Hispanic Studies

Professors: Andrew Bush, Lizabeth Paravisini–Gebert; Associate Professors: Mario Cesareo (Chair), Mihai Grünfeldab, Patricia Kenworthy; Assistant Professor: Michael Aronna; Visiting Assistant Professors: Daniel Chavez, Eva Woods.

Requirements for Concentration: 10 units of courses numbered Hispanic Studies 205 and above, which must include three of the following: Hispanic Studies 226, 227, 228, 229, and at least three units at the 300–level taken on campus, including one unit each of Hispanic Studies 387 and 388. Two units must be elected in the senior year. After declaration of the concentration or correlate, all courses in the department must be taken for a letter grade.

Senior–Year Requirements: Two units at the 300–level. Students who wish to be considered for departmental honors must complete a senior thesis (Hispanic Studies 300).

Teaching Certification: Students who wish to obtain Secondary Certification in Spanish must complete, in conjunction with the program of study outlined by the education department, 8 units of 200–level courses and above in Hispanic Studies.

Correlate Sequence: 6 units in the department at the level of Hispanic Studies 205 and above. At least one of these units must be a 300–level course taken at Vassar.

Special Program: Vassar College, Wesleyan University, and Colgate University sponsor jointly a program of study in Spain. A major in Hispanic Studies is expected to participate in this program or a comparable program in Latin America during either the sophomore or junior year. Students concentrating in other fields are also accepted, within the regulations of the chair of their various departments and the dean of studies office. Courses offered in the Spain program are included below.

Advisers: The department.


I. Introductory

105a–106b. Elementary Spanish Language (1)

Fundamentals of the grammar and structure of the Spanish language with emphasis on oral skill and reading. Ms. Kenworthy, Ms. Woods.

Open to students with one year or less of high school Spanish.

Five 50–minute periods; one hour of laboratory or drill.

109b. Basic Spanish Review (1)

An intensive review of first–year Spanish. The department.

Open only to freshmen and sophomores who have had two years of high school Spanish. Students who have taken Hispanic Studies 105–106 may not take Hispanic Studies 109 for credit. Mr. Bush

Three 50–minute periods and two hours of laboratory or drill.


II. Intermediate

205a. Intermediate Spanish (1)

Intensive study and review of Spanish grammar at the second–year level with emphasis on oral practice and writing skills. Ms. Woods.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 105–106 or 109, or three years of high school Spanish.

Three 50–minute periods and one hour of conversation.

207a or b. Reading and Writing about Latin American Culture (1)

An introduction to issues in Latin American culture past and present. Intensive and extensive work in essay writing and oral presentations. Assignments focus on the development of skills for research and writing in Spanish. Mr. Chavez.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 205 or four or more years of high school Spanish. Students who have taken Hispanic Studies 208 may not take Hispanic Studies 207 for credit.

208b. Reading and Writing about Spanish Culture (1)

An introduction to issues in Spanish culture past and present. Intensive and extensive work in essay writing and oral presentations. Assignments focus on the development of skills for research and writing in Spanish. Ms. Kenworthy.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 205 or four or more years of high–school Spanish. Students who have taken Hispanic Studies 207 may not take Hispanic Studies 208 for credit.

217b. Methods in Interdisciplinary Analysis: Latin America (1)

This course develops a set of methodological and theoretical tools for the investigation of cultural practices such as literature, popular and mass culture, social movements, and institutions within the context of Latin American social formations. Mr. Cesareo.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 207 or 208.

Students who have taken Hispanic Studies 218 may not take Hispanic Studies 217 for credit.

218a. Methods in Interdisciplinary Analysis: Spain (1)

This course develops a set of methodological and theoretical tools for the investigation of cultural practices such as literature, popular and mass culture, social movements, and institutions within the context of Spanish social formations. Mr. Bush.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 207 or 208.

Students who have taken Hispanic Studies 217 may not take Hispanic Studies 218 for credit.

226a. Medieval and Early Modern Spain (1)

Studies in Spanish literary and cultural production from the time of the Reconquest to the end of the Hapsburg Empire.

Topic for 2001/02: Desire and Despair in Early Modern Spain. A study of desire (political, amorous, religious, etc.) and despair and the linguistic styles used to express these sentiments. Ms. Kenworthy.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 217 or 218.

227b. Colonial Latin America (1)

Studies in Latin American literary and cultural production from the European invasion to the crisis of the colonial system. Thematically structured, the course is anchored in the social, political, and institutional processes undergone by Latin America as a result of its incorporation into European mercantilism.

Topic for 2001/02: El Reino de la Imagen. Text and image in the colonial history of the Americas have always been in constant correlation. To revisit the literature of Discovery, Conquest, and the Colonial societies demands from the reader the careful study of the visual and textual imaginary of the era. In this class we read chronicles, poems, and essays from the original sources and the translation of indigenous maps and codex in order to problematize the reception of the indigenous heritage and the eventual invention of the Americas by the Western mind. Using contemporary cinematographic representations and confronting them with our survey of original texts, we also question and discuss our own understanding of concepts like: colonialism, conquest, independence and nation. Finally, we discuss how these concepts have an impact in the production of images from hieroglyphs to exvotos from sixteenth century navigational charts to the portraits of the revolutionary heroes of the independence. Mr. Chavez.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 217 or 218.

