Spanish Language and Literature

Professors: Carosella, Faulkner, López Malagamba, MacLean (chair), Rábago, Valle, Vázquez Cruz, Zhezha-Thaumanavar

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 cultural expressions. These studies are an effective way of gaining a deeper understanding of the world, which is an important element of a liberal arts education. The program offers courses in language, literature, linguistics, film and other cultural expressions from the Spanish-speaking world, as well as courses for the professions. There are study abroad opportunities in Spain, Ecuador, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Cuba and Colombia, and a study away opportunity on the U.S.-Mexico border.

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 or heritage speakers of Spanish, even if they are not sure they will continue studying Spanish at Kalamazoo College. Students with three or more years of high school Spanish will not be placed into SPAN 101. 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 language placement exam prior to the deadlines indicated above will not be able to register for Spanish until they have taken a language placement exam. Students needing to take the language placement exam have until the end of 4th week of the current quarter to complete the placement exam if they wish to take a language class the following quarter. Exams taken by the deadline 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 takes 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 three of these courses may count toward the major.

Requirements

  • 0 – 3 units from intermediate courses (SPAN 202 – SPAN 206)
  • SPAN 301 Introduction to Hispanic Literature (prerequisite to all 400 level courses) and up to one additional 300-level course
  • SPAN 491, 492, or 493: the Senior Seminar (taken in the senior year)
  • Three or more 400-level courses besides the senior seminar
  • Successful completion of Comprehensive Examinations during the Senior year
  • Speech Communities: An experience of study abroad, study away, service learning, internship or community service in a Spanish-speaking environment; or growing up in a Spanish-speaking community that fostered the acquisition of language and cultural knowledge

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. These units are typically classified as 400-level electives on an individual basis. 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. These courses are counted in ways that fulfill requirements on an individual basis. 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 the Sciences, History, Political Science, Economics, Business, Music, Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, or International and Area Studies.

Requirements for the Minor in Spanish

Number of Units

Six or more units are required, not including SPAN 101, 102, or 201. No more than one of these units can be earned during study abroad.

Requirements

  • 0 – 3 units from intermediate courses (SPAN 202 – SPAN 206)
  • SPAN 301 Introduction to Hispanic Literature and up to one additional 300-level course
  • Two or more 400-level courses
  • Speech Communities: An experience of study abroad, study away, service learning, internship or community service in a Spanish-speaking environment; or growing up in a Spanish-speaking community that fostered the acquisition of language and cultural knowledge

Units from Study Abroad

  1. A student may count 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 400-level requirement for 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. Students who go on study abroad before taking SPAN 301 should contact Spanish faculty prior to their return to determine which on-campus Spanish course to take next in the sequence and how their study abroad course will fit into their minor.

