On Imagination and Erasure: Investigating Undergraduate Spanish Language Education in the U.S. Southwest
AuthorSchwartz, Adam Frederick
KeywordsLanguage, Reading & Culture
Committee ChairRuiz, Richard
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation examines the in-class and out-of-class language learning experiences of university students in the U.S. Southwest enrolled in beginner-level Spanish. Spanish is not only the fastest growing spoken language in the U.S.; it is also the most popular second language studied across educational institutions, by far. My research indicates that students often idealize the Southwest as inherently bilingual and therefore enroll in Spanish to gain access to this bilingualism, although expectations for language learning within the university encourage otherwise. Topic and discourse analyses of course syllabi, textbooks and field notes demonstrate how broad institutional ideologies and daily classroom interactions work to socialize and, in fact, encourage students to ignore the existence and contributions of local Spanish-speaking populations and imagine Spanish as foreign. Interviews, surveys and student journal entries document ongoing informal experiences with Spanish out-of-class. In addition, interviews, surveys and participant observation aim to identify how students "do" Spanish in a college classroom by navigating and managing their language learning experiences. This research is an important first step to understanding the benefits and complexities of framing Spanish as a local, community-based resource and thereby encouraging dialogue and interaction between traditionally disconnected communities of practice: university students and the larger multilingual, multicultural societies in which they live.
Degree ProgramLanguage, Reading & Culture