Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

Identities & Communities

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Identities & Communities

SPAN 130 – Iberian Civilization (3 credits)

Course Description: Spanish 130 is a general education course on Iberian culture and civilization. The goal of this course is to provide the student with a broad, general introduction to the lands, peoples, history, and cultures of the area known as Spain and Portugal; to inform the student about the region¿s ethnic diversity, cultural heritages, and problems of development; to investigate vital symbols, myths, figures, icons, superstitions, and faiths; to foster critical thinking and associative skills; to suggest continuity and draw parallels between past and present; and to allow for a framework for undertaking further study. This course will survey the civilizations of these European lands and we will get an overview of the main historical events that make up this rich and complex history.The course is designed to expose students to the full range of Iberian history and diversity. Since we are covering centuries of history and several other variables (linguistic, artistic, ethnic, religious, political, economic, geographic, biologic, etc.), this tour will of necessity be pretty rudimentary. However, students will acquire an understanding of the diverse cultural currents and historical milestones that contributed to the creation of modern Spain and Portugal.
Prerequisite: None

SPAN 131 – Ibero-American Civilization (3 credits)

Course Description: Spanish American and Brazilian life from the Conquest to the present; including studies of literature, art, the indigenous heritage, and contemporary problems. This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.The nations and peoples of Latin America have a unique, interesting history and cultural heritage that are rooted in the traditions, beliefs, experiences, values, and struggles of Native American, European, African and other populations. As close neighbors and major trading partners of the United States, Latin American republics have both benefited and suffered from the proximity and foreign policies of the northern capitalist democracy, and have contributed to its strength and growing ethno-racial diversity. This course aims to provide the student with a broad, general introduction to the lands, peoples, and history of Latin America; to inform the student about the region’s ethnic diversity, cultural background, and problems of development; and to promote appreciation for the values and practices of other cultures, and a better understanding of relations between the nations of the region and the United States. Traditional resident classes will usually combine presentation of content and discussion of reading assignments, with an expectation of high student participation. Films, videos, and recordings will enhance and illustrate readings. This course will fulfill the Humanities Breadth and Cultural Diversity requirements. The course does not count toward credits in the major or minor in Spanish because it is taught in English. Nevertheless, it will complement the department’s offerings by providing students with a greater appreciation of Latin America’s cultural origins, socioeconomic development, and everyday realities.
Prerequisite: None

SPAN 131Y – Ibero-American Civilization (3 credits)

Course Description: Spanish American and Brazilian life from the Conquest to the present; literature, art, the indigenous heritage, and contemporary problems. The nations and peoples of Latin America have a unique, interesting history and cultural heritage that are rooted in the traditions, beliefs, experiences, values, and struggles of Native American, European, African and other populations. As close neighbors and major trading partners of the United States, Latin American republics have both benefited and suffered from the proximity and foreign policies of the northern capitalist democracy, and have contributed to its strength and growing ethno-racial diversity. This course aims to provide the student with a broad, general introduction to the lands, peoples, and history of Latin America; to inform the student about the region’s ethnic diversity, cultural background, and problems of development; and to promote appreciation for the values and practices of other cultures, and a better understanding of relations between the nations of the region and the United States. Classes will usually combine lecture and discussion of reading assignments, with an expectation of high student participation. Films, videos, and recordings will enhance and illustrate readings. Three examinations (each covering approximately one third of the lessons presented), an occasional quiz, a book report or an annotated bibliography, participation and attendance will be the basis for evaluation of student learning and grades. Students are required and expected to read assignments, to attend class regularly, and to be prepared to participate in class discussions by answering and raising questions relevant to the lessons. Poor attendance will adversely affect a students standing and grade. This course will fulfill the Humanities Breadth and Cultural Diversity requirements. The course does not count toward credits in the major or minor in Spanish because it is taught in English. Nevertheless, it will complement the department’s offerings by providing students with a greater appreciation of Latin America’s cultural origins, socioeconomic development, and everyday realities.
Prerequisite: None

SPAN 132 – Afro-Hispanic Civilization (3 credits)

