North Island College Winter 2023

Meeting Time:  M, W 11:30 am - 12:50 pm

Meeting PlaceTyee 204

Instructor: Dan Hinman-Smith

Office:  Village G6

Office Hours:  Tues. 11:30 am - 12:50 pm; Th 4:00 - 5:20 pm (You can either meet me in person in Village G6 or set up a video meeting on BlueJeans)

Office Phone: 250-334-5000, Extension 4024



North Island College is honoured to acknowledge the traditional territories of the combined 35 First Nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka'wakw and Coast Salish traditions, on whose traditional and unceded territories the college's campuses are situated.  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's final report calls for 94 actions toward restoring a balanced relationship between indigenous peoples and settler communities in this country.

Course Description

LIB 210 is designed to provide an intensive introduction to the culture and history of a particular world region or to a comparative global theme.  Although the topics will vary from year to year, an integrated interdisciplinary approach, core readings of primary texts, and student learning through participatory seminars and extensive critical written analyses will be recurring constants.  The topic for Winter 2022 will be Spanish Civilization.

Required Texts

Andres Resendez, Land So Strange: The Epic Journey Of Cabeza De Vaca (New York: Basic Books, 2009).

Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote (New York: Signet Classics, 2003).

Recommended Text

Giles Tremlett, Espana: A Brief History Of Spain (New York: Bloomsbury, 2022).

An Optional Resource   The History Of Spain: Land On A Crossroad, 24 lectures, 2017:  This superb on-line course of two dozen half-hour lectures from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay professor Joyce E. Salisbury is available through  Vancouver Island Regional Library as a Kanopy streaming video and provides a comprehensive introduction to Spain's history.  To access Kanopy, you need either to get a free library card by visiting one of the local library branches or by registering free on-line.

Learning Outcomes

This course is designed to:

1)  Provide students with an integrated understanding of a particular global culture or theme.

2)  Push students to analyze important and challenging texts and to assess the connections between those works and the civilizations in which they were produced.

3)  Help students to further develop their critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills.

4)  Encourage students to participate within a learning community and to assess the strengths and weaknesses of an intensive, collaborative seminar model.

Tentative Class Schedule

Week 1

Monday, January 9

a)  Course Introduction

Wednesday, January 11

a)  Discussion: The Invention Of Spain

b)  Video:  "Conquest," Episode 1, The Making Of Spain.

Listening Assignment(Listen to at least one of the following)

"The Invention Of Spain, Episode 1," BBC Radio 4, August 24, 2015.

"The Invention Of Spain, Episode 2," BBC Radio 4, August 25, 2015.

"The Invention Of Spain, Episode 3," BBC Radio 4, August 26, 2015.

Week 2

Monday, January 16

a)  Discussion: Ancient Spain In The News

b)  Mini-Lecture:  The Geography Of Spain

c)  Lecture: Ancient Spain

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively In Ancient Spain In The News.  Take brief notes on at least one interesting article and bring that to class.

Wednesday, January 18

a)  Video: "Ornament Of The World," PBS, 2019.  (116 mins)

Week 3

Monday, January 23

a)  Group Presentation Set-Up

b)  Discussion:  History In The News -- Islam And Spain

c)  Lecture: Muslim Spain (I)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively In History In The News -- Islam And Spain.  Take brief notes on at least one interesting article and bring that to class.

Andrew Hussey, "The New Spanish Civil Wars," New Statesman, 148 (October 11, 2019): 30-33.

Optional Extras:

Aatish Taseer, "In Search Of A Lost Spain: In The Southern Part Of The Country, Churches And Streets Hold The Remnants Of Eight Centuries Of Islamic Rule," New York Times, November 3, 2022.

Wednesday, January 25

a)  Lecture: Muslim Spain (II)

Reading Assignment:

Yolanda Victoria Olmedo Sanchez, "Glory Of Cordoba: From Mosque To Cathedral," National Geographic History (July/August 2022): 44-61.

Listening Assignment:

"Cordoba's Mosque-Cathedral," Heart And Soul, BBC Radio World Service, August 28, 2016.  (27 mins)

Optional Extras:

Violet Moller, "Chapter Four: Cordoba," Map Of Knowledge: A Thousand-Year History Of How Classical Ideas Were Lost And Found (New York: Doubleday, 2019): 85-118.

"Al-Andalus: The Legacy," Sunday Feature, BBC Radio 3, August 25, 2021.  (44 mins)

Cullen Murphy, "Tales Of The Alhambra," Atlantic, 288 (September 2001: 118-121.

Week 4 

Monday, January 30

a)  Group Presentations Check-In

b)  Discussion:  History In The News -- Judaism And Spain

c)  Lecture:  Muslim Spain (III)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively In History In The News -- Judaism And Spain.  Take brief notes on at least one interesting article and bring that to class.

"The Alhambra Decree -- Edict Of The Expulsion Of The Jews Of Spain" (1492)

Natasha Pizzey, "Secret Mexican Diary Sheds Light On Spanish Inquisition," BBC News, June 4, 2017.

Optional Extras:

Benjamin R. Gampel, "Jews, Christians, And Muslims In Medieval Iberia: 'Convivencia' Through The Eyes Of Sephardic Jews," in Vivian B. Mann et al., Convivencia: Jews, Christians And Muslims In Medieval Spain (New York: George Braziller, 2000): 11-37.

Kiku Adatto, "Spain's Attempt To Atone For A 500-Year-Old Sin," Atlantic (September 2019).

Barbara Ferry and Debbie Nathan, "Mistaken Identity?," Atlantic, 286 (December 2000): 85-96.

Wednesday, February 1

a)  Discussion:  Saint James And Santiago De Compostela

b)  Lecture:  Jewish Spain

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Saint James And Santiago De Compostela Discussion Topic

  Jacinto Anton, "The Real Story Of Spain's El Cid: Medieval Hero Or Shrewd Mercenary?," El Pais, January 3, 2020.

Igor Radulovic, "Reconquista: How The Christian Kingdoms Took Spain From The Moors," The Collector (January 15, 2022).

Optional Extras:

Kayla Wolf, "Ugly History: The Spanish Inquisition," TED-Ed, March 2021.  (5 mins)

"From Tolerance To Tyranny," Ideas, CBC, February 20, 2017.

"The Spanish Inquisition," In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, June 22, 2006.

Week 5

Monday, February 6

a)  Video:  "Reconquest," Episode 2, The Making Of Spain.

Wednesday, February 8

a)  Group Presentations (1)

Week 6

Monday, February 13

a)  Group Presentations (2)

Wednesday, February 15

a)  Introduce Faces Project

b)  Discussion:  A Land So Strange

Reading Assignment:

Andres Resendez, Land So Strange: The Epic Journey Of Cabeza De Vaca

Optional Extras:

Joan-Lluis Palos, "Isabella's Play For Power: The Queen Of Castille," National Geographic History Magazine (March/April 2018): 64-75.

***Saturday, February 18A Land So Strange Reading Notes And Response Due

***Family Day And Reading Break, February 20-24

Week 7

Monday, February 27

a)  Video:  "When Worlds Collide," PBS, 2010 (91 mins)

Wednesday, March 1

a)  Discussion:  Columbus In History And Memory

b)  Discussion:  The Doctrine Of Discovery

c)  Lecture:  1492 (1)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in the Columbus In History And Memory Discussion Topic

Browse extensively in the Doctrine Of Discovery Discussion Topic

Viewing Assignment:

"The Columbian Exchange," Crash Course World History, #23, 2012.  (12 mins)

Week 8

Monday, March 6

a)  Video: "All The World Is Human," Conquistadors, PBS, 2001.  (55 mins)

Reading Assignment:

Elizabeth Drayson, "'These Are The Keys Of This Paradise': How 700 Years Of Muslim Rule In Spain Came To An End," Conversation, March 6, 2018.

  ***Matt Carr, "Spain's Ethnic Cleansing," History Today, 59 (February 2009): 48-51.

Optional Extras:

"In Search Of My Roots," Al Jazeera World, January 20, 2021.  (47 mins)

Wednesday, March 8

***Class Cancelled

Week 9 

Monday, March 13

a)  Lecture:  1492 (2)

b)  Possible Mini-Lecture:  Malinche

Reading Assignment:

Gracie Anderson, "Who Was La Malinche?," Smithsonian Smart News, July 30, 2021.

