University of Minnesota
Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies

Spanish and Portuguese Studies' Home.

Graduate Programs

Hispanic and Lusophone Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota has a strong tradition of fostering socio-historical perspectives in the study of culture. We emphasize global Hispanic and Lusophone studies while being attentive to the legacy of colonialisms that continue to inform regional and national histories as well as the multidimensional relationships between language and culture.

Our faculty are committed to comparative and interdisciplinary studies and they engage a variety of contemporary theoretical approaches with strengths in postcolonial theory, feminisms, critical race theory, queer theory, human rights, and theories of globalization.

The Hispanic Linguistics program emphasizes the study of language in its contexts with a focus on interdisciplinary approaches to language contact, phonology, pragmatics, second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, and syntax.

Our program offers graduate students the chance to develop research projects by working closely with faculty and by participating in departmental workshops with both faculty and fellow graduate students. Our students typically go on to be leaders in the field in tenure track positions at research institutions and at distinguished liberal arts colleges around the country. Please visit our Ph.D. Graduates web page for a list of former PhDs in Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Minnesota.

Applications and Deadlines

Please visit our Applying page for more information.


Degrees & Concentrations

We offer Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees with concentration in three areas:

  • Hispanic literatures and cultures
  • Lusophone literatures and cultures
  • Hispanic linguistics

The close integration of these three areas of literature and culture—Spanish Peninsular, Latin American, and Lusophone literature and cultures—makes this department unique in the United States.

Graduate students may also take courses in related departments and programs, among them:

Departmental Publications

Our department sponsors several renowned publications such as Hispanic Issues and Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics. Faculty organize major international conferences and symposia, some on a regular basis such as the State of Ibero-American Studies Theater.

Library Resources

The library collection at the University of Minnesota, one of the largest in the nation, provides strong research support. Of particular interest is the prestigious James Ford Bell Library's collection of rare books, maps, and manuscripts documenting the overseas expansion of early modern Europe. The Tretter GLBT collection is one of the nation's largest, and is international in scope, including substantial holdings in Spanish and Portuguese.

Institutional Partners

Our department has strong institutional ties with important research communities across campus such as:

Financial Support for Graduate Students at Minnesota

All graduate students accepted into the program are eligible for support in the form of a nine-month graduate instructorship which includes:

Incoming and continuing students may be nominated by the department for University-wide fellowships available at the University of Minnesota.

Department Affiliations

Our Department has institutional ties with important departments, programs and centers across campus, among them:

Contact Information

News & Information

  • Spanish and Portuguese Research Group (SPRG)

    sprg-sm.jpgFriday, March 13, 2015
    317 Folwell Hall
    3:30 to 5:00pm

    Nico Ramos Flores will be presenting on "Black Places, Ghetto Spaces: Dominican American Blackness in Junot Diaz's short stories," and Natalia Espana will be presenting on "Larra y su discurso irónico."

    "Black Places, Ghetto Spaces: Dominican American Blackness in Junot Diaz's short stories"
    Nico Ramos Flores

    In Poetics of Relations, Glissant states, "'Rome is no longer in Rome, it is wherever I am.' The root is not important. Movement is" (14). Movement is a defining factor of the Caribbean that helps to explain this region with a myriad of cultures, languages and locations. With the Dominican national identity you see a hybridity that is prototypical of the Caribbean in that it mixes a variety of races and cultures in order to create uniquely Dominican recognition. However, this Dominican identity explicitly rejects any notions of blackness or Africa due to the complicated racial relationship on the island of Hispaniola. When Dominicans move to the United States they must face a new level of complication due to another complex racial history. What we see in Junot Díaz's work is a multitude of motion in a modern contemporary American experience that further serves to upend what it means to be Antillean. This presentation explores the Dominican national identity and how it connects back to blackness though the formation of the ghetto urban space in the Northeast U.S. I will discuss what Gilroy calls the Black Atlantic that combines a variety of experience and languages to define a heterogeneous experience that is squarely situated to what occurs in the Caribbean. I will also discuss how this movement and countless experiences connects back to the Dominican racial experience on the island and the U.S., adding another layer of complexity. Although in Dominican national discourse, blackness and Africa are explicitly rejected, in Díaz's "How to date a Browngirl, Whitegirl, Blackgirl or Halfie", "Edison, New Jersey" from Drown (1996) and "Invierno" from This is How You Lose Her (2012) the formation of the ghetto space in the U.S. appears to demonstrate an acceptance of blackness in the Dominican psyche that rejects how their identity meshes with a broader black community in the western hemisphere.
    Larra y su discurso irónico."
    Natalia Espana

