Course Descriptions

SPAN 101 / 102 – Advanced Spanish I / II (transatlantic)

Spanish 101 and 102 and their intensive equivalent (110) are content-based language courses, meaning that language learning and intellectual growth go hand in hand. The sequence of courses 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. 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 as past tense distinctions, relative clauses, and passive constructions. Assessment is continuous and includes debates, long and short presentations, short papers, short and long exams, and a learner’s portfolio. The courses follow a flipped classroom design and the student’s portfolio works as the link between out-of-classroom preparation for in-classroom active seminars.

SPAN 267 – Literature and Society in Lat. America

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.

SPAN 288/388- Nature & Culture in Latin America (I / II)

From a multidisciplinary perspective, these courses will reflect upon the intricate relationship between culture and environment in Ecuador in particular and in Latin America in general. They combine 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. The courses 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.

SPAN 294/394 – Race, Gender and Ethnicity in Latin America (I / II)

Estos cursos tienen como objetivo una aproximación crítica a los conceptos teóricos de raza, género y etnicidad, y generar la reflexión sobre ellos a partir de su contrastación con el caso de América Latina a través de su producción cultural. Con ese propósito, han sido diseñados de la siguiente manera: a) clases en Quito, centradas en la discusión de los conceptos mencionados; y b) actividades y trabajo de campo en varias regiones del país que se visitarán como parte del programa de actividades. De esa manera, se busca conseguir un sentido práctico de la teoría, que permita verificar desde la experiencia de la observación directa la pertinencia de los conceptos analizados en las clases. El curso integra aspectos teóricos —lecturas, discusiones en clase, charlas con expertos— y prácticos —visitas y viajes. Se espera la participación activa de los estudiantes tanto en las discusiones sobre los diferentes temas a tratar en clase, como en todas las actividades y tareas a desarrollar. Asimismo, se espera que los estudiantes preparen anticipadamente el material correspondiente para cada clase, de acuerdo con el programa o las instrucciones del profesor.

SPAN 330 – Spanish phonetics (pronunciation) – 3 cr.

The course is designed to facilitate and enhance the acquisition of Spanish pronunciation during study abroad. In the course, students acquire basic knowledge of Spanish phonetics, become aware of the different varieties of Spanish, and investigate the differences between their pronunciation and that of the native speakers around them. The study abroad experience presents an ideal setting for students to make a significant leap forward with their pronunciation. This course will complement and reinforce the normal benefits that result from increased quality and quantity of input with self-analysis and reflection on speech. As an example, during the jungle visit in Tiputini students will learn much about the biodiversity of the Yasuni National Park–just by being there. However, the inclusion of talks from experts and professional guides during excursions are a key complement for optimal learning. Similarly, this class helps the pronunciation refinements that are accessible only in the advanced stage to be significantly greater than those that would be obtained without a guide. This course is intended to serve as a guide at a time when students are going to be exposed to a barrage of linguistic input.