Romance Languages and Literature

Professors: Carosella, Dugas, MacLean, Marquez, Romero, K. Smith (Chair), Solberg, Valle

By studying foreign languages and the literatures written in those languages, students acquire not only linguistic skills but also an understanding of other peoples' histories and cultures. Ideally, they gain a new perspective from which to view their own country, way of life, and language in the process. Knowledge of a second language is an important facet of a liberal arts education. Proficiency in a second language at the 201 level is a graduation requirement.

French Studies

The French program emphasizes a critical understanding of the French-speaking world by focusing on language skills, analytical tools, and the study of a variety of kinds of cultural expressions. These studies are one effective way of gaining a deeper understanding of the world, which is an important element of a liberal arts education. The department offers courses in French literature and culture and the literatures and cultures of Francophone Africa, Canada, Asia, and the Antilles. Students of French may study abroad in Strasbourg and Clermont-Ferrand in France and in Dakar, Sénégal.

Coursework and off-campus experiences are complemented by on-campus opportunities that maintain and improve a student’s language skills and expand students' understanding of the Francophone world. These opportunities include viewing French language films, reading French publications, conversing with classmates and native speakers at the French table, and attending area cultural events. 

Faculty members meet students inside and outside the classroom, participate in campus activities, and counsel students regarding graduate and professional career choices in music, high school and college teaching, science, publishing, government, international trade, international banking, non-governmental organizations, and other fields. French students at Kalamazoo College have a high rate of acceptance when applying for French government teaching assistantships for teaching English in France after graduation.

Placement

All incoming students who have previously studied or have had significant exposure to French must take the College’s placement test. Students with three or more years of high school French will not be placed into FREN 101. Those students who wish to receive credit for language courses that they have taken at another college or university before enrolling at Kalamazoo College must take the French language placement test and test into a higher-level course than the one for which they are seeking transfer credit. Any appeal of the placement test results should be directed to a French faculty member.

Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) Credit for the Major or Minor

Students who took AP or IB examinations in French must still take the Kalamazoo College French placement test. An Advanced Placement (AP) score of 4 or 5 in French language can be counted as one credit toward the French major or minor provided that the student take French 203 or beyond as her/his first French course at the college. IB scores of 5-6-7 on the Higher Level may count toward a major, minor, or concentration at the discretion of the department faculty.

Requirements for the Major in French

Number of Units
Eight units are required, not including FREN 101, 102, or 201, but which may include the SIP. No more than two of these units (in either language, literature, or culture) may be earned during Study Abroad. No more than three units total may be earned off campus through any combination of study abroad, AP, IB, transfer credits or inter-institutional enrollment.

Required Courses
FREN 301 Introduction to French and Francophone Studies (prerequisite to all 400-level courses)
FREN 490 Senior Seminar
At least two additional units in 400-level courses on campus

French majors are encouraged to develop appropriate cognate programs in areas such as History, Political Science, Economics, Music, Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, International and Area Studies, or International Economics and Business. HIST 244 and 245 are highly recommended for French majors.

Units from Study Abroad
French majors are expected to participate in a study abroad program and acquire a high level of language proficiency.

Only two units to be used toward the major in French may be earned in a long term (6 month) or an extended term (9 month) program. One unit only from a short term (3 month) program may be used.

Those who did not take French 301 before Study Abroad will normally take that course upon their return to campus, but should consult with the department before doing so. All students will then take the senior seminar plus the requisite number of 400 level courses (possibly including a SIP) in order to complete the French major.

Requirements for the Minor in French

Number of Units
Six units are required, not including FREN 101, 102, or 201, but which may include the SIP.

Required Courses
FREN 301 Introduction to French and Francophone Studies

Electives
Five courses chosen from the following (at least three must be at the 400 level): FREN 202, 203, 401, and above.

Units from Study Abroad

  1. A student may count only one unit from study abroad towards the minor in French. The unit, which must have been taught in the French language, may be in the literature of the Francophone world, or in language, or in a cultural/topical course pertaining to the Francophone world. Please consult the department.
  2. Normally, students who go on Study Abroad before taking French 301 will take that course upon their return to campus, but they should consult with the department before doing so.

