Courses in Spanish
[Please see the Directory of Classes for the timetable of courses with multiple sections. Readings, assignments, and class discussion in Spanish unless otherwise noted.]
Elementary Spanish I
4 pts. Prerequisites: placement score 0-279 in the department's Placement Examination. An introduction to Spanish communicative competence, with stress on basic oral interaction, reading, writing, and cultural knowledge. Principal objectives are to understand and produce commonly used sentences to satisfy immediate needs; ask and answer questions about personal details such as where we live, people we know and things we have; interact in a simple manner with people who speak clearly, slowly, and are ready to cooperate; and understand simple and short written and audiovisual texts in Spanish.
Elementary Spanish II
4 pts. Prerequisites: SPAN W1101 or a score of 280-379 in the department's Placement Examination. An intensive introduction to Spanish language communicative competence, with stress on basic oral interaction, reading, writing, and cultural knowledge as a continuation of Spanish W1101. Main objectives are to understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of immediate relevance; communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a direct exchange of information on familiar matters; describe in simple terms aspects of our background and personal history; understand the main point, the basic content, and the plot of filmic as well as short written texts.
Comprehensive Beginning Spanish
4 pts. Prerequisites: a score below 379 in the department's Placement Examination or some previous exposure to the language. One-term intensive coverage of the contents of SPAN W1101 and SPAN W1102. A student may not receive credit for both SPAN W1120 and the sequence SPAN W1101-SPAN W1102.
Intermediate Spanish I
4 pts. Prerequisites: SPAN W1102 or SPAN W1120, or a score of 380-449 in the department's Placement Examination. An intensive course in Spanish language communicative competence, with stress on oral interaction, reading, writing, and culture as a continuation of SPAN W1102 or SPAN W1120.
Intermediate Spanish II
4 pts. Prerequisites: SPAN W1201 or a score of 450-624 in the department's Placement Examination. An intensive course in Spanish language communicative competence, with stress on oral interaction, reading, writing and culture as a continuation of SPAN W1201.
Spanish for Spanish-Speaking Students
3 pts. Prerequisite: a score of 450-624 (a placement recommendation of SPAN W1202) in the department's Placement Examination and oral fluency in Spanish. Designed for native and non-native Spanish-speaking students who have oral fluency beyond the intermediate level but have had no formal language training. If you place below Spanish W1202 in the placement exam you should follow the placement recommendation received with your test results. If you place above Spanish W1202, you should take Spanish W3300. If in doubt, please consult the Coordinator of the Language Programs.)
Comprehensive Intermediate Spanish
4 pts. Prerequisites: SPAN W1102 or SPAN W1120, or a score of 380-624 in the department's Placement Examination. One-term intensive coverage of the contents of SPAN W1201 and SPAN W1202. A student may not receive credit for both SPAN W1220 and the sequence SPAN W1201-SPAN W1202 or the equivalent Barnard sequence SPAN BC1203-SPAN BC1204.
Advanced Language through Content
(descriptions of individual sections)
3 pts. Prerequisites: Fulfillment of the language requirement. An intensive exposure to advanced points of Spanish grammar and structure through written and oral practice, along with an introduction to the basic principles of academic composition in Spanish. Each section is based on the exploration of an ample theme that serves as the organizing principle for the work done in class. This course is required for the major and the concentration in Hispanic Studies.
Introduction to the Study of Hispanic Cultures
3 pts. Requirements: SPAN W3300. The course constitutes a wide-ranging consideration of cultural production with a view to making students aware of its historical and constructed nature. Students will explore concepts such as language, history and nation; culture (national, popular, mass, and high); the social role of literature; the work of cultural institutions; globalization and migration; and the discipline of Cultural Studies. The course is divided into weekly units that address these subjects in turn, and through which students will also acquire the fundamental vocabulary for the analysis of cultural objects. Spanish W3330 gives students the conceptual framework with which to engage in the study of Hispanic culture in Spanish W3349 and Spanish W3350. This course is required for the major and the concentration in Hispanic Studies.
Hispanic Cultures I: Islamic Spain through the Colonial Period
3 pts. Requirements: SPAN W3330. This course provides an overview of the cultural history of the Hispanic world, from eighth-century Islamic and Christian Spain and the pre-Hispanic Americas through the late Middle Ages and Early Modern period until about 1700, and covering texts and cultural artifacts from both Spain and the colonial areas that would eventually become the various countries of Spanish America. Students will become familiar with major events and significant political, social and cultural trends in the Iberian Peninsula and the Americas before the eighteenth century, including such topics as oral vs. manuscript vs. print culture, elite vs. popular culture, conquest and resistance, transculturation, and the links between cultural production and ideology. Emphasis will be placed on the historical context and on the development of close reading skills. This course is required for the major and the concentration in Hispanic Studies.
