Bienvenidos, Bem-vindos

Spanish & Portuguese at the University of California, Berkeley

Welcome to the web resource of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California, Berkeley. Our department is a medium-sized one, big enough to offer a wide variety of approaches to teaching and research yet small enough to afford students at both the graduate and undergraduate level personal attention and mentoring. We offer an abundance of opportunities to learn and achieve mastery of the languages and cultures we study, which include Catalan, Nahuatl, Portuguese, Romance Studies and Spanish. Our programs are specially designed for highly motivated students with a passion for other languages, literatures and cultures, for imaginative approaches to these and for careful crossing of traditionally defined geographic, linguistic and disciplinary borders.

Several of our faculty are formally involved with or are active in other departments or academic units on campus—for example, Comparative Literature, Rhetoric, Film and Media, Gender & Women’s Studies, the Portuguese Studies Program, the Spanish Studies Program, the Catalan and Occitan Studies Program, and the Center for Latin American Studies and Renaissance and Early Modern Studies.


Borges, Buddhism and Cognitive Science

Last semester (Spring 2016) our Department offered the course “Borges, Buddhism and Cognitive Science”. This interdisciplinary and multicultural course gave the students the opportunity to study Borges’ work from the triple perspective of art, philosophy and science, as well as to explore the connection between the contents of the course and their own lives.  (more…)

Chilean Poet Raul Zurita’s visit

On April 21, Chilean poet Raúl Zurita, accompanied by his translator Anna Deeny Morales, traveled to Berkeley where he gave a public reading from his forthcoming book “Sky Below” (a bilingual edition). (more…)

Rui Torres Visit, April 2016

Hosted by the Portuguese Studies Program and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Rui Torres is Associate Professor at University Fernando Pessoa, Portugal, where he teaches Semiotics, Literature and Hypermedia. In he past, he was a visiting professor in M.A. programmes of the NOVA University of Lisbon, Portugal; the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain; the University of Tallinn, Estonia; and in the Erasmus Intensive Program in European Digital Literatures at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. He is the Director of the academic journal Cibertextualidades, and member of several editorial boards and scientific committees of other Journals in the field of electronic literature. He is an author of electronic literature, having his poems published in several Anthologies (ELC2, ELMCIP) and CD-ROMs. He was the Principal Investigator of projects funded by the Portuguese Science Foundation and the European Union, and is the coordinator of the resulting Digital Archive of Portuguese Experimental Poetry: He is a member of the Board of Directors of the ELO-Electronic Literature Organization:

Brazilian Cinema @ PFA

The PFA is screening a number of films by the extraordinary Brazilian filmmaker Eduardo Coutinho. This is a unique opportunity.  Don’t miss it!

Wednesday 3/2: Mighty Spirit (7pm)
Thursday 3/10: Scavengers and Metal Workers (6:30pm)
Wednesday 4/6: Master Building (7pm)
Thursday 4/14:  The End and the Beginning (7pm)
Friday 5/15: Last Conversations (8pm)


March 11 – August 2016 in the Bernice Layne Brown Gallery, Doe Library. This exhibit, NL || LE, presents a collection of digital works of literature—in Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan as well as English—side by side with experimental print materials from the past century. Meant to be read in computers and other digital devices, the electronic stories and poems reveal new ideas about literary and media developments and encourage visitors to interact with the machines. Exhibit cases and tables were designed by students in a Berkeley Center for New Media seminar. Through the use of vintage computer equipment, NL ||  LE also highlights challenges involved in the preservation of electronic literature. For details visit


Adventures in Service Learning – Spanish 102C

Last semester (Fall 2015) the Spanish Department offered for the first time the course Spanish 102C: Volunteering, Global Education and Good Writing, designed to deepen the acquisition of the language and cultures studied in our program. The purpose of this new course is to assist and prepare students for the transition between taking courses and working as professionals. The methodology used to reach these goals was to give students the opportunity to work as volunteers in semi-professional environments–in Oakland International High School and East Bay Sanctuary Covenant–which serve those most in need within the Latino community in Berkeley and Oakland.  (more…)

Welcome Justin Davidson

The Department is very happy to welcome Justin Davidson as he joins the faculty.

Professor Davidson received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) with a doctoral thesis on  “Social Dynamics of Catalan-Spanish Contact in the Evolution of Catalonian Spanish.” His research focuses broadly on the social dimensions of language-change, with an emphasis on socio-phonetics.  He will be offering  courses on Spanish and Romance linguistics.  Welcome aboard, Justin!