Dr. Sophia A. McClennen, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Spanish, and Women's Studies


Spring 2005 


American Copula:

Sexual Reproduction and Textual Production in the New World


Plan of Study



Quick Links:

José Clemente Orozco

Cortés and Malinche,  1926


A Note about Readings:

I reserve the option of making changes to our daily readings (additions, deletions or adaptations of the current set). 

January 10


Required Readings

 Anne McClintock Introduction to Imperial Leather and Jose Limon Epilogue to American Encounters on electronic reserve

January 17

Theory and Criticism Toolbox

Primary Required Readings

 Each Student will research the theorists/critics they selected.

To Turn In

 Info sheets on theorists/critics.  Bring copies to class and post on Angel.

January 24

Guest Lecture by Steven Thomas: In vitro America

Primary Required Readings

(1) Christopher Columbus, "Narrative of the Third Voyage." Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus (London: Penguin, 1992): 206-226 -- electronic reserve.

(2) Louis Montrose, "The Work of Gender in the Discourse of Discovery," Representations 33 (1991): 1-41 -- download from J-STOR.

(3) Martin Waldsmuller, selected passage from the Cosmographia, quoted in Djelal Kadir's Columbus and the Ends of the Earth (Berkeley: U.C. Press, 1992): 59 -- copy available.

(4) Walter Raleigh, The Discoverie of the Large, Rich, and Bewitful Empyre of Guiana, Neil Whitehead, ed. (Norman: U. Oklahoma Press, 1997) -- copy available.

(5) John Donne, four poems: "Elegie: to his mistress going to bed"; "Valediction: of weeping"; "Hymn to God, my God, in my Sickness"; and Holy Sonnet V "I am a Little World Made Cunningly" (find on-line: http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/donnebib.htm)

(6) The Penguins, "Earth Angel" lyrics <http://www.lyricalcontent.com/ugcs.php?q=Earth_angel.html&script=htmlit>

Secondary Readings to Consult

"Columbus and Columbia:  A Brief Survey of the Early Creation of
the Columbus Symbol in American History"

January 31

Colonial Copula from Insemination to Dissemination: Monstrous Women, Impotent Men

Required Readings

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz:  The Answer/La Respuesta.


Introduction to Catalina Erauso’s Autobiography

Anne Bradstreet, Anne Hutchinson, Mary Dyer

  1. "Such Monstrous Births": A Neglected Aspect of the Antinomian Controversy  Anne Jacobson Schutte, Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 1. (Spring, 1985), pp. 85-106.  (In JSTOR)

  2. "Unfit for Light": Anne Bradstreet's Monstrous Birth by Bethany Reid The New England Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 4. (Dec., 1998), pp. 517-542. (In JSTOR)

  3. Myles, Anne G. From Monster to Martyr: Re-Presenting Mary Dyer Early American Literature - Volume 36, Number 1, 2001, pp. 1-30 – Article (in Project Muse)

John Smith Full Text of John Smith's True Relation

Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca (Excerpts from the Journey –to be posted on Angel)

Bernal Díaz de Castillo "Malinche Chapter" (photocopies available)

Octavio Paz "Hijos de la Malinche" (photocopies available)

Readings to Consult


  1. "Yo Soy La Malinche": Chicana Writers and the Poetics of Ethnonationalism” Mary Louise Pratt Callaloo, Vol. 16, No. 4, On "Post-Colonial Discourse": A Special Issue. (Autumn, 1993), pp. 859-873. (Available on JSTOR).

  2. Pocahontas: Icon at the Crossroads of Race and Gender in America).

  3. Origins: The Female Form as Allegory Women's bodies have represented concepts and institutions since Western thought envisioned a New World. Reaching back to Pocahontas and further, a brief history of the use of the female form in paintings and statues explains some of the reasons behind America's obsession with female representations of freedom.
  4. Symbols: Lady Liberty's Male Relations A brief history of male gendered icons of America--the nation, the government, and the common man--gives another perspective on both the creation of these symbols and their role in the shaping of cultural identity.
  5. Miss America: The Image of Columbia

February 7

Sexual Reproduction and Nation Building Part 1:

From Foundational Fictions to Cultural Extinctions

Required Readings

Clorinda Matto de Turner Torn From the Nest

Doris Sommer "Irresistible Romance" and "Love and Country" from Foundational Fictions

February 14

Sexual Reproduction and Nation Building Part 2:

Miscegenation, Patriarchy, and Founding Fathers

Primary Required Readings

Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda Sab

William Wells Brown Clotel (There are numerous copies available online)

Secondary Readings to Consult

Doris Sommer "Sab C'est moi"

To Turn In

 Critical Response #1 Due by Today

February 21

Imperial Impotence and the Doxology of the New World

Primary Required Readings

Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale

In Class Close Reading

February 28

An/Other View of Colonization: Rape, Incest, and Sterility

Primary Required Readings

Diamela Eltit The Fourth World

Clarice Lispector The Hour of the Star

To Turn In

 Midterm Paper

March 7 -- Spring Break

March 14

Dic-tators and Deviant Desires

Primary Required Readings

Reinaldo Arenas The Color of Summer

In Class Close Reading

March 21

Guest Lecture By Carmelo Esterrich

Primary Required Readings

Severo Sarduy From Cuba with Love

March 28

Guest Lecture by Debra Castillo

Required Readings

Debra Castillo's "Origins:  Bird and Jicoténcal" from Redreaming America

Primary Readings to Consult

Bird, Robert Montgomery. Calavar; or The Knight of the Conquest: A Romance of Mexico (l834) 2 vol. Leipzig:  Alphons Dürr, 1856. 
---. The Infidel; or The Fall of Mexico. A Romance. 2 vol.  Philadelphia:  Carey, Lea, and Blanchard, l835.
Varela, Félix.  Jicoténcal. (1826) Ed. Luis Leal and Rodolfo J. Cortina.  Houston:  Arte Público, l995.
----. Xicontencatl.  Trans. Guillermo I. Castillo-Feliú.  Austin:  U Texas P, l999.

April 4

Neoliberalism, Arranged Marriages, and National Dowries

Primary Required Readings

Ariel Dorfman The Nanny and the Iceberg

To Turn In

 Critical Response #2 Due by Today

April 11

Final Paper Presentations

For Class

 Prepare Presentation

To Turn In

 Two page summary of paper and bibliography