2014-2015 Spanish Courses
The aim of this course is to enable students without previous knowledge of Spanish to develop the skills necessary to achieve effective levels of communication in the language. From the start, students will be immersed in a monolingual environment. In the regular class meetings, we will actively implement a wide range of techniques aimed at creating an atmosphere of dynamic oral exchange. The acquisition of grammar structures will develop from the exploitation of everyday situations through the incorporation of a wide set of functional/contextual activities. Group conferences will help hone conversational skills and focus on individual needs. Both in class and in conference, we will explore the multiple resources provided by the Internet, retrieving all sorts of textual and visual Spanish-language materials. Later, these will be collectively exploited by the group. The viewing of films, documentaries, and segments of TV series, as well as the reading of blogs and digital publications, will take place outside the seminar meetings, serving as the basis of class discussions and debates. Weekly conversation sessions with the language assistant are an integral part of the course.
Advanced Beginning Spanish
This course is intended for students who have had studied some Spanish previously but who have forgotten most of it. We will do a thorough review of basic grammatical, lexical, and syntactical concepts at a more accelerated pace than in the regular Beginning Spanish class. In addition to the use of a textbook, Invitaciones (which includes a video story, Escenas de la vida, and other online components), we will make use of pair and small groups among other supplemental activities, including games, to enhance learning and speaking ability and to deepen the 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 additionally be able to read and understand simple journalistic essays, read short stories and one-act plays, and discuss them using basic concepts in Spanish. Course conducted in 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. Students will work with contemporary literary, cinematographic, and journalistic productions from Latin American and Iberian culture. Through the cultural analysis of short stories, journalistic chronicles, blogs, social media, films, and documentaries, we will explore the relations between fiction and nonfiction and the politics of representation in Hispanic America. 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. Course conducted in Spanish. Spanish placement test is required for students who have not taken Spanish at Sarah Lawrence College, in addition to an interview with the instructor.
Intermediate Spanish II: Latin America, A Mosaic of Cultures
This course is intended for students who wish to hone their language skills while exploring the rich cultural mosaic of Latin America. Students will continue to develop their speaking, reading, and writing abilities while being exposed to various cultural and literary topics that will be introduced throughout the course. Part of the class will be dedicated to an intense grammar review, while increasing the student’s comprehension through various sources: short stories, poems, novels, films, music lyrics, newspaper articles, etc. For conference, students will have a chance to explore and develop topics related to the Hispanic culture. In order to enrich the student’s exposure to the mosaic of Latin American cultures, we’ll try to take advantage of our local resources such as museums, libraries, and theatre. Students will meet with a language assistant once a week in order to practice their speaking and oral comprehension. Course conducted in Spanish. Spanish placement test is required for students who have not previously taken Spanish at Sarah Lawrence College.
Intermediate Spanish III: Gender and Sexuality in Latin America
This course is intended for students who have already mastered the Spanish language at a pre-advanced level. This course will focus on the categories of gender and sexuality through the critical analysis of several Latin American cultural productions: literature, films, paintings, photographs, and performances in relation to their social, historical, and political contexts. Mass media and pop culture will be also a component of this course: music (including reggaeton and salsa), advertising, TV series, etc. We will explore and debate the notions of gender and sexuality relative to the politics of representation that problematize the construction of Latin American identities. To succeed in this course, students must come prepared to actively participate in our discussions and work on response papers, brief presentations, and individual conference projects. We will also try to take advantage of some of the cultural opportunities in the New York City area. Weekly meetings with the language assistant are a requirement. Course conducted in Spanish. Spanish placement test is required for students who have not previously taken Spanish at Sarah Lawrence College, in addition to an interview with the instructor.
Advanced Spanish: Narratives of Love and War in Hispanic Transatlantic Literature
Love and war—like life and death—have been common, mutually interdependent themes across literatures with the (pre)tension of and for universalism. Across the cultural politics of Peninsular and Latin American literary production, however, love and war implied a whole array of vital supplementary topics such as desire, sacrifice, violence, and censorship, among other areas that resist any simple representation. The broad and complex narrative scope of this seminar will present students with the transatlantic Hispanic world across the fullness of literary and visual works by major authors from Spain and the Americas, exploring drama, lyric poetry, short story, novel, video, and film. We will, therefore, emphasize the formal and ideological aspects of these key texts, as well as the linguistic-literary traditions to which they belong (or work against), while improving communication and written skills. Taught entirely in Spanish. Spanish Placement Test required for students who have not taken Spanish at SLC, in addition to an interview with the instructor.
The Boom and Post-Boom Generations in Latin America
Boom? Magic realism? Lo real maravilloso? Whatever it is called, this generation forged—with enormous vigor and creativity—a new path for Latin American literature that put it on the map of world letters to such a degree that names like Octavio Paz, García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, Vargas Llosa, and Julio Cortázar—in addition to “predecessors” like Jorge Luis Borges and Juan Rulfo—are usually cited among the leading figures of 20th-century literature. These authors bring with them innovation in language, style, structure, time, and narrative voice. They break with established canons, explore the friction between history and fiction, question received notions regarding origins and identities, and fuse genres without losing sight of political issues and with not a few of them finding themselves exiled. In the second semester, we will look at the generation that followed them, those writers who learned but also rebelled against them in the 1980s and beyond: Roberto Bolaño, McOndo, Isabel Allende, Angeles Mastretta, Cuban writing since the early 1990s, etc. In this new generation, there are strong women’s voices, new questions raised about what it means to be Latin American or a citizen of the world, irony and parody beyond the internationalism that characterized the earlier generation, and interrogations regarding the postmodern condition. Course conducted in Spanish. Open to interested students at Advanced Spanish level.