Spanish Courses

SPAN101Beginning Spanish I Introduction 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. Offered every quarter. SPAN-101L must be taken concurrently
SPAN102Beginning Spanish II Further 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. Offered every quarter. SPAN-102L must be taken concurrently.Prerequisite: SPAN-101 or Placement Test
SPAN201Intermediate Spanish The refining and expansion of communicative skills. Students develop critical thinking and cross-cultural competency by reading, discussing, and writing about authentic texts. Offered every quarter.Prerequisite: SPAN-102 or Placement Test; SPAN-201L must be taken concurrently
SPAN202Conversation and Composition Critical explorations of the Spanish-speaking world through focused reading, discussion, and related written assignments. Offered every quarter.Prerequisite: SPAN-201 or Placement Test; SPAN-202L must be taken concurrently
SPAN203Advanced Conversation and Composition An 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. Offered every quarter.Prerequisite: SPAN-202 or Placement Test; SPAN-203L must be taken concurrently
SPAN205Culture of Health and Disease in the Hispanic Community This 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. Offered every spring quarter.Prerequisite: SPAN-201 or place into SPAN-202 or above.
SPAN206Business Spanish/Español Comercial Business Spanish is a course aimed at developing students' communicative skills and intercultural awareness when interacting with Spanish-speakers in a business setting. The course employs a multifaceted, communicative approach to second language acquisition that foments the development of all essential skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The course is driven by topics, language functions and situations pertinent to business settings. Offered every fall quarter.Prerequisite: Take SPAN-201 or place into SPAN-202 or above; SPAN-206L must be taken concurrently
SPAN301Introduction to Hispanic Literatures An 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. Offered every quarter.Prerequisite: SPAN-203 or Placement Test
SPAN302Advanced Oral Communication This course is for advanced Spanish students who are committed to improving their competency in spoken Spanish, and who are interested in moving to a cohesive multi-paragraph discursive level. Students will learn the strategies required to communicate effectively in a variety of contexts. Students will be expected to develop proficiency in a number of discursive modes including conversations, discussions, presentations, debates, and reports, among others. Attention will be given to pronunciation, intonation, both verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as the skill of active listening. Offered every winter quarter.Prerequisite: SPAN-203 or placement into SPAN-301; must take SPAN-302L concurrently.
SPAN401The Spanish-Speaking World on Film Research, 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. Offered every winter quarter.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN435Advanced Literary Studies Course 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. Offered occasionally.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN445Visual Practices in Latin America This course introduces students to critical texts, debates and questions proposed by the visual studies field in the context of Latin American cultural production. It delves into various historical causes to reflect on how film, photography, painting, murals, etc. have been used as a tool of power and dominance and/or resistance and subversion. Students will examine the ways in which visual images have scrutinized the historical process and, at the same time, the ways in which history has shaped visual media. Offered every other year.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN455Limits of Genre This course explores the limits of the traditional boundaries (poetry, narrative, drama, essay, documentary, cinema, etc.) among cultural classifications. Appropriate cultural, historical, and political context provides the backdrop to understand the crossing of boundaries among genres and the incorporation of diverse art forms. Offered occasionally.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN465Imperial Spain Enlightenment to the Restoration A survey of Spanish literature from the 16th to the 18th centuries. This period covers Spain's imperial expansion, religious and political conflicts in Europe, and a problematic internal reorganization. This upheaval nevertheless sparked numerous literary innovations in narrative, theatre and poetry. Students will analyze literary texts, and appropriate secondary readings, in order to understand the key concepts and debates in the early modern period; some of which remain unresolved today. Offered every three years.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN470Modern Spain A survey of Spanish literature from the 19th and 20th centuries. As Spain's overseas territories won their independence, the Spanish nation struggled to modernize and redefine itself. Lingering internal conflicts fueled a series of civil wars, and regional differences challenged national discourses on unity and identity. The literary sphere is where many of these clashes were articulated, and where many versions of modern and postmodern subjectivities were posited. Students will use literary and visual texts to examine important themes and movements in Spanish culture. Offered every three years.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN475Conquest, Colonization, and Independence This course introduces Spanish America from the 15th century to the beginning of the 20th. As encounters and subsequent colonization took place, issues around race, social class, and economic structures found their way into chronicles, diaries, letters, essays and poetry. The emergence of the nation-state in the 19th century brought about a distinct affirmation of Spanish American individuality in some works, and a more cosmopolitan perspective in others. Towards the beginning of the 20th century a newfound stance of cultural unity and commonality prevails in the literary scene. Students will analyze texts and use supporting materials to understand encounter, mestizaje, slavery, and identities as key concepts in understanding the Latin American continent.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN480Constructing Spanish-America This course examines the 20th century in its political, historical, and cultural dimensions. As the century unfolded, each region of Spanish America experienced political upheavals, crises, and transformations (Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Chile) while being impacted by the two World Wars, radical societal shifts, and global cultural exchanges. All of those elements led writers to break new cultural and artistic ground, which led from the Avant-Garde to the world-renowned Boom, its literary after-effects, and new developments in visual arts. Students will analyze texts by, among others, Mistral, Borges, Rulfo, Neruda, Márquez, Puig, and Traba, and will explore the impact of art forms such as film, painting, and music.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN485Undoing the Nation: Contemporary Cultura This course explores Latin American cultural production from the 1980s to the contemporary moment. As the dictatorships and state violence of the 70s and 80s came to an end, Latin American nations witnessed the establishment of complex return-to-democracy and national reconstruction projects, as well as the installation of neoliberal programs. This course will cover major literary and visual works that (dis)articulate these economic and sociopolitical transformations. In addition, students will study 21st-century artistic tendencies and movements, which, while continuing to reflect on local/national historical processes, also engage post-national and transnational ideological frameworks.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN491Peninsular Spanish Seminar Advanced study of outstanding authors, works, or genres that will vary to reflect the interest of students and the professor. Either SPAN 491 or SPAN 492 is offered every Winter quarter.Prerequisite: One unit above SPAN 301 and senior standing
SPAN492Spanish-American Seminar Advanced 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. Either SPAN 491 or SPAN 492 is offered every Winter quarter.Prerequisite: One unit above SPAN 301 and senior standing
SPAN493Seminar in Spanish Linguistics Focused study of pertinent subfields or topics in Spanish Linguistics. These topics will vary to reflect the interests of students and the professor. Either 491, 492, or 493 is offered every Winter quarter. Prerequisite: at least one 400-level course in Spanish and senior standing.Prerequisite: Must have taken one 400-Level Spanish course and senior standing.
SPAN495The Latin American Boom Between 1958 and 1975, a cluster of Latin American authors revolutionized the literary landscape. Known as "The Boom" this period marks an extraordinary moment in the history of Latin American literature because it changed the perception of national literatures, and gave its authors worldwide recognition. This course covers major literary works that emerged as a counter discourse to the nationalist and dictatorial regimes that dominated the political and economic spheres of the era. Students will study the Latin American Boom by recognizing the particularities of different authors/regions, but also by identifying points of encounter and divergence in the treatment of topics and creative processes.Prerequisite: SPAN-301
SPAN495Indigeneity in Latin America This course studies representations of indigeneity in Latin America from the colonial period to the present. By analyzing racialized colonial discourses and their presence and ruptures in the modern and contemporary periods, the course examines the tensions between official ideologies and everyday indigenous practices and cultures. The analysis of the aesthetization and textualization of indigenous identities, languages and cultures will bring to light the historical processes that have constituted the indigenous subject and, at the same time, the counter narratives arising from indigenous voices and spaces to expand and/or challenge notions of gender, class, and race.Prerequisite: Must have taken SPAN-301.
SPAN495The Latin American Short Story (1920 - Present) This course situates the Latin American short story as a counter discourse to the nationalist and dictatorial regimes that dominated the political and economic spheres of the Twentieth century as well as the neo-liberal, globalization-driven models of the present. These stories directly challenged and interrogated the dominant ideology of the times by calling attention to the limitations of genre; but most notably, by suggesting that official Histories are written to benefit those in power.Prerequisite: Must have taken SPAN-301.
SPAN593Senior Integrated Project Each program or department sets its own requirements for Senior Integrated 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 -> Senior Integrated Project section of the Academic Catalog for more details.Prerequisite: Permission of department and SIP supervisor required.