• Spanish Courses (click to expand)

    RLSP 101(F)Elementary Spanish

    This course focuses on grammar, elementary composition, practice in conversation, and reading of easy modern prose. It is taught by the intensive oral method. [ more ]

    RLSP 102(S)Elementary Spanish

    This course focuses on grammar, elementary composition, practice in conversation, and reading of easy modern prose. It is taught by the intensive oral method. [ more ]

    RLSP 103(F)Intensive Intermediate Spanish

    This course is a continuation of Spanish 101-102. It is designed to help students improve their proficiency in each of the major skill-groups (listening, speaking, reading and writing) while providing an introduction to the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. Classroom activities and homework are designed to increase vocabulary and improve your ability to handle daily life in a Spanish-speaking country, to express your views on complex subjects such as art and politics, and to increase your knowledge of the cultural traditions of Latin America and Spain. Film screenings and readings in Hispanic literature, culture and politics will provide material for in-class discussion and some writing assignments. This course provides the linguistic and cultural training that is necessary to engage the diverse Spanish-speaking communities of Latin America,Spain and the US; it will help to prepare students for further literary and cultural studies as well as provide skills that are increasingly essential in fields such as medicine, law, and education. Conducted in Spanish. [ more ]

    RLSP 104(S)Upper Intermediate Spanish

    This course is a continuation of Spanish 103. It focuses on the review of grammar as well as on refining writing and speaking skills. A variety of written and audiovisual journalistic media will enable students to deepen their understanding of Hispanic cultures. [ more ]

    RLSP 105(F)Advanced Spanish Grammar and Conversation

    This course focuses on the development of Spanish linguistic accuracy and oral communication skills. Major emphasis is placed on increasing oral fluency through exposure to media, interaction with native speakers, and participation in a variety of communicative activities. In addition, students will perform regular exercises to improve writing and syntax skills. Throughout the course, they will read journalistic and literary texts in order to stimulate oral and written response and to analyze complex grammatical structures within authentic target language contexts. [ more ]

    RLSP 199Spanish in Action: Advanced Communication & Culture for Everyday Life

    Not offered this year

    This is an advanced communication and culture course that uses real-world materials. This class serves as a bridge between Spanish 105 or Spanish 106 and advanced classes on literature and culture. Through the use of multimedia materials and engagement with local native speakers students will develop their communication and analytical skills as they improve their understanding of contemporary Hispanic/Latino culture and their ability to comprehend and respond to a variety of cultural and social issues and situations. Emphasis will be placed on activities that promote effective speaking and writing skills with the use of advanced structures and complex vocabulary. Students will complete at least one research project and related oral presentation. This course will have a service-learning component in which students engage with the Latino community. Conducted in Spanish. [ more ]

    Taught by: TBA

    Catalog details

    RLSP 200(S)Advanced Grammar and Composition through Literature

    This course is designed for advanced students who wish to further polish and refine their grammatical, lexical, and writing skills in Spanish. The course may be taken immediately after 105, by placement exam results, or even after students have begun to sample the Department's literature and culture offerings at the 200- and 300-level. Classic works of short fiction by celebrated Latin American authors such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Julio Cortazar will be discussed; selected Latin American films will be viewed as well. For written and oral assignments: weekly essays, in-class presentations, and language-laboratory activities. Conducted in Spanish. [ more ]

    RLSP 201(F)The Spanish Labyrinth

    Do Spaniards really dance flamenco and have dinner at 10:00 pm? Does everyone in Barcelona speak Catalan? How can you learn to separate the stereotypical images of Spain from reality? How can we talk about one "Spain", when the country a complex composite of ancient and diverse cultural remnants mixed with recent influxes? How has the vulnerable peninsula survived centuries of violent upheavals and divisiveness; dramatic economic rises and collapses? In this course we will approach Spain by studying examples of its literary and artistic production, from periods of brilliant cultural exchange, as well as in times of censorship and repression. Some topics of focus will be the Inquisition, the Civil War and contemporary Spain's obsession with its own recent past. Secondary texts will also be provided for historical and socio-political background and reference. Conducted in Spanish. [ more ]

