Spanish and Portuguese

Humanities Quadrangle, 203.432.5439, 203.432.1151
M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D.

Jesús Velasco

Director of Graduate Studies
Aníbal González-Pérez

Professors Larissa Brewer-García (Visiting), Aníbal González-Pérez, K. David Jackson, Noël Valis, Jesús Velasco, Lisa Voigt (Visiting)

Senior Lector I Ame Cividanes

Emeritus Rolena Adorno, Roberto González Echevarría

Fields of Study

The Ph.D. program in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese explores the dynamic fields of Latin American, Luso-Brazilian, Latinx, and Iberian studies in all their rich and diverse linguistic, literary, and cultural traditions, and adopting multiple intellectual approaches. The Ph.D. program encourages students to engage with related disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, including African American Studies, Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Film and Media Studies, History of Art, Medieval Studies, Philosophy, and Renaissance Studies, as well as emerging multidisciplinary fields such as Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and Digital Humanities.

The department participates in a combined Ph.D. program in Spanish and Portuguese and African American Studies offered in conjunction with the Department of African American Studies and a combined Ph.D. program in Spanish and Portuguese and Renaissance Studies offered in conjunction with the Renaissance Studies Program. Ph.D. students are also encouraged to obtain certificates from programs and areas complementary to their teaching and research interests; at Yale, such certificates exist in connection with the programs in Film and Media Studies; Public Humanities; Translation Studies; and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Special Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

The department requires two years of course work, a grade of Honors in at least two of these courses each year, and a minimum grade average of High Pass. Course work consists of fourteen elective seminars (up to four outside the department); four of the fourteen seminars as auditor (no exam or paper required), inside or outside the department; and a required course, SPAN 790, Methodologies of Modern Language Teaching. Prior to the third year, students are also expected to become proficient in two languages other than English and their primary study language (either Spanish or Portuguese); these languages could be other Romance languages, Latin, or other language families pertinent to the research interests of each student. In the third year, the student is expected to pass the qualifying examination (written and oral components) and submit and receive approval of the dissertation prospectus. Upon completion of all predissertation requirements, including the dissertation prospectus, students are admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D.

Participation in the department’s teaching and pedagogy program is a degree requirement. It consists of taking the required seminar in language pedagogy, SPAN 790, in the second year and teaching four courses during the third and fourth years of study. Students will have the opportunity to teach beginning (L1–L2), advanced (L3–L4), and L5-level courses with supervision by the director of the language program, course directors, and department faculty members.

Combined Ph.D. Programs

Spanish and Portuguese and African American Studies

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese also offers, in conjunction with the Department of African American Studies, a combined Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese and African American Studies. For further details, see African American Studies.

Spanish and Portuguese and Renaissance Studies

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese also offers, in conjunction with the Renaissance Studies Program, a combined Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese and Renaissance Studies. For further details, see Renaissance Studies.

Master’s Degrees

M.Phil. See Degree Requirements under Policies and Regulations.

M.A. (en route to the Ph.D.) The M.A. en route is awarded upon the satisfactory completion of eight term courses and the language requirement (detailed above).


PORT 905b / CPLT 974b, The Short Story: Major AuthorsKenneth David Jackson

Close reading of modern short stories by major authors writing in Portuguese, with an emphasis on Brazilian literature. Dominant critical and thematic currents; analysis of social forces. In Portuguese.
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

PORT 922b, Brazil’s Modern Art MovementKenneth David Jackson

Study of Brazilian modernism in literature and the arts, centered on São Paulo’s “Modern Art Week” of 1922, from the perspective of the European avant-gardes (cubism, futurism, surrealism) and Brazilian content. Themes include the Cannibal Manifesto and cultural independence from Europe; and avant-garde practices in literature and the arts from the 1920s to the construction of Brasília and São Paulo Concrete Poetry. Special attention to major authors—Oswald de Andrade, Mário de Andrade, Manuel Bandeira, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Murilo Mendes, João Cabral, Haroldo and Augusto de Campos—and artists Villa-Lobos, Portinari, Di Cavalcanti, and Tarsila do Amaral. Includes influential visitors to Brazil, as well as radio, film, and music of the period.
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

PORT 941a, Crossing Cultures in the Portuguese DiasporaKenneth David Jackson

Inquiry into the first encounters of the Portuguese with the people and cultures of Africa, Asia, and Brazil after the voyage of Vasco da Gama (1497–99). Topics include acculturation, contact peoples and languages, creolistics and hybrid cultures, music, plants and cuisines, and the theory of space between cultures. Readings include the epic, histories, memoirs, travel literature, and the “Cannibal Manifesto.” Reading knowledge of Portuguese suggested.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

