Spanish Culture and Civilization
Term: Summer 2014
Travel Dates: June 17 – July 13, 2014
Faculty: Laura MulasModern day Spanish culture results from an intricate interweaving of histories. Through the millennia, the Iberian Peninsula has been occupied, in turn, by Celts, Visigoths, Romans and Moors. Each of these cultures has left their mark on the language, religion, food, art and the architecture of this storied land. This course will introduce students to the heart of Spanish culture through an exploration of the wind-swept plains and cities of the region of Castilla y León. The program’s studies will be centered in the most Romanesque city in Europe, the city of Zamora. The rocky outcropping that this city is built on, along the banks of the river Duero, has been strategically important since prehistoric times. Zamora’s small size belies the important role it has played in Spanish history. The first known settlements in this area were established by Celtic tribes in the first millennium B.C. Later, under Roman rule, this region was a key part of the route used to transport silver and gold out of Spain. The name of the city itself, “Zamora”, is believed to be of Arabic origin, from the time of Moorish rule, and refers to the wild olive groves that dotted the area. The city was fiercely contested in battles between Christian and Muslim Spain. The course will begin with an investigation of the prehistoric culture of the Iberian Peninsula, examining some of the early artwork and tools found in this region. It will proceed to follow the scattered traces left by the earliest Spaniards— the Iberians and the Celts. Participants will travel throughout Castilla y León to visit Celtic dolmens, Roman aqueducts, Visigoth villages, Gothic cathedrals and medieval castles. Native scholars will be serve as guides as participants learn about Spain from its prehistory through medieval times and into the Modern era.
The program integrates aspects of literature, art, architecture and language to explore the politics, culture and civilization of Spain. The program will be based in the city of Zamora, a living museum of Romanesque, Gothic, Moorish, Renaissance and Baroque monuments. Participants will be assigned a native “Zamorano” partner with whom they will practice the language and learn about Castilian life. The schedule allows time for students to explore present-day Spain, through its food, its festivals, its sports, and its people.
Zamora is situated at 2,139 feet in the heart of the province of Castilla y León. It lies near the border of Portugal and is crossed by the river Duero. It is famous as a city that is hard to conquer. The Spanish adage: “No se ganó Zamora en una hora” (Zamora was not seized in an hour) is used throughout Spain to indicate that perseverance is key to life. The city is home to numerous architectural treasures, from the ancient walls that surround the city, to its myriad Romanesque churches. Zamoranos, are friendly and eager to share their rich history with visitors. The river Duero runs through the city and is enjoyed by kayakers and rowers. Marathons and triathlons are frequent as the locals are active and healthy. There are bike paths (and bike rentals) that traverse the city and lead to nearby pueblos. Our studies will include visits to the cities of León, Astorga, Toro, Salamanca, Segovia, Avila and Toledo.
To learn more about this program, please attend one of the upcoming informational sessions led by Laura Mulas, PSU Faculty, in East Hall room 109:
- Friday, October 11, 2013 from 1:00 – 2:00 PM in East Hall room 109
- Tuesday, October 15, 2013 from 2:30 – 3:30 PM in East Hall room 109
- Wednesday, October 23rd from 4:00 – 5:00 PM in East Hall room 109
This course includes a pre-departure orientation and pre-departure course meetings during the summer 2014 quarter.
- SPAN 330 – Peninsular Culture and Civilization – 4 credits
- SPAN 399 – Third Year Spanish – 4 credits
NOTE: SPAN 399 – Peninsula Culture & Civilization: An in situ study may be substituted for SPAN 330 for students who have already taken SPAN 330.
|Day||Tentative Schedule||Day||Tentative Schedule|
|0||Depart Portland for Spain||16||Class|
|1||Arrive in Zamora, Group Dinner||17||Day trip to Toro|
|2||Orientation and walking tour of Zamora||18||Class|
|4||Day trip to Leon and Astorga||20||Free day|
|5||Free day||21||Day trip to Avila|
|7||Day trip to Puebla de Sanabria & Lago Sanabria||23||Class|
|8||Class||24||Day trip to Toledo|
|10||Day trip to Salamanca||26||Free Day|
|11||Zamora en vivo studies||27||Free Day|
|14||Day trip to Segovia|
|Tuition & Fees||Additional Estimated Costs||Total Estimated Costs|
Relevant Academic Disciplines
- Open to seniors, juniors, sophomores of any major.
- GPA 2.75 or above.
- Spanish language study strongly preferred. Preference will be given to those studying Spanish.
Language Skill: Spanish language study preferred