Bienvenidos, Bem-vindos, Benvinguts

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, Digital Humanities, Film and Media, Gender & Women’s Studies, Linguistics, Near Eastern Studies, Rhetoric, the Portuguese Studies Program, the Spanish Studies Program, the Catalan and Occitan Studies Program, the Center for Latin American Studies and Renaissance and Early Modern Studies.


Department Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Around us, on campus and off campus, we witness unbridled examples of constitutive and structural racism in action. While some can casually go about their day, others have to worry that they might be killed by those who should protect them. While some populations—privileged by their nationality, race and class—have open borders wherever they go; others have to face cages, racial profiling, sexual violence, linguistic prejudice and insidious aggressions even in places supposedly welcoming to them.

At the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at U.C. Berkeley, we recognize the violence and unjust encounters at the origin of our field. We are also aware of the relative position of the Spanish language to English in the United States. Most marginalized immigrants in the U.S. are from Latin America and speak Spanish, among other languages. With this in mind, we stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other people of color, in the United States and throughout the world, against all forms of racism, white supremacy, and injustice.

Our department recommits to inclusive and equitable opportunities for all. We deeply value multilingualism (indeed, there is no official language of the United States), nonconformity to binary gender, and peoples and
groups whose ethnic, racial and class backgrounds, as well as citizenship status, have been marginalized. We stand alongside the writers, thinkers and artists, who have struggled for justice. They can be an example to better understand ourselves as a department of language, literature & linguistics that is part of a public institution in the United States, and thus how we are part of the system we live in and want to change.

Upcoming Events


Welcome, Florencia Abbate!

Florencia Abbate (Buenos Aires, 1976) joins the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in her capacity as a Fulbright scholar and will be with us through late January 2022. In her native Argentina, she has earned a solid reputation as a creative writer (fiction and poetry) and cultural critic. She holds a doctorate in literature from Universidad de Buenos Aires and is currently a Professor of Philosophy of Gender at the Universidad de Ciencias Empresariales y Sociales. Her research and her teaching focus on literature and feminist studies within a comparative frame as well as the relations between aesthetics and politics. She was one of the founders of the ‘Ni Una Menos’ feminist movement in Argentina, and later became a member of the writers’ collective that collaborated with Argentina’s National Campaign for the Legalization of Abortion.

At Cal, we will welcome her to campus and celebrate her latest book, Biblioteca feminista (Planeta, 2020) on Wednesday, November 17, at noon with the participation of Francine Masiello, Tom McEnaney and Daylet Domínguez.

This event will be accessible on ZOOM:

Please join us for an encuentro about Florencia’s book and the questions facing scholars as we represent otherness in our research and writing. Conversatorio en español.

Graduate Student Ben Papadopoulos cited in LSA Statement Against Linguistic Misgendering

Congratulations to Ben Papadopoulos (Hispanic Linguistics), whose recent work on language and gender was referenced in the Linguistic Society of America’s (LSA) Statement Against Linguistic Misgendering. Ben’s work focuses on the production and attitudes towards non-binary gender morphology in Spanish, and champions the LSA’s call for gender-inclusive language. For more details, see the LSA Statement Against Linguistic Misgendering and Ben’s recent Gender in Language Project. ¡Felicidades, Ben!

Congratulations Jhonni Carr!

Congratulations to our colleague, Jhonni Carr, who has won an Extraordinary Teaching in Extraordinary Times Award.  The awardees include individuals from 32 departments representing a range of disciplines and academic areas as well as teams composed of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate student instructors. The recipients’ names and departments and brief descriptions of their efforts and innovations can be found on the Extraordinary Teaching in Extraordinary Times webpage.
¡Felicidades Jhonni!