Courses in Modern Languages and Literatures
Note: This page contains all of the regular courses taught by this department. Not all courses are offered every year. Check the searchable schedule to see which courses are being offered in the upcoming semester.
The course presents significant films from different cultures in the history of world cinema that treat a given theme, such as the tension between obedience and autonomy, appetite and intention, or love and loss. The films are studied to understand how their artistic qualities convey thematic content and to stimulate students' shared reflection on their own values, behavior and ability to make conscious choices. A recent theme concerned obedience and autonomy, in terms of the challenge to become fully oneself in community with others, from the micro-level of the child within a family to the macro-level of the citizen in a sociopolitical context. Secondary source material on the theme complements reading in film theory and history to guide class discussion of the films. In addition, films are considered in their geographical and historical context and students are responsible for the factual information about the setting and creation of the films. Coursework is designed for students to develop visual acumen and interpretive skill expressed precisely in speech and writing through guided practice. One purpose of the work is to foster sensitivity to cultural variation. Another is to enable students to discern similarities and differences as they are portrayed between and among the cultures depicted in the films. Coursework includes collaborative preparation for class, quizzes, short writing assignments, oral presentations, two papers and a final exam. The course is open to first year students. Attendance at weekly film showings outside of class is required. Films are subtitled. Directors include internationally renowned figures such as Satyajit Ray, Truffaut, Tarkovsky, Haneke, and others. This course counts toward the Film Studies major. There is no prerequisite required.
This course develops a broad understanding of human language--what it is, what it is used for, and how it works. It serves as an introduction to contemporary linguistic theory and methods of linguistic analysis, such as phonetic transcription; phonological, morphological, and syntactic analysis; the meaning of expressions; language change; the acquisition of language by young children and adults; and the role of language in society. Students develop basic skills and techniques for learning how particular languages work and behave. Additionally, the organizing principles of language and the diversities and similarities of language systems are discussed. This class provides the basic concepts necessary for further linguistic study. No prerequisites. The course will be taught in English.
This course explores the representation of cultural exchange in Spanish literature from a perspective framed by the legacy of Islam in narratives of exile, travel, immigration, conflict, nationalism, and spiritual awakening. Though attention will be given to important contextual issues and historical shifts across periods, much of the focus will be on the relationship between Spain and Morocco from the eighteenth century to the present. The Strait of Gibraltar will figure in our discussions as a symbolic point of crossing for the coexistence and challenges of neighboring cultures. In addition to several films and critical studies, the primary readings might include: a) contemporary fiction from Juan Goytisolo, an iconic expatriate living in Marrakech, and Najat El-Hachmi, whose award-winning novel in Spanish translation, El ultimo patriarca (2008), provides a singular account of the trials of assimilation for a young Moroccan girl b) depictions of the regional wars and colonial tensions, like Ramon J. Senders Iman (1930), from the early twentieth century c) the modernist Maghreb aesthetic of fin de siglo writers from Andalusia d) the journal of Domingo Badia (Ali Bey) whose undercover pilgrimage to Mecca from 1804-1807 disguised as a Muslim gives an unprecedented view of North Africa and the sacred sites e) and, the humanistic pluralism of the Cartas marruecas (1789) by Jose Cadalso. From these selections, our discussions will address issues of religious difference, geography, and identity. Prerequisite: SPAN 324 or higher.
Individual study offers an opportunity to explore an area of special interest -- literary, cultural, or linguistic -- under the regular supervision of a faculty member. It is offered primarily to candidates for honors, to majors and, under special circumstances, to potential majors and minors. Individual study is intended to supplement, not to take place of, regular courses in the curriculum of each language program. To enroll, a student must identify a member of the department willing to direct the project and, in consultation with that professor, prepare a one-page proposal. The proposal must receive approval from the department chair. It should specify the schedule of assignments and meeting periods. The amount of work should approximate that required in regular courses of corresponding levels. The department expects the student to meet with the instructor one hour per week, at a minimum. Typically, an individual study will award .50 or .25 unit of credit. Students should begin planning individual studies well in advance, so that they can complete a proposal and obtain departmental approval before the registrar's deadline.
This course offers independent study for senior candidates for honors, under the direction of the honors supervisor. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Normally offered in the spring semester, this course may be offered in the fall with the approval of the student's honors supervisor and the chair of Modern Languages and Literatures.