May 24, 2019  
College Catalog 2012-2013 
College Catalog 2012-2013 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Hispanic and Latin American Studies

Full Time Faculty: Susana Blanco-Iglesias, Antonio Dorca, Galo González, Cynthia Kauffeld, Alicia Muñoz, Margaret Olsen (Chair), Ernesto Ortíz-Díaz

Part Time Faculty: María Chavarría, Blanca Gimeno Escudero, Teresa Mesa-Adamuz, Rosa Rull-Montoya, Leah Sand

Spanish and Portuguese are two of the most widely spoken languages in the world. There are more than 500 million native speakers of Spanish and Portuguese residing on five continents and in over 30 nations, including the United States, where the Census Bureau reports that more than 32 million households speak Spanish and over half a million speak Portuguese. They are languages and cultures of commerce and trade, history, science, art, and diplomacy, of persons who have helped shape the modern world both with magnificent accomplishments and enduring struggles.

Responding to the cultural richness of nations and peoples who speak Spanish and Portuguese, as well as to the opportunities and obligations arising from pressures of globalization, the department of Hispanic and Latin American studies has framed a threefold mission and curricular response. First, by teaching language skills, we enable our students to develop a strong and useful proficiency in Spanish and/or Portuguese, one that allows them to interact effectively with native speakers in the modes of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Second, we strive to refine critical thinking. Our students approach a variety of texts—literary, visual, and otherwise—and generate fruitful questions and interpretations, informed by multidisciplinary critical perspectives. Finally, our students examine a broad range of cultural expressions, historical patterns, and social issues to ensure that they will be conversant with matters pertinent to Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking persons, both abroad and at home.

The department of Hispanic and Latin American Studies at Macalester echoes the mission of the College to promote internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to society through teaching excellence, active scholarship, and civic engagement. Multidisciplinary by definition, we teach the languages and cultures of the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian world; we offer specialized courses in literature, linguistics, U.S. Latina/o studies, translation, and the visual arts. We believe in serving the Twin Cities communities through service learning, participation in local cultural life, and internships, thereby educating our students both intellectually and civically to become global citizens and the leaders of tomorrow.


Students may also take Portuguese within the department of Hispanic and Latin American Studies. Portuguese is the language of Brazil, the largest and most economically powerful nation in South America. In fact, there are more Portuguese speakers in South America than Spanish speakers. It is also the language of Portugal, five African nations, and numerous other enclaves in Asia and North America. Portuguese is spoken by more people around the world than German, Russian, French, Italian, or Japanese. Students of Spanish and Latin American studies are encouraged to study Portuguese in order to acquire valuable, complementary skills and to develop a more complete view of both Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula.

Career Orientation for Hispanic Studies Majors

A number of recent Hispanic Studies majors from Macalester College have pursued graduate work in Spanish language and literature, comparative literature, linguistics, Latin American area studies, international studies, international business, education, law, economics, and medicine. Some have entered careers in Spanish immersion elementary and secondary education, bilingual or special education, the U.S. Foreign Service, human rights organizations, and commerce. Others have begun their careers in the Peace Corps or Vista. To enhance their career opportunities, many have combined their Hispanic Studies major with complementary majors such as biology, economics, political science, anthropology, or history.

Casa Hispana (Hispanic House)

The department of Hispanic and Latin American Studies sponsors a residence next to the campus for students who are interested in living in a Spanish-speaking environment. Residents commit themselves to speaking only Spanish while in the house. Two native speakers of Spanish supervise the house and organize various activities such as community meals, lab events, movie nights, and celebrations of Hispanic culture. Residence is intended for students who have achieved at least an intermediate level of proficiency and want to improve it. Applications are accepted in March and November each year for fall residence and to fill any openings in the spring, respectively.

Study Abroad

Formal academic study in a Spanish-speaking country is a key element of the Hispanic and Latin American Studies program and useful to foreign language students in many ways. This is an opportunity that we recommend to all of our students, and it is a requirement for our majors. With prior approval of the department chair, up to two courses from study away programs may be counted toward the Hispanic Studies major or minor. All additional courses necessary to meet departmental graduation requirements must be taken on campus.

