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Courses

The following information is from the 2016-17 Vassar College Catalogue.

Hispanic Studies: I. Introductory

105a. Elementary Spanish Language 1

Fundamentals of the grammar and structure of the Spanish language with emphasis on oral skills and reading. María Ximena Postigo Guzmán.

Open to students with no previous instruction in Spanish.

Yearlong course 105-HISP 106.

Four 50-minute periods; one hour of drill.

106b. Elementary Spanish Language 1

Fundamentals of the grammar and structure of the Spanish language with emphasis on oral skills and reading. María Ximena Postigo Guzmán.

Open to students with no previous instruction in Spanish.

Yearlong course HISP 105-106.

Four 50-minute periods; one hour of drill.

110 Latin American and Spanish Literacy and Cultural Topics 1

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

Hispanic Studies: II. Intermediate

205a or b. Intermediate Spanish 1

Intensive study and review of Spanish grammar at the second-year level with emphasis on oral practice and writing skills. María Ximena Postigo Guzmán (a); Mihai Grünfeld, to be announced (b).

Prerequisite(s): HISP 105-HISP 106 or HISP 109   , or three years of high school Spanish.

Three 50-minute periods and one hour of conversation.

206 Reading and Writing about Hispanic Culture 1

Reading, writing and speaking skills are developed through study of cultural and literary texts, audiovisual materials, and review of advanced grammar topics. Andrew Bush and Mario Cesareo (a);  Michael Aronna and Mario Cesareo (b).

Topic for 2016/17a: Reading, writing and speaking skills are developed through study of cultural and literary texts and audiovisual materials. Andrew Bush.

Topic for 2016/17a: This section is designed as an introduction to significant contemporary issues in Latin American cultures (Human rights, LGBT and Women's movements, Indigenous peoples and other topics.). It allows a first exposure to this problematic in Spanish, providing a space for reading, viewing, listening, speaking and writing in the target language. Mario Cesareo.

Topic for 2016/17b: Reading, writing and speaking skills are developed through study of cultural and literary texts and audiovisual materials. Michael Aronna.

Topic for 2016/17b: This section is designed as an introduction to significant contemporary issues in Latin American cultures (Human rights, LGBT and Women's movements, Indigenous peoples and other topics.). It allows a first exposure to this problematic in Spanish, providing a space for reading, viewing, listening, speaking and writing in the target language. Mario Cesareo.

 

Prerequisite(s): HISP 205 or four years of high school Spanish.

Two 75-minute periods and one hour of conversation.

216a and b. Topics in Multidisciplinary Analysis 1

This course develops a set of methodological and theoretical tools for the investigation of cultural practices such as literature, popular and mass culture, social movements and institutions in Spanish-speaking countries. 

Topic for 2016/17a: Fiction and Non-Fiction in the Multidisciplinary Classroom. This course develops the theoretical and methodological tools for the study of the ambiguous boundaries of the fictional and scientific representation of social reality in Latin American cultural discourse and practice. Through the examination of hybrid texts which combine elements of fiction, science, journalism, photography, and art the course explores assumptions underlying different conceptions of documentary and imaginary representation.  Students consider models of analysis originating in cultural studies with others from the social sciences in order to arrive an an integral and multidisciplinary understanding of the formal and social characteristics of these diverse texts and practices. Michael Aronna.

Topic for 2016/17b: Contemporary Andean Poetry.  This course will introduce the student to a critical analysis of contemporary Andean Poetry.  Readings will be selected from poetic works of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries including poetry of the Andean region of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, and Argentina. We will also learn how to make connection among different poetic works in order to situate them within specific moments in the history of the region.  This course will concentrate on that poetic image that invites us to experience the poem rather than just reading it.  Responding to this invitation through deep interpretation will build the path we will undertake.  In order to do so we will keep four groups of questions in mind. (1) What kind of voice is the one we can hear in the poem? Is this voice suffering or fighting? Is this voice political? Is it in silence? Is it a collective voice or a disappeared body? (2) What is this voice trying to tell us? What is the image we are invited to see in the poem? Is it an historical event? Might it be a specific understanding of life?  Maybe an absent image? (3) What is the image in the poem creating? What is this image transmitting? Is it an experience, an emotion, hope, void, or a variant conception of reality? (4) What is the poem inviting us to do with that image? How does the poem affect us? How does it change- or not- our perception of life and reality? María Ximena Postigo Guzmán.

