Skip to main content

2021-2022 Course Descriptions

PORTUGUESE 115-1: Portuguese for Spanish Speakers

For students proficient in Spanish. Comparative sociolinguistic and interactive approach to communicative competence emphasizing pronunciation, intonation, sentence structure, and patterns of spoken and written Portuguese. Prerequisite: AP 4 or equivalent on the Spanish Language Placement Exam.

PORTUGUESE 115-2: Portuguese for Spanish Speakers

For students proficient in Spanish. Comparative sociolinguistic and interactive approach to communicative competence emphasizing pronunciation, intonation, sentence structure, and patterns of spoken and written Portuguese.Prerequisite: PORT 115-1.This course is equivalent to PORT 121-3.

PORTUGUESE 202-0: Reading and Writing Portuguese

Instruction in reading and writing expository and narrative prose. Emphasis on vocabulary, linguistic skills, and syntax appropriate to formal written Portuguese. Prerequisite: PORT 115-2, PORT 121-3, or sufficient score on placement examination.

PORTUGUESE 210-0: Icons, Legends, and Myths in Brazil

Representations in graphic materials, documentaries, film, theater, folklore, narrative fiction, and popular music of historical, literary, and popular figures in the national imagination. May include English or Portuguese discussion sections. Prerequisite for Portuguese section: PORT 201-0, PORT 202-0, or sufficient score on placement exam. Prerequisite for English section: none. 

PORTUGUESE 303-0: Topics in Advanced Portuguese

Advanced review of grammar concepts and idiomatic use of spoken and written Portuguese. Deals with a variety of topics in the context of Brazilian culture, history, literature, and current events. May be taken more than once for credit with change of topic.Prerequisite: PORT 202-0 or equivalent.

SPANISH 101-1, 2: Elementary Spanish

This three-quarter, first-year language course is only for students who have never studied Spanish or studied it less than 2 years in high school. By the end of the sequence, students will be able to use Spanish beyond the classroom in meaningful and authentic ways at the Intermediate Low level of proficiency. This means that students will be able to communicate short messages on everyday topics that affect them directly.

SPANISH 105-6-4: First-Year Seminar: Don Quixote's World

Don Quixote's World What do we do about a world that doesn't conform to our expectations? Do we set out to mold reality to our vision or accept it as it is? How do we forge ahead with our dreams if others do not share our values or goals? Cervantes' Don Quixote tackles these big questions in ways that are both moving and funny as it narrates the adventures of the bedraggled hero--a man driven mad by reading too many fantasy novels--and his earthy sidekick Sancho Panza. The novel contains themes that resonate with our lives today, exploring not only what it means to write--and read--fiction but also asking us to evaluate what kind of person we want to be in the world. In our class, we'll read the novel closely and debate how its essential questions can shape our personal choices moving forward. 

SPANISH 105-6-5: First-Year Seminar: Women at the Border: The Marginalization of Latina

Immigration has become one of the ‘hot' buttons of contemporary social and political dialogue. Through the prism of the Latina experience in the United States, this class will explore causes and consequences of global migration in the 21st century, analyze the marginalization of third-world immigrants in first-world society, and seek to develop an understanding of the evolving ‘face' of America. Students will further examine how their individual experiences and backgrounds help shape their perceptions of this new world order.

Latina immigrants to the U.S. often leave intolerable circumstances and brave life-threatening border crossings in pursuit of the American dream. Yet, those who succeed in crossing the geographic border almost inevitably find that the marginalized existence they hoped to leave behind takes on an equally powerful form in their new world as they face economic, political, racial, and cultural barriers north of the border. Issues to be explored include: Immigration: global attitudes and experiences in a post 9/11 world Dangers: physical and psychological dangers risked as Latinas cross both geographic and social borders Racism: the role race plays in creating barriers for Latinas Stereotypes: images and misconceptions of Latinas in American film, television, media, etc. Traditions: how attitudes and practices within the Hispanic community itself impact Latinas Challenges & Triumphs: women who have successfully ‘crossed' the border and what that means Personal Journey: students will research personal histories ("How did I get here?") in order to understand how cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds impact the formation of attitudes and perspectives.

