Faculty Awards Featured News News: Russian Studies Spring 2020

Bella Ginzbursky-Blum Receives National AATSEEL Award for Excellence in Teaching

CBella Ginzbursky Blumongratulations to Bella Ginzbursky-Blum, the recipient of 2020 National AATSEEL (American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages) Excellence in Teaching Award! Professor Ginzbursky-Blum is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. She teaches Russian language classes at all levels, and also enjoys teaching classes on Russian literature and, especially, on the Russian Fairy Tale Tradition.

So well deserved!

Full story…

Alumni Updates: Hispanic Studies fall2019more Featured News News: Alumni News: Hispanic Studies

W&M Graduate and student of Spanish pays it forward


Lamar Shambley (class of 2010) and founder of Teens of Color Abroad
Lamar Shambley (class of 2010) and founder of Teens of Color Abroad

Lamar Shambley (’10) founded Teens of Color Abroad which helps students of color in high school study abroad. See the full story here.

Fall 2019 Featured News News: Hispanic Studies

Donor Generosity Helps Get the Word Out about Hispanic Studies: Meet Hayes!

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Hispanic Studies has a new media intern! Meet Hayes Pearce, who maintains our Instagram account, interacts with clubs and organizations on campus, and promotes events sponsored by Modern Languages and Literatures and other departments by keeping the HISP community up to date and sharing our news and accomplishments!

Check out our Instagram feed at:





Fall 2018 Featured News: Hispanic Studies

Hispanic Studies at the 2018 Summer Research Showcase: Declassifying Videla’s Argentina

Monroe Research Showcase (cropped)

The Monroe research grants allow students to explore anything that interests them. For many, it is a way to start answering a question that came to them in class. For nearly all who undertake a project, we end the summer with more questions than we started with. Last week, we all came together to discuss these questions and conclusions at the summer research showcase.

My name is Jo Weech, and I am a junior here at the College. I am a Monroe research grant recipient and a Hispanic Studies major. I chose to use my Monroe grant to make my involvement with the National Security Archive research team possible.

William & Mary has been running a research internship with the Archive for several years. Students attend weekly classes with a Hispanic Studies professor, Silvia Tandeciarz, and an expert from the Archive, Carlos Osorio. All of the work with the Archive’s documents is done remotely via digital databases. To begin the internship, we first learned about the Cold War and the last Argentine dictatorship. We then started working with the documents.

Those documents we were working with involve declassified diplomatic cables from different U.S. agencies. Our job was to try to find evidence of human rights violations, as well as piece together a history of what happened. Our research will begin again this coming spring semester. I was able to complete this research while studying abroad in La Plata, Argentina. It was especially meaningful to be able to read about events happening and then to be able to go and see where they actually occured. One of the moments of repression we discussed with the research team was La noche de los lápices (The night of the pencils), as an example of violence against students. Below is a picture that I took in La Plata of benches painted in dedication to those student victims:


For me, the research was especially important because it is related to the work that I see myself doing after graduation. I hope to find a career that will promote human rights, possibly as a Foreign Service Officer. The tools and opportunities that the Hispanic Studies program has already given me will be instrumental in finding that career. I hope that my involvement with this research project will be long lasting, as we are writing a history that needs to be written.

Fall 2018 Featured News: Hispanic Studies Uncategorized

Moments of Activism: Student Movements and the 100 Years of Women Weekend

To commemorate 100 years of women at William & Mary, the university hosted the first-ever W&M Women's Weekend September 21-23, 2018. In events throughout campus that included panel discussions, keynotes and an opening performance by Anna Deavere Smith, attendees discussed big ideas, learned from one another and enjoyed growth opportunities in the eight dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, professional, physical, social and spiritual. (Skip Rowland '83)
To commemorate 100 years of women at William & Mary, the university hosted the first-ever W&M Women’s Weekend September 21-23, 2018.

The 100 Years of Women weekend gave students and alumni the opportunity to reflect on the role of women in the history of this campus. From the first Dean of Women to the induction of our current female President, women’s voices have been an integral part of William & Mary.

The Hispanic Studies Program at William & Mary teaches far more than just Spanish language and culture. One thing that many students take away from it is a growing passion for activism. From historical case studies to discussions of contemporary social issues, the program encourages active listening and engagement. This engagement is taken outside of the classroom and into the world.

This summer, a Hispanic Studies student decided to engage more directly with her school’s past through research. Jo Weech is a current Hispanic Studies and International Relations double major at the College. Her areas of focus include human rights work and education. Using the 100 Years of Women weekend as an opportunity, she researched the history of student protest and activism at the school since the introduction of women in 1918. This research was shaped by tools she learned from her Hispanic Studies courses; tools in deciphering memory, historical narratives, and archival records.

Although William & Mary is a historically conservative campus, it does have a rich history of student activism and protest. One of the main outlets used to voice social movements was the student paper, The Flat Hat. From reading past Flat Hat articles, as well as other newspapers, Alumni Gazette editorials, and oral history transcripts, this activism becomes clearer. Initially, most student movements were focused on internal issues of the College. Tensions have been present for years between the Board of Visitors, faculty, and the student body over issues of admission. The admission of women in 1918 was controversial. Supported broadly by students but not by as many alumni, coeducation may not have occurred if it wasn’t for low enrollment after WWI. Later in the 1950’s, the issue of admission was brought up again with changes in admission standards. In the 1960’s, they were brought up again alongside the racial integration of the College. They have continued to change under our more recent presidents, as well.

Changes in institutional policy had ripple effects among the student body. Students have written editorials for and against admission policies as well as policies for new athletic programs, construction plans, speaker events, chancellor appointments, and student resources. They have organized sit ins, silent marches, vigils, and speeches. Although initially rallying for issues internal to the College, William & Mary students have also engaged with national movements, such as Civil Rights and protesting the Vietnam War. Much of the most recent activism on campus gives voice to issues that the institution has been struggling with for decades.

Why is it that activism is not more actively remembered in our campus history? With many alumni present on campus for the 100 Years of Women weekend, Jo had the opportunity to speak to former students from different periods of the College’s history. She found that many of these women did remember at least one active demonstration taking place during their time here, if not more. But it took some remembering for those demonstrations to come to mind. For many past and current students, activism may not be at the forefront of this campus identity; however, it is a part of that identity–and it is one with a long legacy.

Fall 2018 Featured News

Welcome (Back) Language House Tutors!

Introducing our 2018-2019 Language House Tutors:

Traveling from all corners of the world, our tutors arrived at W&M on August 17th. The Language House Advisors prepared a welcome brunch for everybody to get to know each other! Our tutors clockwise from the left: Lena Böse (returning), Li Zhao (returning), Juan Hidalgo, Zoia Maslennikova (returning), Chiara di Maio, Gaoussou Diarra, Kaoru Suzuki.

LH Tutors and Advisors


Featured News: Hispanic Studies

Hispanic Studies at the COLL 300 Academic Festival

The purpose of COLL 300 is to connect you with people, places, and ideas that take you out of familiar surroundings and deepen the way you see yourself in the world. To introduce you to people and ideas that are outside your sphere of direct experience. To challenge your ways of thinking. To make you a little uncomfortable.

This Fall 2017, two of our Hispanic Studies Courses formed part of the COLL 300 on campus experience theme of In/Exclusion: HISP 330: Poetry Writing Workshop, taught by Professor Silvia Tandeciarz, and HISP 390: Queer Latinidad, taught by Professor Christina Baker.

In both HISP 330 and 390, students took on performative articulations of self-reflection throughout the semester by means of performance and poetry. These acts and refined pieces were showcased in the end-of-semester COLL 300 Academic Festival, held December 1st, from 2:00pm-5:00pm in ISC III.

