Language Courses

Language courses 101, 102, 103, 204 are a sequential series of courses designed to prepare the student in the basic language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) through the study of grammar, literature, and culture, and/or to provide the foundation for pursuing advanced work in language and literature. Spanish 205, 206 and 207 are designed to develop the student's spoken and written mastery of the language through compositions and intensive oral work based on cultural and literary topics. Admission to these courses is determined either by appropriate high school CEEB or Carleton placement test scores or by completion of the previous course in the sequence with a grade of C- or better.

Advanced Courses

We examine texts for both their aesthetic and human values. Our literature, film and cultural courses have a number of goals: to refine and expand students' linguistic ability, to broaden their cultural understanding, to improve their ability to engage in critical analysis, to enhance their knowledge of history and criticism, and to help students better understand themselves and the human condition. In our discussions, we address universal themes and concerns, but we also try to uncover what is peculiarly Hispanic or Latin American about the works.

Parish International House: The Spanish Language Associate organizes numerous cultural activities at Parish House (films, discussions, game nights, cooking gatherings, holiday celebrations) that provide opportunities for speaking Spanish on campus. Students  participate in numerous cultural activities in Parish International House organized by the Spanish Language Associate who is a native speaker.

Programs Abroad: Participation in a Carleton or in another approved foreign study program is highly recommended for students majoring or minoring in the above areas. Students interested in study abroad should consult the section on international off-campus programs, and discuss alternatives with faculty in Spanish and with the Director of Off-Campus Studies.

Requirements for the Spanish Major

The Spanish major requires 66 credits beyond SPAN 103. 60 in Spanish at least 30 of which must be taken in Spanish at the 300-level.

  • 18 credits in Latin American Literature, film, and/or culture at the 200 or 300 level
  • 18 credits in Peninsular literature, film, and/or culture at the 200 or 300 level
  • 6 credits in literature of film in translation from a language other than Spanish
  • 18 credits in Spanish from courses number 204 or above
    • Note: Students who place out of Spanish 204 via language placement exam, AP scores, or other prematriculation work must still complete 66 credits
  • 6 credits of Spanish 400

Major should complete no more than twelve credits in the sequence 204-219, and no more than eighteen credits from the courses number 220-299. A limit of three 200-level literature courses within the range of 220-299 guarantees that our students will proceed in a timely fashion to the upper division seminars and yet allows both flexibility and transition. All of our courses demand that students learn and apply critical skills for literary and cultural analysis. However, it is at the 300-level that our major complete a paper that can often form the basis for the senior comprehensive project, the capstone experience in our major. All majors need to have completed two 300 level courses by spring term of their junior year.

We limit the number of non-Carleton OCS credits that can be applied to the Major to a maximum of 12, and these credits do not substitute for the 300-level courses that students must complete on campus or through the departmental OCS programs.

    Requirements for the Spanish Minor

    Students who pursue the Minor in Spanish are required to complete 36 credits with a C- or better beyond the 103 level.

    • All courses must be taught in Spanish.
    • Spanish 204 may count toward the minor.
    • At least 12 credits in upper-level literature courses (300-395) are required.
    • We limit the number of non-Carleton OCS credits that can be applied to the Minor to a maximum of 12, and these credits do not substitute for the 12 credits at the 300-level that students must complete on campus or through the departmental OCS programs.

    Students who place out of 204 must still complete the six-course requirement (36 credits).

