Imagining Andalusia

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Course Information
Terms offered: 
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Contact Hours: 



This course explores how writers from various cultures and eras have represented Andalusia in their texts. The writers whose work we will study include Richard Ford, George Borrow, Washington Irving, Gerald Brenan and other contemporary authors such as Edward Said and Chris Stewart.

Attendance policy: 

Attendance is mandatory for all IES Abroad classes, including course related excursions. Any exams, tests, presentations, or other work missed due to student absences can only be rescheduled in cases of documented medical or family emergencies. If a student misses more than three classes in any course 3% of the final class grade will be deducted for every unjustified student absence. Six absences in any course will result in a failing grade.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Examine Anglophone travel writing on Andalusia in the nineteenth and twentieth-century.
  • Explain why certain still influential imaginings of Spain arose and how they were transmitted throughout history.
  • Describe stereotypes and visions of romance of Andalusia and how these visions affected the Andalusia that we study and live in today.
  • Make comparisons to the students’ own experiences in Granada.
  • Discuss different authors’ travel writing works, its strategies and procedures, and interpret them in relation to other works and authors.
  • Develop critical thinking.
  • Write a literary evaluation of a piece of travel writing.
  • Keep a personal travel journal.
Method of presentation: 
  • Lectures by the instructor
  • Readings
  • Visits and guest lecturers
Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Class participation - 15%
  • Group project - 15%
  • Travel journal - 30%
  • Midterm exam - 15%
  • Final exam - 25%




Topic 1

Identity and Imagination. "Spain is different": A brief history of Anglo-American Hispanophilia and literary imagination.

  • Presentation of the course: Syllabus, expectations, previous knowledge, etc.
  • Travel Literature. Exploring the role of place in writers' lives and works.

Activity: Writing the first page of your Travel Journal: "The Lonely Planet Guide of my Apartment"

  • Concepts: stereotypes, identity, history, religion and multiculturalism in Andalusia.
  • Fernando González Moreno and Beatriz González Moreno, “(Re) Discovering Spain: English Travellers and the Belated Picturesque Tour”, in Joselyn M. Almeida (ed.), Romanticism and the Anglo-Hispanic Imaginary, Amsterdam / New York: Editions Rodopi, 2010, pp. 341-360.
Topic 2

Imagining Al-Andalus, Visions by Muslim, Jewish and Christian writers.

  • Historical paradigms: Al-Andalus, Iberia's three civilizations, "convivencia", religious tolerance.
  • On-site Lecture: Alcázar Genil.
  • María Rosa Menocal, The Ornament of the World, pp. 1-50 and “Mother tongues”, pp. 66-78.
  • María Rosa Menocal, The Ornament of the World, pp. 229-281.
Topic 3

Spanish Orientalism. Travler's Tales and Romantic visions of Andalusia.

  • Concepts: Spanish Orientalism
  • Introducing Washington Irving in Granada: Life, Works and Legacy.
  • Tales of the Alhambra (up to “Legend of the Prince Ahmed al Kamel, or the Pilgrim of Love”, p. 200)
  • Tales of the Alhambra (remaining chapters, pp. 201-304)
  • Richard Ford, A Handbook for Travelers in Spain. Andalucía, Ronda and Granada (excerpts).
Topic 4

Gypsies and Bandoleros

Introducing Carmen. The myth of Carmen in contemporary society.

  • George Borrow’s The Zincali, an Account of the Gypsies of Spain.
  • Prosper Mérimée’s Carmen
  • Viewing: Vicente Aranda’s Carmen
Topic 5

Andalusia in the first third of the 20th century.

  • Gerald Brenan's South from Granada (excerpts) Part 1
  • Gerald Brenan's South from Granada (excerpts) Part 2
  • Viewing: Short Films of Granada in the twenties. Social, political, artistic context.
Topic 6

The Spanish Civil War and English literature.

The Spanish Civil War in other authors (Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, etc.)

  • Laurie Lee's As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. (I)
  • Laurie Lee's As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. (II)
Session 7

Andalusia in the modern imagination.

  • Visiting: Hamman Al-Andalus Granada.
  • Edward Said, “Andalusia Journey”, Travel and Leisure, December 2002.
  • Mikaela Rogozen-Soltar, “Managing Muslim Visibility: Conversion, Immigration and Spanish Imaginaries of Islam”, American Anthropologist, vol. 114. n. 4, 2012, pp. 661-623.
Session 8

Optimism and Andalusia. The fabled good life in the South.

Last class: Chris Stewart's presentation

  • Chris Stewart’s Driving Over Lemons.