Guides students through the Spanish- American culture

PhD student Ormset dwells in texts from the Spanish baroque writer Lope de Vega. His stage play focuses on the Spanish conquest and colonization of the New World.
- These theater piece is interesting for many reasons. Among other things, because they says something about the strategies that the Spaniards used to understand their new experiences in the Americas and their attempts to bring these experiences into their own understanding of the world. Many of the themes the Latin American writers have been and are engaged in, can be traced back to texts from colonial time, says Ormset.

From his childhood in rural Norway, Ormset has used literature as a tool to learn about other cultures and ways of life. The literature students in Buenos Aires, he believes, has excellent opportunities to dig into the local culture.

- Buenos Aires is a city with a long literary tradition, being the home of several of the most important Spanish-American writers. Plus it's a huge city with an impressive cultural variety and many different scenes where the students can develop their language skills. We work with the leading university in Argentina, ensuring the students high quality education in both Spanish and Spanish- American literature. On top of that,  they live in a city with a cultural scene few other can match, says Ormset.

Among the authors on the students' curriculum he highlights Jorge Luis Borges.

- With Borges nothing is superfluous. He writes with great linguistic precision. He has written extensively about Buenos Aires and the Argentine culture, so through his writing  I was familiar with the city  even before I went there for the first time to start the Kulturstudier course. In addition, he uses examples from crime genre, making the books interesting to read, says Ormset.

Although much of the literature still has traces from colonial time, the themes and writing style are changing.

- In response to the Latin American boom of the 60 - and 70's the newer authors have moved away from the experimental literature, and are now writing more directly about the social issues that affect them. Due to the  diversity and the many individual literary voices, it is difficult to say that things are moving in a certain direction. However you will find many authors who decide to voice social and political issues, says Ormset.

The literature course has also changed and adapted since Ormset began as a lecturer.

- Thanks to the close collaboration with the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentine literature fills more of the curriculum, than it did when we started in 2008. The course still has a strong focus on Spanish-American literature in a continental perspective. However, we have, in co-operation with the local teachers, tried to adapt the reading list to the local context the students will meet in Buenos Aires, making it easier for them to see and understand the connections, concludes Ormset.

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