This paper focuses on an advanced Spanish literature seminar I taught at Kansas State University dedicated entirely to Cervantes’s Don Quijote de la Mancha. In an effort to appeal to twenty-first-century students in rural Kansas, I designed my seminar to explore traditional questions of authorship, translation and reading, metafiction, self-invention, and parody, but through the lens of contemporary pop culture, including the graphic novel and mobile applications (apps). Unlike a traditional research paper, this course’s non-traditional final assessment required students to place academic scholarship in an alternative, accessible format. It also promoted innovative, analytic interpretations of the novel through the juxta-position of text, images, video, and sound in a medium in which students already excelled: Snapchat. In what follows, I describe this alternative Snapchat project and its pedagogical justifications, then reflect on the results, student feedback, successes, and limitations. Ultimately, I propose rethinking or reimagining the traditional Don Quijote seminar—and second-language (L2) literature courses and assessments more broadly—by embracing purportedly non-academic technologies like Snapchat, whose reliance on a variety of semiotic tools has the potential to teach traditional skills of literary analysis and increase students’ engagement with and understanding of narrative processes.


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pp. 323-339
Launched on MUSE
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