French courses

FREN101Beginning French IIntroduction to the French language and the French-speaking world. Students begin developing competency in the four basic skills(reading, writing, listening, and speaking) through communicative activities and cultural exploration.Prerequisite: Placement test if student has any prior experience with French.
FREN102Beginning French IIFurther development of the four skills through continued exploration of the French-speaking world. Students will work to acquire the linguistic skills and cultural knowledge needed to navigate a variety of cultural settings.Prerequisite: FREN-101 or Placement Test
FREN201Intermediate FrenchThe refining and expansion of communicative skills. Students develop critical thinking and cross-cultural competency by reading, discussing, and writing about authentic texts.Prerequisite: FREN-102 or Placement Test
FREN202Conversation and CompositionCritical explorations of the French-speaking world through focused reading, discussion, and related written and speaking assignments.Prerequisite: FREN-201 or Placement Test
FREN203Engaging With TextsStudents enrich their vocabulary and increase their sensitivity to nuance while examining a wide variety of texts (fiction, non-fiction, image, film, songs, etc.). New reading skills will result in the ability to produce texts (both oral and written) in a wide variety of styles. Students begin to acquire a more sophisticated knowledge of the intricacies of the French-speaking world while putting into practice more complex forms of written and oral expression.Prerequisite: FREN-202 or Placement Test
FREN301Introduction to French and Francophone StudiesAn interactive, discussion-based course helping student acquire skill in the reading and interpretation of French and other Francophone texts, presented in their cultural and historical contexts. Course offers opportunities for refinement of written and presentational skills.Prerequisite: FREN-203 or Placement Test
FREN401Topics in French and Francophone CulturesReading, research, and discussion on selected topics and issues in the French-speaking world. Please consult with the instructor about the current topic. Past topics have included "Immigration in Contemporary France" and "Le handicap: a multi-disciplinary approach." May be repeated for credit if content is different.Prerequisite: FREN-301
FREN420Medieval and Renaissance French Literature and CultureA study of texts and other cultural artifacts (such as art and music) from the cultures of the High Middle Ages through the French Renaissance. Genres include courtly/Arthurian romance and poetry, comic theater, essays, comic and serious prose fiction, and Renaissance lyric poetry. Students will examine the transition from a church-centered culture to a human-centered (humanist) society and the changes in subject matter and writing practices brought about by this transition.Prerequisite: FREN-301 or FREN-301S
FREN425French and Francophone Cultures From the 17th and 18th CenturiesA study of the Classical period of the 17th century and the 18th century Enlightenment. Texts include Classical tragedy and comedy, prose fiction, and the satirical and topical literature of the "philosophes". Seventeenth-century classical literature shows the French bent for psychological exploration and social criticism. In engaging with 18th century Enlightenment thought, students will see how it has shaped the way of thinking to the present day not only in French and Francophone cultures but in many other cultures as well.Prerequisite: FREN-301 or FREN-301S
FREN430French and Francophone Cultures From the 19th Century to the Contemporary PeriodA study of the Romantic and Realist movements of the 19th century (focusing on authors such as Hugo and Flaubert) and Symbolist poetry (such as Baudelaire and Rimbaud). In the 20th century, a study of the modernists (such as Gide and Proust); the Existentialists (such as Camus and De Beauvoir); and postmodern fiction (such as Beckett and Le Clézio). In looking at the evolution of themes and textual practices, students will learn how the French-speaking world of today was shaped by the political, historical, and social changes following the French Revolution, the Franco-Prussian War and two World Wars; and by the era of colonization and decolonization.Prerequisite: FREN-301 or FREN-301S
FREN435Advanced Literary and Cultural StudiesCourses focused on major authors, cultural and philosophical movements, or themes in the French-speaking world. Topics will vary according to student or faculty interest. May be repeated for credit if content is different.Prerequisite: FREN-301 or FREN-301S
FREN490Senior SeminarTopics in French and/or Francophone literatures, culture, and history. Recent topics have included Vietnamese History and Culture; Francophone African Literature; Intercultural Encounters; and Camus, the Algerian. Prerequisite: FREN-301; Senior French major or permission.
FREN593Senior Individualized ProjectEach program or department sets its own requirements for Senior Individualized Projects done in that department, including the range of acceptable projects, the required background of students doing projects, the format of the SIP, and the expected scope and depth of projects. See the Kalamazoo Curriculum -> Curriculum Details and Policies section of the Academic Catalog for more details.Prerequisite: Permission of department and SIP supervisor required.

Spanish Language and Literature

The Spanish program emphasizes a critical understanding of the Spanish-speaking world by focusing on language skills, analytical tools, and the study of a variety of kinds of cultural expressions. These studies are one effective way of gaining a deeper understanding of the world, which is an important element of a liberal arts education. The department offers courses in Peninsular and Spanish-American literature and culture. There are study abroad opportunities in Madrid and Cáceres, Spain; Quito, Ecuador; Oaxaca, Mexico; San José, Costa Rica; and Santiago and Valparaíso, Chile.

Off-campus experiences are complemented by on-campus study and experiences that maintain and improve a student's language skills. Opportunities to view Spanish language films, read Spanish publications, and converse with native speakers are an integral part of the Spanish program.

