Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures

Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures

Why Study Spanish?

The decision to study Spanish is a strategic choice, as the demand for Spanish speakers continues to increase in the fields of education, health care, social services, legal counseling, criminal justice, business, financing, and marketing. Spanish is the principal language spoken in 20 countries around the globe, comprising around 500 million speakers. Spanish is the third most widely spoken language (after Mandarin and English), and is the third most commonly used language on the Internet. The U. S. has the fifth largest Spanish speaking population in the world; as of the 2010 U. S. Census, more than 35 million people in the U. S. speak Spanish at home. The importance of Spanish both within the U. S. and abroad cannot be overestimated. 

Not only is a significant proportion of the U. S. population Spanish-speaking, but Latin America and the Caribbean are important trade and business partners for the United States, as much of our produce and energy needs, as well as manufacturing products, come from these areas.  Mexico is the third largest trading partner of the U.S. after Canada and China, and the U.S. is the largest trading partner for most countries in this hemisphere. 

In addition to the economic importance of Spanish, Spain, Latin America, and the Caribbean have contributed a vast quantity of cultural wealth in art, literature, architecture, religion, and language.

To meet the ever-increasing need for Spanish language ability and cultural knowledge, the Spanish program at Canisius College offers students a solid foundation in the four basic language skills (speaking, reading, writing, listening) through courses in grammar, composition, conversation, culture, and literature. In addition, we have partnerships throughout Latin America with other Jesuit institutions for conversation practice on a regular basis. This, combined with our ever-expanding programs of study in Spain, the Caribbean, and Latin America, offer our language students a solid foundation in the language and culture. In addition, we offer specialized programs of study (usually abroad) in Spanish for medical professionals, law enforcement and border patrol, business, and education.

Spanish is important in the U. S. in general, but also locally. Slightly more than 7% of the population of the city of Buffalo is of Hispanic origin, and bilingual speakers have an important asset when it comes to employment opportunities. The Spanish program at Canisius College maintains strong links with the local Hispanic population through on-campus events, speakers, and service learning within the community.

Qualifications for the Major

All language courses applied to a language major or minor must be completed with a grade of C or better.  Students must maintain a 2.00 GPA in their Major courses to be eligible to graduate with a degree in Spanish.  Students in language-education and dual-major programs are governed by the same requirements. 

Spanish Courses & Curriculum:

1. Core Curriculum Requirements: 
View the Core Curriculum requirements.  All students complete these requirements as part of their overall Canisius education.

2. Major Requirements (10 courses) 

2.1 Single Major Requirements

SPA 215          SPA ELEC
SPA 217    SPA ELEC
SPA 323 SPA ELEC
SPA 324  SPA ELEC
SPA 332 SPA ELEC
SPA ELEC  SPA ELEC

*REQUIRED COURSES IN THE SECONDARY LANGUAGE (4 total)

ML  103 ML  215
ML  104  ML  217

2.2 Dual Major in Spanish and additional Modern Language   

SPA 215 SPA ELEC
SPA 217 SPA ELEC
SPA 323 SPA ELEC
SPA 324 SPA ELEC
SPA 332  SPA ELEC

REQUIRED COURSES IN SECONDARY LANGUAGE (6 total)

ML 103 ML 217
ML 104   ML 323
ML 215 ML 324

2.3 Dual Major in Spanish and Other Department      

SPA 215 SPA ELEC
SPA 217 SPA ELEC
SPA 323 SPA ELEC
SPA 324 SPA ELEC
SPA 332 SPA ELEC

2.4 Dual Major in Spanish and Education
(Study abroad not required for concentration in Spanish)           

SPA 215 SPA ELEC
SPA 217 SPA ELEC
SPA 323 SPA ELEC
SPA 324 SPA ELEC
SPA 332  SPA ELEC
SPA ELEC  SPA ELEC

Note: If students start their major above one of the required 200 or 300 level courses, they can have the lower courses waived, and substituted with additional electives.

3.  Additional Requirements:  
Study Abroad Requirement and Cultural Requirement (see descriptions below)

4.  Free electives
Free electives are courses in addition to the Core Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach a minimum of 120 credit hours for graduation. Students may graduate with more but not less than 120 credit hours.

