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Amherst College Spanish for 2018-19

110 Spanish I

SPAN 110 is an introduction to Spanish and Spanish-American cultures. This course is recommended for students who have either no previous training in Spanish or no more than two years of high school Spanish. It gives the student a basic understanding of and ability to use the language. Grammar is used as a point of departure for development of oral and written skills.

This course strives to teach students to understand sentences and common expressions and to communicate in simple terms simple aspects of their background (e.g., very basic personal and family information), the immediate environment (shopping, local geography, employment), and matters of immediate need.

This course prepares students for Spanish II (SPAN 120). Three hours per week with the lecturer, plus two hours with the language assistant. This course may not be counted toward the Spanish Major. The class will be conducted entirely in Spanish.

Fall and spring semesters. Limited to 15 students per section. Lecturer TBD and Assistants.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

120 Spanish II

This course is an intermediate-level Spanish course. It is recommended for students who have had the equivalent of three-to-four years of high school Spanish.  This course seeks to expand Spanish language skills with exercises in conversation, oral comprehension and composition, based on cultural readings.

This course teaches students to understand key conversation points at work, school, and beyond; how to deal with situations that may arise while traveling in a Spanish-speaking country; and how to compose simple, connected texts regarding personal matters and typical, familiar topics. Students will learn how to describe experiences, events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and explain the rationale behind their opinions and future plans.

This course prepares students for SPAN 125. Three hours per week with the lecturer, plus one hour with the language assistant. Limited to 15 students per section. This course may not be counted toward the Spanish Major. The class will be conducted entirely in Spanish.

Requisite: SPAN 110 or Spanish Placement Exam. Fall semester: Lecturer Granda and Assistants. Spring semester: TBD and Assistants.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

125 Spanish III

This course is a continuation of SPAN 120. 120 and 125 are a two-semester sequence. Students who take SPAN 120 will need to complete SPAN 125 before moving on to SPAN 130. This course will expand Spanish language skills with exercises in conversation, oral comprehension and composition, based on cultural readings.

Students will gain command of expressing plans, doubts, probability, and feelings (wishes, happiness, anger, surprise, fear, etc.). Reciprocal verbs, various subjunctive phrases using quizás, tal vez, probablemente, ojalá, etc., as well as subjunctive formations using subordinate noun clauses will be introduced. Finally, students will begin to learn how to express and justify their opinions and to argue them appropriately. This course focuses on the development of oral fluency and vocabulary.

This course prepares students for SPAN 130. Three hours per week with the lecturer, plus one hour with the language assistant. Limited to 15 students per section. This course may not be counted toward the Spanish Major. The class will be conducted entirely in Spanish.

Requisite: SPAN 120 or Spanish Placement Exam. Fall and spring semesters. Lecturer Bel and Assistants.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

130 Spanish IV

While expanding on the grammar essentials covered in SPAN 125, this course helps the student further develop listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in Spanish. It is directed toward students who already have a good linguistic-communicative competency, broadening their contact with different kinds of texts, deepening their grammatical understanding, and enabling them to communicate through a variety of forms and registers.

Upon completing the course, students should be able to make themselves understood with accuracy and fluency and participate easily in a wide range of formal and informal communicative situations. An array of literary texts and films not ordinarily considered in language classes will be used. 

This course prepares students for SPAN 199. Three hours per week with the lecturer, plus one hour with the language assistant. Limited to 15 students per section. This course may be counted toward the Spanish Major. The class will be conducted entirely in Spanish.

Requisite: SPAN 125 or Spanish Placement Exam. Fall semester Lecturer: TBD and Assistants. Spring semester: Lecturer Granda and Assistants.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

135 Spanish Conversation

This course provides an opportunity for intensive communication in spoken Spanish, and an understanding of Hispanic culture. Listening, speaking, reading and writing skills are developed. Emphasis is on vocabulary acquisition and interactive communication through the discussion of authentic texts, films, videos, music, etc. Upon completion, students should be able to discuss selected topics, express ideas and opinions clearly, and engage in formal and informal conversations.

This course is intended for students who have an intermediate-high Spanish level, and want to improve their listening and speaking skills. Three hours per week with the lecturer. Limited to 15 students per section. This course may be counted toward the Spanish Major. The class will be conducted entirely in Spanish.

