Sonia Mereles Olivera, Ph.D.   floating flag


                                                            Classes ~ Cursos











Courses proposed and/or taught in the US at

SBC, WLU, OSU, IU-Bloomington, and IUPUI-Indianapolis 

  1. The Culture of the Southern Cone: A course that examines the cultures of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay focusing on contemporary artistic production in the areas of art, dance, music, architecture, and literature including authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Griselda Gambaro, Isabel Allende, Ariel Dorfman, Augusto Roa Bastos, Horacio Quiroga, Mario Benedetti, Alfonsina Storni, Pablo Neruda. Both national and regional characteristics are studied as a way to understand what makes this region different from other Latin American regions.


  1. Spanish American Contemporary Prose: Foundational course that studies Latin American short stories and a novel by important contemporary authors. The course consists of the literary analysis of the texts to be examined in individual discussions with the Professor. Attention is paid to the originality of narrative style and the socio-historical context.


  1. US Hispanic Literature: A seminar course in translation offering a view of the rich and complex culture of Latinos, Chicanos, Nuyoricans, and US Hispanics through its 20th Century literature: short story, novel, poetry, autobiography. Hispanic identity studied as a concept via cultural, historical, and linguistic approaches.


  1. Latin American Women Writers. A course that presents contemporary female voices of Spanish American countries via Essays by Victoria Ocampo (Argentina); Testimonial Literature by Gloria Anzaldúa (Chicana), Rigoberta Menchú (Guatemala) and Domitila Barrios (Bolivia); Short Stories by Isabel Allende (Chile), Ángeles Mastretta (México), Carmen Naranjo (Costa Rica), Claribel Alegría (Nicaragua/El Salvador), Rosario Ferré and Ana Lydia Vega (Puerto Rico); Novel by Laura Esquivel (Mexico); Poetry by Susy Delgado (Paraguay), Delmira Agustini (Uruguay), Gabriela Mistral (Chile), and Alfonsina Storni (Argentina); and Theater by Griselda Gambaro (Argentina), Lucía Quintero (Puerto Rico).


  1. Paraguayan Women: History and Education. An introduction to the study of gender, and women’s roles in Paraguay throughout its history and education, offered through the Introduction to Gender Studies class, with guest speakers and lectures.


  1. Spanish American Poetry Icons. The seminar provides advanced analysis of the most relevant poets in the Hispanic speaking world including U.S. Hispanic poetry. Includes representative works by Octavio Paz, Gabriela Mistral, Pablo Neruda, Vicente Huidobro, Luis Palés Matos, Nicolás Guillén, Nicanor Parra, Ernesto Cardenal, Raúl Zurita, amongst others. Interactive analysis approach with daily paper assignments: critical analysis of the texts, and peer reviews.


  1. Spanish American Essay. The seminar course encompasses readings in Spanish-American Essay with emphasis in the development of thought in literature and culture throughout its history. Special emphasis on prominent writers such as José Carlos Mariátegui, Octavio Paz, José Martí, José Vasconcelos, Victoria Ocampo, amongst others.


  1. Spanish American Civilization and Culture. It includes a new component that placed each student in charge of preparing and broadcasting a Spanish Radio program presenting literature in conjunction with culture of different Spanish American countries.


  1. México, Central America and the Caribbean Region. The course explores some of the major cultural developments, and its expressions through visual aids and literary texts, as well as films. The study presents the past of the Spanish American civilizations through the art, religion and culture of their most prominent indigenous groups such as the Aztecs, and Mayas. It includes the post-conquest and post-revolutionary periods through some of its major historical events.


  1. South America. Interdisciplinary approach to cultural developments and its expressions through visual aids and literary texts, as well as films. The study presents the past of civilizations through the art, religion and culture of the Incas, and Guaraní. It includes the post-conquest and post-independence periods through some of its major historical events and dictatorships.


  1. Latin American Short Story and Essay. A panoramic view with emphasis on the twentieth-century. It focuses on discussion of literary texts, and it is reading and writing intensive. Includes representative works by Horacio Quiroga, Mario Benedetti, Juan Rulfo, Julio Cortázar, Octavio Paz, Victoria Ocampo, Elena Poniatowska, Ana Lydia Vega, Rosario Ferré, José Martí, José Enrique Rodó, José Vasconcelos, Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, Jorge Luis Borges.


