SPAN 321 A: Introduction to Hispanic Literary Studies

Autumn 2022
TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm / SAV 139
Section Type:
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):

Spanish 321                                                               

Introduction to Hispanic Literary Studies                 

Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese Studies

Autumn 2022

Professor: Samuel Jaffee



Consultation hours: Mon/Wed, 10:30-11:20 am, in my office, B-230 Padelford Hall (in the B wing, second floor).  I hope you will make use of consultation hours.  It’s a chance to talk about the course, assignments, review the material, practice reading and writing, discuss your progress, study strategies, personal interests, academic and professional goals, or anything else you’d like to bring up.  You don’t have to have a “problem” or agenda to come in.  If you are unable to meet during this time, you’re welcome to make an appointment for another time.


Course description:


Spanish 321 is an introduction to the methods of analysis, discussion, and creative expression of ideas in literary texts—the short story, chapters of novels, theatrical works and performance, and the crónica (literary journalism) essay—from 21st century Latin America, mostly by the new generation of authors considered the most promising writers under 40.  Each week in class, we will take “una pausa poética” to creatively study poetry, including “videopoems” and artistic, musical, and performance poems.  We will discuss and debate aspects of written works and study characters’ identities ranging from the national culture to politics, socioeconomic class, ethnicity, religion, and gender identity.  Considering these questions of identities, knowledge, and power dynamics, you will learn the artistry of literature, as well as strategies and skills to read between the lines, think with characters’ life experiences, and form opinions and interpretations.  We’ll all work together to build collective intelligence kits using reasoning, memory, and imagination.  Students in the course will learn to identify the distinct elements that make up literary texts, recognize the characteristics of different genres, and offer considered interpretations of narrative, poetic, dramatic, expository, and performative works.  At the same time you will increase your ability to express yourself in the Spanish language, in spoken, written, and collaborative ways.  Methodology: close reading/serious noticing, passage analysis, argument and counterargument strategies, critical debates, literacy-based collaborative tasks, creative work.  You will be expected to challenge your abilities in argumentation, interpretation, critical thinking, and creative thinking, and be engaged discussants and generous collaborators in an intellectual class community.  The class is taught in Spanish, but you should feel free to speak in English if you think you can express a certain point better.  We are all here to listen to your ideas and help you.



This book contains most of the readings for the course: 

Bogotá 39: Nuevas voces de ficción latinoamericanas. Barcelona: Galaxia Gutenberg, 2018.  ISBN: 978-8417088835

Available for purchase at UW Bookstore and internet retailers.  Book is on course reserves at Odegaard Library (2-hr checkout period); you can scan the book and bring the scans to class.


Packet of readings: to be distributed in class and posted to Canvas, with the readings not in the book Bogotá 39.  The course calendar indicates Bogotá 39 or Paquete for each day’s reading.

Digital content: links will be published on Canvas.  Includes brief HW videos on all authors, guides for some homework readings, and all digital content seen in class.


A good, thick, well-edited academic Spanish-English dictionary is essential, required for this course, will enhance the versatility of your writing, and will support your success in academic writing in Spanish.  Bring your dictionary to all class meetings in order to consult it during group work, discussions, activities, and writing practice.  The University of Chicago, Merriam-Webster, Oxford, New World, Larousse and Harper-Collins dictionaries (any edition) are recommended.  University of Chicago dictionary is available for purchase at UW Bookstore.


Canvas course space:

  • Assignments” - submit homework “entradas” by 1:30 pm Tuesday and Thursday. See syllabus calendar for list of readings.  See Canvas Modules for instructions.
  • Modules” – handouts, reference documents, assignment instructions, links to content, etc. (may be added throughout the quarter)


Daily reading and homework routine (“entradas”):

To prepare for each class day you will see a brief video (a bio or profile of the author, or an introduction to the reading), read the material, choose an option to write your “entrada,” and publish it on Canvas (due 1:30 pm).  Most readings are 6-8 pages in length; a few are 10 pages.  See Canvas Modules for more details and instructions, and links to all digital content. 

Your lowest homework score will be dropped.  No late homework will be accepted.


Major assignments:

Oral: one “comienzo” to begin class (in pairs).

Written: one creative writing piece; three short interpretive essays; one final personal reflection.

See Canvas Modules for detailed instructions.  No late assignments will be accepted.



