Back to: Spanish and Latin American Studies major Spanish and Latin American Studies major

Spanish students learn to speak the language of more than 25 countries and 350 million people. You will learn about the culture and histories of the largest Spanish-speaking nations and how the language has influenced cultures around the world.

By learning such a popular and influential language, you will open yourself up to a wide range of new career opportunities internationally. Exchange opportunities in Spanish-speaking countries are available.

Spanish language study at the University of Melbourne is also available in the Diploma in Languages.

Careers

  • Communications
  • Community development
  • Diplomacy
  • International relations
  • Multinational business
  • Teaching
  • Translation and interpretation

Subjects you could take in this major

  • This subject provides students with the necessary language and intercultural skills to communicate in every day personal situations in Spanish. Students are introduced to basic grammatical structures and vocabulary, which allow them to talk and write about the self. By the end of the semester, students will be able produce a number of descriptive, personal texts, such as emails, letters, and family profiles. Writing strategies, such as Spanish word order, combining sentences and use of bilingual dictionaries will assist in developing descriptive writing skills in Spanish. Students will also learn to converse about the self in a number of different informal situations. Important cultural information about interpersonal relations, notions of the family and home will enable students to communicate appropriately in this context. Students are also introduced to the diversity of the Hispanic World in this course and develop awareness and understanding of cultural identities throughout the Hispanic World. Students will work with authentic material such advertisements and short written texts in order to develop both this appreciation of the wide range of identities, which make up the Hispanic World and to further develop their reading and listening skills.

  • This subject equips students with more sophisticated language and intercultural skills to communicate about the self in Spanish in a wider social context. By the end of the semester, students will be able produce a number of texts, such as summaries and essays in the past about the self. Writing strategies, such as editing writing, summarizing ideas and making writing persuasive will assist in developing students’ writing skills in Spanish. Students will also learn to converse about the self in a number of different situations, which are increasingly less personal and more related to the world around us. Important cultural information about consumer culture, intimate relationships and working life in the Hispanic World will enable students to communicate appropriately in this context. Students continue to be exposed to the diversity of the Hispanic World in this course and develop a more sophisticated awareness and understanding of cultural identities throughout the Hispanic World. Students work with authentic material such as songs, advertisements and short written texts in order to develop both this appreciation of the wide range of identities, which make up the Hispanic World and to further develop their reading and listening skills.

  • This subject enhances students’ language and intercultural skills in Spanish. At the end of this subject students will be able to communicate about the self and others through reading and writing personal stories and learning how to describe emotions, places and people. They will become confident conversing in everyday informal and a few formal situations. Students will also learn about the Spanish speaking world and Hispanic cultures through reading newspapers and watching the news from different Spanish speaking countries. They will be introduced to literary stories and histories (from short narratives and videos) across a variety of culturally and politically significant topics. By the end of the semester, students will be able to use a variety of structures and vocabulary in the Spanish language including present and past tenses.

  • This subject equips students with more sophisticated language and intercultural skills to communicate about the self and other in Spanish in a wider range of social contexts. By the end students will be able to comprehend and produce a variety of personal stories. They will have the language skills necessary to describe emotions, places and people and to use language appropriate to everyday informal and an increasing number of formal situations. By reading newspapers and literary stories and watching the news and videos from different Spanish speaking countries they will learn to comprehend and write public stories. Students will also learn to give their opinion, participate in debates, evaluate and report on ideas in the Spanish language through engaging with culturally and politically significant texts from the Spanish-speaking world.

  • In this subject, students will continue to develop their linguistic and cultural competence in Spanish. They will also advance their skills in textual analysis, with a special focus on the long tradition of testimonial texts (testimonios), both in recent Spanish and Latin American history. Through the study of first-person narratives, students will learn how to create and use authentic Spanish and Latin American cultural materials. This will allow them to produce and defend their own first-person testimonies in the shape of both formal (class presentation of personal experiences) and informal contexts (personal blogs, etc.). Through these activities students will gain an appreciation of the cultural and historical realities that have shaped the Spanish and Latin American modern and contemporary world. They will develop an understanding of the principles of first person testimonies, and will learn how to present and articulate their own ideas, both in oral and written forms. In addition, students will become confident in the use of vocabulary, sentence and text structures utilised in different contexts (formal and informal), as presented in diaries and journal articles, short and long narratives, and visual texts.

