Course Descriptions

Intensive Intermediate Spanish – SPAN 032 – 6 cr.

Continuing from Intensive Basic Spanish, and designed for highly motivated students who seek daily contact with the language, this course is designed to further develop students’ ability to communicate satisfactorily in Spanish in everyday situations and to help them acquire skills necessary for effective speaking and writing in Spanish. Taking readings, documentaries and films as point of departure, the cultural component of the course grows significantly to include current issues encompassing the economy, politics, and culture of the Spanish-speaking areas on both sides of the Atlantic.

Intensive Adv. Spanish (transatlantic) – SPAN 110 – 6 cr.

This course is the equivalent in content and credits to the Span 101 and 102 sequence. Like 101 and 102, 110 is a content-based language course, meaning that language learning and intellectual growth go hand in hand. The course is built around four themes, namely ‘The Construction of a Modern Society’, ‘Race and Gender’, ‘Identity’ and ‘Going Global: Transnational Units and Migration’. It provides the student with the tools to critically approach the cultures of the Spanish-speaking regions on both sides of the Atlantic; i.e., Spain, Latin America, and US Latino. These are learner-centered courses where students build both their knowledge of subject matter and their language proficiency through oral and written discussions of primary sources, including but not limited to accounts of historical memory, journal articles, reports from international organizations, photography and film. The course further advances language proficiency in all four skills: speaking, listening, writing, and reading in a range of genres and styles, including description, argumentation and narration.

Grammar and lexicon presented in these courses are chosen to facilitate discussions of the events and figures that shape these regions today. Special attention is placed on basic linguistic structures such as copula verbs and prepositions as well as advanced target forms such uses of preterit and imperfect for narration purposes, past subjunctive, adverbial and conditional clauses, and comparative constructions. Assessment is continuous and includes debates, long and short presentations, short papers, short and long exams, and a learner’s portfolio. The course follows a flipped classroom design and the student’s portfolio works as the link between out-of-classroom preparation for in-classroom active seminars. Like Intensive Basic and Intermediate courses, Intensive Advanced is recommended for motivated students who want to learn fast to matriculate in a Spanish-Speaking institution, for those considering a Spanish major or minor, SFS students preparing for the Oral Proficiency Exam, and for International Business students. This is an ideal course for those students who simply love the language and the cultures who speak it and want daily contact with them.

Oral Review – SPAN 161 – 3 cr.

This course develops speaking and listening skills by discussion of the interdisciplinary study of Hispanic cultures and civilizations as manifested through history, literature, and everyday discourses of culture (film, television, journalism). It addresses key changes that have occurred during the 20th century in Spain, Latin America, and the U.S. It is designed for students who have a fair command of Spanish grammar. The overall goals are to achieve greater fluency in a variety of contexts and to learn to express oneself with greater ease and accuracy. Consistent oral participation in the course is essential. The course will round out the linguistic and thematic preparation needed to take the Oral Proficiency Exam in Spanish.

LAT AMER: Lit & Culture II SPAN 262  – 3 cr.

In this course we will read texts by many of the best-known Latin American authors, starting with late 19th century (Martí, Darío, Agustini) to the present day. Our aim will be to read and appreciate literature and to learn about the ethnic, racial, and cultural heterogeneity of Latin America. Some of the topics covered will be: the Spanish-American War of 1898, the vanguards, relations between literature and visual arts, sociocultural movements such as indigenism, negrismo, the question of women as writers and cultural actors, and the Latino presence in the US.

Literature and Society in Lat. America – SPAN 267- 3 cr.

Literature and Society in Latin America, will focus on modern artistic and cultural productions from all throughout the region. With this in mind, the class will study literature and cinema, as well as music made from the early 20th century to contemporary manifestations. We will explore and analyze the way in which phenomena such as globalization, the internet and national discourses are entangled with elements of deep historical traditions such as race, gender and identity within a region characterized by cultural hybridity.

Latin American Contemp. Short Story SPAN-266 – 3 cr.

