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Hispanic Studies

Mission Statement. The Department of Hispanic Studies at Oberlin College is committed to offering its students an outstanding liberal-arts education in the literatures and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world, based on a solid and thorough knowledge of the Spanish language.

The program offers three levels of study, designed to meet the specific needs of each student. The first of these (Spanish 101, 102, 202, 203, 304, and 334) focuses mainly on learning Spanish and understanding Hispanic cultures. This stage ranges from one to six semesters depending on the student's entry level. Our language classes use the most sophisticated technology to help develop communicative proficiency in Spanish. Since this is not possible without cultural knowledge, all language classes give ample attention to the diversity of Spanish, Latin-American, and Latino cultures as well.

The second level, consisting of the other classes in the 300 series, include a wide range of courses such as Hispanic Folklore, Film, History, and Translation, as well as introductory literature classes.

The courses at the final or 400-level -- all small-group classes taught in Spanish -- are designed for Spanish majors and minors who want to focus on specific works, topics or trends of Hispanic literatures. Outstanding Spanish majors are encouraged to write an honors thesis on a topic of their interest, under the guidance of our faculty.

The department's educational goal, then, is not merely the acquisition of knowledge. Rather, our students are offered the opportunity to experience a cultural heritage which is more rich, diverse, and alive than ever. In addition to the many courses on the language, literature, film, culture, and history of the Spanish-speaking world, we offer a wide spectrum of complementary programs and activities through Oberlin's own Casa Hispánica. Furthermore, we strongly encourage our students to study abroad. Oberlin has its own, long-standing program in Córdoba, Spain (PRESHCO), but we also endorse a great variety of other programs in Spain and Latin America.

Being part of the Spanish program at Oberlin, in short, gives you all the advantages of a liberal-arts education and more. It will allow you to understand, appreciate and enjoy the great diversity of human cultures. And, as is proven by our alumni, it opens up a wide range of personal and professional opportunities.

Major. A major in Spanish consists of at least 30 hours of courses above the 200 level and may include advanced work in composition, grammar and stylistics, and SPAN 304. It may include nine hours of transfer credit per semester for study in literature, culture, and civilization for a total of 18 hours counted toward the major, including summer work. No credit for language courses at the SPAN 202/203 level or below taken at Oberlin, abroad or at other institutions will count toward the major.

Students majoring in Spanish should take courses in both Peninsular and Latin American literature. All Spanish majors are strongly encouraged to spend at least one semester in a Spanish-speaking country (see below). Those primarily interested in language and literature should consider a minor in French or Latin. Students may also pursue a double major with Latin American Studies or other related fields such as Sociology, Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Art, History, and Politics. Studies in Hebrew present a Spanish major with a rare opportunity for research in the Medieval area, while combining Italian and Spanish is both useful and important for studies in the Renaissance and Golden Age. Recommended fields of study for majors considering graduate school are Latin and French.

While no specific courses are required, the major should present a balanced distribution of work taken in Peninsular and Latin American areas; the major should also be based on the study of genres, literary movements, and main historical periods covered in various surveys (SPAN 305, 309, 310) of the curriculum. Any two 300-level courses taught in Spanish normally serve as a prerequisite for admission to those at the 400 level. At least twelve hours must be taken in advanced work (400 level).

Minor. A minor in Spanish consists of 18 hours of courses above the 200 level, including two advanced level courses. Six hours of transfer credit are accepted toward the minor from an outside institution. Students wishing to obtain a high school or elementary teaching certificate should consult the department chairperson for required or recommended courses in other departments.

Advanced Placement. Students qualifying under this program will be assigned advanced standing on the basis of results in the qualifying examinations administered by the College Board and credit will be awarded for Spanish 300. Scores of 4 and 5 on the language exam automatically receive three hours of college credit as Spanish 300, qualifying students to work at the 300 level. Scores of 4 or 5 on the literature exam automatically receive three hours of college credit as Spanish 300, qualifying students for work at the 300 level. Students having taken the AP exams are encouraged to take SPAN 306 before taking SPAN 305, 309, or 310. Spanish 300 counts toward the total number of academic credits required for the major.

