Doing DH: García Lorca y Cuba / HD en acción: García Lorca y Cuba

SPA 322 (Section E) Cultural Topics · Fall 2017 · University of Miami

MoWeFr 12:20-1:10pm · Credit Hour: 3

Office Hours: MoWe 10-11am and By Appointment · e-mail:


Prerequisite: SPA 301, 302, 303, or 307

Description of the course:

This course is conceived from two different and complementary perspectives: an introduction to digital humanities practices, and the study of Federico García Lorca in its cultural context and his experience in Cuba.

On one hand, the student faces multiple issues related to digital culture, and the different ways that technology and the Internet shape social interaction, thinking and communication. It puts special emphasis on the Digital in the Humanities. Cultural institutions and industries, libraries, academia, among many other sectors, have already faced a digital transformation that updates the outcomes of the cultural and humanistic artifacts. During the semester, students will gain both theoretical knowledge on multiple issues, like how the Internet works or how a digital identity is built, and practical experience. We will study in which ways the production of (literary) texts has changed, while analyzing new ways of publication and learning different encoding languages. Concepts such as close reading vs distant reading will give us the opportunity to use different electronic analytical tools. An inside collaboration with the Richter Library will allow students to understand how libraries handle digital collections and the role of metadata within their catalogs and repositories.

On the other hand, the course will delve into the figure of Federico García Lorca and his stay in Cuba. Taking advantage of the Richter Library collection “García Lorca’s Papers”, all students will collaborate in a digital project that involves digital edition, metadata, timelines, and mapping. García Lorca is one of the most relevant Spanish intellectuals at the beginning of the XXth century, and his transatlantic stays, both in New York City and Cuba, shaped him in a particular way. His literary production includes poetry, drama, and prose, and he was in contact with the intellectual and artistic élite of the time.

Each of the units has a double goal: learn a digital technology, method or theoretical approach, while getting to understand Lorca’s life and production. This will allow students to independently create a final digital outcome where collaboration is essential for their success.

Even though the course has technical components, no previous computer programming or design experience is required.

Spanish: The Language of the Classroom: The class is conducted in Spanish in order to provide you with maximum exposure to the language. This means that your instructor will speak Spanish to you during class, and you will be expected to do the same with your instructor and classmates. This means also that when you work in groups you MUST speak in Spanish. All readings will be preferably in Spanish, but in few cases you will have also readings in English. For those “technical problems”, students, who may not be sure to understand it correctly, can ask the teacher to explain it a second time in English. It is very important that you understand and follow the explanations, so, please, do always ask.

There is not a required book text, you will find all materials in the web page of the course.

“Antes de clase” section

It is very important that you fulfil the “Antes de clase” section before coming to class. Sometimes you will have readings (articles, blog posts, teacher’s notes, etc), others you will be asked to explore digital projects or tools, and others there will be some tutorials that you must finish before coming to class. Specially, the tutorials are essential to follow the upcoming class and the class is to be understood only to resolve the doubts or problems that you run into.


You will be evaluated based on your achievement of the following components:

  • I. Attendance and participation 5%
  • II. Homework 15%
  • III. Digital mini-projects and Compositions 20%
  • IV. Formal oral presentations 10%
  • IV. Tests 10%
  • V. Final project 40%

I. Attendance and Participation 5%

You must be an active participant in the class. Participation is not merely showing up and speaking occasionally. Your participation in the course requires that you work with others, that you discuss assigned materials using Spanish at all times, and that you make meaningful contributions to the class. In order to successfully participate in the classroom you must prepare all homework assignments carefully and regularly. Your engaged presence in the class is essential to the project of this course.

In class and in many occasions, we will encounter technical challenges. If you have finished and understood the activity, you may help other students.

Because of the nature of the course, you will be most of the time working with your own laptop. The laptop will be used ONLY for the class activities, if you are answering mails or chatting with a friend, you will be asked to leave the class. The use of cell phone is not allowed.

I expect you to attend every class, and to notify me before any absence. In the case of absences resulting from university-related activities, I must be informed of the activity in writing by the person in charge (coach, advisor, etc.) two weeks before the absence. Absences without prior notification will not be excused. To maintain your overall grade, you cannot miss more than three classes during the term. Beginning with the fourth absence, you will lose one point from your final grade for every class you miss. I will count excessive lateness as an absence.

• NOTE: Add/Drop Period Policy: Please be aware that in courses with full enrollment, students on the waiting list must attend class and complete all assigned work in order to be eligible to enroll if a place becomes available. Students who are absent for two consecutive class periods between August 21th and August 25th and who fail to inform their instructor of their absence will be administratively dropped from the course to accommodate students on the waiting list. All students will take exams and quizzes as scheduled on the course calendar regardless of the date of their enrollment. In some cases, students who enroll late in the Add/Drop period may be advised to withdraw from the course and re-enroll in a future semester.