Faculty members meet students inside and outside the classroom, participate in campus activities, and counsel students regarding graduate and professional career choices in high school and college teaching, science, publishing, international trade, international banking, and other fields.

Placement

Language placement exams are required for students who have taken Spanish courses or who are native speakers of Spanish, even if they are not sure they will continue studying Spanish at Kalamazoo College. Placement exams for first-year and incoming transfer students completed by June 15th will be scored before First-Year Registration in July. All placement exams for first-year students taken between June 15th and August 15th will be scored prior to Orientation week. All students (including first-year students) who do not complete a lanague placement exam prior to the deadlines indicated above will not be able to register for Spanish untilt hey ahve taken a language placement exam. Students needed to take the langague placement exame have until the end of 4th week of the current quarter to complete the placement exam if they with to take a language class the following quarter. Exames taken by the deadling will be scored in 5th week, so that students will know their placement in time for registration for the next quarter. 

Those students who wish to receive credit for language courses they have taken at another college or university before enrolling at Kalamazoo College must take the Spanish language placement test and test into a higher-level course than the one for which they are seeking credit. Any appeal of the placement test results should be directed to a Spanish faculty member.

Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) Credit for Spanish Major and Minor

Students with Advanced Placement (AP) or IB scores must still take the placement test in Spanish. An Advanced Placement (AP) score of 4 or 5 in Spanish language will count as one credit toward the Spanish major or minor, provided that the student take Spanish 203 or beyond as her/his first Spanish course at the college.

An advanced placement (AP) score of 5 in Spanish literature shall count as one credit toward the Spanish major or minor provided that the student take Spanish 203 or beyond as her/his first Spanish course at the college.

IB scores of 5-6-7 on the Higher Level may count toward a major, minor, or concentration at the discretion of the department faculty.

Requirements for the Major in Spanish

Number of Units
Eight units are required, not including SPAN 101, 102, or 201 but which may include the SIP. No more than two of these units can be earned during study abroad. No more than three units total may be earned off campus through any combination of study abroad, AP, IB, transfer credits or inter-institutional enrollment. Although a student may take any number of courses at the 200 (intermediate) level, no more than two of these courses may count toward the major.

Required Courses
SPAN 301 Introduction to Hispanic Literature (prerequisite to all 400 level courses)
SPAN 491 or 492, the Senior Seminars (taken in the spring quarter of the senior year)
At least two additional units in 400-level courses taken on campus.

Comprehensive Exam
The successful completion of Comprehensive Examinations (given during the Senior year) is a requirement for the Spanish major.

Units from Study Abroad
Only two units, to be used toward the major in Spanish, may be earned in a long term (6 month) or an extended term (9 month) program. One unit only from a short term (3 month) program may be used.

  1. The student who goes abroad AFTER having taken SPAN 301 may bring back one unit in hispanophone literature or culture, and another one in language or topics pertaining to the country/region; students on short-term programs may only bring back one unit. That student must still take the Senior Seminar and enough 400-level courses on campus to complete the eight-unit requirement.
  2. The student who goes abroad BEFORE having taken SPAN 301 may bring back one unit in hispanophone literature or culture and another one in language or topics pertaining to the country and region; students on short term programs may only bring back one unit. Students must still take SPAN 301, the Senior Seminar, and enough 400-level courses to complete the eight-unit requirement.

Spanish majors are expected to participate in a study abroad program and acquire a high proficiency of language skill. Spanish majors are encouraged to develop appropriate cognate programs in areas such as History, Political Science, Economics, Music, Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, International and Area Studies, or International Economics and Business.

Requirements for the Minor in Spanish

Number of Units
Six units are required.

Required Courses
SPAN 301 Introduction to Hispanic Literature

Electives
Five courses chosen from the following (at least three must be at the 400-level)
SPAN 202, 203, 401 and above

Units from Study Abroad

  1. A student may count only one unit from abroad toward the minor in Spanish. The unit, which must be taught in Spanish, may be in the literature of the hispanophone world, or in language, or a cultural/topical course pertaining to the hispanophone world.
  2. If a student has taken SPAN 301 (Introduction to Literature) before going abroad, the student brings back a unit in literature or culture (from abroad) towards the minor. A student who goes abroad before taking SPAN 301 needs to take SPAN 301 and enough 400-level courses on campus after study abroad in order to complete the minor requirements.

