Diego del Río Arrillaga received his Ph.D. in Spanish (specialization in Modern Peninsular Literature) from Yale University in 2017. His research interests include transatlantic studies (Spain and Latin America), avant-garde movements, literary theory, film and sound studies, and digital humanities. His interest in transatlantic connections can be traced back to his education in Mexico and his own background as a descendant of Spanish Civil War exiles. He also recently secured two grants to launch a digital humanities project that aims to digitize Ramón Gómez de la Serna's greguerías.

Areas of Expertise

Transatlantic Studies, Modern Peninsular Literature, Avant-Garde Movements


2017 — Doctor of Philosophy from Yale University

2014 — Master of Philosophy from Yale University

2014 — Master of Arts from Yale University

2012 — Master of Arts from Univ Nacional Autonoma de Mex

2009 — Bachelor of Arts from Univ Nacional Autonoma de Mex

Courses Recently Taught

This second half of a yearlong course is a continuation of SPAN 111Y. The second semester consists of and continued study of the fundamentals of Spanish, while incorporating literary and cultural materials to develop techniques of reading, cultural awareness, and mastery of the spoken and written language. The work includes practice in understanding and using the spoken language. Written exercises and reading materials serve to reinforce communicative skills, build vocabulary and enhance discussion of the individual and community. This course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), which will be scheduled at the beginning of the semester. Prerequisite: SPAN 111Y or equivalent. Offered every year.

This first half of the yearlong intermediate-level language course is focused on language and culture for students who are interested in developing their ability to speak, read, write and understand Spanish. In addition to a comprehensive grammar review, the primary texts chosen for the course serve as a general introduction to Hispanic culture and literature. Other materials include short essays, newspaper articles, films, television series and songs, which together will provide a point of departure for discussions on a range of issues. This course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), which will be scheduled at the beginning of the semester. Students enrolled in this course will automatically be added to SPAN 214Y for the spring semester. Prerequisite: SPAN 111Y-112Y or equivalent. Offered every year.

This second half of the yearlong intermediate-level language course builds on the concepts and skills addressed in the first semester, with a continued focus on language and culture for students who are interested in developing their ability to speak, read, write and understand Spanish. Students will be exposed to more complex Spanish grammar, while also expanding their vocabulary in context, using authentic materials similar to those of the first semester (including short novels, stories, essays, newspaper articles, films, television series, and songs). Students will produce more advanced analytic and creative writing assignments, and will be asked to actively discuss a range of challenging topics in class with increased proficiency (compared to fall semester). Like SPAN 213Y, this course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), though the days and times for these may be different from the fall semester. Prerequisite: SPAN 213Y or equivalent. Offered every year.

This course uses literature and film to give advanced students the opportunity to strengthen their ability to write analytically and creatively in Spanish. The course will also have strong emphasis on speaking and reading in Spanish. Works from various literary genres and selected Spanish-language films are among the materials on which class discussion and writing assignments will be centered. To deploy this content, we will use digital technology that supports the acquisition of advanced vocabulary, the development of reading comprehension and writing. A grammar review, focused mainly on typical areas of difficulty, may also be included. Prerequisite: SPAN 213Y–214 or equivalent. Offered every year.

This foundational course explores the trajectory of Spanish literature 1) beginning with ballads that reflect the confluence of Christian, Jewish and Arab cultures of the Early Modern Period, 2) through the Golden Age short stories of Cervantes and the theater of Calderón de la Barca, 3) to the Romantics and their explorations of new forms of subjectivity in verse and deeply psychological prose, 4) to Realist depictions of social change in the late 19th century, 5) to Modernist poetry and works by Federico García Lorca, and 6) concluding with post-Civil War and post-Franco writings, including a contemporary novel about a journalist who discovers the untold history of his father while researching a story on a leader of the Fascist regime. Among the films included is a documentary about the participation of American volunteers who defied the US government and joined the International Brigades to combat Franco during the Spanish Civil War, and in addition to the course anthology and shorter pieces, we will also read original editions of select primary texts. This is an excellent course for students who have taken SPAN 321 because it serves as a bridge course for more advanced literature classes. However, it is also ideal for students who have done more advanced courses, given that it provides an important understanding of Spanish literature (and its relationship to Latin American literature). Finally, it is a great opportunity for students with interest in theater since we stage two of the plays we read. Other aims center on building skills for analytic writing in Spanish and building the vocabulary useful for interpretation and discussion of film and literary works in Spanish. This course counts toward the literature requirement for the major. Prerequisite: SPAN 321 or equivalent. Generally offered every other year.

Traditionally, Latin American and Spanish literatures are taught separately. However, in this course students are given the opportunity to study and analyze the similarities and rich connections between Spain and Latin America's artistic expressions (literature and visual arts) of the 19th and 20th centuries in order to better understand the overall evolution of artistic trends on both sides of the Atlantic. In this way, students will not only be able to observe the wide network of influential collaborations and conflicts among several intellectuals and artists of the Spanish speaking world, but they will also have the chance to explore many works by great authors of Spain and Latin America in a single course, such as: Miguel de Unamuno, Rubén Darío, Jorge Luis Borges, Salvador Dalí, Federico García Lorca, Luis Buñuel, Pablo Neruda and Octavio Paz. The course is recommended for Spanish and international studies majors. Prerequisite: SPAN 321 or equivalent. Offered every three years.

This course focuses on the work of several Spanish writers, film directors and painters that fled Spain because of the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) and immigrated to different countries in Latin America. We will analyze their works before exile, during the first years living in exile, and later works (published either in exile or back in Spain). In this way, students will have the opportunity to study how the experience of exile—living in Latin America and being in constant contact with Latin American culture and intellectuals—affected their creations. By following this methodology, the course will give students a profound understanding of the phenomenon of exile and of how this particular group of Spanish artists set themselves apart from those who stayed in Spain or went to other countries around the globe. In addition, this course offers a Digital Humanities optional component, which gives students the opportunity to learn how to use mapping software. Prerequisite: SPAN 321 or equivalent.

For José Ortega y Gasset, the most influential Spanish philosopher of the 20th century, art could only become truly humanized to the degree that it moved, paradoxically, away from all things human toward the more figurative, psychological realm of aesthetic expression. As such, this same artistic impulse promised to reveal previously unimaginable truths about the essence as well as the evasion of lived realities. Ortega y Gasset's thinking will therefore serve as a point of departure for this course, which seeks both to understand modernism in Spain (and elsewhere) and to push its parameters beyond the Modernist movement. Indeed, the premise for our approach as a class will be that modernism can best be understood as modernisms, as a spectrum of revolutionary forms of representation across time. We will thus look to identify iterations of (de)humanization that transcend the historical period in which Ortega y Gasset wrote, while also asking why certain dramatic shifts could only ever reach such newfound extremes in the wake of the first World War. The course will draw from writers as early as Cervantes and interweave the Romantics, Miguel de Unamuno and his contemporaries, the Generation of 27, and those beyond. Consequently, literary genres to be covered will include the short story, the novel, theater, poetry and the essay. We also will read philosophical treatises on aesthetics, explore surrealist cinema, and discuss the works of Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, and many other visual artists of the day. Ultimately, our goal will be to ask, and perhaps to answer, why we choose to turn away in order to see better the world in which we live. Prerequisite: SPAN 321 or equivalent. Generally offered every three years.