Hispanic Cultures II: From the Enlightenment to the Present
3 pts. Requirements: SPAN W3330. This course surveys cultural production of Spain and Spanish America from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Students will acquire the knowledge needed for the study of the cultural manifestations of the Hispanic world in the context of modernity. Among the issues and events studied will be the Enlightenment as ideology and practice, the Napoleonic invasion of Spain, the wars of Spanish American independence, the fin-de-siècle and the cultural avant-gardes, the wars and revolutions of the twentieth century (Spanish Civil War, the Mexican and Cuban revolutions) and the Hispanic presence in the United States. The goal of the course is to study some key moments of this trajectory through the analysis of representative texts, works of art, and film. Emphasis will be placed on the historical context and on the development of close reading skills. This course is required for the major and the concentration in Hispanic Studies.
New Authors, New Texts
Heather Cleary Wolfgang
What does it mean, in the age of re-blogs, MTs, and mash-ups, to be the "author" of a work? How are we to define and delimit the individual text, if it can still be said to exist? This course explores the concepts of authorship and textuality in the digital present through close readings of contemporary Latin American fiction and the analysis of the creative landscape online. Novels by internationally recognized writers like Mario Bellatin (Mexico), César Aira (Argentina), and José Manuel Prieto (Cuba) that address this question thematically will be read alongside experimental texts, digital interventions, and performances that provide divergent models of creative production, against the backdrop of canonical writings by Jorge Luis Borges and Oswald de Andrade. Though the manipulation of these two concepts has long been a part of the literary production of the region, "New Authors, New Texts" examines the way new technologies have pushed these interventions in new and varied directions. Creative projects will complement analytical writing and discussion.
Jesús Rodríguez-Velasco, Claudio Lomnitz
TR 10:10 am - 11:25 am
This course is an inquiry into the general question of friendship from cultural, anthropological, and philosophical perspectives, but using literary texts from Latin American and Iberian Cultures as source materials and as philosophical investigations. One of the course´s key concerns is with poetics of friendship-- a topic the implies concern with philology and history. That is the reason for concentrating reading in a single cultural tradition-- that of the Iberian and Ibero-American world. We will be examining novels, movies, and theatrical plays from Spanish, Mexican, Argentinian, Colombian, Brazilian, Portuguese, Catalan authors, both women and men. The reading list includes texts from different eras concerned with questions that are both local and global, which will give us a very special opportunity to analyze friendship and globalization. Some of the questions we are going to ask include: the poetic of friendship ; friendship and the household; friendship as an event as as a process; animal and human friendship; friendship and the formation of societies; the dark side of friendship; friendship and the other; treason; the enemy.
Language of instruction will be Spanish.
Seeing and Describing
TR 4:10pm - 5:25 pm
With the expansion projects of Portugal and Spain throughout the world between the15th and the 17 th centuries, travelers, conquistadors, missionaries, art theorists, and collectors were suddenly challenged by the encounter with a myriad new forms, images, objects, sculptures, cities, monuments, and techniques—those produced and developed in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. They recorded their emotions, surprise, reactions, and desires in written texts, mainly written in Spanish (and Portuguese) encompassing chronicles, letters, inventories, and artistic treatises. Several of these texts were printed and translated into other languages, becoming accessible to a larger audience. In this seminar we will study how the intensity of these simultaneous visual experiences of the objects encountered in the four parts of the world—or observed once they were sent to Europe—was translated into textual accounts, which often also included drawings and engravings. Participating in the long-lasting tradition of “ekphrasis,” (a description of or comment on a work of art) the texts written in the context of the Iberian expansion reinvent the art of describing artworks in unexpected ways. Compared with ancient texts addressing objects and images, the challenge of the Early Modern Iberian descriptions was driven by new intellectual challenges: to think of the “opening of the world” and its variety via the novelty of the objects; to relate the world and its forms through a common, almost “atemporal,” antiquity of the globe that would enable different societies and their histories to synchronize; to redefine the humanity via the artistic capacities and skills to make and to create. We will read a great corpus of these primary sources, mainly written in Spanish, as well as secondary sources (classic studies along the most recent contributions), which will help us envision the art-historical, anthropological, and philosophical implications of these unstudied texts.
Tamed Detectives: Crime and Politics in the Hispanic World
The modern detective novel has been read (Bloch, Deleuze) not as the restoration of a regime of truth but rather as the description of a periodical ritual of deceit that renews a collective pact of simulation: From time to time it is necessary to find and stage the guilty so that the collective complicity of the whole social sphere can be cynically hidden from view. The subject of the detective novel is not the resolution of a crime but the analysis of a social mechanism of precarious and always endangered cohesion in which the essential reversibility and continuity between good an evil must remain behind scenes. According to that view, the detective novel has both the potential of functioning as a tool for the configuration of a model of citizenship or its effective critique.
The focus of this course is that dual role of the genre. The comparative study of Hispanic detective novels in their political contexts (Spain, Cuba, Perú…) will allow us to study the circulation of the genre as a privileged means to consider different models of social pacts, political narratives sustained or questioned by novels in which a specific crime is always but the threshold of a socio-political mechanism.
Discourse in Spanish
TR 1:10pm - 2:25 pm
This course will make the students familiar with discourse tools in order to analyze and produce texts in Spanish. It has two general pedagogical objectives: giving the students the tools for discourse analysis and teaching how to use them in the construction of their own discourse practice. This twofold configuration means that the students will learn language consciously and deeply how the language in action works and how to use the language as an instrument of their own. The course will have three parts. The fist will deal with textual construction- discourse genders, how to construct coherence and cohesion in Spanish with special attention to discourse markers and connectors, differences between oral and written discourse, and register. The second will be about conversational analysis – the structure of interaction in a wide range of encounters, from those very ritualized - such as ceremonies or classes- to casual conversation. We also deal with non verbal communication and their role in social interaction form a multimodal perspective. The third part will be about critical discourse analysis and ideological discourse construction. We will use the tools learned in the previous parts to trace ideology in different forms of discourse, for instance, the building of Latin identity in music, sexism in advertisement, the Latin bourgeois family in soap operas, and political discourse. Also the students will select areas of analysis and production of their interest. For the three parts of the course, students will analyze primary texts such as advertisement, music, TV series, realities, films, conversations among native speakers, news, blogs, text messages, academic production, and text books. They also will produce discourse pieces according to specific communicative purposes and situations, such as an advertising campaign, political discourses, academic texts and film/TV scripts. Secondary texts will be in Spanish (original, not translated), although there will be a recommended reading list of classical DA texts in English. Assessment and grade will be built on: 1. three take home exams on the analysis of different texts (one for each course three parts); 2. student´s production of required texts; 3. class preparation and participation.
Senior Seminar: Iberian Globalization
How to study the current process designated as “globalization” from the perspective of Early Modern times? How to construct a corpus of sources and ideas on such a relevant topic? Between the 15th and the 17th centuries, with the expansion projects of the Portuguese and Spanish crowns in Africa, Asia, America, and Europe itself, one “conquest” became more crucial than any other ––retaking the words of the philosopher Martin Heidegger, this was “the conquest of the world as an image.” Much earlier than Heidegger, in the late 16th century, the Spanish Jesuit José de Acosta had expressed this idea in an even more palpable way: the world could now be (visually and symbolically) “embraced.”
The process of conquering the world as an image and embracing it with one’s eyes closed was accompanied, however, by myriad challenges: not only mapping the new extension of the empire and updating the information in the Padrón Real from Seville, but also relying on a panoply of local representations of the territories produced from afar; not only exporting the Spanish and the Portuguese languages as a key for the expansion of the empire (as Antonio de Nebrija pointed out in 1492), but also learning local languages (Nahuatl, Maya, Chinese, Japanese, Tupí, Tamil, etc.); not only globalizing European imagery through prints and objects brought to the four parts of the world, but facing the transformation of art histories which had remained, until then, mostly autonomous; not only converting neophytes to Christianity, but innovating conversion techniques and debating on their efficacy; not only recording and depicting the flora and fauna encountered in new lands, but transforming the written and visual taxonomies through which unknown specimens could be described.
In this senior seminar we will study a great variety of primary sources to configure a possible “corpus” of research in the field of Iberian globalization: maps drawn or printed from New Spain, Perú, China, or the Philippines (the Relaciones Geográficas or the Mercedes maps, and Matteo Ricci’s or Guaman Poma de Ayala’s world maps); objects and images painted and carved in the most novel materials (corn paste, feathers, mother-of-pearl, lacquer, sandal paste, etc.); conversion books and dictionaries aimed to facilitate the process of Christianization (the Franciscan Diego Valadés’s Rhetorica Christiana or the Jesuit João Rodrigues’s conceptualization of Japanese language); books of natural history on Mexican or Indian flora and fauna (Francisco Hernández, Garcia da Orta). We will also discuss the theoretical insights of philosophers, historians, art historians, literary critics, and anthropologists (Peter Sloterdijk, Serge Gruzinski, Inés Zupanov, Jean-Michel Sallmann, Timothy Brook, Fernand Braudel, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Kenneth Pomeranz, among others) who elucidate profound aspects of the Early Modern globalization and its relationship to the contemporaneity.