Hispanic Studies
Offered by the Hispanic and Italian Studies department.

Hispanic Studies at Wheaton is an interdisciplinary major that gives students both the linguistic access to and the knowledge about the multiple cultures of the Spanish speaking World and the analytical, research, and writing skills necessary for today’s technology driven globalized world.

The Hispanic Studies Major is designed to enable students to think critically and creatively about literature and culture, communicate across disciplines and develop a critical awareness of the cultural realities of Spanish speaking communities both in the US and overseas. It offers several possibilities for study abroad as well as opportunities for experiential learning. Thanks to the program’s courses, study abroad and internships, students are able to grow and enhance their perspectives as engaged, sensitive and informed global citizens.

Hispanic Studies prepares students for graduate work in literary, cultural and international studies, as well as entry into a wide range of professional fields, including education, law, business, medicine and publishing. In addition, many courses in the department are relevant other majors and concentrations, such as English; International Relations; Sociology; Psychology; Anthropology; History; Early Modern Studies; and Women Studies.

Major Requirements

Requirements are intentionally broad and flexible to accommodate the diverse interests of students, while being sufficiently focused to assure development of appropriate knowledge and skills. Students interested in this program should discuss their plans with the department as early as possible in order to design an individualized program of study depending upon their personal preferences and career aspirations.

Majors and minors in Hispanic studies usually go on to further studies or employment in a wide variety of areas. These include graduate studies, teaching, law, government, publishing and editing, interpreting, personnel work and a multitude of positions in international relations, business and banking.

The department encourages students to develop a second major or minor in such areas as American studies, anthropology, art, computer science, economics, education, English, history, international relations, Latin American studies, legal studies, business and management, music, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, sociology, theatre, women’s studies or a second language.

 Hispanic Studies major worksheet

The major consists of ten courses distributed as follows:

Hispanic civilization and culture

HISP 260 The Hispanic World: Introduction to Spain’s Social and Cultural History
or
HISP 280 The Hispanic World: Introduction to Latin American Culture

Hispanic literature and culture

Two 300-level courses taken at Wheaton.

Senior seminar

One senior seminar (HISP 400) that allows students to integrate the diverse perspectives gained in courses and readings.

Electives

Six elective courses starting with HISP 200 or above. Students may include one course taught in English by the Department at Wheaton.

Study Abroad

The opportunity to study abroad is an integral part of the program of Hispanic studies at Wheaton. Students of Hispanic studies are expected to spend their junior year or a semester abroad in Latin America or Spain, if possible.

Students will demonstrate by their senior year in their capstone experience:

The ability to think critically and creatively about Hispanic literatures and cultures and to speak, write, and understand standard Spanish both in interpersonal situations and in cultural and scholarly works.

The ability to gather, organize, and coherently present information from diverse sources across disciplines and genres by the use of both libraries and electronic resources.

The ability to interpret a variety of authentic cultural products by making connections, comparing points of view, and identifying writers′ (and readers′) biases and backgrounds.

Analytical strategies by evaluating evidence, arguing in favor or against a particular viewpoint, and producing, testing and demonstrating hypotheses.

Critical awareness of the cultural realities of Spanish speaking communities both in the US and overseas supported by a general knowledge, with depth in some areas, of the history, socio-political and economic circumstances of the Hispanic World.

Secondary Education Majors

Minor Requirements Class Of 2018 And Beyond

Hispanic Studies minor worksheet

Any combination of five courses starting with HISP 200 or above, including at least one at the 300 level or equivalent. All courses need to be taught in Spanish.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 099 – Independent Study

    An opportunity to do independent work in a particular area not included in the regular courses.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 101 – Introductory Spanish

    A course conducted by intensive oral method for students with no previous class preparation in the language. Its goal is to provide introductory knowledge of Spanish while developing the fundamental skills: understanding, speaking, reading, writing and cultural awareness. By completing this course students will be ready for taking Hispanic Studies 106 – Basic Spanish II (HISP 106). Three class meetings per week.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 102 – Introductory Spanish

    (Continuation of Hisp 101.)

