With attention to the decade of the 1960s, when I entered graduate school, I address the disciplinary changes in the field of Hispanic Studies in universities of the United States and trace the shift from a dominant focus on Hispanic literature guided by philology and stylistics to the opening of a Latin Americanism grounded in cultural questions of politics, race, and decolonization. Stimulated at first by an interest in the Cuban revolution along with the expansion of critical approaches that embraced psychoanalysis, semiotics, structuralism, and Marxist theory, Hispanic Studies were slowly reconfigured notwithstanding a battle within the field that was littered by invective and protest. The curriculum changed with an opening of the canon and, alongside peninsular studies, Latin Americanism began to take a place at the departmental table. Gender studies, chicano-latino studies, and post-colonial theory were still a decade away, but the clarion call for change was clearly heard. Courses on theory, ideology, and the politics of the text attracted eager attention and began to displace the kinds of textual criticism often identified with those trained in philology and stylistics. Between the rise of the new and a faltering defense of tradition, Departments of Spanish and Portuguese throughout the country reconsidered business as usual; everything from course requirements to graduate exams and dissertation topics was subject to reevaluation. The field of Hispanic Studies showed a deeply divided discipline: those who took flight with the squall of modernization challenged those who tenaciously upheld long-admired models of study. Change was on the way although, well into the twenty-first century, a new philology and a focus on material culture acknowledge the considerable legacy that once defined us.


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pp. 73-80
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