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Faculty Profile:

Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak

Staff Profile: Angela


The Academic As Filmmaker, Artisan, Writer

Conferences and Colloquia


Guest Lectures – Spring 09


Awards and Honors

16 18 Newsletter Staff

Celebration of Professor Emerita Graciela Nemes Maryland Day

Chair and Advisor: Mike Long | Editor and Advisor: Lauretta Clough Editor: Mike Fekula | Layout: Jeffrey Maurer Production: Bob Masiulis, UM Dept. of Business Services

3 Faculty Profile:

Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak

Director, Roshan Center for Persian Studies How did you come to arrive at UMD? I met Professor Michael Long in 2003 at a conference organized by the National Foreign Language Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. As we got acquainted, he mentioned, among other things, that he had just been appointed Director of the University of Maryland’s newly formed School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, and that UM did not have hard-budgeted programs in Arabic or Persian. I shared with him the story that some years before, I had received a message from some Iranian-American students at UM who had approached the Department of History to ask if it were possible to have a course on Iranian history taught there, but had been told that they had to come up with $5,000, presumably for a lecturer to be hired to teach such a course. As you can imagine, one thing led to another and soon we were discussing the possibility of a Persian language and literature program here. The idea of a larger entity capable of spearheading the outreach and cultural programming that have become an important facet of the Center for Persian Studies emerged in my negotiations with Dean James F. Harris, thenProvost Bill Destler and, of course, President C. Dan Mote, who, in May, 2004, announced the establishment of the Center at an event honoring the 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi. The Center began its work in September, 2004, and was welcomed wholeheartedly by UM faculty and students, as well as the Iranian and Persian-speaking communities in the area and beyond. Since then, we have received substantial additional support from those communities, including a most generous naming gift from the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute and its President, Dr. Elahe Mir-Djalali Omidyar. So, in a nutshell, my being here was a result primarily of Professor Long’s vision and efforts, supported by the top UM administration and enhanced substantially by student and community support. What are your main research and/or teaching interests? I am a specialist of Persian literature and a comparatist by training. As such, at the core of my research and teaching of close to forty years lies the vast canon of poetry, prose, and dramatic literature that has been written over a mil-

4 lennium of literary creativity by thousands of Persian-speaking poets and prose writers who, while they may have been Uzbek, Turk or Tajik, Indian or Anatolian, from the Caucasus, Bosnia, or Croatia, and in terms of their religious orientation Jewish, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Christian, or agnostic, have contributed to the growth of this aesthetic tradition. The canon is vast, the history very eventful, and the emotions and ideas recorded in it immensely diverse. I have had the good fortune of being exposed to it first as a child in my family, later through my school and university years in Iran, and still later through a rigorous graduate education in the US. This latter phase of my professional education also opened my eyes to Western literary theory and criticism, with increasingly sophisticated models of literature and literary history. So, in my work, I try to interpret Persian literature to speakers of English with two purposes in mind. First, I want to contribute to the growth of literary critical thinking among Persianists the world over, i.e., those who, whatever their own ethnic or national identity may be, have made a better understanding of Persian literature a career goal. Second, I hope to inform western literary theorists of the importance of such non-western literary canons to their theorizing, as they seek to advance claims of universality for their ideas and arguments. That is what I have done through translation, such as my first English book, An Anthology of Modern Persian Poetry (1978), through critical applications of Western theory to the Persian literary canon, as in my 1995 book, Recasting Persian Poetry, or through compilation, editing, or anthologizing, as in Strange Times, My Dear, published in 2005. Of course I also wear two other hats, that of a literary critic writing in the Persian language and that of a translator of European and American literary works into Persian, but I suppose those lie outside our interest here. Are there any special challenges of working in Persian in the US? Of course. Some of the challenges lie in the word ‘Persian’ itself, as it is used and understood in the US at the present time. Some people think Persian and Iranian are synonymous; they are not. Iran is a country and the word “Iranian” refers to all citizens of that country, whatever their ethnicity; it also has a wider meaning that refers to the larger Iranian world of former times. The word Persian has ethnic, linguistic, and cultural meanings. Among the seventy million contemporary Iranians there are people of Persian ethnicity called Fars, as well as the Turks, the Kurds, the Baluches, the Turkmans and many others. People of Persian ethnic extraction constitute the largest ethnic minority of Iranians, but not all Iranians are ethnically Persian. Similarly, there are at least 30 millions non-Iranians who speak the Persian language, in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, as well as elsewhere in the world. Second, a lot of Iranians think that Persian is the language only of the modern country of Iran; that is not true. Even today, when the domain of the Persian language has shrunk somewhat, Persian is an international language spoken in three countries – Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. It is also the language of two sizable ethnic minorities in the US, Iranian-Americans and Afghan-Americans, in addition to being a heritage language for several million people scattered across the globe. As mentioned above, Persian was in the past also the language of court and culture in almost all of Western Asia, parts of the Indian subcontinent, and even parts of Muslim Europe. A third set of problems stem from the growing currency of the word Farsi, which is the Persian word for the language. This is a misnomer, but it has given rise to some confusion in the minds of the people who do not know that the two

