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Courses

The following information is from the 2017-18 Vassar College Catalogue.

Hispanic Studies: I. Introductory

105a. Elementary Spanish Language 1

Fundamentals of the grammar and structure of the Spanish language with emphasis on oral skills and reading. Howard Fink.

Open to students with no previous instruction in Spanish.

Yearlong course 105-HISP 106.

Four 50-minute periods; one hour of drill.

106b. Elementary Spanish Language 1

Fundamentals of the grammar and structure of the Spanish language with emphasis on oral skills and reading. Howard Fink.

Open to students with no previous instruction in Spanish.

Yearlong course HISP 105-106.

Four 50-minute periods; one hour of drill.

110 Latin American and Spanish Literacy and Cultural Topics 1

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

Hispanic Studies: II. Intermediate

205a or b. Intermediate Spanish 1

Intensive study and review of Spanish grammar at the second-year level with emphasis on oral practice and writing skills.  Mario Cesareo, Nicolás Vivalda (a); Andrew Bush, Mihai Grunfeld (b).

Prerequisite(s): HISP 105-HISP 106 or HISP 109   , or three years of high school Spanish.

Three 50-minute periods and one hour of conversation.

206 Reading and Writing about Hispanic Culture 1

Reading, writing and speaking skills are developed through study of cultural and literary texts and audiovisual materials. Mario Cesario and Mihai Grünfeld (a); Eva Woods Peiró (b).

Topic for 2017/18a: Reading, writing, and speaking skills are developed through study of cultural and literary texts and audiovisual materials. Mario Cesareo.

Topic for 2017/18a: Latin America: Past and Present. This course is an introduction to Latin American history and culture, while it develops reading, writing and speaking skills in Spanish. Through the study of cultural and literary texts (short stories, poetry and essays) and audiovisual material (music, fine arts and films) we cover the main Latin American historical periods and also discuss the Hispanic presence in the United States. Some of the texts studied are: Popol Vuh, Nicolás Echevarría's Cabeza de Vaca, María Luisa Bemberg's Yo la peor de todas and Camila, the murals of Diego Rivera, Nicolás Guillén's afro-Cuban poetry, Violeta Parra's protest song, Luisa Valenzuela's short novel Cambio de armas and Luis Valdes's Zoot Suit. Mihai Grünfeld.

Topic for 2017/18b: This section explores contemporary issues in Latin American and Iberian cultures (displacement; immigration; incarceration; LGBT, Women's and Indigenous rights; and discourses of freedom). The course introduces students to these topics through a variety of media. We focus on developing reading, writing, speaking, and advanced grammer skills. Eva Woods Peiró.

 

Prerequisite(s): HISP 205 or four years of high school Spanish.

Two 75-minute periods and one hour of conversation.

216 Topics in Multidisciplinary Analysis 1

This course develops a set of methodological and theoretical tools for the investigation of cultural practices such as literature, popular and mass culture, social movements and institutions in Spanish-speaking countries. Michael Aronna (a); Mario Cesareo (b).

Topic for 2017/18a: Fiction and Non-Fiction in the Multidisciplinary Classroom.  This course develops the theoretical and methodological tools for the study of the ambiguous boundaries of the fictional and scientific representation of social reality in Latin American cultural discourse and practice. Through the examination of hybrid texts that combine elements of fiction, science, journalism, photography, and art the course explores assumptions underlying different conceptions of documentary and imaginary representation.  Students consider models of analysis originating in cultural studies with others from the social sciences in order to arrive an an integral and multidisciplinary understanding of the formal and social characteristics of these diverse texts and practices. Michael Aronna.

Topic for 2017/18b: Reading and Writing Short Stories. This course explores ways of reading the Latin American short story in the context of its historical development, while unctioning as a creative writing workshop in Spanish. Mario Cesareo.

Prerequisite: HISP 206 or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

219 Advanced Grammar and Composition 1

This course offers an in-depth coverage of Spanish grammar with emphasis on reading and writing skills. A more traditional approach in grammar explanations is combined with the study of numerous examples and exercises based on everyday life. The objectives of this course are 1) to provide a thorough review of major topics of Spanish grammar---ser and estar, por and para, the preterit and the imperfect, sequence of tenses, conditional clauses, etc.; 2) to explore in-depth the different mechanics of writing in Spanish (punctuation, written accents, etc.); 3) to work on writing skills in Spanish through the use of various writing techniques and strategies---the art of writing narratives, dialogue, descriptions, letters, and reports; 4) to improve reading skills and knowledge of vocabulary and idiomatic expressions in Spanish; 5) to continue to increase cultural knowledge of the Spanish-speaking world. Through the use of the target language in class, this course also contributes to the general language acquisition process. Some translation work is required as well---contextualized passages in English translated into Spanish are used to illustrate a variety of grammatical principles. Nicolas Vivalda.

Prerequisite(s): HISP 216 or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

225 Creative Writing Workshop 1

This year's workshop provides a space for the development of the student's ability as a writer of fiction in Spanish. Writing projects could include short stories, drama, poetry and miscellany, depending on the student's individual interests. Workshop members share, read and critique each other's writing. We also engage some readings and exercises designed to enrich the student's ability to give form, texture, and voice to their writing. Mario Cesareo.

Prerequisite(s): HISP 216 or HISP 219 or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

226 Medieval and Early Modern Spain 1

Studies in Spanish literary and cultural production from the time of the Reconquest to the end of the Hapsburg Empire.

Topic for 2017/18a: Framing Poverty and Social Mobility: the Picaresque Novel in Spain and Latin America.  The emergence of the picaresque novel in Spain and its migration to the "New World" forms one of the most fascinating chapters in the history of the novel. The protagonist of these texts is a social underdog (Spanish pícaro) who experiences different adventures as he drifts from place to place and from one social milieu to another in his struggle to survive. His efforts to medrar or improve his social standing are presented against a social background that proves itself to be deceiving and highly volatile. The course examines a broad selection of texts -literary and filmic-, ranging from the picaresque genre's foundational Spanish texts (Lazarillo de Tormes, Guzmán de Alfarache) to later Latin American works (El Periquillo Sarniento, Los olvidados) that recreate this tradition in the specific historical and cultural conditions of the Americas. Nicolas Vivalda.

Two 75-minute periods.

227 Colonial Latin America 1

(Same as LALS 227) Studies in Latin American literary and cultural production from the European invasion to the crisis of the colonial system.

Topic for 2017/18b: Screening the Past: Filmic Adaptations of Latin American Colonial Society. This course considers how the Latin American, European and American film industries have imagined, represented, and revised crucial moments and issues from Latin America's colonial past with a special focus on the contemporary agendas of the filmmakers in their depiction of colonial society, culture, and politics.  We will study the many original colonial texts and sources which inspired these films and examine the cinematic techniques for the adaptation and revision of colonial perspectives, beliefs, and practices which seek to make them accessible and meaningful to contemporary audiences.  Michael Aronna. 

Prerequisite(s): one course above HISP 206.

Two 75-minute periods.

228a. Modern Spain 1

Studies in Spanish literary and cultural production from the beginning of the Bourbon monarchy to the present.

Road Trips. The course introduces a wide range of literary expression (novel, essay, travelogue, poetry, drama) from the thwarted Spanish Age of Enlightenment in the eighteenth century to the present-day Spain of revived regionalism and massive immigration, by way of the geographical imagination. Texts under study offer close observation of the particularities of landscapes and cityscapes and their implications for the local and national imaginary, collective memory and both religion and politics in modern Spain. Much attention is devoted to questions about insider and outsider perspectives and the vicissitudes of dialogue between them. Andrew Bush.



 

Prerequisite(s): HISP 216.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

229 Postcolonial Latin America 1

(Same as LALS 229) Studies in Latin American literary and cultural production from the emergence of the nation states to the present. Thematically structured, the course delves into the social, political, and institutional processes undergone by Latin America as a result of its uneven incorporation into world capitalist development.

Topic for 2017/18a: Latin American Literature and the Environment. The course explores the links between history, the environment, and literature in Latin America. It follows the environmental history of the continent from pre-Columbian societies to the present through its representation in salient works of Latin American literature, from Amerindian texts to  21st –century literature and film. Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert.

