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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages and Cultures - Hispanic Studies

Postgraduate Course: Black Hydropoetics: The Sea in Luso-Afro-Brazilian Literature and Culture (ELCH11016)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course explores literature and music to examine the role of the ocean in counter-hegemonic discourses in Portuguese. The aim is to analyze and compare the strategies used by Luso-Afro-Brazilian authors to question Portuguese imperial representations traditionally associated with the sea. Discussions will engage with specific questions of nationality, borders, identity, race, migration, gender and sexuality, religion, language, hybridization, politics and the environment. This course will introduce major topics in Luso-Afro-Brazilian literature and culture. Background information and relevant aspects of critical theory will be examined during seminars. The course is taught in English using representative works in translation. Students have the option to use the source texts in the original language. Classes will be a mixture of lecture, seminar and student-led discussion.
Course description 1. The idea of Portuguese exceptionalism has been intrinsically linked with the sea, as the profuse literary and artistic representations of the maritime expansion well show since the 15th century. The Portuguese dictatorial regime Estado Novo appropriated this association, assimilating it to its nationalistic and imperialistic discourses. This assimilation poses a problem for the relationship between Lusophone authors and the sea, given its imperialistic symbolism. The course aims to examine the role of the ocean in counter-hegemonic discourses in Portuguese by taking an ecocritical approach. Our point of departure will be We will depart from Joshua Bennet¿s critical work on Afro-American writings on nature and on his concept of ¿Black Hydropoetics¿ in particular to analyze how counter-hegemonic discourses have turned to the dark depths of the ocean, expressing a sense of belonging to the ocean¿s animate and inanimate beings. Such identity configurations blur the limits between the human and non-human and question notions of border, nationhood, gender and race, among others. Such counter-hegemonic discourses standare in stark contrast to hegemonic representations of the ocean as a monolith or as a surface.

2. The course is divided into three modules, covering works from Portugal, Brazil and Lusophone Africa. The primary readings consist of one sixteenth century Portuguese epic poem and selected poems published in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by different Lusophone authors, covering both the pre and post dictatorship periods. For each module, a selection of musical themes will also be discussed to assess similarities and differences in the representations of the ocean in popular culture. The course is taught in English using representative works in translation. Students with the appropriate ability in the Portuguese language have the option to engage with the source texts in the original language.

3. The course runs for two hours per week (seminar) and will be delivered in English. Classes will be based on the primary readings and will include audio-visual aids, such as PowerPoint presentations. Preparation for seminars requirerequires individual readings, directed secondary readings, individual and group presentations. Seminars will involve group discussion, close reading, and reporting back on preparatory individual/ALG work. The topics in question will allow the student to think and write comparatively, and to combine detailed textual analysis with theoretical debate and a considerationconsideration of historical and cultural factors. The course is assessed by two pieces of written work: one commentary and one essay in English or Portuguese, as preferred.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  7
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Commentary on selected readings: 1000 words«br /»
«br /»
Essay on selected readings: 3000 words
Feedback Written feedback will be provided on the commentary and essay, and additional verbal formative feedback will be available from the course organiser on request.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Analyze and discuss the aesthetic strategies employed by Portuguese-speaking authors to question and counter traditionally received ideas about art, literature, colonialism, empire, national identity, gender and sexuality, power, society and the environment.
  2. Analyze the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality in the thematic concerns of Portuguese-speaking literature and culture.
  3. Select, critique and apply relevant theoretical perspectives and research methodologies for investigating complex research questions regarding literature and culture of the Portuguese-speaking world.
  4. Appraise and apply a variety of source materials on the literature and culture of the Portuguese-speaking world in a wide range of communicative contexts and discursive modes.
Reading List
Amaral, Ana Luísa. The Art of Being a Tiger: Selected Poems. Translated by Margaret Jull Costa, Tagus Press, 2018.
Andresen, Sophia de Mello Breyner. Marine Rose: Selected Poems. Translated by Ruth Fainlight, Black Swan Books, 1988.
Camões, Luís Vaz de. The Lusíads. Translated by Landeg White, Oxford World¿s Classics, 2008.
Cicero, Antonio, and Ricardo Corona, editors. Outras Praias: 13 Poetas Brasileiros Emergentes; Other Shores: 13 Emerging Brazilian Poets. Iluminuras, 1998
Williams, Frederick G., editor. Poets of Angola: A Bilingual Selection; Poetas de Angola: Uma Selecção Bilingue. BYU Studies, 2014.
Williams, Frederick G., editor. Poets of Mozambique: A Bilingual Selection; Poetas de Moçambique: Uma Selecção Bilingue. BYU Studies, 2006.
Zenith, Richard, editor. Fernando Pessoa: A Little Larger than the Entire Universe. Selected Poems. Penguin Classics, 20106.
Bennett, Joshua. ¿¿Beyond the Vomiting Dark¿: Toward a Black Hydropoetics.¿ Ecopoetics: Essays in the Field, edited by Angela Hume and Gillian Osborne. Iowa University Press, 2018, pp. 102-117.

