Posted by: SSU Lingua Franca | April 27, 2020

¿Qué pasa? Quoi de neuf? Novità? Department News Abounds (17)

¿Qué pasa? Quoi de neuf? Novità? Department News Abounds (17)

Department News

The 2019-2020 academic year was an unusual one! During the fall semester, the WLC department initiated several curricular changes, including proposals to include elementary language courses in the World Cultures category of the University’s General Education curriculum, changes to our Arabic Studies and Chinese Studies minors to include more interdisciplinary options, and a proposal to create a joint BS degree in Spanish and Healthcare Studies. All of these proposals are moving forward through University governance, and we anticipate announcing changes next year!

This year, there were also changes on the faculty. We welcomed a new instructor of German, Prof. Elizabeth Jones, who teaches elementary and intermediate German. But we are also sad to say goodbye to two full-time faculty members. At the end of fall semester, we bid farewell to Dr. Jon Aske who taught in our department for 22 years (see our article on Dr. Aske in this issue), and at the end of spring semester, we will say au revoir to Dr. Latifa Zoulagh, professor of Arabic and French, whose far too brief two-year contract has come to an end. We wish them both much happiness in future endeavors!

In early spring, the WLC faculty also elected a new chairperson: Dr. Kenneth Reeds. Dr. Reeds will assume his duties as chair in July 2020. The entire department wishes to extend our sincere gratitude and heartfelt thanks to Dr. Michele Dávila Gonçalves, outgoing chair, for her six years of tireless efforts promoting our department and supporting our students and faculty, for her endless hours of paperwork and emailing, and for handling everything thrown her way with positive energy and an uplifting smile!

Mid-spring semester brought a drastic change to our University, as the COVID-19 pandemic led to all spring courses being moved to an online format and all faculty and staff sent home to work remotely. Unfortunately, we had to cancel our three-night Italian Film Festival, which has been rescheduled in the Fall 2020 and the Phi Sigma Iota honor society celebration, though news of our initiates and our annual Frederick A. Meier Book Award winner can be found in this issue. We are very proud of our faculty and students for meeting this challenge with care and concern for all in our community, and we look forward to being back in our classrooms together next fall.

Faculty Highlights

Dr. Michele C. Dávila Gonçalves published “Leer para sobrevivir: una microbiomitografía de Yanitzia Canetti” (Reading to Survive: A Microbiomythography by Yanitzia Canetti), in Lecturas atentas: Una visita desde la ficción y la crítica a veinte narradoras cubanas contemporáneas (Close Readings: A Visit from Fiction and Scholars to Twenty Contemporary Cuban Female Narrators). Eds. Mabel Cuesta & Elzbieta Sklodowska. Almenara, 2019, pp. 37-47. She also presented the paper “Writing Bilingual Texts: The Polyphonic Poetry of Johanny Vázquez Paz” at the 57th Annual Convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association (NEMLA), Boston, March 7, 2020.

Dr. Elizabeth Blood created the French-Canadian Heritage Collection in the University’s digital archives ( this year; this collection will offer free English translations of texts relevant to French-Canadian and Franco-American life. The first two published translations are of L.P. Turcotte’s History of the Ile d’Orléans and the Laurier Association’s History of St. Joseph’s Parish of Salem, Massachusetts. Combined, there have been over 2,000 downloads of these translations so far! Dr. Blood was also recently interviewed by Franco-American podcaster Jesse Martineau for a special series of check-ins to see how the Franco-American community is coping with the COVID-19 crisis. This episode of the French-Canadian Legacy Podcast can be found here:

Dr. Kristine Doll was awarded the Homer European Medal of Poetry and Art (est. Brussels 2016), a juried award celebrating artistry and literature, at the Yale Club in New York City. Dr. Doll was awarded the Homer for her contributions to poetry and translation. Her second book of poetry and translations, The Light of Ordinary Days, was published by The Seventh Quarry Press, Swansea Wales, UK 2019. Dr. Doll also published translations into English of contemporary Catalan poets in Asymptote, a premier site for world literature in translation (September 2019). Several of her own poems were translated from English to Catalan and published in the same edition. Doll is presently working on two literary translation projects. The first, her translation from English to Spanish of American poet Carolyn Kleefeld’s book of aphorisms, Soul Seeds, is in press in Barcelona with Edicions Saldonar. The second is Doll’s translation from Spanish to English of the memoir of Argentine composer Efraím Guigui, Dulce de leche.

Dr. Anna Rocca published in 2019 one article and two chapters. In Hybridations et tensions narratives au Maghreb et en Afrique subsaharienne, by Peter Lang in Germany, she published “Azza Filali et les interférences créatrices”; in Spiritualités musulmanes au féminin dans la littérature et les représentations visuelles, by L’Harmattan in Paris, she published “La spiritualité incarnée: Lalla Essaydi et les femmes du Maroc”; in Art from Trauma: Genocide and Healing Beyond Rwanda, by the U of Nebraska P, she published “Héla Ammar: Art & Beyond.” At the annual convention of The Northeast Modern Language Association (NEMLA) in Boston, on March 6, Rocca proposed and chaired the panel “Francophone Women Writers Representing Africa in Children’s Literature.” She also presented the paper “Fatou Keita: Writing to Children.” On March 7, she proposed and chaired the panel “Contemporary Francophone Women Authors’ Representations of the Sacred.”

Dr. Nicole Sherf with Dr. Catherine Ritz of Boston University is conducting a survey of MA K-12 public school world language teachers to understand how students are participating in programming, what practices are being used by teachers and what outcomes students are achieving. The project is funded by an ACTFL Research Priorities Grant. Please fill out the survey here if you qualify: By completing this survey, you will be entered into a raffle to win one of five $50 Amazon gift cards. The survey will close April 24, 2020. Dr. Sherf with Language Opportunity Coalition colleagues. Phyllis Hardy and Helen Solorzano just published a chapter “A Collaborative Model for Seal of Biliteracy Implementation: The Massachusetts Pilot Project” in The Seal of Biliteracy: Case Studies and Considerations for Policy Implementation. Amy J. Heineke and Kristin J. Davin, Editors. Information Age Publishing, 2020, pp.83-99.

Dr. Fátima Serra was on sabbatical leave during the Spring 2020 semester. She is currently working on how detective novels by women of Spain question the matriarchal and patriarchal discourses of the present. She attended the 51st NEMLA Convention in Boston with the paper “Vitoria, beyond city landscapes in the noir of Eva G. Sáenz de Urturi.” And she had the following articles published during this academic year: “Susana Martín Gijón y Dolores Redondo: identidades colectivas en formación de la novela española.” Género Negro Sin Límites. A. Martín Escribá and J. Sánchez Zapatero, eds. Santiago de Compostela: Andavira, 2019. “Nuevas tendencias narrativas: la trilogía del Baztán de Dolores Redondo.”Diáspora Española: Migración y exilios. Actas seleccionadas de la XXXVII Asamblea General y Congreso Internacional de ALDEEU. Marta Boris Tarré, ed. Lakeville, MA:ALDEEU, 2020. 105-115.

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