The Spanish department offers a balanced program leading to a major in Spanish language and literature. First- , second-, and third-year Spanish language classes emphasize all aspects of Spanish, speaking as well as reading, writing, grammar, and the cultural context of the language. All courses are conducted in Spanish. In the second year, emphasis on composition increases, and readings are drawn from a variety of genres. The third-year classes focus on certain problem areas of Spanish language in concert with an investigation of selected topics in Spanish and Spanish American culture. Primary readings in the literature courses are in the original language. The first priority in the upper-division courses is always an informed and accurate reading of each literary text, but this also implies a consideration of the artistic, historical, and cultural context of works, as well as questions of literary history and theory.
Students who major in Spanish are encouraged to select courses from a variety of periods in both Peninsular and Latin American literature and to enhance their studies with appropriate coursework in other areas, such as other literatures, humanities, history, art, and linguistics. They should also consult with the department to explore options for studying in a Spanish-speaking country.
For majors and nonmajors alike, the Spanish House provides an additional opportunity to practice and learn Spanish in an everyday setting.
Students who have studied Spanish before coming to Reed and who wish to enroll in Spanish courses should take the Spanish placement examination given every year during orientation week.
Students majoring in other departments in the Division of Literature and Languages may fulfill the divisional requirement with any of the third- or fourth-year literature courses.
Requirements for the Major
- A minimum of six units of literature at the 300 and 400 level. These must include at least two courses in Peninsular Spanish literature and at least two courses in Spanish American literature. At least one course in Peninsular literature and one course in Spanish American literature must cover pre-twentieth-century texts.
- Competence in Spanish equivalent to Spanish 321.
- Spanish 400.
- Spanish 470.
Recommended but not required:
- Spanish 321.
- French, and/or Latin, and/or another foreign language.
- Humanities 210 and/or 220.
- Latin American history.
Majors in Spanish are encouraged to spend time in a Spanish-speaking country. Reed has options for study abroad in Ecuador at the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito or the Pontífica Universidad Católica del Ecuador; in Argentina at the Facultad Latinoamericana en Ciencias Sociales (Universidad de Buenos Aires and/or Universidad Catolica de Argentina); in Spain at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, the University of Barcelona, Universidad de La Rioja, or the Hamilton College Program in Madrid. These programs are not limited to Spanish majors. The department also helps students select study-abroad programs in other parts of Latin America and in Spain on an individual basis. See the “Off-Campus Study” section of this catalog for more information.
Spanish Language and Introduction to Literature
Spanish 110 - First-Year Spanish
Full course for one year. A balanced study of written and oral aspects of Spanish. Includes an introduction to reading. Conference.
Spanish 200 - Spanish for Advanced Beginners
Full course for one year. Students in this yearlong course will cover the same material taught in Spanish 110 and 210, but at a highly accelerated rate. A balanced study of and practice with written and oral aspects of Spanish, this course is designed to prepare students for introductory courses in literature and culture at the 300 level. Prerequisites: placement exam or interview and consent of the instructor. Students with no prior background in Spanish should take Spanish 110. Conference.
Spanish 210 - Second-Year Spanish
Full course for one year. An intermediate-level study of grammar, composition, and conversation. Emphasis on reading: essays, theatre, short stories, and poetry. Prerequisite: equivalent of one year of college Spanish. Conference.
Spanish 311 - Advanced Language and Culture: Latin American Theater and Spectacle
Full course for one semester. This course is designed to refine and enhance language skills in concert with an investigation of selected topics in Spanish and Latin-American cultures. It includes a focused consideration of problem areas of Spanish language and an introduction to various rhetorical forms. In addition to oral practice in class, students will write numerous short essays. Conference. Prerequisites: Spanish 200 or 210 or equivalent with the consent of instructor. Applicable to Group D.
Spanish 312 - Advanced Language and Culture: Spanish Civil War
Full course for one semester. This course is designed as a continuation of Spanish 311, to refine and enhance language skills in concert with an investigation of selected topics in Spanish and Latin American cultures. It includes a focused consideration of problem areas of Spanish language and an introduction to various rhetorical forms. In addition to oral practice in class, students will write numerous short essays. Conference. Prerequisites: Spanish 200 or 210 or equivalent with the consent of instructor. Applicable to Group D.
Not offered 2011–12.
Spanish 321 - Theory and Practice of Hispanic Literature
Full course for one semester. This course is designed to give students a theoretical, historical, and cultural framework for the more advanced study of Spanish and Spanish American literature. It will include considerations of genre, reception, and critical theory. Students will be responsible for undertaking close readings of the texts as well as research projects. Prerequisite: Spanish 210 or equivalent. Conference.
