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Contact Info

Tulane University
Spanish & Portuguese Dept.
302 Newcomb Hall
New Orleans, LA 70118

phone: (504) 865-5518
fax: (504) 862-8752

Brief History

Tulane University is located in New Orleans, a city with deep historic and cultural ties to Spain and Latin America. Although founded by the French in 1718, New Orleans emerged as a major center of commerce and culture during the period of Spanish administration between 1764 and 1803. Throughout the nineteenth century, New Orleans maintained direct and intense connections with Havana, the capital of Spain’s most important colony following the independence of mainland Spanish America. The first Spanish language newspaper in the United States was published in New Orleans in 1808. In the early 1850s, as the University of Louisiana (later renamed Tulane) expanded from a small medical college into multidisciplinary university, it recruited J.A. de Tornos as the first Professor of Spanish Language and Literature. When the Newcomb College for Women was founded in 1887, one of the original seven faculty members was a professor of Spanish, then the only foreign language taught at the college. Newcomb College developed into a major center for the study of Spanish language, literature, and culture under the direction of Don Felipe Fernandez, a graduate of the Universidad de Valladolid, who taught here between 1905 and 1930.

By the early 1920s, both the women's and the men's colleges (Newcomb and Arts & Sciences, respectively) had established departments of Spanish as distinct from the other romance languages. In 1928 the first M.A. in Spanish was awarded at Tulane University. The Ph.D. program was established in 1947, the same year that the Portuguese language was first offered. In 1950, Tulane University awarded its first Ph.D. in Spanish. From the beginning of the Ph.D. program, faculty and graduate students have pursued research interests in both Peninsularist and Latin Americanist fields. The development of graduate study in Spanish and Portuguese coincided with the rise of Latin American Studies at Tulane which began awarding advanced degrees in the late 1940s. Since then, the department has maintained close relations with this acclaimed interdisciplinary center.

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese continues to build upon a long tradition of academic excellence. The 2007 Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index, which was published by the Chronicle of Higher Education, ranked our department #2 in the field of Spanish and Portuguese.


Newcomb Hall

Tulane University, Spanish & Portuguese Dept., 304 Newcomb Hall, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5518