Reed College Catalog

Iliana Alcántar

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

Diego Alonso

Nineteenth- and twentieth-century Latin American literature.

Elizabeth Drumm

Twentieth- and twenty-first-century Spanish 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.

Mónica López Lerma

Contemporary Spanish film and literature, film theory, law and humanities, jurisprudence.

Monica VanBladel

Twentieth- and twenty-first-century Latin American literature, political theory, religious studies.

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 211–212 and/or 220.
  4. Latin American history.

A Minor in Spanish
The goal of the Spanish minor is to achieve proficiency in the Spanish language and a strong understanding of literary and cultural studies. Regardless of prior proficiency, all students must complete three units of 300-level Spanish courses requiring the original language and either a 300-level Spanish course or additional language work at the 200 level.

Requirements for the Minor

  1. Spanish 321.
  2. Two additional 300-level Spanish literature courses not in translation. At least one Spanish literature course in addition to Spanish 321 must be taken at Reed.
  3. Depending on language proficiency, additional courses or substitutions (see chart below).

Starting Language Course

Language Courses

300-Level Courses

Total Units

Spanish 110:

Spanish 110, 210

Spanish 321 and two units of Spanish literature, not in translation. At least one Spanish literature course in addition to Spanish 321 must be taken at Reed.

Seven

Spanish 210:

Spanish 210

Spanish 321 and two units of Spanish literature, not in translation. At least one Spanish literature course in addition to Spanish 321 must be taken at Reed.

Five

Spanish 311, 312:

Spanish 311, 312 (optional)

Spanish 321 and three units of Spanish literature, not in translation (one of these units may be in Spanish 311 or 312). At least one Spanish literature course in addition to Spanish 321 must be taken at Reed.

Four

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 San Francisco de Quito; in Argentina at the Universidad de San Andrés, the Universidad Nacional de las Artes (UNA), the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA), and/or the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA); and in Spain at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, the University of Barcelona, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Universidad de Córdoba, Universidad de La Rioja, Universidad de Sevilla, 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

Two unit yearlong course; one unit per semester. A balanced study of written and oral aspects of Spanish. Includes an introduction to reading. Conference.

Spanish 210 - Second-Year Spanish

Two unit yearlong course; one unit per semester. 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: Spanish Cinema

Full course for one semester. This course provides a historical and critical overview of Spanish cinema from the early 1950s to the present. By analyzing films in their cultural context, along with selected critical texts, the course will explore questions such as censorship and ideology; war, reconciliation, and democracy; representations of gender and sexuality; immigration and exile; globalization; climate change; and others. We will watch and discuss films by Luis García Berlanga, Carlos Saura, Víctor Erice, Fernando Trueba, Pedro Almodóvar, Icíar Bollaín, Fernando León de Aranoa, Chus Gutiérrez, and Almudena Carracedo. This course is designed to refine and enhance language skills. 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 210 or equivalent with the consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2021–22.

Spanish 312 - Advanced Language and Culture: Spanish Migrations

Full course for one semester. For centuries, Spain has been defined as a country of emigration, from the expulsion of Jews and Muslims in the early modern period to the colonialization of the Americas. However, in the past 30 years, Spain has become a country of immigration (primarily of people from North Africa and Latin America) and large-scale internal migration. This course examines the representation of emigration, immigration, and internal migration in literature, film, art, and other cultural productions. How do contemporary artists represent what is for some immigrants a complex return to the “home” of their ancestors? How do they negotiate among a growing plurality of voices in a country that has imagined itself as homogeneous? How are calls for nationhood for an autonomous region (Catalonia, for example) represented nationally? This course is designed to refine and enhance language skills. 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 210 or equivalent with the consent of instructor. 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, Anthony Cascardi, and Mary Malcolm Gaylord, 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. During the final weeks of the semester we will read texts by Jorge Luis Borges and Paul Auster that exploit narrative conventions found in Don Quixote. 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 2021–22.

Spanish 344 - Visual Art in Spanish Baroque Literature

Full course for one semester. This course studies the relationship between visual art and literature in early modern Spain. In an epoch in which the production of images has attained unprecedented cultural importance, literature redefines its aesthetic agenda, both modeling itself after and rivaling visual art. Considering various plays, poems, and novellas alongside relevant paintings, emblems, architectural works, and sculptures, we reflect upon how the interactions among these different art forms serve to mobilize audience emotion and comment on gender and class tensions. Also discussed are mounting anxieties about the role of art in a society marked by political crisis. In particular, we think about how the celebration of iconocentric culture is undercut by critical views of images as dangerous vehicles of moral and sexual depravity. Authors and artists studied include Teresa of Avila, Cervantes, Zayas, Calderón de la Barca, Guillén de Castro, Velázquez, Titian, El Greco, and Rubens. Conducted in English. Prerequisite for Spanish credit: Spanish 321 or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 344 and Art 344.

