Dr. Cecilia Heydl-Cortínez

Spring 2003


Spanish 130

Iberian Culture and Civilization

Office: Room 203 ISTC

T & Th 10-11, W 9-10

Voicemail: 771-4151

e-mail: chc5@psu.edu

Web site: http://www.yk.psu/~chc5/

Textbooks required:

Eyewitness Travel Guides. Spain. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1996.

Hooper, John. The New Spaniards. London: Penguin Books, 1995.

Assigned readings from Spain: a History, ed. Raymond Carr, 2000, and The Buried Mirror, C. Fuentes, 1992, on reserve at the library. There are videos that accompany this text which are also on reserve at Penn State York library.

Selected videos related to Spanish culture. These videos are on reserve and may be watched on a VCR in the library.


The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the Iberian Civilization: its people, Spanish life and culture from the earliest settlers, through the Middle Ages and the Golden Age to present-day Spain. We shall study this country’s diverse society (Christians, Jews and Moslems) as well as its distinctive regions and ethnic groups: Catalonia, Andalucía, the Basque country, Galicia, Castile, and Asturias. Students will learn to appreciate Art and architecture in Spain (El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Gaudí, Dalí, Miró, and Picasso). They will also research and discuss Spanish traditions and festivals (some examples are Holy Week in Seville, the Medieval pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, and Bullfighting). We will explore traditional Spanish music and dance (Flamenco, Sevillanas, Cante Jondo, Rodrigo and M. de Falla), modern poetry and drama (Federico García Lorca), and Spanish film. Students will not only study Spain from a historical and intellectual perspective but will also be made aware of customs and social aspects which differ from their own. We will be reading about and discussing contemporary life in Spain (women’s issues, the new democracy and the monarchy, family values, student life in Spain, among others).


Students will be using basic computer skills: e-mail, searching for information on the Internet, and the use of PowerPoint for student presentations. Students will learn how to communicate effectively both in writing and orally. Class discussions and analyses on various cultural issues will teach students critical-thinking skills as well as a better understanding of another culture. In April we will be taking a fieldtrip to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC for a first-hand appreciation of Spanish masters such as Goya, El Greco, Zurbarán, Picasso and Dalí. I groups of two or three, students will be asked to watch and present a Spanish subtitled movie, discussing any cultural issues observed.


Grade distribution:

Class participation






PowerPoint presentation


Group project




Grading scale:


93% and above






















Class participation:

The format of the class includes lecturing, group discussion, student presentations, oral reports and discussion on readings and films, quizzes, exams, and a final group written project. Students are responsible for all reading assignments and are expected to come to class prepared for active participation in a discussion. We have a good collection of Spanish videos in our York library. In pairs, students will be asked to watch a Spanish subtitled movie and give a brief class commentary on reactions, cultural issues, etc.



Since participation will be graded, no more than three absences (three class periods, or two days of class) will be allowed during the semester. If you are unable to attend class for a quiz, exam, fieldtrip or student presentation, I need to receive a message either on my voicemail or by e-mail, before class. You should have a documented excuse if you want to make up that assignment. Further absences after the three allowed will affect a student’s final grade by having one percentage point taken off per absence. On Thursday, April 17, we will be taking a fieldtrip to Washington, DC. Buses will leave the campus at 8am and return around 4:30 pm. All students are required to attend this fieldtrip, which is part of your class participation. You will be excused from other classes you may have that day, but it is your responsibility to get notes and homework from those courses. In Washington we will visit the Spanish painters section at the National Gallery of Art, and other exhibits available. You will have an assignment and a short paper to write after the trip.

Quizzes and Exams:

There are three quizzes and two exams in this course. There is no final exam. Instead, students will be presenting their group research project to the class.


Students will choose a subject from a provided list and will be responsible for doing research and giving the class a 7-10 minute multimedia PowerPoint presentation on the subject chosen. This is an individual presentation and you must be ready for your presentation on the date assigned. You should have at least eleven slides in your presentation (one of which will list your sources) and any pertaining images to better illustrate your topic.


