phenomena (i.e. state repression in Argentina and Mexico) through the craft of journalistic writing. They will discover how a single character enables the writer and its public to understand the complexities of a broad phenomenon (i.e. narcotrafficking and paramilitarism in Colombia, or the meaning of living in a villa in the Great Buenos Aires). Finally, students will discuss how, in each context, a text could be linked to an eventual social mobilization, to the search for justice, or to the empowerment of the victims. We will read theoretical tools that enable reflections on (the textual creation of) empathy, affect, sympathy and disgust (etc.). 

We will read human rights theory, trauma theory.

We will have Colombian Award winning cronista, Patricia Nieto invited to our class discussion during the semester.


Operación Masacre. Rodolfo Walsh

La noche de Tlatelolco. Elena Poniatovska;

En el camino. Oscar Martínez; (selections)

Fuego cruzado. Marcela Turati (selections)

TBA Daniela Rea

Pablo. Auge y caída de un narcotraficante. Alonso Salazar

Cuando me muera quiero que me toquen cumbia. Cristian Alarcón

La eternal parranda. Alberto Salcedo Ramos

Historia de un secuestro. Gabriel García Márquez

Los Escogidos. Patricia Nieto

Muerte en el paraíso, Patricia Nieto (selections)

Sangre Salada. Sebastián Hacher


Periodismo Narrativo Roberto Herrscher (selections)

Los cinco sentidos del periodista Richard Kapuscinsky (selections)

Crónica y Mirada María Angulo (selections) Mejor que ficción. Crónicas ejemplares. Jordi Carrión. Ed. (introduction)

“La verdad y el estilo” Leila Guerriero

Antología de crónica latinoamericana actual. Darío Jaramillo Agudelo. Ed. (Introduction)


An Archive of Feelings  Ann Cvetkovich (selections)

Depression Ann Cvetkovich (sel)

The theory of the Affect Terasa Brennan (sel)

Achiles en Vietnam. Jonathan Shay (sel)

The Field of Cultural Production. Pierre Bourdieu (sel)

“Representing Human Rights Violations. Social Contexts and Subjectivities.” Richard Wilson.


- Students will have to write a reaction page and post it in CANVAS the night before the meeting.

- They will have a class presentation of 20-30 minutes in which they have to discuss the readings for the day and lead the discussion.

- Although reactions papers and presentations are mandatory, the final grade (100%) for the course is based on the FINAL PAPER that the student needs to write. It should be a 25-30 pages long, MLA style, essay. Students will discuss in advance with the professor, the topic on which they want to write.

LAS 370S • War/Survival: Nature In Lat Am

40685 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GAR 3.116
(also listed as SPN 355)

Taught in Spanish. Latin American Studies 322 and 370S may not both be counted unless the topics vary.

ILA 387 • Violence: Theories And Narrati

46820 • Spring 2014
Meets TH 1:00PM-4:00PM SZB 380


In this course students will be exposed to classic theory on violence and will read contemporary Latin American literary texts under the light of these theories. Violence in its various forms (structural, domestic, symbolic, physical, etc.), is a complex phenomenon that needs to be addressed from different perspectives, and with sophisticated theoretical tools. The objective of the course is to provide students with the necessary training to understand and study violence and its many representations.

The course is also designed as a workshop in which several professors from different departments will come and discuss their works in class (Professor Ariel Dulitzky will talk about Human Rights, Professor Donna De Cessare will talk about photography; Professor Javier Auyero will talk about ethnography)

Internet sources

Cosecha Roja.

Revista Anfibia


*”Making sense of Violence” Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Philippe Bourgeois

*Michael Taussig. “Culture of Terror. Space of Death.”

*Primo Levi The Gray Zone

*Walter Benjamin Critique of Violence

*Hannah Arendt Report on Jerusalem

*Derrida, J. “Before the Law”

Textos literarios

Cuando me muera quiero que me toquen cumbia. Cristian Alarcón

Sangre Salada. Sebastián Hacher

La vorágine. José E. Rivera.

Cóndores no entierran todos los días. Gardeazabal

Inés Arredondo. Cuentos

Sangres de mestizos. Augusto Céspedes.


Students will have to prepare a class presentation of 20 minutes on any of the texts on theory.     

The final evaluation is based on an a final research paper, 20-25 pgs. long. MLA style (90%)


LAS 370S • Contemp Spanish Amer Prose

41060 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BEN 1.102

Please check back for updates.

LAS 370S • Civilization Of Spanish Amer

40900-40905 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GSB 2.126

Please check back for updates.

LAS 370S • Contemp Spanish Amer Prose

40930 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM MEZ 1.212

Please check back for updates.