  • The focus of this subject will be on the improvement of students’ oral and written language competence and the learning of textual study skills in Spanish, through the study of selected oral and written narratives. These particular texts are part of the long tradition of Spanish and Latin American short stories or historias. Their analysis will allow students not only to understand their textual structure, but also to create their own narratives both in formal contexts (short narration, news reporting, etc.) and informal contexts (blog entry and discussion, etc.). Additionally, students will gain an appreciation of the cultural, historical and literary realities that have shaped the Spanish and Latin American modern and contemporary world. In this subject students will become proficient in using complex sentence structures and verb forms. Students will also become confident in communicating their own literary ideas both in oral and written forms by using a variety of vocabulary, oral expressions and textual analysis skills.

  • In this course students learn about some of Europe’s most important cuisines and how they have been plated up for consumption in Melbourne. As an expression of identity, food is often used to support national and regional identity. In the first part of this course, students will consider the relationship between gastronomy and identity. Students will be introduced to a range of key culinary concepts and practices and the way we talk about them. Through analysis of some of the key features of French, German, Italian and Spanish cuisines, students will consider how these countries’ culinary profiles speak to wider socio-political issues such as authenticity, food and space, cultural practices and the history of food.

    In the second part of this course, students will consider issues of “authenticity” in the way cuisines are plated up for consumption in Melbourne. This will require students to interrogate their assumptions and expectations about European foods and to reflect on their personal experience of the “taste” of Europe.

  • Focusing on the interaction between cuisine and national identity in Spain and Peru, this subject will explore some important developments in the newly emerging field of Hispanic Cultural Food Studies. Studies of national cuisines have demonstrated a strong relationship between culinary preferences and cultural identities. This is certainly the case in Hispanic cultures, where cuisine is closely tied to identity. Whether during periods of nation-building, or associated with broader nation-branding projects, the promotion of gastronomic identities at different moments can offer an incredible array of insights. These range from the prescription and re-description of gender roles to processes of modernisation, from national renewal to questions of national boundaries. Culinary identities in Spain and Peru will also be examined in the context of regional rivalries, regional integration and post-colonial legacies.

  • This subject allows students to study key aspects of Hispanic culture, primarily through the analysis of specific literary texts and/or films. Students will also have the opportunity to study the development of Hispanic society. By the end of the subject, students should have been introduced to a number of literary texts and/or films in order to improve their standard of comprehension and to gain some understanding of the process of literary/cultural criticism. They should also have acquired the ability to examine critically various aspects of Hispanic history and culture.

  • This subject explores national identity in Europe in the modern era through studying the ‘making’ and ‘breaking’ of nations at key moments in Europe’s history such as the 19 th century, post-World War I and II, the break up of the Soviet Union and the expansion of the European Union. It introduces students to the national myths and legends of Western European countries such as France, Germany, Italy, and Spain as well as select countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Students will read stories of national beginnings and endings, tales of heroism and rebirth, nostalgia and hope, liberation and unity, taken from popular culture, songs, poems, drama and art. An enduring theme will be the ways in which a sense of national self emerges from direct comparison to perceptions of “others”, including Jews, women, the poor and peoples of other nations. Students will gain an appreciation of nation and national identity in Europe as a discursive process, and an understanding of the distinct national stories of a number of European countries.

  • European modernism refers to a wide range of experimental and avant-garde trends in literature and arts at the end of the 19th and early 20th century and has proven a major influence on current (Western) literature, film and the arts. This course introduces students to key themes of modernist literature, theatre, and film in Europe. The course familiarizes students with key writers and thinkers of this period and will address the ways in which they provoked their readers/viewers through new and complex forms and styles. Major themes comprise the crisis of representation, the representation of cosmopolitanism and urban cultural dislocation, consciousness and memory, and sexuality. (Students undertaking this subject will be expected to regularly access an internet-enabled computer.)

  • Spanish is the first language of 23 countries which span two continents and the second language in the United States of America. Using this diversity as a starting point, this subject expands students' understanding of and appreciation for Spanish-speaking cultures and communities through a selection of popular films, which are among the richest sources of cultural information. Using a historical framework, the movies are divided in themes steeped in cultural, historical and political significance. This subject allows students to sharpen their skills in listening, speaking, reading, writing and researching through an integrative learning experience that involves using the Spanish language to examine critically key cultural products and historical moments in the Hispanic World.

  • This subject examines the relationship between language and society in Europe. It focuses on issues of relevance in an increasingly integrated Europe in which European and other languages are in contact through migration, travel, business, and mass media, and in which English is taking on an important role as a lingua franca. The topics to be covered include: the relationship between majority and minority languages, dialects and the standard language. bilingualism and multilingualism. semi-communication. language planning at state and European levels. politeness and forms of address. and the status and influence of English.

