Luis H. Castañeda

Assistant Professor of Spanish

 Warner Hall 002

Professor Luis H. Castañeda teaches courses on Spanish language at all levels and on 20th/21st-century Hispanic literature, film and culture. He is a member of the Spanish and Portuguese department and has taught graduate courses for the Spanish Summer School (Summer 2014). A native of Lima, Perú, Professor Castañeda earned a B.A. in Hispanic literature from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (2006). After graduation, he came to the United States to pursue graduate studies in literature at the University of Colorado, Boulder (M.A. in Spanish, 2008; Ph.D in Spanish, 2012).

Castañeda's academic specialization is the contemporary novel from Spanish America and Spain, with a focus on the transatlantic circulation of texts, discourses and subjectivities. His main area of inquiry is the fictional representation of authorship, concentrating on the institutional and political role of (neo)avant-garde aesthetic communities. Such communities are studied in his monograph Comunidades efímeras. Grupos de vanguardia y neovanguardia en la novela hispanoamericana del siglo XX (2015). He has published a number of scholarly articles and presented conference papers related to these topics. Castañeda is also interested in Peruvian literature, Colonial Spanish American literature and Valle-Inclán. As a creative writer he is the author of six books, among them El futuro de mi cuerpo (2010) and La noche americana (2011).

Recent publications:


Comunidades efímeras. Grupos de vanguardia y neovanguardia en la novela hispanoamericana del siglo XX. New York: Peter Lang, 2015. Print.

Comunidades efímeras studies a theme present in a corpus of canonical 20th century Spanish American novels from Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, and Chile (1929-1998): the avant-garde or neo-avant-garde group of subversive artists and intellectuals who assemble to transform life into art, conspire against official institutions, and experiment with social-life models. The book offers a critical reading of the fictional representation of such groups in novels by Roberto Arlt, Leopoldo Marechal, Julio Cortázar, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Fernando del Paso, and Roberto Bolaño. The communities that protagonize these works can be described as ephemeral circles of aesthetes engaged in the pursuit of radical collective experiences. Comunidades efímeras argues that the ethos of the historical avant-gardes, and of its neo-avant-garde iterations, is transfigured in the Spanish American context by groups that engage in the aesthetization of communal life and in the production of alternative cultural fields. In these spaces of shared alterity, marginal subjects create their own order while challenging hegemonic discourses of art, culture, politics, and national belonging. The enduring legacy of the avant-garde and its centrality to Spanish American literature is palpable in the texts analyzed here, which range from the 1920s to the 1990s and beyond.


“Zonas de penumbra, fisuras profundas, oquedades abismales: escritura autobiográfica, reflexión ensayística y definición de la experiencia en El arte de la fuga de Sergio Pitol.” Revista iberoamericana 250 (Enero-Marzo 2015): 183-200. Print.

“Los signos y las armas en Historia de Mayta de Mario Vargas Llosa. La revolución post-utópica del autor latinoamericano en las décadas finales del siglo XX.” Confluencia. Revista hispánica de cultura y literatura 30.2 (Spring 2015): 25-39. Print.

Castañeda, Luis H. and Lesta García, Laura. "Los romances contragóricos de Valle-Inclán: ironía, idealización y desmitificación del pasado en el cuarteto de las Sonatas." Cincinnati Romance Review 38 (Fall 2014): 198-215. Web.

"El mito imperial español en Valle-Inclán: una lectura alegórica de la Sonata de estío.Hispanófila 171.1 (June 2014): 201-216. Print.

"Luis Loayza y el canon de la literatura peruana: condición colonial, ética literaria y forma ensayística en El sol de Lima." Revista hispánica moderna 67.1 (June 2014): 1-16. Print.

"En el país de los fantasmas sin nombre: guerra interna, estado totalitario y duelo nacional en Lost City Radio de Daniel Alarcón." Revista iberoamericana 244-245 (Jul.-Dic. 2013): 1123-1139. Print. (Released Oct. 2014).

