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Hispanic Studies


Delve into Hispanic culture.

The Hispanic Studies program at Whitman College goes well beyond the typical college major in Spanish. Hispanic Studies is an exciting exploration of language, culture, ethnicity, gender studies, visual culture and popular culture. You’ll improve your Spanish language skills while learning about the diverse cultures of over 500 million people around the globe. And when you graduate with a Hispanic Studies degree, you’ll have the analytical and communication skills to launch a career in the global job market.

3 Reasons to Study Hispanic Studies at Whitman

The Professors Are Amazing

Whitman’s enthusiastic Hispanic Studies faculty come from all over the world—from the U.S. to Peru to Mexico to Argentina. And they bring expertise in a wide range of fascinating topics. You might find yourself discussing Hispanic comics, Argentina’s Dirty War, or theatricality and performance in South American indigenous cultures.

Learn to Speak Spanish With Confidence

Whether you’ve studied Spanish before, speak fluently or are learning the language for the first time, Whitman has courses tailored to your experience level. Many upper-level courses are taught entirely in Spanish, so you’ll be immersed in the language as you learn to think, write about and discuss Hispanic culture.

Bond With a Vibrant Campus Community

Hispanic Studies majors have many opportunities to enjoy and promote Hispanic culture. Dance for Hispanic Heritage Month with Club Latinx—or enjoy Spanish-themed poetry readings, movie nights or potlucks. You can even live with fellow students and a native Spanish speaker in La Casa Hispana, Whitman’s Spanish language interest house.

Interested in Hispanic Studies?

We’d love to send you information, including more on academic majors and student life at our beautiful campus in Walla Walla, Washington.

Clara E., Hispanic Studies major

“I encourage any and all students to take at least one course in Hispanic Studies if you have taken Spanish in high school or are simply a little interested. The faculty is incredible and so passionate. You do not just learn a language; you learn about a culture and your own role in Latin American/United States history. Hispanic Studies is the best decision I made here at Whitman!”

Our Whitman Student Voices Blog

Courses in Hispanic Studies

See just a few of the fascinating courses you might take.

Flags outside a building
HISP 108

Introductory Spanish

In this beginner’s course, you’ll get grounded in basic Spanish grammatical structures and vocabulary. You’ll be able to discuss topics from daily life like friends, family, leisure activities, food and work by studying specific situations.

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Historic temple
HISP 143

U.S. Latinx Literatures and Cultures: An Introduction

What does the U.S. Latinx literary tradition look like, and what are its main social and cultural concerns? In this course, you’ll explore these questions in a hands-on way, reading major literary texts by 20th and 21st century Latinx U.S. writers like José Antonio Villarreal, Junot Díaz and Carmen María Machado, among others.

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An open book with two hands.
HISP 308

Spanish for Heritage Speakers

If you grew up in a Spanish-speaking household, but haven’t studied the language formally, this class is for you. Spanish heritage speakers usually speak the language fluently, but may not have been trained in academic Spanish. In this class, you’ll sharpen your reading and writing skills in Spanish through critical analysis of cultural and historical materials.

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Colorful roof tops in a crowded city.
HISP 320

Reel Dialogues: Language, Conversation and Introduction to Film Analysis

Spanish-language cinema provides a great medium for exploring issues in Latinx cultures in Spain, Latin America, and the U.S. This course will explore issues like discrimination, urban violence, and gender and sexuality while increasing your proficiency in speaking and listening to Spanish at the advanced intermediate level.

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A gavel on a table with someone writing in the background.
HISP 326

Translation: Public Affairs, the Law and Language

This course is designed for students with an interest in Spanish-English translation in fields such as law, immigration, human rights and community development. You’ll discuss topics like the uses of languages in the local and federal government, legal aid access, equality, and voters’ rights—with a special focus on preparing students for the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination.

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Mountains surrounded by fog and greenery.
HISP 427

Crossing Borders: Latin American Narratives of Migration

You know the stories: the ones that vilify Latin American immigrants as invaders and criminals or hold them up as examples of determination and hard work. This course digs into these stories and asks how they might miss the complexity and richness of the migrant experience. For answers, you’ll explore Latin American and U.S. Latinx migrant and border fiction, nonfiction, film and poetry in both Spanish and English.

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City at sunset

Amazing Experiences You Can Pursue

Promote a culture of bilingual inclusivity on campus. Hispanic Studies majors often serve as writing fellows, cultural coordinators and language teaching assistants for upper-level courses. Others work for Bilingual United or as tour guides and overnight hosts for Admission visits. 

Do independent research with amazing faculty. Whitman Hispanic Studies professors work with students on a variety of summer research projects. Recent projects have included collecting ethnographic data on religious festivals in the Peruvian Andes and studying a television series through the lens of feminist Chicanx theory.

Immerse yourself in Hispanic culture. Nothing will improve your speaking skills more than living and learning in a Spanish-speaking country. Whitman students have studied in Spain, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and other countries around the world. Your Spanish skills can even give you an edge for travel-related fellowships, like the Fulbright.

Your Questions Answered

It can help, but students test into different levels depending on the skills they enter with—and beginners are welcome! There are courses designed for every level. Once you have a solid grounding in the language, you’ll be able to access a wider range of upper-level courses, some of which are taught entirely in Spanish.

You can do a lot with a Hispanic Studies degree. Jobs that interact specifically with Latinx communities in the U.S. or require fluency in Spanish are plentiful. Bilingual, culturally competent employees are in high demand in healthcare, marketing, social services, education, diplomacy, law and many other sectors. Plus, your language proficiency can prepare you for the global job market if you have your sights set on working outside the U.S.

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