5 words Persian and Farsi refer to the same language, much like German and Deutsch or Spanish and Español. Semantic issues aside, Persian studies is a small but thriving academic field of activity. The scholars engaged in various facets of this field are sometimes referred to as Iranologists. However, Iranology is neither an academic discipline nor necessarily anchored in one. An Iranologist is as likely to be a historian, an anthropologist or a political scientist as she can be an expert in one of the many languages once spoken somewhere on the Iranian plateau. When focused on the study of the Persian language and its literature, this discipline involves a community of scholars and students numbering in the hundreds outside Iran and thousands in Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia, in the surrounding countries, in China and Japan, as well as in Europe, Canada and the US. What is the Center for Persian Studies? The Center for Persian Studies, renamed Roshan Center for Persian Studies (RCPS) in 2008, is a small academic unit inside the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures that offers a major and minor in the Persian language and the literary and cultural pursuits centered on Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and the Persianspeaking diaspora in the US. It also has a strong outreach activity that caters to the communities in the area and around the world that are interested in solid and reliable information about, and insights into, the dynamics associated with this cultural area in all its facets, now and in the past. In addition, RCPS partners with other UM departments to offer graduate degrees anchored in various disciplines on our campus directed at the cultural cluster mentioned above. Is there much student interest in Persian at UMD? Yes, indeed, sufficient in fact to turn RCPS into one of the fastest growing academic units on our campus. We began with classes of about 10-12 students in 2004, but now often have to increase our class sizes to accommodate student demand. That is, of course, in part due to UM’s requirements in Core and Diversity courses. Still, those very courses have led to a lot of interest in Iranian and Persian Studies among students eager to go beyond media representations to find out what Iran and the Persian language may have to offer in terms of intellectual and professional growth or in future career options. The growth of the Center now extends well beyond our geographical location to encompass various states in the United States and great excitement in places like Iran, especially among Iran’s educated youth, who continue to cherish an American higher education. It is my distinct impression that if and when political obstacles between Iran and the US are overcome, RCPS will become the educational venue of choice for a new generation of Iranians who will be leaders of the country in the decades to come, just as today we have among our students young men and women who will undoubtedly be in the first rank of this country’s leadership in sciences and technology, in law and medicine, and all sorts of other professional and business enterprises.