LAS 392S • Fictns/Non-Fictn From Margins

40665 • Spring 2013
Meets F 12:00PM-3:00PM BEN 1.118
(also listed as SPN 380K)


Cronistas y narradores contemporáneos interesados en narrar el crimen manifiestan la necesidad de leer los clásicos para aprender a describir la violencia que sacude sus sociedades. Al mismo tiempo, en América Latina siempre se ha hablado de desbordar los géneros como la imposición de la realidad que se vive. Sin embargo, cada época histórica y cada sociedad establece su propia relación con los géneros narrativos, con los clásicos y con las tradiciones locales. En este curso analizaremos algunas narrativas de ficción y no ficción que tratan sobre crímenes y criminales, y analizaremos en qué medida estas narrativas desbordan los géneros. El objetivo es además establecer cómo la literatura fomenta o cuestiona la doxa respecto a la marginalidad y el crimen; cómo establece la función del estado y qué lugar se le otorga al oficio de narrar. Por ejemplo, el curso muestra cómo el narcotráfico a pesar de ser un fenómeno que opera a nivel global, se representa de forma muy particular e idiosincrática en las distintas regiones. Cada escritor escoge un género desde el cual narrar la historia (policial, misterio, crónica, ficción) y lidia con las tradiciones locales en el momento de hacer literatura. En la búsqueda de cada autor, hay una manera de mirar los márgenes y de narrar el crimen.


Operación Masacre. Rodolfo Walsh. (Argentina)

In Cold Blood. Truman Capote. (EEUU)

Cuando me muero quiero que me toquen cumbia. Cristian Alarcón (Argentina)

Malayerba. Javier Valdez. (México) (selecciones)

Fuego cruzado. Marcela Turati (México) (selecciones)

La eterna parranda. Alberto Salcedo Ramos. (Colombia) (selecciones)

Johanatan no usa tatuajes. Oscar Martínez (Et. Al) (Centro América) (selecciones)

El amante de Janis Joplins. Élmer Mendoza. (México)

Manuel y Fortunato una picaresca andina. Alison Spedding. (Bolivia UK)

El ruido de las cosas al caer.  Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Colombia)

Si me querés quereme transa. Cristian Alarcón (Argentina)

Los ejércitos. Evelio Rosales (Colombia)

La salada.  Sebastián Hacher (Argentina)


Loiq Waquan

Charles Tilly  


R. Chandler  

Josefina Ludmer  

Loiq Waquan

R. Kapuscinsky


LAS 370S • Contemp Spanish Amer Prose

40350 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MEZ 1.212
(also listed as SPN 365K)

Novels, short stories, and essays from different regions of Hispanic America. Taught in Spanish. 

LAS 392S • Narc: Medellin/Culiacan/La Paz

40500 • Spring 2012
Meets TH 10:00AM-1:00PM BEN 1.118
(also listed as SPN 381M)


El curso explora la narrativa en torno al tráfico de drogas ilegales en Medellín, Culiacán y La Paz. El objetivo es exponer a los estudiantes a narrativas y lecturas alternativas de lo que es uno de los fenómenos más violentos de América Latina. Durante el semestre se leerán las obras más representativas de la emergencia del tráfico de drogas ilegales en Medellín, Culiacán y La Paz desde los años 90 en adelante. Al contrastar las versiones culturales que imperan en cada ciudad en el momento de representar el narco, las reflexiones sobre los textos tendrán en consideración la composición política del narco en cada país, la importancia de los campos culturales en los que se crean las obras (revisando tradiciones locales) y el lugar que ocupan los autores en estos campos culturales.


Los estudiantes deberán escribir un reporte semanal (reaction paper) de 1 carilla sobre las lecturas de la semana. Cada estudiantes deberá hacer una presentación de 20 minutos sobre el tema que escoja. Los estudiantes discutirán un esbozo del trabajo final con la profesora. Los trabajos finales serán de 20 páginas, (siguiendo el MLA Style)


Cada respiro que tomas; Elmer Mendoza.

El asesino solitario Elmer Mendoza

La muerte inconclusa de Bernardino Casablanca César López Cuadras

Entre perros. Alejandro Almazán

No nacimos pa’ semilla. Alonso Salazar.

 La virgen de los sicarios Fernando Vallejo

Cartas Cruzadas Darío Jaramillo Agudelo

Angosta. Héctor Abad Faciolince

Manuel y Fortunata. Una picaresca andina. Alison Sppeding

Vientos de la cordillera Alison Sppeding


 Textos de consulta

¨Talking about the Flow” Paul Gootemberg (BB)

 Mitología del narcotraficante en México. Luis Astorga

 Christian Geffray. Introduction: durg traffikcing and the state

 El siglo de las drogas  Luis Astorga (selecciones) 

El coronel no tiene quien le escriba Gabriel García Márquez

 “The Purloined Letter” Edgar Alan Poe

Lacan “Seminar on the Purloined Letter

In Cold Blood. Truman Capotte

Rosario Tijeras. Jorge Franco.

