Hispanic Studies Department

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.

Programs

Major

Correlate Sequence in Hispanic Studies

Courses

Hispanic Studies: I. Introductory

105a. Elementary Spanish Language (1)

Fundamentals of the grammar and structure of the Spanish language with emphasis on oral skills and reading. Ms. Postigo-Guzman.

Open to students with no previous instruction in Spanish.

Yearlong course 105-HISP 106.

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. Postigo-Guzman.

Open to students with no previous instruction in Spanish.

Yearlong course HISP 105-106.

Four 50-minute periods; one hour of drill.

109a. 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.

110b. Latin American and Spanish Literacy and Cultural Topics (1)

(Same as JWST 110) Topic for 2015/16b: Sephardim. This course surveys the cultures of the Sephardim, that is the Jews of the Iberian Peninsular and their heirs, across several centuries and several lands. Study begins with both the medieval Christian, and especially Muslim kingdoms of what is now Spain, continues through the long century of forced conversion culminating in the expulsion of 1492, and follows the exiles from Iberia to two centers of Sephardic culture in early modern Italy and Amsterdam. There is also an epilogue, turning further east and to more recent times, considering Sephardic Jews of the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Thus, the course is organized and contextualized historically, but the primary materials, principle methodologies and theoretical constructs are drawn rather from literary and religious studies and philosophy. Mr. Bush.

Two 75-minute periods.

Hispanic Studies: 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. Bush (a); Mr. Fink, Mr. Vivalda (b).

Prerequisite:HISP 105-HISP 106 or HISP 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. Grünfeld (a); Ms. Postigo-Guzmán (b).

Topic for 2015/16a: Latin America: Past and Present. This course is an introduction to Latin American history and culture, while it develops reading, writing and speaking skills in Spanish. Through the study of cultural and literary texts (short stories, poetry and essays) and audiovisual material (music, fine arts and films) we cover the main Latin American historical periods and also discuss the Hispanic presence in the United States. Some of the texts studied are: Popol Vuh, Nicolás Echevarría's Cabeza de Vaca, María Luisa Bemberg'sYo la peor de todas and Camila, the murals of Diego Rivera, Nicolás Guillén's afro-Cuban poetry, Violeta Parra's protest song, Luisa Valenzuela's short novel Cambio de armas and Luis Valdes's Zoot Suit. Mr. Grünfeld.

Topic for 2015/16a: Reading, writing and speaking skills are developed through study of cultural and literary texts and audiovisual materials. Mr. Aronna.

Topic for 2015/16a: Reading, writing and speaking skills are developed through study of cultural and literary texts and audiovisual materials. Mr. Bush.

Topic for 2015/16b: Indigenous Currents of Thought in Latin America: Subversive Influences and Connections. In this course, we focus on indigenous epistemologies in Latin America. We study non-Western conceptions of reality and history in different indigenous texts and performances. In order to do so, we examine how contemporary indigenous thinking is related to the colonial system that began in the sixteenth century and remains today. Reviewing historical details about constitutive moments in Latin America, including the development of the first indigenous government in the region (Bolivia), permits us to understand the political significance of our texts. Material for this class includes texts from the colonial period to the present, along with mythic narratives, poetry, songs, performances and films. At the same time, we review important grammatical structures for improving writing and speaking in Spanish. Improvement of Spanish language skills is one of the main goals of this class. Ms. Postigo-Guzmán.

Topic for 2015/16b: Reading, writing and speaking skills are developed through study of cultural and literary texts and audiovisual materials. Mr. Aronna.

Prerequisite: HISP 205 or four years of high school Spanish.

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

216a and b. Topics in Multidisciplinary 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. Ms. Paravisini (a); Mr. Vivalda (b).

Topic for 2015/16a: Latin American Culture through Music. This course explores the history, culture and geographies of Latin America through its musical traditions, with particular attention to modern theories of cultural interpretation. Materials for analysis will include music videos, literary texts, film and art as we seek to piece together the social, anthropological and personal dimensions of the region's music. Ms. Paravisini.

Topic for 2015/16b: Reading Latin America through its Horrors and Fantastic Short Stories. In Latin America terror stories comprise not only the narration of paranormal and psychological delusions but also a very effective mirroring of specific social and political conditions. This course introduces students to literary analysis through the lens of horror and fantastic fiction. Materials for analysis will include literary texts by Rubén Dario, Leopoldo Lugones, Manuel Gutiérrez Nájera, and Horacio Quiroga. We will also potentially examine films by Guillermo del Toro, Jorge Michel Grau, and Carlos Enrique Taboada. Mr. Vivalda.

Prerequisite: HISP 206 or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

219a and b. 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. Ms. Woods.

Prerequisite: HISP 216 or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2015/16.

Two 75-minute periods.

225a and b. Creative Writing Workshop (1)

This year's workshop provides a space for the development of the student's ability as a writer of fiction in Spanish. Writing projects could include short stories, drama, poetry and miscellany, depending on the student's individual interests. Workshop members share, read and critique each other's writing. We also engage some readings and exercises designed to enrich the student's ability to give form, texture, and voice to their writing. Mr. Cesareo.

Prerequisite: HISP 216 or HISP 219 or permission of the instructor.

Alternate years.

Two 75-minute periods.

