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Fall 2020

SPAN 497 - Facts and Myths about learning Spanish

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Instructor: Manuel Pulido 
Course Description: This course focuses on key aspects of the acquisition of Spanish as a second language. The course will address questions such as: Can watching Netflix help me learn Spanish? What type of practice, and how much, can help me learn Spanish? Does the native language change when we learn second languages? Is computer-based learning as effective as face-to-face learning? The course goes from theory to practice, and emphasizes hands-on experience based on examining data and experiments.
Prerequisite: SPAN 215

Spring 2020

SPAN 497 - Spanish in Contact with Other Languages

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Instructor: Isabel Deibel
Course Description: This class provides a comprehensive historical, social and linguistic overview of Spanish in contact with other languages in its major contexts – in Spain, the United States, and Latin America.
Prerequisite: SPAN 215

Spring 2019

SPAN 497 - Modern Hispanic Short Story 

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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 - Playing with your mind: What linguists do to find out how humans learn and process language 

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Instructor: Giulia Togato
Course Description: Language is a vehicle that we use to express our personal and cultural norms and orientations. The whole essence of our thought as individuals is expressed through language. This course will explore the importance that language acquires in social interaction adopting a psycholinguistic approach. Psycholinguistics is the study of the psychological and neurobiological factors that enable humans to acquire, comprehend, process and produce language. Accordingly, the course will offer the possibility to explore the cognitive processes underlying language use (both in comprehension and production: at the lexical, syntactic and discourse level); the main empirical methods psychologists use to approach and analyze language competence will be reviewed. Hence, the main goal of this course will be to understand how the brain makes way for language learning, both for native and non-native languages. The relationship between language, cognition and culture will also be analyzed.  This course integrates traditional lecture classes and student-centered learning (i.e. lecture classes will always be matched with active exercises, both individual and collaborative).
Prerequisite: SPAN 215

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

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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 

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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 - A Thousand Faces 

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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

Spring 2018

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

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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 - Latin(o) American Graphic Novel  

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

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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 497 - Being Bilingual in a Monolingual World  

Instructor: Mike Johns
Course Description: 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.

Spring 2017

SPAN 297 - Introduction to Latin American Visual Culture 

Instructor: Marco A. Martínez
Course Description: Photographs, cartoons, graffiti, movies, cartels, graphic novels, advertisement, music videos, 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. Through careful looking, reading, writing, and discussions, students will be encouraged to think the visual word in the construction of the historical, political, social and subjective dimensions from the end of the 19th century to our times. Among the issues to be examined are: the function, production, and consumption of visual images in different cultures; the foreign gaze; war and propaganda (Mexican Revolution and the Spanish Civil War), the margins of the city; sexuality and abjection; political power; and death and memory.

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 497 - Voices from the Margin: The Poetry and Drama of Federico García Lorca 

Instructor: Mary E. Barnard
Course Description: Poet, playwright, musician, and friend of artists, poets and bullfighters--privileged figures that were outcasts, figures on the margins of society. This course will focus on several of these figures in his poetry and drama, placing them within historical, political, and social contexts, including Lorca’s own controversial presence in the years leading to the Civil War (1936-39): the gypsy as rebel, brawling with his own kind and confronting his enemy, the Civil Guard, in the Romancero gitano; the woman who rebels against the tribal rituals and misguided codes of conduct of a provincial town in the rural tragedy La casa de Bernarda Alba; the black from Harlem in the surrealist Poeta en Nueva York; the noble, bloodied bullfighter in the elegiac Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías. To address questions of theater and drama in relation to social issues, the students will perform scenes (time permitting) La casa de Bernarda Alba and watch and discuss a film production of this play. The course will also include Lorca’s sketch art and musical scores, and the relation of his works to those of his artist friend Salvador Dalí. The course will include a film about Lorca’s life and works, including his mysterious death at the hands of the Nationalists, The Spirit of Lorca (Michael Dibb, 1986).

SPAN 497 - How languages are learned 

Instructor: Karen Miller
Course Description: What does it mean to be bilingual? (2) How does acquisition of a second language compare to acquisition of a first language? (3) How does bilingualism impact human cognition? (4) What are the social contexts that support language learning and language maintenance? (5) What are the various languages spoken in Spain and Latin America? By answering these questions, this course introduces students to bilingualism in the Spanish-speaking World.

SPAN 497 - The ABCs of Bilingualism: Acquisition, Brain and Community 

Instructor: Lauren Halberstadt
Course Description: Around the world, speaking more than one language is the norm. Have you ever considered what it takes to learn a second language? How the brain manages to juggle two languages in one mind? How communities work and live together while speaking two languages? This course will explore bilingualism, the ability to speak and understand two languages. We'll discover how bilinguals acquire their languages and how they live with them through the lens of bilingual communities. 