Initial Placement. Students who begin Spanish at Oberlin will take SPAN 101 (five hours). Beyond SPAN 101 the particular entry point within the sequence of language courses depends upon a student's background in Spanish and upon the results of a placement test, administered at the beginning of each semester for those beginning SPAN 102, 202, 203, and 304. The placement test is required of every student with a prior knowledge of Spanish who wishes to enroll. Students who have taken the SAT II Exam in Spanish should enroll in courses according to their score:

800-675 Spanish 300 level

675-625 Spanish 304

520-625 Spanish 202

Honors. The honors program in Spanish is a two-semester sequence of six hours of independent study, in consultation with a faculty sponsor, culminating in either an honors thesis or a special project, e.g., translation, creative writing. Qualified students are invited to participate in the program during their junior year. Admission is determined on the basis of faculty recommendations and grade-point averages (when available). Further information on the honors program, such as a sheet of guidelines for the research and writing of an honors thesis, may be obtained from the departmental office. See also the general statement on Honors in the General Information section of this catalog.

La Casa Hispánica. Since 1962, the department has sponsored La Casa Hispánica. The purpose of the house is to provide an environment where students speak Spanish and benefit from activities related to the culture of the Hispanic world. The director is a native speaker and is assisted by two graduate assistants, who are also native speakers. There are rooming accommodations for 32 men and women. Tables at which Spanish is spoken are maintained in a College dining area.

Study Abroad in Córdoba, Spain. Programa de Estudios Hispánicos en Córdoba (PRESHCO). An interdisciplinary course of study at the University of Córdoba sponsored by a consortium made up of the following institutions: Oberlin College, Smith College, Trinity College, Wellesley College, Wheaton College, and the College of Wooster. Participants from Oberlin College receive 15 hours per semester of academic credit toward graduation. Nine hours each semester, for a total of 18 hours, may be counted toward the Spanish major. Before planning to participate in this program, students on financial aid should consult the Director of Financial Aid. Although the specific courses offered vary each semester, they will normally cover topics in Spanish language, literature, history, art history, and social sciences, as well as one or two courses on the European Union. See the PRESHCO campus coordinator for an updated list of courses and equivalent Oberlin course numbers. Courses recently taught include "The Colonization of America", "The Novel of the 19th Century", "Women's Voices in 20th Century Spain", "The Spanish Middle Ages: Christians, Moslems, and Jews"; "Methods and Techniques in Andulusian Art Restoration", "The Semitic Legacy in Hispanic Societies", "Political Structures and Institutions of the European Union", and "Spanish Art: From Velázquez to Picasso".

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Language Courses (Offered Every Year)

101. Elementary Spanish 5 hours
5HU, CD
Taught in Spanish. Strong emphasis on communicative tasks to show students how Spanish is used across the Spanish-speaking world in real-life situations. Culture is an important thread that is tightly woven throughout the course. Basic grammar and vocabulary will be introduced and practiced through intensive oral and written practice. Weekly compositions and meetings with language tutors. Enrollment Limit: 18.
Sem 1 SPAN-101-01 MTuWThF 1:30-2:20 Ms. Faber
SPAN-101-02 MTuWThF 2:30-3:20 Ms. Faber
Sem 2 SPAN-101-01 MTuWThF 11:00-11:50 Ms. Faber

102. Elementary Spanish 5 hours
5HU, CD
Taught in Spanish, this course is a continuation of SPAN 101, complemented by additional readings to enhance written and oral skills. Grammar will continue to be introduced through more intensive oral and written practice. Students with any previous knowledge of Spanish other than from Oberlin College must first take the placement exam before enrolling in this course. Enrollment Limit: 18.

Sem 1 SPAN-102-01 MTuWThF 9:00-9:50 Ms. Martinez-Tapia
Sem 2 SPAN-102-01 MTuWThF 9:00-9:50 Ms. Martinez-Tapia
SPAN-102-02 MTuWThF 10:00-10:50 Ms. Martinez-Tapia

202. Intermediate Spanish II 4 hours
4HU, CD

Taught in Spanish. This course is a continuation of SPAN 102. It adopts a format integrating grammar, oral and written practice in exercises, conversation and readings which evolve within a cultural context. Students have to attend two mandatory review and lab classes Tuesdays and Thursdays. Review classes meet the following hours: (T. and Th.) 9:00-9:50, 10:00-10:50 and 11:00-11:50. Prerequisites: SPAN 102 or consent of instructor. Enrollment Limit: 18.
Sem 1 SPAN-202-01 MWF 10:00-10:50 Mr. Faber
SPAN-202-02 MWF 11:00-11:50 Mr. Faber
Sem 2 SPAN-202-01 MWF 9:00-9:50 Staff