    El uso de la ironía para traspasar barreras como la censura en el discurso literario no es un nuevo método. La ironía ha sido utilizada por siglos y aún sigue siendo el medio discursivo de muchos hoy en día. Esta investigación analiza el uso de la ironía en los artículos de Mariano José de Larra. Larra fue un distinguido romántico que vivió en un inmenso descontento con los problemas de la sociedad española del siglo XIX. Su lucha en contra de la censura y las costumbres arcaicas de la vieja España que estancaban el desarrollo intelectual, social y político, entre otros fueron temas esenciales en sus artículos. La prosa de Larra con su extrema claridad y Jluidez y los temas tan cotidianos que trata son ambos motivos por los cuales Larra sigue siendo relevante en la actualidad. Larra utiliza la ironía para desestabilizar las costumbres y conceptos de la vieja España. Quiero estudiar como esa desestabilización provoca un cierto tipo de desarraigo conceptual e intelectual emancipador. Otro aspecto de suma importancia que se estudiara en este ensayo es la variedad del público a nivel social y temporal. Algunas de las preguntas importantes que se plantearán serán: ¿Cómo el público percibe a Larra? ¿Es su mensaje exitosamente transmitido? Así como también: ¿A quién Larra le escribe? ¿Quién comprende su mensaje encubierto tras el tono irónico?
    (Continue Reading)
  • Spanish and Portuguese Research Group (SPRG)

    sprg-sm.jpgFriday, February 13, 2015
    113 Folwell Hall
    3:30 to 5:00pm

    Two graduate students in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures, Ross Sandell and Kevin Huselid, will give presentations on their research this Friday. Please join us!

    Ross Sandell
    Bernardo Atxaga, El hijo del acordeonista, and the Challenges to Basque Identity in the 20th and 21st Century

    Of Spain's three principal regions with claims to nationhood, the Basque case is the most conflictive. The relative youth of its literary canon is simultaneously a cause and effect of this evaluation. It is only in the second half of the 20th century that Bernardo Atxaga (pseudonym of Joseba Irazu Garmendia) was, arguably, able to give Basque literature its first widely recognized and acclaimed author. His award--‐winning 1988 story collection Obabakoak has been said to establish a national mythology and the title's English translation, the things and people of Obaba, is a concise indication of the importance of people and place in this work. In contrast, both critics and the author himself have noted Axtaga's more recent move toward a model of Basque identity that, in the words of critic Txetxu Aguado, "distances itself from Romantic notions of identification linked to language, land, and ethnicity," which finds its expression in 2003's El hijo del accordeonista. Through the story of lifelong friends David and Joseba and their relationship to the generations that precede and follow them, Atxaga's novel tells a story that is at once allegorical and personal as its characters and the Basque people traverse the road through often violent separatism to a peaceful, political, and social articulation of identity. Both the novel and the region's historical relation to the Spanish center of power, however, show that the Basque case must be considered more than an example of the effects of a general trend of globalization.
    Kevin Huselid
    Periodical Literary Expression During the Interwar Period: Affirmation and Responsiveness

