Spanish Major Courses – Spring 2022

Major-Level Spanish Courses – Spring 2022

All courses are taught in Spanish.

Spanish 250: Family and Gender Roles in Spain: 1900 to Present

Prerequisites: Spanish 232 or Placement in Spanish 250 or Spanish 251 (only one of these two courses can count for the major).
Prof. Gwen Barnes-Karol

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 and La boda de Rosa
•.  Other non-literary readings (course packet)

Counts Toward Majors: Gender & Sexuality 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

Prerequisites: Successful completion of Spanish 232 or Spanish placement in 251
Prof. Jonathan O’Connor

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 at least one substantive literary work).This cultural analysis provides for the development of critical reading and writing skills (e.g., description, narration, exposition, and argumentation). Taught in Spanish. Offered each semester.

Counts Toward Majors: Gender and Sexuality Studies, Latin American Studies, Race & Ethnic Studies
Counts Toward Concentrations: Race & Ethnic Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Spanish 272: Heritage Latin America

Prerequisite: Spanish 250 or Spanish 251
Prof. Ariel Strichartz

This course will explore the textual treatment of three fundamental moments in contemporary Latin American history–the Mexican Revolution (1910), the Cuban Revolution (1959), and Argentina’s most recent military dictatorship (1976-1983). Through the analysis of a variety of cultural texts–essays, political speeches, manifestos, stories, plays, films, and a novel–, we will examine how these events have shaped Latin American society and identity. Our interpretation of such texts will be informed by a careful study of the historical contexts in question. Classes will be predominantly discussion-based.

Tentative readings include but are not limited to the following:

  • Mal de amores (Mexico, 1996; novel)
  • Entre Pancho Villa y una mujer desnuda (Mexico; 1994; play)
  • Selected plays from Teatro x la Identidad (Argentina, 2000-Present)
  • “El lobo, el bosque y el hombre nuevo” (Cuba, 1991; story)
  • Fresa y chocolate (Cuba, 1994; film)

Counts Toward Majors: Latin American Studies (required), Performance, Political Science, Spanish (can count as a 270-level elective and as a “focus on Latin America” course)
Counts Toward Concentrations: International Relations, Latin American Studies

Spanish 275: Exploring Hispanic Literature

Prerequisite: Spanish 250 or Spanish 251
Prof. Gwen Barnes-Karol

Topic for Spring 2022: Literature and the Spanish Civil War

First, you may have discovered Historia de una maestra. Then, you may have moved on to El libro de los americanos desconocidos, Mi mundo adorado or Soñar en cubano. You’ve had experience reading novels as cultural documents in Spanish 250, 251,  or 270-level courses. 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 examining what literature is and exploring the creative process involved in the production and reception of  literary texts. In doing so, we’ll examine  poetry, short stories, theater, and the novel and see how these four literary genres differ from other types of documents (historiography and graphic novels, for example). We’ll focus our work on the following texts about the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), an event whose repercussions are still present today in literature, movies, television programs, and daily life in Spain:

  • Poetry: war-time poems written by famous literary figures of the day as well as by everyday Spanish citizens that make the experiences of those who lived in both Republican and Franco’s Spain come alive;
  • Short stories: selected stories from the 1938 collectionValor y miedoby Arturo Barea that highlight war-time life in Madrid;
  • Novel:Réquiem por un campesino español, by Ramón J. Sender, a novel originally written in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and published in Mexico because it was banned by the Franco regime; and
  • Theater: Fernando Fernán-Gómez’sLas bicicletas son para el verano,an award-winning play written by one of 20th-century Spain’s foremost actors and playwrights, turned into a film, and frequently performed as a play by high school, amateur, and professional theater groups throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

The course also requires viewing films outside of class and two approved “comunidad de práctica” activities (for example, la mesa avanzada, or Casa Hispánica/Presente/Somos events).

Counts Toward Majors: Performance, Political Science, Spanish
Counts Toward Concentration: International Relations

Spanish 276:  Spanish as a First and Second Language

Prerequisite: Spanish 250 or Spanish 251
Prof. Maggie Broner

Students explore the processes involved in the acquisition of Spanish as a first and second language and the variation present in the language of both native and non-native speakers of Spanish from Spain, Latin America, and the U.S. Hispanic linguistics are studied with special attention paid to socio-cultural as well as structural aspects. The course includes the study of at least one substantive literary work. Taught in Spanish. Offered each semester.

Counts Toward Majors: Performance, Political Science, Race and Ethnic Studies, Spanish
Counts Toward Concentrations: International Relations, Linguistic Studies, Race and Ethnic Studies

Materials for the class: All can be purchased through St. Olaf’s bookstore.
Paquete de Lecturas
El español a través de la lingüística: Preguntas y Respuestas. Editado editado por Jennifer D. Ewald y Anne Edstrom
Mi Mundo Adorado, Sonia Sotomayor

Spanish 312: Women/Gender in Contemporary Spain (topic)

Prerequisite: Spanish 250 or Spanish 251 and one 270-level course
Prof.  Jonathan O’Conner

Recent events in Spain highlight the persistence of gender-based discrimination and inequities despite decades of progress. In this course, we will work with a wide range of sources from modern Spain, including film and the novel La hija extranjera (2015) by Najat El Hachmi. We will briefly consider the II República and Franco’s dictatorship before working more closely with the most recent 45 years during Spain’s democracy. We will examine the intersection of categories of experience including class, race, gender identity, religion, and sexuality. Our work will be informed by feminist theory. Together, we will explore a wide range of women’s voices, as we seek to understand diverse experiences, struggles, successes, and challenges that remain.

Counts Toward Majors: Performance, Political Science, Spanish, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Counts Toward Concentrations: International Relations, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Counts for Gender & Sexuality Studies

Spanish 314: Caribbean Literature and Cyberspace (topic)

Prerequisites: Spanish 275
Prof. Kristina Medina Vilariño

The 21st century has reinforced the importance of the Internet and social networks for cultural promotion and the advancement of social justice globally. Literature is a reflection of these ideologies that circulate both on the street and in the media. Caribbean art is no exception to this rule. Thus, to understand what “the new Caribbean” is about one must understand that concerns that appear to be universal (such as environmental sustainability, decolonization, LGBTq+ social integration, and human rights) are anchored in regional conditions, experiences, and histories.

In this course we will examine the print and digital circulation of literary texts and cultural artifacts for social and political purposes in the 20th and 21st century Caribbean. We will focus on contemporary art and literature to explain the present of new Caribbean societies and their diasporas, and what role public space, activism and social networks have played in this transformation. The analysis of the essays, poems, novels and visual works we will examine will be complemented by the study of digital materials that reflect the social environment. The class will complete a final digital project as part of the major course requirements. Among the works and web spaces to be studied are the essay “A mano” by Nicole Cecilia Delgado and the magazine Cuba Literaria, among others.