From “Spanish” to “Hispanic Studies”

In fall 2020 the Department of Spanish at Bates College became the Department of Hispanic Studies. The name change is intended:

  1. To reflect the depth and breadth of the curricular offerings of the department. “Spanish” represents only one dimension of what we offer our students. We offer a sequence of three courses in Spanish language (HISP 103-202), but the majority of our offerings (beginning with HISP 205) are indeed courses on the literatures and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. These include the core courses of our curriculum (required for the Major and Minor) as well as panoramic and advanced topics courses that engage the intellectual traditions, literary and cultural production in Spanish of Latin America, Spain, the US, Africa, and Asia.
  2. To better represent the scope of our faculty profiles and scholarship; all faculty members of our department have expertise in the fields of literary and cultural studies, and foster in their teaching and scholarship concomitant interests in a variety of interdisciplinary fields.
  3. To emphasize the intellectual and practical achievements and versatility of our majors and minors, the name change better conveys to future employers and graduate schools the scope of communicative skills and cross-disciplinary analytical tools developed in our courses. Most of our students enter the department at the intermediate or advanced language level, and so the significant majority of courses leading to the completion of requirements for their major or minor are in literary, cultural and media studies; and also include subjects encompassed by courses cross-listed with other departments and interdisciplinary programs (e.g. Africana, Asian Studies, European Studies, Gender and Sexuality, Latin American Studies, Religious Studies, Theater).
  4. To align our program with peer institutions. As reflected in the sample list below, “Hispanic Studies,” as both department name and/or designation for majors and minors in our field, has a wide currency across a variety of liberal arts colleges and universities in both standalone departments and in multi-language programs:
    • Boston College
    • Bowdoin College
    • Brown University
    • College of Charleston
    • College of William & Mary
    • Columbia University
    • Connecticut College
    • Davidson College
    • Emory University
    • Hamilton College
    • Trinity College
    • Vassar College
    • University of Pennsylvania
    • Wheaton College