The Social Sciences and International Relations program analyzes the political, economic and social condition of the Hispanic world in a global context. Students may choose from the following courses.

History of Modern and Contemporary Spain


This course was designed to give the student a broad general understanding of the sociocultural environment of modern Spain. Thus the comparison between Spanish history and other societies is necessary to help develop the student’s understanding and evaluation of the cultural and linguistic diversity of Spain, as well as a reference point for other world views.

Specific course objectives will be:

  • To transmit a real image of Spanish culture, society and traditions
  • Avoid and dispel clichés of Spanish history, orienting the student to contemporary history
  • Enable the student to understand and interpret modern Spanish society through historical processes

Spanish Culture


The objective of this course is to provide the student with a general understanding of the sociocultural environment present in modern Spain. Throughout the course a number of cultural topics will be presented, always compared with the student’s home culture so that students will not only learn about Spanish culture, but learn to contextualize their cultural awareness in relation with others. The course attempts to create an appreciation for the cultural and linguistic diversity of Spanish society, so that the student gains a broader knowledge of cultural phenomena and an overall global vision.

Spanish Art History


Art history is its own autonomous discipline with its own objectives and methods.  The object of study is a work of art produced as a result of intelligence, creativity, and human performance in a permanent dialogue with time and space, expressed with its own codes and enriching the global vision of reality and its forms of manifestation.  At the same time, through the complexity of factors that come together in artistic creation, it relates deeply to other areas of understanding and activity.

The study of art history will provide the student with the necessary understanding to analyze, interpret, and value works of art in Spain through the language of form and visual thought, keeping in mind contemporary society and the environment of traditional forms enriched by other forms of visual communication, so that the universe of the image forms part of our daily reality, and through analysis enable the comparison of Spanish art with that of other nations.

Similarly the work of art, together with other sources of historical knowledge, constitutes in itself a valid document and indispensable testimony to better understand Spanish society, at the same time transforming the society.  Therefore it is necessary to study the work in its socio-cultural context as a dividing point for the analysis of the different factors and circumstances which influenced the creation process, and to learn to appreciate the art contextualized in the culture of each historic moment, realizing at the same time that each work has another dimension through time as objects susceptible to the different uses and social functions of each period.

The formulation of content for the course should be understood in an expansive and integrated sense, covering both conceptual aspects as well as attitudes. The introductory section will include the general procedures and basic attitudes necessary for the analysis, interpretation, and valuation of works of art, contained in the essence and methodology of the material, which will consequently be developed with traversal character throughout the course.

Latin American Literature


In this course, students are presented with a panoramic vision of literary evolution through reading and interpreting works of Latin-American literature from its origins to modern times. Literature, like all art, is not an isolated discipline, but rather it is directly interrelated with other facets of culture within a country, such as history, sociology, or anthropology. With this in mind, the course is aligned with the history of Latin American literature and its principal movements, but never separates completely from the socio-cultural reality of the movement.

Mercosur, European Common Market and North American Treaty


During the last few decades, the international economy has ceased to be a theme unique to each country and has become a global issue, in which each nation’s government has tried, using various economic accords, to maintain and develop their own social and economic structures. The economy exists in all areas, and influences nearly every activity of a given country. Protectionist economic policies of the last century have served to develop a free market economy, which to this day contains a number of important issues which are regulated through international treaties such as NAFTA, MERCOSUR, and the EU. Are we moving towards a global economy? Is this a possible, or even positive development?  Are we condemned to be either rich or poor societies? Do international treaties offer coherent, maintainable, long-term economic answers for such countries?  Who wins and who loses in this global economic labyrinth? All these questions and many more will be the primary topic of this course.

Spain and Latin America: History of International Relations


The goal of this course is to give an overview of the History of International Relations in Latin America from the point of view of Human Rights.  Students will also have the opportunity to learn about the political revolutions related to Human Rights from the beginning of the XIXth Century to the present. Students will work with different materials (texts, movies…) to complement their daily work in class, as well as allow them to research the contents of the course. To fulfill this goal, the professor will use the classroom as a debate area, in order to let students demonstrate their maturity and thinking capacities about the topics, as well as their comprehension and discussion abilities

Spain and Latin America: Social and Political History and Human Rights


Although the concept of “human rights” did not exist until the seventeenth and eighteenth Centuries with what was known as “natural rights,” the presence of it in culture and society is visible long before. For example, the concept of “subjective right” was already anticipated by Ockham in the Middle Ages. From this point of view, Spanish scholasticism (notably the School of Salamanca) developed this idea during the sixteenth Century by recognizing that there are some natural rights related to a person’s body (the right to life or property) and mind (the right to free thinking or dignity).  Specifically, the application of human rights to America’s conquest and colonization, placed in the debate about the nature of Indians and the “fair conquest” idea, is for many specialists the authentic origin of human rights. This course will study the historical evolution of Human Rights in Spanish Modern and Contemporary History, considering the different aspects (states, institutions, society) related directly or indirectly with this process. The second part of the course will focus on direct analysis of the main documents related to human rights (such as constitutions, law texts, etc.) to determine the current state of human rights in Spain.

Human Rights in Global Spain

This course explores the concept of culture related to Human Rights in a multi-regional globalized Spain as the core of international relationships rooted in Europe with clear connections with Latin America due to its colonial past, and Africa for historical and socio-economical reasons such as immigration and colonial past (Morocco and Guinea). By analyzing the main topics in this context in which these regions are in conversation, the discussion will unfold about the limits of the culture notion in society, global studies and human rights.