    Spanish Courses

    SPAN 101 Elementary Spanish This course introduces the basic structures of the Spanish language, everyday vocabulary and cultural situations. Students practice all four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) in Spanish. Taught five days a week in Spanish. Prerequisite: none (Placement score for students with previous experience in Spanish). 6 credits; NE; Fall; Vera R Coleman, Claudia M Lange, Palmar Álvarez-Blanco, Walther Maradiegue
    SPAN 102 Elementary Spanish This course introduces complex sentences and various tenses and short literary and cultural texts. Students practice all four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) in Spanish. Taught five days a week in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 101 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Winter; Linda D Burdell, Claudia M Lange, Palmar Álvarez-Blanco, Beatriz Pariente-Beltrán, Silvia López, Walther Maradiegue
    SPAN 103 Intermediate Spanish This course continues the study of complex sentence patterns and reviews basic patterns in greater depth, partly through the discussion of authentic short stories. Students practice all four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) in Spanish. Taught five days a week in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 102 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Spring; Walther Maradiegue, Claudia M Lange, Fernando I Contreras Flamand, Beatriz Pariente-Beltrán, Vera R Coleman
    SPAN 204 Intermediate Spanish Through discussion of literary and cultural texts and films, as well as a review of grammar, this course aims to help students acquire greater skill and confidence in both oral and written expression. Taught three days a week in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 103 or equivalent. 6 credits; NE; Fall, Winter; Linda D Burdell, Yansi Pérez, Fernando I Contreras Flamand, Silvia López, Beatriz Pariente-Beltrán, Vera R Coleman
    SPAN 205 Conversation and Composition A course designed to develop the student's oral and written mastery of Spanish. Advanced study of grammar. Compositions and conversations based on cultural and literary topics. There is also an audio-video component focused on current affairs. Prerequisite: Spanish 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA, IS; Fall, Winter, Spring; José Cerna-Bazán, Humberto R Huergo, Jorge Brioso
    SPAN 206 Civic Engagement, Social Change, and the Participatory Video Understanding the historical perspective of any event requires studying the methods used to create and distribute those perspectives. The practice of participatory video and documentary filmmaking help develop critical viewers while encouraging all participants to perceive their own reality, to develop an effective means of communicating that reality, and to promote it, denounce it, or affect change. Participants will not only learn how to produce an effective short participatory video, but they will also learn practical tools and techniques used in visual persuasion—an essential learning outcome for an era in which video/image consumption is growing exponentially. This participatory video collaboration will provide participants a practical opportunity to connect with individuals within our community, to conduct better research in their own interest areas, to develop a more thorough understanding of the psychological and technical aspects of filmmaking, and to refine their own critical viewing and communication skills. Prerequisite: Spanish 205. 2 credits; ARP, IDS; Not offered 2020-21
    SPAN 208 Coffee and News An excellent opportunity to brush up your Spanish while learning about current issues in Spain and Latin America. The class meets only once a week for an hour. Class requirements include reading specific sections of Spain's leading newspaper, El País, everyday on the internet (El País), and then meeting once a week to exchange ideas over coffee with a small group of students like yourself. Prerequisite: Spanish 204 or equivalent. 2 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
    SPAN 209 Radio and News in Spanish Are you interested in talking about current news while practicing your oral skills in Spanish? Have you ever considered participating in a radio program? This course is an excellent way to keep in touch with your Spanish while collaborating with “El Super Barrio Latino” a radio program conducted by the Latinx community of Northfield. In each program we will explore international and domestic news and we will interview people in our community. Relying on international newspapers, students will discuss common topics and themes representing a wide array of regions. (Language of conversation is Spanish) Prerequisite: Spanish 204 or equivalent. 2 credits; S/CR/NC; HI, IS; Fall, Winter, Spring; Palmar Álvarez-Blanco
    SPAN 210 Spanish Literature and Art through Graphic Novels This course serves as a bridge between beginning (204-208) and advanced courses (220-300) in the Department of Spanish. Its main objective is to improve your written and oral skills by looking at some of the best examples of the graphic novel in Spain in recent years, including: Vida y muerte de Lorca (biography), Las Meninas (art history), Yo, asesino (detective novel), Homenaje a Cataluña (Spanish Civil War), Náufragos (urban tales of Madrid and Barcelona), Ardalén (autobiography), and others. Students will be expected to write several short compositions and to give oral presentations applying specific grammar skills in the context of texts and paitings examined in class. Prerequisite: Spanish 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA, IS; Fall; Humberto R Huergo
