Skip Navigation
A Culture of Care >> Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.

Spanish & Portuguese

Spanish & Portuguese

As a single department with two majors—one in Spanish, the other in Portuguese and Brazilian studies—our commitment to intercultural studies reaches beyond traditional fields of national literatures, genres and languages to embrace cultural studies, environmental studies, gender and sexuality studies, the arts and more. Our courses encourage students to reconsider traditional notions of identity, nation, geography and culture from integrative and transcultural perspectives. Our curriculum reflects the fact that Spanish and Portuguese are increasingly recognized as domestic U.S. languages. We aim to integrate the heterogeneous languages and cultures we research and teach, from their inceptions on the Iberian Peninsula and in the Americas, to current linguistic and cultural manifestations in Europe, Africa and the Americas (including the United States), the Caribbean, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

Announcements

Prize Winners in Spanish & Portuguese

Congratulations to the 2020-21 prize winners in Spanish and Portuguese. The Gabriela Mistral Student Prize for the best senior essay or project in Spanish went to April Cayuga Hopcraft. The Clarice Lispector Student Prize for the best senior essay or project in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies went to Thao Thi Kahn.

Spanish Placement Exam

All students who have had previous training in the language or have lived in a Spanish-speaking country and wish to continue the study of Spanish are required to take the online placement exam. Students who have taken the Spanish AP exam should take the placement exam as well, regardless of their AP score. Learn more about the placement exam on the registrar’s website.

Faculty News

Michelle Joffroy, associate professor of Spanish, along with collaborators Jennifer Guglielmo, Diana Sierra Becerra and the National Domestic Workers Alliance, was granted $1.1 million from the Steinem Initiative to support the creation of a multilingual, smartphone-accessible digital timeline on the history and cultures of domestic worker organizing.

Faculty Publications

Senior Lecturer Emerita Patricia González, with Ivor Miller, edited a critical edition of Lydia Cabrera’s The Sacred Language of the Abakuá, nominated for an Elliott P. Skinner Book Award from the Association for Africanist Anthropology.

Requirements

Spanish Major Learning Goals:

Upon graduation our students are able to think critically and to speak, read and write with accuracy at an advanced level in Spanish, and at a low-intermediate level or higher in Portuguese. They have the ability to negotiate diverse academic, professional and social situations in Spanish with high communicative capacity. To this end, most of our classes are held in the target language, as is all student work produced in these classes, including discussions, oral presentations and written work. Our majors are able to identify and analyze a range of forms and styles of cultural expression, including diverse literary genres, visual art, film, performance and drama. Majors graduate with the capacity to think historically, to identify and utilize a variety of literary and cultural theories, to interpret original creative works, as well as develop comparative and interdisciplinary analyses.

Portuguese and Brazilian Studies Major Learning Goals:

Upon graduation, our students are able to speak, read and write with accuracy at a high-intermediate to advanced level in Portuguese and to negotiate diverse academic, professional and social situations with effective communicative capacity. To this end, a number of core classes are held in the target language and engage students in a variety of communication activities, including informal conversation, discussion of authentic texts, presentations, personal essays and research papers. Beyond linguistic competency, majors graduate with a high degree of intercultural literacy, having studied aspects of Brazilian and Lusophone cultures and societies through a combination of humanities and social science perspectives.

Majors, as well as non-majors interested in gaining intensive linguistic and cultural proficiency, are strongly encouraged to go abroad for one semester or one year.

The S/U grading option is not allowed for courses counting toward the majors.


The Major in Spanish

Advisers for the Spanish Major: Silvia Berger, Ibtissam Bouachrine, Molly Falsetti-Yu, Maria Estela Harretche, Michelle Joffroy, Reyes Lázaro, and Maria Helena Rueda.

Ten (10) semester courses: Five of them will have the following requirements, to be taken at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Smith College:

  • One 200-level course, SPN 245 or above
  • One course focused on writing in Spanish. Can be fulfilled with any class designated by the department as meeting the Spanish writing requirement. Designation will be included in the course description.
  • One semester of Portuguese (POR 110, Beginning Portuguese through Music I or POR 125, Elementary Portuguese for Spanish-speakers).
  • Two 300-level SPN courses, taken at Smith, normally during the senior year.

The remaining five courses will be electives dealing with the languages and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world, offered by or cross-listed with the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Smith or in approved Spanish language programs abroad. One of these electives can be a class taught in English if it deals with the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world--this includes bilingual or English-speaking U.S. Latinx communities. The English-language class can be taken at Smith or the Five Colleges. SPN 112Y can be counted towards the major as one course. For classes taken abroad, credit will be granted at the 200-level.


The Major in Portuguese–Brazilian Studies

Advisers for the Portuguese-Brazilian Studies Major: Marguerite Itamar Harrison, Malcolm K. McNee

Eight semester courses. POR 100Y or POR 110 and POR 111, or POR 125; POR 200 or POR 215; and one 200-level course in Brazilian or Comparative Lusophone Studies taught in Portuguese. Five other semester courses related to the Portuguese-speaking world, one of which must be at the 300-level. Courses may be selected from any number of fields such as literature and language, history, Africana studies, anthropology, art, dance, music, economics and government.


Advisers for Study Abroad

Students interested in approved programs for Spanish in Latin America or Spain should consult faculty who teach our Spanish classes. Students interested in Brazil and other Portuguese-speaking countries should consult our Portuguese faculty: Marguerite Itamar Harrison and Malcolm K. McNee.

The Minor in Spanish

Advisers for the Spanish Minor: Silvia Berger, Ibtissam Bouachrine, Molly Falsetti-Yu, Maria Estela Harretche, Michelle Joffroy, Reyes Lázaro and Maria Helena Rueda.

Six semester courses in Spanish. Two of these six courses will be the following requirements, to be taken at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Smith College:

  • One 200-level course, SPN 245 or above
  • One class focused on writing in Spanish. Can be fulfilled with any class designated by the department as meeting the Spanish writing requirement. Designation will be included in the course description.

The remaining four courses will be electives dealing with the languages and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world, offered by or cross-listed with the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Smith, at Spanish programs in the Five Colleges, or in approved Spanish language programs abroad. SPN 112Y can be counted towards the minor as one course.


The Minor in Portuguese & Brazilian Studies

Advisers for the Portuguese-Brazilian Studies Minor: Marguerite Itamar Harrison, Malcolm K. McNee

Five semester courses. POR 100Y or POR 110 and POR 111, or POR 125; POR 200 or POR 215; and one 200-level course in Brazilian or Comparative Lusophone Studies taught in Portuguese. Two other semester courses related to the Portuguese-speaking world, one of which must be at the 300-level. Courses may be selected from any number of fields such as literature and language, history, Africana studies, anthropology, art, dance, music, economics and government.

A Spanish or Portuguese-Brazilian studies major may desire to conduct an independent honors project. Please consult the honors directory to learn more about the requirements.

Directors

Marguerite Itamar Harrison (Portuguese and Brazilian Studies)
Reyes Lázaro (Spanish)

SPB 430D Honors Project 
Credits: 8 
Normally offered each fall 

SPB 431 Honors Project 
Credits: 8 
Normally offered each fall 

SPN 430D Honors Project 
Credits: 8 
Normally offered both fall and spring semesters 

SPN 431 Honors Project 
Credits: 8 
Normally offered each fall


Courses

The department has two abbreviations for the language and culture of three broad areas of study: POR (Portuguese-speaking world), and SPN (Spain and Spanish America). All courses are taught in Spanish or Portuguese unless otherwise indicated. Students with prior Spanish language experience must take the placement test.

In addition to the courses listed in the Smith catalog under SPN (Spanish) and POR (Portuguese), you may search for relevant courses taught in English by our faculty, listed under LAS (Latin American and Latino/a Studies), CLT (Comparative Literature) and SWG (Study of Women and Gender).

The maximum enrollment in all language course sections is 18 students unless otherwise indicated. Also, please note that the S/U option is not normally granted for language classes.

See the Smith College Course Catalog for complete information and course listings.

Courses available at Amherst, Hamsphire and Mount Holyoke colleges and the University of Massachusetts Amherst can be found in the Five College Course Guide

The department’s transdisciplinarity is reflected in the diverse academic affiliations and collaborative relationships that faculty members hold across the Smith campus and the Five Colleges. We work with Latin American and Latino/a studies, Iberian and European studies, comparative literature, Jewish studies, medieval studies, Middle East studies, environmental science and policy, theatre, art, and the study of women and gender, as well as with the concentrations in poetry, translation studies, women's education and sustainable food.

See the Smith College Catalog for cross-listed courses.

 

We strongly encourage students to spend one semester or a year studying abroad in a Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking country. Many students have benefited from the total cultural immersion and the wide array of specialized courses offered at universities in nine different countries.

Advisers for Study Abroad

  • For Spanish-speaking countries: Members of the department
  • For Brazil & Portugal: Malcolm McNee and Marguerite Itamar Harrison

 

 

Contact

Department of Spanish & Portuguese
Hatfield Hall
Northampton, MA 01063
Phone: 413-585-3410
Fax: 413-585-3415
Program Assistant:
Michelle Finley