Spanish and Portuguese

82-90 Wall Street, 203.432.5439, 203.432.1151
M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D.

R. Howard Bloch

Director of Graduate Studies
Rüdiger Campe

Professors Rolena Adorno, Roberto González Echevarría, Aníbal González-Pérez, K. David Jackson, Noël Valis

Assistant Professor Leslie Harkema

Senior Lector I Ame Cividanes

Fields of Study

Fields include Spanish Peninsular literature, Spanish American literature, Portuguese and Brazilian literatures.

The doctoral program offers: (1) a concentration in Spanish specializing in a single field of study (medieval, Renaissance/Golden Age, modern Spanish Peninsular, colonial Spanish American, contemporary Spanish American); (2) a joint concentration in Spanish and Portuguese offering the student the opportunity to work in both the Luso Brazilian and Spanish/Spanish American fields. In addition, the department participates in (1) a combined Ph.D. program in Spanish and Portuguese and African American Studies offered in conjunction with the Department of African American Studies and (2) a combined Ph.D. program in Spanish and Portuguese and Renaissance Studies offered in conjunction with the Renaissance Studies Program.

Special Admissions Requirements

Thorough command of the language in which the student plans to specialize and a background in its literature, as well as command of at least one of the three additional languages in which the student will need to fulfill requirements, are required.

Application must include GRE scores, a personal statement, and an academic writing sample in the language of the proposed specialization, not to exceed twenty-five pages in length. Students whose native language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Special Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

The department requires two years of course work, sixteen term courses, a grade of Honors in at least two of these courses each year, and a minimum grade average of High Pass. Course work includes two required courses, SPAN 500, History of the Spanish Language, and SPAN 790, Methodologies of Modern Language Teaching, and two courses taken outside the department. Also required are a reading knowledge of Latin and a second language, as well as a third language-literature minor, which may be Portuguese or another language-literature. (Students specializing in Spanish literature and opting to fulfill the language-literature minor with two courses in Portuguese may waive the requirement to take two courses outside the department.) 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 course SPAN 790 in the second year and teaching one section per term of a course in the beginning language sequence during the third and fourth years of study. Viewed as an integral part of the course of study for the doctorate, this program includes supervision by the director of the language program and course directors.

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 two of the three language requirements (Latin and one other language).


PORT 964a, Machado de Assis: The Literary WorldK. David Jackson

A study, in translation, of the novelistic world of J.M. Machado de Assis (1839–1908), considered the master of the Brazilian novel, examining his philosophical stance (skepticism and Menippean satire), narrative innovations (use of graphics, emblems, emptying content, etc.), social critique, encyclopedic referentiality, and contributions to modern prose. We read selected short stories and novels as well as critical essays and studies of Machado's five major novels (called "Carioca quintet"). Students with Portuguese may read in the original.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

PORT 970a, Fernando Pessoa, Inc.K. David Jackson

This course surveys the main facets of Pessoa’s works and considers the principal theories and interpretations of his complex literary universe. A reading knowledge of Portuguese is essential; however, students may supplement his texts with translations into English, Spanish, French, or Italian.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

SPAN 500b, History of the Spanish LanguageOscar Martin

The evolution of modern Spanish from spoken Latin, the origin and development of philology as the foundational discipline of literary studies, the rise of linguistics as a positivist field, the separation of linguistics from literary studies, and the fracturing of Romance studies into separate language and culture fields. In Spanish.
F 11am-1pm

SPAN 505b, The Subject in TheoryPaul North

M 3:30pm-5:20pm

SPAN 629a / CPLT 673a, Golden Age TheaterRoberto González Echevarría

The development and apogee of the Spanish comedia, as well as contemporary minor subgenres such as the auto sacramental and the entremés. Exploration of how the theater synthesizes post-Garcilaso lyric, the commedia dell’arte, renaissance epic, the romancero, Spanish history, and the European renaissance literary tradition. Works by Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, Guillén de Castro, Mira de Amescua, Juan Ruiz de Alarcón, Luis Quiñones de Benavente, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Comparison with English and French theater is encouraged.
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

SPAN 660a / CPLT 675a, El Quijote en españolRoberto González Echevarría

A detailed and contextualized reading of Cervantes’s masterpiece conducted entirely in Spanish. The study of this iconic text familiarizes students with its literary and cultural values and Cervantes’s language.
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

SPAN 700a, Contemporary Issues in Iberian and Latin American StudiesLeslie Harkema

The seminar introduces new Ph.D. students in the department to contemporary scholarship in the fields of Iberian and Latin American studies, with a focus on influential and acclaimed recent work in literary studies. Selections from several monographs and edited collections published within the last decade and a half are accompanied by discussion of the literary texts that these publications study and the theoretical frameworks that their authors employ. Students are encouraged to engage critically with both primary and secondary material in order to develop their own positions on the former and dialogue effectively with the latter. While much of the course material reflects the area of expertise of the professor (modern peninsular literary studies), students have the opportunity to explore their individual areas of interest, most especially in the preparation of the final project, a review essay on a topic of their choosing.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

SPAN 747b, Generation of '27: PoetryNoël Valis

The course examines the theory and art of vanguard writing. Readings include selected poetry of Pedro Salinas, Federico García Lorca, Rafael Alberti, and Luis Cernuda, along with Ortega y Gasset’s influential Deshumanización del arte and other texts. In Spanish.
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

SPAN 850a, The Literary Worlds of El Inca Garcilaso de la VegaRolena Adorno

The works of El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, especially Comentarios reales de los Incas and La Florida del Inca, are juxtaposed with those he translated, such as León Hebreo's Diálogos de amor, and read and cited, such as Alonso de Ercilla's La Araucana and José de Acosta's Historia natural y moral de las Indias. Counterpoints and contrasts from Spain, New Spain, New Granada, and viceregal Peru, including Pedro Calderón de la Barca's La aurora en Copacabana, Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora's Teatro de virtudes políticas, and Guaman Poma de Ayala's Nueva corónica, round out this seminar, which postulates that El Inca Garcilaso's writings stand at the center of the literary worlds that he and the others created, and transcend the New World and the Old, the Renaissance and the Baroque. Twentieth-century accusations against him for literary theft add a footnote that reveals his ongoing interest to today's postcolonialist readers. In Spanish.
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

SPAN 913b / CPLT 940b, Magical Realism and Its Sequels in Modern Latin American FictionRoberto González Echevarría

The course concentrates on the major writers who practiced what is called "magical realism"—Alejo Carpentier, Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, and others—after studying the trend's antecedents in the colonial, post-independence, and early twentieth century. The role of Jorge Luis Borges in the beginnings of magical realism, the works of writers such as Miguel Ángel Asturias and Juan Rulfo, and those of more recent writers who rejected the trend, such as Roberto Bolaño and Fernando Vallejo. The considerable critical corpus on the topic is studied. In Spanish.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

SPAN 937b, The Short Novel in Twenty-First-Century Spanish American NarrativeAníbal González Perez

Exploring possible motives for the rising interest in the short novel genre displayed by major authors of early-twenty-first-century Spanish American narrative, we discuss the various definitions and theoretical debates about the short novel genre, as well as the common artistic traits and concerns shared by today’s Spanish American fiction writers. Authors include César Aira, Mario Bellatin, Roberto Bolaño, Carmen Boullosa, Diamela Eltit, Santiago Gamboa, Rita Indiana Hernández, Yuri Herrera, and Valeria Luiselli.
Th 2:30pm-4:20pm

SPAN 991a, TutorialStaff

By arrangement with faculty.

SPAN 999b, TutorialStaff