    SPAN 211 Welcome to the International Film Forum! Can you envision a sustainable future? Can you imagine an equitable and fair world? Do we live in these conditions currently? In this course, you will explore the current ecological crisis. You will collaborate with others to discuss solutions to global challenges and learn about eco-activist opportunities within the Carleton and Northfield communities. This is a cross-disciplinary course designed for students interested in exploring the current human and ecological crisis. It is an excellent opportunity to brush up on your Spanish and to learn through dialogue with invited experts, community activists, and film directors, and view films from various parts of the globe. Prerequisite: Spanish 204 or equivalent. 2 credits; SI, IS; Not offered 2020-21
    SPAN 212 Madrid Program: Navigating Madrid This is an intense grammar/cultural workshop intended to help program participants navigate successfully through everyday situations such as ordering food at a restaurant, getting a haircut, describing your symptoms to a doctor, buying clothes or simply hanging out with your new Spanish friends. The course has two components—one strictly grammatical (“how do you say X exactly?”) and another cultural (“is it right to use the informal  with a waiter?”). 2 credits; NE; Not offered 2020-21
    SPAN 223 Women and Revolution in Latin America We will study works by some of the most prominent female voices from Latin America and examine the central role that women held in various Latin American struggles of liberation, civil war and revolution. Through an examination of crucial historical events (Sandinista, Cuban, and Mexican Revolutions, Salvadoran Civil War, etc.) we will analyze forms of artistic and literary expressions such as novels, poetry, murals, songs and films, which were an intrinsic part of these events and participated in defining their philosophical and cultural parameters. Prerequisite: Spanish 204 or proficiency. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
    SPAN 227 Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Early Modern Spain Muslims and Jews lived in the country we now call "Spain" for nearly 1000 years before they were both expelled in 1492 and 1609. No other European nation has ever experienced this kind of cultural hybridity. This course examines the tense coexistence of all three cultures between the twelfth and the seventeenth centuries, as reflected in historical documents, civil law, literature, and art. Readings include: Hispano-Arabic women poets mocking the Koran, Sephardic literature, Hispano-Arabic gay poetry, letters from Queen Isabella defending “her” Jews, the expulsion of Jews as narrated by Jewish chroniclers of the time, Núñez de Muley’s Memorandum in defense of moriscos (Spanish Muslims), Father Agustín Salucio’s stunning plea for an amnesty that would stop the persecution of Spanish Jews, Cervantes, and others. If you thought Muslims were newcomers to Europe, think again—you are in for a ride. Prerequisite: Spanish 204 or above. 6 credits; HI, IS; Not offered 2020-21
    SPAN 229 Madrid Program: Current Issues in Spanish Politics This course offers a fresh look of Spain's current political and economic life. Discussion topics include the rise of Podemos and the new Spanish political scene, the Catalan separatist movement, political corruption, illegal immigration, and the role of the European Union. Prerequisite: Spanish 205 or higher and acceptance in Madrid OCS Program. 6 credits; SI, IS; Not offered 2020-21
    SPAN 242 Introduction to Latin American Literature An introductory course to reading major texts in Spanish provides an historical survey of the literary movements within Latin American literature from the pre-Hispanic to the contemporary period. Recommended as a foundation course for further study. Not open to seniors. Prerequisite: Spanish 204 or proficiency. 6 credits; LA, IS; Winter; Silvia López
    SPAN 244 Spain Today: Recent Changes through Narrative and Film Since the death of Franco in 1975, Spain has undergone huge political, socio-economic, and cultural transformations. Changes in the traditional roles of women, the legalization of gay marriage, the decline of the Catholic church, the increase of immigrants, Catalan and Basque nationalisms, and the integration of Spain in the European Union, have all challenged the definition of a national identity. Through contemporary narrative and film, this course will examine some of these changes and how they contribute to the creation of what we call Spain today. Prerequisite: Spanish 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA, IS; Spring; Palmar Álvarez-Blanco
    SPAN 245 On Cannibals, Witches, and Zombies Latin American culture is populated with monsters. As manifestations of racial, gendered, and class difference, they can be found in artistic production all over the hemisphere. This course explores these narratives, primarily focusing on the cannibal, the witch, and the zombie as representations of difference, fear, and colonialism in Latin America. We will analyze literary and visual production from the sixteenth century to the present in order to strengthen students’ analytical and written skills in Spanish. Emphasis will be given to methods to ‘reading’ our materials, to learning how to approach those sources from different cultural and critical perspectives, as well as to produce written reactions and analysis. Prerequisite: Spanish 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA, IS; Fall; Walther Maradiegue
    SPAN 262 Myth and History in Central American Literature In this course we study the relationship between myth and history in Central America since its origins in the Popol Vuh, the sacred texts of the Mayans until the period of the post-civil wars era. The course is organized in a chronological manner. We will study, in addition to the Popol Vuh, the chronicles of Alvarado, some poems by Rubén Darío and Francisco Gavidia, some of the writings of Miguel Ãngel Asturias and Salarrué. The course will end with a study of critical visions of the mythical presented by more contemporary authors such as Roque Dalton and Luis de Lión.  Prerequisite: Spanish 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA, IS; Winter; Yansi Pérez