203. Intermediate Spanish II 4 hours
4HU, CD

Taught in Spanish. This course is a continuation of SPAN 102. It adopts a format integrating grammar, oral and written practice in exercises, conversation and readings which evolve within a cultural context. Students have to attend two mandatory review and lab classes Tuesdays and Thursdays. Review classes meet the following hours: (T. and Th.) 9:00-9:50, 10:00-10:50 and 11:00-11:50. Prerequisites: SPAN 102 or consent of instructor. Enrollment Limit: 18.
Sem 1 SPAN-203-01 MWF 9:00-9:50 Staff
Sem 2 SPAN-203-01 MWF 9:00-9:50 Mr. Perez de Leon
SPAN-203-02 MWF 11:00-11:50 Mr. Perez de Leon

304. Advanced Grammar and Composition 3 hours
3HU, CD

It is strongly recommended that students complete SPAN 203 or equivalent before taking this course. It offers an in-depth review of the most important grammatical concepts intended to assist the student in analysis of style, content, and syntax. This course strives to develop sensitivity to literary Spanish and to gain competence in writing, thus preparing the student for survey and advanced Spanish literature courses. Selected readings and discussions of both Spanish and Latin American literary pieces. Enrollment Limit: 18.
Sem 1 SPAN-304-01 MWF 1:30-2:20 Ms. Martínez-Marco
SPAN-304-02 MWF 2:30-3:20 Ms. Martínez-Marco
Sem 2 SPAN-304-01 MWF 1:30-2:20 Ms. Martínez-Marco

334. Spanish for Heritage Speakers 3 hours
3HU, CD

This course is designed for the unique needs of heritage speakers of Spanish. It includes grammatical aspects of the Spanish language that tend to be problematic for heritage speakers, vocabulary, formal versus informal communication, reading, and especially writing. Conducted in Spanish. Enrollment Limit: 12.

Sem 2 SPAN 334-01 MWF 10:00-10:50 Ms. Cara

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Survey Courses

305. A Masterpiece Survey of Latin American Literature 3 hours
3HU, CD
This course is designed to introduce students to Latin American literature through the analysis of selected readings in poetry, essay, novel, and short story. The time span covered includes the conquest, and colonial periods through the 19th and 20th centuries. Emphasis is placed upon careful reading and discussion of the texts to develop critical skills and literary appreciation. All class discussion and writing in Spanish. Enrollment Limit: 25.

Sem 1 SPAN-305-01 TuTh 9:30-10:50 Ms. Cara

309. Survey of Spanish Literature I 3 hours
3HU, CD
This course is a survey of some of the most representative works that have shaped the canon of Early Modern Literature in Spanish. Special attention will be paid to how the concept of a nation is created through the different literary genres, from Medieval times to the Spanish Golden Age. Full length texts by Don Juan Manuel, Cervantes, Sor Juana Inés, Lope de Vega and María de Zayas, among others, will be read, studied and commented. Offered every year. Enrollment Limit: 20.

Sem 1 SPAN-309-01 MWF 11:00-11:50 Mr. Pérez de León

310. Survey of Spanish Literature II 3 hours
3HU, CD
A study of Spanish literature from the 18th through the 20th century. Each year, the course will focus on a specific topic, such as the problematics of national identity, the representation of underprivileged groups, or the political function of the writer and literature. Offered every year. Enrollment Limit: 20.

Sem 2 SPAN-310-01 MWF 1:30-2:20 Mr. Faber

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Freshman/Sophomore Colloquia and 300-level

306. Colloquium: Literary Commentary of Hispanic Texts 3 hours
3HU, CD
This Colloquium is offered exclusively to freshmen and sophomores. In this course you will be able to familiarize yourself with the ideas and literary currents that have contributed to construct the concept of Hispanic Literature through the reading and analysis of representative Hispanic texts. Special emphasis will be given to the mechanisms of literary commentary, library research skills, main ideological trends of Literary Theory, and developing strategies to write a research paper. Offered every year. Enrollment Limit: 15.

Sem 1 SPAN-306-01 MWF 9:00-9:50 Mr. Pérez de León

313. Colloquium: Latin American Film 3 hours
3HU, CD
Description to be announced. See Supplement for description. Taught in English. Enrollment Limit: 15.

