Hispanic Studies Department

Professors: Andrew Busha, Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert; Associate Professors: Michael Aronna (Chair), Mario Cesareo, Mihai Grünfeld; Assistant Professors: Nicholas Vivalda, Eva Maria Woods.

Requirements for Concentration: 10 units beyond the introductory level. These 10 units must include 3 units from the group Hispanic Studies 226, 227, 228, 229 and 3 units at the 300 level, including one Latin American Seminar (387) and one Peninsular Seminar (388). Two units must be elected in the senior year. After declaration of the major 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 beyond the introductory level, 3 of which must be taken at Vassar, including at least one 300-level course.

Study Away: Majors are expected to study, usually during the junior year, in a Spanish-speaking country. The department sponsors two study away programs: the Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Madrid (academic year) and the Vassar Summer Program in Peru (summer), open to all qualified students. The courses offered in each of these programs 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 skills and reading.

Open to students with two years or less of high school Spanish.

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

II. Intermediate

205a and b. Intermediate Spanish (1)

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

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

Three 50-minute periods.

206a and b. Reading and Writing about Hispanic Culture (1)

Reading, writing and speaking skills are developed through study of cultural and literary texts and audiovisual materials.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 205 or four years of high school Spanish.

Two 75-minute periods plus one hour of oral practice.

216a and b. Methods in Interdisciplinary Analysis (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 in Spanish-speaking countries.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 206.

225b. Writing Workshop (1)

The workshop provides a space for the development of the student’s ability as reader and writer of texts in Spanish. Reading and writing assignments include journals, poetry, prose fiction, autobiography, and the essay. The theoretical readings and practical exercises are designed to enrich the student’s ability to give form, texture and voice to their writing projects. Mr. Cesareo.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 216 or permission.

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 2007/08: War and Culture in Imperial Spain. An analysis of the role of cultural production and practice as an essential component of the Spanish Empire’s imperial wars of expansion and conquest within the Iberian Peninsula, Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa and the New World. Texts include lyric and epic poetry, narrative histories, centennial conferences, painting, museum installations, theological writings, architectural sites, drama, the visual arts and music that mobilize, authorize and commemorate Spanish imperial warfare from the late middle ages through the present day. The course explores and compares the language and imagery of Spanish Imperial conflict with Muslim, Christian and indigenous kingdoms and peoples. Mr. Aronna.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 216.

227a. Colonial Latin America (1)

Topic for 2007/08: The Invention of America. This course explores a variety of texts and genres that trace the process of the “invention” of the New World. We begin with the Mayan myth of creation in the Popol Vuh and examine a variety of forms of mythical, literary and historical fabrications in texts like Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca’s Naufragios, Bartolomé de las Casas’s Brevísima Relación, Clorinda Matto de Turner’s Aves sin nido and Eugenio Cambaceres’s En la sangre. In these and other texts we trace the invention and reinvention of Latin America in popular and scholarly imagination until the end of the nineteenth century. Mr. Grünfeld.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 216.

228b. Modern Spain (1)

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

Topic for 2007/08: Rhetoric and Poetics of the Spanish Civil War. This course is a study on the political rhetoric and aesthetic consequences of the major event in modern Spanish history. Some emphasis is placed on the social and ideological tensions that caused the civil confrontation. Special attention is paid to key pieces of rhetorical writing by right wing intellectuals as Ramiro de Maeztu’s “Defensa de la hispanidad” and José Maria Pemán’s “Semblanzas del caudillo Franco” (a radicalized praise of Franco’s political and moral qualities). The course also analyzes the aesthetics of war and its call for resistance in selected war poems by Antonio Machado, Rafael Alberti, Miguel Hernández, and Cesar Vallejo. Paintings by Pablo Picasso and films by Ken Loach and Guillermo del Toro are also examined. Mr. Vivalda.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 216.

229b. Postcolonial Latin America (1)

Studies in Latin American literary and cultural production from the emergence of the nation states to the present. 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 2007/08b: Mexican Literature, Art, and Popular Culture. Through the study of a variety of objects produced in Mexico since 1900—literary texts, films, paintings, illustrations, and other manifestations of popular culture—this course explores ways of constructing a hybrid Mexican identity. Topics for discussion include the Mexican Revolution, the Muralist movement, the 1968 student movement and it repression, democracy, and Zapatismo. Readings may include texts by Mariano Azuela, Rosario Castellanos, Juan Rulfo, Carlos Furentes, Octavio Paz, Elena Poneatowska, and Laura Ezquivel. Mr. Grünfeld.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 216.

290a or b. Field Work ( 1/2 or 1)

Individual projects or internships. The department.

Special permission.

Prerequisite: 1 unit of Hispanic Studies 206 or above.

298 Independent Work ( 1/2 or 1)

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

III. Advanced

Prerequisite for all advanced courses: 3 units from Hispanic Studies 216 and above or by permission of instructor.

300b. Senior Thesis (1)

The department.

