The Spanish-Speaking World: Cultural Crossings

Fall Open
Class Standing
Hugo Flores
Alice Nelson
Catalina Ocampo
Spain and Latin America share not only the Spanish language, but also an intertwined history arising from dynamic, sometimes violent encounters, shaped by uneven power relationships and vibrant resistance. In this program, focused on the culture, politics, and history of Latin America, students will engage in intensive Spanish language study and explore cultural production by Latin American and U.S.-based Latinx communities in historical context. Each week includes seminars on readings in English (or Spanish for Advanced Spanish language students), Spanish language classes at the appropriate level, a lecture in Spanish, and a workshop or film.  Writing assignments include seminar responses, synthesis essays, and some creative work.  Note: all Spanish language classes are integrated into the program—students do not have to register for them separately. We welcome students with any level of Spanish, from beginner to advanced. (For only Advanced/Advanced Intermediate students who need to enroll part-timewe offer an 8-credit option that includes just the Spanish classes and Spanish lecture; speak with faculty for more information- signature permission to register for this option is required). 

Fall quarter will explore cultural encounters in Latin America prior to the 20th century and lay the conceptual foundations for work in subsequent quarters. After a brief look at medieval Spain, we will examine violence against indigenous and Black peoples during Spain's process of imperial expansion, its subsequent decline as an empire, and how colonial institutions were contested by diverse thinkers and social movements, concluding with Latin America's struggles for independence in the 19th century. 

Winter quarter will turn to the 20th and 21st centuries, considering multiple perspectives on iconic historical and cultural events.  We will explore some of the following: transitions to democracy in the contexts of authoritarianism, neoliberalism, resistance and memory in the Southern Cone; revolutionary movements, indigenous communities, and the challenges of peacemaking and social transformation in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Colombia; immigration to the U.S.; and ways that intersectional feminist lenses complicate and enrich our understandings of the aforementioned contexts. In each case, we will explore the interrelationships between politics and cultural production, and how literature and the political imagination impact processes of social change. In winter, students may choose between a creative/research project or community work. The creative/research project option allows students to investigate an area of interest, preferably connected to their spring quarter plans. The community work is intended to build cross-cultural skills.

Spring quarter offers an option for study abroad in Mexico, or, for students staying in WA, ongoing classes plus an internship option. Our study abroad in Mérida, Mexico is coordinated with the HABLA Language School and Culture Center, and is open to 15 or more students of all language levels: the program includes immersive language-learning, field trips around the Yucatán peninsula, and work with local community organizations. For students staying in WA, the program will have an on-campus core of Spanish classes and seminars focused on Latinx communities in the U.S., and the opportunity for student-originated projects and/or internships with organizations supporting Latinx and immigrant communities. All classes during spring quarter, in Olympia and abroad, will be conducted entirely in Spanish. 


Signature Required

Admission will be based upon a Spanish language assessment. Please contact faculty at Academic Fair (Fall 2022) or via email ( and for more information. 

Course Reference Numbers
So - Sr (16): 20148
Signature Required

Admission will be based upon a Spanish language assessment. Please contact faculty at Academic Fair (Winter 2022) or via email ( and for more information. 

Course Reference Numbers
So - Sr (16): 30149

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 10061
So - Sr (1 - 16): 10064

Academic Details

Latin American and international studies, literary and cultural studies, Spanish language, politics, history, education, writing, and human and social services. 


$150 fee for fall and winter quarter for field trips. Students studying abroad in Mexico should consult study abroad fees. 

Winter and spring quarters offer possibilities for creative or research projects (optional).

Students remaining on campus spring quarter may intern with organizations serving local Latinx communities. Students must complete an in-program Internship Learning Contract in consultation with the faculty and Academic Advising. For more information about developing in-program internships, see Evergreen web pages for Individual Study and for the Center for Community-Based learning and Action.


In Person (F)
In Person (W)
In Person (S)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Schedule Details
SEM 2 E3105 - Workshop

This program offers students at all levels of Spanish language learning the opportunity to study abroad in Mérida, Mexico over the spring quarter. Students will be in Mexico for the 10 weeks of the spring quarter. Study abroad in Mexico includes language classes at HABLA Language School and Cultural Center, field trips, readings and seminar on Mexican history and culture, field trips around the Yucatán peninsula, community work with a local organization, and a homestay with a local family (all meals included). For students to whose to do the study abroad program in Mexico, costs are approximately $7650 in spring quarter.

Special Expenses: $2,000 (Estimated expenses students will cover themselves to pay for airfare, additional meals and activity expenses not included in program expenses, health insurance and immunizations, passport fees, and optional in-country transportation and lodging)

Required Student Fee: $5,500 (Fee covers lodging with homestay family, meals provided by homestay family, language classes and academic expenses, field trips and excursions, and costs for required activities)

Administrative Fee:  $150 (Nonrefundable deposit to cover administrative costs of running study abroad)




Date Revision
2023-02-02 Study Abroad fee adjusted to reflect reduction in required administrative fee.
2022-05-11 This program is now in-person (was hybrid)