Ianko Lopez, "The Surprising Case Of Cataline De Erauso: The First Trans Portrait In History Finds Its Voice 400 Years Later," El Pais, March 15, 2022.

Bernat Hernandez, "The Cortes Conquest: The Fall Of Tenochtitlan," National Geographic History Magazine (May/June 2016): 62-73.

***Faces Assignment Due

Wednesday, March 15

a)  Discussion:  The 500th Anniversary Of The Conquest Of Mexico

b)  Discussion:  500th Anniversary Of Magellan's Voyage

c)  Lecture:  Conquest Of The Americas

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in the 500th Anniversary Of The Conquest Of Mexico Discussion Topic

Browse extensively in the 500th Anniversary Of Magellan's Voyage Discussion Topic

Lebawit Lily Girma, "Santo Domingo: The City That Kept Slavery Quiet," BBC Travel, November 18, 2020.

Optional Extras:

"The Spanish Empire, Silver And Runaway Inflation," Crash Course World History #25, 2012:

Jacqueline L. Scott, "Seville Spain, A Legacy Of Indigenous Slavery," Black Outdoors (December 21, 2018).

Julius Purcell, "Around The World: Magellan's Mission," National Geographic History Magazine (March/April 2021): 74-89.

"The Longest Voyage," DW, 2022.  (42 mins)

Week 10

Monday, March 20

a)  Discussion:  Spanish Civil War In The News

b)  Lecture:  For Whom The Bell Tolls -- The Spanish Civil War

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in the Spanish Civil War In The News Discussion Topic

Jason Cowley, "The Road To Revolution," New Statesman, 149 (December 11, 2020): 38-41.

Wednesday, March 22

a)  Discussion:  Spanish Civil War In The News

b)  Discussion:  Don Quixote

Reading Assignment:

Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote

Browse in the Spanish Civil War In The News Discussion Topic

Viewing Assignment:

Ilan Stevens, "Why Should You Read 'Don Quixote'?," TED-Ed, October 8, 2016.  (6 mins)

Optional Extras:

Nicholas Casey, "Taken Under Fascism, Spain's 'Stolen Babies' Are Learning The Truth," New York Times, September 27, 2022.

"Francisco Franco," Episode 4, The Dictator's Playbook, TVO.  (53 mins)

Week 11

Monday, March 27

a)  Places And Themes Mini-Presentations (1)

Wednesday, March 29

a)  Places And Themes Mini-Presentations (2)

Week 12

Monday, April 3

a)  Places And Themes Mini-Presentations (3)

Wednesday, April 5

a)  Places And Themes Mini-Presentations (4)


Letter of Introduction


Group Mini-Presentation


Land So Strange Reading Notes And Response


Faces Assignment 20%
Places And Themes Mini-Presentations 15%
Class Preparation And Participation 25%



a)  Letter of Introduction (1%)

Write a short letter of introduction to me at the beginning of the semester.  This should be at least 100 words in length and is designed to give me a beginning idea of who you are and how I might best serve you as a teacher, and to provide me with an opening snapshot of the class as a whole.  You need not use the following questions as cues but they may be helpful.  Who are you?  Where are you from?  How might you begin to describe your community and what life is like there if you've come to NIC from far away?  What do you miss and what do you think would most surprise me if I were to visit your hometown?  What are your interests?  Why are you taking this course?  Do you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions?  This is an assignment I ask of students in each of my classes.  Although this is not a graded assignment, I would appreciate it if you took several minutes writing a thoughtful introduction?  If you are enrolled in more than one class with me this semester, a single letter of introduction will suffice, but mention something about each of the courses.  If you have taken a class with me before, please update what you wrote before and complete a new letter of introduction.

b)  Group Mini-Presentation (10%)

You will be responsible for collaborating with a small group of your classmates and putting together an informal but well-organized slideshow and oral presentation that introduces a specific Spanish geographic region (the Basque Country or Catalonia) or artist (El Greco, Velazquez, Goya, or Picasso).

c)  Land So Strange Reading Notes And Response (14%)

You will be asked to bring detailed active reading notes from at least a large section of Andres Resendez's Land So Strange to class when we discuss that book on February 15.

d)  Places And Themes Mini-Presentations (15%)