 

Prerequisite(s):  HISP 216 or HISP 219.

Two 75-minute periods.

290a or b. Field Work 0.5 to 1

Individual projects or internships. The department.

Prerequisite(s): one unit of HISP 205 or above.

Special permission.

298a or b. Independent Work 0.5 to 1.5

The department.

Prerequisite(s): 2 units of HISP 226 or above, and permission of the instructor.

Does not fulfill the requirement for 200-level work in the major or the correlate sequence.

Hispanic Studies: III. Advanced

300b. Senior Thesis 1

The department.

387 Latin American Seminar 1

(Same as LALS 387) A seminar offering in-depth study of topics related to the literary and cultural history of Latin America. This course may be repeated for credit when the topic changes. Michael Aronna (a); Lisa Paravisini-Gebert (b).

Topic for 2017/18a: Detective Fiction in Latin America. This seminar examines the unique literary origins and development of detective fiction in Latin America in different national, political, and cultural contexts to inquire how specific genres of detective fiction and film correspond to particular issues of organized crime, class and ethnic difference, governability, corruption, quotidian violence, urbanization, and the media across Latin America. Michael Aronna.

Topic for 2017/18b: Art, Film, Literature and Climate Change in Latin America. This seminar addressed the toll climate change is taking on Latin America through its expression in art, film and literature. Melting glaciers, coral bleaching, changing rainfall patters, rising sea levels, water and food insecurity are among the topics addressed eloquently through the arts in the region. The course will examine the central role artists and writers have played as key environmental activists throughout LatinAmerica, focusing on literary work by Gabriel García Márquez (Colombia) and Homero Aridjis (Mexico), artists like Tomás Sánchez (Cuba), Alejandro Durán (Mexico), and Ruby Rumié (Colombia), and films like Even the Rains (2011), The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), A Place in the World (1992), The Naked Jungle (1954), and The Towrope (2012). Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert.

Prerequisite: HISP 216 and one course above 216.

One 2-hour period.

388 Peninsular Seminar 1

A seminar offering in-depth study of topics related to the literary and cultural history of Spain. This course may be repeated for credit when the topic changes.

Topic for 2017/18a: Digital Culture. Digital media are ubiquitous. Through them we communicate, inform ourselves, organize our lives, and watch one another. In effect, we become who we are through media. This course explores how the history, infrastructure, political economy and symbolic and affective meanings gleaned from media have been expressed in Hispanophone contexts across Latin America, the Caribbean, Mexico and Spain. Relevant themes include the definition of digital culture and literacy; the dreams and realities of Cyber culture; social media and the digitization of every day personal and public life; gendered, racialized and classed identities and/or embodiment in network life; online communities; gaming; surveillance; and online, networked social movements and protest. Taught in Spanish. Eva Woods Peiró.

Topic for 2017/18b: Madness, Irrationality, and Artifice: Facing the Limits of Fiction in Cervantine Narrative. Lionel Trilling once said "all prose fiction is a variation on the theme of Don Quixote". This class will consider the most "extreme" forms of narration that Miguel de Cervantes designed in order to deal with one of the critical philosophical and artistic concerns of its time: the problem of appearance and reality. There are many aesthetic innovations in Cervantes' narrative model: the creation of a self-conscious narrator, the integration of a multiplicity of styles, the assimilation of many different narrative genres, the problem of various levels of fictionality, the transformation of events into experience through the manipulation of the point of view, the elaboration of a constant and pervasive irony, etc. This course will focus specifically on Cervantes' reflections about the way people think, change, dream, and fantasize in their quest for deciphering the complex relationship established between illusion and reality. The students will explore two of the Exemplary Novels and several chapters of part 2 of Don Quixote in order to appreciate how Cervantes' metafictional game came to be interwoven with a deep interest in determining the true nature of madness, perception, and the creative limits of baroque artifice. Nicolas Vivalda.

Prerequisite(s): HISP 216 and one course above 216.

One 2-hour period.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work 0.5 to 1

Special permission. Does not fulfill the requirement for 300-level work in the major or correlate sequence.