Early Modern Literature and Culture
Spanish 340 - The Culture of Spectacle in Early Modern Spain
Full course for one semester. This course examines the relationship between spectacle and politics in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain. The organizing theme is the convergence of absolutist monarchical power and religious authority, as formulated or contested in various cultural productions that are conceived as modes of physical display: theatrical works, conduct manuals, spiritual biography, pictorial emblems, and paintings. The construction of and resistance to a theocratic imperial order are analyzed from different theoretical perspectives. The idea of early modern performance-centered culture as an instrument of ideological state control is discussed in the light of Marxist criticism; through new historicist approaches the expression of dissent and subjectivity is considered; the ritual aspects of baroque arts and letters are examined in the framework of Gadamerian hermeneutics; scholarship in the history of the book serves as a basis for the discussion of the links between symbolic representation and concrete social practices; and the interconnectedness of visual and written works is studied in the light of response theory approaches to elite and popular art. Conducted in English. Students taking the course for Spanish credit will meet in extra sessions. Prerequisite for students taking the course for Spanish credit: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 340.
Not offered 2011–12.
Spanish 343 - Don Quixote and Narrative Theory
Full course for one semester. This course will consist of a close reading of Cervantes’s masterpiece in conjunction with the works of theorists such as Michel Foucault, Gyorgy Lukács, Ruth El Safar, Leo Spitzer, and Robert Alter, who have written about Don Quixote in the development and exploration of their various “theories of the novel.” To better understand the context of Don Quixote, we will begin with a careful consideration of political, cultural, and historical aspects of the Spanish Golden Age. We will end the semester with student presentations that focus on adaptations and appropriations of Don Quixote in modern narrative. Conducted in English. Students taking the course for Spanish credit will meet in extra sessions. Prerequisite for students taking the course for Spanish credit: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 343.
Not offered 2011–12.
Spanish 350 - Golden Age of Spanish Theater
Full course for one semester. The burgeoning of the theater as popular pastime and court entertainment is a critical phenomenon of sixteenth and seventeenth-century Spanish life. This course provides a comprehensive study of the epoch’s major dramatic genre, the comedia, which varies from the tragic to the tragicomic to the comic. Of particular interest are the interpretive challenges posed by its major exponents which can be understood alternatively as vehicles of dominant ideology and codified expressions of social and political dissent. With this in mind, attention is paid to the plays’ varied treatment of topical issues, such as love, marital honor, wife murder, the abuse of political power, and the relationship between Spain and America. Consideration of these issues is, furthermore, complemented by discussion of the comedia’s profound aesthetic self-consciousness, with considerable focus also lent to its function as live interactive performance. To this end some filmed contemporary comedia productions are viewed. The course ends with a comparison between Calderonian and Shakespearean drama, so as to afford an added cross-cultural perspective on the aesthetic and social nature of the comedia. Works studied include those by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Ana Caro, Guillén de Castro, Juana Inés de la Cruz, Tirso de Molina, Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla, Lope de Vega, and María de Zayas. Conducted in Spanish. Prerequisites: Spanish 321 or instructor permission. Conference.
Spanish 353 - Chronicling America
Full course for one semester. The early chronicles of the exploration and conquest of the “New World” initiate Spanish American literature and have left an enduring mark as well on the development and transformations of this literary tradition. This course focuses on the chronicle form at two critical junctures. In the first part of the course, we trace the constitution of a particularly Spanish American colonial discourse through a reading of early chronicles, including Columbus’s letters, mestizo and ladino histories, and chronicle-novels. The second part of the course examines how problems raised by these early works are taken up in recent texts that lay claim to, parody, or shatter the chronicle form. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture
Spanish 360 - Literature, State, and Nation in Nineteenth-Century Latin America
Full course for one semester. This course examines the relationship between literature and politics understood in the framework of an intellectual history of nineteenth-century Latin America. The selected texts reflect the range of different meanings that the concept of nation takes on, according to the distinct context and junctures in which it is evoked. The first part of the course focuses on discourses about the nation that are primarily concerned with questions of culture and identity, as well as with mythical-symbolic import. Discussed in this light are neoclassical, romantic, and naturalist poetics. Representative genres read include poetry, short stories, novels, and essays by Olmedo, Heredia, Bello, Echeverría, Mármol, Gómez de Avellaneda, Issacs, and Matto de Turner. The rest of the term is devoted to a tradition of republican thought that addresses institutional and juridical problems. Readings include letters, essays, and speeches by Bolívar, Artigas, Lastarria, Sarmiento, Alberdi, Bilbao, and de Hostos. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Spanish 364 - Nineteenth-Century Peninsular Literature
Full course for one semester. Developing out of the costumbrismo movement of the midcentury, Spanish realist narrative played an important role in articulating regional differences and giving these differences narrative play. At the same time, however, these representations taxed the claims of realism to represent a coherent national whole. This course examines experimentation within narrative realism: What paradigm of the “real” drives the representation? What is excluded? What forces cannot be assimilated and threaten its disintegration? How does a growing sense of national decadence generate new literary forms? Beginning with examples of “costumbrista” texts, we will study works by central Spanish novelists like Clarín, Galdós, Castro, Pardo Bazán, and Valle-Inclán within a broad range of theoretical approaches to realism. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Spanish 370 - Peninsular Modernism: Between Empire and Fascism
Full course for one semester. After Spain lost its last colonies (Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines) in 1898, it entered into a period of social and political reform that transformed literature and the plastic arts. Although this period of political transformation and artistic freedom was shut down by the rise of fascism in the 1930s, for many artists creating during the long years of Franco’s dictatorship, it became a point of reference, a "silver age" to rival Spain’s “golden age” of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Focusing on the period 1900–1930, this course will examine how modernism reacts to late-nineteenth-century realism, proposing a new vision of reality through the use of existing genres and the development of new ones. In addition to the study of texts by Galdós, Valle-Inclán, Unamuno, Pío Baroja, Antonio Machado and Azorín, we will examine works by the architect Gaudí, and artists such as Santiago Rusiñol and Pablo Picasso. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.
Spanish 372 - Echoes of Spanish Romantic Poetry
Full course for one semester. This course will have two objectives: to familiarize students with Spain’s romantic movement (particularly, its poetry); and to trace, in a partial fashion, how Spain’s romanticism has influenced posterior generations of Spanish poetry. While we will pay close attention to the sociohistorical contexts of the works to be studied (and to Spanish romanticism, as it has been defined up to the present), our main focus will be the transmission of a literary tradition. Authors whose works we may discuss include Quintana, Lista, Mora, Espronceda, Zorrilla, Carolina Coronado, Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, Bécquer, Rosalía de Castro, Machado, Unamuno, Cernuda, García Lorca, Miguel Hernández, José Hierro, Jaime Gil de Biedma, Francisco Brines, Gloria Fuertes, Julia Uceda, and Luis García Montero. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Spanish 377 - Contemporary Spanish Fiction
Full course for one semester. This course will study fiction produced in Spain after 1975, the year in which Francisco Franco died and his dictatorship ended. Discussion will focus on the changes that characterize the post-Franco era, paying particular attention to the fictional as a space through which Franco’s legacy may be confronted, and through which a Spanish society may be constructed. The reading of novels and short stories by Martín Gaite, Montero, Eduardo Mendoza, Vázquez Montalbán, Marsé, Etxebarria and others will be informed by studies in narratology, trauma, memory, and national identity. Particular attention will be given to the “movida,” the period of social and cultural transformation that is celebrated in the films of Pedro Almodóvar and others. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Spanish 379 - Short Latin American Fiction
Full course for one semester. This course focuses on in-depth analyses of short stories and other forms of short fiction by outstanding Latin American writers. The concept of literary genre will be examined along with basic narratological categories. Starting with the canonical texts through which the modernist short story took shape (Darío), the course goes on to study the fantastic genre (Quiroga, Borges, Cortázar, Ocampo), feminine literature (Bombal, Ferré), magical realism (Carpentier, García Márquez), and other manifestations of critical realism (Arlt, Onetti, Rulfo). Attention is directed at micronarrative and the poetics of the fragment–Denevi, Monterroso, Piglia. Primary readings will be complemented by theoretical readings to include Poe, Chejov, Freud, Sartre, Moravia, Benjamin, Todorov, Friedman, Reid, and others. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Spanish 381 - Literature and Culture of Argentina from Independence to the Present
Full course for one semester. In the framework of an Argentinean cultural history, this course analyzes the relationship between aesthetics, ethics, and politics. A series of nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts, both fictional and nonfictional, will serve to trace the trajectory from a political use of literature to the emergence of an autonomous intellectual sphere. The course is organized around the topics of “civilization and barbarism”; gauchos, frontiers, and “the desert”; the Generation of 1880 and immigration; Peronism and anti-Peronism; and militarism and democracy. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.