 

Prerequisite(s): HISP 206 or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

219 Advanced Grammar and Composition 1

This course offers an in-depth coverage of Spanish grammar with emphasis on reading and writing skills. A more traditional approach in grammar explanations is combined with the study of numerous examples and exercises based on everyday life. The objectives of this course are 1) to provide a thorough review of major topics of Spanish grammar---ser and estar, por and para, the preterit and the imperfect, sequence of tenses, conditional clauses, etc.; 2) to explore in-depth the different mechanics of writing in Spanish (punctuation, written accents, etc.); 3) to work on writing skills in Spanish through the use of various writing techniques and strategies---the art of writing narratives, dialogue, descriptions, letters, and reports; 4) to improve reading skills and knowledge of vocabulary and idiomatic expressions in Spanish; 5) to continue to increase cultural knowledge of the Spanish-speaking world. Through the use of the target language in class, this course also contributes to the general language acquisition process. Some translation work is required as well---contextualized passages in English translated into Spanish are used to illustrate a variety of grammatical principles. Eva Woods.

Prerequisite(s): HISP 216 or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

225 Creative Writing Workshop 1

This year's workshop provides a space for the development of the student's ability as a writer of fiction in Spanish. Writing projects could include short stories, drama, poetry and miscellany, depending on the student's individual interests. Workshop members share, read and critique each other's writing. We also engage some readings and exercises designed to enrich the student's ability to give form, texture, and voice to their writing. Mario Cesareo.

Prerequisite(s): HISP 216 or HISP 219 or permission of the instructor.

Offered in alternate years.

Two 75-minute periods.

226 Medieval and Early Modern Spain 1

Studies in Spanish literary and cultural production from the time of the Reconquest to the end of the Hapsburg Empire.

Topic for 2016/17b: Jews, Muslims and Christians in Medieval Spain.Power homogenizes, and absolute power homogenizes absolutely. Such has been the keynote of cultural politics in Spain from the reign of the Reyes Católicos to the Franco dictatorship. But against the discourse of power stands the lived reality of cultural heterogeneity in the Iberian Peninsula. The great theoretical voice speaking for that heterogeneity has been Américo Castro, who opposed the centuries-old conflation of Catholicism and nationalism by insisting upon what we would now call the multicultural base of Spanish identity, namely the coexistence of Jews, Muslims and Christians in the medieval period. This course takes Castro's theoretical position as the point of departure for the investigation of the tri-partite convivencia, considering both its moments of harmony and of confrontation. The selection of texts and their study are interdisciplinary in nature, including the fields of literature, history, religion and architecture. While concentrating on the period 711-1492, attention is also devoted to the medieval legacy in such later writers as Cervantes. Please note that although the original language of some of the texts is Hebrew or Arabic, Galician-Portuguese or Catalan, readings, class discussion and writing assignments are in Castilian Spanish. Andrew Bush.

Two 75-minute periods.

227b. Colonial Latin America 1

(Same as LALS 227) Studies in Latin American literary and cultural production from the European invasion to the crisis of the colonial system.

Topic for 2016/17b: The Invention of America. This course explores a variety of texts and genres that trace the process of the "invention" of the New World. We begin with the Mayan myth of creation in the Popol Vuh and examine a variety of forms of mythical, literary and historical fabrications in texts like Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca's Naufragios, Bartolomé de las Casas's Brevísima Relación, Clorinda Matto de Turner's Aves sin nido and Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda's Sab. In these and other texts we trace the invention and reinvention of Latin America in popular and scholarly imagination until the end of the nineteenth century. Mihai Grünfeld.

Prerequisite(s): one course above HISP 206.

Two 75-minute periods.

228a. Modern Spain 1

Studies in Spanish literary and cultural production from the beginning of the Bourbon monarchy to the present.