6 Staff Profile: Angela


Angela Wish, the lady with the best email address on campus, is a doer, and has always been one. She tells the story of how her family of six managed its chores when she was a child. On Sundays, for example, after a midday family dinner, they would not only make casseroles for each night of the week and freeze them, they would also make the week’s lunches, stacking up the sandwiches in the freezer and removing them as the days went by. So it’s no surprise that she has the skills to manage complex contract administration for the School, no surprise that she was able to get a BA, graduating magna cum laude, in American Studies here at UM when her two boys, now 24 and 21, were still at home, no surprise that she gets up every day at 5 am to do a rigorous outdoor workout with friends through the Sergeant’s program (although it may be a surprise that she has done this for 10 straight years), no surprise that she completed the 60 miles of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk last fall, no surprise that she raised the $2,200 needed to participate. No surprise that she keeps her good humor when things swirl about her. She began her career many years ago as a contract officer in small private research firms, spent the 1980s in the New York City with her husband, and came back to research administration following her positive experience as a returning student on campus. She loves being on this campus, the physical spaces, the walking it demands and allows, and has moved from the Office of Research Administration and Advancement, to the University of Maryland Biotech Institute, to the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, then to the American University, before finally joining SLLC in September, 2006. There are two aspects to her job in research administration, the pre-award stage of proposal development, and the post-award stage, when it is essentially a matter of running a little business, making sure bills are paid, people are hired, etc. You need both daily goals, she reminds, and the fluidity and clarity it takes to shift and adjust. You need a knack for order, or at least a strong relationship to order. Her primary projects within SLLC are the Linguistic Correlates of Proficiency Project and the Arabic and Persian Flagship programs. When asked if any of it is fun, she laughs, surrounded as she is by numbers and graphs and spreadsheets and the like, and says “actually, yes. I enjoy the feeling of helping researchers be able to do their research better, the knowledge that I’m providing support for people who are out there doing interesting work.” The desire to support others and pleasure in contributing to larger aims runs through other aspects of Angela’s life as well. She likes to see that people can do what they need to do because she is doing what she needs to do behind the scenes. “Kind of the Mom syndrome,” she kids. Making afghans for wounded soldiers, for example, with an organization spearheaded by a colleague in the comptroller’s office. “It’s not a 501-C3,” she says, in a language only contract administrators speak, so the makers of the afghans fund the entire project, which so far has delivered nearly 2,500 hospital-bed sized afghans throughout the world. The pleasure she gets from this project comes not only from the desire to help, but once again, from the friends who are involved over the long term in something that takes regular effort and a belief that those efforts matter. To her, it goes beyond politics. “These are our young people, and they’re coming back without limbs, and eyes, and you know, any little thing we can do…” Sports – doing, naturally, not watching – have been important to Angela for most of her life. Rugby as a young adult, on one of the very first women’s club rugby teams in the Northeast US, and, now a 7-day exercise regimen. It was the return to college that got her back in shape, she notes. “With all the walking between classes, I realized I needed to get in shape or I wouldn’t get to class on time!” After a certain age, she sees exercise as mandatory, for balance, flexibility, and, if you do it with a group, for social ties. She calls her 10-year cohort a family. Besides which, “if someone I want to talk to starts running faster, I have to run faster too!” Another of her hobbies is cooking and baking. She spends a lot of her free time reading and researching cookbooks and food and wine magazines and watching cooking shows in search of the best recipe for her next family/friend gathering. She especially enjoys learning about foods from other cultures and has been known to request and even pester people (including SLLC faculty) for a special recipe. It is a pleasure to find Angela in her office every day on the campus that returned her to her roots. She cannot recommend returning to college too highly. “Absolutely,” she says. A return to youth, to energy and physical strength. And if she could do anything, anything at all? “I really think I would be doing this. I love being on campus. I can’t imagine doing anything else, other than working, contributing, and having the ability to do the volunteer work I do. I can travel on my vacations. It’s not like work keeps me from doing things I love to do. And besides, I am doing work I love to do.” You can look for her over the next few Octobers as she walks her 60 miles. Join her, maybe. (Her casseroles will be in the freezer.)

The Academic As Filmmaker, Artisan, Writer


Michele Mason: Witness to Hiroshima As a cultural studies scholar, Dr. Michele Mason understands her central task to be the deconstruction of texts, images, and meaning. “I envision this as not just an intellectual exercise but also a political act,” she says. “Specifically, I am interested in power – how it is, for instance, (re) produced, negotiated, appropriated, or articulated. Power is the conceptual thread that links my diverse areas of interest, namely colonial/post-colonial studies, feminist theory, masculinity studies, and nuclear studies.” Witness to Hiroshima, the short documentary film she co-produced with photographer Kathy Sloane, emerged from an organic moment. In the summer of 2006, Mason and Sloane sat down with Mr. Keiji Tsuchiya, a Hiroshima survivor, to record/translate his testimony and document his watercolor paintings. This project brought many facets of Mason’s life and career together: her Japanese translation skills, years of research on Hiroshima/ Nagasaki and related topics, and nuclear abolition activism. “It was fascinating for me to be, for a change, so consciously producing text, images, and meaning,” said Mason. “I especially enjoy the collaborative aspect of filmmaking. Long hours with the co-producer, editor, musical composer, and packaging or website designers, while sometimes taxing, usually invigorate me. Initially, filmmaking seemed to differ drastically from the seemingly solitary tasks of research and writing. As first-time filmmakers, it was only too clear from the start that we had to rely on the wonderful people who so generously offered their expertise to the project. Yet, through this experience I gained a greater recognition of the satisfying collaborative nature of academic work and a deeper appreciation for those who make my intellectual production possible.” Witness to Hiroshima was accepted by and screened at UC Berkeley’s Pacific Film Archive’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival (2/27). It has shown publicly at UC Berkeley, California State University, East Bay; San Francisco State University, and here at UM, and has been screened abroad in Japan, Korea, Brazil, and Cambodia.