    RLSP 202Spain's Fin de Siglo and the Crisis of Ideas

    Not offered this year

    In this class we will read the works of some of modern Spain's influential writers from the late part of the nineteenth century and the first three decades of the twentieth. Our aim is to understand how fiction and philosophy represented this significant time in Spain's history. The loss of the war with the U.S. in 1898, the turbulent shifts of power within the country, Spanish regional identities, and the cultural and intellectual movements that shaped Spain on the eve of the Civil War are among the key issues we will address. Our primary sources--largely fiction and poetry by artists such as Miguel de Unamuno, Azorin, Antonio Machado, Pio Baroja--will be complemented with a rigorous study of the cultural landscape of Spain at that time. Our principal engagement with philosophy will be through Jose Ortega y Gasset, in particular his output from the 1920s. [ more ]

    RLSP 203(F)From Modernismo to El Boom de la Novela

    A survey of some of the leading imaginative writers of Ibero America. Readings will begin with the modernista poets and go on to include fiction of Mexico by Rulfo, a wide sampling of verse by Pablo Neruda, and narratives of the "Boom" period by authors such as Borges, Cortazar, Lispector, and Garcia Marquez. Conducted in Spanish. [ more ]

    RLSP 204Icons and Imaginaries: Culture and Politics in Latin America

    Not offered this year

    This course provides an overview of Latin American culture and politics by focusing on some of the most recognizable names and faces from the continent's turbulent history: Christopher Columbus, Hernan Cortes and Malintzin, Simon Bolivar, Jose Marti, Pancho Villa, Eva Peron, Frida Kahlo, Che Guevara, Rigoberta Menchu and Hugo Chavez. In addition to exploring the controversies surrounding each figure and her or his influence within a specific historical context, we'll also unpack some of the overarching issues of Latin American culture and politics: How are nations and nationalism constructed through processes of representation, and what roles do specific iconic figures play in that process? How can popular culture challenge elite representations of the nation and its heroes/heroines, and how durable are the images it produces as expressions of collective will? What opportunities are available to women and sexual minorities in a political culture that has been historically dominated by macho military types? This course fulfills the EDI requirement by enabling students to appreciate the figures that have influenced generations of Latin American women and men and their sense of what is politically possible, while challenging the class to identify the operations of power at work in the construction of the figures themselves. Conducted in Spanish. [ more ]

    RLSP 205The Latin-American Novel in Translation

    Not offered this year

    A course specifically designed to enable students who have no knowledge of Spanish to read and discover those Latin-American authors who, in the twentieth century, have attracted world-wide attention. Among the texts to be discussed: Borges, Labyrinths; Cortazar, Blow-up and Hopscotch; Lispector, the Hour of the Star lesser works by Fuentes and Puig; and by Nobel Prize-winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude. [ more ]

    RLSP 206Latin-American Civilizations

    Not offered this year

    An introduction to the multiple elements constituting Latin-American culture. Class assignments include readings from selected Latin-American essayists and screenings of classic films. Particular focus on the conflict between local and foreign cultural traditions. Areas to be considered: Spanish Catholicism, the influence of European liberalism and U.S. expansion, the Indian and African contribution, and the cultural impact of social revolution in Mexico and Cuba. Conducted in Spanish. [ more ]

    RLSP 208The Spanish Civil War in Literature and Film

    Not offered this year

    The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) has generated a vast bibliography and filmography that to this day reflect widely antagonistic interpretations of the conflict itself, its roots, and its impact. From the Spanish perspective, the war is the most important single event in understanding modern Spain. The ideals, passions, and consequences of the Spanish Civil War still divide Spaniards and have been recreated and relived by writers, artists, and filmmakers, and debated by historians. The course will begin with a historical introduction to the origins, development, and outcome of the war. Was the Spanish war a national struggle or an international struggle played out on Spanish soil? Along with studying internal Spanish political divisions, we will also consider the impact of the foreign policy positions of other countries-including Germany, Italy, the United States, and Russia--vis-a-vis Spain, as well as the role of the thousands of foreign volunteers who formed the International Brigades and came from all over the world to fight against Franco. With this historical basis, we will see how the themes and issues of the war are reflected in Spanish poetry, short fiction, novels, and films from the time of the war up through the present day. Readings will include works by Ayala, Cernuda, Neruda, Goytisolo, Sender, Fernan-Gomez, and Matute. Films will include documentaries as well as classic and contemporary features. Conducted in Spanish. [ more ]

    RLSP 209Spanish for Heritage Speakers: Introduction to Latina/o Cultural Production

