Undergraduate Courses

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

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.
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: Dunia Méndez Vallejo
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.
Medical Spanish
An advanced Spanish-language course that focuses on medical and health topics in the Hispanic/Latino world. Students will learn and practice specific vocabulary and structures useful for conducting a medical interview in Spanish. Aspects of Latin American and Hispanic/Latino cultures 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: Paloma Moscardó-Vallés
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: Anais Holgado-Lage
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: Amina Shabani
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 Méndez Vallejo
A Spanish Writing Workshop
How do we represent meaning to ourselves and to others in contexts of difference? What social and historical conceptions of language are operational in our scriptural practices and cultures of scholarship? Because texts are embedded in, and shaped by, communities with shared histories and social practices, by experiencing different ways of reading and writing, we can explore not only new words, but new worlds. This course offers substantial practice to help students write creatively and credibly in Spanish, using the writing process recursively to present their ideas in an articulate, sophisticated manner.
Instructors: Mariana Bono
Culture and Feminist Struggle in Latin America and Spain
Since 2018 the feminist movement has massively and transnationally re-emerged. Particularly in the Spanish-speaking world, the enormous momentum of its struggle has generated profound political, social, and cultural transformations. In this course we will study the so-called 4th Feminist Wave from a varied number of media (literature, film, social media, archives, etc.) created by artists, intellectuals, and activists from the Spanish-speaking world. The aim of the course is to promote a rigorous knowledge of the recent history of feminism in The Americas and Europe and to encourage reflection on the relevance of its claims and achievements
Instructors: Natalia Castro Picón, Lucia Filipova
Introduction to Latin American Cultures
An introduction to Latin American cultures and artistic and literary traditions through a wide spectrum of materials and short texts. We will discuss relevant issues in Latin American cultural, political, and social, including the legacy of colonialism and indigenous resistance, the African diaspora, national fictions, popular & mass culture, gender & racial politics. Materials: essays by Ángel Rama, short stories by Julio Cortazar & Samanta Schweblin, poems by Afro-Cuban poet Nicola's Guille'n & period Cuban son music; paintings by Mexican muralists, films by Patricio Guzmán & Jayro Bustamante, writings by indigenous activist Ailton Krenak.
Instructors: Rachel Price
Of Shipwrecks 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 Legnani
Spanish in the Community
This course examines the paradoxical position of Spanish in the United States. The course aims to place the issues and controversies related to linguistic subordination and the maintenance of Spanish and in the broader context of Latino communities and their social and historical position in the United States. In addition, it tries to equip students with critical resources to address topics such as the relationship between language and identity, political debates around Spanish and English, and bilingualism and the processes of racialization of linguistic minorities.
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: Dunia Méndez Vallejo
Race, Space, and Place in Medieval Iberia
The ways in which individuals and societies define space and place is very revealing. The investigation of space and place-how cultures turn material, racial, and/or metaphysical settings into human landscapes defining home, neighborhood, and nation-is a deeply important optic that dramatizes social, racial, political, and religious factors. At the same time, it can be used to track the changes of these realities over time. Because of its unique mix of Jews, Christians, and Moors, medieval Iberia offers near laboratory conditions for the study of space and place in their racial, ethnic, literary, religious, and political identities.
Instructors: Marina Brownlee
Micro-violence in Contemporary Spanish Novel
Why write or read novels in the age of hyper-information and immediacy? What can the novel tell us about the present and its conflicts? In this course, we will reflect on different forms of present-day violence through the quiet and careful reading of 5 novels by young Spanish writers. The course will facilitate interaction and collaboration with students at Northwestern University, and during April students from both universities will participate in a virtual encounter with some of the authors, as well as in an online workshop.
Instructors: Natalia Castro Picón
Topics in Latin American Modernity: The Culture of the Mexican Revolution
An introduction to the history of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) and its repercussion in literature, art, architecture and music. In addition to discussing the major Revolutionaries, including Madero, Zapata, Villa, we will study figures who sough to create a cultural revolution in the arts: Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti, Diego Rivera, Mariano Azuela, among others.
Instructors: Rubén Gallo
Topics in Latin American Cultural Studies: Latin American Imaginaries of Extraction: Rubber, Bananas, and Other
Global capitalism has often imagined Latin America as a collection of "raw" commodities ready to be extracted. In this class, we explore this way of conceiving the region through its cultural production. Throughout the semester, we will engage with various "exemplary" commodities, including bananas, rubber, and sugar. We will look at their representations in literature, art, movies, and economic texts, but also at how commodities themselves -as material objects with a history- have shaped aesthetical forms. This approach will serve as an entry point for understanding inequality, neocolonialism, patriarchy, and climate change in the region
Instructors: Nicolas Sanchez-Rodriguez
Translation Workshop: Spanish to English
This course is an introduction to the practice of literary translation from Spanish to English, with a focus on fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. 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 re translation of classics.
Instructors: Natasha Wimmer
Music and Migration in the Caribbean
This seminar relates Caribbean music to historical and contemporary migratory issues. It examines questions of listening, memory, joy, diaspora, and the Anthropocene through genres like: son, bolero, calypso, salsa, reggae, merengue, bomba, and reggaeton. Attention to gender, sexual and racial inequities in portrayals of migrant cultures as symbolic of multiculturalism, while migrants are stigmatized as risks to security. Seminar speaks to current global context of displacement with focus on climate change's impact on the Caribbean. We study music, sound, performance, literary, ethnographic and historical texts, visual arts, and journalism.
Instructors: César Colón-Montijo

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
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 and research in Portuguese-speaking countries.
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
Sounds and Stories: Voices in Portuguese
Short stories and music will serve as vehicles for a deeper understanding of the major political and social shifts that have affected the landscape of the Contemporary Portuguese-speaking world. We will hear an array of voices and delve into a diversity of narratives as we explore the interconnected historical, social, political, and cultural aspects of Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and Timor-Leste.
Instructors: Nicola Cooney
Environmental Literature: Thinking Through Plants
Do plants think? Do forests have a language? Are our bodies separate from the environment? Are we substantially different from what we once called "nature"? Such questions have been emerging in philosophy and literature, bringing to light new forms of knowledge that are both integrative and holistic. This seminar will discuss the visual arts, literature and musical experiments produced by thinkers (Indigenous or otherwise) who can help us imagine a planet where, differently from our current world, we may still be able to survive.
Instructors: Pedro Meira Monteiro