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Graduate Course Proposal Form Submission Detail - SPN6846
Tracking Number - 5065

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Current Status: Approved by SCNS - 2015-04-01
Campus: Tampa
Submission Type: New
Course Change Information (for course changes only):
Comments: For MA in Spanish - Elective. GC appd 2/10/15. To USF Sys 2/27/15. Approved effective 4/1/15

Detail Information

  1. Date & Time Submitted: 2014-09-16
  2. Department: World Languages
  3. College: AS
  4. Budget Account Number: 124100
  5. Contact Person: David Arbesu
  6. Phone: 4136872289
  7. Email:
  8. Prefix: SPN
  9. Number: 6846
  10. Full Title: Spanish Paleography and Textual Criticism
  11. Credit Hours: 3
  12. Section Type: C - Class Lecture (Primarily)
  13. Is the course title variable?: N
  14. Is a permit required for registration?: N
  15. Are the credit hours variable?: N
  16. Is this course repeatable?: N
  17. If repeatable, how many times?: 0
  18. Abbreviated Title (30 characters maximum): Spanish Paleography
  19. Course Online?: C - Face-to-face (0% online)
  20. Percentage Online: 0
  21. Grading Option: R - Regular
  22. Prerequisites: SPN 6845
  23. Corequisites:
  24. Course Description: Analysis of Spanish historical documents, paleography, and textual criticism. Registration restrictions: Graduate standing; SPN6845, or consent of the instructor.

  25. Please briefly explain why it is necessary and/or desirable to add this course: Needed for program/concentration/certificate change
  26. What is the need or demand for this course? (Indicate if this course is part of a required sequence in the major.) What other programs would this course service? This course was designed as part of the curricular change taking place in the BA and MA in Spanish, which follows the recommendations of the external review made in Spring 2014. It also follows our own departmental needs and design. It goes hand in hand with SPN6845 (History of Spanish Language), and it serves the needs of students in other courses such as SPW5388 (Golden Age Poetry and Drama), SPW5404 (Medieval Literature), FOW6805 (Bibliography), and the Surveys of Latin America and Peninsular literature.
  27. Has this course been offered as Selected Topics/Experimental Topics course? If yes, how many times? No
  28. What qualifications for training and/or experience are necessary to teach this course? (List minimum qualifications for the instructor.) Ph.D in Spanish languages and cultures. Specialization in Medieval and Golden Age literatures and cultures. Specialization and publications in the field of textual criticism.
  29. Objectives: • To enable students to recognize and describe the different kinds of historical documents based on their physical characteristics and the different kinds of scripts utilized.

    • To help students analyze and understand early printed books and manuscripts as cultural products of a specific time period and geographical area and, as such, analyze and understand the different cultures in which they were produced.

    • To enable students to decipher and understand the contents of historical documents from different time periods and geographical areas.

    • To enable students to make transcriptions and regularized editions of historical documents, following specific methodologies and practices.

    • To present to students the different transcription and editorial techniques available to them, including Digital Humanities Projects.

  30. Learning Outcomes: • Identify the different kinds of historical documents based on their physical characteristics and the different scripts (Visigothic, Carolingian, Humanist, Courtisan, Processal, etc.)

    • Demonstrate the ability to understand and make sense of historical documents.

    • Demonstrate the ability to transcribe historical documents using specific methodologies and techniques.

    • Apply specific terminology to speak about historical documents and their contents.

    • Understand the different techniques available for the transcription and edition of historical documents (i.e. semipaleographic editions, regularized editions, digital editions, etc.)

  31. Major Topics: This course is primarily concerned with Spanish paleography and textual criticism. As such, its focus is on the practice of deciphering, reading, and dating historical manuscripts, as well as the study of the forms and processes of writing (not the textual content of documents). This takes into account the analysis of the cultural context of writing, including the methods with which manuscripts and early printed books were produced. For this purpose, we will study manuscripts from the Spanish Middle Ages and Golden Age, as well as documents written during the colonial era of Spanish America, including the southern territories of the United States. Primary readings range from the late 13th century (when Spanish began to be used as an official language) to the end of the 17th century (when the script used in documents had already lost most of the traits that distinguished it from a modern script). Since the course aims to present both the methodology and the practice of paleography and textual criticism, it will require students to not only learn the theory (evolution of scripts, diplomatics, codicology, archival research), but also to put these concepts into practice by transcribing and interpreting historical documents. The final, practical outcome of the course is for students to learn how to decipher and understand historical documents, and to train them in the methods and practices of editing and interpreting historical texts. Class lectures, primary readings, secondary sources, and disccusions are in Spanish.
  32. Textbooks: None. All primary texts are taken from digitized manuscript collections (Madrid, National Library of Spain; Seville, Archive of the Indies; Oviedo, Municipal Archive). Guides, book chapters, articles, and other secondary sources will be posted on Canvas.
  33. Course Readings, Online Resources, and Other Purchases: Online Resources:

    Manuscript facsimiles from the Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid (

    Manuscript facsimiles from the Archivo General de Indias (

    Manuscript facsimiles from the Archivo Municipal de Oviedo (

    Manuscript facsimiles from Millares Carlo, Ángel. Tratado de Paleografía Española. 3 vols. Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1993.


    ALATORRE, ANTONIO. Los 1,001 años de la lengua española. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1989.

    BLAKE, ROBERT. “Aproximaciones nuevas al fenómeno [f] > [h] > [0]”. Actas del I Congreso Interanacional de Historia de la Lengua Española. Cáceres, 30 de marzo-4 de abril de 1987. Madrid: Arco Libros, 1988. I: 71-82.

    CASADO QUINTANILLA, BLAS. “Notas sobre la llamada ‘letra de albalaes.’” Espacio, Tiempo y Forma. Serie III. Historia Medieval 9 (1996): 327-45.

    GARCÍA TATO, ISIDRO. “Paleografía y diplomática: Génesis, evolución y tendencias actuales.” Cuadernos de estudios gallegos 56.122 (2009): 411-41.

    LAS CASAS, JOSÉ GONZALO DE. Anales de la paleografía española: Paleografía práctica. Madrid: J. A. García, 1857.

    MENÉNDEZ PIDAL, RAMÓN. Manual de gramática histórica española. Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1985.

    MUÑOZ Y RIVERO, JESÚS. Manual de paleografía diplomática española d elos siglos XII al XVII. Madrid: Moreno y Rojas, 1880.

    PETRUCCI, ARMANDO. La ciencia de la escritura: Primera lección de paleografía. Buenos Aires: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2002.

    PHARIES, DAVID A. Breve historia de la lengua española. Chicago: The U of Chicago P, 2007.

    PINTO MOLINA, NURIA. Catalogación de documentos: Teoría y práctica. Madrid: Síntesis, 1994.

    RIESCO TERRERO, ÁNGEL. “Enseñanza y aplicación de las técnicas historiográficas al estudio de la investigación documental y a la Paleografía y Diplomática.” Signo 5 (1998): 61-72.

    RIESCO TERRERO, ÁNGEL. Introducción a la paleografía y la diplomática general. Madrid: Síntesis, 1999.

    SÁNCHEZ-PRIETO BORJA, PEDRO. Cómo editar los textos medievales: Criterios para su presentación gráfica. Madrid: Arco Libros, 1998.

    TAMAYO, ALBERTO. Archivística, diplomática y sigilografía. Madrid: Cátedra, 1996.

  34. Student Expectations/Requirements and Grading Policy: For this course students are expected to complete five (5) transcriptions / editions of historical documents at home. Depending on their difficulty, these should take them from 3-4 hours. Additionally, students are expected to write a final paper of approximately ten (10) pages, together with the transcription and edition of a larger document (an additional 10 pages, more or less). The students' progress in the course will also be measured by quizzes, a final oral presentation, and participation in the class.

    Transcriptions of Manuscripts and Documents 35%

    Quizzes 10%

    Participation / Class discussion 10%

    Oral Presentation 20%

    Final Paper (Transcription and Analysis) 25%

  35. Assignments, Exams and Tests: Transcriptions of Manuscripts and Documents. Apart from the transcriptions that we will do in class to practice, students will be asked to transcribe five (5) short fragments (one or two pages / folios) of manuscripts, historical documents, or early printed books from different time periods, to be turned in. Transcriptions will be graded on accuracy, presentation, and problem-solving abilities. Each transcription must be turned in together with the facsimile of the original. Please remember that, in this course, it is essential to review what you have written.

    Quizzes. There will be three (3) scheduled quizzes during the semester to test your knowledge of the subject matter. I also reserve the right to give unannounced quizzes to make sure that you are up to date with the secondary sources assigned for each day.