    Not offered this year

    This course focuses on the acquisition and improvement of critical communication and analytical skills in Spanish for use both in and outside of the United States. We address all four of the primary language skills (listening, reading, writing, and speaking), with particular attention to the unique needs of students who have received a majority of their exposure to the Spanish language in informal or domestic environments. Through the use of materials and vocabulary taken from a variety of real-life contexts, but with primary emphasis on the diverse Latina/o communities of the United States, this class aims to sharpen heritage speakers' sociolinguistic competency and ability to interpret musical, cinematic, and literary texts in Spanish. Please note that students who have completed the majority of their formal education in a Spanish-speaking country are not permitted to take this course without prior permission of the instructor. [ more ]

    RLSP 210Spanish Phonetics and Phonology

    Not offered this year

    This course focuses on the linguistic study of the Spanish sound system. Students will practice phonetic transcription and application of phonological rules. We will explore how pronunciation varies across dialects of the Spanish-speaking world and differences between English and Spanish phonetics and phonology. Laboratory work will be conducted with the goal of improving student pronunciation and analyzing native Spanish pronunciation. Offered in Spanish. [ more ]

    RLSP 211A Survey of Spanish Literature from the 11th to the 17th Centuries

    Not offered this year

    This course will introduce the student to some of the major works of Spanish literature from its beginnings through the Golden Age. We will study the historical context in which the works were written as well as the literary history of the periods in question. Students will learn methods of textual analysis through readings of relevant literary criticism. Readings will include selected canonical prose, poetry, and drama of the periods; special emphasis will be given to the myth of the coexistence of three religions in Iberia and the often misguided idea of dividing this literature into the categories of 'medieval' and 'Renaissance'. Conducted in Spanish.This course fulfills the pre-1800 requirement for the Spanish major [ more ]

    RLSP 214(S)"Ecologismo": Literature, Culture and the Environment in Latin America

    How have Latin American authors and artists responded to environmental concerns, from the logging and rubber booms that threatened the Amazon in the early 20th century to contemporary global warming? How do the realities of Latin American societies--including massive disparities of wealth and poverty; the cultural and political impacts of the region's indigenous populations; and the complex histories of colonialism, dependency and neoliberalism--inform Latin American responses to environmental issues? How does Latin America's "environmental imaginary" differ from those of the US and Europe? In this course we will explore these issues and more through literature and other cultural texts from Latin America. We will consider short stories and novellas by authors including Horacio Quiroga (Uruguay), Luis Sepulveda (Chile), Mempo Giardinelli (Argentina), and Ana Cristina Rossi (Costa Rica); poetry by Esthela Calderon (Nicaragua), Juan Carlos Galeano (Colombia), Homero Aridjis (Mexico); the paintings of Tomas Sanchez (Cuba); and feature films as well as shorter documentaries. In Spanish. This course satisfies the EDI requirement because it is inspired by and organized around Arturo Escobar's notion of "the political ecology of difference": our work throughout the semester aims to understand the myriad ways in which "difference" --- economic, ecological, and cultural --- informs Latin American responses to environmental degradation. We will also explore some of the ways that contemporary artists and intellectuals attempt to revise forms of subjectivity understood as characteristically Western and modern through creative cultural engagement with Amerindian knowledge and forms of expression. [ more ]

    Taught by: TBA

    Catalog details

    RLSP 215The Other Caribbean: Identity, Subalternity, and Resistance (19th-21st Centuries)

    Not offered this year

    The Hispanic Caribbean has been viewed as an exotic place since colonial times. This perception was exploited in the Golden age of Hollywood and has been revived in contemporary times through a neo-exotic lens focused on touristic consumption. In this way, region is reproduced in the imaginary as a place of enjoyment and pleasure. This course critically analyzes this imaginary and focuses on the cultural complexity of the Hispanic Caribbean in order to highlight the traces of traumatic experiences that have marked the region: colonization, slavery, the processes of creolization and transculturation, the political conflicts of the 20th century (Rafael Trujillo's dictatorship, the Cuban Revolution and the disagreement Cuba/USA, the relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States), emigration and exile. We also explore together the quest for and critique of national and ethnic identities through the analysis of literary works and other artistic expressions (painting, cinema, music) from the 19th century to the present. We will examine the early modern imagining of the uncivilized island savage (emblematized by the figures of Prospero and Caliban), and then we will approach the voice of the slave Francisco Manzano (Autobiografia) and the romantic representations of 19th century antislavery narrative (Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda's Sab). We will study the mulata myth and the imaginary of the monster (in Cirilo Villaverde's Cecilia Valdes). The course will also delve into the symbol of the "stain" ("mancha") in relation to the consolidation of Creole identity (Luis Llorens's La mancha de platano) and the representation of guilt as a negative mark: the complicity of intellectuals with power (Juan Bosch's "La mancha indeleble"). We will study important Caribbean authors such as Luis Pales Matos, Nicolas Guillen, Rene Marques, Rosario Ferre, Luis Rafael Sanchez, Ana Lydia Vega, Reinaldo Arenas, Heberto Padilla, among others. Conducted in Spanish. [ more ]

    RLSP 217 TLove in the Spanish Golden Age

    Not offered this year

    The principal focus of this course is the Spanish "comedia" of the seventeenth century (with supplemental readings from prose and poetry) to provide us with a dynamic and critical understanding of the theme of love as constructed by the greatest dramatists and authors of the period. Works by Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, Calderon, Cervantes, San Juan de la Cruz, and others will show us how the theme was treated from diverse perspectives, and how it related to key concepts such as honor, religion, and artistic creativity. Conducted in Spanish or English depending on student ability. [ more ]

    RLSP 220(S)Women on the Verge

    From the early twentieth century to the present day, the radical changes in the lives of Spanish women have clearly reflected the tug of war between progress and tradition in recent Spanish history. The dramatic upheavals in Spanish politics have marked and transformed the lives of women to such a great extent that one can often gauge the political and social climate of any given historical moment by considering how the role of women was defined by the law, the Catholic church, education, and other social and political institutions. Using literary and historical texts as well as films and graphic materials, this course will look at the transformations in the public and private lives of Spanish women during the following periods: the turn of the century, the Second Republic, the Spanish Civil War, the Franco years, and the transition to democracy. [ more ]

    RLSP 223 TColonial Landscapes: Latin America's Contemporary Environmental Literature

    Not offered this year

    "It is not by coincidence that our societies are both racist and anti-ecological," wrote the Chilean sociologist Fernando Mires in his now-classic study, The Discourse of Nature. This tutorial explores works of contemporary literature that implicitly and explicitly link Latin America's ongoing environmental crisis to the region's long and multi-layered history of colonialism: novels by Sylvia Iparraguirre (Argentina), Mayra Montero (Puerto Rico), Giaconda Belli (Nicaragua), Luis Sepulveda (Chile); poetry by Homero Aridjis (Mexico); essays by Octavio Paz (Mexico), Eduardo Viveiros de Castro (Brazil), and more. Representing a wide variety of geographies, literary styles and ideological perspectives, these writers nevertheless converge in challenging us to consider the effects of environmental crisis within structures of power that are radically unequal at the local, national, and global levels; and to recognize that consciousness of environmental vulnerability can prompt new forms of inclusion and community as well as exclusion. Topics to be explored also include the role of indigenous cosmologies in contemporary environmental politics, the place of urban ecologies within the environmental imaginary, and the ongoing debates among academic critics and others regarding the scope and methodologies of ecocriticism as an approach to Latin American literature. Students have the option of tutorial in Spanish or in English; partners will be assigned accordingly. Each tutorial pair will meet with me for one hour during the week, during which time we will discuss a 5-page paper that one of the partners has submitted the night before. This adds up to a substantial amount of (reading and) writing for each student in the course, i.e., six 5-page essays over the course of the semester. This tutorial meets the goals of the Exploring Diversity Initiative by challenging students to position themselves, intellectually and imaginatively, in the space of those excluded from modernity's material benefits as they struggle to brace themselves against its catastrophic environmental effects. [ more ]

    RLSP 225Subalternity, Dictatorship, and the Dream of Emancipation: Paraguay, 1811-Present