    SPAN 263 History of Human Rights This course proposes a genealogical study of the concept of Human Rights. The course will begin with the debates in sixteenth century Spain about the theological, political and juridical rights of "Indians." The course will cover four centuries and the following topics will be discussed: the debates about poverty in sixteenth century Spain; the birth of the concept of tolerance in the eighteenth century; the creation of the modern political constitution in the United States, France and Spain; the debates about women's rights, abortion and euthanasia, etc. Prerequisite: Spanish 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
    SPAN 277 The Poem as Artifact: Art and Work in Contemporary Spanish American Poetry Poetry will be studied as an activity that shares a common ground with other social practices. In particular, we will examine particular moments and cases of Latin American literature in which the poem (the making of poetry and the form of the text) has been conceived in its connection with work, that is, with the process of transformation of materiality into specific "objects," involving a necessary social use of time and space. We will explore this topic starting with Modernismo and, after covering the Vanguardias, will get to some key developments from the 1960s to present. Prerequisite: Spanish 204 or equivalent. 6 credits; LA; Not offered 2020-21
    SPAN 321 Murder as a Fine Art: The Detective Novel in Latin America We will study the socio-historical factors that gave rise to the genre as well as some of its classical predecessors (Poe, Chandler). We will then turn our attention to some prominent heirs of this genre in Latin America (Borges, Piglia, Bolaño) and end by studying why in contemporary Central American literature the genre is enjoying a resurgence (Menjívar, Castellanos Moya and Rey Rosa). We will study the specific traits the genre has adopted in Latin America and how it has become a mirror that often reflects the political and social realities confronting the region, particularly in Central America. Prerequisite: Spanish 205 or above. 6 credits; LA, IS; Spring; Yansi Y Perez
    SPAN 328 The Contemporary Spanish Fictional Essay In this course we will study the various meanings of what has been labeled, aesthetically and sociologically, as the Post-Modernist age, or Late Modernity. We will also study the relationship between "postmodernism," the late-capitalist era and what has been called the "culture of contentment" or "culture of well-being." In addition, we will attempt to understand the interactions that exist between consumer culture, market societies and dominant ideology. To develop this theme we will focus on Spain, but will also continually establish cross-cultural comparisons with other countries. This course addresses many different genres (e.g. fictional essays, documentaries, gag cartoons, graphic novels, comics). The course also features evening films and guest lectures. Prerequisite: Spanish 205 or 207. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
    SPAN 330 The Invention of the Modern Novel: Cervantes' Don Quijote Among other things, Don Quijote is a "remake," an adaptation of several literary models popular at the time the picaresque novel, the chivalry novel, the sentimental novel, the Byzantine novel, the Italian novella, etc. This course will examine the ways in which Cervantes transformed these models to create what is considered by many the first "modern" novel in European history. Prerequisite: Spanish 205 or above. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
    SPAN 345 Culture, Capitalism and the Commons Have you ever wondered if not capitalism, then what? In this course we will critically approach the historical background, the causes and, most importantly, the consequences of the civil and ecological crisis unleashed globally in 2008. Both in its origin and its consequences, this crisis went beyond the financial field, extending into the realms of politics, economics, culture, media and ecology. In light of this context, we will take a transdisciplinary approach to the study of capitalist culture and analyze the main changes that have developed from the cycle of social mobilizations surrounding the "indignados" movement or Spanish 15M in 2011. With a primary focus on Spain, we will concentrate on analyzing cultural artifacts that mark a paradigm shift from a capitalist culture towards the development of a culture of the commons that seeks to improve the living conditions of the social majority, defending both human rights and ecological justice. Prerequisite: Spanish 205 or equivalent. 6 credits; HI, IS; Fall; Palmar Álvarez-Blanco
    SPAN 349 Madrid Program: Theory and Practice of Urban Life More than a study of the image of Madrid in Spanish literature, this course examines the actual experience of living in a cosmopolitan city through a variety of disciplines, including Urban Studies, Geography, Architecture, Sociology, and Spanish poetry and fiction. Special attention will be given to imaginative walking and counter-tourist tactics as theorized by Phil Smith and the British psychogeographic movement. Prerequisite: Spanish 205 or above. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
