Undergraduate Courses

For more detailed information including course description, sample reading list, and instructor, please visit the Registrar's Office.

Spanish Undergraduate Courses

Beginner's Spanish II
In this second course of the elementary Spanish sequence, students will continue to develop their communicative and intercultural competence by exploring social issues relevant to their lives, and by taking an in-depth look at the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world. The course integrates language and culture, and promotes all three communication modes (interpersonal, interpretative, and presentational). Cultural diversity is introduced through a variety of texts (news, short movies, podcasts, etc.). By the end of the course, the students will be able to perform at an intermediate proficiency level, and be ready for SPA 107.
Instructors: Nicholas James Figueroa, Luis Gonçalves, Manuel Malia, Raquel Mattson-Prieto, Adriana Graciela Merino, Eliot Raynor
Intermediate/Advanced Spanish
An intermediate/advanced language course that consolidates and expands the skills acquired in beginner's Spanish. Students will continue to develop their ability to comprehend and communicate in Spanish while using the four basic skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The course's linguistic goals are achieved in the context of examining the history, cultural production, practices, language, and current reality of the U.S. Latino community. Materials include oral, written and audiovisual texts. By the end of the course, students will be able to express more complex ideas, orally and in writing, with greater grammatical accuracy.
Instructors: Anna Alsina Naudi, Jeannie Byrne, Anais Holgado-Lage, Daniela Claudia Salcedo Arnaiz
Advanced Spanish
SPA 108 is an advanced language course that aims at strengthening and consolidating comprehension and production of oral and written Spanish while fostering cultural awareness and cross-cultural examination. Students will improve their linguistic proficiency while exploring the various mechanisms that affect how our identity is constructed, negotiated, and/or imposed. Particularly, the course will examine the ways in which gender and national identities develop and consolidate themselves by exploring cultural production (journalism, literature, cinema and the visual arts, etc.) in the Spanish speaking world and beyond.
Instructors: Gorka Bilbao Terreros, Dunia Catalina Méndez Vallejo, Eliot Raynor
Spanish for a Medical Caravan in Ecuador
SPA 204 is an advanced Spanish course focusing on health and medical topics. Its main purpose is to put students in contact with the health care situation in the indigenous communities of Ecuador. During the first six weeks of the semester, students will learn about those topics and will get ready for a medical caravan that will take place during spring break. The last six weeks will be dedicated to research and reflection.
Instructors: Paloma Moscardó-Vallés
Medical Spanish
An advanced Spanish-language course that focuses on medical and health topics in the hispanic world. Students will learn and practice specific vocabulary and structures useful for conducting a medical interview in Spanish. Aspects of Latino culture in the health and medical fields are explored by means of examining authentic texts and through the contribution of guest speakers. The course includes a project in which students will interact with the local Latino community.
Instructors: Paloma Moscardó-Vallés
Legal and Business Spanish
An advanced-level course on legal, international relations, and business Spanish. This course aims to familiarize students with the vocabulary, grammatical structures, style and register of the language that is used in legal, diplomatic, and business settings. Through the study of key texts, case studies and videos, students will be introduced to the basic differences between the business cultures and legal systems of the Spanish-speaking world and the Anglo-American world. This is complemented by class discussions, role-plays, presentations and independent research.
Instructors: Anna Alsina Naudi
Studies in Spanish Language and Style
SPA 207 seeks to develop advanced language skills and raise cultural awareness by studying language in its contexts of use. An exciting selection of literary and cinematic productions from the Hispanic world provide the basis for a critical discussion of cultural meanings and social relations, while offering the chance to explore difference registers and styles. SPA 207 students tackle original writing assignments that enhance their ability to express complex ideas in Spanish and hone their oral skills with debates, role-plays and projects that encourage independent learning and invite participation and collaboration.
Instructors: Mariana Bono, Iria Gonzalez-Becerra, Daniela Claudia Salcedo Arnaiz
Spanish Language and Culture through Cinema
A course designed to improve speaking abilities while learning about Hispanic cultures and cinema in context. The course aims to provide the students with lexical and grammatical tools to allow them to engage in formal and informal discussion on a variety of topics informed by the films provided. Additionally, there will be several writing exercises throughout the semester that will help students improve their writing abilities. By the end of the course, students should have a better command of all linguistic skills, especially listening comprehension, fluency and accuracy in their speech.
Instructors: Nadia Cervantes Pérez, Iria Gonzalez-Becerra
Varieties of Spanish
Offered as an overview of the social, cultural, and political aspects that forge linguistic variation in the Spanish-speaking world, students discuss issues of power, identity, globalization, policymaking, social status, gender, and ideology to understand cases of linguistic variation and change. Students will recognize particular features distinguishing one dialect from another, while gaining knowledge of the development of these differences. This course will enrich a student's view of Spanish as a social construct, either as a native/heritage speaker or as a Spanish learner, and will allow students to develop their analytical skills.
Instructors: Dunia Catalina Méndez Vallejo
Continuity and Discontinuity in Colonial Latin America
An overview of literary and cultural production in the Americas before and after the Spanish invasion. Topics include pre-Columbian visual and verbal expressions; discovery, invention, conquest, and resistance; the historiography of the New World; native depictions of the colonial world; gender, grammar and power. We read texts in a variety of genres that were written and performed in numerous linguistic and visual codes. The Native American chronicles will include texts written in alphabetic script as well as visual representations that draw elements from pre-colonial forms of iconic script.
Instructors: Nicole D. Legnani
Culture, Politics, and 'Artivism' in Contemporary Spain
This course focuses on the relationship between politics and culture in Spain today. We will study art, literature, culture and performances created by collectives, social movements and individuals involved in political activities. Feminism, ecology, racism, and social justice are among the topics to be considered. The course's main objective is to provide students with a set of strong conceptual, analytical and linguistic skills, which will be of great help in 300-level Spanish literature and culture courses. Final project is the creation of a fanzine.
Instructors: Rafael SM Paniagua
Borges for Beginners