Group project:

During the latter part of the semester there will be a group project presentation. Each group (four or five students) will choose a region of the Iberian Peninsula and various topics pertaining to that area. For example, let’s say a group has chosen Portugal/Galicia. Each student in the group will do research and a presentation on a topic he/she has chosen related to the region. Some examples of these topics could include: a historical summary of Portugal, the Age of Discovery, Lisbon and its major attractions, Portuguese music: Fado, cultural similarities and differences with Spain, a major artist (writer, poet, painter, musician), philosopher or political figure from this region, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, contemporary social issues related to Portugal, the recent oil spill on the coast of Galicia and its ecological effects. These are just a few examples of possible topics. I am open to suggested areas of interest; my goal is to see every student motivated by his/her research. Group topics need my approval and I will be discussing bibliography and various subject themes with each group. I do not want you to give me a list of numbers and facts such as provided by the CIA database of countries nor do you want to model a tourist information website. As a starting point, students are responsible for thinking of subject areas of their interest, and looking at sources available in our York library, through interlibrary loan, and on the WWW.  I highly encourage students to get their groups together and begin research early on in the semester. My web page for this course may serve as a guide or springboard to other Spanish sites. Students must be able to evaluate websites and distinguish reliable sources (i.e academic vs. non-academic personal pages) when sites are included in their bibliography.

Your group project consists of an oral class presentation of the research as well as a written report handed to me. Each student will have about 8-10 minutes for his/her class presentation. Basically, a group presentation with five students in it will take 40-50 minutes. The group will be using PowerPoint so as to provide visual images and better highlight its conclusions. The written group paper (five students) should follow the MLA format and its length should be approximately 20 double-spaced pages (size 12 font), not including the title page and bibliography. It is the group’s responsibility to give a cohesive written presentation of the various topics to be discussed. Your bibliography must show a variety of sources: journal articles, books, periodicals, and websites. An extremely useful resource for your research is Penn State’s LIAS database, from which you can obtain articles and interlibrary loan books. For each paper topic (assuming there are five in the group) I expect at least six bibliographical sources, per student, only two of which may be websites. Students in the group are allowed to share some bibliographical sources (e.g different chapters from a book on Portugal) but I expect to see a serious effort at good research. You will be given some in-class time to work on your group project, but you will also need time to discuss with your group out of class, either in person or via e-mail. Students are encouraged to communicate amongst each other and with me through group e-mail. Students are responsible for discussion and a critique on the reports of their group members. You will be quizzed on the material presented by each group, so good notes must be taken during presentations. There will also be a final student evaluation on the collaborative work of each member in the group.

Some regions and possible topics you may want to start investigating are: Portugal/Galicia (subjects mentioned above), the Basque country, (the Basque language and traditions, Ignatius of Loyola: a Basque saint, a separatist region, the significance of Guernica, ETA and Basque politics, Unamuno, the sculptor Chillida), Central Spain (The Spanish Inquisition, Spain as a member of the European Union and NATO, the role of Spanish women in post-Franco Spain, contemporary Spanish cinema (Saura, Almodóvar, Buñuel), Jewish Toledo, Segovia, architecture in Madrid, mystic poets from Avila, Salamanca as a university town), Andalusia (Spanish gypsies, Sepharad and the Jewish presence in Spain during the Middle Ages, Islamic influence in architecture, language, and science, Daily life in the the Golden Age, García Lorca: Andalusian poet and playwright, The Moroccan Immigration issue,  contemporary events and social issues), Catalonia and Valencia (Barcelona: city of progress and culture, Gaudí’s architecture, Catalonian avant-garde artists, separatist politics, Hemingway and Spain, The Spanish Civil War, Catalan language and pride, Dalí in Figueres and Cadaqués, contemporary issues and events). The Balearic and Canary Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, historical and anthropological background, geography, Benito Pérez Galdós (native Canary 19th century novelist), current events and social issues. These are some possible topics. I would like you to think of your special interests and how these may be applied to a research paper on Spanish culture. If, for example, you're majoring in social sciences, you may want to study a social aspect of Spain. However, if you are a film buff, you could choose a film director or genre of movies and make an analysis and /or comparison of films. Similar possibilities exist for students interested in politics, business, education, health care, history, literature, etc.

 E-mail accounts: All students must have a Penn State NT account as well as an e-mail account. At times we will be working in the computer labs and you need access to these computers. I also encourage students to communicate with one another and with me via e-mail regarding reactions to material discussed in class, comments on readings, or any other issues you may wish to discuss.



Academic integrity:

In accordance with Penn State University Senate Policy 49-20, plagiarism, cheating, submitting work of another person, and other forms of academic dishonesty may lead to lowered course grades, failure of the course or more severe measures, depending on judgements of the gravity of the individual case. See http://www.psu.edu/dept/oue/aappm/G-9.html

University Policy on Disabilities: Any student with a documented disability who requires individualized accommodations is encouraged to make an appointment to see me or to meet with staff in the Learning Center.