This end-of-the-semester project will ask you to present a Powerpoint to the class on a selected theme on Spanish Civilization from a provided list.

e)  Faces Assignment (20%)

The Faces Assignment will consist of condensed biographies of selected figures from Spain's history.

f)  Class Preparation And Participation (25%)

The class participation grade will be based upon attendance; pre-class preparation; and the willingness to contribute thoughtfully to full-class and small-group discussion.  I would like to encourage a classroom environment in which all are eager to share their ideas and in which lectures are accompanied by thoughtful discussion.  I will be assigning regular small homework exercises as one way of fostering student accountability.  These will contribute towards the Class Preparation assessment.

g)  Self-Evaluation (15%)

You will be asked to assess your own approach to your studies.  I will provide a template to help you to think about how to effectively learn to be a better and more self-aware learner.

Late Policy

The curriculum for this course is organized on a week-by-week basis, in which most assignments are cumulative and on-going.  Discussion amongst students is also dependent upon classmates keeping current with their studies.  Late assignments are also often an extra burden from an instructor standpoint.  Due dates should be noted and met.

However, I appreciate that there may be occasions where a very few extra days to polish an assignment in the midst of competing deadlines can be helpful, and thus I deliberately assume a good-faith effort on the part of students to meet the due dates and provide a small cushion of flexibility without any academic penalty.   That does not mean the due dates are unimportant or that extensions are automatically granted.  You must discuss possible extensions with me directly and I reserve the right to refuse to accept any late assignment if you do not check in with me before the due date.  As a general rule, no assignment will be accepted more than two weeks late and no end-of-the-semester assignment will be accepted more than one week late.

Writing Support And Peer Tutoring

Writing Support is available to all students at no additional cost.  Go to Writing Support for any or all of your assignments.  Every visit is a step toward becoming a better writer.  Use Writing Support as many times as you like, and at any point in your writing process.  The writing support faculty can help you understand the assignment, develop your ideas, outlines, thesis, and revision -- and anything else in-between.  Book your appointment through the library website, or visit the library desk to inquire about drop-ins.  There's also WriteAway, an online tutoring platform that allows you to upload your papers and assignments for detailed written feedback.  Both services may be found at .

Student Technical Services

Our Student Technical Service team is available to help you with any technical issues that you may be experiencing as a student.  Please go to for more information.

Learn Anywhere

NIC's Learn Anywhere website is geared to provide a collection of information that will help you be successful learning digitally by covering area such as: What is digital learning? How to be a digital learner while using NIC-supported technologies during your studies? A list of key skills and knowledge all students should have for successful learning in today's world, knowing your rights and responsibilities and Technology Readiness Checklists. More details at:

Community Supports (24/7)

There are several supports available to help any student in distress. If you are in distress, please reach out for support.

Vancouver Island Crisis Line:  24/7 1-888-494-3888 (Available to students located on Vancouver Island only)

Crisis Suicide helpline:  24/7 1-800-784-2433 (Available to students located in Canada only)

BC 211:  Full list of community services available across BC.  Dial 2-1-1 on BC cellphone (Available to students located in BC only).

Here2Talk24/7 counselling support for post-secondary students: 1-877-857-3397 (Available to students located in Canada and offshore).

A Note On Plagiarism And Academic Dishonesty

Everything that you hand in should be your original work unless otherwise indicated.  Violations of this policy may result in being reported to the Academic Integrity Committee and in failing an assignment or the course in its entirety.  Please talk to me if you have any uncertainty about what is permitted here.  I want to help you to get as much out of this course as possible but, for this to happen, you need to put forth strong and honest effort.  Some students have been using contracted outsiders to complete their work.  Please do not do this.  What may seem like a dishonest but private choice is actually one with ripple effects that not only disheartens your instructor but which also very negatively impacts upon the education of your classmates.  Thank you.

Related Policy

Community Code of Academic, Personal and Professional Conduct (3-06)

Instructional Accommodation and Access Services for Students with Disabilities (3-17)

Student Appeals Policy (3-30)

Student Complaint Resolution Policy (3-31)

Evaluation of Student Performance Policy (3-33)

Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy (3-34)

Course Outline Policy (3-35)

Academic Standing and Progression (3-37)

Grading System (4-14)




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