Course Description: A general introduction to human and cultural elements of African origin in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries of Latin America. This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements. The nations and peoples of Latin America have a unique, interesting history and cultural heritage that are rooted in the traditions, beliefs, experiences, values, and struggles of Native American, European, African and other populations. This course focuses on the presence and participation of African peoples and their descendants in the formation and development of societies and cultures in representative areas of the Caribbean, South America, and CentralAmerica and on the evolution, diversity, and richness of the African heritage therein. Course content includes the African background, the experience and impact of slavery, the social, cultural, and economic heritage of slavery, the role of race in Latin America, and Afro-Hispanic intellectual, literary, and artistic developments (e.g., aspects of folklore, music). The course aims to provide students with a general introduction to human and cultural elements ofAfrican origin within the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking nations of theAmericas so that they may be more knowledgeable of the meaning, significance and widespread influence of the African diaspora. It proposes to provide the student with a better understanding of Africa’s contribution to Latin American identity, diversity, culture, and development; to promote appreciation for the values and practices of other cultures, and greater awareness of the relations between the nations of the region and the United States.
Prerequisite: None

SPAN 210 – Readings in Iberian Civilization (3 credits)

Course Description: Intermediate level Spanish readings dealing with Iberian life from pre-historic times to the present.
Prerequisite: SPAN 200

SPAN 220 – Readings in Ibero-American Civilization (3 credits)

Course Description: Intermediate level Spanish readings dealing with Ibero-American life from the pre-conquest to the present.
Prerequisite: SPAN 200

SPAN 297 – Spanish in the Digital Age: Culture, Language, and New Technologies

Instructor: Alejandro Ramírez-Arballo
Course Description: 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 297B – Introduction to Latin America Visual Culture

Course Description: Photographs, cartoons, graffiti, movies, cartels, blogs, advertisement, music videos, newspaper, underground magazines, blogs, are some of the manifestations of the contemporary visual word. This course offers an introduction to the Latin American visual culture in its nearly infinite manifestations.
Prerequisite: SPAN 100

SPAN 316 – Building Words and Sentences in Spanish (3 credits)

Course Description: Building words and sentences in Spanish. Analysis of Spanish work structure and its relationship to syntactic structures. SPAN 316 is an introduction to the study of Spanish morphology and syntax. In linguistics, morphology is the study of the morphemes (e.g. affixes, words, roots) of language and how they combine together to form words. Syntax is the study of how words combine together to form phrases and sentences. Because this course is for Spanish majors and minors, the focus in this course is on the structure of words, phrases, and sentences in Spanish, how Spanish compares to other languages, and how morphology and syntax vary across Spanish dialects. Special focus will be made on explaining the kinds of errors typical of English-speaking learners of Spanish as a second language, and a primary goal of the course is for students to improve their proficiency in using Spanish morphosyntax. The course is taught in Spanish.
Prerequisite: SPAN 200, SPAN 215

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SPAN 326 – Reading the Border/Lands (3 credits)

Course Description: This course examines representations of the U.S.-Mexico border in relation to the actual geographic space. SPAN 326 centers on discussions of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands in cultural theory and practice. “Borderlands” is understood as a transcultural space filled with physical, cultural, economic, political, and mythical elements. The aim is to view how different artists from the Borderlands, both northern Mexican and Chicano, mediate their borderlands reality. That is to say, the goal of the class is to examine the different “imaginative geographies” in the borderlands. We examine a wide-ranging mix of cultural texts that includes prose, poetry, essays, and performance art, as well as film and video art. We explore how writers have historically rethought notions of citizenship, identity, and culture to create more fluid spaces of representation in cultural contact zones. We will in particular, pay close attention to the relationship between national geography and the shaping of regional identities and popular cultures between the maps that nations draw and the cultural forms that cut across them.
Prerequisite: None

SPAN 353 – Topics in the Cultures of Spain (3 credits)

Course Description: This course offers a comparative study of the literature, artistic manifestations, intellectual traditions, and cultural productions of Spain. This course offers a comparative study of the literature, artistic manifestations, intellectual traditions, and cultural productions of Spain. Depending on the semester focus, topics related to literary movements, comparative approaches to genre, and/or connections between textual representation and politics, social movements, and/or Spain’s long and complex history (both locally and globally) may be at the center of discussion. Additionally, varied issues of gender, race and ethnicity, rural and urban environments, religion, and evolving conceptions of nationhood may be included as overarching themes. Particular literary genres and representative works may be foregrounded in yet another iteration of the course, wherein students will study and discuss principal readings against cultural backdrops framed by exposure to art, film, music, and/or other historical, intellectual, sociopolitical, and/or media-based materials of relevance to the semester-specific context at hand.
Prerequisite: SPAN 200 and SPAN 253W