Regina Harrison: Mined to Death

Professor Harrison filmed at 16,000 feet on the bare red mountain of Potosí in 2003 and again in 2004. She compiled images of miners inserting dynamite, Indian women scouring for scraps of metal among the tailings, exhausted tourists who crawled out of the mining galleries, and the galleries where the deity of the mines receives offerings of liquor and cigarettes. “Maybe I did not leave enough offerings for the ‘Tío,’” she says. “All of the film footage from the 2004 shoot was stolen in a local bus station! I was so disappointed and I thought then that my research was doomed to remain only a printed page project. But in 2005, with a Fulbright award, I returned and filmed the same shots and I also captured on film even more explanation of the global enterprise unfolding at Potosí. A U.S. company from Idaho, contracting several local mining cooperatives, was investing to process the surface material; local residents were concerned about the prospects of both tourism and mining if these companies moved forward with their plans.” This film won the Latin American Studies Association Award of Merit in Film, 2006, and is distributed by Berkeley Media.

Dr. Regina Harrison first started the film project Mined to Death in 1999. She observes that at that time “I was intrigued-and appalled-by tours to the mines in Potosí, Bolivia. I resisted the hype, rather frightened off by the tourist brochures that promised adrenaline-rush adventures walking miles underground with indigenous miners. I could not bring myself to descend into the mines, knowing of the many Indians who had been forced to work and die there since the mines opened up in 1545. However, I bought a Canon GLII digi-cam, taught myself how to film (with a UM MITH fellowship), and became convinced that this was the way I wanted to present my latest research to college students and colleagues.”


Regina Igel: Jewelry Maker Professor Regina Igel is both a scholar of Brazilian literature and culture and a maker of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings set with Brazilian semi-precious gems, crystals, quartz and beads, which she markets at charity bazaars and other locations. She finds the pleasure of working in stone a fun way of “getting away of it all,” while thinking, at the same time, on her next essay...

Juan Carlos Quintero-Herencia: Poet

Enhancing Language Teaching Dr. Manel Lacorte (Spanish and Portuguese) has been appointed as the SLLC Coordinator of Instruction and Professional Development for 2008-2010. Among other responsibilities, Lacorte will work on issues related to professional development, supervision, and instruction, such as TA orientations, teaching forums and workshops, placement and exit assessment, mentoring, and grants. Lacorte’s objectives for this first year were to expand the current one-year TA training model into an ongoing professional development model; to strengthen the collaboration within the entire teaching corps, TAs, lecturers, and tenured faculty; to develop the Faculty Teaching Forum; and to create a Language Program Coordinators group.

Since his days as an undergraduate student in Río Piedras, reading, writing and discussing poetry has given Professor Quintero-Herencia the chance to establish an intense dialogue with readers and writers both in and outside academia. Writing poetry has provided a third way -- scholarly and teaching activities being the first two – into the experience of complexity, as he puts it, and his poetry has garnered prizes such as the Puerto Rican Pen Club Poetry Award in 2004 for Hilo para el marisco/Cuaderno de los envíos and the University of Maryland Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) Award for the manuscript Libro del sigiloso, forthcoming publication by Terranova Editores. Libro del sigiloso (roughly translated - Book of Stealth) is a collection of about 36 poems written in Puerto Rican Spanish. The book is a meditation on the multiple conditions of escape, a consideration of the images associated with breaking away from a familiar place. Anchored in a Puerto Rican or Caribbean tradition, the poems are an attempt to re-signify the different ways an image of departure comes into being. The book aims toward capturing the paradoxical apparition when a body freeing itself not only disappears from its original location, but rewrites the conditions of normalcy that defined the space left behind. Several of the poems have appeared in Puerto Rico and the blogosphere. Libro del sigiloso will be Professor QuinteroHerencia’s third book of poetry.


Conferences and Colloquia Faculty Teaching Forum: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Teaching of Literature and Culture The first Spring 09 Faculty Teaching Forum welcomed Profs. Caroline Eades (French), Julie Koser (Germanic Studies), and Mehl Penrose (Spanish). Dr. Koser focused on the use and advantages of reaction journals in literature courses; Dr. Penrose discussed his use of multimedia sources from the fields of language, sociology, anthropology, history, and literature. Dr. Eades presented examples from her undergraduate classes where films are used not only to provide visual support to cultural or literary topics, but also to verify how the studies of other types of texts in various disciplines (history, folklorist studies, linguistics, literature, art history, sociology, etc.) can inform the analysis of visual media. A second Teaching Forum on the semester’s theme brought together Dr. Andrea Frisch (French), Dr. Michele Mason (Japanese), and Dr. Ana Patricia Rodríguez (Spanish). Dr. Frisch’s presentation focused on the use of maps in the literature/culture classroom, showing how they are the products, bearers, and producers of highly complex cultural narratives. Dr. Mason discussed the variety of texts used in her course on the atomic bomb “in literature and memory” as a way to challenge students to rethink what constitutes a “text,” to recognize the inextricable link between language and power, and to embrace the conscious practice of “reading” the world. Dr. Rodríguez’ presentation focused on teaching U.S. Latina/o history, literature, and language strategies in a Spanish Department.

