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 and business Spanish. The course aims to familiarize students with the vocabulary, grammatical structures, style and register of the language that is used in legal 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: Gorka Bilbao Terreros
Studies in Spanish Language and Style
SPA207 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. SPA207 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 sociolinguistic variation in the Spanish-speaking world, students will learn about social, political, and cultural aspects related to dialectal variation in Spanish and become acquainted with important linguistic features present in various dialects. Upon completion of the course, students become familiarized with particular features distinguishing one dialect from another, while gaining knowledge of the development of these differences. This course will greatly enrich a student's view of Spanish, either as a native/heritage speaker or Spanish learner, and allows for the development of analytical skills.
Instructors: Dunia Catalina Méndez Vallejo
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
Dreams and Nightmares in Hispanic Fiction and Film
From Artemidorus in antiquity to Freud and other thinkers in modern times, dreams and nightmares are a perennial human concern. This course will consider artistic, political, philosophical, medical and psycho-sexual representations of dreams and nightmares in short stories and plays by such authors as Cervantes, Zayas, Calderón, García Lorca, Borges, Cortázar, and Fuentes. Several films inspired by the works of these authors or that served to inspire their writing will also be examined.
Instructors: Marina S. Brownlee
Rap, Graffiti and Urban Cultures in the Hispanic Worlds
Graffiti and rap music have become main cultural phenomena in the last decades, revealing the desires, fears and demands of city dwellers in the Luso-Hispanic worlds, where hip-hop's global spirit blends with local cultural traditions. In NYC, Madrid, D.F., Rio and Buenos Aires, urban cultures have expressed the transformations of cities in a globalized world, and struggles on the part of their populations. Taking the Iberian case as an axis, this course analyzes the Hispanic global expansion of hip-hop cultures from the artistic, historical, social and political angles.
Instructors: Germán Labrador Méndez
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
Topics in Cinema and Culture: Work and Love, Play and Politics in Spanish Cinema
An exploration of some of the most distinctive themes in Spanish films of the last fifty years. Topics to be discussed, among others: political repression; the modernization of Spain since the 1960s; the perversions of love; the world as a stage; new sexualities; the redefinition of gender roles; uncanny worlds; memory and identity.
Instructors: Manuel-Angel G. Loureiro
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
The Body in Pieces
In 2012, the Reina Sofia Museum presented the exhibition "Losing the Human Form," featured works from the 1980s in Latin America that focused on the violence against bodies, and the radical responses of artists who based their work on liberty and transformation. This seminar takes the problems posited by the show as a point of departure for thinking about unmaking the body as a central function of modern and contemporary visual culture. Cognizant of the violence of 20th century Latin America, it places emphasis on the dictatorships of the Southern Cone, Colombia, Mexico, and cases in Brazil, Cuba, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.
Instructors: Javier Enrique Guerrero
5 Ways of Reading Don Quixote
Why has DQ been construed in such disparate ways as: a book about good and bad reading, a funny book that mocks the medieval world view, a book about the impact of the printing press, a satire of the New World conquistadors, a study of deviant social behavior, the nature of madness, or a meditation on human sexuality and aging? In answering these questions we will consider the cultural models Cervantes rethinks: from chivalric adventure to the criminality of the picaresque, the humanist dialogue, the politics of empire, and the Inquisition. DQ offers an anatomy of such cultural icons as well as a programmatic interrogation of their effects.
Instructors: Marina S. Brownlee
Roberto Bolaño: Adventures in Cultureland
Forty years after the emergence of Gabriel García Márquez, the narrative works of the Chilean Roberto Bolaño have once again put Latin American literature at the center of the world's cultural mainstream. Quiet poet, public storyteller, and heir of Borges' most intricate speculations and the beatniks' nomadism, Bolaño broke with the recipes of magical realism and opened a fresh literary horizon by combining anti-intellecutal vitalism and erudite conceptualism. This course explores the artistic strategies of an author who made Jim Morrison dialogue with James Joyce, and went from being an anonymous eccentric to a New York Times bestseller.
Instructors: Susana Draper
Critical Theory in Latin America and Beyond
This course introduces students to a number of traditions in critical theory from Latin America and beyond. How does ideology work? How do we understand art's relation to history and politics? How can political philosophy help us understand ongoing global conflicts and movements? Readings include selections from the Black Radical tradition, Marxism, Feminism, Subaltern Studies, Aesthetics. Authors include C.L.R. James, Theodore Adorno, Nelly Richard, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Roberto Schwarz, Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, as well as select examples from literature and film.
Instructors: Rachel Lee Price
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
A Literary History of Early Modern Spain
This course will explore a wide range literary productions that concern the Spanish government's efforts to discursively forge a unified political body out of culturally disparate and distant territories and peoples during the early modern period. We will pay particular attention to the representation of individuals who were considered to be inferior members of the body politic or not to belong to it due to their gender, ethnicity, or low birth, and will examine their strategies for resisting or coping with marginalization.
Instructors: Christina H. Lee

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 109.
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 108-109 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 108-109 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: Nicola Trowbridge Cooney
Introduction to the Literature and Culture of the Portuguese-Speaking World
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. Historical and contemporary issues in several geographic areas will be approached comparatively.
Instructors: Nicola Trowbridge Cooney
Brazilian History: Slavery, Race and Citizenship in Modern Brazil
This course will introduce students to the history of slavery and race relations in modern Brazil and will explore how it resonates in present-day debates about citizenship. Students will read classical and recent historical works as well as primary sources in order to gain a critical and comparative understanding of slavery as an institution in the Americas, and its adaptability to local realities. Students will be introduced to methods of historical research, with a particular focus on digital history. Students will write papers tackling how the history of slavery has distinctively shaped ideas of democracy, human rights and social justice.
Instructors: Miqueias Henrique Mugge