Macalester College has prepared students for study abroad in numerous programs and countries. For example, the School for International Training (SIT) programs in Managua (Nicaragua), Quito (Ecuador), and Cochabamba (Bolivia) offer students experiential field research opportunities in socio-political and economic affairs as they relate to peasants, city dwellers, indigenous populations, and women. A program run by Trinity College in Barcelona, Spain at the Universidad Pompeu Fabra invites students to pursue curriculum tracks in Iberian studies or studio arts. Direct enrollment at Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao, Spain, is available for those prepared to compete with native-speaking students. For those interested in a more intimate program in a smaller city, Macalester recommends Universitas Castellae in Valladolid, Spain. Students interested in pursuing more general liberal arts studies in identity, language and culture may choose one of the programs available through The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil or Guanajuato, Mexico. Other popular options include the University of Iowa (CIC) program on public health and environmental issues in the Dominican Republic, or the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA) program in Ecuador, which offers community internships and field research opportunities. Students of Hispanic & Latin American Studies have also recently studied in such places as Granada, Spain; Coimbra, Portugal; Puerto Rico; Costa Rica; Valparaíso, Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Belém, Fortaleza, Rio de Janeiro, and Saõ Paulo, Brazil. HECUA’s January program in Ecuador may be used to satisfy the course credit for 204. For more information on SIT, CIEE, HECUA or any of the many other programs available to students, please see the department’s website and the study abroad website of the International Center.

General Distribution Requirement

All Hispanic Studies courses count toward the general distribution requirement in humanities.

General Education Requirements

Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and multiculturalism will be posted on the Registrar’s web page in advance of registration for each semester.

Additional information regarding the general distribution requirement and the general education requirements can be found in the graduation requirements  section of this catalog.

Language Requirement

Students can fulfill the Macalester College foreign language requirement in Spanish or Portuguese in this department by completing one of the following: 1. A score of 620 or higher on the SAT II test, with listening component, upon entrance to the program. 2. A score of 4–5 on the Advanced Placement Test offered through high schools. 3. Successful completion of Macalester’s  HISP 204 , Intermediate Spanish II or HISP 220 , Accelerated Intermediate Spanish. 4. Successful completion of Macalester’s Portuguese language sequence through HISP 331 , Luso-Brazilian Voices: Conversation and Composition.

Students earn credit for HISP 101  and HISP 102  by scoring 5, 6, or 7 on the International Baccalaureate Exam. These students will still need to fulfill the above guidelines for the two-year language requirement.

Students will not receive credit for HISP 110  if they have previously taken or been awarded credit for HISP 101  and/or HISP 102 .

Students will not receive credit for HISP 220  if they have previously taken or been awarded credit for HISP 203  and/or HISP 204 .

Students are expected to satisfy the foreign language requirement through courses at Macalester, unless exceptional circumstances arise.

Students who fulfilled the language requirement by meeting the guidelines above must take HISP 305  before entering the sequence of courses further required for a major or minor in Hispanic Studies.

Honors Program

The Department of Hispanic Studies participates in the honors program. Eligibility requirements, application procedures and specific project expectations are available either from the department office or the Director of Academic Programs.

Topics Courses

HISP 194 , HISP 294 , HISP 394 , HISP 494 

Topics courses offer a variety of themes and approaches not found in our regular course offerings. Recent topics courses have included: Breaking Stereotypes of Latin American Women in Film and Fiction; Cultures of Peace and Violence; Gabriel García Márquez’s Works; Modern Brazilian Literature; Blood, Sex and Comedy in Early Modern Spain; History of the Spanish Language; U.S. Latina Literature and Visual Culture; Narratives of Independence: A Transatlantic Perspective; Consuming Culture: Latin American Literature and Consumer Culture. Prerequisite: varies. Offered fall and/or spring, depending on instructor availability, and announced at the time of registration. (4 credits)

Independent Study

The department offers independent study options in the form of tutorials, independent projects, internships, and preceptorships. For more information contact the department and review the Curriculum  section of the catalog.