SPANISH 105-6: First-Year Seminar: Research University: Its Past, Future and Present

The recent proposal to eliminate virtually all humanities majors from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point (March 2018), one of many such proposals in the last few years, will serve us as an entryway into understanding not just the public university and the humanities, but the modern research university, both public and private, and the mission of the undergraduate liberal arts and graduate education within it. How did the university reach its current manifestation and where does it go from here? Beginning with an overview of its origins in the German Enlightenment, the seminar will then shift to focus on the development of existing departments and programs at the end of the nineteenth century and the disciplinary knowledge which they house nowadays. We will be especially interested in the rise of the research university in the United States after 1945 and its decline some forty years later. We will seek to understand undergraduate liberal arts education and graduate education within the pedagogical and administrative frameworks in which they function. What is their relationship to job markets, and how do different institutions position their students in relation to those markets? We will also study the university’s various members and constituencies, such as students, faculty, and administrators, and their roles. Within this context, we will explore challenges facing the modern research university, including the impact of neoliberal policies and mounting student debt, public vs. private institutions, the decline of academic freedom, the high cost of postsecondary education, the growth of contingent labor, the downsizing of tenure-track faculty, the corporatization of university administration, technical training vs. liberal arts curricula, and the introduction of consumer culture into the higher education, among others.

SPANISH 115-1: Accelerated Elementary Spanish

This two-quarter (Winter and Spring Quarters), first-year language course in introductory Spanish is designed for students with previous experience in Spanish. By the end of the sequence, students will be able to use Spanish beyond the classroom in meaningful and authentic ways at the Intermediate Low level of proficiency. This means that students will be able to communicate short messages on everyday topics that affect them directly.

To enroll in Spanish 115, students must take the Spanish Language Placement Test. Students may not enroll in 115-2 without having completed 115-1.

SPANISH 121-1, 2: Intermediate Spanish

This three-quarter, second-year language course in intermediate Spanish is designed to further develop the intercultural communicative proficiency of students, with an emphasis on the functional use of Spanish and cultural content and reflection. By the end of the sequence, students will be able to use Spanish beyond the classroom in meaningful and authentic ways at the Intermediate High level of proficiency. Students may not begin Spanish 121 in the middle of the sequence. Successful completion of 121-3 fulfills the Weinberg foreign language requirement.

SPANISH 125-0: Accelerated Intermediate Spanish

This one-quarter (only offered in Fall Quarter) accelerated course in Intermediate Spanish is designed to further develop the intercultural communicative proficiency of students through the discussion of readings and films. By the end of the sequence, students will be able to use Spanish beyond the classroom in meaningful and authentic ways at the Intermediate High level of proficiency. Successful completion of Spanish 125-0 fulfills the Weinberg foreign language proficiency requirement.

SPANISH 127-0: Accelerated Intermediate Spanish for Heritage Language Learners

This one-quarter (only offered in Fall Quarter) accelerated course in Intermediate Spanish is designed to further develop the intercultural communicative proficiency of students of Spanish as a heritage language, through the discussion of readings and films. By the end of the sequence, students will be able to use Spanish beyond the classroom in meaningful and authentic ways at the Intermediate High level of proficiency. Successful completion of Spanish 127-0 fulfills the Weinberg foreign language proficiency requirement.

SPANISH 197-0: Language in Context: Latinos, Language and Culture

A course (only offered in Winter Quarter) for heritage learners of Spanish with an intermediate-high/advanced-low level of proficiency. The course introduces students to the socio-political and linguistic richness of Spanish-speaking communities in the United States.

Prerequisite: Spanish 121-3, Spanish 125-0, or Spanish 127-0, AP score of 4 or the Spanish Language Placement Test.

SPANISH 199-0: Language in Context: Contemporary Spain

First course of a third-year sequence designed to develop speaking and writing skills in Spanish at the advanced level of proficiency. Spanish 199 is a student-centered course that serves as an introduction to the recent history, politics and society of contemporary Spain, while solidifying some grammatical patterns, and acquiring new vocabulary related to the content covered.

SPANISH 201-0: Conversation on Human Rights: Latin America

Second course of a third-year sequence designed to develop speaking and writing skills in Spanish at the advanced level of proficiency. Spanish 201 introduces students to human rights in Latin America during the 20th and 21st centuries. This topic will be addressed through readings, analysis and discussions of articles, literary and historical texts, as well as films. A special focus will be on countries in the Southern Cone and on accurate informal and formal conversation.

Prerequisite: Spanish 199-0 or Spanish Language Placement Test.

SPANISH 203-0: Individual and Society through Written Expression

Third course of a third-year sequence designed to develop speaking and writing skills in Spanish at the advanced level of proficiency. Spanish 203 focuses on the development of writing skills and the review of grammar through an examination of the relationship between the individual and society. Emphasis on textual analysis and development of descriptive, narrative and argumentative essays. This course counts towards the major/minor in Spanish.

