Hispanic Studies Department

Professors: Andrew Bush (Chair), Lizabeth Paravisini-GebertbAssociate Professors: Michael Aronna, Mario Cesareoa, Mihai Grünfeld; Assistant Professors: Nicholas Vivaldaa, Eva Maria Woodsb.

a Absent on leave, first semester.
b Absent on leave, second semester.

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. Courses taken in Spain or Latin America or during the summer may be substituted with department approval.

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 Programs in Mexico or Peru, 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.

182b. Al-Andalus: Medieval Muslim Culture in the Border Zone (1)

Muslim armies entered the Iberian Peninsula from North Africa in 711 C.E., and there was still armed resistance against the Christians for more than a century after Ferdinand and Isabel proclaimed “mission accomplished” in 1492. This course examines the distinctive culture of al-Andalus (medieval Muslim Iberia), created during that long period. Study is oriented around three monuments, representing three moments in cultural history: Madinat al-Zahra, a palatial city near Cordoba, where Muslim power was first consolidated in a caliphate; the Alhambra of Granada, a palatial complex in the last Iberian Muslim kingdom, and the high point of andalusi art; and the Alcazar of Seville, a palace built by Muslims under Christian rule. The course sets the art, architecture, and literature of al-Andalus in the context of other muslim lands, especially the uneasy relationship with North Africa. There is some consideration of the Muslim influence on Christian Spain and the Jewish communities of al-Andalus. Finally, some attention is devoted to the new Friday Mosque of Granada and the return of Muslim culture to contemporary Spain through recent North African immigration. Ms. Bush.

Open to all classes. Readings and lectures in English.

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.

219b. Advanced Grammar and Composition (1)

This course offers an in-depth coverage of Spanish grammar with emphasis on reading and writing skills. A more traditional approach in grammar explanations is combined with the study of numerous examples and exercises based on everyday life. The objectives of this course are 1) to provide a thorough review of major topics of Spanish grammar—ser and estar, por and para, the preterit and the imperfect, sequence of tenses, conditional clauses, etc.; 2) to explore in-depth the different mechanics of writing in Spanish (punctuation, written accents, etc.); 3) to work on writing skills in Spanish through the use of various writing techniques and strategies—the art of writing narratives, dialogue, descriptions, letters, and reports; 4) to improve reading skills and knowledge of vocabulary and idiomatic expressions in Spanish; 5) to continue to increase cultural knowledge of the Spanish-speaking world. Through the use of the target language in class, this course also contributes to the general language acquisition process. Some translation work is required as well—contextualized passages in English translated into Spanish are used to illustrate a variety of grammatical principles. Mr. Vivalda.

Prerequisite: 216 or permission.

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 2008/09b: Framing Poverty and Social Mobility: the Picaresque Novel in Spain and Latin America. The emergence of the picaresque novel in Spain and its migration to the “New World” forms one of the most fascinating chapters in the history of the novel. The protagonist of these texts is a social underdog (Spanish pícaro) who experiences different adventures as he drifts from place to place and from one social milieu to another in his struggle to survive. His efforts to medrar or improve his social standing are presented against a social background that proves itself to be deceiving and highly volatile. The course examines a broad selection of texts—literary and filmic—ranging from the picaresque genre’s foundational Spanish texts to later Latin American works that recreate this tradition in the specific historical and cultural conditions of the Americas. Mr. Vivalda.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 216.

227a. 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 2008/09: Topic to be announced.

228a. Modern Spain (1)

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

Topic for 2008/09a: El Macho Iberico: Masculinity in Modern Spain. This course studies how constructions of masculinity (heterosexual and gay) have supported or undermined ideologies of nationalism, the state, and Spain’s exported image of itself to the rest of the world. Beginning with Enlightenment notions of the subject, the observer, and bourgeois patriarchy, we examine how representations of masculinity were manipulated during Romanticism, the Generation of 1898, the Franco dictatorship, and post-Franco Spain. The objects of study are novels, poetry, plays, and films. Ms. Woods.

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 2008/09: Topic to be announced.

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 2008/09a: From Modernismo to Post-Modernity: Poetry in Latin America. In this seminar we examine a wide array of poetical forms throughout Latin America and consider the way in which they interact with modernity. We study the main poetical movements and modalities in Latin America such as the turn of the century modernismo, the avant-garde, antipoesia, Nicaraguan testimonial poetry, indigenous poetry, cinematic poetry, and some of the more recent web based experimental virtual and hyperpoetry. Among the poets studied are: Ruben Darío, Cesar Vallejo, Pablo Neruda, Gabriela Mistral, Nicanor Parra, Ernesto Cardenal, Octavio Paz, Alejandra Pizarnik, Carmen Ollé, Cecilia Vicuña, Humberto Ak’abal, Ricardo Castillo. Mr. Grünfeld.

Topic for 2008/09b: Aesthetics and Marginality. The course examines the problematics of marginality in Latin America as dealt with and constructed by various artistic practices (such as film, fiction, journalism, painting, and testimonial writing) representative of different moments in the development of Latin American societies. Mr. Cesareo.

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 2008/09a: Don Quijote: Theoretical Approaches. A patient and intensive study of Cervantes’ Don Quijote, a cornerstone of Spanish culture, illuminated through the reading of selected theoretical texts, above all, Michel Foucault’s The Order of Things. Mr. Bush.

One 2-hour meeting a week.

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 11/2)

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 Mexico or Peru

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

204. Mexican or Peruvian Culture (1)

A series of workshops, lectures, excursions, readings and discussions form the basis of this examination of selected aspects of Mexican or 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 Mexican or Peruvian Literature. (1)

Reading and analysis of Mexican/Peruvian literary works.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 216.