    Not offered this year

    Paraguay is at once the most "typical" of Latin American countries and the most enigmatic. With a predominantly Guarani-speaking population, enormous disparities of wealth and poverty, and a political tradition that favors authoritarian dictatorship, Paraguay is also celebrated, in certain circles, as the only Latin American nation that actually achieved economic and political independence when the other republics were fast becoming economic dependencies of Britain and the US in the 19th century. This course explores the subjects of subalternity, dictatorship, and the "dream of emancipation" in Paraguay's cultural production of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. We will examine together the writings of the brilliant novelist Augusto Roa Bastos, especially Son of Man and I the Supreme; stories and poems by Teresa Lamas, Josefina Pla, and others; Paraguay's rich and vibrant tradition of visual art; and works of classic and contemporary film. Conducted in Spanish. This course fulfills the goals of the EDI requirement by challenging students to analyze the ways that structures of power and privilege, articulated at the national and international levels, are manifest in Paraguay, as well as the strategies Paraguayan artists and intellectuals have developed to undermine or contest those structures through creative cultural work. Our explorations will be undergirded by theoretical readings in the fields of postcolonial studies, subaltern studies, and psychoanalysis. [ more ]

    RLSP 227(S)Afro-Caribbean Literature: Race, Gender and Identity

    The course will focus on the representation of the trauma of slavery and abolitionist narratives in the 19th-century Caribbean. We will study the concept of transculturation and the processes and practices of negotiation and cultural resistance of Afro-descendants throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In addition, we will focus on conflicts derived from race, gender and identity in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, closely related to emigration and globalization phenomena. [ more ]

    RLSP 235(F)A Survey of Hispanic Cinema from 1960 to 2010: Politics, Gender, and Memory

    This course will survey a selection of representative films of Hispanic cinema (Spain and Latin America), from 1960 to 2010, as artistic discourses that are closely related to the historical, social, and political contexts in which they were produced. This essential relationship will be analyzed and discussed. The course is not intended to be a history of Hispanic cinema, but rather a look at distinctive films through the analysis of themes that singularize them. The common thread of the course will be discussion of the extent to which the films transgress the standards imposed by the constraints of censorship, cultural conventions, political regimes, and gender norms in Spain and Latin America, thus becoming archives of resistance to these limitations. Our discussions will consider violence, politics of vision, childhood and trauma, the performance of gender, realistic and fantastic regimes of representation, political disagreement, and memory. Filmmakers to be studied include Luis Bu?uel, Pedro Almodovar, Iciar Bollain, Luis Puenzo, Alejandro Gonzalez I?arritu, among others. [ more ]

    RLSP 301Cervantes' "Don Quijote"

    Not offered this year

    We will devote the entire semester to the study of one novel: Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quijote, published in the early part of the 17th century. We will try to understand the reasons for the novel's immense and ongoing influence on Western literature and thought. To do so, we will study Cervantes' masterful handling of issues that continue to have an uncanny relevance to our lives today: relationships between men and women, the perception of Muslims by Christians and vice versa, the role of fiction in life, the shapes of mental illness, how we decide who we are, how our governments and families and friends decide who we are, the fun and annoyance of going on a totally disorganized road trip with someone else, the meaning of justice, and the meaning of storytelling, to name a few things. In the process, we will continually set things in context and make sure that we understand what was going on in Cervantes' world that might better explain what goes on in his novel. Finally, we will find that even an entire semester is not enough to engage fully with this extraordinary work, but we will be very glad that we made some headway. Conducted in Spanish [ more ]

    RLSP 303Cervantes' "Don Quixote" in English Translation

    Not offered this year

    A close study of one of the most influential and early European novels. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616 C.E) was a hit in its day in the seventeenth century, and has not ceased to influence artists and thinkers since. Moving between humorous and serious tones, Cervantes takes on several issues in the Quixote: the point of fiction in real life, the complications of relationships between men and women, the meaning of madness, the experience of religious co-existence, the shapes of friendship, and the task of literary criticism, just to name a few. We will read the book in a fine modern English-language translation, and set it in several relevant contexts to better understand its original intellectual horizon--seventeenth-century Spain--as well as the reasons for its continuing relevance. [ more ]

    RLSP 306 TLatino Writing: Literature by U.S. Hispanics

    Not offered this year

    Writing by U.S. Hispanics constitutes a new voice in American letters. In this tutorial, we will read and discuss work by U.S. Latinos and examine the social backgrounds to their texts. The experiences of immigration and assimilation, and the specific complexities of being both Hispanic and North American will be addressed. Authors to be studied: Jose Antonio Villarreal, Tomas Rivera, Richard Rodriguez, Sandra Cisneros, Rudolfo Anaya, Piri Thomas, Oscar Hijuelos, Cristina Garcia, Junot Diaz and historical texts by Carey McWilliams, and Rodolfo Acu?a. Given the absence of a critical consensus around these recent titles, our task is to gain some sense of their common traits as a tradition, and place them within the larger body of literature of the Americas and the world. The tutorial will examine one work or set of authors per week. A student will bring, written out in full, an oral presentation focusing on the artistic features and sociocultural content of the assigned reading. Questioning of the presenter, on the part of the second tutee and the tutor, will follow. The course is designed to accommodate both Spanish and English speaking students. A student able to read and speak Spanish will be paired with another student of similar proficiency. Students who neither read nor speak Spanish will be paired together. [ more ]