Arenas, Fernando. Lusophone Africa: Beyond Independence. U. Minnesota Press, 2011.
Bennett, Joshua. ¿¿Beyond the Vomiting Dark¿: Toward a Black Hydropoetics.¿ Ecopoetics: Essays in the Field, edited by Angela Hume and Gillian Osborne. Iowa University Press, 2018, pp. 102-117.
Blackmore, Josiah. The Inner Sea. Maritime Literary Culture in Early Modern Portugal. The University of Chicago Press, 2022.
Buell, Lawrence. The Future of Environmental Criticism: Environmental Crisis and Literary Imagination. Blackwell Publishing, 2005.
Burness, Don, editor and translator. A Horse of White Clouds: Poems from Lusophone Africa. Ohio University Center for International Studies, 1989.
Gil, Fernando. ¿The Expression of Poetry and the Impasses of Empire.¿ Post-Imperial Camões. Portuguese Literary and Cultural Studies 9, Tagus Press, 2003, pp. 79-94.
Gilroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Harvard University Press, 1993.
Klein, Bernhard. Camões and the Sea: Maritime Modernity in The Lusiads. Modern Philology, vol.111 (2), University of Chicago Press, 2013, pp.158-180.
Lima, Conceição. A Dolorosa Raiz do Micondó. Editorial Caminho, 2ª edição, 2008.
Parkinson, Stephen, Claudia Pazos. Alonso, and T. F. Earle. A Companion to Portuguese Literature. Tamesis, 2009.

Further reading:
Code, Lorraine. Ecological Thinking: The Politics of Epistemic Location. Oxford UP, 2006.
Gaard, Greta. ¿Toward a Queer Ecofeminism.¿ Hypatia, vol. 12, n. 1, 1997, pp. 115-137.
Crenshaw, Kimberlé. ¿Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: a Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.¿ University of Chicago Legal Forum, vol. 1989, artigo 8, 1989, pp. 139-167.
---. ¿Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics and Violence Against Women of Color.¿ Stanford Law Review, nº 43, 1991, pp. 1241-1299
Grewe-Volpp, Christa. ¿Keep Moving: Place and Gender in a Post-Appocaliptic Environment.¿ International Perspectives in Feminist Ecocriticism, Routledge, 2013, pp. 221-234.
Heise, Ursula K. Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global. Oxford University Press, 2008
João, Maria Isabel. ¿The Invention of the Dia de Portugal.¿ Portuguese Studies, vol. 31, n. 1, 2015, pp. 64-83
Klobucka, Anna. O Formato Mulher: A Emergência da Autoria Feminina na Poesia Portuguesa. Angelus Novus Editora, 2009
Lopes, Óscar, e António José Saraiva. História da Literatura Portuguesa. Porto Editora, 1982.
Martelo, Rosa Maria. ¿Antecipações e Retrospectivas: A Poesia Portuguesa na Segunda Metade do Século XX.¿ Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais, nº 74, 2006, pp. 129-143
Owen, Hillary, and Cláudia Pazos Alonso. Antigone¿s Daughters: Gender, Genealogy, and the Politics of Authorship in 20th-Century Portuguese Women¿s Writing. Bucknell UP, 2011.
Santos, Maria Irene Ramalho dos. ¿Re-Inventing Orpheus: Women and Poetry Today.¿ Portuguese Studies, n. 14, 1998, pp. 122-137
Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. ¿Three Women's Texts and a Critique of Imperialism.¿ Critical Inquiry, vol. 12, n. 1, U. Chicago Press, 1985, pp. 243-61
Stevens, Dana Shawn. A Local Habitation and a Name: Heteronymy and Nationalism in Fernando Pessoa. University of California, Berkeley, 2001.
The Combahee River Collective. ¿The Combahee River Collective Statement.¿ Home Girls, A Black Feminist Anthology, ed. Barbara Smith, Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, Inc., 1983, pp. 272-282
Thomashow, Mitchell. Bringing the Biosphere Home: Learning to Perceive Global Environmental Change. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2002.
Tomlinson, John. Globalization and Culture. University of Chicago, 1999.
Warren, Karen J. ¿Feminism and Ecology: Making Connections.¿ Environmental Ethics, vol. 9, n. 1, pp. 3-21.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Knowledge and understanding: students will have had the opportunity to demonstrate their detailed knowledge of some of the key political and social issues that shaped Portuguese speaking societies.

Applied Knowledge, Skills and Understanding: in their work for class discussion and formal assessment tasks, students will have been able to practice the application of these concepts in their construction of arguments about the course material.

Generic Cognitive Skills: through group work and completing assessed essays, students will have practiced identifying, designing, conceptualizing and analyzing complex problems and issues germane to the discipline.

Communication: through participating in these tasks students will also have demonstrated the ability to communicate ideas and information about specialized topics in the discipline to an informed audience of their peers and subject specialists.

Autonomy and Working with Others: students will also have shown the capacity to work autonomously and in small groups on designated tasks, develop new thinking with their peers, and take responsibility for the reporting, analysis and defense of these ideas to a larger group.
Course organiserMs Ines Lima
Tel: (0131 6)50 2252
Course secretaryMrs Lina Gordyshevskaya
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