Spanish Major Courses – Fall 2014

Spanish 250 – Gateway to the Spanish-Speaking World (GE: WRI)

Section A – Jonathan O’Connor, T/TH 9:35/9:30
Section B – Kristina Medina-Vilarino, T/TH 11:45/12:45
Section C – Kris Cropsey, T/TH 11:20-2:45

How do we begin to get into the mindset of another culture? How do individuals relate to a society as a whole? We’ll start to answer these questions with respect to the Spanish-speaking world in this course by exploring different stories and documents about families in Spain from the early 1900’s through 2006. We will work on strategies of academic reading in Spanish through analysis of a series of “cultural texts” – from statistical data to periodical press articles to films to a novel. You will respond to these texts and develop your skills in Spanish through class discussions and oral activities, and most importantly, through various modes of academic writing. The course includes participation in out-of-class conversation groups.

Novel: Historia de una maestra (Josefina R. Aldecoa)
Film: La lengua de las mariposas

• 250 is the next course for anyone continuing on after 232/233/234 and is required for all Spanish majors.
• Counts for Women’s and Gender Studies major

Spanish 271 – Cultural Heritage of Spain

“Human Rights and Quality of Life in Twentieth-Century Spain”

Leon Narvaez, MWF 8:00

Periodic examples of genocide in Europe and elsewhere may lead to the
conclusion that human beings never change.  Some may believe that
there is no hope for humanity, no possibility that people will treat
each other better over time.  Yet there are examples that give us
hope.  Spain is one of those examples.   In this course we will
explore the affirmation of human rights in Spain, with an emphasis on
the 20th century, in spite of long periods of repression and periods
of extreme tension between liberal and authoritarian tendencies about
what people are allowed to do and to say.

How will we approach this topic?  We will learn about historical
periods in Spain and discuss them in terms of what were the rights of
the people of the time and their apparent quality of life.  Were
people allowed to express their cultural identity, their sexual
orientation, their political and social views, and to exercise
influence without violence over public policy?   What were the efforts
made to ensure their personal safety and personal development?  What
were their economic rights and access to healthcare, education, etc.?

With regard to these questions, we will focus on the 20th century.  We
will read a play set in the period prior to the Spanish Civil War, the
Spanish Civil War itself, and its aftermath.  We will also read
novels, two of them, that reflect the changing milieu for human rights
and personal development in Spain, one set in the Spain of the
dictator Francisco Franco and the other in the democracy of our time.
Through the experiences of the two central characters, both women, we
will explore how a change in the rights of the individual and the
nature of the state may result in greater possibilities in life for
ordinary citizens and we will consider their responses to those

Las bicicletas son para el verano (Fernando Fernán-Gómez)
Nada (Carmen Laforet)
Esos cielos (Bernardo Atxaga)

 Prerequisite: Spanish 250
• Counts as an elective (above 250) for Spanish major and a “focus on Spain” course
Counts for Latin American Studies major

Spanish 273 – Heritage of Hispanic U.S.

Ariel Strichartz, T/TH 1:20/2:15

 If you’ve studied the challenges faced by Francisco, the protagonist of Más allá de mí, watched the diverse trajectories of the seven rafters featured in the documentary Balseros, and followed the experiences of the adolescent Negi as her family jumps the “charco” [puddle] from Puerto Rico to New York, you may be wondering how Spanish 273 differs from Spanish 232. This major-level course offers to all students—both those familiar as well as those unfamiliar with the topic of Latinos in the United States—an opportunity to explore the cultural production of some of these groups, among them Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans, and Puerto Ricans. Through the analysis of novels, stories, plays, poetry, essays, and manifestos, we will attempt to understand the unique cultural identity of each group as well as the shared aspects of their experiences. Our analysis will center on the following aspects of cultural identity, among others:

* the importance of the land and/or place
* the relationship between the individual and the collective of which he/she forms a part
* the implications of life in the United States for cultural identity
* the role of religion and spirituality
* the representation of the past

Tentative readings include the following:

Tomás Rivera, …y no se lo tragó la tierra (novel)
Cristina García, Soñar en cubano (novel)
Several one-act plays by Teatro Campesino
Sandra Cisneros, “Milagritos: Promesas Cumplidas” (narrative)
Manuel Martín, Jr., Sanguivin in Union City (play)
Dolores Prida, La botánica (play)
Poetry by Pedro Pietri and Tato Laviera
Other selected poems, manifestos, and essays

 Prerequisite: Spanish 250
• Counts as an elective (above 250) for Spanish major
Counts for Latin American Studies concentration
• Counts for Racial and Ethnic Studies major (formerly ARMS, American Racial and Multicultural Studies)

Spanish 275 – Exploring Hispanic Literature (GE: ALS-L):  “Literature and the Spanish Civil War”

Gwen Barnes-Karol, T/TH 9:35/9:30

First, you discovered Historia de una maestra.  Then, you moved on to Corsario, El plan infinito, or San Manuel Bueno, Mártir.  You’ve had experience reading novels as cultural documents in courses at the 250 and 270 levels.   Now, you’re ready for the next step—reading literary works not just as cultural documents, but also as “literature.”  In this course, you’ll make this transition by exploring what literature really is and learning the principles of literary analysis and literary terminology as applied to poetry, short stories, theater, and the novel.  We’ll focus our work on texts that examine various facets of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) through these four major literary genres, represented by the following works:

• Poems: war-time poetry written by literary figures of the day as well as by every-day Spanish citizens that chronicles the daily experiences of those who lived in both Republican and Francoist Spain

• Ramón J. Sender, Réquiem por un campesino español (a novel originally published in Mexico because it was banned by the Franco regime)

 • Manuel Rivas, ¿Qué me quieres, amor? (the short story collection that served as inspiration for the movie, La lengua de las mariposas, that you saw in Spanish 250)

 • Fernán Fernán-Gómez, Las bicicletas son para el verano (a play written by one of 20th-/21st-century Spain’s foremost actors and playwrights of which we’ll also see the movie version)

 Prerequisite: Spanish 250
• Required


Spanish 276 – Spanish as a First and Second Language

Maggie Broner, MWF 2:00

So, you have been learning Spanish as a second language for many years, but…have you ever wondered how a second language is learned and acquired? Or have you ever asked yourself why you acquired English “effortlessly” while you really need to work hard at learning Spanish? And, when you started to learn Spanish, did you ever ask yourself why some countries use vos, and you only learned , and usted? This course will introduce you to the cognitive and social processes involved in learning and using Spanish as a second language. You will also explore Spanish as a first language through the study of the history of the Spanish language, the different varieties (dialects) of Spanish spoken in the Spanish-speaking world, as well as the influence of English and other languages on Spanish in situations of language contact (e.g. Spanish in the U.S.).  Finally, you will have a chance to improve your pronunciation.

Tentative reading list:

  • Textbook (TBA)
  • Lipsky, John. El español de Latinoamérica (on reserve in Rolvaag)
  • Packet of journal articles
  • Allende, Isabel. El plan infinito (a novel)

• Prerequisite: Spanish 250
• Required for the Spanish major (prerequisite for Spanish 311)
• Includes an oral interview to determine your proficiency level at this point in your major
• Counts for Linguistic Studies concentration

Spanish 312 – Voices of the Spanish-Speaking World

“Religious Minorities in Spain:  Clandestine Voices from the Past and Present”


NOTE: Students may register for Spanish 312 more than once provided a different topic is offered.

 Gwendolyn Barnes-Karol, T 11:45-1:10 / Th 12:45-2:05

 Until the separation of Church and State was established in the Constitución española de 1978—except for the brief period of the Second Republic (1931-1939)—Spain was a “Catholic” nation.  Yet, not all persons living in the Iberian Peninsula throughout the centuries practiced the Christian or the Catholic faith.  Did you know that….

 • Jews lived in Roman “Hispania” when Christianity was still in its infancy?
• Muslims from north Africa and other parts of the Mediterranean arrived in the Peninsula in 711 and established a political state that endured until the fall of Granada in 1492?

