Curriculum Overview

A major in Spanish provides students a solid foundation in both oral and written Spanish at advanced levels. Further, our courses offer students the theoretical and critical tools to investigate different cultural traditions from Latin America and Spain.

A major in Spanish consists of nine courses above SPA 202. The required courses are: SPA 221, 222 and 321. In addition, each student must take one 300 – 400-level course in Peninsular Literature and one 300 – 400-level course in Latin American Literature. The remaining four required courses may be selected among the offerings in the Spanish upper-level courses. At least one of these courses has to be at the 400-level. Students can also fulfil requirements during their Study Abroad semester. The department encourages majors to study one semester or one year in a Spanish speaking country. Students should have completed the three required courses before they study abroad. Majors who plan graduate work in Spanish are advised to acquire at least minimum competence in another foreign language.

A major in Spanish is designed to give the student a thorough knowledge of its structure, literature and culture. We strive to help students achieve a high degree of proficiency in the language by developing their ability to comprehend, read critically, speak and write in Spanish while developing an appreciation of Hispanic literature and cultures. Beginning with the first course, class work is conducted largely in the target language, and the student is encouraged to use Spanish both in and outside of the classroom whenever possible.

Majors can pursue independent studies on a topic in which they are especially interested. In order to register for an independent study, the student needs to have a specific research topic, and s/he needs to submit a written proposal describing the topic and possible approach of inquiry s/he would like to follow. This proposal can be prepared after preliminary conversations with the professor who will eventually evaluate and supervise the project. We will not accept independent studies requested because of schedule conflicts or lack of interest in courses offered in a given semester.

A minor in Spanish consists of six courses beyond SPA 201. Required courses are SPA 202, 221, 222 and 321; one 300-400-level course; and one 400-level course. Students can also fulfill requirements for the minor during their Study Abroad experience. All courses for the minor must be in Spanish.

Majors and minors in the Department of Spanish have studied abroad in the following programs in recent years: IFSA-Butler Buenos Aires/Mendoza; IES Madrid; IES Santiago, Chile; Sweet Briar, Sevilla; University of Virginia, Valencia; Syracuse University Madrid; IES Salamanca. See the International Programs section of the Catalogue for further information.

The writing requirement in the Spanish major is met by completion of the normal courses required to complete the major. Students who need help to write their literature papers can make appointments at the Spanish Writing Center.


Courses Offered 

A list of regularly offered courses follows. Please note the key for the following abbreviations: (A) Arts; (H) Humanities; (S) Social Sciences; (N) Natural Sciences with Laboratory; (LS) Language Studies requirement; (NSP) Natural Science in Perspective; (NW) Non-Western Cultures requirement.

101. Beginning Spanish I.

For students with no previous experience with the language. A communicative approach to Spanish using authentic materials. Students will be presented with knowledge about grammar, pronunciation, culture and civilization with a strong emphasis on developing communicative skills and developing an understanding of the Hispanic World. Offered every Fall.     

Aldea Agudo, Liu, Ryjik

102. Beginning Spanish II.

A continuation of SPA 101. Prerequisite: SPA 101 or equivalent.            

Aldea Agudo, Liu, Soto-Harner

201. Intermediate Spanish I. (LS)

Continuation of the study of Spanish language. Emphasis on oral communication, reading, writing and culture with an introduction to the reading of literary and cultural texts. Prerequisite: SPA 102 or placement.            

Cox, Stachura, Theumer

202. Intermediate Spanish II. (H)

Continuing study of the structures of the Spanish language with particular emphasis on the subjunctive. Practice in conversation and writing. Vocabulary building through the reading of appropriate literary and cultural texts and films. Prerequisite: SPA 201 or placement.                     

Aldea Agudo, Ruiz-Alfaro

221. Grammar, Conversation and Composition. (H)

Oral practice directed toward greater fluency in the spoken language. Discussion and reports of current events and literary selections. Emphasis is placed on achieving fluency in the spoken language, with secondary emphasis on reading and writing. Prerequisite: SPA 202 or placement.    

Anderson, Cox

222. Advanced Conversation and Composition. (H)

A continuation of SPA 221. Practice directed toward greater fluency in the written language. Oral discussion and written reports on current events and contemporary cultural and literary topics. Emphasis is placed on developing students’ ability to read and write in Spanish, with a secondary emphasis on aural and oral skills. Prerequisite: SPA 221 or placement.             

