Katherine Thompson

Lecturer (Spanish)
Gates-Blake 202
Office Hours: MW 9-10:00 & by appt.
Ph.D., University of Maryland, 2010

My interest in Spanish arose from my passionate involvement in human rights and social justice work in El Salvador in the 1980s, when I worked for an El Salvador solidarity organization in Washington, DC. When the war in El Salvador ended, I went back to graduate school at the University of Maryland. While completing my MA in Latin American history, I found myself increasingly drawn to literature and the Spanish language in general, so I switched my field and got first an MA and then a PhD in Latin American literature. My thesis, on the representation of the natural world if the in the New World in the texts of two sixteenth century Spanish authors, straddles both history and literature.

I moved back to Chicago in 2000 to care for my mother while completing my thesis, and began teaching at the University of Chicago in 2002. My father taught at the university and my roots here are deep, so it was (and is) a joy to be able to teach here and to be a part of this vibrant intellectual community. My focus here has shifted to teaching language to beginning students, and I love watching their rapid progress as they master the rudiments of Spanish. I also teach literature and humanities at the Illinois Institute of Technology, specializing in minority literatures and social justice.

Recent courses in RLL

  • SPAN 10100 Beginning Elementary Spanish I (Autumn 2017, Autumn 2018, Winter 2019, Autumn 2019, Autumn 2020)
  • SPAN 10200 Beginning Elementary Spanish II (Autumn 2016, Winter 2017, Winter 2018, Autumn 2019, Winter 2020, Autumn 2020, Winter 2021)
  • SPAN 10300 Beginning Elementary Spanish III (Spring 2017, Winter 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021)