Spanish 308S

Spanish 308S: Latino/a Voices in Duke, Durham, and Beyond

The service-learning section of Spanish 308S, currently taught by Professor Eileen Anderson, offers an introduction to what it means to be Latino. Specifically, the course explores the ways Latino/a identities are formed in the United States through their representations in art, film, literature, and essays. The three main areas of focus are transnationalism, race, and gender - sensitive subjects that students must consider carefully. Students learn about Latinos' experience and also how others view Latinos. 

Goals for the course include learning how to:

  • Interpret texts in their cultural, social, and historical contexts. 
  • Identify and explain key cultural, social, and historical movements related to Latino/a studies. 
  • Discuss cultural topics in Spanish with grammatical and lexical precision.  
  • Develop personal civic-engagement attitudes and skills.

This course is limited to approximately 15 students so each student can fully participate and improve their language skills in addition to gaining knowledge of Latinos' experience.

Why is this a Service-Learning Course?

The service experience is integrally related to the academic subject matter of the course. Spending time with Latino students offers Duke students a chance to understand this group much better than through reading alone.
Students engage in a minimum of 20 hours of planned service activities during the semester. Each student participates through tutoring and working with Latino students, both adults and children. Sometimes additional opportunities are available to partner with students on group projects, such as an art project with young children.
Service partners for this class are Morehead Montessori Elementary School and GANO, a student-run volunteer program at Duke University offering free English as a Second Language tutoring to Hispanic adults.
Coursework involves critical reflection on the relationship between academic course content and the service experience. At the end of the semester, students write a reflection paper discussing how the themes and experiences of the semester have impacted them.

The Spanish Language Program has developed various language service-learning courses that have partnerships with local organizations that serve the Latino/a community. These courses now serve as models for language and service initiatives being developed across the campus under the Community-Based Language Initiative.

For more information about this course, contact Professor Anderson.