Prerequisite: AP score of 5 on the Spanish Language or Literature Exam, Spanish 201-0 or Spanish Language Placement Test.


SPANISH 204-0: Reading and Writing the Art of Protest

Last course of a third-year sequence designed to develop speaking and writing skills in Spanish at the advanced level of proficiency. Spanish 204 focuses on the development of writing skills and the review of grammar through the analysis of socially-committed art. Emphasis on cultural analysis, close readings and the development of longer essays. This course counts towards the major/minor in Spanish. 

Prerequisite: Spanish 203-0 or 207-0.

SPANISH 223-0: Cervantes: The World of Don Quixote (Taught in English)

Don Quixote, one could argue, is a novel about how not to write and how not to read. The author, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, pens the work in order to demonstrate the absurdity of chivalric romances, the bestsellers of his day. The protagonist, Don Quixote, is incapable of understanding the difference between the fictions he reads and the real world around him. While all this happened some four hundred years ago, reading and writing are still central to our everyday lives (case in point: you are reading this description to decide whether you will enroll in this class). In the spirit of Cervantes, we will study his famous text with a focus on the practices of reading and writing—how and why did people read and write in 17th-century Spain? How were different forms of writing connected to class, gender, race, and religion? What did literacy mean in the early modern world and what implications does this have for us today? We will employ different methods of reading (close, distant, collective, etc.) and different forms of writing (analytical, creative, etc.) to gain a better understanding of this key text. The class will be taught in English.

SPANISH 231-0: The "New" Latin American Narrative (Taught in English)

So, what's "new" about the New Latin American Narrative? The course approaches this question by considering several key trends in Latin American literature in the second half of the twentieth century. Focusing on novels, short fiction, and testimonial writing & film, we will study representative works from the so-called pre-Boom, Boom, and post-Boom decades (1940s-50s, 1960s-70s & beyond). Although the new narrative is often identified with the Boom era--when Latin American literature "exploded" onto the world stage--and with Boom novels, we will take a broader view to consider the diverse types of narrative representing “new” currents in the region. Primary materials will be selected from writers such as Borges, Cortázar, Donoso, Ferré, Fuentes, García Márquez, Menchú, Puig, Rulfo, Shua, or Valenzuela. 

SPANISH 250-0: Literature in Spain before 1700

This course will offer a panorama of Spanish literature from the Medieval period to the end of the Golden Age. Through the reading and analysis of the prose, theater, and poetry from these eras in conjunction with religious and cultural history, students will understand the evolution of Spain and the drastic changes therein in political and sociocultural terms. The course will explore these changes imbedded in the texts of authors such as Gonzalo de Berceo, Don Juan Manuel, Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, among others.

SPANISH 251-0: Literature in Spain since 1700

This course offers an overview of major movements and debates of Spanish modern literature, in conjunction with the study of key literary terms and methodology. Students will be able to improve their oral and written Spanish, as they familiarize themselves with the Spanish modern literature as well as the main currents of literary criticism. We will think in and out of the canon of Spanish literature with a critical approach. Issues such as the construction and deconstruction of authorship, the audience, literary genres, avant-garde experimentation and censorship will be discussed. Novels, poetry and plays are analyzed in their political and cultural context, with an emphasis on the impact of empire and post-empire, the feminist movement, Spain’s inherent multi-culturalism and plurilingualism, border location between Europe and Africa, working-class activism, Fascism, queerness and transgression. This course provides a foundation to further study literature and culture in more advanced courses. 

SPANISH 260-0: Literature in Latin America before 1888

This course provides a survey of major Latin American literary works, from pre-Columbian traditions to the era before the emergence of modernism in the late 19th century. We will take a critical approach to the idea of “literature” by analyzing, for example, poetic and dramatic texts alongside historical, legal, and religious documents. Key themes will include the articulation, transformation, and preservation of identity; the tensions and contradictions of the colonial era; and the uneven emergence of republics. While the primary language of the class will be Spanish, we will also consider the linguistic diversity of Latin America through translations of works in Indigenous and European languages.

SPANISH 261-0: Literature in Latin America since 1888

This course provides an overview of some of the major literary figures in Latin American literature and culture since 1888, while at the same time offering opportunities to improve students’ oral and written Spanish. The course strives to communicate how one approaches literary texts by reflecting both on the tools—terms, theories, criticism—for doing so as well as their application to Latin American literatures. While introducing students to the social and historical context in which the works were written, the course will focus on how we talk and write about modern Latin American literatures with an eye to further study in the Department’s literature offerings.

SPANISH 335-0: Contemporary Spanish Theatre

This course will offer an overview of contemporary Spanish theater through the reading and analysis of works published during the last three decades in Spain. The course will explore how contemporary Spanish theater represents and examines themes such as crisis, terrorism, aging, race, immigration, masculinity, and gender violence, among others. We will discuss how playwrights and theater practitioners use both the dramatic text as well as performance to examine, critique, and reflect upon the societal changes that have reconceptualized what Spain is and what it means to be Spanish.

SPANISH 344-0: Borges

In this course we will focus on the poetry, essays, and short fiction of Jorge Luis Borges. We explore comparatively both the connections to the Latin American and European literary traditions that saw his figure emerged and also to the many debates that his literature helped define: What constitutes a literary text? What is an author/ authority? How to write/read literature in the age of the mass media? How does literary translation inform cultural translation? What cultural traditions can the Latin American writers claim as their own? Starting with his 1920s poetry Fervor de Buenos Aires and his relation to Martin Fierro avant-garde group, we move into the core of his Fictions stories, “El Aleph,” “El Sur,” “The Library of Babel,” to finally discuss programmatic essays, such as “The Argentine Writer and Tradition.” The bibliography on Borges is vast and rich, so we accompany our reading of Borges’ fiction with secondary readings that focus on providing a historical, cultural and specifically literary context.

SPANISH 360-0: Border Cultures in Spain

This course studies modern and contemporary Spanish culture as a border culture between Europe and Africa. With a focus the exchanges, collaborations and tensions between Catholic and Islamic faith and cultures, students will analyze a range of literature, film, visual arts and the historical-artistic patrimony: from founding texts of Andalusian nationalism, literature on colonial wars in the Spanish-Moroccan border, Spanish Muslim writing on feminism, contemporary debates about the use of the Mosque-Cathedral in Córdoba, Catholic public rituals and working-class activism, the literature of Spanish exiles in Northern Africa, queer poetry and faith, and narratives and activism on recent migration.

SPANISH 361-0: Nature, Violence and Ecocide in Contemporary Latin America

This course examines 20th century and contemporary Latin American literature and visual culture works that explore and denounce extractivism and eco-violence (from the violence around plantations and mining companies to “wars” over water sources). A significant feature of the colonial legacy in the Western hemisphere is the idea of nature as an infinite source of raw materials or something dangerous and wild to be tamed (either with divine help or by modern reason). Such paradigms informed the economic and cultural development of Latin American republics. Currently, the environmental and social crises the region faces are calling us to question them. This class will focus on late-twentieth and twenty-first century works that expose violence and ecocide to challenge these colonial and modern conceptions of nature.
This class will offer the students the opportunity to explore both academic and creative assignments (creative writing, and other projects TBD) as valuable ways to convey critical thought.

SPANISH 388-0: Topics in Film: The Silver Screen in Latin America and/or Spain

In this course we will study a set of 20th and 21st Century films that address issues related to land ownership, labor, and landscape throughout Latin America. We will analyze audiovisual works that explore and critique construed (often stereotypical) notions of Latin American landscape: from agricultural or underdeveloped remote regions, to criminalized urban communities. Our approach to such issues will be informed by a multidisciplinary framework that includes film studies, ecocriticism, literature, and Latin American decolonial theory.

SPANISH 395-0: Jewish Argentina

So, you ask… what’s “Jewish” about Argentina? This seems an odd question to ask about a predominantly Catholic Latin American country--even though its small Jewish population is the largest in Latin America and the third largest in the Americas overall. Yet this seemingly homogeneous nation is more multi-ethnic and multi-cultural than you might suppose. Indeed, the story of the Jewish presence in Argentina is a surprising, and yet surprisingly familiar, story. Our approach to that story will be through literature, film, and critical essays. Primary: Los gauchos judíos (1910), a narrative about a Jewish agricultural colony in the early 20th c., by Alberto Gerchunoff, the “founding father” of Jewish-Argentine literature; short stories and essays (1930s-40s) by Jorge Luis Borges (though not Jewish, he has been called a “Jewish writer”); Preso sin nombre, celda sin número (1981), a testimonial narrative by Jacobo Timerman about his imprisonment during Argentina’s military dictatorship; El libro de los recuerdos (1994), a comically reflective novel about a modern Buenos Aires Jewish family, by Ana María Shua; and Derecho de familia (2006), the third film in Daniel Burman’s semi-autobiographical trilogy about contemporary Jewish life in Buenos Aires. Secondary: essays & documentaries on history, culture, and literature.