"De padres e hijos: la construcción (auto)biográfica del prestigio artístico en Tiempo de vida de Marcos Giralt Torrente." Revista canadiense de estudios hispánicos 37.3 (Primavera 2013): 459-79. Print.

"El fracaso del mal: Damas chinas de Mario Bellatin." Salón de anomalías. Diez lecturas críticas acerca de la obra de Mario Bellatin. Ed. Raggio, Salvador. Lima: Ediciones Altazor, 2013. 99-118. Print.

"La boca de la sierpe, la quijada del león: (in)moralidad, verdad intraverbal y diseminación en los Sueños de Quevedo." Romance Quarterly 60.4 (Sept. 2013): 196-207. Print. 

"Belano, Wieder y Reiter: tres autores malditos en las novelas de Roberto Bolaño." Libros & Artes, Revista de la Biblioteca Nacional del Perú XI.60-61 (Abril de 2013): 32-35. Print.

"Los lazos de la autoría: las novelas de Edgardo Rivera Martínez." Libros & Artes, Revista de la Biblioteca Nacional del Perú XI.54-55 (Julio de 2012): 27-29. Print.

"Una dispersa dinastía de solitarios: la sociedad secreta en los cuentos de Borges." Variaciones Borges 32 (2011): 179-200. Print.

"Personas fidedignas y palabras formales: estrategias de legitimación del narrador historiográfico en la cuarta parte de la Crónica del Perú de Pedro Cieza de León." Hispanic Review 79.3 (Summer 2011): 399-423. Print.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

SPAN6505 - Adv Academic Writing      

Advanced Academic Writing

The course aims at developing students’ academic writing skills through the understanding of key concepts of discourse analysis such as reference, cohesion, and coherence. A variety of text types will be analyzed in class. Rhetoric devices such as argumentation, hypothesis, and exposition will be presented and practiced through writing tasks, with group work integrated into the course. Special attention will be given to the articulation of class activities with the requirements of other courses at the same level. (1 unit).

Required text: Electronic material provided at Middlebury. Language & Stylistics

Summer 2014 Language Schools

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SPAN6560 - Literary Analysis      

This course will introduce the graduate student to the techniques of literary analysis, critical thinking, reading, and interpreting Hispanic literary texts. It is divided into three segments, each of which is devoted to the analytic strategies pertinent to one major genre: narrative, poetry, and drama. Each student will write several papers and actively participate in class discussions. (1 unit)

Required texts: Antonio Sobejano-Morán, Tornasol (Panda Publications, newest edition); Lope de Vega, La dama boba (Madrid: Cátedra, newest edition). Literature

Summer 2014 Language Schools

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CMLT0700 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
Approval required.

Fall 2013, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Spring 2017

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FYSE1403 - Open Class Learning Hisp World      

Open Classrooms: Learning in the Hispanic World
What do children and teenagers need to learn—both inside and outside of the classroom—in order to become adults in Hispanic societies? How does the experience of learning in modern Spain and Latin America compare to our experience here, at Middlebury College? With these questions in mind, we will examine conflicting portrayals of young learners in Spanish-speaking contexts through literature and film. Two extreme definitions of learning will be explored and, if necessary, challenged: learning can be understood as fostering the growth of independent individuals, but also as a disciplinary process that stifles freedom and reproduces inequality. Our reflection will focus on issues of personal identity, affectivity, family relationships, class, gender, politics, and nationhood. This seminar is appropriate for native speakers of Spanish, bilingual students, and students who have scored 720 or above on the Spanish SAT II, or 5 on the Spanish AP. 3 hrs. sem. CMP CW LNG

Fall 2013

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LITS0500 - Independent Research Project      

Independent Research Project
(Approval Required) (Staff)

Spring 2013

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LITS0701 - Independent Reading Course      