Spanish 385 - Realism and Magic
Full course for one semester. This course examines in broad cultural and political terms the alternation between and conjunction of realism and magic in Latin American literature and film. Under the rubric of the “real” and realism are included chronicles, journalism, social realist and “dirty” fiction, and testimonios. Magic will be understood in similarly broad terms: witchcraft, the fantastic, the grotesque, the gothic, and the uncanny. Readings in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Spanish 389 - Toward a New Mexican Narrative
Full course for one semester. This course analyzes contemporary Mexican narratives in the form of written and visual texts that have been produced from the mid-1980s to the present. Fictional novels, short stories, films, documentaries, performance art pieces, and blogs will help shed light on the most current and innovative aesthetic tendencies in the Mexican nation. The chosen works will aid us in gaining an understanding of the political, economic, and social factors that have contributed to their artistic creation. Topics and issues such as globalization, borders, and environmentalist movements will be addressed. This class will be interdisciplinary, since we will also draw on historical, social scientific, and cultural studies. Readings and video recordings are in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Spanish 390 - Crime and Literature in Spanish America
Full course for one semester. The notion of crime constitutes a point of articulation joining religious, philosophical, juridical, journalistic, historiographical, scientific, psychoanalytical, and other discourses. For this reason, it provides a particularly rich point of departure for the study of cultural production. This course focuses on the various ways in which crime has figured in Spanish American writing. Texts may include accounts of transvestite nuns and “deluded” mystics, detective novels, and literary or journalistic treatments of the drug trade and the criminal state apparatus. We will also consider filmic representations of crime. Theoretical readings address the development and function of penal, judicial, governmental, and medical institutions. Readings in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of instructor. Conference.
Spanish 393 - Special Topics in Peninsular Literature and Culture
The Spanish Picaresque Novel of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: Origins, Evolution, and Consolidation of a Critical Literary Tool
Full course for one semester. This course focuses on the autobiographical narrations of the pícaro, who ironically unveils the lies and hypocrisies of a corrupt society in sixteenth and seventeenth century Spain. We will trace the literary precedents of the picaresque novel in the Spanish Middle Ages and Renaissance in order to identify the defining characteristics of this popular subgenre of prose. Then we will examine how this satirical discourse is constructed to offer the reader a rich mine of observations concerning every social milieu. Readings include the anonymous Vida del Lazarillo de Tormes y de sus Fortunas y Adversidades, Francisco de Quevedo’s Vida del Buscón llamado don Pablos, Alonso Jerónimo de Salas Barbadillo’s La hija de la Celestina, Miguel de Cervantes’s Rinconete y Cortadillo and La Gitanilla, Juan de Luna’s Segunda parte del Lazarillo de Tormes, and Gonzalo de Céspedes y Meneses’s La Niña de los Embustes, Teresa de Manzanares. Primary readings in Spanish will be complemented by theoretical readings, mostly in English, by authors—Marcel Mauss, Judith Butler, Sigmund Freud, Georges Bataille, and Michel Foucault, among others. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent or consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2011-12.
Full course for one semester. In this course, we will consider a variety of critical and theoretical approaches to the growing canon of Spanish cinema. From Buñuel’s first experiments to the most recent releases, the films studied will be examined as both aesthetic texts and historical documents–documents that not only have a particular history, but serve to enact national histories as well. Directors whose films we will be discussing include Álex de la Iglesia, Almodóvar, Amenábar, Bardém, Berlanga, Bigas Luna, Bollaín, Borau, Buñuel, Érice, León de Aranoa, Mañas, Martín Patino, Ménem, Miró, Nieves-Conde, Sáenz de Heredia, Saura, David Trueba, and Fernando Trueba, among others. Screenings held outside of class hours. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference. Not offered 2011-12.
Spanish 395 - Special Topics in Spanish American Literature and Culture
Cultures of Revolution
Full course for one semester. Three revolutions marked the cultural landscape of Latin America’s twentieth century. In Mexico, Cuba and Nicaragua, protracted armed battles ended with the establishment of revolutionary governments. Reaching beyond the sphere of the political, and beyond their own national borders, these revolutions became points of reference for filmmakers, visual artists, and writers. The purpose of this course is to explore the cultural repercussions of these events. We begin with works that followed the Mexican Revolution and proceed chronologically through the twentieth century. Mexico, Cuba and Nicaragua represent focal points, though we will also be attentive to leftist cultural production in other Latin American countries, particularly Brazil and Chile. We will focus both on cinematic works, and on photography, narrative, and critical theory. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Spanish 400 - Junior Seminar: Church and State in Early Modern Spanish Culture
Full course for one semester. This course examines the relationship between politics and culture in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain. More specifically, the organizing theme is the convergence of absolutist monarchical power and religious authority, as formulated or contested in various cultural productions: poems, comedias, autos sacramentales, novellas, conduct manuals, court correspondence, pictorial emblems, and paintings. The construction of and resistance to a theocratic imperial order are analyzed from different theoretical perspectives. This course includes a substantial research project. Readings in Spanish. Prerequisites: Spanish 321 and one other literature course taught in Spanish or equivalent with consent of instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2011–12.
Spanish 470 - Thesis
One-half or full course for one semester or one year.
Spanish 481 - Independent Reading
One-half or full course for one semester. Prerequisite: approval of instructor and division.