Spanish Major Courses – Spring 2023

Major-Level Spanish Courses – Spring 2023

All courses are taught in Spanish.

Spanish 250: Family and Gender Roles in Spain: 1900 to Present
Section A – Prof. León Narváez, T 9:35-11:00 / Th 9:30-10:50
Section B – Prof. Kris Cropsey, T 11:45-1:05 / Th 12:45-2:05
Prerequisites: Spanish 232 or placement in Spanish 250 or 251 (only one of these two courses can count for the major).

Since the late 20th century, Spain has undergone a “revolución familiar” – dramatic changes in family structures and gender roles, the rights of women and members of the LGBTQ community, and relationships between generations. While some of these changes may seem to parallel those that have occurred in other countries (including the U.S.), the way they came about in Spain is unique. In this class, we’ll explore the history of families and gender roles from the early 1900s to the present day through analysis of a series of “cultural texts” – from statistical data to periodical press articles to films to a historical novel that will help us imagine the lives of two teachers at a time when new ways of seeing the world put traditional values to the test. You will continue to develop your oral expression in Spanish through class discussions, presentations, and other activities, and most importantly, through various modes of academic writing. The course includes participation in three out-of-class conversation groups. Taught in Spanish. Offered each semester.


•.  Novel: Historia de una maestra (Josefina R. Aldecoa)
•.  Films: La lengua de las mariposas 
•.  Other non-literary readings (course packet)

Spanish 250 or 251 required for the Spanish major. (Only one of these two courses can count for the major.)
Spanish 250 or 251 required for the Latin American Studies major.

Counts Toward Majors: Spanish, Latin American Studies, Performance, Political Science, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Counts Toward Concentrations: Family Studies, International Relations, Management Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Spanish 251: Gender and Race in Latin America
Prof. Jonathan O’Connor, MWF 9:05-10:00

Students explore diverse experiences of modern Latin America through the lenses of gender and race, which provide a productive framework for examining economic, class, and other key aspects of Latin American society. Students will work with a variety of sources, both literary and non-literary, including articles, images, documents, and a Latin American novel. This cultural analysis provides for the development of critical reading and writing skills (e.g., description, narration, exposition, and argumentation) used in advanced-level Spanish courses. Taught in Spanish. Offered each semester. Students may take either Spanish 250 or 251, which are equivalent, but should not repeat the 250 level.

Prerequisite: Spanish 232 or placement into Spanish 250 or 251. Only one of these two courses will count towards the major.

Counts toward Gender & Sexuality Studies, RACE, and Latin American Studies majors. Also counts toward Latin American Studies, RACE, and Gender & Sexuality Studies concentrations.

Spanish 273: Narratives of Home: Memory, displacement, and community activism in Latinx cultural production
GE: MCD (Ole Core: PAR)
Prof. Kristina Medina-Vilarariño, MWF 2:00-2:55
Prerequisite: Spanish 250 or Spanish 251

In your Spanish gateway course (250/1) you learned about the shifting definitions of family and gender in Latin America and/or Spain. Along the way, you also analyzed the role of religion and other key social institutions in shaping citizens; and you have learned how political changes and historical events in the “Hispanic world” have constantly transformed definitions of “home,” moral values, and national culture. These changes often drive communities to new demands for civil rights, education, equity, and social justice.

You are now ready to talk about how similar processes have shaped Latino/a communities in the United States. In this course we will consider the ways in which historical events lead to a multi-layered process of identity construction for Latino/s in the United States. You will learn how  migration and displacement have shaped the work of Latinx artists, intellectuals, activists, and community leaders. We will examine how different Latinx communities reconstruct their own identity in the United States, making sense of their histories of displacement, and creating a new space to call their own. Among the topics to be covered will be gender politics, civil right movements, racial identities, and education. We will examine the work of authors such as Sonia Sotomayor’s My beloved dream,  Borderlands/ La Frontera  by Gloria Anzaldúa, El príncipe de los Cocuyos by Richard Blanco,, and Tato Laviera’s “Puerto Rican Obituary,” films such as Frances Negrón Muntaner’s Brincando el Charco and and community projects  addressing social issues such as “el voto latino.”

This course will include a Civic Engagement Component, including visits to community initiatives and from community leaders.  For more information on this requirement please visit This course may count for Latin American Studies majors and/or Race and Ethnic Studies with the Director’s agreement.

Spanish 275: Exploring Hispanic Literature – El cambio social y las perspectivas conflictivas a principios del siglo XX
Prerequisite: Spanish 250 or Spanish 251
Prof. Ariel Strichartz T 9:35-11:00 / Th 9:30-10:50

Como se puede ver diariamente en los medios de comunicación, es cada vez más difícil encontrar
textos (escritos u orales) que comuniquen múltiples perspectivas de una situación compleja. ¿Es la
literatura capaz de transmitir esta complejidad? ¿Qué capacidad tiene para representar o contar los
eventos desde perspectivas conflictivas? Vamos a examinar éstas y otras preguntas relacionadas a
través del estudio de unas obras literarias de América Latina (en este caso, México y Argentina).

