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Spanish and Portuguese, Deparment of Languages, Literatures and Cultures


Upcoming Undergraduate Course Descriptions

For a complete list of undergraduate courses:
SpanPort Undergraduate Courses

Spring 2015 Courses

Catalan 110 - Elementary Catalan I
Dolores Juan Moreno

This course is conceived to enable students to acquire the basic notions of the Catalan language through task-based daily communicative situations. The teacher will provide the necessary tools to guarantee an autonomous learning process focused on the student’s individuality. The course’s practical nature will promote both the apprentice’s participation and interaction in order to facilitate communication in different socio-cultural contexts. This course will develop the student’s capacity in order to achieve a progressive mastery of the four main skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Catalan 321 - Catalan Culture
Guillem Molla

This course is an overview of the Catalan Culture with a a focus on six central aspects: literature, cinema, art, music, gastronomy and traditions. Through this course you will be able to discover a rich, unique and very interesting culture that includes important characters such as: Mercè Rodoreda, Quim Monzó, Salvador Dalí, Picasso, Isabel Coixet, Cesc Gay... This course will be a good chance not only to enjoy some excellent novels, films and other works, but also to widen our perception and knowledge on Peninsular cultures.

Catalan 597T - Catalan Cinema
Barbara Zechi & Guillem Molla

Spanish cinema started in Catalunya with two important schools: the realistic school led by Fructuós Gelabert; and the fantastic trend represented by Segundo de Chomán. After the silence forced upon Catalan cinema during Franco's dictatorship in the 40's and 50's, it started to regain an important role in the film industry with the Barcelona School in the mid 60's. Presently Catalan Cinema enjoys a strong recognition thanks to the works of well-known Catalan directors such as Bigas Luna, Ventura Pons and Isabel Coixet, among others. This class meets once a week for three hours and students are in charge of twenty minutes film introductions as well as discussion moderation; attendance is mandatory. Films are shown in the original language (Catalan or Castilian) w/ English subtitles.

Portuguese Language Program
Francisco Cota Fagundes

Developing communicative abilities in Portuguese and understanding the rich culture of the Portuguese-speaking world are the two primary objectives of the course. Consequently, the program combines content-based language instruction with an interactive task-based approach. This means that the material will be presented to you thematically and that the activities used to reinforce your language development will focus on real-life language situations. You will be expected to actively participate in a variety of interactive small and large-group activities. This course is not based on lectures, but rather on active learner participation in different tasks that require students to use Portuguese in various situations that reflect normal use of different varieties of Portuguese. The class will be conducted in Portuguese in order to provide you with maximum exposure to the language.

Portuguese 120 - Elementary Portuguese II
Portuguese 120 is the second course in a four-course sequence (110, 120, 230, 240) that leads to the fulfillment of the foreign language requirement.

Portuguese 126 - Intensive Elementary Portuguese
Portuguese 126 is an intensive course that combines the first and second courses of a four-course sequence (110 & 120) that leads to the fulfillment of the foreign language requirement.

Portuguese 240 - Intermediate Portuguese II
Portuguese 240 is the fourth course in a four-course sequence (110, 120, 230, 240) which leads to the fulfillment of the foreign language requirement.

Portuguese 301 - Conversation

Open to students who have completed Portuguese 240 or equivalent, and to heritage speakers with permission of instructor, this course’s main objective is to have students lose their fear of speaking Portuguese. No textbook is required. Students provide a list of topics, from which the instructor prepares a Temário which serves as the ‘textbook’ for the course. Each student has a chance to present one of his/her topics at least three times during the semester, although all students are expected to participate actively in all discussions in class. Topics range from student experiences on campus, travel abroad, Brazilian soap operas, racism and perhaps even to the legalization of marijuana. All topics are fair game – so long as the students come to class prepared to discuss them. Topics are announced ahead of time so that all students have a chance to prepare for the discussions. The Internet is our main source of topics as well as new vocabulary to go along with them. There are two exams: one midterm and one final on topics of the student’s own choosing.

Portuguese 311 - Advanced Grammar
Luiz Amaral

Portuguese 311 is an advanced course in Portuguese grammar and writing for students minoring or majoring in Portuguese. Portuguese 311 is designed to give the student a thorough review of some of the major grammatical properties of the Portuguese language. This course is designed to help students develop their writing proficiency, while providing them with tools to think critically about how to write in Portuguese.

Portuguese 322 - Introduction to Portuguese Literature II
Francisco Cota

Portuguese 408/697A - Brazil in Film and Fiction
Daphne Patai

The principal aim of this course is to introduce students to Brazilian culture through selected films and readings (fiction and scholarly articles). By focusing on how filmmakers and writers represent key aspects of Brazilian society past and present, the following major themes will be explored: the colonization process; culture contact between Europeans and native Brazilians; slavery and the resistance to it; economic and political development; immigration and internal migration; life in the backlands; the dictatorship and its aftermath; urban problems. A second aim of the course is to study the development of Brazilian cinema through the past sixty years, especially the movement known as cinema novo. A third aim is to develop analytical skills and writing abilities.

Portuguese 496A - Intensive Portuguese for Native Speakers of Spanish
José Ornelas

Intensive course covering contents of Portuguese 110 to 240 in one semester. Greater focus in this course on development of reading and writing skills within area of academic/literary discourse. Prerequisite: Intermediate level of Spanish proficiency.

Portuguese 597P - Portuguese and Brazilian Modernism
Francisco Cota Fagundes

This course is open to both advanced undergraduate and graduate students. It is the first time at UMass Amherst that Portuguese and Brazilian Modernisms are offered together. Although it is well known that Portuguese Modernism (1915…) was largely an attempt to “Europeanize” Portuguese letters, and that Brazilian Modernism (1922…) was in great measure an effort to “Brazilianize” Brazilian letters, the issue is much more complicated (or simple) than that. Without denying the huge differences between the two Modernisms, there are also a number of ideological and esthetic similarities – and a coterie of great writers on both sides of the Atlantic whose students will profit from studying together. It is no accident that both Modernisms are considered, and with good reason, the most originality minded of the two literary movements in their respective countries. Representative poetical and prose works of the most representative authors of Portuguese Modernism and of the first phases of Brazilian Modernism will be the focus of the course. Portugal: Fernando Pessoa; Sá-Carneiro; Almada Negreiros. Brazil: Oswald de Andrade, Mário de Andrade, Manuel Bandeira, Cecília Meireles, Carlos Drummond de Andrade. Undergraduate students will be expected to do a take-home exam and a 7-10 page paper. Graduate students will be expected to do a series of short analytical papers plus a grad student-level research paper. Prerequisites: a native-like reading knowledge of the language, a strong interest in poetry and fiction; and, preferably, a substantial background in literary studies

Spanish Language Program
Carole Cloutier

The overall goal of these courses is developing proficiency in the four language skills —listening, reading, speaking, and writing—, as well as gaining cultural understanding and emphasizing diversity in the various regions of the Spanish-speaking world, essential to culturally-based interactive language learning. Our first-year program uses an input-to-output and task-based approach that engages students in working cooperatively as they complete a wide range of activities that are interactive in nature. One of the benefits of interactive instruction is that students are required to make active use of Spanish in the classroom as they negotiate meaning in contexts that resemble those they will encounter outside the classroom. Our approach to grammar instruction is to allow students to master essential structures while ensuring that valuable class time is devoted to meaningful, communicative use of the target language. Explanations provided in the textbook allow students to gain important information about the grammar, practice with these forms in the preparation manual, and get immediate feedback on their work. Consequently, the instructor’s in-class explanations of the grammar will be kept to a minimum and will be centered around specific questions and areas that may cause students problems.

Spanish 120 - Elementary Spanish II
This is the second in a four-course sequence of basic Spanish, is designed for students who have completed SPAN-110.

Spanish 230 - Intermediate Spanish I
This is the third in a four-course sequence of basic Spanish, is designed for students who have completed SPAN-120 (or the equivalent).

Spanish 240 - Intermediate II
This is the last in a four-course sequence of basic Spanish, is designed for students who have completed SPAN-230 (or the equivalent).

Spanish 285 - Thatcher Spanish Program
Jayne Reino

This two-credit conversational seminar explores the diverse cultures and societies of the Spanish-speaking world. Rather than focusing on language instruction itself (participants must have conversational fluency) the goal of the course is to increase social and cultural awareness and develop critical perspective through class discussions. The course accompanies the Thatcher Residential Academic Program (RAP) experience. Participants live in Thatcher Residence Hall with students engaged in one of our six living-learning language communities. The emphasis of the program is on building our Spanish language community; students can expect to gain confidence and comfort with social interactions in Spanish. Native speakers, heritage speakers, and students who plan to study-abroad, or who are returning from study-abroad programs are encouraged to apply. Honors Colloquium (SPANISH H285-01) available for an additional credit. Enrollment in the course requires prior acceptance to the program. Applications can be downloaded here.

Spanish 311 - Advanced Grammar
Patricia Gubitosi

Spanish 311 is an advanced course in Spanish grammar and writing for students minoring or majoring in Spanish. Spanish 311 is designed to give the student a thorough review of some of the major grammatical properties of the Spanish language. This course is designed to help students develop their writing proficiency, while providing them with tools to think critically about how to write in Spanish.

Spanish 312 - Oral and Written Expression
Alberto Ameal-Pérez

This course introduces basic techniques and stylistics to enable students to communicate (both oral and written) in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 311.

Spanish 320 - Literary Currents in Spain I
Albert Lloret

Introduction to the literature of Spain from the Middle Ages to 1700. Emphasis on literary currents and their relation to history and culture of the period. Representative poetry, narrative, drama. Prerequisite: Spanish 311 or consent of instructor. Taught in Spanish (Gen.Ed. AL).

Spanish 321 - Literary Currents in Spain II
Guillem Molla

Introduction to Spanish literature from 1700 to the present; emphasis on literary currents and their relation to culture and history of the period. Representative drama, poetry, and narrative. Prerequisite: Spanish 311 or consent of instructor. Taught in Spanish (Gen.Ed. AL).

Spanish 322 - Introduction to Spanish American Literature
Emma Rivera-Rábago

Introduction to the literature of Spanish America from the beginnings to the end of the Romantic period. Emphasis on literary currents and their relation to history and culture of the period. Representative poetry, narrative, drama. The class is taught in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 311 or consent of instructor.

Spanish 323 - Spanish American Literature II
Emma Rivera-Rábago

Introduction to the literature of Spanish America from the end of the Romantic period to the present. Emphasis on literary currents and their relation to history and culture of the period. Representative poetry, narrative, drama. The class is taught in Spanish. Prerequisite: Spanish 311 or consent of instructor.

Spanish 324 - Introduction to Latin@ Literature
Alberto Ameal-Pérez


Spanish 356 - Spanish/Medical Professions
Patricia Gubitosi


Spanish 378 - Spanish Phonetics
Meghan Armstrong

Spanish 378 is designed to provide students with a linguistic perspective of the sound system of Spanish, as well as basic phonological concepts such as phonemes and allophones. The main goals of the course are to improve students’ pronunciation and prepare them to become future teachers. We also explore the basic differences in the pronunciation of Spanish dialects from different regions of the Spanish-speaking world.

Spanish 397W - Latin American Cinema
José Ornelas

The course is designed to introduce students to the cinematic productions of some of the most important Latin American directors from the sixties to the present. We will focus mainly on how these directors have portrayed Latin America. What can we learn from these directors’ depictions of Latin American reality and society? Through their films, we will critically analyze historical, political, social and cultural developments that have shaped Latin America and are fundamental to its understanding. Some of the topics that we will examine during the course of the semester are: racial, social, and gender construction; nation formation; national identity; revolution; emigration/immigration; repression; utopia; resistance; political violence; slavery and freedom; homosexuality; exile; machismo; political and social inquiry; urban violence, etc. Students will be expected to develop analytic filmic skills through an exploration of the connections between the technical composition of the films and the social, political, and cultural context underlying the film narrative.

Spanish 397QCH - Introduction to Quechua Language & Culture
Carlos Raúl Molina (Visiting Professor)

This course introduces students to the study of Southern Quechua language, the most widely spoken variety of the Quechua language family. Our focus will be on the grammatical structure of the Cuzco-Collao (including Bolivian Quechua) and the Ayacucho-Chanca dialects. Despite some differences, these two varieties are fairly compatible, which makes them suitable for study together. At the same time, an overview of different cultural topics related to contemporary Andean culture will be covered. Among them we will pay especial attention to high-altitude agriculture and stockbreeding, religious syncretism, social-organization, current challenges faced by indigenous people, and different artistic expressions. Thus, the main goal of this course is to allow students to understand the Quechua world through the study of basic Southern Quechua grammar while examining current Andean cultural products and the context in which they are produced. The methodology used in this course will be a combination of direct instruction based on grammatical analysis, drills and other similar exercises, guided analysis and translation of accessible Southern Quechua texts. Also, students will provide written reports based on the cultural topics presented throughout the semester. In addition to this, listening and oral expression will be continuously practiced by taking advantage of different activities used in audiolingual Quechua methods. Every effort will be made during the course to access authentic language through song, video, and, when possible, video conference with native speakers. It is strongly recommended that students taking this course have an intermediate Spanish level (Span 240).

Spanish 417 - Culture and Civilization of Latin America
Luis Marentes

The historical development of Spanish American culture and civilization through its different manifestations. Historical periods and topics covered depend on the instructor and/or semester. Prerequisite: Spanish 320 or 321 or 322 or 323, or consent of instructor. This course is taught in Spanish. (Gen.Ed. AL, G)

Spanish 470 - General View of Hispanic Linguistics
Carole Cloutier

This course is an introduction to basic aspects of Hispanic linguistics, where Students learn about the different components of language. The course starts with the introduction of concepts that help students understand the nature of language, such as prescriptive and descriptive grammar, grammaticality judgments, linguistic prejudice, and the nature and goals of linguistic inquiry. Six different areas of Hispanic linguistics are presented in the course: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, history of the Spanish language, and sociolinguistics. The general goal of the course is to present a broad view of the nature of human language using Spanish as an example.

Spanish 494RI - Reflection/Experience Abroad
Luis Marentes

The purpose of this course is to help students reconsider their experience abroad, in an internship or in community service learning, understanding this experience to include their preparation, travel, return and future possibilities. We will consider the relationship between these experiences and students daily lives, academic preparation and future professional plans. This course will be run as a seminar in which student participation is crucial. Students are expected to approach the readings and class discussions from a critical, yet self-reflexive perspective. By the end of the semester students will write two blog posts reflecting upon their major, their general education, their service, and/or study abroad, and the way this has prepared them to move on into the professional world. Students will also make a public presentation reflecting upon their experiences as Spanish and Portuguese majors.

Spanish 497 - Phonological Evolution from Latin to Spanish
Carole Cloutier

Phonological Evolution from Latin to Spanish traces the diachronic evolution of the Spanish language from its beginnings as a regional dialect of spoken Latin. This course provides students with an introduction to the principles and methods of historical linguistics and language change as applied to Spanish. Students will learn about linguistic reconstruction, processes of linguistic change, and why change occurs. The hands-on approach of this course teaches students to apply derivational processes learned to data from Classical Latin to Modern Spanish. At the end of the course, students will be able to use the fundamental terminology to describe the major derivational processes of language change as they pertain to the development of the Spanish language from Classical Latin.

Spanish 497MP - Mujeres del Caribe: Invención y Subersión
Margara Russotto

This course is a panoramic review of the works by female writers in the Hispanic Caribbean, both insular and continental, from the 19th century to the present. We will read selected works from República Dominicana, Venezuela, Cuba, Costa Rica, Colombia, Puerto Rico, among others. Students will be expected to participate intensively: there will be oral presentations, book reviews, a midterm exam, and a final paper. Latin American content: 95% TAUGHT IN SPANISH

Spanish 497MUS - History of Spain through Music
Diogenes Costa Curras (Visiting Professor)

This course examines the interrelation between music, culture, and society from the early 20th century until the present in Spain. Music will be studied in relation to constructions and representations of gender, ethnicity, and the nation within Spain. We will listen to and discuss musical pieces from diverse genres such as zarzuela, copla, rock, rap, punk, and pop. In addition to the music itself, course materials will include films, documentaries, and theoretical texts on the cultural study of music. Taught in Spanish.

Spanish 558 - The Spanish American Essay
Luis Marentes

This class studies the different manifestation of the Spanish American essay, paying particular attention to the way this genre has been used to imagine an American identity.

Spanish 597EC - Escritura Creativa
Margara Russotto

Curso/Taller/Laboratorio de escritura creativa en español. Dirigido a estudiantes con dominio del idioma, pasión literaria, e interés en desarrollar su propia escritura y capacidades creativas. Es un lugar de encuentro donde se practica la constante ejercitación con las palabras mediante la escritura y la reescritura, entendiendo la creación como un camino de conocimiento estético y a la vez de autoconocimiento y autodeterminación. Abierto a estudiantes de los Five Colleges, de cualquier otra institución, y provenientes de cualquier disciplina. Contenido latinoamericano: 55% DICTADO EN ESPAÑOL.

Spanish 597EP - Editorial Theory for Digital Environments
Albert Lloret

This course offers an introduction to the theoretical problems of representing texts in digital environments. As we address current practices and rationales in digital text editing, we will discuss key issues in editorial theory (such as the definition of what a text is, its relationship to the work, the status of the author, and the ways in which the materiality of texts conditions their preservation). Particular attention will be paid to the textual production of medieval and early modern Iberia. Applied components of this class include reviewing digital editions, planning editorial projects, and editing short texts. Taught in Spanish.