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 105 – Basic Spanish I

    Intensive one-year review of the basic structure of Spanish for students with some previous knowledge of the language but who are not ready for intermediate work. Intensive oral method. Comprehensive grammar review, with activities designed to improve the fundamental skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing and cultural awareness. Three class meetings per week.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 106 – Basic Spanish II

    Continuation of Hispanic Studies 101 – Introductory Spanish (HISP 101) or Hispanic Studies 105 – Basic Spanish I (HISP 105).

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 150 – Intermediate Spanish I

    This intensive one-semester course provides further development and practice of all language skills. Comprehensive grammar review, with activities designed to enhance the fundamental skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing and cultural awareness. Three class meetings per week.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 198 – Experimental Course

    From time to time, departments design a new course to be offered either on a one-time basis or an experimental basis before deciding whether to make it a regular part of the curriculum. Refer to the course schedule for current listings.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 199 – Independent Study

    An opportunity to do independent work in a particular area not included in the regular courses.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 200 – Intermediate Spanish II

    (Continuation of Hispanic Studies 150 – Intermediate Spanish I (HISP 150).)

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 220 – Conversation and Composition

    An advanced course intended to improve the oral and written skills needed for a wide variety of communicative contexts.  Students will develop the reading, writing, conceptual and practical language skills required in more advanced courses in the department and on study abroad programs.  While the emphasis is on strategies of reading and writing that lead to improved compositional ability, we will also continue to reinforce oral skills and review grammar points as needed.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 235 – Contemporary Latin American Fiction in Translation

    Readings in translation of significant works by modern authors from Latin America.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 240 – Composition and Cultural Analysis

    An advanced course that teaches textual and cultural analysis through writing.  Students  will learn to read and interpret complex texts and visual materials, to discuss them analytically in class, and to write about them in formal and informal writing assignments.  By the end of this course, students should be able to approach a text (narrative, poetry, drama or film) with a series of critical questions and be able to write about the work in an interpretative manner.

Students will also acquire a general understanding of the different literary and cultural movements in Hispanic cultures.  The emphasis of 240 is on strategies of reading and writing, but we will review grammar points and reinforce oral skills as needed.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 260 – The Hispanic World: Introduction to Spain’s Social and Cultural History

    An advanced course that provides an introduction to Spanish culture while maintaining  and improving Spanish language skills.  The course is designed to provide a study of the major trends and development in the evolution of Spanish society and culture, from its origins to the present, from historical, political, social, artistic and intellectual perspectives.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 270 – Studies in Latin American Culture: Cuba and the Pursuit of Freedom

    An advanced course that provides an introduction to Cuban history and culture, while maintaining and improving Spanish language skills. This course is designed to give students an overview of the evolution of Cuban culture and society from the colonial times to the present, with emphasis on the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Readings include short stories, plays, poetry, essays and historical sources.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 280 – The Hispanic World: Introduction to Latin American Culture

    An advanced course that provides an introduction to Spanish-speaking Latin American culture while maintaining and improving Spanish language skills. The course is designed to give students an overview of the diverse cultures of the region, moving historically from the first encounters of colonial times to the various communities that make up present-day Latino culture. While the temptation in such a course is to attempt to obscure differences in order to present a coherent narrative, our focus will rather be on the way many different and divergent voices make up Latin American identity and culture.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 282 – Visualizing Latin American Culture

    This course explores the prevalence of visual expression in the construction and representation of Latin American culture, paying especially close attention to the interaction between verbal and visual forms of expression during times of transition. We will explore the dynamics of verbal and visual expression in cultural products such as testimonies, films, photography, painting, memorials, fiction and poety from the 20th and 21st centuries, analyzing their aesthetic and political priorities and learning how they participate in wider debates on the politics of representation.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 298 – Experimental Course

    From time to time, departments design a new course to be offered either on a one-time basis or an experimental basis before deciding whether to make it a regular part of the curriculum. Refer to the course schedule for current listings.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 299 – Independent Study

    An opportunity to do independent work in a particular area not included in the regular courses.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 300 – Spanish Practicum Internship

    In collaboration with the The Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services, majors and minors in Hispanic studies are placed in agencies in Massachusetts or Rhode Island that need Spanish-speaking volunteers. Students will be able to increase their fluency in Spanish through personal and continued contacts with the language and, at the same time, assist the Hispanic community in programs related to foster care, refugees, hospitalized children and adolescents, battered women and their children, legal advocacy, rape crisis, AIDS, substance abuse, runaways, family emergency shelter and in after-school programs, etc. Readings and class discussion will focus on the literatures, histories and cultures of Latinos in the U.S. and other issues pertaining to this community.
 Connections:
Conx 20058 Latino Culture.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 318 – The Literary Identities of Latin America

    Through a close reading of major authors, and themes of Spanish American Literature from the Early Modern Period to the present, this course seeks answers to the open question of what is a Latin American Literary Identity. Students are expected to engage in close reading and discussion of texts, as well as to revise their papers. The course is conducted in Spanish and all reading and writing for the course is also done in Spanish.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 320 – Spanish Women in the Golden Age

    The history of women in Golden Age Spain is a largely untapped field. In early modern Spain, church and state, helped by the powerful Inquisition, promptly extended their dominance from the control of basic expression of faith to the domain of daily life, of personal privacy, and inside this sphere, sexual behaviors. Women were not spared in this general domestication of minds and bodies. On the contrary, in this patriarchal and catholic society all eyes were focused on their writings, talk, body and its image, sexuality, and faith, even their dreams and visions. 

In this course we will examine the position of women in religious, political, literary, and economic life. Drawing on both historical and literary approaches we will challenge the portrait of Spanish women as passive and marginalized, showing that despite forces working to exclude them, women in Golden Age Spain influenced religious life and politics and made vital contributions to economic and cultural life.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 321 – Don Quixote: Love and Madness

    This infused course examines how the fluidity of individual identity in early modern Spain destabilized a national identity based on exclusion and difference. Students will reflect upon questions such as: What is madness? What is identity? How are identity categories depicted in Don Quixote’s world? This course will be taught every two years.

(Previously Love, Madness and Technology in Don Quixote)

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 325 – Queer Politics and Hispanisms

    This course will provide a framework to study the historical and theoretical foundations of queer theory and queer activism. We will explore how queer theory problematizes stable identities in Latin American, Latin@ and Iberian cultures. We will discuss what happens when people challenge or refuse normativized sexuality and gender categories and look at how queer citizens are caught within the processes of nationalism, neocolonialism, globalization and neoliberalism. We will start the semester reading canonical texts by Michel Foucault, Teresa de Lauretis, Eve Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Gayle Rubin, Judith Halberstam or Gloria Anzaldúa that will help us understand the interdisciplinary scholarship that we will explore during the second half of the semester. The second part of the course will address the question of queerness by analyzing literature, film and cultural products focusing primarily on explicit representation of LGBTQ characters and communities in Latin American, Latin@ and Iberian cultures.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 352 – A Mythical Foundation of Latin America

    This course studies seminal narratives from Latin America; it is aimed at developing critical and evaluative reading of Latin American major literary works among students through rigorous close reading and analysis. The thematic structure of the course is based on the idea that from fictional texts we can derive knowledge that help us to understand the historical roots of today’s Latin American society and culture.

The course is focus on a single author and his/her influential literary works (theme and author may change from year to year). The course is conceived to be a thematic and monographic close-reading of a major work, such as Iphigenia and Mama Blanca’s Memoirs by Teresa de la Parra; Fictions and The Aleph by Jorge Luis Borges; Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar; The Burning Plain and Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo; One Hundred Years of Solitude by Garcia Marquez; The War of the End of the World by Vargas Llosa; etc., (this list is not exclusive). The course is conducted in Spanish and all reading and writing for the course is also done in Spanish.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 355 – Voyages, Navigations and Shipwrecks

    This course introduces advanced Spanish students to the study of Early Modern Spanish texts, offering a scholarly approach inclusive of Digital Humanities tools, particularly the TEI and XML mark-up languages. Goals of the course are to improve the ability of the students in reading and understanding primary sources, and to initiate them in the experience of scholarly research in literary texts.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 356 – Childhood in Latin American Fiction and Film