Spanish 351 - Saints and Sinners: Women in the Early Modern Transatlantic World

Full course for one semester. Targets, on the one hand, of criminalizing or pathologizing discourses that called for their exclusion from the public sphere, women were also key agents of hegemonic power in the Spanish colonial world. This course reflects on the generation of mutually conflicting female subjects in a context obsessed with the fight against religious and cultural otherness: the sinning body prone to sexual temptation and demonic possession and the saintly body, exemplary imitator of Christ’s suffering. Considering a varied corpus of Inquisition trials, spiritual autobiographies, wifely conduct manuals, mystical poetry, novellas, chronicles, paintings, and printed images from Spain and its American colonies, we think about the contradictions inherent in global Counter-Reformation gender politics and the myriad ways in which female writers and fictional personae co-opt or resist the stringent corporeal and mental discipline imposed on them. Students will, in addition, gain an understanding of the rich web of associations between religious confessional culture and emergent fictional genres. Authors studied include St. Teresa of Avila, Fray Luis de León, Christopher Columbus, Bartolomé de las Casas, María de Zayas, St. Rose of Lima, Sor María de Agreda, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Conducted in English. Prerequisite for Spanish credit: Spanish 321 or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 351.

Not offered 2021–22.

Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture

Spanish 361 - Decentering the Human

Full course for one semester. This course provides an introduction to what has been called the nonhuman turn, an umbrella term that refers to various schools of thought (such as posthumanism, critical race theory, animal studies, new and vital materialism, object-oriented ontology, and affect theory) that call for an integral redefinition of the human and thus question, critique, and/or move beyond human exceptionalism and the ontological dualities (nature/culture, human/nonhuman, mind/body, self/other, subject/object, etc.) that constitute it. The course combines interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives with a focus on how the relation between humans, nonhumans, and the environment has been represented, questioned, and problematized in cultural productions from the Hispanic world. The course ultimately asks students to think critically about what it means to be human today, if, that is, we have indeed ever been human. Conducted in English. Students taking the course for literature credit will read cultural texts in translation and write in English. Students taking the course for Spanish credit will read cultural texts and write essays in Spanish. Prerequisite for students taking the course for Spanish credit: Spanish 321 or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 361.

Spanish 362 - Spanish Migrations

Full course for one semester. Historically, we have considered Spain to be a country of emigration, from the expulsion of Jews and Muslims in the early modern period to the colonization of the Americas. However, in the past 40 years, Spain has become a country of immigration, primarily of people from North Africa and Latin America. This course focuses on the complex history of migration between Spain and North Africa by examining its representation in literature, film, and other cultural productions. How do contemporary artists represent what is for some immigrants a complex return to the Spanish “home” of their ancestors? How do they negotiate among a growing plurality of voices in a country that has imagined itself as homogeneous? How do they attempt to give voice to an immigrant population that has been silenced or in extreme cases erased? How might the foregrounding of migration destabilize the category of “Spanish” itself? Materials include texts and films created by Spanish and North African artists whose work has been translated into Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Spanish 365 - 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, Hidalgo, Echeverría, Gómez de Avellaneda, Matto de Turner, Altamirano. 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, and Bilbao, among others. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Spanish 367 - Law and Violence in Contemporary Peninsular Cinema

Full course for one semester. This course examines the relationships between law and violence in contemporary Peninsular cinema. We will explore how films represent law and violence; how these representations reflect or alter our perceptions of legal institutions and legal actors (e.g., police, courts, judges, lawyers); how films present and/or frame particular ethical or legal problems (i.e., gender violence, surveillance, torture, terrorism); what alternative views of law and justice they provide; and the kind of judgments they invite viewers to make. We will watch and discuss films by Carlos Saura, Víctor Erice, Pedro Almodóvar, Alex de la Iglesia, Icíar Bollaín, Enrique Urbizu, Alberto Rodríguez, Guillermo del Toro, Fernando León de Aranoa, and Alejandro Amenábar. The analysis of films will be complemented by readings on legal theory, film theory, and politics. Course includes a weekly film screening. Prerequisite: Spanish 321, 311, or 312, or equivalent with consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2021–22.

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 2021–22.

