Spanish 325

SPAN 325: Spanish Culture

Prerequisite: Spanish 202 or four years of high school Spanish

Credit Hours: (3)

This course presents a contrastive study of the cultures of Spain, with emphasis on the dominant Hispanic culture. Historical, political, and artistic events will be given special attention in a chronological survey of the culture of Spain. Taught in Spanish. General Education credit – International and Intercultural Studies


Detailed Description of Content of Course

SPAN 325 offers a historical panorama of the civilization and culture of Spain. Lectures and activities are arranged according to different aspects of culture, the individual and the family, the social sphere, the fine, applied and performing arts, the role of religion, the historical and political situation. Special emphasis is given to the study of basic political, social, economical, religious and cultural aspects of Spain throughout its history. The course will also study special connections between Spanish culture and that of the United States in order to show the Spanish heritage of today's U.S.A. At the end of this course, students should be able to have a clear idea of the role and meaning of Spain in the context of world history and culture.


1. Geography and Languages of Spain.
The Traditional Regions of Spain.
Contemporary Administrative Division.
The Languages of Spain.

2. Pre-Historic Spain.
Greeks, Phoenicians, Tartesians, Iberians, Celts.

3. The Roman Empire in Spain.
Roman Organization of the Iberian Peninsula.
Roman Religion vs. Christianity.

4. The Middle Ages.
Barbaric Invasions. The Visigoths.
Christians, Arabs and Jewish Cultures.
The Catholic Kings.

5. The Golden Age.
The Presence of Spain in the Americas.

6. The Golden Age. 16th and 17th Centuries.
Charles V and His Times. Culture, Society, Religion.
Renaissance: Imperial Period.
Philip II and his times. Culture, Society, Religion.
Baroque: National Period.

7. The Spanish Enlightenment.
18th Century Spain: Liberal Reform vs. Traditional Spain.

8. 19th Century Spain.
From Romanticism to Realism.
Spanish Culture and Society in 19th Century Spain.

9. 20th Century Spain (until 1975).
Social, Political and Cultural Life until 1936.
The Spanish Civil War (1936-39).
Post-War Spain (1939-75).


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Following the presentation of an analytical model of approach to the study of another culture, the professor will present basic background information about Spain. The class is conducted completely in Spanish. Emphasis is placed on class explanations and discussions (individually or in groups) on reading materials. This is not a reading class, but a forum to discuss what students have carefully read and understood in the homework readings. Student teams will make presentations on important historical/literary figures and on one of the nine areas of analysis, as well as write a short paper covering their findings. Video materials will be used in class assignments both in the classroom and in the Foreign Language Media Center. Students will also be required to conduct research exercises using World Wide Web resources, such as,,, www.elpaí, and other World Wide Web links related to Spanish culture.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

The primary goal of SPAN 325 is to enable students to learn about Spanish culture, and discuss its ramifications and interconnections with other disciplines in an informed and critical manner. This course also improves their Spanish in the four basic categories of language-acquisition skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking).

Goals: The student should ...

1. be able to use appropriate computer technologies to gather and organize information about Spanish culture;
2. demonstrate a knowledge of information concerning the history and culture of Spain;
3. show a knowledge base of information relating to the broad spectrum of cultures of peninsular Spain;
4. develop reading comprehension skills in Spanish with texts dealing with cultural information on Spain; and
5. improve their oral, written, listening and reading skills in Spanish by finding and analyzing information about Hispanic cultures.

Objectives: The student should ...

  • demonstrate knowledge of the names of the important features of Spanish geography, including the names of locations of the traditional regional divisions, and today's "Comunidades Autónomas;"
  • demonstrate knowledge of the relative chronology of the waves of traders and settlers occupying the Iberian Peninsula up to the formation of Spain as a nation in 1492;
  • demonstrate knowledge of the most important contributions to Spanish culture of the Roman colonization, the Visigoths and other Germanic tribes, and the Arabs and Jewish civilizations;
  • demonstrate knowledge of the names and contributions of the most important figures of the period from the Catholic Kings to the beginning of the 18th century, as well as from the Enlightenment to the present;
  • demonstrate knowledge of the names and contributions of important figures of the Spanish Golden Age, the royal houses, and how the modern and contemporary government of Spain is organized;
  • and submit a final paper and give an oral presentation in Spanish on one of the areas of the culture of Spain that the student feels more interested in and, if possible, on some aspect related to the student's own major or minor field of study.

Broad General Education Goals. Students will be able to:

*think critically and creativelyabout ideas, issues, problems, and texts both within and across academic disciplines

SPAN 325 students will acquire social, economic, or political knowledge about issues of historical and current importance in the target cultures and be able to discuss these issues on an intermediate-high to advanced level.

*employ a variety of research methods and styles of inquiry

SPAN 325 students will learn to solve problems; gather and organize information; and communicate opinions about these cultures by means of a variety of audio, video, library and online assignments. Students will be required to use selected reference databases to answer questions about events and issues of the period or area being studied.

*work with others in a shared process of inquiry and problem-solving

Students will practice Spanish and communicate about other cultures with each other in small groups and with at least one native speaker.

*identify the cultural values that shape decision in public, professional, and private life

As a result of all these intercultural encounters, students will be able to understand how different cultural values affect perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors that they would tend to take for granted and not analyze so critically in a monocultural environment.

Area 5 Goals. Students will be able to:

*demonstrate an understanding of the central place of language in shaping thinking, values, and other aspects of culture

SPAN 325 students will, in learning another language system and its cultural centeredness, understand the interrelatedness of language and culture in the perception and values of other cultures.

*demonstrate an awareness of the diversity of cultures beyond the United States and analyze similarities and differences between their own and other cultures that affect perceptions, beliefs and behaviors

Students will be able to analyze a number of cultural similarities and differences between the United States and Spain. These comparisons students make between their own and other cultures will help students realize how diverse cultures can be.

*identify and discuss important global issues that highlight the relationships among peoples and nations

Students will, in class lectures, films, research, and conversations, acquire knowledge about historical and current global issues that are in the news and that are having, or have had, a significant social, economic, or political impact.


Assessment Measures

Evaluation is based on participation in team reports and other classroom activities involving assigned readings, films, assignments outside of the class period (research exercises and short term papers reporting on analyses of additional readings), quizzes, two one-hour exams, and a final examination.


Other Course Information

To supplement linguistic and cultural encounters in class, SPAN 325 students are expected to participate in some extracurricular activities such as conversation with native speakers, watching Spanish movies, and inquiring about new issues or developments in the Spanish-speaking cultures. Students are expected to read foreign newspapers in the library or online. The Foreign Language Department’s web page contains links to newspapers from several Spanish-speaking countries.

Foreign Language majors with an option in Spanish are required to include 24 hours above the intermediate level. Spanish 325 fulfills part of this requirement for majors and also for minors.


Approval and Subsequent Reviews
September 2005 Reviewed Philip Sweet