Faculty Research Forum The Sixth SLLC Faculty Research Forum featured the work of Dr. Valérie Orlando in a presentation entitled: “Francophone Voices of the ‘New Morocco’ in Film and Print: (Re)presenting a Society in Transition.” Based on her forthcoming book, her talk centered on the literature, cinema, and journalism of contemporary Morocco post-1999, which marked the end of the repressive reign of Hassan II. Orlando’s work, based on research conducted in Morocco while a Fulbright Senior Scholar in spring, 2007, delves into Moroccan society, exploring how those who produce culture represent a country as it moves from traditionalism to modernity within the conflicted polemics of the post-9/11 world—a world increasingly polarized between Arab/Muslim/East and US-European/Christian/ West.


The 7th Annual Graduate Student Forum: Reflections on Optimism On March 26-27, 2009, the Planning Committee of the 7th Annual SLLC Graduate Student Forum hosted 25 graduate students from 15 domestic and international universities to share their reflections on optimism during a two-day conference. The topic drew versatile participants from diverse disciplines to address what Dr. Joseph Brami, Chair of French and Italian, called “ways of saying yes [… to survival in a time of crisis]” in his introductory remarks. The conference program and six panels were moderated by Planning Committee members and two additional volunteer graduate students, Mary Cobb Wittrock and Kathy Tek. Raluca Romaniuc and Eva Zaghdoun had the honor of introducing the speakers of honor, including keynote speaker Dr. Doris Kadish from the University of Georgia. Among this year’s presenters were Martha Maus from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Phuong Hoang from the Department of French and Italian. All sessions ended in discussions and friendly exchanges that were continued throughout coffee breaks and lunches on both days. Many conference participants, including Dr. Charles Caramello, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School, who kindly agreed to provide this year’s opening remarks, commented on the collegial but professional atmosphere and the hard work of the committee. Conference participant Sonia Checcia from Georgetown University stated after the conference: “Thank you for all the work you put into coordinating the conference. It was a great experience for me to get out of my department and mingle with you all! I left on Friday with new ideas and a fresh perspective. I thank you for the opportunity!” The Planning Committee would like to thank the SLLC for generously funding this annual project, all conference participants, as well as volunteers and numerous last-minute helping hands (Brook J.). A special thanks to all the advice from the professors who supported our decisions during the last 12 months, and last but not least, to Dr. Karimi from the Center for Persian Studies for his beautiful closing remarks on the “passion that drives us forward… [on the] planes of optimism and pessimism.” Planning Committee Members: Silvia Baage, Erica Cefalo, Gena Chattin, Diego Panasiti, Raluca Romaniuc, Kathryn Taylor, Tatyana Vdovina., Christy Wall, Eva Zaghdoun. Faculty Advisors: Dr. Sarah Benharrech and Dr. Joseph Brami, Department of French and Italian.


The First Annual Undergraduate Research Forum The Undergraduate Committee held the First Annual SLLC Undergraduate Research Forum on Tuesday, April 28. Thirteen students representing six languages presented their work in an hourlong poster session in the Language House.

SLLC-CMLT Graduate Translation Colloquium Modeled after the Friday afternoon graduate theory colloquia offered for more than a decade by the English department, SLLC and CMLT organized a joint colloquium in translation studies this spring. Four sessions were held: The Task of the Translator (Clough); The Ethics of Translation (Ray): Voices from the Field (including Professors Karimi-Hakkak and Kerkham from SLLC); and Cultural Translation (Nunes). Students and faculty from more than six programs across ARHU participated in the presentations and discussions. It is anticipated that this be only the first of regular joint 1-credit offerings with CMLT.

