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
The second course in the elementary Spanish sequence for students with little or no previous knowledge of the language. With its emphasis on the four basic skills (speaking, writing, reading, and listening), SPA 102 continues to provide students with the linguistic, communicative and cultural foundations to engage in basic daily life interactions in Spanish. Hispanic cultures are introduced through a variety of texts, including readings, music, art, video clips, and film. All of these sources provide the basis for classroom activities.
Instructors: Adriana Graciela Merino
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: Anais Holgado-Lage
Advanced Spanish
SPA 108 develops fluency and accuracy in speaking and writing by focusing on functional language in context. It aims to strengthen and consolidate comprehension and production of oral and written Spanish with an emphasis on cultural awareness and cross-cultural communication. Through a series of current and thought-provoking texts, images, films, paintings, and related activities, this course enhances linguistic proficiency and language performance while reflecting on important aspects of the history, art, society, language and cultural identity of two of the largest Spanish-speaking urban communities: Mexico City and Los Angeles.
Instructors: Monserrat Bores Martinez
Spanish for a Medical Mission 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 6 weeks of the semester, students will learn about those topics and will get ready for a medical mission that will take place during Spring Break. The last 6 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
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: Gorka Bilbao Terreros
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
Languages of Art in Contemporary Spain
An introduction to 20th century Spanish modern art, this course will study modern artistic languages such as literature, painting, sculpture, film, photography, theatre, music and dance in their historical contexts. It will examine relations between artistic styles and contemporary Iberian history. The course's main objective is to provide students with a set of strong aesthetic, analytical, and linguistic skills, which will provide a great asset in studying 300-level literature and culture courses.
Instructors: Rafael SM Paniagua
Animal and Human: Writing in Spain and Latin America
From animal and human interactions, to social hierarchies, fantasies, controversies over zoos, natural habitats, and slaughterhouses, this course will give us a platform to discuss some of the most timely topics of our day. We will consider some theoretical perspectives on animal-human relationships as we read and discuss works by such authors as Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Quiroga, Monterroso, Rulfo, Borges, Cervantes, Lorca, Delibes, Clarín, Hidalgo and Atxaga.
Instructors: Marina S. Brownlee
Of Shipwreck and Other Disasters
Flotsam. Jetsam. Hunger. Nudity. Lone survivors washed ashore. What can tales of shipwreck tell us about the cultures, societies and technologies that produce them? We read narratives and watch films of disaster and survival from the sixteenth century to the present, with an eye to how these texts can challenge or reinforce the myths that empires and nation-states tell about themselves and others.
Instructors: Nicole D. Legnani
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
Rapping in Spanish: Urban Poetry in Latino Global Cities
This course studies contemporary urban poetry composed in Spanish on both sides of the Atlantic in cities such as New York, Madrid, Los Angeles, Mexico D.F., Barcelona and Buenos Aires. It focuses on lyrical practices that combine sound and language in a wide range of literary expressions. Contemporary hip-hop poetry and rap lyrics are at the center of the course.
Instructors: Germán Labrador Méndez
Transnational Feminisms
Transnational feminist approaches to globalization, race, sexuality, diaspora and nationalisms from Latinx, Black, and Asian American perspectives. Through different methodologies and interdisciplinary approaches to feminism, we will explore issues of women's and LGBTQIA rights, gender equality, globalization, capitalism, and contemporary debates around race and sexuality.
Instructors: Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús
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
Dark Matters
This seminar explores darkening technologies in contemporary Latin America as the main tools of a new poetics that strongly challenges vision and its alleged ability to "clearly" generate knowledge. We will explore a variety of artifacts that discard the eyes in favor of experiences of blindness, obscured vision, and tactile sensation that interrogate the visual imperative. I propose that opacity, darkness, and blindness are poetic mechanisms that can stand up to the authoritarian regime of vision and question the insidious ways in which light suffuses peripheral knowledge, politics, and bodies.
Instructors: Javier Enrique Guerrero
Cervantes' Don Quijote and Beyond
How do 17th-century readers think of printed books and libraries? And how do 21st-century readers spin the text in the digital age? This course considers the Quixotic confrontation of materiality and abstract ideas, of objects and digital surrogates. By means of close readings, digital resources, rare books and objects from the museum, we will explore this iconic text to better understand both cultural moments. The visual, tactile and interactive experiences will help us appreciate the reading experience both then and now.
Instructors: Marina S. Brownlee
Aesthetics of Childhood in Modern Spain
This course will reflect on 'childhood' as a cultural topic that involves aesthetics, politics, and philosophy in Spain and Western culture. From the Enlightenment to the present day, different definitions of infancy will be explored using art, literature and theory. Some of the themes covered will be relationships between early life and capitalism, children and minorities, art and toys, games and power, kids and revolutions, schools and prisons.
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: Daiane Tamanaha De Quadros
Introductory 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 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: Luis Gonçalves
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: Daiane Tamanaha De Quadros
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
Lyrical Traditions in Portuguese
A voyage through the lyrical traditions of Portugal, Brazil, and Portuguese-speaking Africa, this course seeks to trace the evolution of the poetic form and illuminate dynamic and enduring intertextualities. Through close-readings of major works of poetry we will explore the ongoing dialogue between poets and artists of the spoken word across time and space, providing the foundation for a deeper understanding of the diverse Portuguese-language literary and cultural landscape.
Instructors: Nicola Trowbridge Cooney
Topics in Brazilian Cultural and Social History: Listening to Brazil
This course offers an audio-visual immersion into the musical culture and soundscapes of Brazil. How do political activism and a philosophy of life converge in the social arena as a musical form of communication? From contemporary Amerindian songs to the Afro rhythms and spirituals of Capoeira and Candomblé; from the rituals of Congada in Minas Gerais to Repente and Carnival; from Samba to Bossa Nova to Tropicalia to Hip-Hop and their relation to literature and film. Students will study lyrics, watch films, and read critical analysis on music. Each student will build a repertoire of songs and texts to create a final sonic production.
Instructors: Marilia Librandi
Writing By Ear: Aurality and Literature
This course focuses on the relationship between listening and literature in Luso-Afro-Brazilian cultures. It presents the concepts of "Writing by Ear," the "Aural Novel" and "Echopoetics." What is an author ear-oriented? How to practice a "close listening"? How does listening relate humans to non-humans? Texts by Machado de Assis, Lima Barreto, Clarice Lispector Guimarães Rosa, Paulo Leminski, Augusto e Haroldo de Campos, Salloma Salomão, Ricardo Aleixo, Marcelino Freire, Isabela Figueiredo, Veronica Stigger, will be read in relation to the concept of aurality and the crescent field of listening studies.
Instructors: Marilia Librandi