This seminar grapples with the question of authorship and meaning in the literature of Jorge Luis Borges, the legendary Argentine writer whose convoluted fictions continue puzzling readers. Borges is a foundational figure. Gabriel García Márquez and Paul Auster, and philosophers such as Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, are all indebted to Borges. Using different perspectives, from philosophy and aesthetics to politics and cultural analysis, we will study Borges's thematic and formal obsessions: time and memory; labyrinths; reading as a form of writing; and the universality of Argentine local traditions such as tango and gaucho culture.
Instructors: Maria Gabriela Nouzeilles
Spanish in the Community
This course explores the complexities of Spanish language in the United States. Through a variety of readings, videos, and documents in Spanish and English, we will address a range of issues including the past and present of Spanish language in the US, the relationship between language and identity, and the tensions and hopes around the maintenance of Spanish in immigrant communities.
Instructors: Alberto Bruzos Moro
Advanced Spanish Language and Style
SPA 307 is an advanced language course. Its main purpose is to develop and reinforce accuracy and fluency in both writing and speaking Spanish. Students will also learn to identify linguistic features that characterize different genres, as well as social and cultural factors that aid in the interpretation and understanding of different texts and types of speech. More specifically, the course aims at providing the tools for discourse analysis, raising awareness of the social and ideological values that permeate discursive practices, and developing autonomy and proficiency as an advanced learner of Spanish language.
Instructors: Mariana Bono
Mexico's Tenth Muse: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Studies a variety of texts (poetry, comedia, mystery play, letters) written by the most celebrated female Hispanic writer of the seventeenth century, widely considered to be the first feminist of the American hemisphere. Discussions include: rhetoric and feminism; Sor Juana's literary forbearers; freedom and repression in the convent; correspondence with other writers in the viceroyalties of New Spain and Peru; performances of gender and sexuality in colonial Mexico. Sessions to view and analyze first editions of Sor Juana's works of the Legaspi collection will be held at the Rare Books and Special Collections in Firestone.
Instructors: Nicole D. Legnani
Drag Kings: An Archeology of Spectacular Masculinities in Latinx America
The figure of the drag king has been practically absent from Latinx American critical analysis. Taking what we call "spectacular masculinity" as our starting point, a hyperbolic masculinity that without warning usurps the space of privilege granted to the masculinity of men, this course revises the staging of spectacular masculinities as a possibility of generating a crisis in heterosexism. We will highlight notable antecedents of the contemporary DK show, and study the hegemonic masculinity and its exceptional models through a critical technology that turns up the volume on its dramatization and its prosthetic/cosmetic conditions.
Instructors: Javier Enrique Guerrero
The 'Other' in Cervantes
When the name Miguel de Cervantes is mentioned, readers tend to think of the character Don Quijote-his idealism or madness. But beyond that, the book stages daring critiques of ethnicity, race, religion, gender, class, and human nature. Such Cervantine works as the 'Persiles' and the 'Novelas ejemplares', as well as his theater offer equally challenging responses to the hegemonic structures of the Spanish empire. By means of these texts and their historical and philosophical contexts, this course will examine Cervantes' questioning of many of the contested social and political structures in place during the turbulent times in which he lived.
Instructors: Marina S. Brownlee
History and Memory in Contemporary Spain (War, Dictatorship and Democracy)
This course will explore 20th century Spanish history from the 1936 Civil War to the present, paying special attention to Francisco Franco's regime and the 1970's transition to democracy. We will discuss the social, political and cultural implications of memory and history. Dialectics between dictatorship and democracy will be at the center of the discussion. Public remembrance, memorials, social movements, gender, citizenship and neoliberal crisis are among the topics to be addressed, by means of scholarship, documentary films, fiction, art, exhibitions and literature.
Instructors: Germán Labrador Méndez
Translation Workshop: Spanish to English
This course is an introduction to the practice of literary translation from Spanish to English and an exploration of the questions that the act of translation inspires. After a series of translation exercises, each student will select an author and work to be translated as the central project for the class, and will embark on the process of revising successive drafts. Close reading of the Spanish texts is required, as is a deep engagement with the translations of fellow students. Subjects of discussion will include style, context, the conventions of contemporary translation, and the retranslation of classics.
Instructors: Natasha Wimmer
Workshop on Contemporary Cuban Arts
Havana is famous for its thriving cultural scene. This course will offer an introduction to some of the most dynamic contemporary works in theater, film, dance, performance, visual arts, and literature. Students will attend performances and meet theater and film directors, artists and poets. Each student will conduct an independent research project working closely with one of these authors.
Instructors: Rubén Gallo
Havana: A Cultural History
This course will offer a cultural history of how Havana evolved from a sleepy colonial city in 1900 to rising as one of the cultural and architectural capitals of Latin America and the world by the 1950s. We will study the urban development of the early 20th century, the adoption of modernism and International Style in architecture, and the tensions between private enterprise and public projects.
Instructors: Rubén Gallo
Puerto Ricans Under U.S. Empire: Memory, Diaspora, and Resistance
This seminar examines the ethical and historical dimensions of the 2019 Summer Puerto Rican Protests. Developing within an ongoing financial catastrophe and the trauma of Hurricane María, most issues raised today are deeply rooted in the history of U.S. imperial domination since 1898. The course aims to rethink questions of second-class citizenship, colonial capitalism, militarization, ecocide and massive migrations, as well as gender, sexual and racial inequalities. Special focus on how musical, artistic, religious, political, and literary traditions shape memory and resistance in Puerto Rico and in its vast diasporic communities.
Instructors: Cesar Colon-Montijo, Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones
The Prado Museum: Ways of Reading
The Prado Museum is a central institution, not only for the Spanish art and culture, but the nation-building processes and cultural narratives operating in Spanish Modernity. Using different sources (paintings, literature, documentary films, audiovisual resources, essays), this course will offer a multi-perspective to one of the most important art institutions worldwide. Topics such as class wars, nature, gender, colonialism, historical memory and democracy in relation to art, exhibitions and audiences will offer an overview of Spanish cultural history from 1819 to the present day.
Instructors: Rafael SM Paniagua