Independent Reading Course
Intended for majors in literary studies preparing for the senior comprehensive examinations. At the conclusion of this course, students will take a one-hour oral examination (part of the senior comprehensive examination) in a specialization of their choice. (Approval Required) (Staff)

Fall 2012, Fall 2013

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SPAN0101 - Beginning Spanish I      

Beginning Spanish I
This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of grammar and focuses on the development of four skills in Spanish: comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Emphasis will be placed on active communication aimed at the development of oral and comprehension skills. This course is for students who have not previously studied Spanish. Students are expected to continue with SPAN 0102 and SPAN 0103 after successful completion of SPAN 0101. 5 hrs. lect./disc.

Fall 2012, Fall 2015

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SPAN0210 - Intermediate Spanish I      

Intermediate Spanish I
A course designed to consolidate the skills attained in SPAN 0101, SPAN 0102, and 0103 or the equivalent (0105). A grammar review will accompany an intensive component of readings, discussions, and compositions. (SPAN 0103, SPAN 0105, or placement) 3 hrs. lect./disc. LNG

Spring 2013

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SPAN0220 - Intermediate Spanish II      

Intermediate Spanish II
A course for students seeking to perfect their academic writing skills in Spanish. The course is also an introduction to literary analysis and critical writing and will include reading and oral discussion of literary texts. The course will also include a thorough review of grammar at a fairly advanced level. This course may be used to fulfill the foreign languages distribution requirement. (SPAN 0201, SPAN 0210, or placement) 3 hrs. lect./disc. LNG

Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2016

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SPAN0300 - Intro to Hispanic Literature      

An Introduction to the Study of Hispanic Literature
This course in literature and advanced language is designed to introduce students to literary analysis and critical writing. The work will be based on the reading of a number of works in prose, drama, and poetry. Frequent short, critical essays will complement readings and provide students with practice in writing. This course is required for Spanish majors. (SPAN 0220 or placement) 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL LIT LNG

Spring 2015

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SPAN0310 - Otherness in Hispanic Lit.      

(Intimate) Otherness in Contemporary Hispanic Fiction*
Recent Hispanic literature locates otherness in ambiguous spaces. The "other" can be excluded in order to demarcate selfhood, but also recognized as internal ("intimate") to a complex and perhaps richer self. In this course students will sharpen oral and written communication skills and build a sophisticated vocabulary to analyze the literary and cultural context of the Spanish speaking world. This goal will be accomplished through readings in late 20th/early 21st century short stories and novellas from the Iberian Peninsula and Spanish America. Race, gender, class, nationality, and health are some perspectives we will adopt in order to map the literary production/deconstruction of "others" as marginalized/embraced subjects. (SPAN 0220 or placement) 3 hrs. lect./disc. CMP LIT LNG

Fall 2013, Spring 2015

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SPAN0333 - Almodóvar and Modern Spain      

Almodóvar’s Films and Modern Spain
In this course we will analyze selected films by internationally acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar (e.g., Entre tinieblas, La ley del deseo, Todo sobre mi madre, Volver). Through film analysis and allegorical interpretation, we will explore contemporary cultural issues in Spain between Francoism’s end (1975) and the present. Topics include filmic constructions of popular culture (music, melodrama, ethnicities), authorship (directors, writers, the creative process, the film industry), gender performativity (women, queer identities), traditions (religion, bullfighting), and (post)national/global identities (autonomías, European Union, transatlantic links). Readings include history and film criticism. Not open to students who have taken SPAN 1300. (SPAN 0220 or placement) 3 hrs. lect/disc. ART CW EUR

Spring 2016

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SPAN0350 - Los raros: Alternative Fiction      

