THE SPANISH DEPARTMENT and ITS CURRICULUM
Spanish is the second-most spoken language in the world, increasingly recognized as a domestic U.S. language.
The Spanish Department at Haverford engages its students in the study and exploration of the varied cultures in the Spanish-speaking world. Through the use of multiple disciplinary approaches, including literary and cultural studies, environmental studies, gender and sexuality studies, film studies, educational linguistics, linguistic anthropology, and creative writing courses, the program prepares students to understand and interpret Spanish, Latin American and U.S Latino texts and other modes of cultural expression, and to develop a strong competence in spoken and written Spanish.
Majors and minors graduate from our program as strong critical thinkers who can write and make arguments effectively and persuasively. Spanish majors go on to succeed across a wide range of fields—as teachers, scholars, doctors, lawyers, and involved citizens.
- Students interact effectively with Spanish speakers in Spanish-speaking countries.
- Students critically analyze literary, media and/or language-related products and processes.
- Students reflect on the world and on themselves through the lens of the Spanish language and cultures.
- Students develop interpretive, critical thinking and research skills through their study of the Spanish language and of Hispanic cultural narratives.
Haverford’s Institutional Learning Goals are available on the President’s website, at http://hav.to/learninggoals.
The department offers a broad range of courses:
- Elementary and Intermediate language courses (SPAN H001–SPAN H002, SPAN H100, SPAN H101, and SPAN H102) introduce and develop the basics of the language and emphasize the active use of Spanish for communication and understanding of the cultures that use it.
- Placement test results are mandatory; we expect all students to enroll in Spanish Department courses at the level of placement the department determines at the beginning of every academic year. On occasion, we will consider requests by individual students to move to a higher or lower placement level, after close and detailed consultation with the student’s advisor, the course instructor, and the department chair.
- Language courses in the department require attendance to all classroom sessions and all tutorials, which provide crucial complementary activities and are part of the student’s final grade.
- Advanced courses at the 200 level in literature, film, culture and civilization, and linguistics introduce significant themes and authors, while further developing Spanish language skills in reading, writing, speaking, and oral comprehension.
- Advanced courses at the 300 level explore in greater depth a specific line of inquiry; a literary, cultural, or historical issue; or a theme in Spanish and Spanish American writing and thought.
- Courses in English, with readings in English or English translation, which aim to bring to a wider audience and across disciplinary boundaries important themes, issues, and accomplishments of the Spanish-speaking world (i.e. Spanish 240 Introduction to Latin American Iberian Latinx Studies).
- Six courses in Spanish and Spanish American literature or film, and
- Two semesters of SPAN H490 (Senior Seminar), in which students write a senior essay.
- Of the six required courses, three should be at the 200 level and three at the 300 level.
- A minimum of three of the 200- and 300-level courses must be taken at Haverford or Bryn Mawr; of these, at least two must be at the 300 level.
- Students who qualify by pre-college training or study abroad may substitute 300-level courses for the 200-level offerings.
- The program must include at least two courses at the 200 or 300 level that focus substantially on literature prior to 1898.
Students may not count Bryn Mawr courses SPAN B110 (Introducción al análisis cultural) and SPAN B120 (Introducción al análisis literario) toward major requirements.
The senior thesis research project in the Department of Spanish is a year-long process that serves as a capstone experience for our majors. To complete the project, all seniors enroll in the Spanish Senior Seminar (SPAN H490). In the fall, guided by a faculty member, students develop their thesis topic, compile critical bibliographies, and situate their writing in the context of scholarship in the appropriate field and subject, completing a prospectus. In the spring, students meet individually with a designated advisor on a weekly/bi-weekly basis, and submit sections of the work in accordance with a series of recommended due dates. The expectation is that the thesis will be about 25-30 pages in length.
Senior Project Learning Goals
Students will develop and hone the following abilities in writing their senior theses:
- Conceptualizing a relevant research question.
- Using bibliographic resources and research tools appropriately.
- Analyzing literary and media products and/or certain language-related issues critically.
- Expressing, orally and in writing, complex ideas in correct Spanish; writing in a clear and compelling manner.
- Familiarizing themselves with and contributing to the relevant scholarship.
- Making an original contribution to the intellectual conversation with the text(s) and/or scholarship related to the subject.
Senior Project Assessment
The grade for the thesis is assigned by consensus by the entire department, with special consideration of the input from the advisor. A rubric (based on the goals described above) is applied to assess the students’ work. Students also do an oral presentation of their work.
Requirements for Honors
The department invites students it considers qualified to become candidates for honors during the second semester of their senior year. Honors candidates are chosen from among students who do superior work in upper-level literature and culture courses (with a 3.7 average). The department awards honors and high honors on the basis of the quality of the senior thesis. It is expected that an honors thesis will be about 35-40 pages in length.
- Six courses at the 200 or 300 level.
- A minimum of three of the six courses must be taken at Haverford or Bryn Mawr; of these, at least one must be at the 300 level.
- One of the six courses should focus substantially on literature prior to 1898.
Students may not count Bryn Mawr courses SPAN B110 (Introducción al análisis cultural) and SPAN B120 (Introducción al análisis literario) toward minor requirements.
Latin American, Iberian and Latino Studies Concentration
The Latin American, Iberian and Latino Studies Concentration is an interdisciplinary program for students majoring in a related discipline who wish to undertake a comprehensive study of the cultures of Spanish America, Brazil or the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal).
The Spanish Department supervises the concentration, which is available to students majoring in history, history of art, religion, political science, anthropology, psychology, economics, comparative literature, linguistics or Spanish. Working with the concentration coordinator, the student selects an array of six courses (as explained in detail in the relevant section of the Catalog) from among a list of approved courses relating to some aspect of LAILS, but also intersecting with the major. Then in the senior year the student incorporates the perspectives gleaned from these courses and disciplines into their senior capstone project.
For more information about the Latin American, Iberian and Latino Studies concentration and its requirements, please see the LAILS website: https://www.haverford.edu/lails
Accelerated Degree Program in Latin American Studies
Haverford joins other distinguished colleges and universities in an agreement with the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University to participate in a five-year joint degree program. The cooperative agreement allows undergraduate concentrators in Latin American, Iberian and Latino Studies to pursue an accelerated course of study resulting in a graduate degree.
For detailed information about this opportunity, see the Latin American, Iberian and Latino Studies website.
The department encourages students to spend a semester or a year studying in a Spanish-speaking context, in Argentina, Chile, Cuba, México, Perú and Spain.
Credit for courses taken abroad will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Students will need to provide documentation about the content (e.g., syllabi, papers, and exams) of these courses. No more than two courses taken abroad are usually considered toward the Spanish major and minor. Three courses may be approved under very exceptional circumstances, provided that at least two of the three courses are taken at a local university.
The language requirement cannot be completed while studying abroad.
Manuel J. and Elisa Pi Asensio Prize: In recognition of their many contributions to Spanish and Spanish American studies, and of their tireless support of Haverford students—especially Latino and Latin American students—the Department of Spanish awards the Manuel J. and Elisa Pi Asensio Prize, to be given annually to the best senior essay submitted for the major in Spanish or for the concentration in Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies.