2013-2014 Spanish Courses
This course is designed to enable students with no previous exposure to Spanish to achieve essential communication skills, while providing the basic grammatical, lexical, and syntactical structures to do so effectively. From the start, we will stress oral interaction in class, reinforced through pair or small-group activities. Students are required to meet with the instructor in small groups for one hour each week (small-group conference) and to attend a weekly conversation session with a language assistant. Course conducted in Spanish. Placement test is not required. Students should attend the scheduled orientation meetings and interview during registration week.
Advanced Beginning Spanish
This course is intended for students who have previously had some Spanish but have forgotten most of it. We will do a thorough review of basic grammatical, lexical, and syntactical concepts at a more accelerated pace than the regular Beginning Spanish class. In addition to the use of a textbook, Ivitaciones, which includes a video story, Escenas de la vida, and other online components, we will also make use of pair and small groups among other supplemental activities, including games, to enhance learning and speaking ability and to deepen a cultural understanding of Spain and Latin America. By the end of the first semester, students should be able to function in informal, transactional, and interpersonal situations; understand key ideas and add some supporting details; ask and answer questions; produce simple narrations and descriptions, as well as explanations; deal with a range of topics from the self to the immediate environment; and produce increasingly sophisticated paragraphs on a variety of topics. By the end of the second semester, students will also be able to read and understand simple journalistic essays, read short stories and one-act plays, and discuss them using basic concepts in Spanish. Taught entirely in Spanish. Spanish placement test is required in addition to an interview with the instructor.
Intermediate Spanish I: Fiction and Nonfiction in Latin American and Iberian Culture
This course is intended for students who have already mastered the basics of Spanish and wish to improve their grammar, oral, writing, and reading skills. The students will work with contemporary literary, cinematographic, and journalistic productions from Latin American and Iberian culture. Through the cultural analysis of several short stories, journalistic chronicles, blogs, social media, films, and documentaries, we will explore several topics: relations between fiction and nonfiction, gender and sexuality, the politics of representation, race, migration, etc. Much of the work in the class will focus on communication. We will also try to take advantage of some of the cultural opportunities in the New York City area. Weekly conversation with a language assistant will be required. This course is conducted entirely in Spanish. Spanish placement test is recommended for students who have not taken Spanish at Sarah Lawrence College, in addition to an interview with the instructor.
Intermediate Spanish II: Grammar and Composition
This course is intended for students who have already mastered the basics of Spanish and wish to continue an advanced study of the grammar and vocabulary to develop a more complex level of oral and written discourse emphasizing subjective expression. Written and oral skills will be strengthened by oral presentations, class participation, and frequent essays (including film reviews) based on a broad array of materials related to contemporary Latin American and Iberian culture. We will attempt to cover various sources: short stories, poems, novels, films, music lyrics, newspaper articles, etc. For conference, students will have a chance to explore various aspects and topics of Hispanic culture and the arts. We will take advantage of our local resources such as museums, libraries, and theatre. Weekly conversation with a language assistant will be required. Spanish placement test is required in addition to an interview with the instructor unless the student has taken Spanish previously at Sarah Lawrence College. Course taught entirely in Spanish.
Intermediate Spanish III: Culture in the Information Age
Once students have reached the linguistic command required to work at an pre-advanced level, they are in an ideal position to begin to explore the numerous resources that can be found on the Internet. Thematically, we will focus on the multiple uses of Spanish to be found in the virtual world—such as blogs, newspapers, magazines, and other formats—and make use of its many possibilities. We will identify the most relevant Web pages from the Spanish-speaking world, extract the adequate information and explore it in class, and make necessary adjustments. Access to sources from all over the Spanish-speaking world will give us an excellent idea of the varieties of the language used in more than 20 countries. We will explore all forms of culture, paying special attention to audiovisual resources such as interviews, documentaries, TV programs, and other formats, all of which will be incorporated into the course of study—complete or in fragments, depending on the level of difficulty. Art, film, music, photography, theatre, science, politics, comics, video games, gastronomy—all forms and manifestations of culture, high or low—will be the object of our attention as long as their vehicle of expression is Spanish. We will minimize the use of printed matter, which will be mainly devoted to a more classical exploration of grammar. The class as a whole, as well as students on an individual basis, will be encouraged to locate different kinds of materials on the Internet. Weekly meetings in small groups with the language assistants will help strengthen conversational skills. Spanish placement test and permission of the instructor are required unless a previous course in Spanish has been completed at SLC..
Advanced Spanish: Hide and Seek: Playing With the Limits of the Imagination
“And it is said that the Princess returned to her father's kingdom. That she reigned there with justice and a kind heart for many centuries. That she was loved by her people. And that she left behind small traces of her time on Earth, visible only to those who know where to look.” —Pan’s Labyrinth
This seminar focuses on how imagination and fantasy serve to escape reality and transform it into a world of one’s own. We will read a selection of short fiction, poetry, theatre, and films from canonical and noncanonical authors of the Hispanic world, paying close attention to the process of crafting reality. To what extent do childhood, war, political oppression, gender identity, disability, and immigration foster imagination? We will emphasize, through literary analysis, the formal and ideological aspects of the texts while improving lexical and grammatical skills. Special attention will be given to oral communication, participation, and written skills. Students will meet individually with the teacher to further discuss projects and assignments. Weekly meetings with the language assistant will also be a required part of the course. Spanish placement test is required in addition to an interview with the instructor unless the student has taken Spanish previously at Sarah Lawrence College. Course taught entirely in Spanish.
Literature in Spanish: The Spanish Language Canon
This seminar will focus on the study of literary works originated all over the Spanish-speaking world, paying attention not only to narrative works but also to the development of the poetic canon and the essay. In our approach, we will explore the multiple cultural and historical connections that have always linked the literary traditions of Latin America and Spain, also taking into consideration the important contributions made by US Latino writers. We will start with an examination of the current state of affairs in the Spanish-language novel and its complex relationship with other literary traditions in a context of intense transnational, trans-Atlantic, and transcontinental exchange. The second historical segment to be explored will cover the second half of the 20th century, especially the literary manifestations interested in leaving behind the once powerful legacy of magical realism. Thirdly, we will study the historical roots of the contemporary Latin American and Spanish literary traditions, reading a selection of masterpieces written between 1850 and 1936. In the spring, we will proceed in reverse chronological order, studying the convergences between the narrative and poetic manifestations of the Spanish language canon starting in 1898, with stopovers in crucial moments of the Baroque, the Renaissance, and the late Middle Ages. Authors under consideration include Neruda, Vallejo, Lorca, Manrique and the anonymous authors of the romancero (poetry), Vargas Llosa, Rulfo, Lezama, Valle-Inclán, Baroja and Cervantes (narrative), and Ortega y Gasset, Paz, and Unamuno (essay).