Study Abroad Requirement 

Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures majors are required to study abroad for a minimum of four consecutive weeks in a formal pre-approved program in the target language. These programs often contribute courses to other majors, such as International Relations, Latin American Studies, International Business, Pre-Medicine, and Criminal Justice, among others. Canisius College maintains its own unique programs for Spanish in Spain, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Cuba, and Costa Rica. These programs include: the University of Oviedo (Spain); the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón (Puerto Rico); Universidad Nacional del Mar de Plata (Argentina); ISA/Veritas (Costa Rica); and Autonomous University of Social Movements (Cuba).  Education majors with a concentration in a Modern Language are highly encouraged to study abroad as well.

 

Students who choose to spend a semester abroad at a foreign university may count up to three courses as a Modern Language Core or Elective as long as these courses have been pre-approved by the chair of the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Students who spend more than one semester studying at a foreign university of universities may count an additional two courses as a Modern Language Core or Elective. Exceptions to these rules will require special permission from the chair of the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Credits for short programs abroad are determined by the number of contact hours.
 
As a general rule, students must complete the 215-217 sequence or the equivalent and one 300-level course at Canisius College prior to studying at a foreign university. Consultation with a Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures academic major advisor is required prior to study abroad. It is expected that students mustcomplete at least one course in the major upon return to Canisius College.



Cultural Requirement

Over the course of the semester, each student in the Department of Modern Languages, Literature and Cultures in courses 103 and above will participate in or attend two cultural events or activities outside of regular class time. One of them must be related to the culture of the language under study. The second should at least have a multicultural character. 

A current list of events acceptable in fulfillment of the cultural requirement will be posted electronically and updated weekly by the Modem Languages, Literature, and Cultures Department. Suggestions by students are welcome.

Dual Major 

Language study lends itself uniquely to the concept of the dual major. Students may combine language programs with virtually any major, but of particular interest and practicality are dual majors with international business, international relations, communication, economics, marketing-management, philosophy, history, English, political science, art history, biology and chemistry.  

Education Majors with Language Concentration

Education majors fall into three separate tracks:  those with a concentration in a Modern Language at the K-6 levels (Early Childhood and Childhood) are required to take a total of ten language courses beginning at a minimum of the 215-217 level; those with a concentration in a Modern Language at the secondary levels (Adolescence Education) are required to take a total of twelve language courses beginning at a minimum of the 215-217 level.

Placement into Courses


Foreign language placement is determined by how many years of a language were studied between the ninth and twelfth grades. Initial language placements may be changed during the first week of classes.

  • 0-1 years of HS=placement in 103 
  • 2-3 years of HS=placement in 104 
  • 4 years of HS=placement in 215 
  • 5 years of HS=placement in 217 
  • AP score of 3 places students in 215 (credit for 103/104)
  • AP score of 4 places students in 217 (credit for 104/215)                    
  • AP score of 5 places students in 323/324/332 (credit for 215/217)
  • College Credit Programs refer to admission guidelines. 
  • CLEP credits = refer to admission guidelines. 
  • Transfer students = see appropriate associate dean.

If advisors and students have concerns about the placement guidelines, they are encouraged to consult with DML faculty.

Native Speaker

Native speakers of languages other than English receive a language requirement waiver if they are able to provide documentation of their native speaker status. Examples of documents include, but are not limited to, a school diploma received from a country where the language of instruction is not English or an internationally recognized examination certifying language abilities.

Native speakers of Spanish may be allowed to replace one or more of the required 300-level courses with a 400-level major elective, upon consultation with their departmental advisor. Second language proficiency is required ONLY for graduate-track majors, although it is strongly advised for language-education majors.

Courses

SPA 103-104 Introductory Spanish          6 credits

Reading, writing, listening and speaking. Introduction to Hispanic culture. Almost exclusive use of Spanish in class.  Prerequisite for SPA 104: C or better in SPA 103 or permission of chair.  SPA 103 Fall; SPA 104 Spring



SPA 215 Intermediate Spanish        3 credits

This course is designed as a thorough review of grammatical structures. Also emphasized is the building of vocabulary, increasing competence in the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and gaining an overview of Hispanic cultures. Exclusive use of Spanish in class.  Prerequisite for SPA 215:  C or better in SPA 104 or four years of high school Spanish.