226a and b. 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 2014/15a: Pícaras, Busconas and Celestinas: Reading the Discourse on Prostitution in Early Modern Spain. This course considers how the discourse on early modern prostitution present in literary and legal sources informs us on the larger social framework that regulates women's behavior in sixteenth and seventeenth century Spain. Through the study of a variety of legal measures and moral treatises that define the boundaries of sin in Early Modern Spain, we trace the rich symbolic and literary trajectory of the pícara-prostitute. From this sociological perspective, our focus explores the reasons behind the popularity of the female picaresque genre, paying special attention to the anxieties that the regulation of prostitution caused in Spanish society. Materials for analysis include selections of legal texts, moralist writings and literary works by Francisco Delicado, Miguel de Cervantes, and María de Zayas. Mr. Vivalda.

Prerequisite: HISP 216 or HISP 219.

Not offered in 2015/16.

Two 75-minute periods.

227b. Colonial Latin America (1)

(Same as LALS 227) Studies in Latin American literary and cultural production from the European invasion to the crisis of the colonial system.

Topic for 2015/16b: Screening the Past: Filmic Adaptations of Latin American Colonial Society. This course considers how the Latin American, European and American film industries have imagined, represented, and revised crucial moments and issues from Latin America's colonial past with a special focus on the contemporary agendas of the filmmakers in their depiction of colonial society, culture, and politics. We study the many original colonial texts and sources which inspired these films and examine the cinematic techniques for the adaptation and revision of colonial perspectives, beliefs, and practices which seek to make them accessible and meaningful to contemporary audiences. Mr. Aronna. 

Prerequisite: one course above HISP 206.

Two 75-minute periods.

228a. Modern Spain (1)

(Same as WMST 228) Studies in Spanish literary and cultural production from the beginning of the Bourbon monarchy to the present.

Topic for 2015/16a: Virgins, Vamps and Terrorists: Women, Gender and Modern Spain. In this course we familiarize ourselves with the various ways of seeing the Spanish Woman from the late nineteenth century to the beginning of the twenty first century by those who have sought to define her: intellectuals, politicians, scientists, historians, doctors, priests, and nuns. By analyzing feminist responses to these prescriptions, we question how images of women have been produced and interpreted through the dichotomy of the virgin/whore. By studying literary (novel, poetry, drama) and (audio) visual texts (film, television shows, magazines, posters, comics), we trace the ways in which this dualism has been promoted or undermined in order to uphold or attack the interests of nationalisms, class hierarchies, division of labor, gender-sex construction, religion, understandings of space, and terrorism. Ms. Woods.

 

Prerequisite: one course above HISP 206.

Two 75-minute periods.

229a. Postcolonial Latin America (1)

(Same as LALS 229) 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 2015/16a: Mexican Literature, Art, and Popular Culture. Through the study of a variety of texts 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: HISP 216 or HISP 219.

Two 75-minute periods.

290a or b. Field Work (0.5to1)

Individual projects or internships. The department.

Prerequisite: one unit of HISP 205 or above.

Special permission.

298a or b. Independent Work (0.5to1.5)

The department.

Prerequisites: 2 units of HISP 226 or above, and permission of the instructor.

Does not fulfill the requirement for 200-level work in the major or the correlate sequence.

Hispanic Studies: III. Advanced

300b. Senior Thesis (1)

The department.

387a or b. Latin American Seminar (1)

(Same as LALS 387) 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. Ms. Postigo-Guzmán (a); Mr. Mihai Grünfeld (b).

Topic for 2015/16a: The Poetics of Andean Literature: Form Colonial Times to the Present. In the Andes we can still experience the encounter between two different epistemologies, the Western and the indigenous Andean. In this sense, it is not by chance that Andean literature leads us to other cultural expressions, for instance, to dances, any form of performance, oral narratives, myths, and even historical events. We can find these expressions as being part of the structure of many literary texts in the region. This course is focused on Andean literature that contains this kind of intertextuality. In addition to the study of literary texts, we will become familiar with some fundamental tenets of Andean philosophy in order to explore more profoundly the literary works. Readings will include texts from Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador (narratives, poetry, and plays). By exploring images that either express strong emotions (such as grief, anger, hope, etc) and/or create forces to change the course of reality (such as resilience, memory, love, etc.), we will look for connections among different texts in order to study what this literature is moving, provoking or undermining in the Andes. Ms. Postigo-Guzmán.

Topic for 2015/16b: The Poetry of Pablo Neruda. In this seminar we examine the works of the man whom Gabriel García Márquez had once called "the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language." In addition to studying selections from most of Neruda's poetry, we read his autobiography Confieso que he vivido, his play Fulgor y muerte de Joaquín Murieta, his manifestos and essays, discuss the movie Il postino and study several documentaries about the poet's life. By examining the different styles of Neruda's poetry, we define the major poetic movements of twentieth century Latin America. Mr. Grünfeld.
 

Prerequisite: HISP 216 and one course above 216.

One 2-hour period.

388b. 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 2015/16b: Violence, Honor and Gender Construction 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, theater plays began to depict a culture obsessed with honor, where a man resorted to violence when his or his wife's honor was threatened through sexual disgrace. The seminar explores the character of this violence as a result of the strict application of the "honor code", a complex social and rhetorical strategy whereby both men and women decided how to dispute issues of truth and reputation. Readings include selected plays by Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, and Calderón de la Barca. Mr. Vivalda.

Prerequisite: HISP 216 and one course above HISP 216.

One 2-hour period.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (0.5to1)

Special permission. Does not fulfill the requirement for 300-level work in the major or correlate sequence.