SPAN 354 – Topics in Border Studies (3 credits)

Course Description: This course offers a study of borders as key sites of contact, exchange, conflict, hybridity, and identity production in and across varied contexts of Spanish, Latin American, and/or Latina/o culture(s). This course offers a study of borders – geopolitical, social, intellectual, literary, artistic, and/or historical – as key sites of contact, exchange, conflict, hybridity, and identity production in and across varied contexts of Spanish, Latin American, and/or Latina/o culture(s). While diverse variables (including diaspora, gender, race and ethnicity, sexuality, colonialism, nationhood and transnationalism) will inform particular iterations of the course, approaches and text selection will be shaped by an understanding of borders as constructs defined by conditions of dynamic interaction and transformation. Materials to be considered in the course, which will vary according the focus, may include literary, artistic, and intellectual works, film, media-based texts, music, and/or historical documents.
Prerequisite: SPAN 200 and SPAN 253W

SPAN 355 – Topics in the Cultures of Latin America (3 credits)

Course Description: This course offers a comparative study of the literatures, artistic manifestations, intellectual traditions, and cultural productions of the Latin American region. This course offers a comparative study of the literatures, artistic manifestations, intellectual traditions, and cultural productions of the Latin American region. Throughout the course, we will reflect on the (im)possibility of characterizing a vast region by taking into account ongoing factors its broader history and culture, as well as national and local particularities. Topics will vary by semester and may include: literary and artistic periods and movements, (post)coloniality and decoloniality, the politics of race, gender, and sexuality, urban and rural sociopolitical movements, (self-)representations in old and new media, discourses of the political (populisms, revolutions, dictatorships, and neoliberalism), and migration studies. Students will engage with literary texts, historic documents, art, music, and other materials in order to understand different kinds of writing and forms of representation. While most materials will be in Spanish, the course may also include works in translation from Brazil, as well as the English- and/or French-speaking Caribbean.
Prerequisite: SPAN 200 and SPAN 253W

SPAN 356 Topics in the Cultures of the Americas (3 credits)

Course Description: This course offers a comparative study of the literatures and cultures of the Americas, bringing Latin America into dialogue with the United States (and in some instances Canada). This course offers a comparative study of the literatures and cultures of the Americas, bringing Latin America into dialogue with the United States (and, in some instances, Canada). Throughout the course, we will explore the (dis) continuities that both connect and divide the hemisphere, and we will trace the movement of people, artistic practices, and ideas across borders while paying attention to the distinctive aspects of national and local cultures. Topics will vary by semester and may include: empire and colonialism, the literary and cultural legacies of slavery, the figure of the “native,” crime literature or science fiction in the Americas, theater of the Americas, literatures and cultures of the Spanish-American War, media and the U.S./Mexico border, and cultures of the Caribbean diaspora. Although the course may cover English-language materials, or works in translation from Brazil and/or the French-speaking Caribbean, most of the texts/recordings/films will be in Spanish, as will all assignments written by students.
Prerequisite: SPAN 200 and SPAN 253W

SPAN 397 – Modern Spanish Short Story

Course Description: This course will examine the genre of the Spanish short story from the mid-nineteenth century through the post-Franco years of the Transition to democracy and beyond, focusing on such topics as: an evolving aesthetics of “the real,” the mechanics/stylistics of short narrative fiction in the Peninsular context, voices and perspectives from Spain’s cultural margins, conceptions of national identity, the metafictional mode, the subgenre of the fantastic, and a longstanding tradition of humor and social critique.