SPA 217 Intermediate Spanish II: Composition        3 credits 
This course sequentially follows SPA 215 and is designed as a review of grammar through reading and writing. Distinguishing and producing effective writing of different types: essay, correspondence, description, report. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. For students with four years of high school Spanish.  Prerequisites for SPA 217: C or better in SPA 215 or four years of high school Spanish or permission of chair.  Fall/Spring.



SPA 323 Topics in Conversation I : Peninsular Culture and Civilization   3 credits

Contemporary communication skills emphasized in general exploration of contemporary culture of the Hispanic world.  Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Phonetics may be included. Prerequisite:  C or better in SPA 215. Fall

SPA 324 Topics in Conversation II :Latin American Culture and Civilization      3 credits

A continuation of SPA 323. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in SPA 217 or permission of chair. Spring.

SPA 332 Advanced Spanish Composition          3 credits

A continuation of SPA 217. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in SPA 217 or permission of chair. Spring



SPA 400 Spanish Internship           3 credits

Qualified students are placed in jobs or service programs where they will use and perfect language skills. Prerequisite: Permission of chair.



SPA 402 Spanish for Business          3 credits

Advanced aural/oral and writing skills needed for working in a Spanish-speaking environment. Practical situations, technical vocabulary and correspondence highlighted. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in two of the following courses: SPA 217, SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332 or permission of chair. 

SPA 403 Spanish for Medical Professions          3 credits

Offered exclusively in Costa Rica during the summer for 5 weeks. In conjunction with an internship for an additional 3 credits.  Prerequisite:  Grade of B or better in at least one 300 level course, or permission of chair and/or site director.

SPA 404 Issues in the Spanish-Speaking World          3 credits
A cross-global study of issues historically significant in Spanish-speaking countries in both hemispheres as depicted in film. Types of issues to be studied: statehood in Puerto Rico, the Civil War in Spain, indigenous rights in Mexico, drug issues in Colombia. Conducted in Spanish. Prerequisite: C or better in two of the following courses: SPA 217, SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332 or permission of chair.

SPA 405 Spanish Literary Myths: Don Quixote, Don Juan and Carmen          3 credits
A focus on the construction of three Spanish and French literary myths: Don Quixote, Don Juan and Carmen. Students will study its original sources, development, transformation, and historic interpretation, as well as its contemporary versions based on literature, visual arts and music. Prerequisite: C or better in two of the following courses: SPA 217, SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332 or permission of chair. Filed 3-Arts, Global Awareness

SPA 420 Spanish Contemporary Essay          3 credits
An examination of cultural themes (identities, stereotypes, customs and traditions, daily life) in the essayist work of the best contemporary Spanish writers: Lucía Extebarria, Javier Marías, Juan José Millás, Rosa Montero, Soledad Puértolas, Rosa Regás, and Manuel Vincent. Emphasis on vocabulary building and idiomatic structure of the language. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in two of the following courses: SPA 217, SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332 or permission of chair. Field 3-Arts

SPA 433 La Telenovela: The Soap Opera in Latin America          3 credits
An exploration of the history of Soap Operas/Telenovelas in Latin America and their importance beyond mere entertainment.   By watching one in its entirety, and supplementing that with examples from other blockbuster soaps, documentaries, and essays, we will discover how telenovelas function as public service announcements about health and civil rights, and how the narratives tackle issues of gender equality, sexuality, classism, and racism. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in two of the following courses: SPA 217, SPA 323, SPA 324, , SPA 332 or permission of chair.

SPA 436 Detective Fiction Murderous Seduction          3 credits

We will explore the detective novel in Latin American interpretations of the genre with García Márquez, Vargas Llosa, and Conteris, among others.  By focusing on the socio-political and cultural contexts, we will be able to come to some general understandings of the characteristics of detective fiction, the motivations for writing/reading such fiction, and the classification of this fiction as low/high brow. The course will also explore the literary aspects of the genre, the influence of film, and the role these narratives play in interpreting particular socio-historic contexts. We will also explore the deconstruction of the genre and the detective novel as self-parody. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in two of the following courses: SPA 217, SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332 or permission of chair.

SPA 439 The Plantation Islands          3 credits

A study of 20th Century novels, films, and essays from the Caribbean which depict the experience of the plantation. We will discuss the socio-political questions of identity in a post- colonial world in terms of social role, religious practice, labor relations, gender and sexuality. We will also discuss how the individual (male/female, white/black) redefines the self in the process of coming to terms with the radically new and different realities that follow the cultural upheaval of the abolition of slavery and the transformation of the plantation. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in two of the following courses: SPA 217, SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332 or permission of chair.

