Hispanic Studies Department

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 the Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Madrid (academic year) study abroad program, open to all qualified students.

Advisers: The department.

I. Introductory

105a. Elementary Spanish Language (1)

Fundamentals of the grammar and structure of the Spanish language with emphasis on oral skills and reading. Mr. Barreto, Ms. Woods.

Year long course 105-106.

Open to students with no previous instruction in Spanish.

Four 50-minute periods; one hour of drill.

106b. Elementary Spanish Language (1)

Fundamentals of the grammar and structure of the Spanish language with emphasis on oral skills and reading. Ms. Woods Peiró.

Year long course 105-106.

Open to students with no previous instruction in Spanish.

Four 50-minute periods; one hour of drill.

109a or b. Basic Spanish Review (1)

Fundamentals of the grammar and structure of the Spanish language with emphasis on oral skills and reading. Successful completion of this one-semester course fulfills the college language requirement. Ms. Woods.

Open to students with 1 or 2 years of high school Spanish.

Three 50-minute periods; one hour of drill.

II. Intermediate

205a or b. Intermediate Spanish (1)

Intensive study and review of Spanish grammar at the second-year level with emphasis on oral practice and writing skills. Mr. Aronna, Mr. Baretto (a); Mr. Vivalda (b).

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

Three 50-minute periods.

206a or 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. Mr. Cesareo(a), Mr. Vivalda (b).

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

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

216a or 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. Mr. Grünfeld (a), Mr. Aronna (b).

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 206 or permission.

Two 75-minute periods.

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.

Prerequisite: 216 or permission.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered 2011-12.

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.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 216 or 219.

Two 75-minute periods.

Alternate years.

Not offered 2011-12.

226b. Medieval and Early Modern Spain (1)

Studies in Iberian literary and cultural production from the time of the Muslim conquest of the Peninsula to the end of the Hapsburg Empire.

Topic for 2011/12b: Framing Poverty and Social Mobility: The Picaresque Novel in Spain and Latin America.. (Same as Latin American and Latino/a Studies 226) 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 or 219.

Two 75-minute periods.

227a. Colonial Latin America (1)

Studies in Latin American literary and cultural production from the European invasion to the crisis of the colonial system.

Topic for 2011/12a: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 Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, Sab. In these and other texts we trace the invention and reinvention of Latin America in popular an scholarly imagination until the end of the nineteenth century. Mr. Grünfeld

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 216 or 219.

Two 75-minute periods.

228a. Modern Spain (1)

Studies in Spanish literary and cultural production from the beginning of the Bourbon monarchy to the present. Topic for 2011/12 a: Spain on the Verge: Shifting Gender and National Identities in Modern Spain. Moments of radical political upheaval throughout Spain’s modern history (the Glorious Revolution, the Disaster of '98, the Civil War and the Transition) have provoked crises of identity for the women and men who must redefine what it means to be—or not be—Spanish. When the nation has found itself on the verge of dissolution, alternative notions of gender, sexuality and nationality have been able to find expression in literary, intellectual and visual cultural production. Using a framework of gender and postcolonial theory, this course undertakes a cross-historical analysis of the interdependency of gendered, sexual and national discourses in the 19th-21st centuries within Spain, seen and read in its literature and film. Mr. Barreto.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 216.

Two 75-minute periods.

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.

(Same as Latin American and Latino/a Studies 229) Topic for 2011/12b: 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 its repression, democracy, and Zapatismo. Readings may include texts by Mariano Azuela, Rosario Castellanos Juan Rulfo, Carlos Fuentes, Octavio Paz, Elena Poniatowska, and Laura Ezquivel. Mr. Grünfeld

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 216 or 219.

Two 75-minute periods.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

Individual projects or internships. The department.

Special permission.

Prerequisite: 1 unit of Hispanic Studies 205 or above.

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1.5)

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

III. Advanced

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 2011/12a: New Argentine Cinema. The seminar follows the appearance and development of the Argentine New Wave, from the mid-1990s to the present. These films have initiated a new direction in Argentine and Latin American film, as they try to find new narrative forms that symbolically articulate and transform the radical crises—cultural, national and economic—that neoliberalism and its aftermath brought to the Argentine landscape. In the process, new voices, ethnic communities, sexualities and social sensibilities emerge, questioning established ways of thinking and looking at the nation and its uneasy fragments. The emerging result has been a boom in production that the public and film festivals worldwide have recognized through accolade, prizes, worldwide distribution and critical praise. Films by auteurs such as Adrián Caetano, Martín Rejtman, Pablo Trapero, Lucrecia Martel are discussed, bearing on themes such as the circulation of bodies and labor, nation, migration and globalization, memory and subjectivity, the eye vs. the gaze, the spheres and politics of social space, and the political unconscious of melodrama and allegory within the context of subalternity and the Third World. Mr. Cesareo.

One 2-hour period.

Topic for 2011/12b: Detective Fiction in Latin America. This seminar examines the unique 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.

One 2-hour period.

388a or b. 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 2011/12a: New Cinema and Media in Spain, 1992-2002. This course examines visual media, specifically digital cinema, television, and computer-based forms of media produced in Spain between 1992 and 2010. We consider these cultural productions in conjunction with readings on current events affecting Spain, social issues in the country, and theoretical considerations of Spanish media and film. The presentation of class material are organized according to the issues of co-productions, cross-over tendencies, transnational film and media productions, and new forms of representation (race, domestic abuse, immigration, prison dramas, war, and violence), generic dislocation, the overshadowing of cinema by television, and the principal user practices and applications of the computer interface. Ms. Woods Pieró.

Topic for 2011/12b: Conversos, Witches and Bawds: Rounding Up the Usual Suspects. The course centers on La Celestina (1499), a classic of Spanish literature of which Cervantes said "it would be divine were it not that it is so human." The converso background of the author, the urban setting of the story, and the interrelated professions of the heroine--witch, go-between and madame of a brothel--allow for consideration of issues of sexuality and gender, commerce and modernization, and religious heterodoxy in the very moment of the Catholic unification of Spain and the dawning of the Age of Inquisition. Mr. Bush

One 2-hour period.

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