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 I
SPA 101 presents the basic structures and vocabulary of the Spanish language at elementary/low intermediate levels of proficiency. Content and language are fully integrated to develop oral and written comprehension and production.
Instructors: Nicholas James Figueroa, Manuel Malia, Adriana Graciela Merino, Daniela Claudia Salcedo Arnaiz
Intensive Beginner's and Intermediate Spanish
SPA 103 is an intensive course that covers the most relevant structures and vocabulary from SPA 101 and SPA 102 in one term. Designed for students who have previously studied Spanish at elementary levels. Language is presented in a cultural context in order to develop the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Instructors: Iria Gonzalez-Becerra, Manuel Malia, Raquel Mattson-Prieto, Eliot Raynor, Jovana Zujevic
Intermediate Spanish
An intermediate language course that focuses on oral and written communication and the consolidation of listening and reading skills. In this course students will enhance their linguistic skills through the analysis and discussion of various types of texts (literature, film, visual culture, music, interviews, etc.) that focus on global and cross-cultural aspects of Spain and Latin America. In particular, the course will familiarize students with the concept of neocolonialism as a way to bridge language learning with the context in which cultural values and meanings are produced. SPA 105 prepares students for SPA 108.
Instructors: Anna Alsina Naudi, Luis Gonçalves, Dunia Catalina Méndez Vallejo, Daniela Claudia Salcedo Arnaiz
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: Jeannie Byrne, Iris Irasema Hauser, Anais Holgado-Lage, Perla Masi
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, Mariana Bono, Jeannie Byrne
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 telecollaboration project with students from a Colombian medical school.
Instructors: Anais Holgado-Lage, Eliot Raynor
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: Iria Gonzalez-Becerra
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: Jovana Zujevic
Of Love and Other Demons
Love is the subject of the world's greatest stories. The passions aroused by Helen of Troy brought down a city and made Homer's masterpiece possible, while the foolishness of those in love inspired Shakespeare and Cervantes to create their most memorable characters. Many powerful Latin American and Spanish stories deal with the force and effects of love. In this course, we will study a group of films and literary fictions that focus on different kinds and forms of love. We will pay special attention to the forms of narrative love (quest, courting, adultery, heartbreaking), as well as the translation of love into language, body, and image.
Instructors: Javier Enrique Guerrero
Languages of the Americas
This course explores the vast linguistic diversity of the Americas: native languages, pidgins, creoles, mixed languages, and other languages in North, Central, and South America, including the Caribbean. We will examine historical and current issues of multilingualism to understand the relationship between language, identity, and social mobility. We will discuss how languages played a central role in colonization and nation-building processes, and how language policies contribute to linguistic loss and revitalization. This course has no prerequisites and is intended for students interested in learning more about languages in the Americas.
Instructors: Dunia Catalina Méndez Vallejo, Eliot Raynor
Wildness, Whiteness, and Manliness in Colonial Latin America
What did it mean to be "wild," "manly" or "white" in Early Modernity, and how do these categories function today? This course explores films made in the last fifty years, featuring "descents into savagery" and the colonial texts that inspired them. Among other topics, we'll discuss: coloniality and its effects; primitivism and progress; media and mediation; race and gender; healing practices; intercultural dialogues; and community-based performances.
Instructors: Nicole D. Legnani
Identity in the Hispanic World
How are ideas of belonging to the body politic defined in Spain, Latin America, and in Spanish-speaking communities in the United States? Who is "Latin American," "Latinx," "Chino," "Moor," "Guatemalan," "Indian," etc.? Who constructs these terms and why? Who do they include/exclude? Why do we need these identity markers in the first place? Our course will engage these questions by surveying and analyzing literary, historical, and visual productions from the time of the foundation of the Spanish empire to the present time in the Spanish speaking world.
Instructors: Christina H. Lee
Narrating Pandemics Now
After the COVID crisis, illness, contagion and healing became central figures of a new global reality. This course will provide a collective space for conversation and analysis in Spanish to help navigate the anxieties that the new virus brought to our lives and societies. We will discuss sickness, infection, immunity and epidemics from a historical, political and cultural perspective using media, literary texts and films.
Instructors: Germán Labrador Méndez
Culture in Modern Spain: State, Bodies, and (Glotto) Politics
This is an introductory course to modern culture in Spain that will address its main topics through texts produced by relevant authors, belonging to different artistic trends, from 1700 to 2020. It will devote special attention to subjects such as the configuration of Nation-State ideologies; the politics of language and public, cultural and literary discourse, which deeply determines social life at many levels; and the political, cultural and countercultural role of bodies (both individual and collective) by their actions in the social and public spaces, from a gender studies and feminist perspective.
Instructors: Natalia Castro Picón
Spanish in the Community
This course explores the complexities of Spanish language and Latinx identity 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 processes of racialization of language and linguistic minorities. The course also aims at situating the tensions and hopes around the maintenance of Spanish in immigrant communities in the broader context of struggles for social justice.
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, Alberto Bruzos Moro
Junior Seminar: Spanish and Portuguese-Speaking Worlds
This seminar has been designed to assist SPO concentrators in the production of their fall JP. With such end, the seminar will be conducted as a writing workshop. The emphasis of the first part of the seminar will be on introducing students to the approaches, critical concepts and tools utilized in cultural studies in the Luso-Hispanic and Latinx world. In the second part of the seminar, students will be expected to write and share their JP-in-progress, as well as comment on their peers' ongoing work. By the end of the semester, students should have completed about eighty percent of their independent work.
Instructors: Christina H. Lee, Marilia Librandi
Topics in Latin American Modernity: The Culture of the Cuban Revolution
After Fidel Castro marched into Havana in January 1959, a cultural revolution followed the political one: literature, the arts, architecture, film, and dance sought to break with the past and proposed new, utopian ways of artmaking. This seminar will offer an overview of some of the most important cultural productions of this era, including films, novels, political essays, and architectural works, which ended by the early 1970s with the rise of censorship.
Instructors: Rubén Gallo
Topics in Latin American Literature and Ideology: Art, Memory, and Human Rights in Latin America
This course studies artistic and cultural practices that created different aesthetics and politics of memory that have become essential in order to respond, denounce, and creatively resist to different forms of violence and human rights violations. Looking at literature, visual arts, memory museums, and film, the course will pay special attention to different articulations among visual, discursive, and territorial regimes of signification, from the 1950s to the present. Some classes will be held at the Art Museum in order to work with materials from the Latin American collection.
Instructors: Susana Draper
The Skins of the Film: Latin America and the Politics of Touching
Film is comprised of multiple surfaces: the screen, the actors, the structure of the darkroom, the mobile devices of the audiovisual present, the bodies that vibrate around us, the actual strip of plastic that records the images... Critics have already broadly debated how film touches us politically and emotionally. This seminar formulates a different question: how do we touch film? In Latin America, the interaction between filmic skins is founded on the relationship between art and politics. We will consider how filmmakers debate the politics of the surface and how spectatorship poses a deeply political problem for the region.
Instructors: Javier Enrique Guerrero
Recent Experiments in Spanish Literature
The beginning of the millennium has brought new and refreshing approaches to fiction and non-fiction writing. We will examine recent novels in various genres: historical novel, testimonial poetry, auto-fiction, political narrative, chronicles, essays and also hybrids like storytelling podcasts and artist's books. In addition to reading and reflecting on these works, we will talk (in person or by Skype) with all the authors.
Instructors: Andres Barba
How to Write a Novel: Fiction Workshop
This class will use Andrés Barba's novel, A Luminous Republic (2019) as a case study to examine how one writes a novel. We will examine the writing process, the editorial review and the final publishing of the book. We will analyze, step by step, the entire journey: the research process, the first drafts, the possible endings, the editing and publication of the final work, the agent's mission, the approach to criticism, the dilemmas of translation into other languages and formats. A 360 degree approach that combines aspects of writing workshop, thinking workshop, translation and literary criticism
Instructors: Andres Barba
The Fiction of Mario Vargas Llosa
Mario Vargas Llosa, who received the Nobel prize in 2010, is the most important living writer in Latin America. His novels offer a unique perspective on 20th century Latin American history and politics, and deal with issues that include: dictatorship, Marxism, the conflicts between rich and poor, the left and the right, and gender stereotypes and dynamics. This seminar will offer an overview of his political fiction.
Instructors: Rubén Gallo
On the Imagination in Pandemic Times in Contemporary Iberian Cultures
As on the entire planet, the tragic coronavirus pandemic has profoundly affected social relations, the interpretations of the present, and the imagination of the future in Spain. In this course we will explore narratives around the COVID-19 as part of a cultural trend of using dystopian and apocalyptic imagery to represent contemporary reality and possible futures. Through the analysis of texts of different genres (literature, cinema, television, etc.) published between the beginning of the 21st century and 2020, we will discuss the role of culture in the current state of emergency as well as in other moments of crisis.
Instructors: Natalia Castro Picón
Poetry Matters: Latin American Poets and the Power of Language
Latin America is a land of poets who believe in the power of language and the craft of verse. If, according to Vicente Huidobro, the poet is a little god who can create new worlds with words, revolutionary poet Roque Dalton believed that poetry could change history. "La poesía es como el pan; debe ser compartido por todos," said Neruda. This course offers a brief history of modern Spanish American poetry from modernismo to slam poetry through a stellar row of Latin American poets and Nobel awardees, including César Vallejo, Gabriela Mistral, Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz, Alejandra Pizarnik, Jorge Luis Borges, Roque Dalton, and Cecilia Vicuña.
Instructors: Gabriela Nouzeilles
Contemporary Spain: An Advanced Introduction
This course is designed to serve as an advanced introduction to the study of contemporary Spain. It will provide students with methodological, analytic and bibliographical tools to conduct academic research in topics related to post-1898 Spain, such as colonialism, dictatorship, memory, violence, war, diaspora and exile, democracy, social struggles and cultural movements.
Instructors: Germán Labrador Méndez

Portuguese Undergraduate Courses

Introduction to Portuguese I
Students will be taught the fundamental skills of oral comprehension, speaking, reading and writing, while gaining exposure to the Portuguese-speaking world through the media, literature, film and the music of Brazil, Portugal and Lusophone Africa.
Instructors: Daiane Tamanaha De Quadros
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
Intermediate Portuguese
Students will continue to develop their speaking, reading and writing skills while being exposed to realia related to the Lusophone world, such as daily news, reports, short stories, chronicles, videos, films, critical reviews, etc. Through different communicative genres, students will learn not only the language but also the culture, art and lifestyle of a range of Portuguese-speaking societies.
Instructors: Daiane Tamanaha De Quadros
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: Andréa de Castro Melloni
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: Luis Gonçalves
Topics in Brazilian Cultural and Social History: Performing Brazilian Culture
In this course, students will engage with Brazilian culture through the concept of performance, underlining race and gender issues. How do dance, music, poetry, image, theater, film, fiction, humor, and sports represent Brazilian people and cultures? How do those practices develop between transnational zones of systemic racism and gender injustice in relation to Afro-Brazilian, Indigenous people, immigrants, and other groups? We invite students to collaborate in the creation of short performances and conversations with artists and scholars from Brazil and the U.S.
Instructors: Marilia Librandi