    In this course we will analyze fictional and cinematic narratives of childhood and adolescence from 20th century Latin America, focusing on how these narratives portray the Latin American social context and the often conflicting racial, class and gender identities children contend with as they come of age. The course also explores how such cultural productions reimagine childhood not only to document personal pasts, but also to focus on national identity as a dynamic and incomplete process.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 358 – Digital Humanities Methods and Tools

    This course will introduce students to the methods and tools of Digital Humanities to explore new ways of reading literature, analyzing images, and assessing audio-visual artifacts. This course is devoted to new methods and new objects in cultural and literary studies, specifically those enabled by digital media. The goal of the course is to provide students with a space to use digital tools to create projects (such as story-telling, electronic literature, video, art) and also to develop critical vocabularies for analyzing digital projects. Without sacrificing critical discourse, this projects-based class allows students to see how digital tools may be applied to humanities fields and possibilities for scholarly work, particularly interdisciplinary work. No technological expertise is required, and students will be encouraged to experiment and tinker with a variety of platforms. This course is conducted in English.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 362 – Contemporary Latin American Poetry

    Poetry might seem less relevant to the cultural debates and social issues facing Latin America and Spain, and certainly more critical attention is paid to supposedly more accessible types of cultural production such as film, performance, and television. Yet there is a vibrant level of poetic production in the Hispanic world today, making poetry one of the most popular contemporary genres. I n this course we will explore poetry’s relevance in contemporary Hispanic cultures and what makes it such a powerful form for those who write and read it.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 365 – Transatlantic Detective Fiction

    This class focuses on hard-boiled detective novels from Spain, Argentina, Cuba, and Mexico. Although this genre has been considered “minor” and “trashy,” in the Hispanic world has served to present and to criticize contemporary political or social situations. Detective novels are privileged cultural products to study both high and low culture and the intersection of class, race, and gender. Additionally, these novels and their protagonist serve as a record of the quotidian culture of cities like Barcelona, Buenos Aires, La Habana, and México D.F. during the last three decades of the twentieth century.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 370 – Contemporary Women Writers in Spain

    This course introduces the students to the study of narrative written by contemporary Spanish women authors from the end of the Civil War (1939) to the present. We will approach the texts from a dual perspective. On the one hand, we will analyze the works in their socio-political and cultural context. On the other hand, we will study the works at the textual level, i.e., analyzing the text itself, its trends and its main elements: plot, themes, characters, techniques, narrative voices and the reader’s role in the work.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 375 – The Spanish Civil War: Memory, Text and Image

    This class focuses on the memory of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). The class studies national and global political issues as well as the construction of historical and collective memory. Some of the topics the class covers are the military and political course of the war, along with its literature and visual art, including the main ideological movements (Anarchism, Communism, Fascism and Socialism). The course is divided in three parts: (1) theories of memory, history, and photography; (2) students’ presentation on topics related to the War; (3) analysis of three recent novels that present different memories from the war.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 398 – Experimental Course

    From time to time, departments design a new course to be offered either on a one-time basis or an experimental basis before deciding whether to make it a regular part of the curriculum. Refer to the course schedule for current listings.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 399 – Independent Study

    An opportunity to do independent work in a particular area not included in the regular courses.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 400 – Seminar in Hispanic Studies

    Intensive study of a selected author, genre, literary movement or theme. Each student is required to present a major paper as a culmination of the semester’s work.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 499 – Independent Research

    Offered to selected majors at the invitation of the department.

  • Hispanic Studies

    HISP 500 – Individual Research

    Selected majors are invited by the department to pursue individual research in preparation for writing an Honors Thesis.

Francisco Fernández de Alba

Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies

Domingo Ledezma

Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies, Chairperson, Department of Hispanic & Italian Studies

Hector Medina

Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies

Montserrat Pérez-Toribio

Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies; Co-Director, Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities

Walter Shaw

Visiting Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies

Mary Beth Tierney-Tello

Professor of Hispanic Studies

George Watson

Visiting Instructor of Hispanic Studies