SPA 451 Senior Spanish Seminar        3 credits

Intensive analysis of culture and/or selected literary themes. Research paper required. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Discipline specific topics according to course instructor. Prerequisite: C or better in SPA 324 and SPA 332 or permission

SPA 453 Who’s Afraid of Franco?  Almodóvar and La Movida:  The Films of Pedro Almodóvar and After         3 credits

An exploration of the transgressive, revolutionary, titillating films of Pedro Almodóvar and the birth of a new Spain after the death of Franco, tracing the trajectory and development of his cinematic narrative technique from his earliest films to his more recent films. We will examine the socio-political messages and the exploration and excoriation of class, gender, sexuality, politics, and identity in general in his oeuvre. We will conclude with an exploration of how he has impacted Spanish cinema through homage pieces (such as Queens) which incorporate actresses whom he made famous in his earlier films. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in three of the following courses: SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 217, SPA 332 or permission of chair.

SPA 454 Camino de Santiago        3 credits

A virtual trip “walking” one of the most important of all pilgrimage routes in history, heading  to Santiago de Compostela. Along the way we will study historical, artistic and literary transformations leading to the formation of what is now called Spain. Conducted in Spanish. Prerequisite: C or better in three of the following courses: SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 217, SPA 332 or permission of chair. Optional actual one-week walk along the Camino to be offered in the Spring.  

SPA 455 Spanish Short Fiction        3 credits

A study of Spanish short-short literary fiction, Almodóvar’s cinematography and graffiti art as expressions of Postmodern high and low cultures. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in two of the following courses: SPA 217, SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332 or permission of chair. Field 3-Arts, Global Awareness.

SPA 456:  Cuban Cinema of the Revolution:  The Films of Tomás Gutierrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío        3 credits

This course explores how the personal narrative of film is politically charged in Cuba, which is in a constant state of revolution, and how Cuban filmography fits into Castro’s dictate that art should be politically compromised in support of the Revolution. The course will also address how the countryside and the city of Havana are not just architecture or geography, but function in these films as characters in their own right. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. This course has previously been offered in Cuba.  Prerequisite: C or better in two of the following courses: SPA 217, SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332 or permission of chair.

SPA 459 The Body Erotic/The Body Politic:  Sexuality as Political Discourse in Latin America and Spain        3 credits

The course will explore how “deviant” sexuality (homosexuality, lesbianism, incest, and miscegenation) are used as political discourse, particularly in contexts where political dialogue is restricted. We will examine a variety of writers, cineastes, and artists from Latin America and Spain whose writing deals directly with the issues of the sexual body in terms of the political body.  The course will explore the political uses of the body as well as the sexualization of the political.  The idea that political discourse has made the sexual political will inform how we read these textual responses to political oppression of the sexual body and how the sexual body is used as a political retort.  These texts will be read in terms of racial, class, and political “identities.”  We will explore the usefulness of sex as protest, as political discourse, and as free speech. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in two of the following courses: SPA 217, SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332 or permission of chair.

SPA 460 Lorca and his époque        3 credits

An examination of Spain’s Generation of ’27 as a cultural vanguard of the 20th  century. Emphasis on multidisciplinary oeuvre by Federico García Lorca and his closest circle of friends: Salvador Dalí, Luis Buñuel and Manuel de Falla. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in two of the following courses: SPA 217, SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332 or permission of chair. Field 3-Arts

SPA 463 Magic Realism:  Latin America and the Boom        3 credits

The course will explore the origins of magic realism, attempt to define it, and consider the function of magic realism as political protest.  We will also explore what makes magic real by examining the issue of perspective, faith, and marginalization in relation to the texts.  Magic realism attempts to manipulate western forms of narrative to articulate a non-Western reality, in order, in Gabriel Garcia Marquez words, to “render our reality believable.” The novels all deal with strategies of definition and resistance, which will be one of the main areas of concern in the course. Other issues of primary importance include the socio-political impact colonialism/post-colonialism (including revolution) has had on literature since 1949 and the use of the novel to define ethnic, racial, or even national identity in the post-colonial environment of the last half of the 20th century. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in two of the following courses: SPA 217, SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332 or permission of chair.

SPA 499 Independent Study   3 credits

Prerequisite: Permission of chair.