Spanish 372 - Documentary Resistance in Latin America and Spain

Full course for one semester. What makes a documentary a form of resistance? What defines this genre or mode? What elements and techniques characterize these documentary films? The course focuses on documentary films from Latin America and Spain that represent struggles for social justice and function as a cultural form of protest and resistance. By discussing the films in their historical and political contexts, the course examines the strategies, genres, and techniques that filmmakers use to address and participate in social change, as well as ethical and aesthetic questions about representation and production. We will watch and discuss films by Patricio Guzmán (Chile), Fernando Solanas (Argentina), Mario Handler (Uruguay), Lourdes Portillo (Mexico), Claudia Llosa (Peru), and Xapo Ortega and Xavier Artigas (Spain), among others. Prerequisite for Spanish credit: Spanish 321 or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Literature 372.

Spanish 373 - Religion and Modernity in Latin American Literature

Full course for one semester. In this course we will discuss figures and concepts from the major religious traditions of Latin America as they appear in short stories, novels, poetry, and drama from the twentieth century. We will consider the definition of modernity as a “disenchantment of the world,” and ask what that means in a region that through the present day boasts vibrant indigenous traditions and a strong Catholic presence with origins in colonialism. The course will focus on the use of religious thought as a critical tool for examining social and political issues, such as racial and economic inequality, sectarian violence, and national identity. We will consider whether religion is a unique way of knowing, the influence of theology and belief on political systems, and what role literature has in redrawing the boundaries between politics, culture, and tradition. Conducted in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or consent of instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2021–22.

Spanish 375 - Memory and Image in Latin American Literature and Art

Full course for one semester. This course focuses on memory and image, two categories that have acquired great relevance since the 1980s, in ethical, political, juridical, epistemological, and aesthetic domains. The terms “subjective turn” and “iconic turn” used by cultural critics reflect this phenomenon that is analyzed through recent literary and visual artworks. Together with testimonies and other nonfiction works, a series of documents embodying different memorialization policies (museums and memorial sites) are examined and contrasted with practices (literature, performance, visual arts) that use aesthetics to engage with the past. Particular attention is paid to the presence of the imaginary, the anachronistic, obsolescence, and the emptying of objects. Parallel to the ethics-political character of memory, the function of forgetting and the intellective in relation to the past is discussed. Included are works by Rodolfo Walsh, Doris Salcedo, León Ferrari, Mario Bellatin, Cynthia Rimsky, Alejandro Zambra, Ricardo Piglia, Alan Pauls, José Emilio Pacheco, Margo Glantz, and Diamela Eltit. Prerequisites: Spanish 321 or equivalent. Conference.

Not offered 2021–22.

Spanish 377 - Art after Franco

Full course for one semester. What happens to a culture when released from systematized repression? This course examines the creative explosion in literature and film produced in Spain after 1975, the year in which Francisco Franco died and his totalitarian regime ended. Conference discussion will concern transformations that characterize the post-Franco era: the recuperation (or not) of historical memory, the emergence of a fluid conception of gender, and the creation of new forms of popular art. Particular attention will be given to the “movida,” the disruptive social and cultural transformations celebrated in the films of Pedro Almodóvar and others. Films and readings will include works by Almodóvar, Ventura Pons, Carmen Martín Gaite, Rosa Montero, Juan Marsé, and Eduardo Mendicutti. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or equivalent with consent of instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2021–22.

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 2021–22.

Spanish 384 - Latin America’s Revolutionary Century

Full course for one semester. Throughout the twentieth century, Latin America was one of the epicenters of insurgent and revolutionary struggles in the world. These represented, regardless of their ideological differences, the entry of the equality principle in national spaces that had mostly imagined and structured themselves as two-tiered societies in which a large segment of the population—Indians, minorities, and even women—had been, for all practical purposes, systematically excluded. By focusing on the cultural production (novels, films, essays, etc.) related to four revolutionary constellations—the Mexican and Cuban Revolutions, the Central American guerrillas, and the Zapatistas—this course aims to explore and analyze the languages of insurgency and counterinsurgency, the figure of the revolutionary and guerrilla fighter as a political subjectivity, and the relation between politics and aesthetics. Primary texts will be supplemented with historical and theoretical readings. Prerequisite: Spanish 321 or consent of the instructor. Conference. 

Not offered 2021–22.

Spanish 470 - Thesis

Two unit yearlong course; one unit per semester.

Spanish 481 - Independent Reading

One-half or full course for one semester. Prerequisite: approval of instructor and division.