Requisite: SPAN 130 or Spanish Placement Exam. Fall and spring semesters. Lecturer Bel.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

199 Spanish Writing Workshop

In this course students will learn how to approach writing as a process. The emphasis is on writing as a communicative act rather than as a mere language exercise. As such, emphasis is given to the interaction between the author and the text, the target audience, and the purpose and message of the final product. In order to develop the necessary skills that good writers should have, the course will focus on expanding vocabulary, exploring rhetorical techniques for organizing information, developing strategies for writing, and characterizing the target audience(s). At the same time we will insist upon critical readings, and the processes of revising and editing. In addition, this course includes the study of written texts (narrative, description, poems, reports, essays, letters, etc.), and of literature’s many genres and subgenres (prose, poetry, drama, etc.).

This course prepares students for advanced-level courses offered by the Spanish Department. Three hours per week with the lecturer. Limited to 15 students per section. This course may be counted toward the Spanish Major. The class will be conducted entirely in Spanish.

Requisite: SPAN 130 or Spanish Placement Exam. Fall semester. Lecturer Granda.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

210 Camino de Santiago

The Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James, is a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. This interdisciplinary course will explore the origins of the Camino de Santiago through the Middle Ages, and its recent transformation into a cultural phenomenon. It will be divided into several units that focus on art and architecture, religion, gastronomy, music, history, literature, philosophy, pop culture, and tourism. Major cities along the camino francés will act as cultural “stops” to complement these topics. Primary sources will include historical documents, excerpts from medieval literary texts, poetry, and contemporary travel narratives. Secondary critical readings, films, music, maps, and interviews with pilgrim-scholars will supplement primary sources. Other significant pilgrimage traditions beyond Spain will also be considered. The course will culminate in a one-day hike on a local trail. Evaluation will be based on student discussion, research writing, and oral presentations. Although readings and films will be in both English and Spanish the course will be conducted in Spanish.

Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 10 students. Spring semester. Lecturer Granda.

2018-19: Offered in Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017

211 Literature and Culture of the Hispanic World

This course provides an introduction to the diverse literatures and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world over the course of six centuries, from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. Students will learn the tools, language, and critical vocabulary for advanced work reading the canon of Hispanic literatures from Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean Basin, identifying aesthetic trends, historical periods and diverse genres such as poetry, narrative, theater and film. The syllabus will include a wide variety of authors of different national, political, and artistic persuasions and an array of linguistic styles. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: SPAN-199 or consent of the instructor. Advanced knowledge of the Spanish language and proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish are required. Limited to 15 students per section.

Fall semester: Professor Schroeder Rodríguez. Spring semester: Professor Brenneis.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

222 Short Stories from the Hispanic World

This course will explore the art of storytelling through the genre of the short story in Spain and Latin America. After a brief introduction to short fiction in medieval and early modern Spain, we will focus principally on the development of the short story from the nineteenth century to the present. Works studied may include short stories by authors such as Pardo Bazán, Valle Inclán, Matute, Gaite, Palma, Borges, Rulfo, Cortázar, Quiroga, and Valenzuela. Films and other visual materials will supplement the literary texts. Some of the themes examined throughout the course will include gender relations, love, power, justice, political resistance, the fantastic, and popular culture. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: SPAN 211 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester: Professor Infante.

2018-19: Offered in Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

231 Owning the Bilingual Self

Heritage learners of Spanish learn different registers of the Spanish language in their homes and communities from an early age. In this course, students will use this knowledge as a springboard to expand their use and command of Spanish with increasing confidence and in a variety of social and cultural contexts. We will study cultural texts–from the most informal to the most formal, from Hispanic communities both here in the US and in the Spanish-speaking world, in Spanish and Spanglish–and will discuss students’ own experiences growing up as heritage learners of Spanish. Conducted in Spanish and Spanglish.

Admission with consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Professor Sánchez-Naranjo.

2018-19: Offered in Spring 2019

237 Art as Protest in Spain and Latin America

This interdisciplinary course examines how writers, artists, filmmakers, and activists have resisted the censorship, cultural repression and moral authority of dictatorships in Spain and Latin America. Scores of countries in the Spanish-speaking world were ruled by a dictator, autocrat or military junta over the course of the 20th century. In Spain, Francisco Franco ruled unopposed for 39 years, stifling free expression in the country. We will compare the culture of resistance in Spain with films, stories, artwork, and poetry that capture a spirit of protest from throughout Latin America. Possible artists, authors and activists include: Max Aub, Neus Català, Diamela Eltit, Reinaldo Arenas, Rigoberta Menchú, Griselda Gambardo, and Junot Díaz, among many others. This course exposes students to a variety of forms of protest, while also examining the causes and effects of these subversive activities. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: SPAN 211 or consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professor Brenneis.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018

