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 I
SPA 101 covers the basic structures and vocabulary of the Spanish language at elementary/low intermediate levels of proficiency. Students will develop their linguistic and communicative competence in oral and written Spanish through the exploration of grammar, texts, and audio-visual materials. The course integrates language and cultural content in order to develop strategic and cross-cultural competence
Instructors: Gabriela Diaz-Davalos, Luis Gonçalves, Adriana Merino, Paloma Moscardó-Vallés, Daniela Salcedo Arnaiz, Amina Shabani
Intensive Beginner's and Intermediate Spanish
SPA 103 is an accelerated, intensive course that covers in one term the most relevant structures and vocabulary from SPA 101 and SPA 102. The course is designed for students who have previously studied Spanish at elementary levels. Language is embedded in the discussion of cultural and social issues of contemporary concern to develop speaking, listening, writing, and reading skills.
Instructors: Raquel Mattson-Prieto, Eliot Raynor, Cesar Romero Fernandez
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: Gorka Bilbao Terreros, Nadia Cervantes Pérez, Anais Holgado-Lage, Daniela 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: Anna Alsina Naudi, Catalina Arango Correa, Iris Hauser, 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, Nadia Cervantes Pérez, Gabriela Diaz-Davalos
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 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: Alberto Bruzos Moro, Amina Shabani
Sweetness and Power
Anthropologist Sidney Mintz famously explored connections between sugar, capitalism, and modern global history. This course borrows his approach to explore the ways that sugar - with reference to other commodities such as coffee and petroleum - have shaped societies in the Caribbean and Latin America (and, less obviously, Europe, Africa, and Asia). Through short stories, poems, archival documents, essays, novels, films, and art about sugar and its worlds, students will study histories of enslavement and marronage, environmental history, Cold War tensions, modernization, and major literary, filmic and artistic movements.
Instructors: Rachel Price
Contemporary Issues in Spain
An exploration of the major features of contemporary Spain from 1939 to the present with particular attention to developing an understanding the concepts of cultural identity and difference within the changing global context. The course will address the recent processes that have left a mark on the history of Spain: the fall of Francoism, the particular and controversial transition to democracy, the financial crisis of 2008, the Indignados social movement, the nationalist trends in Basque Country and Catalonia, and the latest feminist wave, among others. Discussions and frequent writing assignments.
Instructors: Natalia Castro Picón
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 Méndez Vallejo
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
Pájaros en la boca: Latin American Women Writers and Artists' New Languages
From Argentina to Mexico, Chile to Ecuador, women writers and artists from across Latin America are enjoying growing acclaim after years of marginalization. Their path-breaking work has brought to the fore new themes and perspectives, embracing both experimental and documentary poetics. Through a series of short texts, films, theater, and visual artifacts, this course offers an introduction to Latin American women's remarkable literary and artistic contributions in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Instructors: Gabriela Nouzeilles
Identity in the Spanish-Speaking 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: Mariana Bono
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 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
Ways of Reading and Writing in Spanish
SPA 307 is an advanced language course offering students enhanced opportunities to develop autonomy and proficiency as Spanish readers and writers, by actively engaging with a variety of textual genres. Students learn to recognize the relationship between the form of a text and the intentions of its producer, identify literal and implicit meanings, and understand them within the culture in which they are produced. By the end of the semester, students can bring together form and function to read and write sophisticated pieces and present their ideas orally in an articulate, eloquent fashion.
Instructors: Mariana Bono, Dunia Méndez Vallejo
Bodies of Evidence--Premodern Iberia and the New World
Bodies of evidence, bodies of knowledge, the body politic, bodies-inviolate to mutilated, saintly to criminal-are figured in Medieval and Early Modern literature and objects in ways that reveal not only cultural paradigms, myths, and obsessions, but also some widely divergent realities. Notions of the body and its cultural inscription involve the history of marginal social groups, the history of the senses, of sexuality and gender. The relations between bodily and cognitive systems will form the basis for our analyses and discussions of such texts and authors.
Instructors: Marina Brownlee
Literature and Politics in Latin America
The course will explore the relationship between literature and politics since the 19th century, starting from the processes of independence led by intellectuals who based their ideas on the French illustration to the U.S. Constitution of 1776. Those ideas defined the new Latin American nations. However, dictatorships dominated above the laws. This contradiction gives oppression and misery a decisive weight in literary creation and the figure of the dictator emerges as the dominant character in the 20th century novels. The seminar will be taught by internationally acclaimed writer Sergio Ramírez, former vice president of Nicaragua.
Instructors: Sergio Ramirez
Caribbean Currents
The Caribbean has been at the center of modernity and globalization since the 15th century, when European, African, and Asian migrants joined indigenous inhabitants in a violent crucible that produced new cultures, landscapes, rhythms, and political imaginations. This course begins with classic reflections on the Caribbean before centering on recent literature and art from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Recent works address issues such as debt, migration, climate change, gender, music, and the afterlives of slavery in the region.
Instructors: Rachel Price
Narco Aesthetics in Colombia and Mexico
This course explores the cultural productions surrounding narcos and cocaine in Colombia and Mexico, two countries whose imaginaries have become globally associated with drug trafficking. Beginning with the transformation of the coca leave into an illegal global commodity, passing through the emergence of the figure of the "sicario" in the 1980s, all the way to Netflix's 'Narcos' vision of the War on Drugs and cryptococaine, the course will engage critically with so-called narco-aesthetics in chronicles, movies, television series, short stories, podcasts, and art
Instructors: Nicolas Sanchez-Rodriguez
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: Natalia Castro Picón, Pedro Meira Monteiro
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 Legnani
Topics in Latin American Modernity: Workshop in Cultural Journalism
In this seminar we will work with five journalists from Spain and Latin America who write about culture for newspapers and magazines. Students will develop their own texts about contemporary culture-interviews with novelists, artists, dancers, etc., as well as reviews of plays, films, and other cultural performances in the tri-state area. Student texts will be workshopped in class, with input from invited journalists. Invited journalists include Carlos Manuel Álvarez (Cuba), Yoani Sánchez (Cuba), Juan Cruz (Spain), among others.
Instructors: Rubén Gallo
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
Found in Translation: The Theory and Practice of Spanish - English Translation
This workshop will explore the theory and practice of translation, focusing on Spanish to English and, on a case-by-case basis, English to Spanish translation. Students will explore the main theoretical approaches to translation, the most common linguistic and cultural issues of Spanish and English translation; translation as a cultural intervention; and some of the nuts and bolts of translation as a profession. Students will also learn how to translate different types of texts (promotional materials, literary texts, expository and technical texts).
Instructors: Catalina Arango Correa

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: 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: 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 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: Nicola Cooney
Portuguese in the City
Luanda, Lisbon, Rio, São Paulo...Through readings of selected texts and audiovisual materials, this course will visit the diverse cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world through the lens of culture produced in, by and about major cities. We will compare and contrast both "official" and "unofficial" narratives of these spaces and investigate how cultural productions from and about the periphery contest hegemonic representations of urban spaces and culture(s).
Instructors: Nicola Cooney
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: Natalia Castro Picón, Pedro Meira Monteiro
Liberation & Culture in Portuguese-Speaking Africa
This course examines the history, cultural production, and revolutionary thought of Portuguese-speaking Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, and São Tomé and Príncipe, during the liberation process broadly conceived, from the first expressions of nationalism in the late 1800s to the post-colonial challenges of today. By examining mainly literature and social thought, but also music, cinema, the press, diaries, letters, and pieces of legislation, among other objects, we will explore the imaginations of class, race, gender of revolutionary movements and moments of Portuguese-speaking Africa.