• Observance of Religious Holy Days: Per University policy, students must provide written notification to their instructor no later than 5 PM on Friday, August 25th of any classes from which they will be absent during the semester due to the observance of religious holy days. Students who enroll in the course after August 25th must inform the instructor within two calendar days of any classes from which they will be absent for the above reason. The time spent travelling to and from observances will not be excused. Absences for which the student has failed to provide written notice by the above indicated dates will not be excused.

II. Homeworks 15%

For every class you will be asked to prepare several questions to be discussed orally in the classroom and to be sent –when indicated- to the teacher through Blackboard. Homework will consist on hands-on exercises (for example, using new languages such as HTML, CSS, or new software as Voyant Tools, RStudio,), tutorials, readings and small writings.

  • Hands on exercises
  • Tutorials. In class we won’t follow step by step tutorials, so you MUST do it at home. Take your time, and specially don’t think that you can handle that in 5 minutes.
  • Writing tasks based on your readings. These are informal short writing entries, 1- 2 paragraphs, in which you will express your reactions to assigned readings based on the general questions provided.

For your peace of mind and to be sure when and for what you are being evaluated, you find each of these homework indicated in the schedule with the [HM-] abbreviation. There will be a total of 10 homework (1,5 point each) that must to be delivered on BB.

I will never accept late deliveries for homework.

III. Digital Mini-Projects and Compositions 20%

Students are required to create 5 digital and personal mini-projects. The goal of these activities is to make sure that you have the necessary skills to participate in and develop the final project.

You will have 5 small digital personal projects which involve writing, and a paper that contains digital work:

  1. Personal e-Portfolio or Personal Webpage (September 15th)
  2. Composition on the results of your electronic text analysis (September 29th)
  3. Personal Timeline (October 6th)
  4. Markup, transformation and publication of a postcard or letter written by Lorca (November 3th)
  5. Personal map (November 10th)

In the syllabus you will find the deadline for these mini-projects with the [DP-] abbreviation. These 5 mini-projects must be published in your e-portfolio online and are worth 4% of the total grade.

I will only accept late deliveries with a written and official excuse and two weeks before the deadline. So please, if you won’t be able to upload your mini-project for the due date, plan accordingly.

IV. Formal oral presentations 10%

During the course you will have to speak a lot and do informal talking about your homework and your mini-project. Sometimes you will be asked to speak about your work and your results. Only twice in the semester you will have to prepare a formal oral presentation:

  1. Presentation of your E-Portfolio (September 15th)
  2. Presentation of the final project (Date TBD, final exam)

IV. Tests 10%

You will have 4 short tests, to be completed online or/and at home, at the end of units 2 (web technologies), 3 (electronic text analysis), 5 (metadata) and 6 (TEI). You will have 20 min to complete it.

V. Final Project 40%

The final project is the most important part of this course. The class will be divided in 3 groups, which must be created before October 23th.

Each group will deliver a different digital outcome:

  • Group 1. Encoding and Digital Edition of Federico García Lorca’s Postcards and Letters
  • Group 2. Timeline about the live and Lorca’s travel to Cuba.
  • Group 3. Mapping the places where Lorca lived and travel during that period of time.

The grade for your final project takes into consideration the following items:

  • Gathering of information and readings
  • Writing
  • Weekly Logbook (11/15, 11/24, 11/29)
  • Design
  • Code
  • Collaboration
  • Team Presentation

At the end of October, I will publish the exact guidelines for the final project and the evaluation form that I will use to evaluate you.

The result of these 3 projects will be integrated in a single webpage at the end of the course. Each group is responsible for the presentation of their part.

Trouble-shouting hours:

Probably you will run many times into technical problems, for this reason I will be available (besides my office hours) for talking and work with you on Fridays from 2pm to 4pm. I really encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity.


Written and Oral Communication

a. Consolidate their written and oral communicative abilities in the target language to attain an advanced high or superior level of written and oral communicative proficiency so as to allow students to participate effectively, appropriately, and with complexity in formal and informal conversations concerning a variety of topics: universities and social institutions, human relationships, childhood and memory, health issues, migration, transnationalism, current events, new technologies, political, cultural, and religious issues. Master reading in the target language with precise accuracy, rapid fluency, and sophisticated complexity so as to understand critical ideas in all their details, and understand the relative relevance of supporting information in a wide variety of genres: fiction, poetry, drama, journalism, advertising, political rhetoric, legal documents, visual forms, music, and films.

b. Consolidate presentation abilities. Master the ability to present coherent arguments orally and in writing. Be able to produce a solid final research paper based on an analytical topic that dialogues with previous academic readings done in class (12-15 pages).

Critical Thinking & Social Responsibility

a. Consolidate analytical tools to carry on close analyses of narrative texts: short stories, novels, films, and cultural essays. Develop tools for the interpretation of a very wide variety of texts in a given cultural, historical, social, and theoretical framework provided by the course. Ability to approach and understand every type of expressive form. Develop abilities to find and evaluate sources of information according to the topics of the class and with the methodological tools provided by the professor. Consolidate grammatical understanding and analysis of language as learners are exposed to in-depth study of sophisticated and complex grammatical concepts, and there is extensive and intensive work on strengthening L2 vocabulary.

b. Master social responsibility, tolerance and understanding of diversity, and an extensive and nuanced understanding of the diversity and richness of the cultures and people of the world: extensive geographical and societal information, precise historical and critical moments in the target culture history, in depth knowledge of main political figures and critical political issues, and understand cultural diversity avoiding stereotypes. Learner will develop the ability to identify national imaginaries, national stereotypes, understanding of cultural symbols and sites of memory (buildings, historical figures, popular heroes, monuments, currency, landscapes, fashion, and cuisine), develop their sensitivity to contexts of language, and a solid command as well as an analytic knowledge of specific metaphors and key terms that inform cultures and societies under study.

Artistic Appreciation & New Technologies

a. Consolidate the ability to appreciate, interpret, and understand non-artistic and artistic cultural products written or produced in a different language. Acquire a broad, structured knowledge of the history, literature and culture in the target language. In-depth sociocultural contextualization and analysis of authentic and current media, legal and scientific texts, literature, performing arts, and feature films. Develop an understanding of literary and artistic works as projection of a nation’s self-understanding, identity issues, the social and historical narratives in literary texts, the structure of the legal system, the political system, the educational system, the economic system, and the social welfare system. b. Master the use of new technologies and digital literacies when studying and learning new languages, literatures, and cultures. Learners are active and expert participants on blogs, discussion boards, and virtual collaborations. They are proficient in defining, accessing, managing, integrating, evaluating, creating, and communicating information in multilingual digital environments.


Students enrolled in this course are expected to abide by the University of Miami Honor Code []. The purpose of the Honor Code is to protect the academic integrity of the university by encouraging consistent ethical behavior in assigned coursework. Academic dishonesty of any kind, for whatever reason, will not be tolerated.


No honest student wants to be guilty of the intellectual crime of plagiarism or collusion, even unintentionally. Therefore, we provide you with these guidelines so that you don’t accidentally fall into the plagiarism/collusion trap.

Collusion is working together on an assignment that a student is supposed to complete individually. You should never solicit the assistance of a native speaker or a tutor to write a paper; have your work proofread by anybody other than your instructor or the MLL Dept. tutor. They may proofread versions of your essays in order to help you to understand the revisions that need to be made, but will not write your work for you or correct your mistakes; have native speakers or other students help you to produce any work that you submit for a grade in this course, unless such collaboration is approved by your instructor, e.g., in the case of peer-reviewing.

Acceptable form of assistance or tutoring is one in which a tutor explains basic tenets of language and reviews errors encouraging self-correction. Tutors should never be correcting your essays; you should always be the sole author of your paper.

Plagiarism is the taking of someone else’s words, work, or ideas, and passing them off as a product of your own efforts. Plagiarism may occur when a person fails to place quotation marks around someone else’s exact words, directly rephrasing or paraphrasing someone else’s words while still following the general form of the original, translating someone else’s words, and/or failing to issue the proper citation to one’s source material. A word of caution about the internet: If you incorporate information from the internet without properly citing the source from which you obtained the information, you are committing plagiarism and you will fail the course. Of course, if you use information from other written sources such as books, newspaper, magazine, or academic journal articles without properly citing them, you will also incur in plagiarism. Please consult the latest edition of The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers for more information on how to cite sources properly.

In student papers, plagiarism is often due to:

  • turning in someone else’s paper as one’s own;
  • turning in your own paper from another course, even if edited, altered or expanded;
  • using another person’s data or ideas without acknowledgment;
  • failing to cite a written source (printed or internet) of information that you used to collect data or ideas;
  • copying an author’s exact words and putting them in the paper without quotation marks;
  • rephrasing an author’s words and failing to cite the source;
  • translating an author’s words and failing to cite the source;
  • using an internet translator or any translation program to translate your own or somebody else’s words.

Note on translation: You should never use human translators or translation tools (e.g., Google Translate, Babelfish) to translate full sentences, passages, paragraphs, etc., written in another language that you later submit to your instructor as your own work. If somebody or something did the translating for you, you did not produce the work independently!

  • copying, rephrasing, or quoting an author’s exact words and citing a source other than where the material was obtained. (For example, using a secondary source which cites the original material, but citing only the primary material. This misrepresents the nature of the scholarship involved in creating the paper. If you have not read an original publication, do not cite it in your references as if you have!)
  • using wording that is very similar to that of the original source, but passing it off as one’s own. The last item is probably the most common problem in student writing. It is still plagiarism if the student uses an author’s key phrases or sentences in a way that implies they are his/her own, even if s/he cites the source. When in doubt about how to cite correctly, please contact your instructor.

Note: This syllabus is subject to change in accordance with the needs, contingencies and progress of the class.