228b. Modern Spain (1)

Studies in Spanish literary and cultural production form the beginning of the Bourbon monarchy to the present.

Topic for 2001/02: Cityscapes in Modem Spain. The strong ambivalence of Spanish culture towards urban life marks its troubled relationship to modernity. This course devoted to modern literature begins with a consideration of the traditional Spanish topos of menosprecio de la corte and the corresponding valorization of the retired life. Much attention is dedicated to the development of an urban literature in the nineteenth century, guided by theoretical considerations drawn from the work of Walter Benjamin. Finally, the ambivalence is traced through twentieth–century literature, including some comparative study of the differences between Castille and the other regions of the Iberian Peninsula. Mr. Bush.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 217 or 218.

229a. Postcolonial Latin America (1)

Studies in Latin American literary and cultural production from the emergence of the nation states to their contemporary crisis. Thematically structured, the course delves into the social, political, and institutional processes undergone by Latin America as a result of its uneven incorporation into world capitalist development.

Topic for 2001/02: Estéticas de la marginalidad. The course is an aesthetic examination of various cultural practices by and about marginal groups in Latin America. Materials studied include the cinema, written fiction, the essay, testimony, slave narrative, poetry and social movements from the nineteenth century to the present, and from Argentina to Mexico, the United States, and the Spanish Caribbean. The problematics of national cultures, territoriality, globalization, the crisis of liberal–bourgeois foundational fictions, and the emergence of alternative discourses constitute the theoretical backdrop of the course. Mr. Cesareo.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 217 or 218.

280b. Countering and Legitimizing Hegemony: Spain Through the (1)

Media, 1700–2001

An introduction to the study of the history and development of various media in Spain from 1700 to the present: the printed book, la literatura de cordel, newspapers, magazines, advertisements, lithographs, radio, film, film posters, comics, television, and the internet. The course aims at familiarizing the students with the language of media study, the salient methodological and theoretical approaches to media analysis, and the links between the development of specific media and socio–political history. A strong emphasis is placed on oral and written expression by means of presentations and written reports. Ms. Woods.

Prerequisites: Hispanic Studies 217 or 218.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

Individual projects or internships. The department.

Special permission.

Prerequisite: 1 unit of Hispanic Studies 207, 208 or above.

298. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Prerequisite: 2 units of Hispanic Studies 226 or above. The department.

Special permission: Students interested in pursuing an independent study must submit an application (available from the chair) detailing their project to the department by Friday of the first full week of classes each semester.


III. Advanced

Prerequisite for all advanced courses: 3 units from Hispanic Studies 217 and above or by permission of instructor.

300a or b. Senior Thesis (1)

The department.

387. Latin American Seminar (1)

A seminar offering indepth study of topics related to the literary and cultural history of Latin America. This course may be repeated for credit when the topic changes.

Topic for 2001/02a: U.S. Latino/a Discourses: The Politics of Style.Fiction, essay, and testimonial narratives by U.S. Latino/a writers are examined from an interdisciplinary perspective. The course explores the ways discourses and cultural practices bear directly on how nation, race, ethnicity, identity, and gender are lived and perceived in Latino/America. The readings provide a panoramic view of the general themes, sensibilities, and artistic imaginations of Latino/a writers as they reflect on their personal and collective struggles to come to terms with American realities. The historical specificity on which discourses happen are noted, while calling attention to the common elements found across the ethnic experience of cultural resistance, affirmation, and erasure. Mr. Cesareo.

Topic for 2001/02b: From Nature to Environment: Ecological Thought in Latin America. The course traces the history of nature writing in Latin America from the pre–Columbian period to the present with a focus on the evolution of environmental thought throughout the continent. It pays particular attention to the evolution of notions of conservation and the development of ecological activism in the region. Readings include travel narratives, historical chronicles, political treatises, poems, essays, novels, and conservation reports. Ms.  Paravisini–Gebert.

388a. Peninsular Seminar (1)

A seminar offering in depth study of topics related to the literary and cultural history of Spain.

Topic for 2001/02: Projecting Race in Twentieth Century Spain. Despite their symbolically central place in literary and artistic traditions in Spain, historically and socially Rrom (pejoratively know as Gypsies) and African immigrants have been persecuted and oppressed. Likewise, Basque, Catalan and Galician cultures have been prohibited from expressing themselves due to prohibition of their language and their traditions. This course traces the construction and projection of race and peripheral nationality through a wide array of texts ranging from canonical authors and cultural anthropologists to popular writers, artists, and filmmakers. Issues discussed include the examination of paradigms that were consistently adopted throughout Spanish history to construct notions of racial alterity and thereby justify exclusion of minorities; if or how authors and filmmakers have succeeded in countering racist representations; and finally the possibility of successful self representation of these excluded groups. Ms. Woods.

399. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Vassar–Wesleyan–Colgate Program in Spain

210a. Spanish Language and Civilization (1)

Taught in Santiago de Compostela, this course is geared to develop linguistic skills and general knowledge of Spanish history and culture in preparation for the fall semester in Madrid. The morning session includes classes in Spanish language, literature, history, and contemporary political and social issues. A program of cultural activities and field trips organized in the afternoon introduces students to the artistic heritage of Santiago, one of Europe's foremost medieval cities, and to the cultural richness of the region of Galicia, so that their language and cultural knowledge improves in contexts beyond the classroom. One academic credit, ungraded, is awarded for this course.

212a or b. Advanced Spanish (1)

An intensive language review, focusing on grammar, conversation, and composition. Weekly oral and written exercises.

246a or b. Perfecting Spanish: Cultural Events (1)

A writingskills course in which the compositions are based on class field trips to museums, art exhibits, concerts, plays, lectures, and films.

248a or b. The Culture of Flamenco An introduction to the theory and practice of Flamenco dance. (1)

An introductory to the theory and practice of Flamenco dance.

249b. Mediterranean World: Between Europe and Islam (1)

Political and economic relations between the European nation of Spain and the Islamic nations of northern Africa.

250a. A New World: America and Spain (1)

Spanish history from the Islamic period to the discovery and conquest of the New World (eighth to seventeenth centuries). Special attention is given to the Hapsburg dynasty, the formation of an empire, the role of the Inquisition, and the Spanish reaction to the Protestant reformation.

251b. Spanish History: 1800–Present (1)

Political, social, and economic history of Spain since 1800. Topics include: the Spanish reaction to the Napoleonic invasion, social and political formations in the period of industrialization and urbanization, the origins and consequences of the Spanish Civil War, and the transition from the Franco dictatorship to the parliamentary democracy that currently exists in Spain.

252a. The Spanish Civil War (1)

A study of the major event in modern Spanish history. Special emphasis on the social and economic causes, the ideological tensions that existed in Spain and most of Europe during this period, and the internationalization of the conflict.

254b. Art, Architecture and Design (1)

Innovations in art, architecture and design in twentieth–century Spain.

255a or b. History of Spanish Painting (1)

A survey of Spanish painting from the Renaissance to Picasso, with emphasis on the masters of the Spanish school: El Greco, Velazquez, Murillo, Zurbaran, and Goya. Classes include visits to the Prado and other museums in Madrid, plus a field trip to Toledo to study El Greco in context.

256b. Women in Spain: Historical and Sociological Perspectives (1)

An historical, political, and sociological study of the role of women in Spanish society. Special emphasis given to the new legislation affecting women that emerges in postFranco Spain and to demographic analyses of women's participation in the formation of a new society from 1980 to the present. Intended especially for history, sociology, and political science majors, but all others are welcome.

258b. Introduction to Contemporary Spanish Cinema (1)

A survey of Spanish cinema from the 1960s to the present. Special emphasis is given to the political, sociological, and cultural context within which Spanish cinema has developed.

259a. Spain and the European Union (1)

Spain's formal entry into the European Economic Community (EEC) in the 1980s signaled an important moment in the country's political, economic, and social resurgence. This course focuses on the background and meaning of this event in the context of modern Spanish history, in relation to current economic trends, and with special attention to current Spanish and European political institutions. Intended especially for history and economics majors, but all others are welcome.

260a. 261b. Special Topics (1)

When necessary, students may petition for approval to enroll in a course sponsored by another American university at the Instituto Internacional. Special topics is a rubric used to record such courses or any course taken through direct enrollment at a Spanish university in Madrid.

257. Ethnography of Spanish Culture (1)

A close study of Spanish cultural formations in their traditional and contemporary context. Lectures, critical readings, and class discussions focus on such topics as the relationship between individual and collective identity, popular festivals and religious rites, urbanization, and the recent rise of immigration resulting from rapid economic development. Intended especially for anthropology majors, but all others are welcome.

263a or b. Modem Spanish Narrative (1)

Analysis of selected novels and/or short stories from modem Spain (since 1800).

264a. Modern Spanish Poetry (1)

Analysis of selections from the collections of the most influential Spanish poets, from the midnineteenth century to the present.

265a or b. Spanish Theater (1)

Analysis of selected plays from classical (16th and 17th century) and/or modem (20th century) Spain. Course includes attendance at pertinent plays in performance in Madrid.

266b. Latin American Narrative of the Twentieth Century (1)

Analysis of selected novels and short stories from twentieth–century Latin America.

270b. Seminar on Literature (1)

An advanced, researchoriented seminar on a specific writer or topic in Spanish and/or Latin American Literature. Topic changes yearly. This course is normally taught by the program director and is highly recommended for Spanish majors.