  • The eye-witness account and the personal memoir offer powerful ways of exploring the human legacy of overwhelming historical events on individual lives. But how do literary genres like the memoir and autobiography manage to speak about unspeakable topics, how do they represent the unrepresentable and write about trauma? What is the function, and what the effect, of writing memory for the victim, for the reader, and for the perpetrator? How do the offspring of the victims and perpetrators "remember" their parents" traumas and shape memories of events they have only experienced second-hand? What is the relationship between fiction and memory in memoir writing and how do we read a testimonial of a Holocaust survivor that has been faked? This subject will introduce students to a selection of testimonial writing and films that tell individual stories of a shameful national past. It explores the effect of generic convention on the relation of history and memory, and the need for generic invention to speak trauma and tell the un-tellable. Its focus will be on the Holocaust, the Algerian War, and life under Eastern bloc communist regimes. This subject will focus on writing from France, Germany, and Italy in the first instance, but may from time to time include writing from other parts of Europe.

  • This study abroad subject will be taught in two places in Argentina over three weeks from 19th November to 10th December 2016.

    The dichotomy Civilisation vs Barbarism has been, since Sarmiento’s foundational essay entitled Facundo: Civilisation and Barbarism (1845), one of the guiding fictions of Argentine cultural history. Written at a time of cultural crisis, this founding binary would then rule the rest of Argentina’s history until today. This course will highlight these opposing sides, revisiting forgotten and forbidden stories, exploring ideas through immersion in real Argentina: a two-sided country, a place of contradictions. In the countryside, we will get to see the “barbaric” Argentina, the gaucho land, while learning about local legends, eating traditional food, and visiting places unknown to tourists. On the other side, in the “civilised” cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires, we will learn about its vibrant cultural life, architecture, music, politics, astonishing stories of censorship during the dirty war and the struggles in democratic times.

  • In the Hispanic World, music, literature and cinema generally respond to specific socio-political contexts. This course explores different forms of resistance. protest songs, disident social movements, alternative literature, cinema and artistic reactions to socio-political events. Each of the forms of expression selected for this course are explored within the socio-cultural space/time from which they emerge, telling stories of pain, loss and defeat but also the complexity and endurance of the resistance. Despite the racial, geographical, national, genre and ideological differences, all these cultural expressions share the constant search for identity and freedom.

  • A team-taught study of postwar European cinema during a period of intense political and social change. Students who complete this subject should be familiar with some of the major developments in cinematic representation in Europe from the early 20th century to the present. They should be able to relate the films studied to their national and European cultural and historical context.

    Note: This subject is taught in English.

  • This subject is aimed at enabling students to substantially advance in their Spanish language and cultural learning. The main focus of this subject will be the linguistic analysis of Spanish texts as presented in the main literary genres which have shaped the Spanish and Latin American cultural and literary universe. Students will learn advanced Spanish language structures such as the use of complex verbal forms (subjunctive mode), and complex sentence structures through textual analysis, essay writing, oral presentation and in-class discussion. Students will learn how to write research papers in Spanish and to do close readings of a variety of genres (such as narratives, theatre, poetry, essay and film). In this subject, students will improve their oral skills by presenting and defending short critical essays in class. Furthermore, their advanced knowledge of the Spanish language will be promoted by studying, analysing and understanding sophisticated Spanish and Latin American canonical and non-canonical texts, as presented in major literary movements and periods.

  • Issues related to gender and sexuality are key to understand social and cultural practices in Spain and Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas. In this subject such issues are explored in relation to their representation in cultural texts – including fiction literature, film and TV. Major themes to be explored include gender violence, gay marriage legislation, gender reassignment legislation, post-colonial feminisms, new masculinities, and sexism in language.

  • Since the early 1990s, the major national cinemas in the Spanish-speaking world (Spain, Mexico and Argentina) have undergone a deep renewal of both their industrial structures and their thematic/aesthetic traditions. The regained popularity of these cinemas in their own domestic markets and worldwide has also had a knock-on effect in their areas of influence – e.g. US films shot in Spanish, Spain’s Catalan-language cinema, national cinemas of smaller Latin American countries. This course explores current trends in Spanish-language film from a range of countries, including the three major national cinemas as well as a cross-section of minor and emergent cinemas. The course is taught n Spanish; all films will be screened in Spanish with English subtitles.

Entry requirements & Prerequisites

This major is available through more than one course, both of which have their own separate entry requirements.

You can read more on the the Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Arts Extended pages.