    Periodical writing in the 1920s and 1930s affirmed and responded to international associations of African American, Antillean, and African writers. In this talk I will discuss selections from two newspapers published in metropolitan Paris, La Dépêche africaine (1928) and La Revue du Monde Noir (1931--‐32), to further understand how race relations changed and shaped literary expression during the interwar period. How affirmation in Pan-Africanist periodical writing disrupted racist injustice is characterized by Édouard Glissant's chaos-monde which opens up new ways of thinking, specifically of the creative significance of terms used in the pioneering essay "Internationalisme noir," by Jane Nardal in 1928. Among the many different periodicals circulating, the editorial collective of La Revue du Monde Noir cultivated dialogue to study and to popularize artistic, literary and scientific works that articulate concerns of international black association. Through the six issues that were published from November 1931 to April 1932 the writings related to race consciousness took on new discursive forms with responses to the perception of credibility, feeling of uprootedness, and expression of solidarity between different groups of black intellectuals that had lasting influences on Caribbean writing in the 20th century.
    (Continue Reading)
  • Spanish & Portuguese Research Group Forum (SPRG)

    sprg-sm.jpgFriday, December 12, 2014
    317 Folwell Hall
    3:30 to 5:00pm

    Satty Flaherty-Echeverría will be presenting on ""Ideales de una raza": Aproximaciones a el Pensamiento de Gustavo E. Urrutia," and Marit Hanson will be presenting on "Echo Men: The Spectralization of the Maquis in Almudena Grandes' El lector de Julio Verne."

    "Ideales de una raza": Aproximaciones a el Pensamiento de Gustavo E. Urrutia
    Satty Flaherty-Echeverría

    En 1928, el periódico cubano Diario de la Marina comenzó con la primera columna escrita por un intelectual de color que lidiaba directamente con el problema racial en Cuba. El comerciante, arquitecto y periodista Gustavo E. Urrutia (1881-1958) redactor de la columna y luego editor de su transformación en suplemento semanal, nombro estos espacios "Ideales de una raza". Sintonizado al movimiento Afrocubanista de finales de los años 1920 y principios de los 1930 este espacio público en la prensa general sirvió como una plataforma en donde se desarrolló por un lado, una consciencia negra de apreciación y reconocimiento propio por medio de la experiencia personal y colectiva. Y por el otro, una enseñanza y critica directa a la sociedad cubana en general sobre la posición del negro dentro de ella. Como Alejandro de la Fuente argumenta, fue la ambigüedad lo que mejor definió el proceso de las relaciones raciales en Cuba del siglo veinte. Siguiendo esta afirmación, en esta presentación analizaré la posición de Gustavo Urrutia como intelectual negro ante la ambigüedad de sus primeros debates en "Ideales de una raza" puestos a tela de juicio entre 1928-1931.

    Echo Men: The Spectralization of the Maquis in Almudena Grandes' El lector de Julio Verne
    Marit Hanson

    During the Spanish "memory boom" that has marked the first two decades of the twenty-first century, there has been an exponential growth of interest in the maquis, the clandestine groups of guerrillas who fled to the mountains during and after the Civil War to bring armed resistance against the Francoist regime. The subject, considered taboo during the dictatorship and silenced by the pacto de olvido that followed its demise, is now featured in an ever-expanding corpus of articles, novels, documentaries, and films. One of the most recent additions to these representations is Almudena Grandes' El lector de Julio Verne: La guerilla de Cencerro y el Trienio del Terror, Jaén, Sierra Sur, 1947-1949. Set in the village of Fuensanta de Martos in the province of Jaén, at the foot of the Sierra Sur mountains, El lector de Julio Verne takes place within one of the many regions of conflict between the Guardia Civil and the maquis during the years of the titular trienio del terror. The maquis of the novel, however, are not so much central figures in the lives of the inhabitants as they are omnipresent, living "specters" inscribed in and characterized by the spaces and interactions within the village of Fuensanta de Martos. In this essay, I propose to explore this spectralization as seen in the spaces of dissidence of Fuensanta and how the phenomena leads to the destabilization and fragmentation of the "living memory" of the maquis. Furthermore, I will demonstrate how the novel serves as a reflection on the shifts in the collective memory of the maquis from the Transition to representations in contemporary cultural production.
    (Continue Reading)

View all news