    RLSP 308(S)The Subject of Empire: Race, Gender and Power in the Colonial Era

    This class studies Latin American literature of the colonial era (1492-1898) from the perspective of the constitution of the subject: the autobiographical 'yo' that is both the subject of discourse and the object of sovereign power. Our readings will include the most outstanding texts of the group collectively known as the Chronicles of the Conquest--the letters of Christopher Columbus and Hernan Cortes and Bernal Diaz del Castillo's True History of the Conquest of New Spain, among others--whose authors endeavor to establish their historical authority and legitimate their actions before the Spanish king. We will also read later works in which racially and sexually marginalized subjects struggle to contest the identities and the conditions imposed on them by a distant sovereign through far-reaching institutional networks: the mestizo historian known as El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, the cross-dressed soldier Catalina de Erauso, the poet Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, and the slave Juan Francisco Manzano. This course fulfills the objectives of the Exploring Diversity Initiative by challenging students to examine the historical negotiation of individual and collective identities within the context of violent, exploitative and exclusionary structures of power. [ more ]

    RLSP 319Dictatorship and the Latin-American Novel

    Not offered this year

    Military dictatorship is among the most crucial factors in Latin-American society and history, and some of the continent's leading novelists have taken it upon themselves to depict the experience in their work. In this course we will examine both the fact of dictatorship itself and the diverse representation thereof in Spanish-American fiction. Novels by Garcia Marquez, Vargas Llosa, Poniatowska, and Tomas Eloy Martinez will be closely studied. Students will also read Absalom! Absalom! by Faulkner, whose influence on Latin-American authors' techniques of representation has been decisive and profound. (This course offering is a slightly modified version of a previous senior seminar, RLSP 403, "Power, Repression, and Dictatorship in the Latin-American Novel.") Conducted in Spanish. [ more ]

    RLSP 320(F)Disease and Identity in Latin American Narratives of Self

    This course focuses on autobiographical, auto-fictional, and testimonial Latin American works in order to analyze the ways in which the authors narrate the transformation of the body and subjectivity because of disease. The main goal of the course is to emphasize the bio-cultural constructions of disease and read the different texts as geo-culturally located expressions in constant dialogue with prior literary representations of disease. Readings by Severo Sarduy, Reinaldo Arenas, Pedro Lemebel, Mario Bellatin, Fernando Vallejo, and Marta Dillon, among others. We will supplement these readings with texts by non-Latin American authors to provide a "world literature" context where possible, and consider several pertinent theoretical frameworks. [ more ]

    RLSP 322Islam in Spain

    Not offered this year

    The presence of Islam--in all its diverse manifestations--is not new to Europe, least of all to Spain. In this course we will focus for the most part on the medieval and early modern periods, and study several works--primarily of literature, though we will supplement with other texts--in which Muslims and Islam have been portrayed in the Iberian Peninsula. We will cover a wide range of perspectives that include Christian and Muslim writers as well as converts on both sides. While the bulk of the course is focused on the period prior to 1700 CE, we will devote the final few weeks of class to the study of Islam in contemporary Spain using fiction, legal debates, and issues related to immigration. Conducted in Spanish [ more ]

    RLSP 352Writing after the Disaster: The Literature of Exile

    Not offered this year

    This course will consider different kinds of works (poetry, memoirs, fiction, essay) written by authors forced to live in exile as a consequence of political and/or religious persecution. Our point of departure will be the paradigmatic expulsion and subsequent diaspora of the Jews of Spain and Portugal. Most assignments, however, will be drawn from twentieth century texts written during, or in the wake of, the massive destruction and displacements brought about by the Spanish Civil War and World War II. How is the life lost portrayed? How are the concepts of home and the past intertwined? What kind of life or literature are possible for the deracinated survivor? We will discuss the role of writing and remembrance in relation to political history, as well as in the context of individual survival. Readings might include works by Nu?ez de Reinoso, Leon, Cernuda, Semprun, Benjamin, Nancy, and Blanchot. [ more ]