Sem 2 SPAN-313-01 MWF 2:30-3:20 Staff

320. Reading Borges 3 hours
3HU, CD
Borges wrote "Let others boast of pages they have written, I take pride in those I've read." Using Borges' notion that reading is one more form of writing or re-writing, this course embarks on an in-depth reading of this literary master's work in the context of his precursors and followers. Selections include poetry, short stories, essays, and critical studies. Taught in Spanish. Enrollment Limit: 15.

Sem 1 SPAN-320-01 TuTh 1:30-2:45 Ms. Cara

331. Transatlantic Literature in Spanish 3 hours
3HU, CD
Description to be announced. See Supplement for description. Enrollment Limit: 15.

Sem 2 SPAN-331-01 MWF 11:00-11:50 Staff

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Advanced Courses

423. The Crisis of 1898 and the Discourse of Decadence 3 hours
3HU, CD
The sense of social and existential uncertainty that dominated the Western world between 1880 and 1914 hit Spain especially hard, and the defeat in the Spanish-American War (1898) threw the country in a national identity crisis. While some intellectuals devised plans to "heal" their "sick" fatherland, others by contrast embraced the idea of decadence, moral corruption and even sexual perversion. Several expressed their existential doubts in highly innovative and entertaining forms of literature. Readings include Unamuno, Valle-Inclán, Baroja, Ganivet, Machado, and Ortega.

Enrollment Limit: 15.
Sem 1 SPAN-423-01 MWF 2:30-3:20 Mr. Faber

447. Transatlantic Literature in Spanish 3 hours
3HU, CD
Description to be announced. See Supplement for description. Enrollment Limit: 15.

Sem 1 SPAN-447-01 MWF 1:30-2:20 Staff

448. Latin American Literature 3 hours
3HU, CD
Description to be announced. See Supplement for description. Enrollment Limit: 15.

Sem 1 SPAN-448-01 MWF 3:30-4:20 Staff

450. Picaresque Narratives: The World Vision of Female and Male pícaros 3 hours
3HU, CD
This course will focus on the study of the picaresque novel in its literary, cultural and historical context. Works to be carefully analyzed include not only narratives of Renaissance and Baroque Spain, but also picaresque novels of several authors of Spanish-speaking America. You will enjoy reading the adventures of Lozana andaluza, Lazarillo, Pícara Justina or Periquillo Sarniento, among others. Special emphasis will be given to the challenging vision of the world of male and female pícaros. Enrollment Limit: 15.

Sem 2 SPAN-450-01 M 7:00-9:40 p.m. Mr. Pérez de León

457. Caribbean Cultures and Literatures 3 hours
3HU, CD
This course examines the relationship between literature and folklore in the Caribbean. Of special interest is the creolization of cultures in this region and the production of a "creole aesthetic" in literature and the traditional arts (music, painting, dance, theatre, etc.). Reading include works by Carpentier, Ferré, Schwarz-Bart, Cesaire, Walcott, Naipaul, Chamoiseau, Guillén, etc. as well critical essays. Taught in English. Identical to CMPL 457. Enrollment Limit: 20.

Sem 2 SPAN-457-01 W 7:00-9:40 p.m. Ms. Cara

465. ¡Viva la raza! Constructions of Hispanic Identity 3 hour
3HU, CD
The breakdown of the Spanish empire had one curious side-effect: the emergence of the idea of a specific cultural identity shared by all speakers of Spanish. How have Spaniards, Latin-Americans and Latinos defined this identity over the past 150 years? For what political projects has it been mobilized? How is it possible that a notion like la raza has been so enthusiastically adopted by turn-of-the-century liberals, Spanish fascists, and the Chicano movement? Course material includes essay, fiction, poetry, and film. Enrollment Limit: 15.

Sem 2 SPAN-465-01 MWF 3:30-4:20 Mr. Faber

505. Honors 2-6 hours
2-6HU
Consent of instructor required. Projects sponsored by Ms. Cara, Mr. Faber, Mr. Pérez de León, and Mr. Scholz.

995. Private Reading 1-3 hours
1-3HU, CD
Consent of instructor required. Projects sponsored by Ms. Cara, Mr. Faber, Ms. Martínez-Tapia, Mr. Pérez de León, and Mr. Scholz.

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