The Department of Hispanic Studies offers avenues to explore diverse Hispanic cultures through coursework in language, literature, linguistics and culture. Basic Spanish language courses also develop speaking, reading, listening and writing skills. Spanish literature courses focus on literary and cultural analysis, where students learn key literary terms, theories and an appreciation for literature as an art form. Linguistic courses center on the study of sound, sentence structure and language change. Courses in cultural history examine important cultural shifts in Hispanic society and enable students to make connections between artistic production and the sociopolitical context from which it emerges. In addition, all intermediate and advanced-level courses emphasize how to make an argument, appropriately use primary and secondary sources, and write in the conventions of the discipline. The department strives to provide an environment where broad knowledge can be acquired: it encourages students to bring into class their knowledge of other disciplines and distinctive viewpoints, and to carry their knowledge from the classroom into other classes and beyond IWU.
Spanish courses at the upper level are divided between studies of linguistics and the literature and cultures of Spain and those of Latin America. It is recommended that students seek a balance between these, striving for a broad knowledge of intellectual currents on both sides of the Atlantic.
Student Learning Goals for Hispanic Studies majors & minors
Communication: Students will demonstrate an advanced level of communication in Spanish speaking, reading, listening and writing. They will be able to communicate effectively in both speech and writing; develop and express an extended argument using linguistic data, historical or literary text analysis.
Cultural Understanding: Students will gain an understanding of the variety and complexity of Hispanic cultures around the globe. In addition to learning about Hispanic culture in the classroom, majors are required to spend at least one semester abroad in a Spanish-speaking country.
Critical Thinking: Students will read and interpret Spanish texts/sources, examine cultural interactions/nuances, and learn to make evaluative judgments. Students will learn to synthesize arguments, articulate their opinions and think analytically about the underlying grammatical Spanish system literary, cultural and linguistic topics in Spanish both in speaking and writing; distinguish and appreciate different literary styles and linguistic phenomenon; and make connections between literature and culture.