Jake Benson, Persian: Modernization of the traditional art of bookbinding Arquimen Chicas, Spanish: Bilingual English-Spanish scripts for a documentary about El Salvador, Intipucá, 40 Years of Emigration Maira Fonseca, Italian: Art and poetry in 19th and 20th century Italy. Sarah Long, French: Immigration to France Kenny Lull, Germanic Studies: Scandinavia and the Arctic Stephanie McCully, Spanish: Reshaping of Biblical characters in Carmen Boullosa’s “Propusieron a María” Lina Morales, Spanish: The use of history in the Chilean theatrical trends in the 21st century. Anna Nevo, Russian: Two Russian terrorist groups Zane Smith, French: Comparison of Wikipédia, the French language version of Wikipedia and the 18th century Encyclopédie Talvar Tari, Germanic Studies: Role of Baltic-Germans in the survival of Estonian culture and language Emoni Viruet, Italian: Meaning and usage of 16th and 17th century art in Genoa, Italy Eva Wright, Italian: Food in 16th and 17th century paintings Liza Yanovitch, French: Works of Milan Kundera

Guest Lectures – Spring 09


Dr. Elena Russo, The Johns Hopkins University, gave a talk entitled “The Naked Philosophe and the Shameless Prussian: Diderot’s Portrait Sitting,” a critical analysis of Diderot’s peculiar account, in the Salon of 1767, of his collaboration with the Prussian-Polish painter Anna-Dorothea Lisiewska-Therbusch. The Undergraduate Arabic Flagship Program sponsored a talk by Dr. Edmund Ghareeb entitled “Arab-Iranian Ties: A Changing Balance.” Dr. Ghareeb is a widely recognized authority on Iraq, the Kurds, American foreign policy in the Middle East, the Gulf, US. media coverage of the Middle East, and on the new media in the Arab World. He is the first Mustafa Barzani Distinguished Scholar in Residence in Kurdish studies at American University’s Center for Global Peace. Dr. Concepción Company Company, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Juan Ramón Jiménez Visiting Scholar in Spanish, gave a talk on “Language and History in 18th Century Mexico,” presenting lexical and grammatical specificities of Mexican Spanish, establishing that these traits emerged in the 18th Century, and positing that this development of a Mexican linguistic identity can be linked to particular events in Mexico’s external history. Dr. Douglas Adamson, Univ. of Arizona at Tucson, presented a talk on “Variation Theory and Second Language Acquisition.” Variation studies have shown that the use of alternating linguistic forms can be correlated with a speaker’s social identity. SLA scholars have wondered whether and how second language learners acquire the patterns of variation that are appropriate to their identities in terms of social class, age, gender, and other characteristics. Dr. Adamson gave a preliminary report of his ongoing research on immigrant acquisition of English in the US. The Roshan Center for Persian Studies sponsored the second Ehsan Yarshater lecture series, presented in four parts, April 7-11th. The 2009 lecturer, Dr. Ervand Abrahamian, City University of New York, explored the origins, history, and legacy of Iran’s oil crisis. Yu Hua, one of China’s best-known writers, author of five novels, six collections of stories, and three collections of essays, and winner of the 2002 James Joyce Foundation Award, gave a talk in Chinese on his work and its reception in China. His novel To Live was awarded the Premio GrinZane Caore (1998), and To Live and Chronicle of a Blood Merchant were named two of the last decade’s ten most influential books in China. To Live was also adapted for film(Zhang Yimou). The film was banned in China, which helped make the novel a bestseller, and its author, a worldwide celebrity. Dr. Nicole Bacharan, one of France’s most eminent political scientists, delivered the Annual William Falls Lecture on distinctions between approaches to diversity in France and the US in a talk entitled: “Diversity or Communautarisme: Integration the American way, Integration the French Way.” Dr. Carmen Fernandez-Salvador, professor and Dean of Liberal Arts at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, gave a lecture entitled: “Jesuit Art in Seventeenth-Century Quito: Weaving Sacred and Local Narratives.” Dr. Yoshiko Matsumoto, Stanford University, presented a talk entitled: “With Humor and Laughter: Painful Selfdisclosure of Japanese Elderly Women.” Matsumoto considers the meanings and effects of informal interactions among older Japanese women and how old age and gender are factors of positive or negative identity of the speakers as they cope with change. Álvaro Enrigue, a Mexican novelist and short story writer of renown, inaugurated the Writers and Scholars Series designed by the Department of Spanish and Portugues to highlight the creative work of graduates of the program. His talk, “El sueño de la República produce cursis,” focused on the figures of Porfirio Díaz and Gutiérrez Nájera.