Portuguese Undergraduate Courses

Introduction to Portuguese II
A continuation of POR 101. Students will continue to develop skills of oral/aural comprehension, speaking, reading and writing, while gaining further exposure to the Portuguese-speaking world through the media, literature, film and music of Brazil, Portugal and Lusophone Africa. Students who successfully complete POR 102 will place into POR 107.
Instructors: Luis Gonçalves
Introduction to Portuguese for Spanish Speakers
Normally open to students already proficient in Spanish, this course uses that knowledge as a basis for the accelerated learning of Portuguese. Emphasis on the concurrent development of understanding, speaking, reading, and writing skills. The two-semester sequence POR 106-109 is designed to provide in only one year of study a command of the language sufficient for travel and research in Brazil and Portugal.
Instructors: Luis Gonçalves, Andréa de Castro Melloni
Intermediate Portuguese for Spanish Speakers
Students will further develop their language skills, especially those of comprehension and oral proficiency, through grammar review, readings, film and other activities. The two-semester sequence POR 106-109 is designed to give in only one year of study a command of the Portuguese language sufficient for travel in Brazil, Portugal and beyond.
Instructors: Andréa de Castro Melloni
Intensive Portuguese
An intensive course designed for students who have fulfilled the language requirement in Spanish or another Romance language. Knowledge of one of these languages provides the basis for the accelerated learning of Portuguese. This one-semester 'crash' course teaches fundamental communication skills--comprehension, speaking, reading and writing--and some exposure to cultural aspects of the Portuguese-speaking world, but does not offer an in-depth study of grammar.
Instructors: Nicola Trowbridge Cooney
Journeys in Portuguese: Studies in Language and Culture
Designed as a journey through the Lusophone world this course seeks to present the Portuguese language in context by exploring historical, social, political and cultural aspects of Brasil, Portugal, and Lusophone Africa through the media, literature, film, music and other realia. Students will increase their fluency and accuracy in both written and spoken Portuguese, broadening their vocabulary and mastery of syntax through textual analysis, discussions, oral presentations and grammar review. An advanced language course and overview of the Lusophone world, POR 208 seeks to prepare students for further study of literature and culture.
Instructors: Nicola Trowbridge Cooney
Topics in Brazilian Cultural and Social History: Sound and Sense
How do emotion and movement appear in Brazilian music? While music is a form of translation and dialogue everywhere, the song in Brazil is an especially porous form, capable of daily reinvention of languages, traditions and habits, thus questioning history and politics. How are identity, sexuality, orality and writing worked out in musical genres such as samba, hip hop, rock? How is the African Diaspora cyphered in Brazilian music? How does that process differ from other diasporic communities? Is Brazilian music really Brazilian? These are some of the questions the seminar will address through listening and scholarly discussion.
Instructors: Arto Lindsay, Pedro Meira Monteiro