The Department of Spanish provides two programs designed to deepen students’ understanding of cultural difference and diversity: a language program that fulfills the all-College distribution requirement in foreign language and an academic major program.
In its commitment to the study of world languages, the Department of Spanish strives to prepare students for active engagement in the Spanish-speaking world, both within the United States and abroad. Our language courses facilitate oral and written communication by presenting grammar in a cultural context. The language classroom provides a space for students to appreciate cultural connections and differences and to grow into their role as global citizens.
The academic major program offers a course of study in Spanish, Latin American, and U.S. Latinx literature and culture. Spanish majors attain depth and breadth of literary and cultural knowledge across historical periods and geographical areas.
The program is committed to promoting greater critical awareness of the differentials of power that perpetuate social injustice and inform cultural and cross-cultural assumptions. Students acquire the skills to become close readers and critical thinkers and to explore different modes of cultural production within specific social, political, and historical contexts. Our pedagogical goal is to prepare students to be productive critics of the world beyond the texts. To that end, students examine the ways in which different texts challenge or affirm aesthetic conventions and dominant social narratives, including race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, and imperialism. In the process, our majors are encouraged to analyze the connections among systems of domination and to develop as scholars and promoters of social justice.
Achievement Test: Students seeking entrance credit in Spanish and wishing to pursue Spanish at Colby must have taken the AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam or must take the Colby online Spanish placement exam during summer prior to making their course selections for the fall semester.
Requirements for the Major in Spanish
Spanish majors will successfully complete a minimum of 9 courses: our three core courses (Spanish 135, 231, and the senior seminar) as well as 6 literature, culture, or film electives at the 200- and 300-levels. Students who begin their studies in the Spanish language sequence (SP125/126/127) or in SP127H have reduced major course requirements, completing our three core courses as well as 5 major elective courses. Majors must take one course in the department each semester. Independent study work does not replace required courses.
The courses within our major are structured with an eye on differentials of power and inequality across and within cultures. For this reason, Spanish majors complete two electives in each of the following categories: (1) culture and identity, or courses that analyze how race, ethnicity, and/or cultural identity operate and move across cultures and/or States; (2) gender and sex, courses which focus on issues of gender, sexuality, and sex within a particular cultural context; and (3) health and environment, courses that study global environments and our lived, physical experience of the world. Please note that a course taken in the Spanish Department may fulfill no more than one elective requirement, and that SP135 does not count towards the major electives.
Given the intercultural and multicultural focus of the department’s curriculum, majors are strongly advised to spend a semester or academic year studying abroad in their third year. A minimum grade point average of 2.7 is required to retain the Spanish major and for permission to study abroad. Students who study abroad will enroll in programs that offer university-level courses (not in a language acquisition program), and all course work abroad must be conducted in Spanish. All study-abroad plans for students majoring in Spanish must be approved in advance by the Spanish major advisor and the department chair. Eligibility prerequisites for Spanish majors to study abroad include the completion of Spanish 135 and Spanish 231 with a grade of C or better.
The following statements also apply:
- The point scale for retention of the major is based on all Spanish Department courses numbered above 132.
- No major requirements may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.
- Majors must take at least one course in the department each semester, and must receive a grade of C or better for any course to count toward the major.
- No more than the equivalent of three semester courses of study abroad credit may be counted toward the major per semester abroad, or five semester courses per year abroad.
- No more than the equivalent of four transfer credits may be counted toward the major.
Honors in Spanish
Students majoring in Spanish with a 3.7 major average or better and an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher may apply for admission to the honors program by the end of their junior year. Permission is required; interested juniors should contact their potential thesis advisors and go over guidelines established by the department. Successful completion of the work of the honors thesis and of the major will enable the student to graduate with “Honors in Spanish.”