Course Syllabus
  • Requirements and Procedures
  • Assignments
  • Policies
  • Readings

  • Course summaries
  • Mass Media
  • International Comm.
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  • Ethnography & Journ.
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  • Labor organizing--Mexico
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  • COMM 3120-La Telenovela en América Latina
    Dr. Robert Huesca

    Professor Huesca in class.
        Course Description. Since the beginnings of television in the early 1950s, the telenovela, or soap opera, has evolved as a major social, cultural, political, and economic force in Latin America. This course will examine recent communication research of the telenovela as it relates to a broad range of concerns. With the exception of this syllabus, the course will be conducted entirely in Spanish.

        Objectives. The objectives of this course are to:

  • familiarize students with basic communication concepts that are used in the analysis of audiences, media products, television aesthetics, and social effects;
  • provide an introduction to and familiarity with the specific genre of the telenovela, including its general characteristics and its role in local, national, and international cultural and economic arenas;
  • improve students' abilities to express complex ideas concerning communication and the telenovela, both orally and in writing.

  • Requirements and Procedures
        Classes will be divided into two parts: a general discussion of readings followed by a guided discussion of a telenovela. Each class will begin with a general discussion of the reading for the day, with each student presenting some part of the reading that he/she found interesting, difficult, stimulating, illuminating, disagreeable, or worth discussing for any other reason.

        After an initial, general discussion, an assigned student will show the class a brief piece of television and then lead a general, more free-wheeling discussion of how this episode relates to issues raised in the readings. The telenovela that we will all be viewing this semester is La Vida en el Espejo, KVDA-60 (cable 17) from 7-8 p.m. This telenovela will serve as the practical focal point of our discussions, which should integrate the program with the readings. The following are minimal guidelines for students in the course:

    1. Students must view the Monday episode of the assigned telenovela at a minimum. You are encouraged to view more frequently as time and interest permit.
    2. All readings must be photocopied by the next class period. Also, readings must be brought to class on the day the reading is to be discussed. Prior to class, identify a variety of brief passages of the reading that you would like to discuss in class and be prepared to read one of them (I ask you to identify a variety of passages in order to avoid duplication of comments in class). At each class, all students will be asked to read a passage and to discuss briefly what they found interesting, provocative, confusing, or illuminating about it. Failure to bring photocopies of the readings to class will result in a reduction in the final grade in the class.
    3. Students will be asked to sign up on the first day of class to serve as discussion leaders. On your assigned week, you should come prepared to show a 3-5 minute segment of the telenovela under examination (this means you must videotape the Monday episode of the telenovela for your assigned week and identify a 3-5 minute segment that you find worthy of class discussion) and to lead a 10-15 minute class discussion. Discussion should integrate the telenovela with class readings.

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        Grades will be computed as follows:
    1. Four short essays integrating reading material with the telenovela and class discussion form the bulk of the final grade in this class. Each essay should be between 2-4 pages in length. Each essay is worth 25 percent of the final grade.
    2. Given that this class meets once a week, absences for any reason other than official university business will jeopardize your final grade. The best grades that you could hope to receive are as follows: 1 absence--A-, 2 absences, B, 3 absences C, 4 or more absences will result in a failing grade.

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        Policies are as follows.

    1. Written assignments. Essays are due at the beginning of class on the dates indicated. Late assignments (regardless of the reason) will be penalized a third of a letter grade for each day late (including weekend days). If late work is turned into my office mailbox, it should be date stamped by the department office and done at the student's risk should it get lost. All work should be typed (or computer printout) and stapled in the upper left hand corner (no plastic spines or covers). All assignments must include name of course and professor, name of assignment, your name, and title on the first page. All other pages must be numbered in the upper right hand corner. Attention should be paid to both form (grammar, spelling, punctuation, appearance) and content (clarity, organization, relevance).
    2. Readings. Students should have the readings completed on the date assigned in the class schedule.
    3. Punctuality. Given that this class meets for 50 minutes, once a week, late arrivals will not be permitted to enter the class. If the door to the classroom is closed when you arrive, this means that you are late and will be considered absent for the day. Please plan to arrive a few minutes early to this class.
    4. Academic integrity. Students are expected to be familiar with the definitions of academic integrity outlined on pages 1 and 2 of the Student handbook, particularly the section on plagiarism. Any violations of academic integrity will be dealt with as outlined in the student handbook.

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  • Alves d'Azevedo, M. (1993). Violencia y corrupción en la novela de las ocho, Chasqui, 45, 119-122.
  • Bracho, D. (1993). La buena-buena y la mala-mala. Fem, 17(130), 16-17.
  • Bustos Romero, O. (1993). Mujeres y telenovelas: Audiencia cautiva: ¿sumisa o crítica? Fem, 17(130), 20-21.
  • Foro Mujeres y Comunicación en 1993. (1993). Los estereotipos y clichés en las telenovelas son un obstáculo para la credibilidad de las muejeres. Fem, 17(130), 14-15.
  • García Espinosa, J. (1993). La telenovela o el chisme elevado a categoría de arte dramático. Revista Casa de las Américas, Oct-Dic., 95-99.
  • González, J. A. (1998). La cofradía de las emociones (in)terminables: Construir las telenovelas mexicanas. In J. A. González, (ed.), La cofradía de las emociones (in)terminables: Miradas sobre telenovelas en México (pp. 31-39). Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara.
  • Gutiérrez Espíndola, J. L. (1988). La industrialización del melodrama (Historia y estructura de la telenovela mexicana). In R. Trejo Delarbre, (Ed.), Las redes de Televisa, (pp. 75-125). Mexico City: Claves Latinoamericanas.
  • López, G. (1995). La evolución del "merchandising" en las novelas brasileras, Chasqui, 50, 77-80.
  • Maziotti, N. (1996). La industria de la telenovela: La producción de ficción en América Latina. Buenos Aires: Paidós.
  • Rogers, E., and Singhal, A. (1989). Estrategias de educación entretenimiento. Chasqui, 31, 9-16.
  • Valenzuela, V. (1998). El dibujo infantil y las telenovelas. In J. A. González, (ed.), La cofradía de las emociones (in)terminables: Miradas sobre telenovelas en México (pp. 332-344). Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara.
  • Van Tilburg, J. L. (1991). Telenovelas ecológicas y de las otras. Chasqui, 37, 35-38.
  • Zarattini, M. (1993). Las telenovelas y la imagen de la mujer. Fem, 17(130), 18-19.

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