Engendering Nations

Please note: this is archived course information from 2023 for SPANISH 738.


This course interrogates the role that gender constructs have played in nation building in Spain and Latin America over the last 100 years.

The first six weeks, dedicated to Spain, offer an overview of gendered politics during the turbulent years of the Spanish Second Republic and Civil War (1931-1939), the repression of the Franco dictatorship (1939-1975) and Spain post-Franco, in which the nation’s democratic reinvention also demanded coming to terms with a difficult political past. The texts used to frame our discussions range from posters and poetry, to drama, short stories and songs.

The second six weeks on Latin America begin in the early 20th century, examining literary feminine responses to the patriarchal concept of nation. As the century progressed, new perspectives offered by indigenous female and gay voices challenged hegemonic western constructs of gender. In the 1970s and 1990s dictatorial regimes introduced new forms of gender polarity, marked by the ultra-masculine power of the State under military rule. In contrast, the return to democracy saw the need to restore “the national family,” in which female-led institutions and social campaigns, and female Heads of State play a fundamental role. Shaping our analysis are different forms of discourse, from literature, music, political activism, to audio-visual representations.


  • To understand the ways in which notions of national identity, gender, politics and symbolic representations are intertwined.
  • To understand the role that gender has played across different cultural, historical and political contexts in Spain and Latin America, and thus understand the similarities as well as the differences between these two major regions of the Hispanic world.
  • To learn critical strategies to read contemporary cultural constructions of gender, nation, politics and their symbolic representations.

If you are interested in taking this course, please contact the Postgraduate Adviser well in advance


Availability 2023

Not taught in 2023




SPANISH 738: 30 points