 “The New Journalism” Tom Wolfe

El diario de un narcotraficante A. Nacaveva

The Field of Cultural Production. Pierre Bourdieu.

“On Reading About Violence, Drug Dealers and Interpreting a Field of Literary Production Amidst the Din of Gunfire: Culiacán  - Sinaloa, 2007.” Polit Dueñas.

Levinas (selecciones)

Giorgio Agamben (selecciones)

Raymond Chandler “The Simple Art of Murder”

“”La mariposa amarilla,” un asesino, un amante medio idiota y los silencios del narco en  la obra de Elmer Mendoza”. Polit Dueñas

 “Amidst weed, dust and lead: a narcotour through Sinaloa in the work of Lenin

Márquez” Polit-Duenas.

Andreas Huyssen  “The Uses and Abuses of Public Forgetting”.

Wachu- Wachu. Alison Sppeding.

José María Arguedas  (selecciones)


Videos recomendados:

Rodrigo D. No futuro. Victor Gaviria

Sumas y restas.  Victor Gaviria

María full of Grace.


Crónicas recomendadas

Comuna 13. Historia de una guerra urbana. Ricardo Aricapa

¿Cuánto cuesta matar un hombre? Alejandro Castaño.

Miss Narco. Javier Valdez

Malayerba. Javier Valdez. 

LAS 370S • Intro Spn Amer Lit Snc Mod

40290 • Fall 2011
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM BEN 1.106

Please check back for updates.

LAS 370S • Contemp Spanish Amer Prose

40305 • Fall 2011
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM MEZ 1.210

Please check back for updates.

LAS 370S • Intro To Spn Am Lit Thru Mod

40665 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM MEZ 1.212
(also listed as SPN 325K)

Main literary trends and principal writers in Spanish America from the sixteenth century through Modernism. Taught in Spanish.

SPN 381M • Violencias: Teoria Y Narrativa

47275 • Spring 2011
Meets T 11:00AM-2:00PM BEN 1.118


En este curso los estudiantes leerán algunos de los textos sobre violencia más importantes del siglo XX, a la luz de obras literarias y películas producidas en América Latina. El objetivo es comprender la teoría a la luz de las obras de arte, El curso está diseñado para dar a los estudiantes herramientas en el manejo de la teoría buscando establecer equilibrio entre la lectura de la teoría y la de la obra de arte. Los estudiantes tendrán los instrumentos metodológicos para reconocer las diferencias y los límites entre los discursos.


Walter Benjamin Critique of Violence

Hannah Arendt On Violence 

*Rene Girard Violence and the Sacred/ The Scapegoat

*Giorgio Agamben Homo Saccer

*Pierre Bourdieu Masculine Domination

*Jessica Benjamin Bonds of Love

*Slavok Zizek Violence

* (Se leerán selecciones de estos libros)

Obras Literarias

La vorágine. José Eustasio Rivera

Sangre de mestizos. Augusto Céspedes

La virgen de los sicarios. Fernando Vallejo

Angosta. Héctor Abad Faciolince

Los ejércitos. Evelio Rosales

Si me querés quereme tranza Cristian Alarcón

Cada respiro que tomas. Elmer Mendoza  

Malayerba. Javier Valdez

Entre perros. Alejandro Almazán


De eso no se habla. María Luisa Bemberg

Los rubios. Albertina Carri


Los estudiantes tendrán que escribir un reporte semanal de las lecturas asignadas en una cuartilla y enviarlo al grupo la noche anterior.

Cada estudiante hará una presentación en clase de 15 a 20 mínimos, en la que exponga su análisis del material asignado.

Hacia la mitad del semester los estudiantes deberán presentar un esquema de lo que será su ensayo final, preferiblemente sobre obras que no se discutieron en clase. El ensayo debe tener por lo menos 20 páginas (siguiendo el formato MLA)  

LAS 370S • Contemp Spanish Amer Prose

40260 • Fall 2010
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM JES A203A
(also listed as SPN 365K)

Novels, short stories, and essays from different regions of Hispanic America. Taught in Spanish. 

LAS 370S • Intro Spn Amer Lit Snc Mod

40685 • Spring 2010
Meets MWF 3:00PM-4:00PM BEN 1.126

Please check back for updates.

LAS 370S • Contemp Spanish Amer Prose

40070 • Spring 2009
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM MEZ 1.120

Please check back for updates.

LAS 370S • Contemp Spanish Amer Prose

41170 • Fall 2008
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM MEZ 1.118

Please check back for updates.

  • Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

    University of Texas at Austin
    SRH 1.310
    2300 Red River Street D0800
    Austin, Texas 78712