Departmental Lectureships

Institut Ramon Llull, Catalan Lectureship

IRL Catalán Lectureship: Courses & Activities

The Institut Ramon Llull Catalan Lectureship. A Note from the Director, Cristina Sanz, PhD.

The teaching of Catalán has a long and healthy tradition at Georgetown that began with Emeritus Professor Thomas Walsh in 1982. This tradition, unusual for a European minority language, along with Georgetown’s reputation in philological studies, inspired me to write a successful proposal for a visiting faculty position sponsored and financed by the Catalán Government. After more than a decade, the Lectureship enjoys much success –it has grown in funding and offerings from 1 to 3 courses.

Coursework completed on campus can continue in the Barcelona Summer Program, part of Georgetown’s Office of Global Engagement, where we offer courses on Catalán art history, the history and politics of identity, and  bilingualism.


  • Hora del cafè (weekly, every fall semester)
  • Guest speakers
  • Film Festival (every spring semester)
  • Diada de Sant Jordi (April 23rd), 12 hour celebration of Catalán Culture

For more information on Catalán Culture, Literature, Linguistics, and activities promoted by the lectureship, please visit the links below:


SPAN-007 Introduction to Catalan

Fall only

This is a communicatively oriented course designed with two goals in mind: 1) to help the student understand Catalonia and Catalan culture and their role in Spain and Europe; 2) to provide the tools to facilitate the student’s learning of Catalan language, with an emphasis on oral communication and reading skills.

Credits: 3 Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of a Romance language.

SPAN-246-01 Sym: Catalan Culture/Society (in English)

Spring only

Ferran Adrià, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró or Antoni Gaudí are some of the names that have spread Catalan culture around the world, a singular culture whose people elevate human towers called Castellers and beat a log with a stick to get presents on Christmas eve. Through readings (both electronic and hard copy), audiovisual materials, guest and student presentations the course covers the politics, sociolinguistic situation, visual arts, history, geography, and gastronomy of the Catalan speaking regions. No knowledge of Spanish or Catalan required as the course is taught in English.

Credits: 3; Prerequisites: None

Instituto Camões, Portuguese Lectureship

This section will be updated soon!

Agencia Española de Cooperación y Desarrollo, Spanish Lectureship

Mercedes Ontoria is a lecturer of Spanish sent by the Spanish International Development Cooperation Agency (AECID – Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Since joining the Georgetown faculty in 2014, Mercedes has taught different intermediate and advanced language courses. Currently, she teaches an advanced-level course of Latin American history and contemporary culture.

Mercedes received her BA in Spanish Linguistics and Literature and her MA in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language from University Complutense of Madrid (Spain). She earned her PhD in Latin American Studies from University of Bologna (Italy). In her thesis, Mercedes analysed the technical and conceptual connections between the style adopted by Julio Cortázar in his “collage” books La vuelta al día en ochenta mundos and Último round with the avant-garde art movements Dada and Surrealism.

From 2005 to 2014, Mercedes was a lecturer at University for Foreigners of Perugia (Italy) and University of Perugia (Italy), where she taught different Spanish language courses from beginner to advanced. She also taught courses of Foreign Language Teaching Methods and ICT in Spanish Language Teaching.

Mercedes is currently tanking her Masters in Applied Linguistics. Her current area of research examines the integration of interdisciplinary materials in Content-based instruction. She studies how CBI enables students’ motivation and increases their matter knowledge as they develop their target language skills.