    RLSP 402Senior Seminar: Power, Repression, and Dictatorship in the Latin-American Novel

    Not offered this year

    Military dictatorship is among the most crucial factors in Latin-American society and history, and some of the continent's leading novelists have taken it upon themselves to depict the experience in their work. In this course we will examine both the fact of dictatorship itself and the diverse representation thereof in Spanish-American fiction. Novels by Garcia Marquez, Vargas Llosa, Poniatowska, and Tomas Eloy Martinez will be closely studied. Students will also read Absalom! Absalom! by Faulkner, whose influence on Latin-American authors' techniques of representation has been decisive and profound. Conducted in Spanish. [ more ]

    RLSP 402Senior Seminar Madrid: 1939-2004

    Not offered this year

    In this course we will examine life in Madrid during two key periods: the Franco Dictatorship (1939-1975), and the first four decades of democracy (1975-2016). We will consider how representations of urban landscapes (churches, convents, prisons, museums, slums, bars and schools) have shaped and reflected the lives of madrile?as and madrile?os past and present. We will study works by 20th century and contemporary Spanish authors, filmmakers, photographers, and journalists, as well as period advertisements and examples of popular culture. How was Madrid's image as international capital of art, sun, soccer and bullfighting forged? What remnants of the past lurk behind this appealing facade? How do the Atocha train Station bombings of 2004 relate to unresolved political tensions from 1939? [ more ]

    RLSP 403(S)Exemplary Monsters: Cannibals, Zombies, Ghosts and Vampires in Latin American Literature

    The course will focus on the figure of the monster and the idea of the monstrous in Latin American and Caribbean literatures in its different variants of representation: cannibals, zombies, ghosts and vampires among others. We will focus on literary texts, but also explore Latin American and Caribbean films and visual works centered on the monster. We will analyze the role of these representations, and the role of monsters as symbols of the identity and history in Latin America and the Caribbean. Is there a specifically "Latin American monster"? How do monsters in Latin America function culturally? What would be the differences in the representations of the monstrous in different historical periods? Special emphasis will be placed on the monster's association with race, gender, and cultural otherness, as well as its role as vehicle for discourses about exoticism, barbarism, colonization, slavery, and dictatorships. We will also take into account the idea of the monster as appropriation of difference and as a vehicle of the unrepresentable (the abject subject, violence). Authors to be studied include Horacio Quiroga, Carlos Fuentes, Jorge L. Borges, Pedro Cabiya among others. [ more ]


Are you new to Spanish at Williams? If you are a first-year student, or a returning student interested in taking your first Spanish class at Williams, please READ THIS CAREFULLY.

SPANISH PLACEMENT TEST, 2017-2018 (Contact your Spanish instructor to take the test.)

ALL students interested in studying Spanish must take the WILLIAMS COLLEGE SPANISH PLACEMENT TEST. The only exception is students who have never taken Spanish before and plan to enroll in RLSP 101 in the fall.

Please mark your calendars: Our online placement test will be available on TBA for 2018 (Tuesday, August 29th, 2017 between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.) You can take the test from any computer (including your own) at any time during that 3-hour window. The test should take you about 1 hour to complete. Click here to enroll for the test (self-enrollment will be enabled after 8/15/2017), and return to this course on Tuesday August 29th to take the test. 

*You will need your Williams College user account in order to enroll.

Spanish Placement Test FAQs

 I. Do I still need to take the test if…?

1. “I took Spanish many years ago but don’t remember much.”  YES

2. “I’ve never studied Spanish, but we speak Spanish at home.”  YES

3. “I took AP Spanish.”  YES

4. “I went to a bilingual school.”  YES

5. “I have never studied Spanish. I do not speak, write, or read it. Do I need to take the test?”  NO

II. Is the test offered at another time?

NO, the Placement Test is only offered once a year.

III. I’m not sure yet if I want to take Spanish this year. Should I take the test anyway?

YES! That way we will have your score on file if and when you decide you’re ready to study Spanish.

**In case of technical problems during the test, please email [email protected]

Still have questions?
Please contact:

Lucy J. Green
Departmental Administrative Assistant
Center for Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
[email protected]