    SPAN 356 The Political and Cultural History of the Cuban Revolution In 2014 Obama and Castro simultaneously announced the end of an era: the Cold War. This announcement was a turning point for one of the most influential and symbolically important political movements in Latin America: The Cuban Revolution. We will study the political and historical background that sustained this revolution for over fifty years. We will read historical, political, philosophical, and cultural texts to understand this process and the fascination that it commanded around the world. We will also examine the different exoduses that this revolution provoked and the exile communities that Cubans constructed in different parts of the world. Prerequisite: Spanish 205 or above. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
    SPAN 358 The Spanish Civil War Considered by many historians the beginning of the II World War, the Spanish Civil war served as the arena where the main ideologies of the twentieth century--Capitalism, Fascism, and Communism--first clashed. The result was not only one of the bloodiest wars in history, but also was of the most idealistic, with 40,000 volunteers from all over the world willing to die in defense of a country they did not even know. This course will explore the meaning of the war through a variety of mediums and disciplines, including literature, history, graphic arts, and films. Prerequisite: Spanish 205 or above. 6 credits; IS, HI; Winter; Humberto R Huergo
    SPAN 360 Race and Nation in Caribbean Literature We will study the Caribbean as the space, par excellence, of imperial, racial and cultural intersections. With a special emphasis on literary production in the Spanish Caribbean, we will focus on the formation of hegemonic nationalist discourses that often silenced the region's great racial and cultural diversity. We will analyze symbolic and cultural constructions of power rationalized with complex racialized beliefs to sustain the social and political structures in these countries. We will read texts by José Martí, Juan Francisco Manzano, Lydia Cabrera, Nancy Morejón, Nicolás Guillén, and Derek Walcott among others. Prerequisite: Spanish 205 or above. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
    SPAN 366 Jorge Luis Borges: Less a Man Than a Vast and Complex Literature Borges once said about Quevedo that he was less a man than a vast and complex literature. This phrase is probably the best definition for Borges as well. We will discuss the many writers encompassed by Borges: the vanguard writer, the poet, the detective short story writer, the fantastic story writer, the essayist. We will also study his many literary masks: H. Bustoc Domecq (the apocryphal writer he created with Bioy Casares) a pseudonym he used to write chronicles and detective stories. We will study his impact on contemporary writers and philosophers such as Foucault, Derrida, Roberto Bolaño, etc. Prerequisite: Spanish 205 or above. 6 credits; LA, IS; Spring; Jorge Brioso
    SPAN 370 Indigeneity and Gender in Latin America This course will examine representations of Indigenous peoples in Latin America during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with special attention to constructions of race and gender. We will explore topics such as the racial and gendered associations used to construct indigeneity, the exclusion of alternative indigenous gender subjectivities, and the double subordination indigenous women have historically experienced. Some questions we will explore are: How has indigeneity been understood in nineteenth and twentieth-century Latin America? How have nineteenth-century Latin American nations imagined and disciplined female indigeneity? What new forms of indigenous gender identities became visible during the twentieth century? The course includes materials related to Central America (Mexico, Guatemala), the Andes, and the Amazon. Prerequisite: Spanish 205 or above. 6 credits; LA, IS; Winter; Walther Maradiegue
    SPAN 371 Yours Truly: The Body of the Letter This course will focus on letters and their significance as acts of symbolic and material exchange, as objects that bear the mark of the bodily act of writing, and as a staging of the scene of writing itself. We will study different types of letters (love letters, prison letters, literary letters, letters embedded in other texts, fictional letters, epistolary novels, etc.), but always as the site of production of a modern and gendered self. Texts by Simón Bolívar, Manuela Sáenz, Rosa Luxemburg, Simone de Beauvoir, André Gorz, Pedro Salinas, Marina Tsvetaeva, Boris Pasternak, Paul Celan, Ingeborg Bachmann, Elena Poniatowska, Alan Pauls and Alfredo Bryce Echenique. Prerequisite: Spanish 205 or above. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
    SPAN 376 Mexico City: The City as Protagonist This seminar will have Mexico City as protagonist, and will examine the construction of one of the largest urban centers of the world through fictional writing, cultural criticism, and visual/aural culture. We will critically engage the fictions of its past, the dystopias of its present, the assemblage of affects and images that give it continuity, but which also codify the ever-changing and contested view of its representation and meaning. From Carlos Fuentes to Sayak Valencia, in the company of Eisenstein and Cuarón, among others. Prerequisite: Spanish 205 or above. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
    SPAN 377 History and Subjectivity in Latin American Poetry In this course we will examine poetic experimentation in Spanish in relation to the major political and ideological trends that have shaped Latin American societies and cultures in the twentieth century. While focusing on the work of one major figure, we will read it in connection to the poetry of other authors. Some authors included will be Pablo Neruda, Cesar Vallejo, Nicanor Parra, Enrique Lihn, Ernesto Cardenal, Blanca Varela and Alejandra Pizarnik. Prerequisite: Spanish 205. 6 credits; LA, IS; Not offered 2020-21
    SPAN 400 Integrative Exercise 6 credits; S/NC; Fall, Winter, Spring