Spanish

Course Catalog

The information below is taken from the printed catalog the college produces each year. For more up to date information, including links to course websites, faculty homepages, reserve readings, and more, use the 'courses' or semester specific link to your left.

Language Courses

01. Elementary Spanish. Grammar, pronunciation, oral practice, and reading. Major emphasis on speaking and on aural comprehension. Three hours a week in class, plus two hours with a teaching assistant and regular work in the language laboratory.

For students without previous training in Spanish. This course prepares students for Spanish 03. Limited to 15 students. First and second semesters. Senior Lecturer Alegre and Assistants.

03. Intermediate Spanish. A continuation of Spanish 01. Intensive review of grammar and oral practice. Reading and analysis of literary texts. Three hours a week in class plus one hour with a teaching assistant and regular work in the language laboratory. Prepares students for Spanish 05.

For students with less than three years of secondary school Spanish who score 3 or 4 on the Advanced Placement Examination. Limited to 15 students. First and second semesters. Lecturer TBA.

05. Language and Literature. An introduction to the critical reading of Hispanic literary texts; an intensive review of Spanish grammar; training in composition, conversation and listening comprehension. Conducted in Spanish. Three hours a week in class and one hour with a teaching assistant. Prepares students for more advanced language and literature courses. This course counts for the major.

Limited to 15 students. First semester: Senior Lecturer Otaño-Benítez and Visiting Professor Lamas and Assistants. Second semester: Professors Suárez and TBA and Assistants.

06. Spanish Conversation. This course will develop the student’s fluency, pronunciation and oral comprehension in Spanish. We will base our discussion on current issues and on the experience of the Spanish-speaking people of Spain, Latin America, and the United States. We will deal with media information through various sources (newspapers, television, radio, video). The course will meet for three hours per week with the instructor and one hour with a teaching assistant and work at the language laboratory. This course counts for the major.

For students who have completed Spanish 05 or the equivalent in secondary school Spanish (advanced standing or a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement Examination). Limited to 15 students. First and second semesters. Senior Lecturer Otaño-Benítez and Assistants.

07. Advanced Spanish Composition. Rapid review of Spanish grammar, practice in set translation and free composition in various genres. Three hours of classroom work per week. Conducted in Spanish. This course counts for the major.

Recommended for Spanish majors and honor students. For students who have completed Spanish 05 or have a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement Examination. Highly recommended for native speakers looking to improve their grammar and writing skills. Limited to 15 students. First and second semesters. Lecturer TBA.

08. Hispanic Civilization and Culture. A survey course that provides an understanding and appreciation of the Spanish-speaking world (Spanish America, Spain and the U.S.) through language, geography, history, economics, sociopolitical issues, folklore, literature and art. The different units in this course are geographically oriented, and they will focus on individual countries or particular Hispanic groups. Writing skills will be refined by the completion of research papers, and communication skills will be developed further by class discussions and oral presentations. Comprehension will be enhanced by presenting students with literary texts, movies, documentaries and periodicals. The course is conducted entirely in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 05 or the equivalent in secondary school Spanish (advanced standing or a score of 5 on the advanced placement examination). Limited to 17 students. First and second semesters. Senior Lecturer Alegre.

Panoramic Introductions

16. Introduction to Spanish Literature. A study of Spanish consciousness from the beginning through the Golden Age. Emphasis on the chivalric and picaresque traditions, mystical poetry, sacred and secular drama, and the invention of the novel. Conducted in Spanish.

For students who have completed Spanish 05, or the equivalent in secondary school Spanish (advanced standing or a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement Examination). First semester. Professor Maraniss.

17. Introduction to Latin American Literature. An examination of the major literary contributions of Latin America from the indigenous Popol Vuh to the "post-boom" period of the 1980s and beyond. Students will be asked to place these works in the historical, political, and social milieu from which they spring. We will study multiple media (chronicles, travel diaries, short stories, poems, novels, essays, films, and plays) in order to understand the rich heritage of Latin American literature and culture. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 05 or equivalent. Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2007-08. Visiting Professor Lamas.

18. Introduction to Colonial Culture. An exploration of early colonial times as seen through the works of contemporary Latin American writers, film-makers, and historians of the conquest. Readings will include Alejo Carpentier’s El arpa y la sombra, Abel Posse’s El largo atardecer del caminante, Antonio Benítez-Rojo’s El mar de las lentejas, Christopher Columbus’s Diario, Bartolomé de las Casas’s Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias, Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca’s Los naufragios, Tzvetan Todorov’s The Conquest of America. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 05 or equivalent. Omitted 2007-08.