SPAN 497 - Playing with your mind: What linguists do to find out how humans learn and process language 

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Instructor: Giulia Togato
Course Description: Language is the main vehicle that humans use to express personal and cultural norms and orientations. The whole essence of our thought as individuals and members of a group is expressed through language. In this course students will explore the importance that language has in social interactions and they will do so through a psycholinguistic lens. Psycholinguistics is the study of the linguistic, psychological and neurobiological factors that enable humans to acquire, comprehend, and produce language. Students will examine the cognitive processes underlying language use (both in comprehension and production, at the lexical, syntactic and discourse level). They will also learn about the main methods that linguists employ to get at these questions via a combination of theoretical tutorials and practical lab sessions. The relationship between language, cognition and culture will also be discussed.  

Fall 2016

SPAN 397- Modern Spanish Short Story

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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 497 - Spanish Social-Issue Cinema 

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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.

Fall 2015

SPAN 197A/NURS 197A - Conversational Spanish for Health Care Providers 

Course Description: A conversational Spanish speaking course designed to prepare students interested in a health care field to communicate with Spanish speaking patients. 

SPAN 297A - Spanish Through Art 

Course Description: Spanish language and culture at the advanced level through art from Spain and Latin America. Review of the artists' biographies and their works in light of the historical moment, significance, and culture. 

SPAN 297B - Introduction to Latin America Visual Culture 

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

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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 - How Languages are Learned  

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Course Description: (1) How do humans learn additional languages after they have learned their first language? (2) How does bilingual language development compare to monolingual language development? (3) Why do we find variability in rates and outcomes of second language acquisiton? (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 215

SPAN 497C - Living Breathing Language

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Course Description: There are nearly 7000 language spoken in the world today. Where did they come from? What makes them different? How are they similar? What happens when they die? This course will explore linguistic diversity, historical change and dialectal variation through the lens of evolutionary biology. Using examples from Spanish, both modern and historical, we will learn how language can be characterized as a living, growing, changing organism. 
Prerequisite: SPAN 215

Summer 2015

SPAN 197A - Costa Rica: Pura Vida 

Course Description: This course will prepare you to undertake travel to Costa Rica as a respectable representative of the United States and Penn State Altoona as well as a willing student of Spanish and international culture. Students will be fully engaged in Costa Rica culture in a very up-close and personal way, utilizing their Spanish skills in an engaging fashion on a daily basis. Excursion to Costa Rica will take place May 17-25. 

SPAN 496A - Spanish in Technical Fields 

Course Description: Study of words and phrases unique to petroleum engineering. Study of grammar including technical and research semantics and grammatical structure. Also, additional cultural component as student examines the how the presence of a pipeline industry has affected the local and national culture in Mexico. 

SPAN 497A - Cuba and Jose Marti  

Course Description: The writings and thoughts of Jose Marti have been foundational for Cuba's literary, political, and cultural expressions and educational institutions before and after the Cuban Revolution (1959). This course will expose students to those writings and ideas from the point of view of post-revolutionary Cuba. Students will be able to compare what they learn in Cuba with other writings and ideas about Marti, related to Latin American in general, ideas on government, society, freedom and independence. During the two weeks in Cuba, Penn State students will be able to learn from different lectures and classes given by university professors and researchers on different aspects of Marti's life and thoughts. They also will be able to participate in Cuba's celebration, May 2015, of Marti's 125th commemoration of his death (1895).  
Prerequisite: SPAN 253W

Spring 2015

SPAN 197A - Costa Rica: Pura Vida   

Course Description: This course will prepare you to undertake travel to Costa Rica as a respectable representative of the United States and Penn State Altoona as well as a willing student of Spanish and international culture. Students will be fully engaged in Costa Rica culture in a very up-close and personal way, utilizing their Spanish skills in an engaging fashion on a daily basis. Excursion to Costa Rica will take place May 17-25.  

SPAN 496A - Bilingualism and Second Language

Course Description: Research on bilingualism and second language use through reading background literature and developing experimental stimuli and designs. 

SPAN 497A - Contemporary Latin American Cinema 

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

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

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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  

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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  

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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 

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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 497F - Idiomatic Expressions and Regionalism Across the Spanish-speaking World  

Course Description: The student will study the different idiomatic expressions from Latin America and Spain, using short-stories, articles, and interviews as a main source. Students will write an essay based on their research.  
Prerequisite: SPAN 001, SPAN 002, SPAN 003, SPAN 200