 Anderson, Theumer

291. Directed Reading.

Tutorial for students having completed SPA 221. Students who have a special interest may arrange a tutorial with a faculty member. Enrollment is conditional on instructor’s permission.

301. Spanish Grammar. (H)

An in-depth study of the more subtle nuances of Spanish grammar including narration in the past and the subjunctive with a strong emphasis on oral and written practice. The course includes readings about the grammatical system. SPA 221 or SPA 222.  

Anderson, Armstrong

321. Introduction to Hispanic Literature and Literary Analysis. (H)

First course dedicated to reading and interpreting literature. Introduction to the fundamentals of literature and aesthetic appreciation through careful reading, analysis and class discussion of Spanish-language texts from both sides of the Atlantic. Prerequisite: SPA 222 or permission.     

Caamaño Alegre, Ryjik            

335. Cuentos y Cuentistas de América Latina. (H)

Cuentos y cuentistas de América Latina is an exploration of the Latin American short story in the twentieth century. This survey course focuses on the most relevant authors, literary-cultural themes, and theoretical approaches of the short story. The overall goals for the students in this course are the understanding of the short story as a unique literary genre and an appreciation of the diversity of themes and authors who are considered renown "cuentistas" of the continent. This course also focuses on the development of critical skills and of oral and written modes of performance in the Spanish language. Prerequisite: SPA 261/321.    


343. Cuentos del Río de La Plata. (H)

Argentina and Uruguay are the two countries that have produced the most renowned short story writers in Spanish. It could be said that Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar constitute the paradigm of the Hispanic short story of the second half of the 20th century and later years. Both writers have set the grounds for the development of the short story as a genre in Latin America. In this course we will explore the influence of Borges and Cortázar in later Argentine and Uruguayan writers. Prerequisite: SPA 261/321.    


370379, 470479. Topics in Spanish Literature,

Language or Culture. Seminar for in-depth study of an author, theme or period. Topic chosen to be announced each semester.

390. Independent Study.

Independent study directed by the Spanish staff. Prerequisite: Permission of department chairperson.

391. Directed Reading.

Tutorial for students having completed SPA 261. Students who have a special interest may arrange a tutorial with a faculty member. Enrollment is conditional on instructor’s permission.

401. Spanish Tutorial. (H)

Extensive reading in areas of special interest and importance to the student. Regular conferences with tutor; critical papers. Prerequisite: Permission of department chairperson.

410. Research Seminar: El Boom Latinoamericano. (H)

The Latin American Boom is a phenomenon in the history of literary movements in the 20th Century. In this course we will read some of the canonical pieces by authors that constitute the “boom.” In so doing, we will examine the characteristics of the Latin American literary boom. We will read Alejo Carpentier, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa, as the four biggest representatives of this movement. Prerequisite: SPA 261/321.    


412. Research Seminar: El Exilio Hispanoamericano. (H)

There is a vast number of Latin Americans living mainly in several European countries, Canada, the United States, Australia and some Asian and African countries. Political turmoil of the Southern cone in the 1970s and 80s and in Central America in the 1980s and 90s, however, created generations of exiles that were political prisoners or even desaparecidos, or whose close relatives disappeared or were killed. Some of these exiles are writers who conveyed their experience in their works. In this course we will read poems, short stories, and novels written by these exiles as well as works by authors who have chosen to live abroad for other reasons. We will examine how the experience of exile shapes and is reflected in their works. Prerequisite: SPA 261/321.    


413. Research Seminar: Mujer, Nación y Amor. (H)

Through the analysis of novels and short stories written by Latin American female authors from different countries we will examine the construction of the concept of “Nation” in Latin America and the alternative that the female perspective offers to this construction. We will explore how gender roles have determined the idea of Nation. As part of the analysis, we will study historical and social aspects of the different countries to which the novels refer. This course fulfills the Latin American literature requirement. Prerequisite: SPA 261/321. Same as WGS 413.    


