SPAN241
Introduction to Hispanic Studies

Practice in oral and written Spanish at the advanced level. Designed to enhance communicative competence, this course will provide an intensive review of advanced grammatical structures within cultural contexts of the Spanish-speaking world. Each section will explore a specific theme through the examination of Hispanic literary texts and the arts, as well as other cultural phenomena. Varied oral interactions, technological applications, and critical writing will be stressed.

Topics for Fall 2020:

Section 1: Repression/Revolution and the Arts; Instructor: Renjilian-Burgy

In this course, short selections in prose and poetry manifest popular revolutionary responses to repressive regimes throughout the ages, in Hispanic nations. We will examine issues of race and ethnicity, gender, and socio-political/ economic conditions that have resulted in social change. Cinematographic, musical and artistic creations complement and corroborate themes of dictatorial governments, military violence, religious self-righteousness, and families fragmented by civil war.

We will study evolving national identities in Argentina, Chile, Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico and Spain. Particular focus will highlight deleterious discrimination towards Indigenous peoples. In addition to written responses, grammar review, exams and daily participation in class discussions, students will engage in collaborative projects.

Section 2: Latin American Culture and the Arts. Contemporary Perspectives; Instructor: Agosin

This course explores literary texts as well as visual images from Contemporary Latin America. We will study the interactions between these texts and the role they play in culture, politics, and society. Our goal will be to decipher, analyze and contextualize their enigmas and their messages to better understand the importance of Latin American culture in a globalized context. Special attention will be paid to the improvement of linguistic abilities and to the acquisition of fluidity in written and oral expression

Section 3: Culture, Politics, and Creativity; Instructor: Selimovic

This course studies cultural expressions as invigorating glimpses into socio-political realities of Latin America and Spain. We will explore how writers, film directors, poets, and artists respond to social demands, political changes, and cultural shifts in particular times, places, and communities. Selected works engage students with diverse cultural repertoires of the Hispanic world in interdisciplinary ways. We will spotlight the relationship between political violence and literature in Argentina and Chile; displacement and photography in Spain and Uruguay; domestic workers and film in Mexico and Peru; education and artistic activism in El Salvador and Nicaragua; and exile and poetry in Cuba and Paraguay.

Topics for Spring 2021:

Section 1: Repression, Revolution and the Arts; Instructor: Renjilian-Burgy

In this course, short selections in prose and poetry manifest popular revolutionary responses to repressive regimes throughout the ages, in Hispanic nations. We will examine issues of race and ethnicity, gender, and socio-political/ economic conditions that have resulted in social change. Cinematographic, musical and artistic creations complement and corroborate themes of dictatorial governments, military violence, religious self-righteousness, and families fragmented by civil war.

We will study evolving national identities in Argentina, Chile, Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico and Spain. Particular focus will highlight deleterious discrimination towards Indigenous peoples. In addition to written responses, grammar review, exams and daily participation in class discussions, students will engage in collaborative projects.

Section 2: Literature, Society and Politics; Instructor:Hall

Close readings of brief, groundbreaking fiction and essays that explore various forms of social injustice. We will study six authors from Spain, Argentina, Cuba, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico who wrote during different historical periods, from the XVII century to the present. The selected texts feature  young protagonists and/ or narrators facing formidable obstacles while dreaming of a better society for themselves and others. Class discussions focus on the readings as well as current events from around the Spanish-speaking world. Students will visit Special Collections, complete an on-line review of grammar, and write several short essays.  

Section 3: Gender and Sex in Contemporary Latinx Societies; Instructor: Vega

The course will explore what it means to study a "gendered" language (only about a quarter of the world's languages currently have grammatical gender). How have masculinity, femininity and most recently trans been performed in cultural expressions primarily in Spanish? In coming to terms with these questions we will reflect upon such questions as why the "macho" is frequently associated with the Latin; why there are such extremes in female cultural archetypes (the Virgin of Guadalupe, La Llorona, the slave/harlot Malinche); how has queer sexuality been represented and how this depiction may be changing. Topics for further analysis will be reasons for which Latin American and Spanish regions, despite a traditional association with conservatism, have had many fewer (if any) laws prohibiting private same-sex activity between consulting adults (and certainly nothing like in the US or the English speaking world). 

Through the reading and viewing of selected readings, recent films, television series, music videos, short stories and interviews, students will reflect both orally and in writing upon these topics. The bulk of material will reflect cultural production and inquiry since the late 1980s (although some readings will necessarily offer historical background). 

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 18

Prerequisites: SPAN 201, SPAN 202 or placement by the department.

Instructor: Agosin, Hall, Renjilian-Burgy, Selimovic, Vega

Distribution Requirements: LL - Language and Literature

Typical Periods Offered: Spring; Fall

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Spring; Fall

Notes: