Welcome to Spanish
Spanish at Oxford
Master of Studies programmes and special subjects
Conferences and Colloquia
Teaching experience offered to graduates
What graduates think of their courses
Dr Xon de Ros will be taking part in a symposium entitled 'About María Blanchard. Avant-garde and identity' at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid on 19 December 2012. Dr de Ros's participation is based on her book and other research work on the painter Maria Blanchard. More information is available here.
Spanish at Oxford
Spanish is the third most widely-spoken language in the world, after Chinese and English. It is the official language of almost all of the countries in Latin America, one of the three original charter languages of the United Nations, and a base language of the European Union. In the United States, Spanish is the fastest expanding second language, and people of Hispanic origin already constitute the largest minority and are set to become the largest single ethnic group within a few decades. The richness, diversity and importance of the literatures and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world have also contributed to the rapid expansion in the number of students taking Spanish at schools and universities in the UK, Europe and throughout the world.
The Spanish sub-faculty, which celebrated its centenary in 2005, is one of the largest centres in the United Kingdom for research into the literatures and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. It enjoys a flourishing research culture in which its traditional strengths in medieval and Golden-Age literature, and also in the history of the language and linguistics, are complemented by its research strengths in the modern and contemporary literatures and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. The creation of new posts in recent years has reinforced Oxford’s historic strengths and also extended the range of specialist expertise and critical approaches, further enhancing opportunities for research collaboration, interdisciplinary activity and graduate supervision.
The sub-faculty is also dedicated to promoting Spain's minority languages and is one of the very few universities in the UK to offer teaching and research opportunities in Galician studies, under the auspices of the Centre for Galician Studies. It also receives funding from the Catalan government for a Generalitat Teaching Fellowship in Catalan.
Graduate work has been a major component of the sub-faculty's activities for many years. Graduate students have come from the UK, Europe and the Americas to do research on a whole range of topics; many of them go on to posts in other UK and foreign universities or in the corporate world. There are two fortnightly seminar series attended by researchers, teachers and graduate students, with papers given by members or visiting speakers on work in progress and current research. Graduate students also have the opportunity to share and discuss work in the sub-faculty’s two reading groups, and are encouraged to collaborate on the numerous research activities and colloquia held in Oxford. The postgraduate M.St. and M.Phil. degrees reflect the wide range of research interests and expertise available to students at Oxford.
To learn more about the research activities of the Spanish sub-faculty, please see research and teaching interests of permanent post-holders and associated members, or read about what current and recent graduates think of their courses. For an up-to-date schedule of sub-faculty activities, please consult the calendar.
The Magdalen Iberian Medieval Studies Seminar (MIMSS) is a forum for different events and activities connected with advanced research in the field of Iberian medieval studies established in Magdalen College, Oxford. For information about the research interests, events and other news related to MIMSS, please visit its website or contact the Director, Dr. Juan-Carlos Conde (Magdalen College).
Out of the Wings is an AHRC-funded project in collaboration with King’s College London and Queen’s University Belfast. The project aims to make the riches of the theatres of Spain and Spanish America accessible to English-speaking researchers and theatre professionals.
Dr. Jonathan Thacker (Merton College) is one of the directors for the project, while Dr. Kathleen Jeffs (New College) is a member of the research team. Recently, they held a symposium in Oxford on ‘Spanish Golden Age Drama in Translation and Performance’, on 18-19 March 2010.
Autoridad y poder en el Siglo de Oro - The University of Oxford participates in a research network with the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris, the Universität Münster, and the Universidad de Navarra (GRISO) on the topic of ‘Autoridad y poder en el Siglo de Oro’. The universities collaborate on a series of colloquia, the most recent having been held in Paris in November of 2009. Oxford hosted the second session of the colloquium in 2007, focusing on the topic of ‘Autoridad y autoría’. For further information, please contact Professor Edwin Williamson.
The Forum for Iberian Studies (FIS) is a vehicle for the discussion of Iberian Cultures at Oxford. The XIV Forum for Iberian Studies, ‘The Limits of Literary Translation’, will be held at Exeter College, Oxford on 24-25 June 2010.
Developmental language disorders: Pilot study of a Spanish-Valencian bilingual with genetic disorder is a pilot research project, funded by a John Fell research grant (PI Dr. Paloma Garcia-Bellido, St. Cross College), in collaboration with the Genetics Unit of the University Hospital La Fe of Valencia (Spain). Its aim is to contribute to the understanding of how genetic anomalies may disrupt brain functions which support speech and language, so that ultimately efficient intervention can be found to help those who are affected.
Sub-faculty members often collaborate to develop conferences and colloquia on a variety of topics. These conferences attract researchers and speakers from around the university, as well as throughout the UK and internationally. Some of the most recent conferences include the following:
Golden Age Graduate Symposium (January 2011) – In 2010, doctoral students Naomi Walker (Exeter College) and Alice Brooke (Merton College) coordinated the first Oxford Graduate Symposium in Spanish Golden Age Studies, titled Looking at the World Sideways. Papers were given by graduate students and researchers from throughout the UK. The keynote address was delivered by Professor Jeremy Robbins on narration and digression in the Persiles. The second symposium, Disguise in the Spanish Golden Age, will be held in January 2011 and will feature Dr. Isabel Torres as the keynote speaker. For more information on the symposium, please see the CFP or contact the coordinators.
El libro en el mundo hispánico: nuevas tendencias y direcciones, an international conference on the History of the Book, will be held in Magdalen College on Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 September, 2010 (organisers: Dr. Juan-Carlos Conde and Dr. Clive Griffin). For more details, please contact the organisers or see the programme.
In addition to its seminars and colloquia, the Spanish sub-faculty also sponsors three graduate reading groups. The Latin American Reading Group and the Golden Age Reading Group meet in alternate weeks to discuss readings and works in progress in an informal setting. The Contemporary Spanish Reading Group meets twice a term to read works published in Spain (in Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Spanish) in the last five years. Reading group discussions have led to the development of several conference presentations: most recently, six postgraduate students gave a panel discussion on Women’s Poetry at the Women in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies (WISPS) conference in October 2009.
The Latin American Reading Group meets at Wadham College on Fridays at 5:00 p.m. in weeks 1, 3, 5 and 7. For more information, please contact Robin Fiddian.
The Golden Age Reading Group meets at Exeter College on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. in weeks 2, 4, 6 and 8. For more information, please contact Tyler Fisher.
The Contemporary Spanish Reading Group meets at Exeter College on Mondays in weeks 3 and 7.
As part of its initiative entitled “Embedding Graduate Studies”, Oxford has launched a scheme through the CETL (Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning). Under this scheme, as adapted for our Faculty, all students at PRS stage or later should expect to attend brief training courses addressing the separate issues of literature and language teaching (these courses, originally known as “Stage 1”, are now called PTL: Preparation for Teaching and Learning). You are then invited to apply for the next stage, DTL (Developing Teaching and Learning) in the following academic year. Under this scheme, as adapted for our Faculty, all students should expect to attend brief training courses addressing the separate issues of literature and language teaching (these courses, originally known as “Stage 1”, are now called PTL: Preparation for Teaching and Learning). You are then invited to apply for the next stage, DTL (Developing Teaching and Learning) in the following academic year.
There are several elements to DTL: observation, reading, teaching, reflection, and the writing-up and submission of a portfolio. For all these you will be assigned a mentor, who may be your supervisor or another member of the academic staff.
Observation takes place in Michaelmas Term. You will be encouraged to observe at least one language class (by arrangement with the appropriate Faculty Language Instructor or other faculty or college class tutor), one literature tutorial or seminar, and one lecture, to make brief notes on what you have learned from these, and to discuss them with your mentor.
Reading takes place in Michaelmas and Hilary Terms. The Humanities Division organizes reading groups, at which you discuss some short academic studies of the teaching and learning process in higher education. The reading and discussion will feed into your reflection and your portfolio.
Teaching will be arranged by your mentor as required. If you are already doing sufficient teaching, this may not be necessary. The requirement is that you do 7 hours of teaching, spread across language and non-language work (literature, linguistics, theory, etc.). You may well be paired with another graduate, so that you can observe each other in action, but your mentor will normally observe at least one session. Teaching done under this scheme is not paid, but it is the gateway to paid teaching. What you do will vary: it may involve being responsible for teaching some parts of the syllabus (some period tutorials, or a prescribed author, or translation), but it may be more in the nature of revision tutorials, or introductory seminars for a paper, or for literary theory, or extra language support. There may be the opportunity to give one or more lectures as part of a graduate-taught course.
Reflection should accompany both observation and teaching. You should see your mentor twice a term to reflect on what you have done and what you are about to do. Preparation, materials, feedback and general debriefing will be part of these conversations.
At the end of the year you should write up a short portfolio of about 5000 words, addressing general principles and/or specific issues of teaching, in relation to your own experience and the academic studies you have read. You may wish to argue for or against particular strategies, or just reflect on the outcomes. This portfolio is read by one assessor from the CETL and one from the Faculty, and if approved, it will normally entitle you to receive certification from the Higher Education Academy.
What next? It is the expectation that the Faculty’s list of graduates willing to offer teaching will in future include only those who have completed both PTL and DTL, and who can therefore be asked with confidence to do (paid) teaching when the need arises.
Graduate students are often offered the opportunity to do paid teaching work, usually through supervisors or college advisors who also provide guidance. There are also funds for Heath Harrison Teaching Fellowships, which provide payment for series of lectures or classes taught by graduate students. Training for teaching is provided on a Faculty-wide basis by the Institute for Advanced Learning and by senior colleagues.
Graduate work in Modern Languages at Oxford has led to a variety of careers - academic and non-academic in the UK and elsewhere. The ability to work independently, to organise complex material and meet deadlines are skills which are valued in many different contexts.
- Spanish sites and resources from the Taylor Institution Language/Country Resources page
- Latin American sites and resources from the Taylor Institution Language/Country Resources page
Spanish weblinks from the Language Centre web site