Faculty-Staff Awards Michael Long, Director, Honorary Doctorate from Stockholm University

General Research Board Awards

The following faculty were granted semester or summer GRB awards: Caroline Eades (French) French Comic Files: From Resistance to Resilience. Spring 09 Juan Carlos Quintero Herencia (Spanish) Listening Travels: Poetics and Politics in the Caribbean Archipelago. Spring 09 Ana Patricia Rodríguez (Spanish) “Same Story, Different Endings”: War, Trauma, and Cultural Memory in the Salvadoran Diaspora. Summer 09

Teacher Training Grant

Roberta Lavine (Spanish) received a grant from the Maryland Department of Education entitled: Enhancing Language and Cultural Competencies for Spanish and French Teachers, which offers funding for teachers in Prince George’s and Montgomery County to take graduate-level courses at UM specifically designed for their needs.

College of Arts and Humanities Alumni Association Chapter Board Award

Phoenix Liu, Coordinator of the Language House, for her project entitled “Conversing and Shadowing,” designed to involve Language House alumni in the career mentoring of current residents.


The Anneliese & Alfred Strauch Scholarship for Language Study Chelsea Barham The Donald B. Hirsch Scholarship Daniel Kenny Ulrike & Jamshid Amouzegar Undergraduate Scholarship in Persian Shima Gholamimehrabadi, Daniel Tal Weininger

Hossein Amirsaleh Student Award in Persian Studies John (Jake) B. Benson Outstanding Graduating German Majors Natalie Berger, Allison Chang, Krysten Connon Superior Achievement in Japanese Studies James Cahill, Shaina Castle Premio Jose Emilio Pacheco Award for Writing (Spanish program) Katrina Taschman, Morgane Grivel, Andrew Chang

Appointment Carina Gonzalez has accepted a tenuretrack position as Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of Florida, Gainesville.


Avital Feuer has published Who Does This Language Belong To? Personal Narratives of Language Claim and Identity (Charlotte: Information Age Publishing, 2008). Her co-edited volume, The Acquisition and Teaching of Hebrew, will be published in Spring, 2009 (University of Maryland Press). Manel Lacorte has edited with Jenny Leeman (George Washington University) Spanish in the United States and Other Contact Environments. Sociolinguistics, Ideology and Pedagogy (Madrid/Frankfurt: Iberoamericana/Vervuert, 2009). Huichun Liang published a volume of translations of the work of poet Li Nan - Small - with Steven Schroeder (Chicago: Virtual Artists Collective, 2007). Jianmei Liu published Dialogues on Dream of the Red Chamber (Beijing:Sanlian, 2009), coauthored with Zaifu Liu; a Chinese translation of her Revolution and Love also appeared this year (Shanghai: Sanlian). Long, M.H. and Doughty, C.J., eds. Handbook of Language Teaching (Oxford: Blackwell, 2009)


Student Awards

Adele Austin Rickett Memorial Scholarship (Chinese program) - Jonathan Browning Dr. Tsung Chin Scholarship (Study of Chinese calligraphy and/or language) George Dudley Departmental Prix D’Excellence in French Desireé Davis, Sarah Long, Morgan McMahon, Christian Pazdersky Italian Cultural Society Prize Cassandra Shepherd, Jamie Restivo The Annual SLLC Awards Ceremony, held April 28, drew faculty, staff, and students from 12 language programs and the Language House to celebrate achievements among students studying language, literature, and culture.

Graduate Student Awards Silvia Baage (French): Teaching Assistant Development Grant for a “Multimedia Resource Center for French Teaching Assistants.” Mary Cobb Wittrock (French): The Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship. Marilyn Matar, Raluca Romaniuc (French), Katharina Rudolf (Germanic Studies): Graduate Summer Research Fellowship. 2008-2009 Center for Teaching Excellence Distinguished Teaching Assistants: Dolores Lima and Rebecca Moreno, Spanish Mary Cobb Wittrock and Raluca Romaniuc, French Regina Ianozi and Katharina Rudolf, Germanic Studies.

Doctoral Defense Margaret Braswell (French) will defend her PhD thesis entitled: Myth and the Maternal Voice: Mediation in the Poetry of Vénus Khoury-Ghata.” Directed by Dr. Joseph Brami. Mamadi Keita (French) successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled: “La Révolte et son expression dans l’oeuvre de Williams Sassine” Directed by Valérie Orlando. Rut Román (Spanish) successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled: “La infancia en Latinoamérica: una constelación.” Directed by Dr. Jorge Aguilar Mora. She is now teaching at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise.


