Collaboration is the Word: Message and News from the New Chair
Michele C. Dávila, chairperson
¡Hola! A most cordial welcome to every new student and professor this semester to our World Languages Department. First of all I want to thank our past Chair, Dr. Elizabeth Blood, for her dedication during the last six great years, her incessant promotion of world languages and the initiative taken for all the good changes we have had which include new concentrations with more interdisciplinary courses and a new department name. I will follow that track as the new Chair and would like to continue to promote more collaboration not only across curriculum, but also across the campus and beyond. Among the things we can celebrate this semester is the increase of students in our different concentrations and new collaborations in and out of Salem.
For me the semester started with a bang facilitating together with President Pat Meservey a discussion group of the book I Am Malala with new students for the First Year Reading Experience. And how appropriately for Salem State to have chosen this book because this was the semester Malala became a Nobel Peace Prize awardee. Our department is not only well represented in the new core with our language classes but also in the First Year Seminar category with two new courses: “’Cést la vie’”: Why We Love/Hate the French’’ taught by Dr. Elizabeth Blood, and “’¡Sí se puede! ‘”: The Impact of Latin@s in the US” taught by me. This has proven to be an enriching experience.
Being conscious of the present day job trends and how our world is increasingly interconnected we are starting our program for the Certificate of Translation, in conjunction with the English Department, with several courses next spring 2015. The main languages for translation are French, Italian and Spanish. The new course to jumpstart the program is WLC 300: Introduction to Translation taught by Dr. Kristine Doll. Come to our department and get a brochure with all the information!
The Chinese Studies and Arabic Studies concentrations are invigorating their programs with new courses such as WLC 120: Perspectives on World Cultures – Morocco, and continue the interdisciplinary collaborations with the Arts, Geography, History, Philosophy and Political Sciences departments. Also, in October 29 our adjunct professor Abdelkrim Mohib coordinated a Moroccan cultural event with Zarah Magazine at Vet’s Hall with Arab music and presentations of student’s posters. Bravo!
Within the university our department has also helped participating in activities promoting multiculturalism and diversity. Following the steps of Dr. Anna Rocca when last year she facilitated the book discussion of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, I also volunteered to facilitate the discussions of Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood by Fatema Mernissi, through the Library’s Muslim Journeys program, thanks to a grant given to Zachary Newel from the National Endowment of Humanities. Both activities were well received by the community with students, professors, staff members and alumni participating.
With a Strategic Plan Grant our department is collaborating directly with the Diversity and Multicultural Office, the Management Department and the Social Work Department coordinating and participating in a Cultural Sensitivity in our Global Community Series with workshops, panels and talks around campus dealing with diversity, multiculturalism and social justice. Dr. Shannon Mokoro from Social Work started it with the workshop Live and in Color: Using Popular Culture and Current Events to Teach Cultural Competency. This semester I also collaborated with the Creative Writing group with discussions of the book Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education written by Jennifer de León, and together with the LASO club (Latin American Student Organization) we had a great discussion about the role of prominent Latinas such as Judge Sonia Sotomayor and others in higher education, assimilation and identity issues.
Our clubs are also collaborators. In solidarity with West Africa the French Club partnered with the Nursing Program to sell $2.00 bracelets to fight Ebola. They sold all of them!
This semester we received the visit of an Argentinian writer, Dr. Gloria Casañas, who is presently a Visiting Professor at Framingham State University. Together with the chair of our sister department, Dr. Emilce Cordeiro, they participated in Dr. Ken Reeds graduate class talking with students, answering questions and giving us their expertise and experience living in Argentina. Thank you!
As every year our department is well represented at the MaFlA Annual Conference with Dr. Nicole Sherf and other professors, students and alumni such as Abdelkrim Mouhib, Vilma Bibeau, Wendy Cahill and Jessica Massanari. This year the 47th edition focused on “Multilingualism: The Foundation of Global Leadership.”
And lastly but not least, our University through our department just signed an agreement for new teaching assistantships with the Italian Consulate General in Boston to sponsor more students to work in another region of Italy, in addition to Lombardy. Every student with a minor in Italian can apply and have the great opportunity of practice the language while also teaching in Piedmont for a year. So come visit us at SB 203A to learn about all these things and more. Ciao!