SPAN 418 – The Evolution of Spanish (3 credits)

Course Description: The emergence and development of the sounds and forms of Spanish.
Prerequisite: SPAN 200 and SPAN 215

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SPAN 439 – Don Quijote (3 credits)

Course Description: Thorough study of the masterpiece, including its sources, genesis, language, style, success, and influence.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

SPAN 470 – Youth Cultures in Latin(a/o) America (3 credits)

Course Description: Young people have been at the center of political and cultural revolutions around the world and throughout history. For example, revolutions, urban movements, ethnic/racial pride, LGBTQ+, feminist movements, music basaars, DJs and rave parties, and “barras de futbol” are only some of the manifestations associated with young people in Latin(a/o) American literature, film, music, and journalism. Nevertheless, the concept of “youth” as an academic category only appeared in the 1960’s. In this course, we will study different manifestations of youth cultures in the Hemispheric Americas, paying special attention to the Latinx communities in the U.S. and Latin America, since the 1960’s and until the contemporary moment. The key question that will guide us is: How does each of these literary, artistic, and media representations of youth enter into dialogue with political events in which young people have been at the center of efforts to bring about political changes in the U.S. Latinx communities and Latin American? Using short fiction, film and documentaries, songs, blogs, and other cultural materials (YouTube clips, images, graffiti, etc.), we will identify and compare different youth cultures in Latinx communities in the U.S. and Latin America in terms of their productions, representations, and effects in the public sphere. We will enrich our analysis of primary materials with theoretical and critical readings that will help us to contextualize the different manifestations in our study.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

SPAN 472 – The Contemporary Spanish American Novel (3 credits)

Course Description: The regionalist and social novel since 1910, together with the social background.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

SPAN 474 – Many Mexicos (3 credits)

Course Description: Overview of Mexican literature, culture and history from pre-colonial period to present.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

SPAN 476 – Masterpieces of Spanish American Literature (3 credits)

Course Description: Reading, analysis, and discussion of selected major works representative of Spanish American prose and poetry.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

SPAN 479 – U.S. Latina/o Culture en Español (3 credits)

Course Description: This course is conducted in Spanish and will analyze some of the central themes that shape the diverse Latina/o experiences in the United States. Some of the main topics that the course will address include: the politics of labeling; definitions of displacements; the politics of language; imaginary homelands and geographic spaces; and conceptualizations of race, gender, and sexuality. These themes will be seen through the lens of Latina/o literature and film. The main objective of this course is to help students think critically about the conceptual, theoretical, historical, and social issues that inform the Latina/o experience in the United States.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

SPAN 488 – War, Revolution, and the Struggles for Modernity: Spain 1898-1939 (3 credits)

Course Description: This course, conducted in Spanish, examines Spanish literature from 1898 to 1939.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

SPAN 490 – Masterpieces of Spanish Prose (3 credits)

Course Description: Reading, analysis, and discussion of selected masterpieces of Spanish novels, short stories, etc.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

SPAN 491 – Masterpieces of Spanish Drama and Poetry (3 credits)

Course Description: Reading, analysis, and discussion of selected masterpieces of Spanish drama and poetry.
Prerequisite: None

SPAN 497 – A Thousand Faces

Instructor: María Izquierdo
Course Description: In this course, we will develop our capacity to observe our surroundings in new ways and use the written word to manipulate different types of readers. We will also consider the introduction of images, gifs, and videos into the production of some of the stories that we will create. We will write stories as short as 140 characters, participating in Twiteratura, and as long as 6 pages. Topics discussed may be controversial, absurd, or sensitive in nature, and we will learn to navigate them while offering and receiving constructive criticism in a respectful manner.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

SPAN 497 – Bi(lingual) Curiosity: Identity and Language in the Spanish-speaking world

Time: MWF, 12:20-1:10 p.m.
Instructor: Ashley Pahis
Course Description: This course explores the many ways in which we as language users construct, maintain, and express ourselves through language both orally and physically. We as humans possess similar means by which to produce language. How, then, do we manipulate the ways in which we speak and act to express ourselves and make our voices heard? We will discuss topics such as the performative aspects of gender and the acoustic manifestations of sex, gender, and sexuality in Spanish and other languages, as well as more recent movements striving for more inclusive language.
Prerequisite: SPAN 215

SPAN 497 – Bilingualism in the U.S.: Acquisition, Cognition, & Community

Instructor: Dora LaCasse
Course Description: This course will focus on the study of bilingualism in the United States. We’ll discover how bilinguals acquire their languages, how they manage their two languages, and how they use them, as members of bilingual communities. We will take a cross-disciplinary view, exploring major questions from both corpus-based and laboratory approaches.
Prerequisite: SPAN 215