Spanish courses

SPAN101Beginning Spanish IIntroduction to the Spanish Language and the Spanish-speaking world. Students begin developing competency in the four basic skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) through communicative activities and cultural exploration.Prerequisite: Placement test if student has any prior experience with Spanish.
SPAN102Beginning Spanish IIFurther development of the four skills through continued exploration of the Spanish-speaking world. Students will work to acquire the linguistic skills and cultural knowledge needed to navigate a variety of cultural settings. Prerequisite: SPAN-101 or Placement Test
SPAN201Intermediate SpanishThe refining and expansion of communicative skills. Students develop critical thinking and cross-cultural competency by reading, discussing, and writing about authentic texts. Prerequisite: SPAN-102 or Placement Test
SPAN202Conversation and CompositionCritical explorations of the Spanish-speaking world through focused reading, discussion, and related written assignments.Prerequisite: SPAN-201 or Placement Test
SPAN203Advanced Conversation and CompositionAn introduction to the critical analysis of texts from the Spanish-speaking world. Students begin to acquire a more sophisticated knowledge of the intricacies of the Spanish-speaking world while putting into practice more complex forms of written and oral expression.Prerequisite: SPAN-202 or Placement Test
SPAN205Culture of Health and Disease in the Hispanic CommunityThis course enables students to connect with Spanish-speaking clients and healthcare providers by teaching appropriate vocabulary and presenting different cultural attitudes and practices relating to health and disease. A service-learning component is included in this course.Prerequisite: SPAN-201
SPAN301Introduction to Hispanic LiteraturesAn introduction to the periods, concepts, genres, and major figures of Spanish and Spanish-American literature. Using selected texts, discussion, and a variety of written assignments, this course will introduce students to literary analysis and bibliographic methods. Prerequisite: SPAN-203 or Placement Test
SPAN401The Spanish-Speaking World on FilmResearch, discussion, and analysis of selected topics and issues in the Spanish-speaking world as reflected in film. Students develop the vocabulary and critical-thinking skills necessary to analyze and interpret the genre in both oral and written form. This course may be repeated for credit toward graduation if the content is different, but may count only once toward the major or minor.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN435Advanced Literary StudiesCourse focuses on major figures and movements in Spanish and/or Spanish-American literature. Topics will vary. May be repeated for credit if the course content is different.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN455Limits of GenreThis course explores the limits of the traditional boundaries (poetry, narrative, drama, essay) among literary classifications. Appropriate cultural, historical, and political context provides the backdrop to understand the crossing of boundaries among literary genres and the incorporation, in literary texts, of diverse art forms.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN460Early Modern SpainA survey of the major movements, figures, and works of the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. Students will explore the social, historical, and aesthetic contexts of early modern Spain through a study of the cultural production of the period and pertinent secondary texts.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN465Spanish Culture From the Enlightenment to the RestorationA survey of the literary, social, and ideological currents of the 18th and 19th centuries in Spain. Students will study encyclopedic writing, neoclassical theatre, romantic theatre and poetry, and realist and naturalist narrative.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN470Modern SpainA survey of the major writers and cultural movements in Spain from the Generation of 1898 until the contemporary period. Students will focus on how writers challenged and represented the historical, social, and cultural changes of the 20th century.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN475Conquest, Colonization, and IndependenceStudy of the principal literary figures, works, and cultural and political contexts of XIV century to 1830.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN480Contructing Spanish-AmericaStudy of the principal literary figures, works, and cultural and political contexts from mid XIX-century to mid XX-century. Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN485Literary Revolutions of Spanish-AmericaExamination of the intellectual and literary patterns in Spanish-American literature from the mid-XXth century onward.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN491Peninsular Spanish SeminarAdvanced study of outstanding authors, works, or genres that will vary to reflect the interest of students and the professor. Prerequisite: One unit above SPAN 301
SPAN492Spanish-American SeminarAdvanced study of outstanding authors, works, or genres that are generally recognized as seminal to an understanding of Spanish America's social, philosophical, and aesthetic traditions.Prerequisite: One unit above SPAN 301
SPAN495The Post-Civil War Novel in SpainThis course will focus on examples of literary experimentation after the shock and devastation of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The tremendous loss of life, property and infrastructure led intellectuals to question the Twentieth Century's narrative of progress and to ponder the human condition in the context of moral and material degradation. During the Francoist regime, intense censorship and propaganda forced novelists to experiment with alternative - and often cryptic - forms of expression. Students will read, decode and contextualize works from the literary tendencies of tremendismo, social realism and the so-called New Spanish NovelPrerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN593Senior Individualized ProjectEach program or department sets its own requirements for Senior Individualized Projects done in that department, including the range of acceptable projects, the required background of students doing projects, the format of the SIP, and the expected scope and depth of projects. See the Kalamazoo Curriculum -> Curriculum Details and Policies section of the Academic Catalog for more details.Prerequisite: Permission of department and SIP supervisor required.