Why do people in the small Spanish village Manganeses de la Polvorosa throw a goat from the top of a church on the fourth Sunday in January? Why do other Spaniards sing flamenco, march in religious processions with statues of Jesus on the cross and put their lives at risk to run with bulls down narrows streets in Pamplona? In search of such answers, an American friend once said he could spend a year traveling from one Spanish festival to another.
LSPA335 uses festivals and folk art to explore Spanish culture and history. In this course, we use these festivals as starting points for studying similar cultural expressions in countries we are visiting on our journey around the world. For example, we study flamenco music in Spain alongside traditional Hindu dancing in India. Similarly, the traveling singers and jugglers who performed in Spanish plazas during Medieval times lead us to discussions about the Griots in Ghana who pass along history, stories through traditional songs.
Taught entirely in Spanish, this course analyzes the history of Spain through the representation of popular festivals and traditional art through film, documentaries, painting, literature, music, and photography.
Field WorkCountry: Spain
Day: 4 / Valencia Day 2
Date: September 18, 2017
The field component for this course will be in Valencia, Spain. We will tour the city to visit culturally important monuments, plazas and sites in Valencia. Our main focus will be the “Museo Fallero” that examines the history and cultural significance of the Falles – the gigantic wooden statues that local communities build throughout the year and then burn in the streets on the eve of the Day of Saint Joseph (March 19th). Students will explore the tradition of “les falles” and see replicas of “les falles” and “els ninots” that were saved from burning due to their beauty, charm or satirical nature.
1. Understand the traditions and historical significance of les falles.
2. Connect the subject matter represented in les falles to politics and activism.
3. Appreciate the craft and artistry behind les falles.