HISP-S 280 Spanish Grammar in Context (3 credits) Prerequisite: S250 or equivalent. This course offers a review of the main grammatical structures in Spanish by examining and practicing them in real contexts. Through a variety of readings and documentary films on different aspects of Latin American society, students will consolidate their knowledge of Spanish grammar as they practice reading, listening, speaking, and writing about contemporary topics such as biodiversity and sustainability, globalization, sports, migration, human rights, and gender equality. Among other activities and assignments, students are expected to participate in class conversations, give oral presentations, and write several types of short compositions. By the end of the course, students will have improved their vocabulary and grammar production as well as their oral and written skills, while gaining new insights into contemporary Latin American cultures and events.
HISP-S 324 Introduction to the Study of Hispanic Cultures (3 credits) Prerequisite: S280 or S310 or equivalent.
This course offers an introduction to the cultural history of Spain and Latin America, focusing on key moments of cultural conflict, negotiation, and exchange. It traces the formation of cultural practices in Spain and Latin America from ancient times through the twenty-first century with a special emphasis on visual culture (art, architecture, film, photography), and it offers students a comprehensive view of some of the major figures that have left a mark in Hispanic cultures (i.e., Guamán Poma de Ayalá, Simon Bolívar, Frida Kahlo). Students learn about key events and important ideas and concerns that have shaped Hispanic cultures across the centuries, such as processes of conquest and colonialism, postcolonial nation building, revolutionary processes, and the changing roles of race and gender. Through discussions, written compositions and short exams, students learn to critically read and understand the complexity of what is generally known as Hispanic cultures, and to develop original arguments in written and spoken Spanish. The class is entirely conducted in Spanish.
Above all, I am committed to helping students become more thoughtful global citizens, with language proficiency and cultural competency understood as key ingredients to achieve this goal. I see our courses together as part of a broader network of intercultural literacy across the university. Learning goals guide my teaching strategies, which draw generously on comprehensible input, culturally-authentic contexts, and task-based activities.
Beyond the traditional written text, I expose students to other objects of study—my own audiovisual materials from Latin America and Spain, art, photographs, short YouTube clips, and Maya rap music just to name a few—to enhance their critical thinking skills. I enjoy keeping in contact with students as they advance in their degrees and in exciting professional endeavors after college.
I see myself as a role model and important source of information for my students as I encourage them to rethink the notion of Spanish as a "foreign" language in the United States. In the various courses I have taught, I provide the following writing tools and grammar practice:
Spanish Verb Forms: All major tenses and conjugations for hundreds of verbs in Spanish (credit to Professor Emeritus Fred Jehle, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne).
Spanish Language and Culture: Interactive activities that intertwine grammar practice and culture. Major tenses, parts of speech, time, stem-changing verbs, "ser" vs. "estar," and the subjunctive, among other topics, are amply explored (credit to Professor Barbara Kuczun Nelson, Colby College).
Spanish Resources: A treasure trove of digital language learning materials (credit to the Department of Romance Languages at Hunter College).
In addition, the following Spanish essay phrases found here, here, and here help to unite ideas, introduce new ones, or add helpful buzzwords to written assignments.
I strive for inclusive and non-discriminatory practices in all aspects of my work, particularly in my teaching. I always share the following diversity statement, a work in progress, with my students on the first day of classes:
Classroom Decorum Diversity—cultural, ethnic, social, or otherwise—enriches any classroom. As your course instructor, I stand in solidarity with those who are threatened by xenophobia, homophobia, lesbophobia, biphobia, transphobia, sexism, racism, ableism, and any other hateful rhetoric or actions. If you are a parent, please note that exclusively breastfeeding babies may be present when necessary, no questions asked. For parents with older children (or expecting parents), I understand that unforeseen disruptions in health/childcare may occur and I will work with you on a case-by-case basis.
As your course instructor, I have a moral obligation to the acceptance of differing viewpoints and I ask that all students in our class work with me to create and maintain an environment committed to inclusivity. If I have inadvertently missed something fundamental in this statement on diversity, please let me know so I can revamp it in a way that makes you feel supported.
Please note: I am committed to referring to everyone with the correct pronoun and expect the same from all course members. Please feel free to correct me in this regard. Mine are he/him/his.