Tentative Syllabus





January 14

Introduction. The Iberian Peninsula.

 Choose topic for presentation.


Spain on the map. Prehistoric Spain. Romans and Visigoths.  The Caves of Altamira.


Pages 10-19, 43-47, 108


Read Chap. 2: “The Conquest of Spain”, The Buried Mirror. (on reserve in library)


Córdoba and the Mezquita.


Al Andalus: Muslim Spain




Students present "Seville" video from the library.


Granada: The Alhambra and the

Generalife gardens. Moorish architecture.





Chap.3 “The Reconquest of Spain”, The Buried Mirror. (on reserve in library)


The Reconquest of the Christians.

Northern Spain. The Road to Santiago de Compostela, Galicia.



70-71, 78-90

"An Act of Faith" video from library .


         *** Quiz 1***

1492. The Catholic Monarchs. The Golden Age.    

The Spanish Inquisition.                                                                                                           

Choose groups and tentative topics for research project.



Read Chapter 4: “1492 The Crucial Year”, The Buried Mirror.

Feb 4

Philip II. El Escorial

Reformation and Counter Reformation


“The Age of Gold” video (from The Buried Mirror series)

Read Chap. 5, p.132-151, Spain: a History.


Rise and Fall of the Spanish Colonial Empire



Read Chap. 6, Spain: a History.

"Toledo and El Escorial" video from library



The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. The Art of Bullfighting in Spain. 



"Viva San Fermin" video from library.

Read Ch. 25 from The New Spaniards (TNS)


Group discussion. Review for exam



*** Exam 1 ***



The Prado Museum in Madrid

The Arts of Spain: El Greco,


Outline and bibliography of group project is due.


28-29. Presentation of “El Greco” and “Velázquez” videos from library.


Francisco de Goya                                                      


Read Ch. 10: “The Age of Goya”, The Buried Mirror.                                                             58-59                                                             "Goya" and “Goya in Bordeaux” videos from library.


Salvador Dalí,

Madrid museums: Thyssen-Bornemisza, Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.                Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso.

205, 274-5, 278-9, 288-9

"Dalí" and “Picasso” videos from library.

March 4

The city of Barcelona

Gaudí and Modernisme. Antoni Gaudí (architecture)                           


134-149. Presentation of "Gaudí" and “Barcelona” videos from library .


Spanish Film: Buñuel, Dalí.        Surrealism and Film: "Un chien Andalou". ( Buñuel and Dalí, 1929).                             

First draft of paper is due. Discussion and peer review of first draft.


No classes. SPRING BREAK




 Spanish film: Saura, Almodóvar.

“La movida  in Madrid.

Groups hand in first draft of project.


The New Spaniards,  Ch 24


 The city of Madrid

The Second Republic and The Spanish Civil War. Franco.

 60-63, 260-276,

"Madrid" video from library .

Read Chap. 9, p. 243-266, Spain: a History.


Valley of the Fallen. Franco’s legacy.

Socialist Spain.



"The Spanish Civil War" videos from library.

Chap. 9, p.266-282, Spain: a History.


 *** Quiz 2 ***

Juan Carlos Bourbon: a modest monarch. Coming to terms with freedom: "el destape"                       

TNS Ch 7

TNS Ch 10

April 1

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.    

Relative values.                        

TNS Ch 11

TNS Ch 12


Holy Week in Seville

The Spirit of the New Spain 

Spanish music and dances:Flamenco, Cante Jondo.                                   Joaquín Rodrigo, Manuel de Falla, Andrés Segovia, Paco de Lucía, Camarón de la Isla. 

TNS Ch 6 


"Flamenco" and "El Amor Brujo" videos from library.



Spanish fiestas. Family and customs.

Religion and the Church.  Group project discussion. Review for exam.

 The New Spaniards, Ch 9

Present "The Virgin and the Bull" video of The Buried Mirror series.


 *** Exam 2 ***



 *** Trip to Washington ***

Work on assignment for a paper on Spanish paintings.


Group presentations.

  Groups hand in final copy of paper


Group presentations.



Group presentations.



Group presentations.


May 1

*** Quiz 3 *** Group evaluations and discussion.

National Art Gallery paper due.