PORT 960a, World Cities and NarrativesKenneth David Jackson

Study of world cities and narratives that describe, belong to, or represent them. Topics range from the rise of the urban novel in European capitals to the postcolonial fictional worlds of major Portuguese, Brazilian, and Spanish American cities. Conducted in English.
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

SPAN 748a, Representing the Spanish Civil WarNoel Valis

This course examines the continuing fascination and complexities of the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) through a dual national and international perspective and an analysis of the literature and culture produced during and after the conflict. The course is divided into four sections: the war “from within,” the war “from without,” women in the war, and memory of the war. Texts include Sender’s Réquiem por un campesino español, Rodoreda’s La plaza del Diamante, Llamazares’s Luna de lobos, Cercas’s Soldados de Salamina, Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, poems by Miguel Hernández, Auden, and Spender, and films (Rojo y negro, El laberinto del fauno, The Spanish Earth). In Spanish.
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

SPAN 790b, Methodologies of Modern Language TeachingAme M Cividanes

Preparation for a teaching career through readings, lectures, classroom discussions, and presentations on current issues in foreign/second language acquisition theory and teaching methodology. Classroom techniques at all levels. In Spanish.
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

SPAN 866b / CPLT 976b, Roberto Bolaño in the Twenty-First CenturyAnibal González-Pérez

Readings of the poetry, short stories, novellas, novels, and essays of the Chilean-Mexican author Roberto Bolaño (1953–2003), regarded as a founding figure of early twenty-first-century Spanish American narrative. Topics explored include issues of truth and reality; ethics; materiality; self-fictionalization; post-nationalism; gender; Bolaño’s politics; humor; fractals; and narrative.
W 2:30pm-4:20pm

SPAN 870a / CPLT 973a / RNST 870a, Imagining the New WorldLisa Voigt

This course focuses on the use of images of and in the “New World” during the first century of European exploration, conquest, and colonization in the Americas. We explore printed illustrations that shaped European perceptions of New World “exoticism” and “barbarism,” as well as indigenous pictorial manuscripts that continued and adapted native visual practices and offered alternative views of the conquest. Besides reading texts by European and indigenous authors in which images played an important role (Columbus, Las Casas, Oviedo, Staden, Léry, Raleigh, Sahagún, Guaman Poma), we study nonalphabetic visual sources such as Nahua codices and maps, and portraits and festive performances of Afro-descendants. We also examine how images of the Americas were disseminated in Europe through copied illustrations, generating clichés and stereotypes—terms originally associated with printing techniques—that contributed to the racism and colonialism that have shaped the modern world. We conclude with a discussion of examples of contemporary films that reimagine the colonial Americas.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

SPAN 873a / CPLT 873a, New Latin American Cinemas: 1950–1990Moira Fradinger

This seminar is a study of cinema produced in Latin America between 1950 and 1990, when filmmakers throughout the region articulated anew the relationship between cinema and politics. In Latin America, scholars identify the films of this era as “New Latin American Cinema,” on account of their rejection of the national cinema traditions of the thirties and forties, which were dependent on the control of studios and Hollywood conventions. We study a vast array of films from the period that are usually hard to access, but deserving of scholarly attention. We watch, for example, many “firsts”: the first Honduran film (1962), the first Haitian feature-length film (1975), the first film by a woman in Peru (Nora de Izcue), the first film in Quechua (1961), the first fully Paraguayan film (1978). Our corpus includes films from Peru, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Honduras, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Haiti. We read film manifestos that launched concepts such as “cine imperfecto,” “cine urgente,” “cinema novo,” “estética da fome,” and so forth. Readings are in Spanish and Portuguese. The seminar requires approximately four hours of film viewing per week. Prerequisite: a high level of proficiency in Spanish. Many films have no subtitles in English, and the seminar is conducted in Spanish.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm, MT 7pm-10pm

SPAN 914b / CPLT 960b, Microliteratures: The Margins of the LawJesus Velasco

Examining marginal writing in manuscripts and printed books from the Middle Ages and the early modern period, we interrogate the productive relations between law and culture. We focus on a wide array of sources from the Iberian Peninsula and the Mediterranean. Likewise, we consider different legal systems.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm