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

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


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. Students majoring in Adolescence Education must add 2 more SPA Electives for a total of 12 SPA courses at or above 200-level.

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. Language majors 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 are taught in the target language and 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 may count an additional two courses as a Modern Language core or elective. Dual majors in two languages are required to study abroad for both target languages. Credits for short programs abroad are determined by the number of contact hours. As a general rule, students complete the 200-level 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 advisor is required prior to study abroad. Students must complete 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 and Spanish Placement Exam administered at the beginning of each semester. Initial language placements may be changed during the first two weeks 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. SPA 103 Fall, SPA 104 Fall and Spring

SPA 215-217 Intermediate Spanish          6 credits
These two courses are designed as a thorough review of grammatical structures. Also emphasized is the building of vocabulary, increasing competence in the four linguistic skills and gaining an overview of Hispanic cultures. SPA 217 focuses on Spanish Composition. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite for SPA 215: C or better in SPA 104 or two or three years of high school Spanish. Prerequisite for SPA 217: C or better in SPA 215. SPA 215 Fall and Spring, SPA 217 Fall and Spring

SPA 323 Topics in Conversation I: Peninsular Culture and Civilization         3 credits
Contemporary communication skills emphasized in general exploration of contemporary culture of Spain. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in SPA 217. Oral Communication Attribute. Fall

SPA 324 Topics in Conversation II: Latin American Culture and Civilization            3 credits
Contemporary communication skills emphasized in general exploration of contemporary culture of Latin America. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in SPA 217. Oral Communication Attribute. Spring.

SPA 332 Advanced Composition            3 credits
Distinguishing and producing effective writing of different types: description, narration, argumentation, and academic essay. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in SPA 217. Spring

SPA 399 Seminar in Argentina               3 credits
Offered exclusively in Argentina during Winter Break for 3 weeks. Open to all majors in need of 200, 300 or 400-level SPA courses. Fall

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 403 Spanish for Medical Professions          3 credits

Offered exclusively in Costa Rica during the summer for 5 weeks. In conjunction with an internship for additional 3 credits. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in at least one 300 level course.

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. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in two of the following courses: SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332. Field 3-Arts, Global Awareness Attribute.

SPA 420 Spanish Contemporary Essay              3 credits
An examination of cultural themes (identities, stereotypes, customs and traditions) 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 323, SPA 324, SPA 332. Field 3-Arts

SPA 433 La Telenovela: The Soap Opera in Latin America              3 credits
Explores the history of Soap Operas/Telenovelas in Latin America and their importance beyond entertainment. Discover how telenovelas function as public service announcements about health and civil rights, and how they 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 323, SPA 324, SPA 332. Field 3-Arts

SPA 436 Detective Fiction Murderous Seduction              3 credits
Explores the detective novel and film in Spanish and Latin American interpretations focusing on socio-political & cultural contexts, the characteristics of the genre, motivations for writing/reading such fiction, and the classification of this fiction as low/high brow. 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 323, SPA 324, SPA 332. Field 3-Arts

SPA 439 The Plantation Islands              3 credits
Study 20th Century novels/films from the Caribbean depicting the plantation experience. Discuss questions of identity in a post-colonial world in terms of social role, religious practice, labor relations, gender and sexuality; following 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 323, SPA 324, SPA 332. Field 3-Arts

 SPA 450 Spanish through the Media                 3 credits
This course will give you the opportunity to engage with the Spanish-speaking media and to explore current issues relevant to Spain, while building up your vocabulary and your overall command of the language. Prerequisite: C or better in two of the following courses: SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332. Field 3-Arts

SPA 453 Almodóvar and La Movida: The Films of Pedro Almodóvar 3 credits
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, exploring the excoriation of class, gender, sexuality, politics, and identity in his oeuvre. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332. Field 3-Arts

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 three of the following courses: SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332. Field 3-Arts, Global Awareness Attribute.

SPA 456: Cuban Cinema of the Revolution 3 credits
Offered exclusively in Cuba, this course explores how film is politically charged in Cuba, How do directors work around and within the Cuban government’s censorship to critique the Revolution as well as balance that critique with a love for the country and its people? Addresses how countryside and Havana are not just architecture or geography, but characters in their own right. Prerequisite: C or better in SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332. Field 3-Arts

SPA 459 The Body Erotic/The Body Politic: Sexuality as Political Discourse in Latin America and Spain              3 credits
Explores how “deviant” sexuality (homosexuality, lesbianism, and miscegenation) are used as political discourse in contexts where political dialogue is restricted. Examines how art deals with issues of the sexual body in terms of the political body, exploring the political uses of the body as well as the sexualization of the political. Exclusive use of Spanish in class. Prerequisite: C or better in SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332. Field 3-Arts

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 SPA 323, SPA 324, SPA 332. Field 3-Arts.

SPA 499 Independent Study             3 credits
Prerequisite: Permission of chair.