SPAN 497 – Don Quijote and Errant Subjects in a Global Context

Instructor: Elizabeth Lagresa-González
Course Description: This course examines Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s masterpiece Don Quijote de la Mancha, focusing on close readings and literary analysis of major themes such as reality/fiction, perspectivism/ ambiguity, and deeds/words, covering a range of topics from  gender and race relations to economic crises, religious turmoil and social inequality. Special emphasis will be placed on examining the representation of “others,” within the context of the expulsion of Jewish and Moorish minorities. The course will consider “errant” subjects in its two dimensions: as those straying from the accepted course, unacceptable actions; and traveling in search of adventure, a wondering journey. By applying a cross-disciplinary approach, Cervantes’ work will be discussed in relation to the artistic and historical context of renaissance and baroque Spain, drawing upon the visual arts and J.H. Elliott’s Imperial Spain, while deconstructing the different kinds of fiction — pastoral, picaresque, the Moorish novel, the Italian novella, and the romance of chivalry — that inhabit this novel.

Attesting to its global reach, Don Quijote has been influential to thinkers from Lukács to Foucault to Bakhtin to Girard to the Frankfurt School, and to writers from Nabokov to Borges to Flaubert to García Márquez and beyond. No other book, with the exception of the Bible, has been translated to more languages, or undergone more editions and reprints. A herald of modernity, Cervantes’ novel casts a vast influence on both Western and Latin American literature.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W 

SPAN 497 – Historical Memory in Recent Spanish Film, Fiction, and Comics

Time: MoWeFr 10:10 AM – 11:00 AM
Instructor: Matthew Marr
Description: This course will examine the concept of historical memory in contemporary Spanish cinema, narrative, and comics. We will consider a stylistically diverse set of cultural productions which have played no small role in catalyzing and informing Spain’s belated, if now vigorous, public reckoning vis-à-vis the full traumas of the Civil War (1936-1939), the ensuing Franco dictatorship (1939-75), and the so-called “Pacto del Olvido” (the Pact of Forgetting) of the transition to democracy.
Prerequisites: (SPAN 100A or SPAN 200) and SPAN 253W

SPAN 497 – Latin(o) American Graphic Novel

Instructor: Marco A. Martínez
Course Description: 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.

SPAN 497 – Lyric(s) Culture in Modern Spain & Latin America

Time: TR, 10:35-11:50 a.m.
Instructor: Matthew Marr
Course Description: This course will examine the creative deployment of verse, song, and the lyrical across a diverse range of Spanish and Latin American cultural productions of the modern period, including film, fiction, performance, official propaganda, and social movements.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

SPAN 497 – Modern Hispanic Short Story

Instructor: Matthew J. Marr
Course Description: This course will offer an in-depth study of the genre of the modern (and, in some instances, postmodern) short story as cultivated—in Spanish—by some of Spain and Latin America’s most vibrant narrative voices of twentieth century through the present.  Primary texts will include selections by, among others, Horacio Quiroga, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Juan Rulfo, Gabriel García Márquez, Camilo José Cela, Ana María Matute, Miguel Delibes, Juan Goytisolo, Rosa Montero, Javier Marías, and Juan José Millás.  Special attention will be given to the mechanics of form and suspense, as well as to an evolving aesthetics of “the real.”  The cultural referents at play in each short story will also be closely examined, as will transatlantic patterns of literary influence and cosmopolitanism (vs. regionalism) among the authors considered.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

SPAN 497 – No, all Latinos don’t sound the same: Sociolinguistic variation in US Spanish

Instructor: Grant Berry
Course Description: 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.

SPAN 497 – Representation, Reenactment, and Revolution in Latin America: 1910-present

Time: MWF, 2:30-3:20 p.m.
Instructor: Lily Ryan
Course Description: This course offers a multidisciplinary, multimedia approach that examines incidences of social upheaval that have taken place in Latin America throughout the last century. Using literature, photography, and cinema, it traces how state violence, natural disasters, and political instability have been represented in the Americas, while questioning the critical and geopolitical implications of these representations in the space that we consider to be “Latin America.” These works emanate from a variety of sources that include, but are not limited to, the autobiographical, the historical and the journalistic. We will look at how truth, authority, memory, and fiction give way to our historical understanding of each event. Rather than be all-encompassing, this course examines specific incidents of turmoil and change and combines a historical outlook with analyses of how these events have been represented. In doing so, it serves as a survey course for modern Latin American culture and as an introduction to media studies, as each week’s primary texts will be supplemented with secondary sources on media.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