  1. Reinventing America: The Hispanic Identity. A Seminar course in translation that includes a variety of genres, literature, essay, film, drama/performance, poetry, dance, music, and visual arts. The topic of this course is Spanish American Cultures in its re-invention of identities first in situ, and then in the US. First, we study the past of the Spanish American identity through the art, religion, and culture of their most prominent indigenous groups: Aztecs, Mayas, and Incas. Second, we analyze the present situation of the individual Spanish American countries and their national identities, as re-inventions that accompanied the post-conquest and post-revolutionary periods. Third, we explore the U.S. Latino identity, the way it is perceived in the U.S. today.


  1. Spanish Composition. The course examines the writing processes to develop and increase students’ proficiency in written expression in Spanish models of a variety of genres presented to pattern compositions after them. Major projects include: drama, poetry, advertisements, biographical portraits, short stories, interviews, and a literary essay.


  1. Spanish Conversation. The first time the course was taught, it included a Service-Learning component to gear students to aid Hispanics within the community. A course designed to improve the student's conversational ability through the reading and discussion of literary and cultural texts. I implemented a strong emphasis in weekly Spanish Table, group/pair talk, video, and inter-active multimedia. Listening, reading and writing language skills are used as a base for further development of the speaking and conversational skills while providing opportunities to learn more about Hispanic Cultures.


  1. A Reading Course in Spanish. A developmental reading class designed to teach students appropriate strategies for reading Spanish as a second language and provide them with intensive reading practice on a variety of authentic texts, ranging from short journalistic texts (newspaper and magazine articles) to a longer literary text (short novel: Aura by Carlos Fuentes)


  1. Augusto Roa Bastos: Supremo Hijo de hombre. Through the prose and poetry of its Paraguayan icon, we explore Paraguayan literature in history. The course focuses on Augusto Roa Bastos’ Works Hijo de Hombre and Yo, el Supremo as ways of presenting and discussing the culture of Paraguay reflected in these novels.


  1. The Hydroptics of Love: Building Bridges to Soul Learning. This course analyzes images and roles of love in selected texts from Latin America and the United States. The first part of the course is based on Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements: A Toltec Wisdom Book and Carlos Castaneda’s The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge as means of discussing scripts people live, and ways on becoming a person. The second part of the course includes a packet with selected segments from R. D. Laing’s Politics of Experience, Raymond A. Moody’s Life After Life, David Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, C. Alexander Simpkins’ Simple Zen, Simple Taoism, Simple Tibetan Budhism; Cary Baynes’ The I Ching or Book of Changes, and Ralph Blum’s The Book of Runes: Ancient Oracle. The third part of the course appreciates these metaphorical images in segment considerations of the Mexican novel The Law of Love (Laura Esquivel), and Spanish American short stories collected in the book A Hammock between the Mangoes: Stories from Latin America by Horacio Quiroga, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Jorge Amado, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Juan Carlos Onetti, Manuel Puig, and Isabel Allende amongst many others. Spanish majors may do their required writing/reading in Spanish in this course. This course requires students to design their own web-page, to keep a journal of critical thinking, and to keep up with the daily discussion based seminar class. Requirements include exams, papers, and a final portfolio due at the end of the course.


  1. Introduction to Spanish American Literature. Includes extensive writing and in-depth oral analysis of texts with new components such as a required Journal with a total of 25 entries (around 80 pages in Spanish) as well as a required Graphic timeline. It analyzes Spanish-American literary masterpieces from colonial times through the present.


  1. Media in Latin America. The course examines the role of contemporary media in the cultures of Spanish American countries. Readings will be drawn from interdisciplinary sources exploring how media representations define and re-shape national images and identities, remapping the ethno-social, economic, political and educational infrastructure via the film industry, TV broadcasting, internet (from the wireless through digital), and other instant cyber media as communicators that influence and recreate a social image of Spanish American societies. Readings are in its original English version as it counts for Spanish majors and minors, as well as Latin American Studies and Journalism minors.


  1. Hispanic Themes in Latin America. Developmental reading class designed to teach appropriate strategies for reading Spanish on a variety of texts that offer intrinsic culture of a wide spectrum of Latin American countries. An Honors Variant was offered. Extensive writing and in-depth oral analysis of texts in Spanish are requisites, as well as oral presentations and exams.


  1. Don Quijote. The course is a study of Miguel de Cervantes “Don Quijote”. Emphasis is placed on the analysis of its literary resources, historical topics, narrative techniques, and masterful synthesis of genres. The course focuses on literary criticism, reading and writing.


Language classes consistently offered:

  • Elementary Spanish I-II
  • Intermediate Spanish I-II
  • All levels of Spanish Composition, Conversation, and Reading.  Cultures of Hispanic Countries