A Holistic Experience

A classroom- and place-based course, Studies in Contemporary Spanish Literature and Film offers students with rich understanding of Spain and its culture.

July 11, 2022

Modeled on a first- or second-year master’s level course, Studies in Contemporary Spanish Literature and Film (SPN 385) is excellent academic preparation for graduate school in any writing-intensive discipline. This upper-level seminar has several objectives, including improving your Spanish reading comprehension, oral production, and writing. In addition, you’ll gain experience working with secondary sources and writing an advanced research paper.

Beyond those goals, the course also seeks to familiarize you with contemporary Spanish historical, political, and literary contexts that will add depth to your understanding. These could include Spain’s transition to democracy in 1978 or the effects of globalization, tourism, and membership in the European Union on the country.

Bridging the gap between the texts and Spain’s cities and citizens is a priority of this course, which includes an embedded travel portion. This allows you to gain a richer understanding of the material.

“I hope to show students the connections between the literary worlds we will study and the actual Spanish cities and people that inhabit them,” says Nick Phillips, associate professor and chair of the Spanish department. “This is especially critical this year, as none of my current students have been able to study abroad prior to this class.

“I’m very excited to see how students will blend the classroom objectives with the place-based learning objectives during our Spring Break trip to Spain,” he adds.

You can also expect to become familiar with detective fiction, a defining genre for the country, as well as its impact on contemporary Spanish literature.

“Past students have shown a great appreciation for the study of detective fiction because the format is accessible and familiar to many young readers, while still allowing for a very realistic and contemporary portrayal of Spain — especially urban spaces such as Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville,” says Phillips.

Given the course’s abundant textual analysis, digital tools, and group collaboration, the class also prepares you for professional settings that require teamwork and collaboration contributing toward a common goal.

The varying elements of Studies in Contemporary Spanish Literature and Film work together to create a holistic and rewarding course that reflects the complexity and integration of the liberal arts philosophy.

“The course combines several different fields in our daily work: literature, cinema, history, cultural studies, digital studies, and political science — among others,” Phillips says. “I had one student, Saketan Anand, who became fascinated with digital mapping. We worked on a Mentored Advanced Project following the completion of the course and were able to develop a website with digitally mapped Spanish detective novels that I continue to use in my teaching today.”

Learn more about studying Spanish at Grinnell

We use cookies to enable essential services and functionality on our site, enhance your user experience, provide better service through personalized content, collect data on how visitors interact with our site, and enable advertising services.

To accept the use of cookies and continue on to the site, click "I Agree." For more information about our use of cookies and how to opt out, please refer to our website privacy policy.