19. The Nation and Its Other. In this course, we will read Latin American texts that capture moments of social transition and political unrest. Through the analysis of stereotypes and their subversion, the class will address how literary representations of ethnic purgings, populist and revolutionary movements, totalitarian regimes, and/or civil war question categories of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, and thereby national identity. The readings for the class may include but are not limited to Cecilia Valdés (1839) by Cirilo Villaverde (Cuba), Martín Fierro (La Ida) (1872) by José Hernández (Argentina), Aves sin nido (1889) by Clorinda Matto de Turner (Perú), Los de abajo (1916) by Mariano Azuela (México), El lugar sin límites (1967) by José Donoso (Chile), and La Virgen de los Sicarios (1994) by Fernando Vallejo (Colombia). Films, short stories, and poems will complement our readings. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 05 or equivalent. Omitted 2007-08. Visiting Professor Lamas.

20. Introduction to Modern Spanish Literature. Readings from major writers of the Spanish generations of 1898 and 1927: Baroja, Machado, Valle-Inclán, Miró, García Lorca, Salinas, Alberti, Guillén, Cernuda. Conducted in Spanish.

Omitted 2007-08.

21. Introduction to Latino Fiction. A close reading of Latino fiction from the late 19th century to the present day. Novels and stories by Julia Alvarez, Junot Díaz, Sandra Cisneros, Cristina García, Edward Rivera, Tomás Rivera, among others, will be studied in their hemispheric context. Conducted in English.

Omitted 2007-08. Visiting Professor Lamas.

25. Introduction to Race and Gender in the Spanish-Speaking Caribbean. Through an analysis of how race and gender is constructed in key texts and in manifestation of popular culture of the 19th and 20th century, this interdisciplinary course brings together the political, social, and literary history of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Our study of the construction of race and gender will serve as a point of departure for asking ourselves how colonialism, Plantation society, and U.S. intervention impact the construction of a national subject in these countries; how migration and transculturation shape national identity; and in what ways the Spanish-speaking Caribbean can be said to be a part of or apart from the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean. Films will supplement our readings. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 07 or equivalent. Omitted 2007-08. Visiting Professor Lamas.

26. Latin Music. A critical overview of the role music plays in the Hispanic world, from the colonial period to the present. Geographical areas to be covered include Spain, Latin America, the Caribbean Basin, and the United States. The student will be exposed to vast amounts of instruments and rhythms, their roots and influence, as well as trends, from aboriginal songs to flamenco, border corrido, salsa, bachata, music of resistance and affirmation, and jazz. Major figures like Pablo Milanés, Carlos Mejía Godoy, Mercedes Sosa, Celia Cruz, Rubén Blades, Tito Puente, and Shakira will be discussed. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 07 or equivalent. Omitted 2007-08. Professor Stavans.

27. Spanish American Fiction by Women. This course will study contemporary Spanish American novels and short stories written by women. Special attention will be paid to the importance of female forms of resistance, struggle and bonding against social and economic marginalization. The course will also explore the role of women in a variety of political contexts, ranging from revolution to ideological repression. Texts by Isabel Allende, Gioconda Belli, Rosario Ferré, Angeles Mastreta, Elena Poniatowska, Mayra Santos Febres, Ana Lydia Vega, Zoé Valdés, Luisa Valenzuela, and others. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 05 or equivalent. Second semester. Senior Lecturer Otaño-Benítez.

28. Seventeenth-Century European Theater. Readings of plays by Spanish, English and French playwrights of what has been, in the modern world, the great century of the stage. Works of Lope de Vega, Calderón de la Barca, Shakespeare, Molière, Racine, Webster and Wycherly. Conducted in English. Students will read plays in the original languages whenever possible.

Omitted 2007-08. Professor Maraniss.

30. The Spanish Inquisition. An exploration of the role that the Holy Office of the Inquisition played in Spain and the Americas persecuting and prosecuting so-called “Judaizers.” Using historical documents, testimonies, as well as novels, poems, theater, and movies, the course will place the institution in context, from its inception in 1478 until its demise in 1834. Particular attention will be given to the Jewish victims in autos-da-fe in the Iberian Peninsula before and after the Edict of Expulsion in 1492 and in Mexico and Peru in the colonial period, and to the way the institution shaped Sephardic civilization as a whole over the last 500 years. Concepts like limpieza de sangre and honradez will be discussed. The testimony of other victims (political dissidents, sexual deviators, etc.) will also be contemplated. Finally, the multiple echoes of the Inquisition on Jewish and Hispanic life today will be analyzed.

Omitted 2007-08. Professor Stavans.

31. Latin-American Cinema. A panoramic view of trends, film-makers, and styles from the 1940s to the present. Countries whose industries will be analyzed include Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico. The student will be exposed to a large variety of directors, including Luis Buñuel, Emilio ‘El Indio’ Fernández, Hector Babenco, Eliseo Subiela, and Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Alfonso Cuarón, and Alejandro González Iñárritu. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 07 or equivalent. Omitted 2007-08. Professor Stavans.

33. Spanish Film. This course features Luis Buñuel, his early association with the Spanish literary and artistic vanguard (Valle-Inclán, García Lorca, Dalí), his life and his work within surrealism in France, commercialism in Hollywood, exile in Mexico, and later apotheosis as an old master of European cinema. Conducted in English.

Limited to 35 students. First semester. Professor Maraniss.

35. Arts and Human Rights in Latin America. This course will explore the role that the arts (theater, dance, music, poetry, painting) play in shaping community, confirming and/or resisting governments, and saving individual lives. From Samba to Hip Hop, and every genre in between, we will study artistic expression from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Chile. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 05 or equivalent. Second semester. Professor Suárez.

Nation-Specific Studies

44. The Spanish Civil War: Art, Politics, and Violence. Seventy years ago, the Spanish Second Republic was engaged in a civil conflict that had become a holy war to the European left and right. This course will examine the effects of the war and its passions upon the lives and works of several exemplary writers and artists in England (Orwell, Auden, Romilly, Cornford), France (Malraux, Bernanos, Simon), Spain (Machado, Hernández, Lorca, Picasso), the United States (Hemingway, Dos Passos), and South America (Neruda, Vallejo). Students are encouraged to read texts in the original languages whenever possible. Conducted in English.

Omitted 2007-08. Professor Maraniss.

46. Cuba after 1989: Culture, Film, and Literature. In 1989 the Berlin Wall was chiseled away, changing global culture and politics forever. In Eastern Europe, the rhetoric and divisions necessitated to fuel the cold war were transformed into new discourses of democracy and capitalist opportunities. In contrast, Cuba, remaining an iron-clad communist state, fell into a deep "periódo especial," which ushered in a two-tiered economy greatly dependent on the European tourist industry. The revolutionary dream, many would argue, was then voided. Arguably, "fin-de-siglo" Cuba is a state in crisis. And a new, rich, often hypnotic, production of culture, film, and literature is available to give us a sensational glimpse of the latest of Cuban conditions. In this class we will be reading and screening some of the most outstanding materials from this period. Authors will include Abilio Estévez, Zoe Valdés, Pedro Juan Guttiérez, and Daína Chaviano. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 7 or equivalent. Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2007-08. Professor Suárez.

51. Themes from the Dominican Republic and Its Diaspora: Merengue, Bachata y Ron. This course will engage in readings from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to explore the major political and economic movements that have shaped Dominican identity and incited its massive diasporic communities. Between novels and music, we will discover the complex factors that have forged the Dominican nation and its diaspora. Students will learn about the relationships that have been forged between Dominicans in the U.S. and their homeland, Dominicans and other Caribbean migrants (Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Haitians), and Dominicans as an important minority group within the United States. This class will focus on close readings of texts. Themes covered include violence, dictatorship, state terror, memory, and trauma, legal and illegal migrations. This course will be taught as a Senior Seminar. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 7 or equivalent. Underclass students will be admitted with consent of the instructor. First semester. Professor Suárez.

Courses Specialized by Author and Text

60. Jorge Luis Borges. A comprehensive study of the style, originality and influence of the contemporary Argentine author (1899-1986). His essays, poetry, and fiction will be discussed in the context of Latin American and international literature. Conducted in Spanish.

Open to juniors and seniors or with consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2007-08.

61. Rubén Darío and Modernismo. A detailed survey of the life and career of the Nicaraguan man of letters Rubén Darío (1867-1916), whose oeuvre was fundamental in the shaping of modern Latin American poetry. Students will concentrate on his masterworks: Azul…, Prosas profanas, and Cantos de vida y esperanza. Darío was the consummate leader of the Modernista movement, an esthetic revolution that affected every aspect of life in the Hispanic world on both sides of the Atlantic and enabled the emergence of authors like Borges, Neruda, and Federico García Lorca. The tenants of Modernismo will be thoroughly analyzed. Conducted in Spanish.

For students who have completed Spanish 05 or equivalent. Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2007-08. Professor Stavans.

