Faculty at the School of Arts and Humanities

Rene Prieto


Margaret McDermott Professor of Arts & Humanities

Areas of Specialization:  Art-Baroque to Romanticism; 19th & 20th Century Literature

Office:  JO 5.116
Office Hours:  M & F 4-6
Mail Station:  JO 31
Email:  [email protected]
Phone:  972-883-2280

Because my specialty is the relationship between the arts (including literature), I teach two different—albeit related—types of classes at UTD: European and World culture from 1500 to 1850, and 19th and 20th-century Literature. I have lived in many different parts of the world for extended periods of time, and I speak 5 languages fluently. I want to share with my students the rare opportunity I have had to experience world culture from different perspectives, and I firmly believe it is this cross-cultural approach that gives my classes their unique angle and originality. My aim, at all times, is to have students widen their horizons and become aware of the wealth that difference implies. I have been the recipient of 4 grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as recipient of a National Fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation.

My main focus of interest is analytical; I am much more drawn to how stories are told and how paintings are painted than to the stories or pictures per se. I enjoy teaching students to understand how art is composed and crafted as a structure containing many articulated parts. If we react to a given work, it is because the artist has programmed our reaction through color, line, word, and sound. So I enjoy dismantling works of art to show how they "tick" and why we react to them as we do.

I am presently writing a book on identity in literature and looking at how race and family work together as signifying elements in the 19th- and 20th century fiction of Latin America. I also paint and draw.

I encourage my students to be analytical and garner an understanding of how art works are composed rather than encourage them to react emotionally without grasping the complex craftsmanship that makes them react. Passion is a fine thing but it is set off by specific switches; it is these switches that I want me students to become aware of. Sound judgment and a clear unbiased understanding are key to our functioning as thinking adults in an ever complex world.

I did most of my undergraduate and graduate work in France and Italy before receiving a fellowship to complete my PhD at Stanford University. I have taught in six different colleges at universities in the U.S. and abroad including Stanford, Middlebury College, SMU, The University of Virginia, Vanderbilt, and Gwansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya, Japan. I have also been director of University programs in Spain (twice) and in Japan. I was fortunate to have had Roland Barthes of the College de France and L'Ecole des Hautes Etudes as my seminar and dissertation director.

Recent Courses:  View courses taught by Rene Prieto

Work Samples and Publications: 

Michelangelo Antonioni, a guide to references and resources, G.K. Hall & Co., 1986

Miguel Angel Asturias's Archaeology of Return, Cambridge University Press, 1993

Body of Writing: Figuring Desire in Spanish American literature, Duke University Press, 2000

Ph.D, Comparative Literature, Stanford University, 1980
Diplome d'Etudes Avancées (DEA), Literature and Humanities, Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Paris. Director: Roland Barthes
MA Comparative Literature, Sorbonne University, Paris IV, 1974. Thesis dir. René Etiemble
BA, French literature, Sorbonne University, Paris III, 1973
BA Chinese literature and culture, Institut des Langues Orientales and Sorbonne University, Paris VII, 1973.

Curriculum Vitae:  Rene Prieto's CV