Topic for 2016/17a: Road Trips. The course introduces a wide range of literary expression (novel, essay, travelogue, poetry, drama) from the thwarted Spanish Age of Enlightenment in the eighteenth century to the present-day Spain of revived regionalism and massive immigration, by way of the geographical imagination. Texts under study offer close observation of the particularities of landscapes and cityscapes and their implications for the local and national imaginary, collective memory and both religion and politics in modern Spain. Much attention is devoted to questions about insider and outsider perspectives and the vicissitudes of dialogue between them. Andrew Bush.



 

Prerequisite(s): HISP 216.

Two 75-minute periods.

229a. Post Colonial Latin America 1

Topic for 2016/17a: Argentine Crime Fiction. (Same as LALS 229) The course explores some of the canonic crime fiction written in Argentina in the last one hundred years, following the changes in the genre as it redefines itself according to social and political circumstances. In Spanish. Mario Cesareo.

 

Prerequisite(s):  HISP 216 or HISP 219.

Two 75-minute periods.

290a or b. Field Work 0.5 to 1

Individual projects or internships. The department.

Prerequisite(s): one unit of HISP 205 or above.

Special permission.

298a or b. Independent Work 0.5 to 1.5

The department.

Prerequisite(s): 2 units of HISP 226 or above, and permission of the instructor.

Does not fulfill the requirement for 200-level work in the major or the correlate sequence.

Hispanic Studies: III. Advanced

300b. Senior Thesis 1

The department.

387a and b. Latin American Seminar 1

(Same as LALS 387) A seminar offering in-depth study of topics related to the literary and cultural history of Latin America. This course may be repeated for credit when the topic changes. Ximena Postigo Guzman (a); Michael Aronna (b) Mario Cesareo (b)

Topic for 2016/17a: Indigenous Philosophy in Andean Textualities. It is not by chance that certain Andean literature leads us to other cultural expressions, for instance, to dances and myths. The poetics of these performances and narratives are part of the structure of many literary texts in the region. In other words, they can be understood as the intertextuality-the inclusion of one text into another - of those texts. In the case of the Andes, we should extend this definition to include any form of performance, oral narrative, or even an historical event that is re-told by the poetics of a literary text. This course is focused on art works of Peru and Boliva that contain this kind of interetextuality.  In order to explore these works profoundly we wil also become familiar with fundamental aspects of Andean indigenous philosophy. Materials for this course include colonial and contemporary literature, narratives, poetry, plays, theory, and film. We study the connections among these materials in order to find what it is that these textualities are moving or provoking in the Andews. Ximena Postigo-Guzmán.

Topic for 2016/17b: Science Fiction, Horror, and the Occult in Latin America. This seminar examines the unique origins and evolution of the literature and film of science fiction, horror, and the occult in Latin America. The course focuses on the culturally heterogenous and politically charged context of notions of nature, futurity, progress, dystopia, desire, the uncanny, anxiety, the repressed and the unknown that underlie these interrelated genres in Latin America. Michael Aronna.

Topic for 2016/17b: New Argentine Cinema. The seminar follows the appearance and development of the Argentine New Wave, from the mid-1990s to the present. These films have initiated a new direction in Argentine and Latin American film, as they try to find new narrative forms that symbolically articulate and transform the radical crises-cultural, national and economic-that neoliberalism and its aftermath brought to the Argentine landscape. In the process, new voices, ethnic communities, sexualities and social sensibilities emerge, questioning established ways of thinking and looking at the nation and its uneasy fragments. The emerging result has been a boom in production that publics and film festivals worldwide have recognized through accolade, prizes, worldwide distribution and critical praise. Films by auteurs such as Adrián Caetano, Martín Rejtman, Pablo Trapero, Lucrecia Martel are discussed, bearing on themes such as the circulation of bodies and labor, nation, migration and globalization, memory and subjectivity, the eye vs. the gaze, the spheres and politics of social space, and the political unconscious of melodrama and allegory within the context of subalternity and the Third World. Mario Cesareo.

Prerequisite(s): HISP 216 and one course above 216.

One 2-hour period.

388 Peninsular Seminar 1

A seminar offering in-depth study of topics related to the literary and cultural history of Spain. This course may be repeated for credit when the topic changes.

Prerequisite(s): HISP 216 and one course above HISP 216.

Not offered in 2016/17.

One 2-hour period.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work 0.5 to 1

Special permission. Does not fulfill the requirement for 300-level work in the major or correlate sequence.