238 Latin American Cinema

(Offered as SPAN 238 and FAMS 238) How have Latin Americans represented themselves on the big screen? In this course we will explore this question through close readings of representative films from each of the following major periods: silent cinema (1890s–1930s), studio cinema (1930s–1950s), Neorealism/Art Cinema (1950s), the New Latin American Cinema (1960s–1980s), and contemporary cinema (1990s to today). Throughout the course we will examine evolving representations of modernity and pay special attention to how these representations are linked to different constructions of gender, race, sexuality, and nationality. We will conclude the course with a collective screening of video essays created by students in the course. The course is conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: SPAN 211 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Professor Schroeder Rodríguez.

2018-19: Offered in Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016

242 Black Mestizx: Gender Variance and Transgender Politics in the Borderlands

(Offered as SPAN 242, BLST 282 [CLA] and SWAG 248) Historically speaking, discourses of mestizaje or racial mixture in Latin America, the Philippines, and the US-Mexican borderlands have implicitly or explicitly used “blackness” as a monolithic signifier connoting a perversity and backwardness to be rehabilitated by civilizational uplift. Students in this class will explore queer and trans texts that challenge this tradition and problematize the connection of the transracial to the transgender. Some of the theorists and authors we will engage include: Cathy Cohen, Fernando Ortiz, CLR James, Sylvia Wynter, Jessica Hagedorn, and Junot Díaz. While some class materials will be in English, the course will be conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: SPAN 211 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Fall semester. Professor Coráñez Bolton.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018

243 Queer Migrant Imaginaries

This class explores the political economy of the largely queer and feminized labor that animates capitalism’s global reach. Through close readings of literary and audiovisual texts, we will chart how the migrant laboring body has been produced since the nineteenth century using recurring tropes of queerness, pathology, and dependency. Some of the artists we will discuss include writers Carlos Bulosan, Monique Truong, and Gloria Anzaldúa, and documentary film directors Tomer Heyman (Paper Dolls, 2006), and Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles (Mala Mala, 2014). Conducted in English.

Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Coráñez Bolton.

2018-19: Offered in Spring 2019

317 Women in Early Modern Spain

(Offered as SPAN 317, EUST 317, and SWAG 317) This course will examine the diverse and often contradictory representations of women in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain as seen through the eyes of both male and female writers. This approach will allow us to inquire into how women represented themselves versus how they were understood by men. In our analysis of this topic, we will also take into consideration some scientific, legal, and moral discourses that attempted to define the nature and value of women in early modern Spain. Works by authors such as Cervantes, María de Zayas, Calderón de la Barca, and Catalina de Erauso, among others, will offer us fascinating examples and different approaches to the subject. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: SPAN 211 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Infante.

2018-19: Offered in Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Spring 2015

318 Cultural Encounters: Islam in Spain

[RC] In this course, we will explore the relationship of Spain, as a newly created nation, to the world of the “other,” in this case Islam, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Inside the Peninsula, the Muslim community is perceived as dangerously linked to the Mediterranean world, which both fascinates Spain and threatens it at the same time because of the growing power of the Ottoman Empire. We will examine changing representations of the Muslim “other,” from the idealized Moor in the Moorish novel to contradictory portrayals of Moriscos—those Muslims forced to convert to Christianity in sixteenth-century Spain. In addition, we will look at how questions of race, ethnicity, religion, and gender were treated by writers such as Cervantes, María de Zayas, and Calderón de la Barca. The class discussions will also include a significant visual component (e.g. paintings and engravings of the time on both sides of the Mediterranean that represent the “other,” maps, cityscapes, as well as films). Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: SPAN 211 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester: Professor Infante.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Spring 2017

320 Bilingualism in the US

Bilingualism is very common in homes throughout the United States, yet remains controversial in public discourse and especially in public education. In this interdisciplinary course, we will address the nature of this paradox from the perspective of psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics, by asking questions such as how monolinguals and bilinguals differ in their understanding of language, and what roadblocks English-Spanish bilinguals in the United States regularly face as they navigate schools and engage in the civic life of their communities and the nation. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: SPAN 211 or consent of the instructor. Spring Semester. Professor Sánchez-Naranjo.