A survey of Spanish American short fiction by male and female writers from the 1940s through the 1980s. The course focuses on the development of different literary strategies and their relation to specific historical, political, and social contexts. It also explores the dialogue or struggle with a dominant male tradition of writing through which women authors have shaped their particular literary and social concerns. Among writers to be studied are Borges, Cortázar, Donoso, García Márquez; Bryce Echenique, Ferré, Garro, Peri Rossi, and Valenzuela.

Nature & culture in Latin America SPAN 288 – 3 cr.

From a multidisciplinary perspective, this course will reflect upon the intricate relationship between culture and environment in Ecuador in particular and in Latin America in general. This course combines approaches from the natural and social sciences as well as the humanities, enriching theory with a valuable field work experience. We will begin with a brief introduction to the concepts of culture and nature that have shaped our understanding of our surrounding world. The opposition between nature and culture has been central to the representation of America since the first contact between Europe and the New World. Those first impressions and foundational texts are at the core of the debates about civilization and barbarism. We will discuss the multiple relations between Western culture and the different autochthonous cultures which have resulted in different types and grades of cultural crossbreeding. While cultural diversity is one of the main pillars for the understanding of Latin America’s reality, ecological diversity is and has been the treasure coveted by nationals and foreigners. This course will analyze the role played by that ecological diversity in the historical, social and cultural development of the region, and how this development has contributed to destroy, preserve, or endanger that natural balance. The main objective of a course of this sort is to reinforce the knowledge acquired through classes, discussions, and readings, with the fieldwork experience in a privileged and extraordinary natural setting. Participants will spend one week in each of the ecological stations, Tiputini and Galápagos.

Race, Gender and Ethnicity in Latin America SPAN 297 – 3 cr.

This course examines concepts of race, gender and ethnicity in Latin American in general, and Ecuador in particular. The course has two closely linked components: classroom discussion on theories of race, gender and ethnicity and two weeks of related field activities, one in Riobamba and one in Quito.

A) Riobamba: During this week students will partake in various activities at USFQ’s new campus in the colonial city of Riobamba, capital of the Chimborazo province. Inasmuch as the campus specializes in academic disciplines such as Andean anthropology, politics, archeology, history and sociology among others, students will be able to take advantage of this wonderful and enriching resource to further their understanding of the principal issues discussed in class. Students will visit and work with various indigenous communities and NGOs whose work is centered on issues pertaining to race, gender and/or ethnicity. In addition, students will visit Casa Condor as a paradigmatic example of development programs generated and sustained by an actual indigenous community. Lastly, students will participate in a series of lectures by guest speakers, films and other field related trips within the province.

B) Quito: During this week students will have the opportunity to visit different indigenous organizations and engage in informative discussions with their respective leaders. Such associations include: 1. CONAIE (Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador). Since 1990 CONAIE has been one of the main protagonists in the political life of Ecuador. The majority of the indigenous populations of Ecuador belong to this organization. 2. FEINE (Federación Ecuatoriana de Indígenas Evangélicos), an association that includes the protestant indigenous communities and is actively involved in the political and social life of the country. Since the beginning of the 20th century North American missionaries have evangelized many of the natives and have successfully founded evangelical churches in various communities since the 60s. 3. FENOCIN (Federación Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas Indígenas y Negras), an organization that includes indigenous people, Afro-Ecuadorian workers and farmers of the Sierra region of Ecuador. FENOCIN discretely participates in the political and social arena as well.

Students will also visit the National Congress of Ecuador where they will meet with Salvador Quishpe, a representative of Pachakutik. As the political branch of CONAIE, Pachakutik has directly participated in the elections since 1996. Presently, it has 11 representatives in Congress, 4 provincial governors and controls 18 municipalities. In addition, students will also visit institutes such as INDESIC (Instituto para el Desarrollo Social y de las Investigaciones Científicas) and DINEIB (Dirección Nacional de Educación Intercultural Bilingüe). INDESIC is an establishment supported by the German foundation Hanns Seidal that grants scholarships to Afro-Ecuadorians and indigenous individuals so that they may pursue an education in private and state universities. INDESIC is the governmental institution that regulates bilingual education throughout the country. Since 1988, indigenous students have been educated in their native languages: Quichua, Shuar, Huaorani, etc. Other activities consist of a trip to observe a traditional ballet dance known as Saruymanta, lectures by guest speakers and various films.