December 5, 2021

Capital University to provide new class on immigration

Capital University is offering one class in particular in the spring of 2022 in an attempt to educate students on the cultural and societal effects of immigration. 

Spanish 380, otherwise known as ‘Immigration and Identity’ is a four-credit hour class that has been offered every other spring semester and occasionally in the summer semester for about the last ten years.

One of the things that sets this particular class apart from most others, at least in the long run, is that no two terms are ever the same. Every time Spanish 380 is offered, it has changed. 

Stephanie Saunders, an associate professor at Capital University in Spanish and International Studies, and the department chair for Languages and Cultures, spoke about the class.

“It is the class that I most change every time [I teach it] because with every president, with every new social thing that is going on, it is a very dynamic class…so a lot of the material is always changing.”

The class was partly born out of Saunders’ personal experiences. She grew up in rural Arkansas with a migrant family picking fruit. Later in college, she worked with a growing migrant population in chicken factories.

Stephanie Saunders will be teaching Spanish 380, Immigration and identity, in the spring of 2022.

After working at Capital for a few years, Heritage Spanish-speaking students (people that grew up learning Spanish by hearing it spoken at home) voiced their desire to Saunders to learn more about not just the migration, but also the identity of immigrants. 

Referring to some of the questions that will be answered throughout the class and just what it is about, Saunders said, “Where did the term Hispanic come from? Where did the terms Latino, Latinx, Latin-a come from, and do they fit across the board? Is this a respectful term? Why would it be polemic?”

In addition, topics such as the phenomena known as ‘Spanglish’ (when someone rotates between using Spanish and English words, even throughout one sentence) and the effects of NAFTA will also be discussed. 

The process of food and clothing production will be covered, as well as the impact those industries have on the environment and human rights.

The topics are not limited to America either. For example, the 2008 and 2009 financial crises plunged much of Latin America into a deep economic depression. All this resulted in much of the region seeing about a 50% unemployment rate. 

Dr. Basil Kardaras teaches a similar immigration-centered class but in the Sociology and Criminology department, but they were unable to be reached at this time. 

Spanish 380 is an elective and is not necessarily required for anyone to take but there are some prerequisites as it is a 300 level course, and is designed for the Spanish program.

  • Josh Conturo is a reporter for the Chimes and a fourth-year studying Emerging Media with an emphasis on journalism, and loves all things related to cars, coffee, and comedy.

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