62. Pablo Neruda. An exploration of the life and oeuvre of the prolific Chilean poet (1904-1973) and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. His work will be read chronologically, starting with Twenty Love Poems and a Song Of Despair and ending with his five posthumous collections. Special attention will be paid to Residence On Earth and Canto General. The counterpoint of politics and literature will define the classroom discussion. Neruda’s role as witness of, and sometimes participant in, the Spanish Civil War, the Cuban Revolution, the workers’ and students’ upheaval in Latin America in the sixties, and the failed presidency of Salvador Allende in Chile will serve as background. Conducted in Spanish.

Omitted 2007-08. Professor Stavans.

63. One Hundred Years of Solitude. A detailed study of the novel by Gabriel García Márquez, published in 1967. Although other works written by the Colombian author will also be discussed (stories, essays, reportage, and fragments of other novels), the course will concentrate on the structure, style, motifs, historical and aesthetic context of the masterwork that brought him the Nobel Prize in Literature. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 07 or equivalent. Omitted 2007-08. Professor Stavans.

64. Don Quixote. A detailed textual and historical analysis of Cervantes' masterpiece, first published in two installments, the first in 1605, the second in 1615. The course will place the novel in the context of the Renaissance, reflecting on the way it showcases ideas on politics, philosophy, and art. Also, students will contemplate its impact on world literature, from Sterne's Tristam Shandy to Dostoievski's Crime and Punishment, as well as on the works of Borges, Milan Kundera, and Salman Rushdie, among others. This course satisfies the Senior Seminar requirement for Majors. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 07 or the equivalent. Underclass students need consent of the instructor. Second semester. Professor Stavans.

65. Cervantes. Don Quixote de la Mancha and some of Cervantes’ “exemplary novels” will be read, along with other Spanish works of the time, which were present at the novel’s birth. Conducted in Spanish.

Omitted 2007-08. Professor Maraniss

77, 78D. Senior Departmental Honors. Two single courses.

First and second semesters. The Department.

Thematic Analyses

80. Latino Autobiography. Since the 1960s U.S. Latino writers have used autobiography in order to carve out a new identity that would allow them not only to reclaim their heritage but also to define their relationship to American culture. In this course we will think about definition, distinction, and uses of memoir and autobiography and examine personal writings by Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Chilean-Americans, and Cuban-Americans in order to better understand how Latino writers find and invent themselves. Particular attention will be given to how Latino writers experiment with this genre in order to address changing constructions of immigration, language, exile, and identity. We will study a wide range of authors and works, including Richard Rodriguez’ Hunger of Memory, Pat Mora’s House of Houses, Nicholasa Mohr’s El Bronx Remembered, Ariel Dorfman’s Heading South: Looking North, Julia Alvarez’ Something to Declare, Isabel Allende’s Paula, and Gustavo Pérez Firmat’s Cincuenta lecciones de exilio y desexilio. Conducted in English.

Requisite: Reading knowledge of Spanish. Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2007-08. Professor Suárez.

81. Motherhood in the Americas. Motherhood offers a foundational trope of resilience, pioneering, resistance, vision, and hope. This course will examine the numerous roles women play in both the private and public sphere in contemporary culture (1950-present). Through readings of poetry, fiction, essays, autobiography, and viewings of films, students will understand the role of mothers in changing Latina American history. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 07 or equivalent. Limited to 20 students. First semester. Professor Suárez.

82. The Sounds of Spanglish. A linguistic and cultural study of the Latino population in the United States through its language. The course spans almost 500 years, from 1521 to the present. It starts with the Spanish explorers to Florida and ends with today’s rappers and poets. Novels, plays, and film will be used as primary texts. The various modalities of Spanglish, spoken by, among other groups, Nuyoricans, Chicanos, and Cuban-Americans, will be compared. The development of Spanglish as a street jargon will be compared to Yiddish, Ebonics, and other minority tongues. The course will also discuss the rapid changes of Spanish, under strong pressure from English, in the Southern Hemisphere. Works by Dr. Samuel Johnson, Antonio de Nebrija, and Fernando Ortiz will be used. Conducted in English.

Omitted 2007-08. Professor Stavans.

83. Testimonio: Stories of Truth and Memory in Latin America. The goal of this class is to analyze the historical and political production and use of testimonio literature in Latin America. In the last 20 years testimonio literature has been the topic of heated debate ranging from scholars claiming its importance as a political tool presenting the voice and circumstances of marginalized and oppressed peoples to critics deriding it as lies.

We will explore the forms in which literature is testimonial, as well as the ways testimonial exposure has succeeded in, or failed to, enact political change and social awareness. Some of the many questions to be addressed include: What are the distinctions between testimonial literature and legal testimony? Can testimony be equivalent to truth? What role do memory and political agendas play in the production of testimonial literature? What do we expect from testimonial literature? How did the Rigoberta controversy affect the way other testimonial literature is read? Can fiction be testimonial?