    Participation / Class Discussion. It goes without saying that participation is a crucial element in this course, especially because sharing your experiences, your findings, or the difficulties you might be experiencing will be of value to the rest of the students (and to me!). Remember that participation does not mean getting things right or answering correctly. I don’t care about that, nor should you. Participation is meant to foster a “learning atmosphere” in the classroom, and your participation grade is only given depending on how much you participate, not on how many things you get right. Doubts and questions are of the utmost importance for the overall quality of the course, so do not hesitate to speak up!

    Final Paper (Transcription and Analysis). For the Final Paper you will choose a manuscript, historical document, or early printed book that you will analyze in detail, transcribe, and edit (regularize). While you may choose to work on a fragment of a text (approx. ten (10) pages / folios in length), it is preferrable to choose complete or meaningful units. The complete final paper should consist of (a) a Section in which you analyze the document, (b) a Section in which you speak about the contents of the document (the text you have chosen), (c) a paleographic transcription of the text, (d) a regularized version of the same text, with annotations, and (e) a Section of Works Cited. Please note that the final paper should be approximately ten (10) double-spaced pages in length, not counting the transcription and regularization of the text.

    Final Oral Presentation. Students will present their Final Paper to the rest of the class in the final week of classes. Remember that the paper does not need to be complete at this point, although it should be very close to completion. Here, you should present your chosen document to the class, analyze its provenance and content, and then talk about the text, the transcription process, the difficulties you have faced, and how you have approached the transcription and editorial process.

  36. Attendance Policy: Course Attendance at First Class Meeting – Policy for Graduate Students: For structured courses, 6000 and above, the College/Campus Dean will set the first-day class attendance requirement. Check with the College for specific information. This policy is not applicable to courses in the following categories: Educational Outreach, Open University (TV), FEEDS Program, Community Experiential Learning (CEL), Cooperative Education Training, and courses that do not have regularly scheduled meeting days/times (such as, directed reading/research or study, individual research, thesis, dissertation, internship, practica, etc.). Students are responsible for dropping undesired courses in these categories by the 5th day of classes to avoid fee liability and academic penalty. (See USF Regulation – Registration - 4.0101,

    Attendance Policy for the Observance of Religious Days by Students: In accordance with Sections 1006.53 and 1001.74(10)(g) Florida Statutes and Board of Governors Regulation 6C-6.0115, the University of South Florida (University/USF) has established the following policy regarding religious observances: (

    In the event of an emergency, it may be necessary for USF to suspend normal operations. During this time, USF may opt to continue delivery of instruction through methods that include but are not limited to: Blackboard, Elluminate, Skype, and email messaging and/or an alternate schedule. It’s the responsibility of the student to monitor Blackboard site for each class for course specific communication, and the main USF, College, and department websites, emails, and MoBull messages for important general information.

  37. Policy on Make-up Work: Late Work Policy: Turning in late homework is strongly discouraged. However, as I understand that sometimes the need arises for a student to miss a class or postpone turning in an assignment, I will accept late written assignments or homework with a penalty of one (1) grade level per each late day. For example, an assignment that would have earned a B+, if handed one day late it will receive a B, for two days, a B-, etc. An assignment is considered late if it is not handed in (or e-mailed to me) by the end of class time on the scheduled due date. Please note that this policy only applies to written assignments or homework outside the class, or that did not involve any work in the classroom. However, the policy excludes the Final Paper and it does not apply to in-class activities such as your Final Oral Presentation or quizzes. These must be turned in (or taken) on the day dictated by the syllabus, or, in the case of the Final Oral Presentation, on the day agreed between the students and the professor.

    Extra Credit Policy: No extra credit will be given.

    Rewrite Policy: No assignments can be rewritten.

    Academic Conduct Policy: Academic dishonesty in any form will not be tolerated. All assignments that you turn in to me are assumed to be 100% yours. Plagiarism is an extremely serious offense that will earn you an automatic F in the course, apart from getting you reported to the proper USF authorities. If you are uncertain as to what constitutes academic dishonesty, please consult the University of South Florida’s Student Handbook for further details. Violations of these rules will result in a record of the infraction being placed in your file and receiving a zero on the work in question, at a minimum. At the professor’s discretion, you may also receive a failing grade for the course. Confirmation of such incidents can also result in expulsion from the University. The same holds true for auto-plagiarism. Do not turn in anything that you have written for other classes, even if you are the author. Please note: If you are unsure as to whether you are plagiarizing or not, that is a clear indication that you should definitely meet with me.

  38. Program This Course Supports: Master of Arts in Spanish
  39. Course Concurrence Information:

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