Spanish 335

SPAN 335: Spanish American Culture

Prerequisite: Spanish 202 or four years of high school Spanish

Credit Hours: (3)

This course traces the development of Spanish American civilization and culture from the pre-Columbian period to the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Taught in Spanish. General Education credit – International and Intercultural Studies


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Lectures and activities are arranged in the following chronological order:

1. Unity of the Spanish American world
2. Physical and social geography
3. The high pre-Columbian civilizations and their cultural legacy
4. Exploration and Conquest, their significance
5. Ethnicity
6. Colonial period and its legacy
7. Intellectual life during the Colonial period
8. Spanish American Wars of Independence
9. The countries of the Río de la Plata
10. Central and Southern Andean republics
11. Northern Andean republics


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

SPAN 335 traces the development of Spanish American civilization and culture from the pre-Columbian period to 1910. Historical and journalistic readings are combined with interviews, literary writings, films, and videos to provide a panoramic view of culture, society, and politics as well as an understanding of basic issues such as human rights, the role of women, ethnicity, and social changes. Student teams will make presentations in Spanish on assigned Latin American countries. Each team member will submit a short type-written report concerning an assigned topic prior to the oral team presentation. Students will also be required to conduct research exercises using foreign newspapers listed in the World Wide Web, the New York Times Index, as well as Almanaque Mundial, Spanish Version. In addition to these written exercises in Spanish, students are expected to share their favorite "hangouts," to provide the instructor with Xerox copies of all the on-line readings used to write the assigned reports, and to provide their classmates with a detailed outline of their oral communications. All the assignments are to be done in "equipo," signed by each member of the team, typed, double-spaced with one-inch margins on all four sides, four pages minimum, and size 12 font. Documentation for all written assignments must follow the MLA Style Manual.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

The primary goal of SPAN 335 is to enable students to learn about Spanish American 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).


1. The students should show that they have developed the skills needed to locate and organize information about Spanish American culture from the library, the mass media, and the World Wide Web.
2. The students should demonstrate an understanding of what is culturally conditioned behavior and what are broad generalities applicable to the description of Spanish American culture, which developed from transferred European institutions and models.


1. Students will develop a knowledge base of information relating to the broad spectrum of Spanish American cultures of the New World.
2. Students will be able to analyze and synthesize as team members cultural information about a specific Spanish American country.
3. Students will be able to read in Spanish and with good comprehension texts dealing with complex issues and cultural information on any of the Spanish American countries and institutions.
4. Students will be able to research, find and select significant information about Hispanic cultures in the Americas.

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 335 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

Students will learn to solve problems; gather and organize information; and communicate persuasive opinions about these cultures by means of a variety of audio, video, library and online research assignments. SPAN 335 students will be required to use appropriate computer technologies and databases to answer questions about events and issues of the period or areas 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 335 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 the countries of Latin America. These comparisons students make between their own system of values and the other cultures’ beliefs will help them 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, 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 335 students are expected to participate in some extracurricular activities such as conversation with native speakers, watching Spanish American movies, and inquiring about new issues or developments in Spanish America. Students are expected to read foreign newspapers in the library and 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 335 fulfills part of this requirement for majors and also for minors.


Approval and Subsequent Reviews

Date Action Reviewed by
September 2001 Reviewed Leonor A. Ulloa