Through journal writing, class presentations, film viewing, and debates, we will be able to arrive at our own conclusions. All classes and most readings will be conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 07 or equivalent. Underclass students will be admitted with consent of the instructor. Omitted 2007-08. Professor Suárez.

84. Love. (Also European Studies 33.) This panoramic, interdisciplinary course will explore the concept of love as it changes epoch to epoch and culture to culture. Poetry, novels, paintings, sculptures, movies, TV, and music will be featured. Starting with the Song of Songs, it will include discussions of Plato, Aristotle, Catullus, and other Greek classics, move on to Dante and Petrarch, contemplate Chinese, Arabic, African, and Mesoamerican literatures, devote a central unit to Shakespeare, continue with the Metaphysical poets, and move on to American literature. Special attention will be paid to the difference between love, eroticism, and pornography. Multilingual students will be encouraged to delve into various linguistic traditions, in tongues like French, Russian, German, Yiddish, and Spanish. Conducted in English.

Second semester. Professor Stavans.

85. Reconstructing History through Literature. In this course we will explore the literary reconstruction of Latin American history by 20th-century critics, filmmakers, and novelists. Through a transhistorical exploration of contemporary renderings of colonial and 19th-century Latin American texts, events and key figures, we will examine the political and historical contexts behind these rewritings of historical texts. Cristobal Colón’s Diario (1492) by Abel Posse’s Los perros del paraíso (1983); Hernán Cortés Cartas de relación (1519-1526) by Laura Esquivel’s Malinche (2006); Carlos de Sigüenza y Gongora’s Infortunios de Alonso Ramírez (1690) by Luis Rafael Sánchez’s La guagua aérea (1994); the life of Simón Bolívar (1783-1830) by Gabriel García Márquez’s El general en su laberinto (1989); Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda’s Sab by María Elena Cruz Varela’s La hija de Cuba (2006). Films will complement our readings. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 07 or equivalent. First semester. Professor Lamas.

86. Slavery, Race and Empire in Latin America. Studying the debates regarding slavery - both African and Indigenous - conducted during the early stages of Spanish colonial expansion allows us better to understand contemporary race relations in Latin America, the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and Latino communities in the U.S. With this as a point of departure, we will explore Imperial/colonial discourses regarding the legitimacy of the conquest in the context of the expulsion of the Jews, the fall of the last Moorish stronghold in Spain, the rise of the African slave trade, and the colonization and Christianization of the newly conquered lands. By exploring how chroniclers, essayists, and writers presented multiple perspectives regarding slavery, race and ethnicity based on their differing political agendas, we will trace multiple arguments, in their literary and historical forms, regarding the incorporation of the Amerindian and African slaves into the Empire and, after independence and abolition, the Nation. Authors that address still unresolved racial and ethnic discrimination in Latin America may include Alejo Carpentier (Cuba), Miguel Angel Asturias (Guatemala), Rosario Castellanos (Mexico), Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru), and Ernesto Cardenal (Nicaragua). Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 07 or equivalent. Second semester. Professor Lamas.

87. Transamerican Literary Exchanges. Crossing the disciplinary divide between U.S. American, Latin American, and U.S. Latino literature continues to challenge contemporary scholars. How do Spanish-written texts written and published in the U.S. impact this impasse? Should we consider these texts as a part of the U.S. American canon, Latin American canon, both or neither? What about texts written in English by Latin American authors and published in the U.S.? Do they challenge such terms as immigrant, exile, Latino and Latin American, or do they simply affirm them? By reading these types of works from the 19th-century to the present, we will question how these texts fit into and/or fall outside of current paradigms for exploring the Latino/Latin American experience in the U.S. Works/authors may include but are not limited to Jicoténcatl by Félix Varela, essays by Vicente Rocafuerte, José Martí, and Eugenio María Hostos; María Luisa Bombal’s La última niebla/House of Mist, Tomás Rivera’s Y no se lo trago la tierra; Rosario Ferré’s El coloquio de las perras; Manuel Puig’s Eternal Curse on the Reader of These Pages; Rolando Hinojosa-Smith’s Mi querido Rafa; Boris Salazar’s La otra selva; and Uva de Aragón’s Memoria del silencio. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: Spanish 05 or the equivalent. Second semester. Professor Lamas.

97, 97H, 98, 98H. Special Topics. The Department calls attention to the fact that Special Topics courses may be offered to students on either an individual or group basis.

Students interested in forming a group course on some aspect of Hispanic life and culture are invited to talk over possibilities with a representative of the Department. When possible, this should be done several weeks in advance of the semester in which the course is to be taken.

First and second semesters.

 

Barrett Hall