Our history

Spanish has been taught at Indiana University since the 19th century, first in what was once called the Department of Romance Languages. In 1934, Romance Languages split into two: Department of Spanish and Department of French and Italian.

J.M. Hill, after whom we designate an award for an outstanding graduate research paper, was the first chair of the Department of Spanish. Portuguese has been taught in the Department since 1945. In 1952, the name of the department was changed to Department of Spanish and Portuguese, to reflect the teaching of Portuguese.

For the last 65 years, we have thrived with our current designation, becoming one of the most respected departments of its kind in the country. Teaching of the Catalan language, literature, and culture in our department has a long history as well.