• the cities of Córdoba and then Toledo were the intellectual and cultural hubs of medievalSpain’s “three cultures”?

• underground Lutheran groups in Valladolid and Sevilla surfaced in 16th-century Spain, influenced by northern European Protestant reformers and book smugglers?

•  the Spanish Inquisition pursued followers suspected of “heresy” in Spain until 1834?

 Since 1978, the religious profile of Spain has become much more diverse than it had been for centuries.  From renewed interest in exploring the Jewish and Muslim roots of Spain to the need to deal with the influx of immigrants—Jewish, Muslim, Protestant, and Orthodox—from around the world who wish to establish their own religious institutions, issues of religious diversity are redefining Spain in the 21st century.

 In this course, we will explore the “voices” of these minority religions” in dialogue with the dominant “Catholic voice” through primary documents from the past and present: from medieval laws, edicts, and treaties to 20th- and 21st-century first-person narratives, government accords, periodical press articles, publications by religious groups, and so forth.  In addition, we will enter the world of two underground religious minorities through historical novels by two of Spain’s most prominent contemporary writers:

 • Delibes, Miguel: El hereje (This novel explores the birth and death of a clandestine Protestant community in 16th-century Valladolid.)

• Riera, Carmen: En el último azul (Based on real-life events from1687-1691, this novel recreates the story of a community of Jewish converts to Catholicism living in Mallorca and their secret plans to escape to freedom in Italy.)

 Prerequisites: Spanish 250 and one 270-level course
Can count as a 300-level elective
Counts as a “focus on Spain” course

Spanish 314-Literature and Society in Latin America  (ALS-L):  “Female Literary Portraits”

NOTE:  Students may register for Spanish 314 more than once provided a different topic is offered.

Sylvia G. Carullo (TOH 344) T/TH 1:20/2:15

Reading Spanish-American literature is like visiting an art gallery filled with colorful
portraits. Not all of the portraits are beautiful and inspiring; many, in fact, are dark and
disturbing. Together, however, they make up a fascinating collection, offering insight
into the lives, hearts, and minds of Spanish-Americans over the past 600 years.

In this course we will focus on the portrayal of women in Spanish-American works from
different historical times and on how that portrayal has gradually evolved. Readings will
include both fiction (literary essays, poems, short-stories, and a novel) and non-fiction
(articles, critical essays, and book excerpts), by writers such as El Inca Garcilaso o
Garcilaso de la Vega, Nellie Campobello, Jorge Luis Borges, Nicolás Guillén, Alfonsina
Storni, Antonio Skármeta, among others.

We will read about women spinning and weaving, raising children, displaying loyalty and
devotion. We will see them depicted as mythical beings, as adoring lovers, as guardian
angels, and as spiritual leaders and heroines. Some will be audacious, defiant, fearless;
others will be oppressed, docile, even silent. We will discuss what these strikingly
diverse ways of depicting women reveal to us about the values that have been, and may
or may not still be, important in Spanish-American culture (e.g., care-giving, education,
family, freedom, love, marriage, religion, tradition), and we will consider how the
authors’ attitudes toward their own culture and history are reflected in their writing.

From these literary portraits we will be able to follow the chain of historical events and
observe the extraordinary changes that have transformed Spanish-American nations (e.g.,
Argentina, Cuba, Chile, México, and others), from the Pre-Columbian era through the
periods of Conquest and Independence up to contemporary times. By analyzing the
variety of female models in Spanish-American literature and by tracing how their literary
representation has changed over the years, students will acquire a deeper understanding
of the powerful events and forces that have given shape to the Spanish-American nations
of today.

Prerequisite: Spanish 275
• Either 313 or 314 is required
for the Spanish Major
• Counts as a 300-level elective if students have already taken SPA 313 or SPA 314 (if previously offered with a different topic)
• Counts as a course with a “focus on Latin America”
• May count for Latin-American Studies (with Director’s permission