Celebration of Professor Emerita A review by Professor Graciela Nemes Carmen Benito-Vessels

Friday, April 3rd, was a historic day. On the occasion of Graciela Palau de Nemes’ 90th birthday, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese paid homage to her life and work in a two-part symposium. Colleagues, students, family members, and friends traveled from across the US and overseas to celebrate this extraordinary moment. Opening remarks were delivered by President Mote, who ventured some Spanish by wishing the honoree “feliz cumpleaños,” presented her with a symbolic gift, and delivered an enthusiastic speech about her contributions to UM. Dean Harris followed on the same celebratory note. Chair Carmen Benito-Vessels, who spoke on behalf of her colleagues in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and throughout SLLC, highlighted memorable traits of Professor Nemes’ per-

sonality as she narrated her long-ago first encounter with her. A panel of colleagues delivered papers in Spanish on Professor Nemes’ teaching, research, and collaboration. After a splendid luncheon, full of camaraderie and friendship, the afternoon celebration started with the unannounced and lively speech by Chancellor Kirwan, who stated the impact that Graciela Palau de Nemes had had on UM, and added a few personal notes about the honoree. This was followed by the viewing of a documentary about her life and her long relationship with the Department and UM. A panel, this time in English, was dedicated to Professor Nemes as educator and mentor. Former students also offered their testimonies. Associate Provost Saúl Sosnowski officially closed the celebration by delivering heartfelt and laudatory personal remarks. Finally, Chili Valverde, a folk singer from Juan Ramón Jimenez’ birthplace in Spain, delighted the audience with samples of her musical adaptation of the Nobel laureate’s prose and poetry.


Time and again, thanks were expressed to Dr. Eyda Merediz, who put together this historic event almost singlehandedly. Funding was provided by Spanish & Portuguese, SLLC, The College of Arts & Humanities, The Office of the Vice-President for Research, The Latin American Studies Center, The Jiménez-Porter Writer’s Workshop, and the Embassy of Spain. The pleasure and sense of fulfillment that this event brought to all of us will be remembered. The youngest person in the audience was nine years old, and the oldest was the honoree herself, at 90, a bright scholar and exceptional human being who has made us all proud of our history. The University Archivist has requested a copy of the documentary, as has President Mote. A second public screening will be scheduled for the enjoyment of those who were not able to attend. We extend our thanks to SPAP graduate students, especially Maggy Rodríguez, and to staff, especially Jeff Maurer, whose assistance was crucial to the success of the event. Congratulations to all the participants, with gratitude for the opportunity of sharing with you the remarkable story of an exceptional human being, a remarkable scholar, a faithful friend, and a legendary matriarch.


Language, Literature, and Culture on Maryland Day The School participated throughout the day on Saturday April 25 in events celebrating the University of Maryland community, contributing Latin dancing, multilingual poetry readings, Capoe誰ra (Brazilian-African martial arts), Language House events, a name-writing table in non-Roman writing systems, and Arabic and Persian Flagship information sessions.


Giving to the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures You can contribute to the School or your favorite program within the School

A message from Mike Long, Director, SLLC The faculty, staff and students of the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (SLLC) are going from strength to strength. The quality of our undergraduate and graduate programs, of our faculty members’ and students’ research and scholarly publications, and of the services our faculty and staff provide for the campus and surrounding communities is truly exceptional. But we need your help. As State funding declines, generous gifts from alumni, friends, embassies, cultural organizations, and businesses become ever more important. Private support is needed to increase funding for undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, lectureships, and professorships. If you can support the School’s work in any way, please contact either of the following individuals:

Claire Goebeler, Associate Director for Administrative Affairs, SLLC, 301-405-4927 email:

Laura Brown, ARHU Director of Development, 301-405-6339 email:

Chose the Giving Method that’s Right for You Online Giving Make a donation to the department online at Please designate “SLLC” on the form. Gifts By Check Gifts may be made by check to “University of Maryland College Park Foundation (UMCPF).” Please designate “SLLC” in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to: Claire Goebeler Associate Director for Administrative Affairs 3215D Jiménez Hall University of Maryland College Park, MD 20742 Other Gift Options You can also donate to the School or to specific SLLC programs through matching gifts, appreciated securities, real estate, annuities, estate planning, and more.

The School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures JimĂŠnez Hall, University of Maryland

Spring 2009 SLLC Newsletter  
Spring 2009 SLLC Newsletter