Tarea (“Entradas”)                                         20%

Producción oral (“Comienzos”)                     7.5%

Trabajo creativo & Interpretaciones #1-3      50% (12.5% each)

Reflexión personal final (“Salida”)               7.5%

Participación en clase                                     15%


A holistic grading scheme may be used:

A= Skills acquired and goals met (5 pts)

B= Needs reinforcement (4 pts)

C= In the process of being acquired (3 pts)

D= Not acquired (2 pts)

F= No content/no basis for evaluation (0-1 pts)


Scores will be converted using this grading scale:



Class Dynamic and Expectations: 

For my part, I’ll do all I can to make class, and homework assignments, as fun and interesting as possible.  Your part will be to participate actively, treat each other well, and—obviously—comply with the standard, essential classroom mechanics: come to class on time, with your book & notebook & pen, and do your homework completely and on time.  Please maintain a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere in the classroom—one in which your peers will be willing to use the Spanish language without fear of embarrassment or criticism.  Making errors is a natural and necessary part of language learning so you can learn from your mistakes.  Collegiality is also an important component of your education.  The primary purpose of holding class is the active exchange of ideas among all present.  What your peers say and do will teach you a great deal.  Their work and their interpretations deserve your attention, respect, and intervention.  Commitment to your own studies is likewise fundamental.  Your attitude, dedication, preparation, contribution, communication, attendance, and advance planning will define your commitment.  Class participation includes your contribution to class and small-group activities as well as your investment in the class dynamic.  Good participants take the time to reflect on the pertinent issues of the course, use circumlocution and speak exclusively in Spanish, make relevant and on-topic contributions to small-group and class discussions, stay on task during small-group activities, actively endeavor to create an atmosphere conducive to other students’ learning, and ask questions when they arise.  (They also eschew the use of their cellphones during class.)  In class, don’t worry about what you don’t know; try to find a way to use what you do know, or what you guess might be right, or even in the ballpark, and ask in Spanish for help where you need it.

Class participation rubric:

Note: Participation must be done in class, with your peers, but you don’t earn or lose “points” for showing up or not.  Therefore, there is no such thing as “earning points back” if you are not in class.  The following holistic rubric will help you to gauge the quality of your participation throughout the term:

A = Attends class regularly and makes a great effort to be always prepared.  Asks meaningful questions regularly.  Offers thoughtful comments or insights on readings that demonstrate the exercise of critical thinking.  Interacts with peers and stimulates further conversation and thought in all class activities, including writing.  Demonstrates a solid, nuanced understanding of course concepts and specific evidence from texts under discussion.

B = Attends class regularly and uses class to improve comprehension.  Asks meaningful questions regularly.  Offers comments or insights on readings.  Interacts with peers.  Participates actively and consistently in all activities, including writing.  Demonstrates an adequate understanding of course concepts.  May try to include evidence from texts under discussion.

C = Attends class sometimes and may be prepared or unprepared (e.g., without book).  Asks meaningful questions occasionally.  Offers comments sporadically and/or superficially.  Limited interaction with peers.  Participates in activities, including writing, but may not stay on task or give no significant contribution.  Demonstrates a marginal understanding of course concepts.  Rarely cites evidence from course texts.

D = Does not attend class regularly and/or is rarely prepared.  Asks meaningful questions rarely.  Offers little to no comments of relevance.  May or may not interact with peers or participate in activities, including writing.  Does not stay on task or gives no significant contribution.  Comes to class unprepared (e.g., without book).  Demonstrates a minimal understanding of course concepts.  Has difficulty in citing evidence from course texts.

F = Excessive absences hinder comprehension.  Little to no contact with course topics and material.  Limited or detrimental interactions with peers.  Rarely contributes to discussions and activities, including writing.  Does not stay on task.  Comes to class unprepared (e.g., without book).  Demonstrates a minimal understanding of course concepts.  Is unable to cite evidence from course texts.

Academic Dishonesty

All work submitted for the course must be in your own words and devised by consulting your dictionary, textbook, homework, and course materials.  The use of Internet translator programs (e.g., Google Translate) is prohibited and constitutes a form of academic dishonesty.  If you have questions about the proper and effective use of reference materials, consult me before completing the assignment.



If you have a permanent or temporary disability and may therefore have need for some type of accommodation in order to participate fully in this course, please feel free to discuss your concerns with me in confidence and be sure to contact Disability Resources for Students, 011 Mary Gates Hall, Box 352808, (206) 543-8924,


Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy (  Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (


Welcome to the course.  We’re delighted to have you study with us.

Let’s have a great quarter!

Catalog Description:
Acquaints the third-year student with elementary techniques of literary analysis, as applied to examples of narrative, poetry, and theater, within the context of the Spanish and Latin American literary traditions. Prerequisite: either SPAN 301 or SPAN 314, or SPAN 302, SPAN 303, SPAN 310, SPAN 315, SPAN 316, or SPAN 330, any of which may be taken concurrently. Offered: W.
GE Requirements Met:
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated:
May 23, 2024 - 6:46 pm