387a or b. Latin American Seminar (1)

A seminar offering in‑depth 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 2007/08a: Detective Fiction in Latin America. This seminar examines the literary origins and development of detective fiction in Latin America in different national, political, and cultural contexts to inquire how specific genres of detective fiction and film correspond to particular issues of organized crime, class and ethnic difference, governability, corruption, quotidian violence, urbanization, and the media across Latin America. Mr. Aronna.

Topic for 2007/08b: Latin American Avant-Garde. In this seminar we study some of the most important Latin American Avant-Garde texts from the beginning of the twentieth century. Through poetry, narrative, film, and painting we identify the aesthetics of the avant-garde movement, investigate its relationship to social commitment, nationalism, American, and feminism, and examine the relationship between Latin American and European vanguards. Authors may include: Miguel Angel Asturias, María Luisa Bombal, Oliverio Girondo, Nicolás Guillén, Vicente Huidobro, Pablo Neruda, Pablo Palacio, Magda Portal and César Vallejo. Mr. Grünfeld.

388a. Peninsular Seminar (1)

A seminar offering in-depth study of topics related to the literary and cultural history of Spain. This course may be repeated for credit when the topic changes.

Topic for 2007/08a: The Treatment of Honor in Golden Age Theater. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Spanish theatre became immensely popular, and moved from palace to public theatre and town square. In Spain and its colonies, legitimacy and the related limpieza de sangre (blood that was clean, or free from the taint of non-Christian or nonwhite ancestry), were required in order to have honor. Honor was necessary in order to hold public office, practice certain professions, take holy orders, and attend university. This seminar historicizes and contextualizes different treatments of honor in Spanish Golden Age Theater. Our study focuses on a few selected plays by Miguel de Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Ruiz de Alarcón, Calderón de la Barca, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Gabriel García Márquez’s Crónica de una muerte anunciada are also explored as an excellent example in the development of the concept of “honra” in contemporary Latin American literature. Mr. Vivalda.

399 Senior Independent Work ( 1/2 or 1)

Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Madrid

210 Spanish Language and Civilization ( 1/2)

This orientation course offers an intensive language review and an introduction to selected aspects of Spanish culture. In the fall term, this course is taught in Santiago de Compostela; in the spring term, in Granada.

211 Advanced Spanish Language (1)

Study and application of the grammatical principles which underlie effective written and oral communication in Spanish.

212 Composition (1)

Study and practice of various forms of prose composition, such as letters, diaries, news reports, analytic essays and research papers.

230 Modern Spanish Literature (1)

An overview of the most significant literary movements, genres and authors of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Spain.

231 Modern Latin American Literature (1)

Reading and analysis of selected works by twentieth-century Latin American writers.

232 The Short Story in Spanish (1)

Theory and practice of the short story as exemplified by writers from Spain and Latin America.

233 Spanish Theater: From Drama to Performance (1)

Study of selected Spanish plays, with special attention to the realization of the script in performance.

234 History of Spain (1)

This course explores some of the pivotal moments in Spanish history, from antiquity to the present.

235 Spanish Cinema (1)

An introduction to the terminology of film aesthetics and the evolution of cinema in Spain.

236 Spanish Art History (1)

The art and architecture of Spain from medieval times to the present. Class visits to the principal museums and to representative neighborhoods in Madrid.

237 European and Spanish Law (1)

An introduction to the fundamental texts and tenets of the Spanish legal system (civil, penal and commercial).

238 European and Spanish Institutions (1)

An overview of the governmental organization of contemporary Spain (the monarchy, the parliamentary system, the judiciary, regional and local governments) and the political structure of the European Union.

239 European and Spanish Economy (1)

The state of the Spanish economy since Spain joined the European Union.

240 Spain Today (1)

Social, political and cultural aspects of present-day Spain as reflected in the daily press.

241 Geography of Spain: Space and Society (1)

A study of the physical and human geography of Spain through the spatial analysis of topography and cultural, political, and socioeconomic systems.

245 Special Topics: Estudios Hispánicos (1)

A special studies (i.e., not regularly offered) class taught in the Curso de Estudios Hispánicos at the Universidad Carlos III in Madrid.

250 Special Topics: Humanidades ( 1/2)

Students in the Spain Program may enroll in short-term classes offered in the Curso de Humanidades at the Universidad Carlos III in Madrid.

260 Specials Topics: Universidad Carlos III (1 or 1 1/2)

Students in the Spain Program may enroll in regular undergraduate classes (Asignaturas de Licenciatura) at the Universidad Carlos III in Madrid.

Vassar Summer Program in Peru

Students in this six-week summer program in Cusco, Peru take two units: 204, Peruvian Culture, plus one language or literature course.

204 Peruvian Culture (1)

A series of workshops, lectures, excursions, readings and discussions form the basis of this examination of selected aspects of Peruvian culture. Required of all program participants.

205 Intermediate Spanish (1)

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

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

220 Language Study: Advanced (1)

Study of selected topics of Spanish grammar at the advanced level.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 205-206 or four or more years of high school -Spanish.

275 Peruvian Literature. (1)

Reading and analysis of Peruvian literary works.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 216.