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 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: Gorka Bilbao Terreros, Nicholas Figueroa, Luis Gonçalves, Iris Hauser, Adriana Merino, Paloma Moscardó-Vallés, Daniela 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: Nicholas Figueroa, Eliot Raynor, Cesar Romero Fernandez, Amina Shabani
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: Nadia Cervantes Pérez, Gabriela Diaz-Davalos, Luis Gonçalves, Perla Masi, Raquel Mattson-Prieto
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: Oriele Benavides Salazar, Gabriela Diaz-Davalos, Iris Hauser, Raquel Mattson-Prieto, Adriana Merino, 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.
Instructors: Gorka Bilbao Terreros, Luis Gonçalves, Sean McFadden, Cesar Romero Fernandez, Daniela Salcedo Arnaiz
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, Perla Masi
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: Nadia Cervantes Pérez, Amina Shabani
El Género Negro: Crime Fiction
This course is an introduction to crime fiction from early 20th-century "locked room" mysteries to 21st-century narco-narratives. It examines short stories, novels, films and essays about detective and crime fiction in Latin America (some examples from Spain). Topics include the genre's position vis-a-vis "high" and "low" literature, connections to film, relation to contexts such as immigration, state crime, drug culture and globalization. Authors include Roberto Arlt, María Elvira Bermúdez, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Roberto Bolaño, Jorge Luis Borges, Alicia Giménez Bartlett, Leonardo Padura Fuentes, Ricardo Piglia, and Fernando Vallejo.
Instructors: Rachel Price
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
Borges for Beginners
This seminar grapples with the question of authorship and meaning in the literature of Jorge Luis Borges, the legendary Argentine writer whose convoluted fictions continue puzzling readers. Borges is a foundational figure. Gabriel García Márquez and Paul Auster, and philosophers such as Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, are all indebted to Borges. Using different perspectives, from philosophy and aesthetics to politics and cultural analysis, we will study Borges's thematic and formal obsessions: time and memory; labyrinths; reading as a form of writing; and the universality of Argentine local traditions such as tango and gaucho culture.
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: Christina Lee
Spanish Literature and Culture: Modern Spain 1700 to Present
Is culture a representation of the world or a place to be inhabited? Is literature an ideological plot of the Nation-State or a collective space of experience and experimentation? Regarding Modernity, what has art been for? This course will address these questions by delving into Spanish Modernity, from 1700 to the present. We will explore key literary works and authors' performative interventions in public spaces in relation to main cultural, political, and social currents.
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 Lee, Pedro Meira Monteiro
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
Topics in Latin American Cultural Studies: Money and Matter in Spanish America
How has money shaped the material world that surrounds us? How have objects in turn influenced our financial thinking? In this course, students will learn to use humanistic tools to reflect on these questions through an examination of the cultural production of Spanish America. Engaging with works that span from the Baroque period all the way to the present-day neoliberal era, this class invites us to think creatively about the complex relationship between money and materiality that is at the core of capitalist development.
Instructors: Nicolas Sanchez-Rodriguez
Critical Theory in Latin America and Beyond
This course introduces students to a variety of approaches to the study of art and culture, with a focus on those produced in and about Latin America. Was the Haitian Revolution victorious thanks to strong military leaders or shrewd masses? Are films a fun escape or a means to rethink the world? How do people with little internet access make creative use of new media? How do we understand art's relation to history and politics? Readings include selections from the Black Radical tradition, Marxism, Feminism, Subaltern Studies, Aesthetics, as well as select examples from literature and film. Nor prior knowledge of theory expected.
Instructors: Rachel Price
The 'Other' in Cervantes
When the name Miguel de Cervantes is mentioned, readers tend to think of the character Don Quijote-his idealism or madness. But beyond that, the book stages daring critiques of ethnicity, race, religion, gender, class, and human nature. Such Cervantine works as the 'Persiles' and the 'Novelas ejemplares', as well as his theater offer equally challenging responses to the hegemonic structures of the Spanish empire. By means of these texts and their historical and philosophical contexts, this course will examine Cervantes' questioning of many of the contested social and political structures in place during the turbulent times in which he lived.
Instructors: Marina Brownlee
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 Guerrero
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 Guerrero

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, Portugal and Lusophone Africa.
Instructors: Luis Gonçalves, Daiane Tamanaha De Quadros
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 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
Myth, Memory and Identity Politics in Lusophone Cinema
This course will analyze the role of cinema in the construction (and deconstruction) of national and transnational identities and discourses in the Portuguese-speaking world. We will examine recurring cultural topics in a wide variety of films from Brazil, Portugal, and Lusophone Africa and Asia, situating works within their socio-historical contexts and tracing the development of national cinemas and their interaction with global aesthetics and trends. Through these cinematographic productions we will illuminate complex relationships between Portuguese-speaking societies and analyze significant cross-cultural differences and similarities.
Instructors: Nicola Cooney
The Sweet Pain of Saudade
This course explores the supposedly "untranslatable" concept of saudade. We will consider its political, economic, cultural and aesthetic manifestations and social implications through analysis of literary and sociological texts, music, cinema, and more from across the Lusophone world. Topics will include im/migration and the transnational experience, music and performativity, the role of nostalgia in politics and the colonial experience, national mythmaking and depictions of utopia. Particular attention will be paid to the prevalence of saudosismo in popular culture, where classical texts and forms often make surprising appearances.
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: Christina Lee, Pedro Meira Monteiro