SPANISH 397-0- 1: Under Representation: Is there a mirror for me? Gender, Race and Visual Culture

This course proposes to explore both the philosophical idea of representation in modern aesthetics as well the visual culture practices that have contested the racial and gendered regime of the aesthetics – resisting being reabsorbed into on the condition that difference be reduced to minor inflections of equivalence. If Aesthetics has historically been the realm of thought where universalizing claims of political and self-determining subjecthood demarcated the threshold of the human (and aesthetic) subject in and of representation: how have unfreedom, subjection, social injustice been defined in relation to representation? Taking the Block Exhibition “Who says Who Shows, What Counts: Thinking About History” as a survey of the compelling stories that can be told through works of art, we examine not only who and what gets represented and/or erased but also what constitutes visibility in visual culture, historically and down the present. We interrogate the power dynamics within which the racial and gendered regimes of representation have regulated access to recognition, by fundamentally de-naturalizing the ways in which these regimes have taught us to see. Closely exploring particular works of art, we ask what the experience of seeing yourself “represented” in or by an artwork involves and means. How it dramatizes the lived experience of being included or barred from social recognition, institutional legitimacy, political agency?  

SPANPORT 415-0: Studies in 19th Century Literatures & Cultures

Analysis of the discursive models of nineteenth and early twentieth-century Latin American and/or Iberian literary and cultural production. Topics vary. May be repeated for credit with a different topic. 

SPANPORT 450-0: Indigeneities and Textuality in Latin America

This course explores the notion of indigeneity and its attendant textual manifestations and representations in literary and cultural production in Latin America. First, we will consider some definitions of the term, ranging from the implicit in colonial-era texts, to the explicit in 19th and 20th century narratival and essayistic production. Secondly, we will dive into the large, diverse scholarship—much of it contemporary and ranging in origin from social sciences such as anthropology and archaeology to humanities such as history and literary studies—that has attempted to articulate indigeneity in connection to the demands of, alternately, nationalisms, vindicatory movements, social revolution, identitarian politics, and other political and cultural formations in the continent. Key amongst our considerations will be understanding not simply the shapes that indigeneity takes within these disciplinary, cultural and political contexts, but also the mechanisms that allow it to move between them. We will pay special attention to the place of writing and will seek to account for the generation of indigeneity from lettered and cultural objects and their historical moments. Readings will be selected from a range of primary and secondary texts and may include Guaman Poma de Ayala, El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Popol Vuh, el Manuscrito de Huarochirí, Manuel Gamio, José Carlos Mariátegui, Fausto Reinaga, Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, José María Arguedas, Gamaliel Churata, Alison Spedding, Blanca Wiethüchter, César Calvo, Rigoberta Menchú, Marisol de la Cadena, Joanne Rappaport, Tom Cummins, el Taller de Historia Oral Andina, and others.

SPANPORT 455-0: The Global Avant-Garde

This course offers an overview of 20th century avant-garde movements in Europe and the Americas analyzing the historical contexts in which they emerged. In particular, we explore the literary and visual culture vanguard practices as they migrate from metropolis into significant transfer points through travel, exile, translation, exhibitions, intellectual correspondence, thus fostering international aesthetic movements. We pay special attention to how avant-garde artists and writers negotiated foreign influence and local conditions; and how these movements conceived themselves as profoundly local while speaking in an international idiom. We will also contrast the “historical avant-garde” period of 1920s with its resurgence in the 1960s and the politics of counter- culture movements. Critical readings include: Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Raymond Williams, Fredrick Jamenson, Brent Edwards, Beatriz Sarlo and Roberto Schwartz.

SPANPORT 480-0: Brazilian Modern/ism: The Queer Archive

 In this class we will read a selection of literary works (in translation) produced by Brazilian writers, works which came to constitute, to different degrees, a queer archive (and, for some critics, even a canon of Brazilian gay literature). We will focus on the turn of the nineteenth century (roughly 1880-1922), a period in which writers were arguably obsessed with normativity and dissidence. By doing so we will be interested in asking the following questions: 1. How is the knowledge of a queer past produced and institutionalized (or not), and what are the political and epistemological advantages and limitations of addressing or confronting something like a queer archive? 2. Considering that the end of the century has been associated with the alleged invention of the homosexual, on the one hand, and in the case of Brazil, with official ideologies of whitening and nationalism, on the other, how do we conciliate ideas of queer temporality with historical periodization? 3. What are the specificities of studying a selected corpus when most records of the past are extremely precarious, not yet available nor preserved, catalogued, or translated, and when their promises and possibilities are already vanishing or always under the threat of physical and ideological destruction?