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 Santiago Acosta, Alexandra Cook (Visiting), Aníbal González-Pérez, K. David Jackson, Nicholas R. Jones, Olivia Lott, Noël Valis, Jesús Velasco, Aurélie Vialette, Lisa Voigt

Senior Lecturer II Alex Gil

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, Early Modern Studies, Film and Media Studies, History of Art, Medieval Studies, and Philosophy, 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 Early Modern Studies offered in conjunction with the Early Modern 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 coursework, a grade of Honors in at least two of these courses each year, and a minimum grade average of High Pass. Coursework 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 Early Modern Studies

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese also offers, in conjunction with the Early Modern Studies Program, a combined Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese and Early Modern Studies. For further details, see Early Modern 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 652a / CPLT 657a, Clarice Lispector: The Short StoriesKenneth David Jackson

This course is a seminar on the complete short stories of Clarice Lispector (1920–1977), a master of the genre and one of the major authors of twentieth-century Brazil known for existentialism, mysticism, and feminism.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

PORT 970a, Fernando Pessoa, Inc.Kenneth 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.
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

SPAN 744a, The Spanish Civil War: Words and ImagesNoel Valis

An introduction to the history and cultural and literary impact of the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), through 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 outside,” women in war, and the memory of war. Authors include George Orwell, Ernest Hemingway, Javier Cercas, Mercè Rodoreda, Julio Llamazares, Ramón J. Sender, and others; films: The Spanish Earth, The Good Fight, El laberinto del fauno, Rojo y negro; arte: Guernika (Picasso), El rostro de la guerra (Dalí), war posters. In Spanish.
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

SPAN 780a / CPLT 507a / ER&M 647a, Biopolitics in the Carceral Archipelago: The Case of the PhilippinesAurelie Vialette

This seminar examines the racial, ethical, political, environmental, and social implications of the penal colonization process in the Philippines. We analyze archival documents (manuscripts) from the Philippines and engage with theoretical and historical texts on prison labor, racial capitalism, ecocriticism, indigenous studies, carceral studies, gender studies, and law and the humanities. Overseas incarceration was a method employed by empires to dispose of criminals, the poor, sex workers, and vagrants. In the Philippines (a Spanish colony until 1898), the dispossession of indigenous people of their land and the implication of intensive farming were also consequences of the colonial project. We see that labor and procreation were crucial to the project of using prisoners to build the colonial structure and strengthen the Spanish presence in the archipelago. We discover the centrality of this transnational and transhistorical approach to understanding the contemporary treatment of imprisoned people. Spanish reading knowledge is required.
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

SPAN 790b, Methodologies of Modern Language TeachingJorge Méndez-Seijas

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.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

SPAN 865a / CPLT 895a, Translation in Latin American and Latinx LiteratureStaff

Involving languages, cultures, nations, and publishing markets of varying power, translation is a highly charged zone where hierarchies may be established, reinforced, or toppled. This graduate seminar offers an overview of how translation has functioned, in site-specific fashion, as theoretical program and experimental mode within “original” Latin American and the US Latinx literatures. We examine texts from much of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that engage translation (interlinguistic, intralinguistic, intersemiotic) as trope, form, or material apparatus. These featured works include pseudotranslations, unreliable self-translations, transcreations, translingual texts, and fictions with translator-protagonists. We read these materials alongside essential theory and criticism that surface distinctly Latin(x) American itineraries for translation and that provide students with an analytical toolbox for attending to translation in original and unoriginal writing alike. This course is taught in English, with materials provided in the original Spanish or Portuguese when available.
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

SPAN 904a / CPLT 965a / ER&M 681, Latin American Political Thought I: Neocolonial, Anticolonial, Decolonial: 1800–1930Moira Fradinger

This seminar consists of two parts. The first part is taught in the fall and the second one in the spring. The year-long plan introduces students to two centuries of Latin American political thought in the form of social and literary essays produced since the times of independence. It studies how Latin American writers and politicians have theorized the political/cultural heritage of the colony. The fall seminar starts with the Haitian constitution and contemporary Haitian authors who assess the legacy of the Haitian revolution. It ends with the anarchist movements and socialist thought of the turn of the twentieth century. The second part (spring) starts with the 1930s and the rise of populism and ends with writings on current indigenous movements across the region. The fall engages nineteenth-century debates over “American identity” that were foundational to the newly constituted nation-states (authors include Bolívar, Lastarria, Alamán, Martí, Sarmiento, Echeverría, Hostos, Montalvo,Burgos, Rodó, da Cunha, Mariategui, Gonzalez Prada, Zapata). The spring explores twentieth-century debates over cultural independence, the movement of “indigenismo,” mestizaje, transculturation and heterogeneity, the Caribbean movement of “negritude,” the metaphor of “cannibalism” to account for the cultural politics of the region, concepts such as “internal colonialism” and “motley society,” and the polemics over the region’s capitalist modernity and postmodernity (authors include  Ortiz, Moreno Fraginals, Lezama Lima, Vasconcelos, Reyes, de Andrade, Antenor Orrego, Zapata, J.L. Borges, J.M. Arguedas, Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, Caio Prado Júnior, Jean Price-Mars, Jacques Roumain, Aimé Césaire, George Lamming, C.L.R. James, Fanon, Léon Damas, Paulo Freire, Angel Rama, Retamar, Edmundo O’Gorman, Antonio Candido, Darcy Ribeiro, Pablo González Casanova, León-Portilla, R. Kusch, René Zavaleta Mercado, A. Quijano, Rita Segato, Bolívar Echeverría, Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Viveiros de Castro). Weekly sessions are conducted in Spanish, and most of the readings are Spanish, French, and Portuguese materials (with a few Anglo-Caribbean sources). Students are provided with English translations if they prefer and are allowed to write their papers in English.
T 7pm-8:50pm

SPAN 919a, Modernismo: Literatura, periodismo, filologíaAnibal González-Pérez

A comprehensive study of the first autonomous Spanish American literary movement and its foundational role in modern Spanish American literature. Modernismo's cosmopolitanism and its relation to the discourses of philology, journalism, and literature are examined through readings of modernista poetry, novels, short stories, essays, and crónicas. Authors include Delmira Agustini, Rubén Darío, Manuel Díaz Rodríguez, Julián del Casal, Enrique Gómez Carrillo, Manuel Gutiérrez Nájera, Julio Herrera y Reissig, Enrique Larreta, Leopoldo Lugones, José Martí, José Enrique Rodó, José Asunción Silva, and José María Vargas Vila. In Spanish.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm