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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 mirrors the college's commitment to a global, liberal arts education. 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. We emphasize transdisciplinarity, reaching beyond traditional fields of national literatures, genres and languages to embrace cultural studies, environmental studies, gender and sexuality studies, Afro-diasporic and indigenous cultures, American and Latino/a studies, transatlantic studies, translation studies, the arts and visual culture, film and media studies, and performance.  

News

New Prizes Available

The Gabriela Mistral Prize for Spanish and the Clarice Lispector Student Prize in Portuguese are two new prizes available for students. See the Prizes & Fellowships tab in the Resources section below for more information.

Peer Tutoring

Did you know that tutoring is available in Spanish and Portuguese at the Jacobson Center? See the Resources section below for more information.

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, Maria Helena Rueda and Nancy Saporta Sternbach.

Ten courses in Spanish language and culture. Five of these 10 courses will be the following requirements, to be taken at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Smith College:

  • One course on the Cultural Histories of Iberia or Latin America (SPN 250 or SPN 260).
  • 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.
  • One semester of Portuguese (normally POR 125, 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, at Spanish programs in the Five Colleges, 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 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, Maria Helena Rueda and Nancy Saporta Sternbach.

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 course on Iberian or Latin American Cultural History (SPN 250 or SPN 260).
  • 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 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

Malcolm McNee (Portuguese and Brazilian Studies)
Maria Estela Harretche (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.

Events

Featured Event

There are no events scheduled at this time.

 

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

  • PRESHCO: Nancy Saporta Sternbach
  • For Programs in Spain other than PRESHCO: Members of the department
  • For Spanish America: Members of the department
  • For Brazil: Malcolm McNee and Marguerite Itamar Harrison

Consortium Programs Abroad

Smith-Approved Programs Abroad

Students in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese Studies have been recipients of several prizes and fellowships.

The Gabriela Mistral Student Prize for Spanish

This prize will be awarded to a graduating Spanish major for the best senior essay or project in Spanish. Submissions, one per student, may include papers, portfolios or projects in Spanish, completed for courses or special studies during the last two semesters of study, excluding honors theses. Submissions are due by noon on the first weekday of the spring semester exam period and must be delivered as a hard copy, and sent as an electronic file by email, to Michelle Finley. Potential applicants should contact Spanish faculty with any questions. See the full description and application information.

The Clarice Lispector Student Prize in Portuguese

This prize will be awarded to a graduating Portuguese & Brazilian studies major or minor for the best senior essay or project in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies. Submissions, one per student, may include papers, portfolios or projects completed for courses or special studies during the last two semesters of study, excluding honors theses. If interested in being considered for the prize, please see the full description and application information. Entries must be delivered to Michelle Finley before noon on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. Please submit both a hard copy and an electronic copy, sent as an attachment to mfinley@smith.edu.

The Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation

White Pine Press, the Cliff Becker Endowment for the Literary Arts and the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) awarded Chloe Hill '12 the fifth annual Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation, which produces one volume of literary translation in English annually. In 2014, with the support of a Fulbright fellowship, Hill traveled to Brazil to work alongside Myriam Fraga translating a selection of poems.

Beinecke Scholarship

The $32,000 Beinecke Scholarship is offered for the courageous selection of graduate studies in the arts, humanities or social sciences anywhere in the world by undergraduates. Smith is allowed one nominee. Angela Acosta '17 was the department's most recent recipient.

Fulbright Fellowships

Majors in the department have gone to Brazil, Andorra and elsewhere to puruse research, teaching and other opportunities. See the Smith Fulbright website for more information.

Jacobson Center Tutors

Each year a number of students within the department tutor in Spanish and Portuguese-Brazilian studies.

Honors

Students are eligible to present an honors thesis.

International Experience Grants for Spanish and Portuguese Majors

The department awards international study grants to majors for study, research, service and unpaid internships abroad. These grants provide partial funding up to $400 toward the cost of international experiences.

Eligibility

All department majors are eligible to apply, but those who have received funding must wait two years before applying for a second grant. IEG awards may not be used for costs associated with semester and year study abroad. The grant may not be used in the summer following graduation.

Funding Criteria

Priority for International Experience Grants funding goes to:

  • students going abroad for the first time
  • projects that last three weeks during interterm, and six-to-eight weeks during the summer
  • language-study projects related to the student's major or plans for future study
  • projects for which the student demonstrates a strong background and preparation
Alternative Spring Break

The department will consider funding for a service-learning alternative spring break to a Spanish-speaking country even though the trip is less than three weeks. The deadline is February 15. Strong faculty recommendations are an important component of a compelling application.

Application Deadlines

Grant decisions are made on a rolling basis before November 24 and March 15. See your major adviser for submission information.

Did you know that the Jacobson Center offers tutoring sessions for Spanish and Portuguese?

Spanish—Lower Levels

Katie Chong ’18
Maria de Villeneuve ’18

Spanish—Seminar Level

Rocio Campos Aguilera ’18 (PRESHCO Exchange Student)

Portuguese

Caroline Previte ’18
 

To learn more, visit the Jacobson Center website.

 


 

 

 

 

Contact

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