414. Research Seminar: El Detective Hispano. (H)

Why is detective fiction so popular? What makes so many readers or TV/film viewers want to read or watch murder or detective stories? What does the detective genre represent? How do we understand the surprise endings of detective stories? What variations have appeared (especially in Latin America) since the classic detective novel emerged? How can we understand these variations? In this seminar we will attempt to answer these questions through the analysis of detective fiction from Latin America. We will study detective novels in their specific Latin American context. Prerequisite: SPA 261/321.    


415. Research Seminar: La Novela del Dictador Hispanoamericano. (H)

“La novella del dictador” is a Latin American subgenre that examines the concept of caudillismo within the Latin American countries. In this course we will explore how power and patriarchy have shaped the male dictator as a common governing figure in Latin America. We will start reading Guatemalan Miguel Angel Asturias’ El Señor Presidente—the first recognized novella del dictador—and explore other versions of the genre. Prerequisite: SPA 261/321.    


422. Research Seminar: Escritoras Españolas. (H)

Through the analysis of literary works by some of the most representative female writers, this course aims at a deep understanding of the role of women in Spanish society, and, particularly, of the struggle of those among them who decided to express themselves through writing. Fulfills the peninsular literature requirement for the Spanish major. Prerequisite: SPA 261/321. Same as WGS 422.    

Caamaño Alegre

425. Research Seminar: Mujeres nuevas, viejas ideas: la construcción de la feminidad en la II República española y la dictadura franquista. (H)

This course analyzes the existing contradictions in the construction of femininity during the Spanish Second Republic and the Francoist dictatorship through a variety of texts, genres, and women authors. It pays special attention to education, children’s literature, and the figure of the female teacher, due to their relevance in gender construction. Fulfills the Peninsular literature requirement. Prerequisite: SPA 261/321. Same as WGS 425.    

Caamaño Alegre

431. Research Seminar: Teatro del Siglo de Oro. (H)

This course looks at the significance of Golden Age Theater in Spain through an analysis of its different genres and some of its central themes. The works of major Spanish playwrights, such as Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, and Calderón de la Barca, will be studied from a historical, ideological, social, and literary perspective. We will also explore the main characteristics of the Early Modern period in Spain, taking into consideration socio-political, economic, religious, philosophical and aesthetic aspects of the culture as a context for and as reflected in the theater. Prerequisite: SPA 261/321.    


435. Research Seminar: Don Quijote. (H)

The main objective of this course is to explore the complex artistic universe that Miguel de Cervantes created when he wrote Don Quixote and to learn about the author, the social commentary, and historical context, which serve as backdrops and inspirational sources for this novel. The course aims to increase students’ appreciation of literary history and acquire objective knowledge about Golden Age Spain. This course fulfills the peninsular literature requirement. Prerequisite: SPA 261/321.    


442. Research Seminar: Prosa del siglo XIX. (H)

In this course students will read representative masterpieces of the costumbrista, psychological, realist, regionalist, and naturalist romantic schools, mainly the novel and the short story. Prerequisite: SPA 261/321.          

Caamaño Alegre

445. Research Seminar: Latin America on Stage. (H)

Latin America on Stage is an exploration of Latin American drama of the twentieth century, and an introduction to the experimental and newer trends in the genre. This survey course focuses on the most relevant schools, socio-political themes, and aesthetic practices of Latin American theater. The overall goals for the students in this course are the appreciation of the diversity of contemporary drama in the continent, as well as the development of critical skills and of oral and written modes of performance in the Spanish language. Prerequisite: SPA 261/321.            


485. Research Seminar: La invención de Cuba. (H)

Exploring the island’s complex encounters with Spain, Africa, the Soviet Union and the United States, this course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Cuban culture, incorporating materials as diverse as Columbus’s diaries, Afro-Cuban fables, Castro’s speeches and contemporary Cuban cinema. As we examine the historical, ethnographic, political and literary texts that narrate the "invention" of Cuba, we will focus on the tension between the internal fabric of “Cubanness” and the external forces shaping Cuba’s national process. Prerequisite: SPA 261/321.    


490. Independent Study.

A major research project to be carried out under the supervision of a member of the department.


Topics Courses Expected to be Offered in 2018-2019 

  • Spanish and Health in the Community.    
  • 374. Business Spanish.  Liu
  • 375. Love, Lies, Murder on Spanish Stage. Ryjik