Reed College Catalog

Iliana Alcántar

Mexican literary and cultural studies, contemporary Latin American literature and cinema, gender and trauma studies.

Diego Alonso

Nineteenth- and twentieth-century Latin American literature.

Elizabeth Drumm

Peninsular literature, modern European and Hispanic drama.

Ariadna García-Bryce

Early modern Spanish literature and culture.

Christian Kroll

Twentieth- and twenty-first-century Latin American narrative and culture, critical and spatial theory.

Sharon Larisch

Contemporary Spanish American narrative, colonial literature, literary theory. On sabbatical and leave 2014–15.

The Spanish department offers a balanced program leading to a major in Spanish language and literature. First- , second-, and third-year Spanish language classes focus on speaking, reading, writing, and grammar, as well as cultural context. 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 objective in the upper-division courses is an informed and accurate reading of literary texts, grounded in considerations of their artistic, historical, and cultural contexts, as well as attention to questions relating to 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.

Placement

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.

Nonmajors

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

  1. 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.
  2. Competence in Spanish equivalent to Spanish 321.
  3. Junior Seminar.
  4. Spanish 470.

Recommended but not required:

  1. Spanish 321.
  2. French, and/or Latin, and/or another foreign language.
  3. Humanities 210 and/or 220.
  4. Latin American history.

Study Abroad

Majors in Spanish are encouraged to spend time in a Spanish-speaking country. Reed has options for study abroad in Cuba at the Sarah Lawrence College in Havana; in Ecuador at the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito; in Argentina at the Facultad Latinoamericana en Ciencias Sociales (Universidad de Buenos Aires and/or Universidad Católica de Argentina); and 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.

Not offered 2014-15.

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: Contemporary Latin American Chronicle

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. Prerequisite: Spanish 200 or 210 or equivalent with the consent of instructor. Applicable to Group D. Conference.

Spanish 312 - Advanced Language and Culture

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. Prerequisite: Spanish 200 or 210 or equivalent with the consent of instructor. Applicable to Group D. Conference.

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 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.

Spanish 350 - Golden Age 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.

Not offered 2014-15.

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 2014-15.

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.

Spanish 362 - The End of Humanism in Mexico: From the Youth Atheneum to Zapatismo

Full course for one semester. This course examines the role that humanism played in the literature, society, and culture of Mexico in the twentieth century. We will critically examine the hellenocentric view of culture that was defended and projected in a variety of influential texts written during the first half of the twentieth century by such authors as José Vasconcelos, Pedro Henríquez Ureña, and Alfonso Reyes. We will then study the indigenista view of culture advanced in various literary and academic essays, and embodied in Rosario Castellanos’s novel Oficio de tinieblas. We will study the crisis of the humanistic model of culture envisioned by the architects of post-Revolutionary Mexico and parodied in Carlos Fuentes’s novel Cristóbal Nonato. Finally, we will critically examine the post-humanistic view of culture advanced in a variety of scholarly and nonscholarly texts, including Guillermo Bonfil Batalla’s México profundo and essays by Sartre, Heidegger, Fanon, Barthes, Althusser, Foucault, Haraway, and Subcomandante Marcos. Therefore, in the process of studying humanism in Mexico, students will not only learn much about modern and contemporary Mexican literature, society and culture, but they will also gain a new perspective on the complex and much debated subject of humanism. Most of the readings will be in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2014-15.

Spanish 366 - Spanish American Poetry after Modernismo

Full course for one semester. This course is designed to introduce students to Spanish-American poetry from the mid-1910s to the present. Poets studied will include Tablada, Mistral, Vallejo, Huidobro, Borges, Neruda, N. Guillén, Lezama Lima, Paz, Pizarnik, Cardenal, Varela, Berenguer, and Bracho, among others. In addition to reading poetic texts, students will study theoretical texts and critical essays written by a variety of authors, Hispanic as well as non-Hispanic. The course will emphasize the close reading of texts from both a formal and a thematic perspective. It will introduce students to the fundamental elements of a poem; it will also expose them to a wide range of issues related to modern poetics and literary theory, as well as Latin American culture, history, politics, and society. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2014-15.

Spanish 368 - Jorge Luis Borges: Fiction and Criticism

Full course for one semester. This course studies the writings of one of the most important authors of the twentieth century through various critical approaches that have been applied to his work: structuralism, poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, hermeneutics, and sociocriticism. Emerging from this corpus are two opposing views: one that associates Borges with the Argentinean literary system, foregrounding his participation in national aesthetic and cultural debates, and one that emphasizes the cosmopolitanism, skepticism, and sense of unreality marking his literature. Also considered will be emerging critical studies that accentuate the historical and political relevance of Borges’s oeuvre. Along with these lines of inquiry, a series of theoretical categories and themes that are key for the comprehension of Borges’s writing will be discussed: avant-garde ultraism; criollismo; metaphor and metonymy; Argentinean tradition; reading, misreading, and translation; authorship and figures of the author; canon and literary genealogy; history, memory, and forgetting. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2014-15.

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.

Not offered 2014-15.

Spanish 377 - Contemporary Spanish Fiction: Aesthetics after Dictatorship

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.

Spanish 380 - Drugs, Gangs, and Aliens

Full course for one semester.  In this course, we will examine how cornerstones of state sovereignty such as the rule of law, the care and control of space and population, and the monopoly on violence are being challenged by irregular immigration, the drug trade, and the expansion and criminalization of gangs throughout the Americas. We will discuss and think critically about the representation and problematization of these multilayered phenomena in Colombian, Central American, Mexican, and North American literary works, chronicles, films, and official documents in relation to sovereignty, biopolitics, neoliberalism, and the geopolitics of capital. Readings might include, among others, novels by Fernando Vallejo, Juan Pablo Villalobos, Yuri Herrera, and Hector Tobar; chronicles by Oscar Martinez and Juan Villoro; and films such as Miss Bala, La jaula de oro, Ciudad de Dios, María llena eres de gracia, Sin nombre, Falling Down, and Traffic. These readings/screenings will be complemented with critical essays by Hobbes, Rousseau, Schmitt, Derrida, Agamben, Foucault, and Brown. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or consent of the instructor. Conference.

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.

Not offered 2014-15.

Spanish 387 - Essay, Race, and Nation in Latin America

Full course for one semester. Beginning with the chronicles of José Martí on the United States (1880s), this course studies a corpus of essays that define a Latin American political and cultural identity. The authors studied—Martí, Rodó, Vasconcelos, Pedreira, Blanco, Ortiz, Mariátegui, J.M. Arguedas, and Lugones—formulate ideas of nationhood that both develop and contest those proposed by the liberal elites of the nineteenth century. The following themes are examined in depth: the relationship between literature and politics, the use of race as a category in the construction of identities, and the recourse to aesthetics as an instrument to resolve conflicts that emerge wit the process of modernization. Conducted in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 321, or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2014-15.

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 representations of crime in film and the visual arts. 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.

Not offered 2014-15.

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.