Las obras que analizaremos son ficticias, pero dan testimonio a las tensiones—a veces
violentas—que surgieron como producto de la redistribución de la riqueza y la lucha por mejorar la
situación de los que se encontraban en los márgenes de la sociedad mexicana y argentina en la
primera mitad del siglo XX. En México, durante la presidencia de Lázaro Cárdenas (1934-1940), se
vio una reforma agraria extensa y una reorganización del sistema educativo público – es decir, un
esfuerzo por cumplir con las promesas de la Revolución Mexicana. En Argentina, las políticas
populistas de Juan Perón en los años 40 mejoraron la situación de los obreros, desestabilizando así
las divisiones entre clases sociales. Estudiar estos momentos a través de su representación literaria
nos permitirá explorar juntxs lo que aporta la literatura al tratamiento de estos temas.

¿Qué obras vamos a estudiar?

  • Rosario Castellanos, Balún-Canán (México, 1957); novela
  • Carlos Gorostiza, El puente (Argentina, 1949); obra de teatro
  • Poemas selectos

Required for the Spanish major.

Spanish 276:  Spanish as a First and Second Language
Prof. Maggie Broner, MWF 11:50-12:45
Prerequisite: Spanish 250 or Spanish 251

¿Qué significa hablar bien una lengua? ¿Qué lenguas tienen poder en Estados Unidos y el mundo hispanohablante? ¿Por qué es el español una lengua minoritaria en los Estados Unidos? ¿Por qué se enseña el español como una lengua extranjera y no como una segunda lengua en los Estados Unidos? ¿Por qué los libros de texto de español introducen el uso de “vosotros” pero no “vos”? ¿Qué es Spanglish y quién lo habla? This course will critically explores these, and other, questions related to the acquisition and use of Spanish as first, Heritage, and second language in a social context. The course introduces the cognitive and social processes involved in learning, acquiring, and using Spanish as a second language.  In addition, Span 276 explores Spanish as a first and Heritage language through the study of the different varieties of Spanish spoken in the Spanish-speaking world, with particular emphasis on Spanish and English bilingualism in the U.S. The questions also invite us to look at the intersections between language, power, and identity. In order to do all this, this course will introduce some foundational notions from the fields of Second Language Acquisition, Hispanic Linguistics and sociolinguistics. Required for the Spanish major

Taught in Spanish. Offered each semester.

Tentative reading list:

  • Packet of journal articles and book chapters (available through the Bookstore)
  • Mi mundo adoraro by Supreme Justice Sonia Sotomayor (available through the Bookstore)
  • Materiales para Span 276 course handouts available through the Bookstore)

Counts Toward Majors: Race and Ethnic Studies, Spanish
Counts toward Linguistic Studies, Race and Ethnic Studies

Spanish 312: Music and Politics in Latin America (topic)
Prof. Kristina Medina Vilariño, MWF 12:55-1:50
Prerequisite: Spanish 250 or Spanish 251 and one 270-level course

Over the last three decades reguetón, trap, bachata, and salsa songs have been in the top-ten music charts of radio stations as representatives of “Latino music” in  festive essence, but their popularity renders invisible a more rich cultural tradition told by political expressions of Latin American music. In this course we will explore the connections between music, history, politics, and culture in Latin America. This course will examine genres such as merengue, la nueva canción, corridos, rock, tango, reggae, and danza, to determine the role that musicians have played in larger social narratives. We will also discuss films and texts such as El hombre del acordeón, a novel by Marcio Veloz Maggiolo’s, Martín Fierro by José Hernández, and documentaries such as Bad Bunny’s “El apagón.” Guest speakers will join our conversation, and their expertise on ethnomusicology and music production will complement our analysis. As part of their final presentation, students will create a playlist reflecting a historical period of one or more Latin American countries.

Counts toward Performance, Political Science, Spanish, and Gender and Sexuality Studies majors. Also counts toward International Relations, and Gender and Sexuality Studies concentrations.

Spanish 313: Literature and Society in Spain, “What is a Meaningful Life?”
Prof. León Narváez, T 1:20-2:45 / Th 2:15-3:35
Prerequisites: Spanish 250 or 251, and 275.

What is a meaningful life? How do human beings vary in their understanding of that life? What do they seem to communicate as to the nature of a meaningful life? What do Spanish writers of the past convey about the possibility of leading a life that has meaning? There is a general focus in our society on happiness and ‘the pursuit of happiness’. How does happiness relate to having a life of meaning?

As we consider these questions and others, we will read some of the works that mattered to me when I was a teenager and in my twenties. We will explore together how they had an impact on my life, how they influenced my view of the meaningful life, as well as your understanding of these works. I will have the opportunity to consider again the importance of literature in my life and for you to consider its importance, if any, in yours.

What we will read may include:

  • Lazarillo de Tormes, a novel by an unknown author
  • Selections from El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha, a novel by Miguel de Cervantes
  • Don Juan Tenorio, a play by José Zorrilla
  • Pepita Jiménez, a novel by Juan Valera
  • Essays written by José Mariano de Larra and Azorín
  • San Manuel Bueno, Mártir, a novel written by Miguel de Unamuno
  • Poetry written by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Federico García Lorca, and others
  • Historia de una escalera, a play by Antonio Buero Vallejo

Either Spanish 313 or 314 is required for the Spanish major. May count as a 300-level elective if 313 or 314 have already been completed and the topic is different. Taught in Spanish. Offered annually.
Counts as a “focus on Spain” course