SPAN 497 – Spanish Social-Issue Cinema

Instructor: Matthew J. Marr
Course Description: Since the 1990s, a growing number of filmmakers in Spain have gravitated toward projects concerned with socially charged topics: domestic abuse, terrorism, national memory/amnesia, rural depopulation, immigration, economic malaise, secularization, assisted suicide, disability, etc. In doing so, directors have carved out a heretofore underdeveloped space in a national cinema which, until 1975, saw authoritarian censorship under Franco force directors’ hands with respect to critical openness—and where in the 1980s a flair for art-house experimentation (fueled by the fresh air of democracy) often left real-world issues checked at the cinema door. Yet, just as themes inseparable from a nuanced understanding of contemporary Spanish society have recently moved to the fore of its cinema, so too has the macrogenre of social-issue film diversified in stylistic terms. This course will explore Spanish social-issue cinema through a close analysis of several feature films, documentaries, shorts, frequent theoretical readings, and assignments designed to develop students’ skills as critical viewers.

SPAN 497 – The Many Faces of Early Modern and Modern Hispanic Culture.

Time: MWF,1:25-2:15 p.m.
Instructor:
 Mary Barnard
Course Description: This is an interactive course that examines works of literature and art within aesthetic, social, and political contexts in early modern (sixteenth century) and modern Spain. It will study early modern cross-cultural excursions into Africa, Italy, and the American colonies and modern topics dealing with the Spanish Civil War, feminism, and the culture of the Roma. Three films will be included, Tierra y libertad (Land and Freedom-director: Ken Loach; Diarios de motocicleta(director: Walter Salles), and Un chien andalou (An Andalusian Dog, director: Luis Buñuel, script by Buñuel and Salvador Dalí).  Works of art by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Frida Kahlo will be included.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

SPAN 497 – The Spanish your teachers never told you about.

Time: MoWeFr, 1:25-2:15 p.m.
Instructor: Matthew Carlson
Course Description: Have you ever failed to understand someone because they didn’t use the word “whom” properly? There is often quite a difference between how one is “supposed to” use a language, and how the language is actually used in the world. Where does this difference come from? Why are some ways of speaking considered to be more correct, more logical, or more polite, and others are disdained, discouraged, or ridiculed? More importantly, how do these judgments spread, and what are their consequences? Our focus in this course will be on stigmatized varieties of Spanish. Through that focus, we will explore why languages vary and change, why some forms come to be considered wrong or just plain bad, who uses these forms and why, and how people come to be judged, profiled, and discriminated against on the basis of how they speak. A central aspect of this course will be the exploration of primary data, both to study how Spanish is spoken by different people in different places, and to discover what different people say about varieties of Spanish, and about those who use those varieties.
Prerequisite: SPAN 215

SPAN 497 (Section 2) – Modern Hispanic Short Story

Time: MoWeFr, 2:30-3:20 p.m.
Instructor: Matthew Marr
Course Description: This course will offer an in-depth study of the genre of the modern/contemporary short story as cultivated in Spanish by some of Spain and Latin America’s most vibrant narrative voices of the twentieth century through the present.  Primary texts will include selections by, among others, Horacio Quiroga, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Juan Rulfo, Rosario Castellanos, Rosario Ferré, Roberto Bolaño, Ana María Matute, Miguel Delibes, Rosa Montero, Javier Marías, Juan José Millás, and Javier Cercas.  Special attention will be given to the mechanics of form and suspense, an evolving aesthetics of “the real,” engagement with social critique, and short narrative’s commentary on the (post)modern human condition. The cultural referents at play in each text will also be closely examined, as will transatlantic patterns of literary influence and cosmopolitanism (vs. regionalism) among the authors considered.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

SPAN 497 (Section 3) – Cultural Trends in Contemporary Spain and Hispanic America

Time: MoWeFr, 12:20-1:10 p.m.
Instructor: Mary Barnard
Course Description: This course explores literary texts, art works, and films from twentieth-century Spain and Hispanic America and the cultural currents that subtend their production.  It will study the Industrial Revolution and reactions by modernist writers; colonialism and neocolonialism; slavery and questions of race and hybridity; transatlantic crossing of people and ideas that nourish new ways of thinking and new ways of knowing; material culture, with discursive objects and artefacts serving as carriers of culture and bearers of identity; the African roots of Caribbean poetry; and the plight of minorities, women and gypsies, in Spanish society. Films by Pedro Almodóvar and Alejandro González Iñárritu will be included.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

SPAN 497A – Contemporary Latin American Cinema

Course Description: This course explores Latin American cultures through the study of films of the past quarter of a century.

