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Jill Robbins, Chair 150 W 21st Street, Stop B3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4936

Welcome to the Department of Spanish and Portuguese

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese is committed to fomenting a deep and complex understanding of the heterogenous cultures we research and teach, from their earliest inceptions on the Iberian Peninsula and in the Americas, to their most current linguistic and cultural manifestations in Europe, Africa, and the Americas.  The value of this knowledge cannot be underestimated, particularly in light of phenomena ranging from the economic boom in Brazil, to the profound political and social changes in Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Spain, Guatemala, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and Mexico, to the rapidly growing percentage of U.S. citizens of Portuguese or Hispanic heritage in the United States, and especially in Texas.

Our diverse and interdisciplinary research and teaching interests extend far beyond the traditional fields of theoretical and applied linguistics, national literatures, genres, and languages to embrace cultural studies, indigenous studies, bilingualism, gender and sexuality studies, Afro-diasporic cultures, trans-Atlantic studies, translation studies, intellectual history, popular culture, religious studies, media studies and performance. It is not surprising, then, that our outstanding, committed, and internationally-recognized faculty also hold diverse academic affiliations across the University of Texas campus: with the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (including its Brazil Center and Mexican Center), Modern European Studies, Jewish Studies, Indigenous Studies, Comparative Literature, the Center for Mexican American Studies, the Center for African and African American Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies. These collaborations allow us to sponsor writers and artists in residence and to bring many distinguished scholars to campus.

The department offers an uncompromising and carefully designed curriculum that draws on the innovative research of our faculty, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our general program is an integral part of the education provided by UT’s College of Liberal Arts and seeks to assist students to develop an informed appreciation for languages,literatures and cultures as well as to acquire basic skills in critical thinking, effective writing, and oral communication in Spanish and Portuguese. Our faculty members also contribute to undergraduate education at UT through the School of Undergraduate Studies, especially through an active participation in the “Signature Courses” program as well as in the “Bridging the Disciplines Programs” (BDP) and its course offerings in Film Studies, Human Rights and Social Justice, and Cultural Studies.

Our graduate programs are also essential to the fulfillment of our intellectual mission. Beyond their formal academic and instructional work, our graduate students participate in a variety of activities, including the organization of an annual conference, a literary journal, and informal poetry readings. Through a variety of workshops, they also prepare for various aspects of academic life, including conference presentation, publication, and grant-writing. The Graduate Student Organization (GSO) provides them with the opportunity to perform university service, assist their fellow students, and influence the direction of the program.

The research performed by faculty and students in our field depends in part on the excellence of the Libraries and Centers of the University of Texas at Austin. The Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection is a specialized research library focusing on materials from and about Latin America, and on materials relating to Latinos in the United States. The Collection contains over 970,000 books, periodicals, pamphlets, and microforms; 4,000 linear feet of manuscripts; 19,000 maps; 11,500 broadsides; 93,500 photographs; and 50,000 items in a variety of other media (sound recordings, drawings, video tapes and cassettes, slides, transparencies, posters, memorabilia, and electronic media). Periodical titles are estimated at over 40,000 with 8,000 currently received titles and over 3,000 newspaper titles.  Among its gems are the original manuscript of Julio Cortázar’s Rayuela, a first edition of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz’s Inundación castálida, and Indigenous codices of Latin America. The Perry-Castañeda Library houses an enviable collection of primary and critical texts from Medieval and Modern Spain and Portugal, along with many of the major journals in our fields. The Harry Ransom Center archives an extensive collections of rare books, manuscripts, photography, film, art, and the performing arts, including manuscripts by Jorge Luis Borges, Pío Baroja, and Octavio Paz.  The Fine Arts Library (FAL) serves our Department through its collection of feature films, television shows, and other audio-visual materials.


Jill Robbins
Chair
Department of Spanish and Portuguese
The University of Texas at Austin

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