Carleton College:
Spanish Department

CoursesCourses Faculty Info AcademicResources Off-Campus Study Spanish House

The Spanish section of the Romance Languages Department aims to serve majors and non-majors alike by offering courses of general interest and humanistic value to any student seeking a liberal arts education.

The primary objective of all Spanish courses numbered 1 through 6 is to impart the various skills necessary to use this language in the written and oral forms. However, consistent with this main objective, these courses also have a significant cultural and humanistic content.

Acquaintance with a foreign language is undoubtedly a useful tool - perhaps indispensable - to learn and appreciate a foreign culture. Likewise it greatly enhances the knowledge of our own language, which contributes to our ability to communicate.

North American students should not overlook the fact that Spanish is not only one of the two or three most widely used languages in the world, but that it is native to a very large sector of our own American population and coexists with English in a good third of the continental United States. Therefore, it is recommended for those students interested in social, racial and urban problems and affairs since Spanish is in all probability the foreign language most frequently used by minority groups.

As for the literature courses, they give us a sharper awareness of human nature with its deepest concerns, its problems and aspirations; they refine our sensitivity to our fellow men and women, to ourselves and to the world about us, thus making it possible to lead a fuller, more meaningful and human life. They are also meant to develop aesthetic sensitivity and give students an understanding of the various literary movements, genres and forms by analyzing specific representative works, and pointing out similarities, differences, relationships, and relevance to our society and our lives.

Literary masterpieces are analyzed not only for their aesthetic worth but as human documents that speak clearly of the social, political, economic, philosophical, religious, psychological, and cultural realities of the countries that produce them. In the study of peninsular Spanish literature every effort is made to relate our findings to the Latin American reality, as evidence of the Spanish cultural legacy to the New World.

Hispanic literature helps us to under stand several foreign cultures which, although similar to ours, also differ in many fundamental respects. It serves as a point of comparison with our culture and to enrich it.

Spanish and this cultural background can be a great asset to the future businessman or woman, executive, diplomat, foreign service of officer, teacher, politician, labor leader, researcher, or professional in any held working for an industrial firm with interests in Latin America or elsewhere in the vast Spanish-speaking world.

Courses in this department are basic to the Latin American Studies Program. So, any student interested in this area, either as a major or a concentration, may combine other fields of interest - government and international relations, history, sociology and anthropology, or economics - with courses in Spanish.

The Spanish section, Latin American Studies and the student group LASO bring to campus numerous events, including lectures, films, and drama and dance groups. Many outstanding authorities on Latin America and Spain have been to Carleton in recent years. Students have the opportunity to interact with them both on formal occasions and socially.

Carleton has its own program in Morelia, Mexico, a middle-sized city about equidistant from Mexico City and Guadalajara and in the strongest region of native peoples left in central Mexico. In addition to receiving intensive language instruction, students examine Mexican literature, civilization and culture and live with Mexican families. Carleton also jointly sponsors with other colleges and universities programs in Costa Rica and in Madrid, Spain. The Spanish House, directed by a resident who is a native speaker, offers an excellent opportunity for students to perfect their Spanish. There is also a Spanish table in a dining hall and a Spanish Club.

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Last modified: Monday, 22-Feb-1999 10:13:18 CST