This is the internal grant I wrote to fund our course. Additional funding in the amount of $570 has since come from the Friends of the Humanities for library books, which gives us a welcome margin. [Temporary note: $97.92 is the amount spent for the two books from Athenaica, from the FoH funding.]
Proposal for Undergraduate Research Mini-Grant
Spanish 491(G) / cross-listing pending with HONR 385 / other rubrics TBA
Topics in Spanish Literature
Project title: The modernist poetics of Federico García Lorca
Additional resources required: We will make extensive use of resources already housed at Dupré Library. We may apply to other entities for supplemental funding, but no additional funds are strictly needed for this project.
Background: Briefly provide background information that will place this project in context within the discipline.
Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) is the most famous Spanish modernist, as well as the most famous Spanish writer besides Cervantes. I plan to give Spanish 491(G) [Topics in Peninsular Spanish Literature] / Honors 385 as a seminar on Lorca in Fall, 2019 because the variety of his work combined with the brevity of each piece, make him both attractive and accessible to undergraduates. The folklore-based poetry collections Poema del cante jondo [Poem of the deep song, 1921/1931] and Romancero gitano [Gypsy ballads, 1928], and the rural tragedies Bodas de sangre [Blood wedding, 1932], Yerma , and La casa de Bernarda Alba [The house of Bernarda Alba, 1936] are often taught in survey courses, but we will delve into later poetic work including the New York poems and homoerotic poetry suppressed until the late twentieth century, as well as the experimental plays and other dramatic work engaging contemporary urban life. We will consider theoretical writings beyond the lecture “Teoría y juego del duende” [“Theory and play of the duende,” 1933] that is most often taught. Students may also investigate juvenilia and early poetry, poetic prose, and the rich correspondence now available. Lorca’s work addresses multiple social and artistic issues, and invites a broad range of commentary and creative response. There is a substantial body of critical work on him although much is left to be said. His writing has also generated creative projects in music and other arts. He is thus an engaging author with whom to teach research design and techniques.
“Research” in literature at the undergraduate level often means, in practice, reading journals and writing analytical essays that cite scholarly sources. While that assignment structure has value, I plan in this course to supplement it with explicit instruction on the creation of formal summaries and abstracts, annotation techniques, reviews and review essays, article critiques, the use of research matrices, and importantly, bibliographical research going beyond the search for citations adequate to support a hypothesis. Although undergraduates reading an author for the first time do not typically produce original research insights on well-studied works, they may do so on others. They can also collaborate on the creation of original research products. For example, there are no annotated versions of García Lorca’s theoretical works except one very recent critical edition, in Spanish, of “Teoría y juego del duende.” The annotation of his lectures on poetics, laden with cultural references not always transparent to non-specialists or new readers, could be a useful and also publishable exercise. Similarly, comparisons of translations or annotated bibliographies on specific works and topics could be truly helpful to other students and scholars. Since January 2017 García Lorca’s work has been in the public domain, which facilitates publication of new editions and translations.
Merit: Briefly describe the scholarly merit of the proposal.
Since as a class we will complete scholarly annotation of four key García Lorca lectures on poetics, we will have a useful contribution to scholarship. My model here is the “Documents” section of PMLA, the most standard U.S. academic journal on literature, but I am thinking as well of student journals like El Cid (The Citadel) and Lucero (UC Berkeley), and poetics and creative writing journals in both Spanish and English. By clarifying references and contexts that may be opaque, we would be contributing to the accessibility and comprehensibility of these important texts.
Well-done, clearly delimited and introduced annotated bibliographies on specific works and topics will have similar value, as will reviews and review essays. Depending on which tasks they choose, some students may also produce traditional scholarly essays worthy of publication in student journals and/or presentation at student conferences. Specific merit here would be in calling greater attention to García Lorca works less commonly read.
Method: Briefly describe the method, approach, or plan for the project.
The grant is to be used for (a) Lorca and Lorca related texts as acquisitions for Dupré Library, (b) a small fund for student research costs, including interlibrary loan and extra photocopying costs, and the purchase of specific additional books for students to use and keep, and (c) travel expenses for two expert speakers, Elena Castro (Professor of Spanish, LSU-Baton Rouge), who works on 20th and 21st century avant-garde and experimental texts, and Jonathan Mayhew (Professor of Spanish, University of Kansas-Lawrence), a world-renowned expert on Lorca. Both have tentatively agreed to come.
class will jointly read, discuss and analyze a selection of key Lorca
texts. Students will compile research portfolios on these readings,
comprised of materials they will create. These may include
response papers, formal
summaries, abstracts, annotations of readings, and reviews,
as well as article critiques, research matrices, and review essays.
Some portfolios will be
oriented to support a focused paper, while the purpose of others may
As a group we will annotate four of Lorca’s lectures on poetics and Spanish culture, composing a scholarly introduction and selected bibliography to accompany these. This class project is conceived of as a possible publication, and we would plan to submit it to a journal by the end of the semester.
Because the research portfolio and joint course project are to be taken seriously, and because each student will invest time in reading what for many will be a new author, a research of seminar paper will NOT be required of undergraduates not taking the course for Honors credit. Advanced students, however, as individuals or in pairs, may also create annotated bibliographies on specific topics (e.g. 21st century bibliography on a specific work or a specific theme, or a specific theoretical approach to Lorca), which might also be publishable. Students intending to undertake senior projects or independent study in Spring, 2020 will be in a position to use these bibliographies, together with their research portfolios, as points of departure. Other Honors or advanced students may decide to write a seminar paper this semester, that they can then polish for presentation at a conference or in a student journal.
Impact: Briefly describe the impact expected on the students involved, the discipline, and society.
The impact on the students will be exposure to research techniques, researchers and research on this key author, and participation in a small research project. Impact on the discipline of the class research project will be the availability of annotated versions of Lorca’s theoretical lectures. More indirectly, the impact on society of research undertaken in the course will be a greater knowledge of Lorca and other experimental dramaturgy, GLBTQ+ artistic interventions, and modern Spanish art.
The project would contribute to the visibility of the university. My recent McNair scholar Esteban Quispe published three translations in reputable journals, and gave a scholarly paper at a conference where he was the only undergraduate presenter. I hope to create similar successes.
Timeline: List major milestones for the project with approximate dates.
2019: Order materials to be housed in Dupré library; arrange dates
of lectures of the outside speakers.
August 2019: Begin course, and begin individual research portfolios and joint research project.
September 2019: Presentation by Elena Castro; continue individual research portfolios and joint research project.
October 2019: Presentation by Jonathan Mayhew; continue individual research portfolios and joint research project.
2019: Individual meetings with Honors and other advanced students
about individual research projects; class continues individual
research portfolios and finishes joint project.
December 2019: Class submits joint project for publication; research portfolios and individual research projects submitted for review/grading.
Budget: List expected amounts for major budget line items, such as student support, supplies, travel, etc. The total must be less than $2,000.
Travel from Baton Rouge, LA and meals for speaker Elena Castro: $100
Travel from Lawrence, KS, two nights hotel, meals for speaker Jonathan Mayhew: $850
[Honoraria to be requested from Lyceum Committee of the SGA; meals for student guests to be requested from restricted/speaker funds in MODL]
Library materials for Dupré: $500
Research materials for students: $500