Los raros: Alternative Hispanic Fiction
In this course we will analyze fiction by authors often described as “raros” (“strange”). “Los raros” is a category coined by poet Rubén Darío and later adopted by critic Angel Rama and others to designate a “secret society” of peripheral and imaginative writers who have spawned unclassifiable, experimental, sometimes dreamlike, always revolutionary texts. We will delve into the narrative worlds of “raros” (Bellatin, Hernández, Levrero, Somers, Vila-Matas, etc.) and articulate the threat that “rareza” poses to dominant notions of identity, normality, sanity, and coherence. (Two Spanish courses at the 0300-level or above, or waiver) 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL LIT LNG

Fall 2014

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SPAN0383 - Psychoanalysis and Aesthetics      

Psychoanalysis and Aesthetics
How has psychoanalysis shaped art? In this course we will interpret Hispanic fiction, poetry, film, and arts from a psychoanalytic perspective. Psychoanalysis has been an influential discourse in literary and artistic criticism in the 20th century. In the Hispanic world, Freud and his theories of the mind, often channeled through surrealism, have inspired artists and critics to explore desire, language, and image in revolutionary ways. We will study narrative (Hernández, Lamborghini, Levrero, Piñera, Bellatin, etc.) and poetry (Generación del 27, César Moro, and others), with a minor focus on film (Buñuel) and art. Psychoanalytic theory will include Freud, Jung, Lacan, Kristeva, Felman and/or Žižek. (At least two Spanish courses at the 0300-level or above, or by waiver) ART LIT LNG

Fall 2015

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SPAN0396 - Voices Across the Atlantic      

Voices Across the Atlantic: Literature of the Spanish (American) Avant-garde
The avant-garde was a cosmopolitan phenomenon that challenged fixed boundaries. The Spanish and Latin American vanguards have common roots, beginning with the European journey of Vicente Huidobro in 1918. This Transatlantic dialogue continued through Jorge Luis Borges, who became an ultraísta in Spain and established the Argentine branch of the movement. In this course we will read prose, poetry, and essays produced on both sides of the Atlantic in the Interwar years (1919-1938). We will emphasize how these works channel—and criticize—a desire for the modern, how they pursue radical experimentation, and how they contest reason to embrace irrationality and fragmentation. (At least two courses at the 0300-level or above or by waiver). CMP LIT

Spring 2013

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SPAN0400 - Hispanic Postnat'l Identities      

Hispanic Postnational Identities
In this seminar we will discuss nationalism and postnationalism as portrayed in Hispanic literature, nonfiction, and film. Nationalism is a strong sense of belonging to a political and/or cultural community that is often compared to religious faith. Despite the centrality of the nation-state since the 18th century, some critics argue that in present times its prevalence has been eroded by local and global affiliations. This semester we will read the theory of nationalism, study the birth and development of the nation in Spain and Hispanic America, and analyze diverse textual and filmic representations of current Hispanic postnational identities. (Senior majors with at least two Spanish courses numbered 0350 or above, or by waiver.) 3 hrs. sem. CMP LNG

Spring 2014

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SPAN0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
The department will consider requests by qualified juniors and senior majors to engage in independent work. (Approval only)

Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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SPAN0705 - Senior Honors Thesis      

Senior Honors Thesis
The department will award honors, high honors, or highest honors on the basis of a student's work in the department and performance in SPAN 0705. (Approval only)

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

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SPAN1300 - Almodovar's Films      

Almodóvar’s Films: Desire, Transgression, History
In this course we will analyze selected films by internationally acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar (La ley del deseo, Todo sobre mi madre, Volver, etc.). After Francoism’s end, Spain refashioned itself to produce new subjectivities and meanings of Spanishness. Our analysis of these transformations will involve the interconnections of desire, transgression, and history. By examining filmic constructions of popular culture (music, melodrama, hispanidad), authorship (directors, the creative process, the film industry), gender performativity, and (post)national/global identities, we will understand how Almodóvar’s films demand, portray, and shape social change. Readings include history, criticism, and critical theory. This course is equivalent to a low 0300 course (SPAN 0220 or placement). ART EUR LNG WTR

Winter 2015

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Program in International and Global Studies

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