2015-2016 Spanish Courses

Beginning Spanish


In this course, students will develop the necessary skills to gain command of the essentials of spoken and written Spanish. There will be an emphasis on fundamental grammatical construction and vocabulary used in an everyday context. During class, students will participate in activities that emphasize oral proficiency and the development of reading and writing skills. Student will also be exposed to the diverse cultural contexts of the Spanish-speaking world and, from the very beginning of the course, will be immersed in a Spanish-speaking environment through films, songs, and short literary texts that complement the learned grammatical structures. In addition, students will meet with the instructor in small groups (small group conference) for one hour a week and will be required to attend a weekly conversation session with a language tutor. No previous experience in the language is necessary; no need to take the Spanish placement test. Please attend one of the scheduled group interviews.

Advanced Beginning Spanish


This course is intended for students who have had some Spanish previously but who have forgotten most of it. We will do a thorough review of basic grammatical, lexical, and syntactical concepts at a more accelerated pace than the regular Beginning Spanish class. In addition to the use of a textbook, Invitaciones—which includes a video story, Escenas de la vida—we will also make extensive use of pair and small groups among other supplemental activities, including playing games, seeing films, reading poems and some short stories, animation, and so on in order to enhance comprehension and speaking ability and to deepen cultural understanding of Spain and Spanish America. We will watch films outside of class on a biweekly basis to be discussed in class and written about at home. By the end of the first semester, you should be able to function in informal, transactional, and interpersonal situations; understand key ideas and add some supporting details; ask and answer questions; produce simple narrations and descriptions, as well as explanations; deal with a range of topics from the self to the immediate environment; and produce increasingly sophisticated paragraphs on a variety of topics. By the end of the second semester, you will additionally be able to read and understand simple journalistic essays, read short stories and one-act plays, and discuss them using basic concepts in Spanish. Taught in Spanish. Spanish placement test (to be taken online during interview week) is required, in addition to an interview with the instructor.

Intermediate Spanish I: The Fiction of Language


Augusto Monterroso’s microfiction, “Cuando despertó, el dinosaurio todavía seguía allí,” exemplifies the complexity of the Spanish language and grammar through a single sentence that can generate many interpretations. This course is designed to revise and emphasize the fundamental Spanish grammatical structures, using literary fiction and social and cultural references as frames to understand the craft of the language and its richness. We will also pay special attention to oral communication, the use of new vocabulary, and writing formats to create a dynamic dialogue between and among grammar, literature, and culture in order to contextualize multiple meanings while increasing fluency in every aspect of language production. For conference, students will have a chance to explore various aspects and topics of Hispanic culture and the arts. The course will be taught entirely in Spanish. It is strongly recommended that students who have not taken Spanish at SLC take the Spanish placement test, in addition to interviewing the instructor.

Intermediate Spanish II: Fantasy Media in Contemporary Hispanic Cultural Productions


In this course, students will continue to develop their Spanish reading, writing, and speaking skills. Part of this class will be dedicated to in-depth grammar review. Students will also be introduced to various literary and cultural topics and will explore contemporary productions such as short stories, novels, film, and mass media from Latin America and Spain. In doing so, students will gain critical analysis skills while exploring the political and cultural turmoil addressed in the works that we study. In all of these works, the unifying theme will be fantasy and fairy tales that are presented in a fictional revisionist manner. Students will meet with a language assistant for an hour once a week in order to practice their speaking and oral comprehension in addition to developing an individual conference project with the instructor. Taught entirely in Spanish. The Spanish placement test is strongly recommended for students who have not taken Spanish at SLC, in addition to interviewing with the instructor.

Intermediate Spanish III: Key Concepts from the Spanish-Speaking World


This course is intended for students who have already mastered the Spanish language at a pre-advanced level. The course will provide an introduction to major works from Latin America, Spain, and the United States in relation to their social and political contexts. Through intensive grammar review and work with literature, film, music, and visual art from the Spanish-speaking world, students will refine their expression and comprehension of the language while developing analytic skills. The course will explore key concepts—including tradition and revolution, antiquity and modernity, neocolonialism, gender, cosmopolitanism, and bilingual cultural production—and will take advantage of cultural opportunities in the New York City area, as relevant. To succeed, students must come prepared to actively participate in class discussions and produce response papers, brief presentations, and individual conference projects. Course conducted in Spanish. Spanish placement test is required for students who have not previously taken Spanish at Sarah Lawrence College, in addition to an interview with the instructor.

Advanced Spanish: In the Newsroom


This course will operate on two main levels. First, it will serve as an introduction to journalism as it is practiced today throughout the Spanish-speaking world. We will closely monitor how the main Spanish-language online journals, newspapers, and blogs function on a daily basis, paying special attention to the coverage of culture and the arts. In the seminar, we will operate as a real newsroom, serving to consolidate the structure of Sobremesa, Sarah Lawrence’s Latino online journal founded two years ago and published once each semester. The implementation of this project will require a continuous collaboration among editors, staff writers, photographers, and at least one graphic designer. Students taking this class will have to produce original pieces covering all aspects of cultural information, including profiles, interviews, essays, general and specialized articles, and book, theatre, dance, and film reviews in addition to all forms of written, graphic, and audiovisual reportage. Those in charge of the different sections of the publication will contact outside collaborators, requesting original contributions. A second, extremely important aspect of this course is that it will serve as a translation workshop at a professional level. Since Sobremesa admits submissions in Spanish, English, and Portuguese, all texts must be translated in order to ensure that they can be accessed in all three languages. A section of the online magazine (Burnt Eyelashes) will be devoted to the publication of conference projects dealing with Latino topics. Conference work will be geared toward the consolidation of the skills required to maintain all areas of our publication (photography, design, translation, textual and visual editing, etc.) in perfect shape, but it will also result in the crystallization of a specific contribution to be featured in the issue that will be published at the end of the semester. A solid command of Spanish is required. By special permission only.

Literature in Spanish: Contemporary Narrative Works in Spanish.


This seminar will focus on the narrative production of the Spanish-speaking world. In our approach, we will explore the multiple cultural and historical connections that have always linked the literary traditions of Latin America and Spain, also taking into consideration a few representative works by US Latino writers. Chronologically, the works under study will belong to two distinct phases. First, we will examine fictional works published by Spanish-language authors in recent years, paying special attention to the literary production of Latin America when the younger generations of writers began to move away from the legacy of magic realism and open up their works to preoccupations shared by coetaneous authors from all corners of the world. In a second phase, we will concentrate on major works written by some of the most important representatives of the Spanish language canon active during the second half of the 20th century. Works under study will include novels and short fiction by Roberto Bolaño, César Aira, Alejandro Zambra, Guadalupe Nettel, Felipe Alfau, Junot Díaz, Cristina Rivera Garza, Roberto Artl, Horacio Quiroga, Julio Cortázar, and Felisberto Hernández.

Study Abroad in Cuba

CubaFrom its beginning, the mission of SLC's Study Abroad in Cuba program has been to expose American students to a culturally and politically unique society about which much has been written, but of which far less is widely known. The program offers a range of courses in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts, all of which are taught in Spanish by recognized experts in their fields. Learn more»