SPAN 497A – Ink and Gunpowder: Detention and Interpretation in Spanish and Spanish American Detective Short Stories

Course Description: The goal of this undergraduate course is to give students the theoretical grounding to analyze detective texts, and to introduce them to major trends in Spanish and Spanish-American detective fictions. By reading a collection of short stories, which adopt and adapt different elements of the genre (the criminal, the law, the motivation, the investigation, etc.) we will examine how several Spanish and Spanish American writers use the crime model as a pre- text and a pretext to undergo social criticism, self-inquiry and meta- fictional questionings that expand the scope of the classical whodunit.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

SPAN 497B – Women in the Contemporary Spanish-speaking World: Literature and Films

Course Description: This course explores the contributions of women throughout the Spanish- speaking world to contemporary literature and film, so as to deepen the understanding of its complex and rich cultures.

SPAN 497C – Avant-Garde Primitivisms

Course Description: In this course we will explore the ways in which the tension between the drive for futurity and the appeal of the “primitive” plays out in the visual art, poetry, prose, theater, and films of Latin American and European artists commonly regarded as “avant-garde.”
Prerequisite: SPAN 200 and SPAN 253W

SPAN 497D – How Languages are Learned

Course Description: (1) how do humans learn additional languages after they have learned their first langauge? (2) How does bilingual language development compare to monolingual language development? (3) Why do we find variability in rates and outcomes of second language acquisition? (4) What does it take to acquire advanced language skills in a second language? By answering these questions, this course introduces students to the field of first, second, and bilingual language acquisition.
Prerequisite: SPAN 200 and SPAN 215

SPAN 497E – The Social Life of Spanish Phonetics

Course Description: This course focuses on variation in Spanish phonetics and phonology causes by dialectal differences and other social factors (age, gender, socioeconomic status, identity). In this course you will also learn how to conduct your own research experiment to investigate the influence of these factors on pronunciation.
Prerequisite: SPAN 200 and SPAN 215

SPAN/LTNST 315N – Spanish and Spanish-speakers in the U.S. (3 credits)

Course Description: In this course, we investigate various aspects of the language(s) and language behaviors of U.S. Latinos. The course is premised on the idea that language is a crucial component in the formation of identity. To understand Latina/o identity formation in the U.S., then, one must analyze what role languages–Spanish and English–have played in identity formation. The class commences with a brief historical assessment of the various U.S. Latino communities, including Mexican-American, Cuban-American, and Puerto Rican communities. Such a historical purview proves significant in the study of the cultural traditions that persist in these communities, chief among these, the Spanish language. In exploring the Spanish language in U.S. Latino communities, we consider several major sets of questions, among them the following: In what ways do the languages of U.S. Latino communities differ from those of monolingual Spanish- (and English-) speaking communities? What factors contribute to the maintenance and loss of Spanish in these communities? How does language contribute to the creation of individual and societal identity? How is language exploited in the representation of other U.S. Latino cultural traditions? We consider these questions across a variety of genres: poetry, prose (autobiography in particular), film, art, television, and music. These texts reveal how social environments determine language use as well as how artists have used language to reshape social environments, through, for example, the development of new language practices such as Spanish-English code switching. The course also connects these cultural practices to debates on Spanish in public life and policy.
Prerequisite: None

SPAN/LTNST 479 – U.S. Latina/o Culture en Español (3 credits)

Course Description: This course is conducted in Spanish and will analyze some of the central themes that shape the diverse Latina/o experiences in the United States. Some of the main topics that the course will address include: the politics of labeling; definitions of displacements; the politics of language; imaginary homelands and geographic spaces; and conceptualizations of race, gender, and sexuality. These themes will be seen through the lens of Latina/o literature and film. The main objective of this course is to help students think critically about the conceptual, theoretical, historical, and social issues that inform the Latina/o experience in the United States.
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W