Category: News Fall 2012
Romance Studies made a splash at the annual Massachusetts Foreign Language Association conference in Sturbridge October 25-27. The conference brought together over 600 K-16 language instructors from MA, CT, NH, RI and upstate NY. RS faculty and graduate students offered 3 of the 85 sessions, and all were well attended. Célia Bianconi and Sue Griffin presented “Effective Reading Strategies for the World Language Classroom.” Grad students Jen López and Paola Calahorrano–in their first foray into conference presentations–presented “Taming Technology: Achieving the 5Cs through Free Web Applications.” Angelica Avcikurt (photo) had the hall rocking with “Teaching Puerto Rican Culture through Music.”
Professor Adela E. Pineda of Romance Studies, and Prof. Jimena Obregón Iturra, of Institut d’études politiques de Rennes have co-edited an important new collective volume on cinema and politics in Latin America, published by Prenses Universitares de Rennes: Cinéma et turbulences politiques en Amérique Latine. Among the contributors is Romance Studies grad student Victoria Livingstone, “De la page à l’écran, distorsions idéologiques dans O que é isso, companheiro? (Brésil, 1979-Brésil/États-Unis, 1997)”.
Paris-Dakar, Dakar-Paris. These two cities are linked by the famous ‘Paris-Dakar’ Rally. But the association also allows us to think about several centuries of history, colonization, and shifts in population and migration. In this program, students will discover Paris and Dakar in dialogue, and explore artistic responses–from writers, film directors, and musicians–to new dynamic shifts in population and migration. This dialogue, these connections between a northern city and a southern one, between Europe and Africa, cast new light on the thorny issues of our globalized world.
This Boston University summer program allows students seven weeks to live two experiences and discover the interconnectedness of seemingly separate worlds.
Two courses will be offered: Historical and Social Dynamics of Migration, which will analyze the complexities of urbanization and migration through the social sciences and look at population movements in Senegal and in France, and Youth and Migration in Literature and Film, which takes a look at displacement, migration, postcolonial cultures, and identities as themes of African literature and film both on the African continent and in the diaspora in Paris.
At issue are a series of myths: France/the West as a land of opportunities; the concepts of “home”, “here” and “there”; the mechanisms of migration for both those who have departed and the family and community at home.
According to Cazenave: “Dakar, Senegal, and Paris will help us examine the evolution of literary and cinematic aesthetics in seminal works by writers and filmmakers about youth and migration in a global economy.”
Details will be forthcoming on the BU Study Abroad webpage.
The 17th annual Boston Ibero-American Film Festival, hosted this year by the Department of Romance Studies, Voces Hispánicas, and the Aula Cervantes at Boston University, with generous funding from Sovereign / Santander, got off to a good start on October 2 with a film screening and a reception given by the Consulate of Colombia. Consuls from several Latin American countries were on hand to welcome a large and enthusiastic audience. The festival continues through the month of October.
Professor Jim Iffland was among several individuals honored recently by the Salvadoran-American community as part of the first-ever celebration of the Salvadoran presence in New England.
Most recently, Iffland has been engaged with that community in his role as coordinator of the “Voces Hispánicas/Hispanic Voices” initiative, which is funded by the Santander Universities Global Division. The Boston area (particularly East Boston and Chelsea) is home to thousands of Salvadoran immigrants, most of whom arrived because of the civil war waged in El Salvador during the eighties and nineties. The certificate of recognition was bestowed by the Salvadoran consul José Alemán in front of the Salvadoran Consulate General located in East Boston.
Literary commerce! In Fair Observer, Romance Studies Teaching Fellow Victoria Livingstone writes on recent efforts by the Brazilian government–in particular, translation subsidies and literary prizes– to export Brazilian literature.
Two students in Hispanic Studies successfully defended their doctoral dissertations in September 2012. Peter J. Mahoney submitted “The Seven Knights of Lara: Annotated Translation and Study,” (directed by Irene Zaderenko), the first translation into English of this medieval Spanish text. Leslie J. Harkema wrote on “Youth as Ideoclasm: Miguel de Unamuno and ‘La Joven Literatura'” (directed by Christopher Maurer).
On taking up faculty positions–Leslie Harkema in Yale University’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Peter Mahoney at his alma mater, Stone Hill College–these two recent graduates kept up a Department tradition of successful placement of PhDs and ABDs.
Among 2012 Hispanic Studies graduates, Monica Simal is Assistant Professor at Providence College where she joins Edgar Mejía (1999), a tenured Associate Professor at the same institution. Megan Gibbons is an Assistant Professor at Glenville State College. Catalina Donoso, winner of a recent Fondecyt research fellowship, holds a full-time faculty position at the Instituto de Comunicación e Imagen, Universidad de Chile. Isabel Castro is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the College of the Holy Cross. This was also a good year for some of our older graduates: Guillermo Espinosa (2008) was honored by the Fundación para las Letras Mexicanas for his 2011 book La sonrisa de la desilusión.
Among recent graduates in French, Courtney Wells (2010) is an Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Hobart and William Smith College.
Célia Bianconi and Sue Griffin ran a highly successful STARTALK Portuguese Teacher Training program this summer for sixteen teachers of Portuguese from public and private schools, colleges and universities.
STARTALK–a great way to “start talking”–is a natonal Presidential initiative to fund summer programs in critical languages. Boston University’s STARTALK program addressed a critical lack of professional-development programs available to teachers of Portuguese and focused on quality standards-based teaching through a month-long online course followed by an intensive five-day onsite portion.
The online course introduced participants to topics such as working with heritage learners, assessment, standards-based teaching methods, community-based education, curriculum design, second language acquisition theory, and utilizing technology effectively. The onsite portion allowed teachers to interact with leaders in these fields and to work together to address the many challenges that face language teachers today. A teaching practicum involved volunteer students from the BU and Boston communities. The program culminated with an award ceremony.
Site visitors found the program impressive, “a wonderful addition to the STARTALK family,” and praised director and lead instructor for creating a “warm and welcoming environment for learning.” The curriculum was “comprehensive yet not overwhelming” and the “online portion provided an in-depth introduction to many areas that came together for the participants when they arrived on site.”
Sincere thanks to Dr Ethel Jorge (Pitzer College), Dr. Patricia Sobral (Brown University), Dr. Maria de Lourdes Serpa (Lesley University), Dr. Gláucia Silva (UMass, Dartmouth), Simone Elias (Northeastern University), and Dr. Gisela Hoecherl-Alden, Dr Karen Price, Liliane Duséwoir (all from Boston University) for their participation. Additional thanks go to Adel Faitaninho, Rebecca Jackson, Gabriella Campozano, Gin Schaffer, Fernando Sousa, for or all their help and support and to Gabriela Guimarães Gazzinelli for a wonderful awards ceremony.