Spanish and Latin American


The Ph.D. Program in Spanish and Latin American Literatures draws on the talents of a diverse faculty whose research interests span Spain and the Americas, from Medieval and colonial multiculturalism to postmodern currents. Our specialties include Renaissance humanism, the transatlantic Baroque, nineteenth-century nation building, and contemporary negotiations between culture and politics, including gender studies and Latino studies. Language is the core of literary analysis, and our faculty teaches texts in the original, primarily in Spanish and Portuguese, but often including other languages (Arabic, Catalan, French, Galician, Hebrew, Mapuche, Quechua, etc.). At the doctoral level, our classes are small seminars and discussion groups, some with specialized foci and others with a panoramic approach.

The graduate student at RLL can expect a vibrant intellectual life, which promotes originality and rigor in students, encouraging them to explore new close and contextual readings in our own field, and also interdisciplinary paths across the university. Some students develop clusters of courses in other sections of the Department, which allows them to pursue comparative studies in Romance languages, while other students develop links to allied disciplines, such as philosophy, film studies, government, women's studies, African and African American Studies.

The collaboration among faculty members and our graduate students in a range of intellectual projects had grown steadily and encourages our future colleagues to gain experience in the administration of conferences, the design of courses, and the edition and translation of books and manuscripts. Currently, our faculty sponsors conferences and lecture series on Hispanic Cultures, Gay and Lesbian Studies, Cultural Agents, at the Center for the Humanities, as well as research seminar sessions in the Houghton Rare Books Library, and events at the Real Colegio Complutense and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS). A new initiative on Cultural Agents, housed at the Center for Government and International Studies, promotes the social contributions to be made through humanist scholarship.

Our current distinguished program in Hispanic Literatures continues an illustrious history which dates from the nineteenth century, when figures such as George Ticknor and Henry Longfellow fostered the study and dissemination of the literatures of Spain in the U.S. During the twentieth century, the program grew to include stellar Latin American figures such as Jorge Luis Borges, Octavio Paz, Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa and other writers who have taught in our Department, together with renowned scholars including Raimundo Lida, Juan Marichal, Dámaso Alonso, Jorge Guillén, Claudio Guillén, Stephen Gilman. Yet today, our greatest source of pride are the young colleagues who have graduated from our program and who enrich the intellectual lives of many prominent universities, including Harvard.

Diana Sorensen
Head of the Spanish Section


To see our program requirements, see the GSAS Policies.

Image: Nova Isthmi Americani, qui et Panamiensis item Dariensis, tabula : in qua urbes Porto Bello, Panama et Carthagena. Amstelodami: R. et J. Ottens, [172-]. MAP-LC G4800 172-.O8, Harvard Map Collection, Harvard University.