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Color key indicates themes covered by the course content:

H History & Transformation

B Borders & Contact 

I Identities & Communities

L Language at work & at play 

Spring 2018

SPAN 497 (T & R 9:05-10:20)

No, all Latinos don’t sound the same: Sociolinguistic variation in US Spanish  
Grant Berry

Has a relative confused Puerto Rico with Costa Rica? Do they think every Spanish speaker they hear is from Mexico? Can you tell the difference? Migrant and longstanding Spanish-speaking communities in the US are extremely diverse, and those diverse backgrounds are reflected in the way they use Spanish. Speakers from different geographic regions speak differently, of course, but individuals within the same community also have distinct ways of speaking from one another. This course will explore variations in the Spanish-speaking world as they are observed in Spanish speakers living in the US (e.g., Puerto Ricans in Philadelphia, Spanish speakers in the Southwest, Latinos in New York and Miami), focusing on linguistic variables in the sound system of Spanish (phonology). Geographic patterns of linguistic variation will be identified and examined, and we will explore social factors—age, sex, socioeconomic status, speech style—that influence how those linguistic variables are used in conversation. Although English will be the primary language used in class discussion, required readings will be in both Spanish and English. Advanced intermediate proficiency or higher is strongly recommended.

  • I

SPAN 497 (T & R 1:35-2:50)

Latin(o) American Graphic Novel

Marco A. Martinez

This interdisciplinary seminar combines literary, visual, and historical approaches to study one of the most rapidly growing and increasingly influential forms of literature: the graphic novel. We will focus on the production made by Latin American and Latinx writers and visual artists, beginning in the late 1990s and continuing to the present day. Through reading, discussion, and presentations, students will develop the literary and visual vocabulary to analyze the conventions and possibilities of the graphic novel. Some of the topics we will be examining are national history, dystopian worlds, migration and racism, literary adaptations, and race, gender and sexuality conceptions. Class will be taught in Spanish.  

  • H
  • B
  • I


SPAN 297 (T & R 9:05-10:20)

Spanish in the Digital Age: Culture, Language, and New Technologies

Alejandro Ramiriz-Arballo

This course provides an opportunity to enhance acquisition of the fundamental elements of the Spanish language. Reading, writing and speaking skills are polished as students build on knowledge of the target culture through research, discussion and projects using the latest technology.

SPAN 497 (TBA)

Being Bilingual in a Monolingual World

Mike Johns

Linguistic scholar Francois Grosjean once famously wrote that “the bilingual is not two monolinguals in one person”. But what does this mean, and what does it imply? This question will be at the center of the course, divided into three broad sections: the language science of bilingualism, where students will be introduced to recent topics on bilingual research; the social aspects of bilingualism, which focuses on the cultural and political discussions surrounding bilingualism; and the cognitive ramifications of bilingualism, centered around the “bilingual advantage”. Students will read articles and participate in class discussions, participate in a class debate on the “bilingual advantage”, and complete a final project on a topic of their choosing. The goal of this course is to broaden students’ understanding of the science of bilingualism and further their critical thinking and argumentation skills.

Prerequisite: SPAN 215

SPAN/PORT 497 (T & R 12:05-1:20)
Through the Looking-Glass: Race in the United States and Brazil

Sarah Townsend

This course takes a comparative approach to the political and cultural dimensions of race in the United States and Brazil. Among the topics we will discuss are similarities and differences in the systems of slavery, Jim Crow segregation versus the Brazilian myth of racial democracy, the influence of funk and rap in Brazilian music, and cases of collaboration between African-American and Afro-Brazilian activists. Materials will include historical and political writings as well as films, literature, and music. Throughout the semester we will also reflect critically on the tendency of intellectuals and artists in each country to use the other as a prism through which to view race relations at home.

Prerequisites: Students may count this course toward the Spanish major or minor if they do their written work in Spanish. The prerequisite (if you would like to count it for Spanish credit) is SPAN 253. Those doing the Portuguese minor may count it if they do their written work in Portuguese. In that case you must have already taken PORT 405, or be taking it in the same semester as this course.