Hispanic Studies Department

Professors: Andrew Bush (Chair), Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert; Associate Professors: Michael Aronnaa, Mario Cesareo, Mihai GrünfeldaAssistant Professors: Nicolás Vivalda, Eva María Woods Peiró; Adjunct Assistant Professor: Olga Bush.

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 no previous instruction in Spanish.

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

Alternate years: not offered in 2009/10.

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. Mr. Bush (a); Mr. Grünfeld (b).

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

Three 50-minute periods; one hour of drill.

126a. 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 Andalusiart; 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.

Two 75-minute periods.

180a. Elementary Spanish(1)

The course provides instruction in the basic elements of the language and a foundation for continuing study.  The course presumes no prior knowledge of Spanish.  This one-semester introduction does not suffice in itself to meet the college language requirement.  Students are encouraged, therefore, to continue their studies by enrolling in HISP 109. Ms. Garzione.

Five 50-minute periods.

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. Vivalda (a); Mr. Aronna (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. Ms. Woods Peiró (a); Ms. Woods Peiró, and Mr. Grünfeld (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. Cesareo.

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. Mr. Vivalda.

Prerequisite: 216 or permission.

Two 75-minute periods.

[ 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 in 2009/10.

226a. or 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 2009/10a: Al-Andalus: Medieval Muslim Culture in the Border Zone. For a full description, see Hispanic Studies 126. Classroom instruction takes place in English, but students enrolling in Hispanic Studies 226 do reading and writing assignments in Spanish. The course may be taken for credit toward the Hispanic Studies major and correlate. Ms. Bush.

Topic for 2009/10b: 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 2009/10: Topic to be announced. Mr. Bush.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 216 or 219.

Two 75-minute periods.

228b. Modern Spain(1)

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

Topic for 2009/10b: Postmodern Sexual Identities in Post-Franco Spain. With the death of the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco's in 1975, Spain embarked headlong on a belated journey into the late twentieth century. Although the sixties had heralded a relative political and cultural apertura (opening), the chief aftershock of the end of Franco's thirty five year dictatorship was the final dissolution of the political and psychological frontiers that had ensured the tacit acceptance by Spaniards of Franco's sinister slogan: "Spain is different." How were "tolerant" conceptions of sexuality—alternatives performances of femininity, androgyny, homosexuality, lesbianism, polymorphous sexuality, etc. — represented in Post Franco Spanish literature and cinema? Coursework includes viewing of films by Pedro Almodóvar, reading of theoretical and literary texts, attending class discussions and writing a final research paper. The literary aspect of the course focuses on the narrative genre, including short stories as well as sections of novels, by Juan Goytisolo, Almudena Grandes, Lucía Etxebarría, and Eduardo Mendicutti. During the semester we shall analyze the works of these authors from a variety of perspectives and applying different theoretical tools including feminism, queer and camp theory. Mr. Vivalda.

Prerequisite: Hispanic Studies 216 or 219.

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.

Topic for 2009/10: Latin American Literature and the Environment. The course explores the links between history, the environment, and literature in Latin America. It follows the environmental history of the continent from pre-Columbian societies to the present through its representation in salient works of Latin American literature, from Amerindian texts to twenty-first century literature and film. Ms. Paravisini-Gebert.

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.

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 2009/10a: Literatura Argentina. The course explores the social, philosophical and literary import of some of the key literary pieces of Argentine fiction from the 1930s to the present. Works by Borges, Arlt, Cortázar, Rivera, Valenzuela, among others. Mr. Cesareo.

Topic for 2009/10b: Science Fiction, Horror and the Occult in Latin America. This seminar examines the unique origins and evolution of the literature and film of science fiction, horror and the occult in Latin America. The course focuses on the culturally heterogeneous and politically charged context of notions of nature, futurity, progress, dystopia, desire, the uncanny, anxiety, the repressed and the unknown that underlie these interrelated genres in Latin America. Mr. Aronna.

One 2-hour period.

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 2009/10b: Race and Ethnicity in Modern Spain. This course traces the construction and projection of race through literary, filmic, and visual culture in modern Spain. Recent critical theory on race informs the course's analysis of the paradigms adopted throughout Spanish history to construct notions of racial alterity. Moving beyond the question of how or if authors and filmmakers have succeeded in countering racist representations, course discussions map out the contradictory social and aesthetic discourses that sustain images of racialized subjects. The class begins by studying the ethno-religious ideology of the period of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim co-habitation, and then proceeds to examine the gradual integration of ideologies of race upheld by Western capitalist modernity. Discussions then move to the mid-nineteenth century, to the foundational text of Carmen, and from there it dedicates the rest of the semester to twentieth-century novels, plays, films, and visual culture. Ms. Woods Peiró.

One 2-hour period.

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

Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Madrid

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 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 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 or 219.