2018-19: Offered in Spring 2019

343 A Social History of the Spanish Language

(Offered as COLQ 343 and SPAN 343) Histories of the Spanish language regularly focus on the syntactical changes (grammatical structure, verb conjugations, etc.) undergone through time. This course takes a different approach: it looks at the concrete way people have used Spanish in everyday life over the last one thousand years, concentrating on revolutions, labor and political movements, domestic life, and cultural activities such as reading, writing, and consuming newspapers, radio, TV, movies, and the internet. The course will provide the theoretical framework to approach the material appropriately, from Saussure and Samuel Johnson to contemporary arguments in socio-linguistics. Students will select a Spanish-language country (Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, Peru, Chile, Puerto Rico, Colombia, or the Dominican Republic) and, in chronological order, delve into specific texts and examples in order to understand linguistic usage across history. This course is part of a model of tutorials at Amherst designed to enable students to engage in substantive research with faculty. The size of the course will be small: six students. Participants must also commit to working for six weeks in the summer of 2018. The college will provide housing and a stipend. All semester and summer work will culminate in the publication of a new social history of the Spanish language. Conducted in Spanish.

Open to sophomores and juniors interested in research. Limited to 6 students. Omitted 2018-2019. Professor Stavans.

2018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2018

346 The Latin American Philippines

[RC] This course will explore the Hispanic cultures of Asia, with particular emphasis on the Latin American Philippines as a case study of how colonialism systematically represents the native as physically and cognitively disabled. We will familiarize ourselves with a routinely understudied archive of mestizo nationalist writing in Spanish, which developed in the Philippines from roughly 1872–1950, and relate this archive to Spanish colonialism (1565–1898), US imperialism (1899–1934), and Japanese occupation (1942–1945) in the Philippines. We will then trace connections between this archive on the one hand, and Filipino American, Latin American and US Latinx cultural production, on the other. Some of the authors we will discuss include Filipinos José Rizal and Teodoro Kalaw, José Martí (Cuba), Gloria Anzaldúa (US Chicana), Frantz Fanon (Martinica), and Benedict Anderson (United Kingdom). The final project of this course will involve original archival research of digital repositories. While some class materials will be in English, the course will be conducted in Spanish.  

Requisite: SPAN 211 or consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Professor Coráñez Bolton.

2018-19: Offered in Spring 2019

350 Borges and Neruda

Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986) and Pablo Neruda (1904–1973) are not only the two most influential Latin American poets of the twentieth century. They also represent diametrically opposing views to literature and politics. This course traces their careers in Argentina and Chile respectively, their debut collections, their ascent to fame, and their status as international iconic figures. The author of “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote,” “Garden of Forking Paths,” “The Library of Babel,” and other classics, Borges is considered the father of postmodernism. His style in Spanish is learned, cerebral, and cosmopolitan. Neruda is the author of Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, Canto General, and 225 odes that are among the most beautiful in any language. A devoted Communist, he campaigned for worker’s rights and opposed the United States-backed coup d’etat of General Augusto Pinochet in 1973. Their distinct weltanschauungs will enable students to appreciate the syncopated ways in which the stoic and hedonistic trends define Latin American culture today. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: SPAN 211 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Stavans.

2018-19: Offered in Spring 2019

363 One Hundred Years of Solitude

[RC] A patient, detailed, Talmudic reading of Gabriel García Márquez’s masterpiece, Cien años de soledad, known as “the Bible of Latin America.” The course sets it in biographical, historical, and aesthetic context. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: SPAN 211 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 25 students. Fall semester: Professor Stavans.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2013, Fall 2015

389 Reading Spain

In this course, we will examine five works of fiction published in Spain between 1950 and today. The Spanish Civil War ended in 1939 with the beginning of Francisco Franco’s 36-year dictatorship of Spain. Authors in 20th Century Spain were subject to censorship and overt oppression while they attempted to understand their own history and identity and translate it onto the page. Despite these obstacles, these authors produced works of literature that are daring, experimental, emotional, and now canonical. The novels we study bridge the topics of violence, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, cultural repression, and self-understanding. They vary from coming-of-age tales to experimental narrative to mainstream bestsellers. We will also study historical texts, images, films, and critical articles in order to gain a more complete understanding of the era and its reflection in literature. This is a highly collaborative and participatory course that allows for the discussion of a wide variety of subject matter. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: SPAN 211 or consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professor Brenneis.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017

490 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.

Fall and spring semesters. The Department.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

498, 499 Senior Departmental Honors

One single course.

Fall semester. The Department.

2018-19: Offered in Fall 2018
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017