New Programs in World Languages and Cultures
Our department has undergone some major changes over the past few years, creating many new exciting opportunities for the SSU community. Here are some of the highlights.
BA in World Languages and Cultures: The department now offers a BA in World Languages and Cultures, where students choose to specialize in either Spanish, French, or Italian. The new major concentrations are very flexible and perfect for anyone who wants to focus on languages or add a language as a second major. We continue to offer our teacher licensure tracks in Spanish (elementary or secondary education) and a Spanish professional concentration as well!
Minors: We now offer six options for minors, including Arabic Studies, Chinese Studies, French, Italian, Spanish and World Languages (combination of any 2 languages)! The new minors in Arabic and Chinese combine two years of language study with two culture courses taught in English.
Certificate in Translation: Effective Fall 2015, the department will launch an undergraduate certificate in translation. The certificate is a sequence of courses and may be “double-dipped” with a student’s major or minor or general education requirements, including advanced courses in English and in either French, Italian or Spanish, plus two courses on translation methods and one course in a specialized field area (literature, law, business, social work, etc.). Interested? Take WLC 300, Introduction to Translation, in Spring 2015. Prerequisite is an intermediate course in French, Spanish or Italian.
MAT in Spanish: The department continues to offer our MAT in Spanish, combining graduate content courses in Spanish linguistics, literatures and cultures with education courses needed for teacher licensure.
General Education Courses: All intermediate (201 and 202) language courses in Arabic, Chinese, French, Italian and Spanish now fulfill the “World Cultures” category of the new general education curriculum. Students may also take elementary Arabic or Chinese, or one of several culture courses offered in English (WLC 120, WLC 130, WLC 390H) to fulfill the “World Cultures” category. The department also offers two literature courses in English that fulfill the “Creative Expression and Appreciation” category (WLC 251, WLC 252), as well as composition courses in Italian, Spanish and French that fulfill the “W2” and senior capstone courses for all WLC majors that fulfill the “W3” writing requirements.
Kristine Doll continues to have her own original poetry and her translations into English of Catalan poetry published in such prestigious international journals as the Paterson Literary Review, Voices Israel Anthology and Bridging the Waters: An International Bilingual Poetry Anthology. Professor Doll was also invited to read at the Massachusetts State Poetry Festival.
Elizabeth Blood completed work on her new textbook project entitled Québec: histoire, culture et littérature, co-authored with Vincent Morrissette of Fairfield University. This cultural reader will be published by Georgetown University Press, with a planned release date of February 2015.
Michele C. Dávila was the invited guest speaker of the Hispanic Heritage Month dinner sponsored by LASO in October 16th at the Vet’s Hall in Ellison Campus Center. She gave a presentation about “Pre-Columbian Indigenous Groups.” The activity was well attended with typical food and music.
Anna Rocca published two articles recently: “Les mots-images de Nelly Arcan et Pascale Bourguignon: l’enfant et l’adulte au miroir,” in Recherches féministes, Université Laval, CA. Vol. 27:1. 97-111; and “Nina Bouraoui’s Nos baisers sont des adieux: Ekphrasis and the Accumulation of Memories,” in Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature. Vol. 38: 2. 1-16.
Jon Aske has been working this past year on a textbook for Spanish linguistics that focuses on the Spanish-English cognate vocabulary and everything that can help us make sense of it. The book is currently being used in SPN 750 and will be used again in the spring semester in SPN 412. (See a sample chapter here.)
Nicole Sherf is presenting “Technology Resources to Foster Communication in the Three Modes” for the Annual Conference of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) in San Antonio, TX, in November. The session was selected to be recorded for after-conference viewing.
Kenneth Reeds presented “¿De qué hablamos cuando hablamos de realismo mágico?”, a three-hour presentation based on his recent book at the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association’s Diversity Day at Lasell College.
Fátima Serra presented the paper “Feminismos activos en El verano de los peces voladores de Marcela Said 2013” at the Annual Conference of AILCFH (Asociación Internacional de Literatura y Cultura Femenina Hispánica) in Havanna, Cuba in November 2014. The paper will be published in the Selected Proceedings by the University of Barcelona.