Students in HISP 330, the Poetry Writing Workshop taught in Spanish, chose to feature their creative work in a “poetry walk.” Designed on large poster boards and curated along brightly light hallways, the poems brought effervescence and freshness to the space of ISC III. The display series of large poster boards, designed by the students, accompanied the installation with translations of their poems, and framed the exhibit with the following mission statement:

HISP 330: Poetry Writing Workshop Mission Statement as showcased at COLL 300 Festival
HISP 330: Poetry Writing Workshop Mission Statement as showcased at COLL 300 Festival

Students in HISP 390 performed an living wax museum of stereotypes called, “You Don’t Know My Life,” inspired by the Radical Performance Pedagogy of Guillermo Gómez Peña. The students each enacted a stereotype, performed only at the inducement of the public and at the end of the perofrmance, came together to break down walls of isolation and misunderstood identities. Our docent carried around our collaboratively created Artists’ Statement:

HISP 390 Artists' Statement showcased during performance at COLL 300 Festival
HISP 390 Artists’ Statement showcased during performance at COLL 300 Festival

Here is a small gallery of other photos from the event:

Poetry Writing Workshop: View of the installation space.
Poetry Writing Workshop: View of the installation space.
Queer Latinidad Performance: Docent explaining Artists' Statement.
Queer Latinidad Performance: Docent explaining Artists’ Statement.










Poetry Writing Workshop favorite piece among spectators.
Poetry Writing Workshop favorite piece among spectators.
Queer Latinidad Performance about to begin.
Queer Latinidad Performance about to begin.
Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: Russian Studies

Russian Studies: The Search for Soviet Jazz

The Search for Soviet Jazz

 Kary Stevick (International Relations, ’20)

link to film

This past summer I had the amazing opportunity to not only visit and study in St. Petersburg, Russia for six weeks as part of the Reves Center’s study abroad summer program, but also conduct research regarding one of my favorite things—jazz.Soviet Jazz 1

Initially, I was not sure if I could turn my idea into a full-fledged project. After all, what is so different about Russian jazz? Well, almost everything it turns out! The only English-language book published on the subject led my project to explore the differences between “Soviet” jazz, played by local musicians and heavily influenced by the country’s difficult relationship with the music, and “true” jazz, played in swanky hotels for mainly American tourists. When I arrived in St Petersburg, I decided to examine why Russians are still interested in jazz music and what aspects of Russian life influence its musicians.

What really made this project special; however, were the personal interviews I conducted. I had the opportunity to interview Russian jazz legends, a professional jazz singer, and a local jazz bar owner. My summer nights were filled with visits to jazz cafes off of Petersburg’s main thoroughfare Nevskii Prospekt and to concerts at the St. Petersburg State Jazz Philharmonic Hall.  I even attended the international music festival PetroJazz! Being thrust into such in-depth interviews forced me to step up my language game. I had to articulate my questions perfectly, as well as listen carefully to and comprehend my interviewees’ answers to make sure I did not ask something they had already said. In my Russian classes I had never had a Russian unit on jazz, so I found myself adding new music/jazz specific verbs and phrases to my ever-expanding vocabulary every night.

Soviet Jazz 2

Culturally, I was able to learn about St. Petersburg’s relationship with the West. All the music I heard during my time in St. Petersburg was American jazz music. I also learned what Russians think about themselves and Russian culture. Everyone I interviewed was proud of Russian jazz and articulated perfectly how it differed from any other genre of music. “Russian art is inherently confessional,” Alexandra Soboleva, one of the field producers and a professional jazz singer, told me during an interview.

The research project I conducted in St. Petersburg has greatly helped my understanding of Russian culture. Moreover, my language skills have improved dramatically. No matter what topic I had looked into, I would have learned a great deal. However, the fact that I was researching something I love made my summer adventure in St. Petersburg a more enjoyable and meaningful experience.

Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: Russian Studies

Russian Studies: Environmentalism in St. Petersburg

Environmentalism in St. Petersburg

Melanie Carter (Interdisciplinary Studies, ’19)

link to film

St. Petersburg 1

This past summer I spent six weeks in St. Petersburg, Russia as part of the Reves Center’s study abroad program.  Beyond the typical language immersion, classroom experience, homestay accommodation, and cultural excursions, we conducted a research project in collaboration with Russian students from the St. Petersburg State University of Film and Television. At first, I was overwhelmed by the concept of doing a video project because I had never filmed or created anything cinematically before, but we learned from Swem Library media specialist Cindy Centeno, who assisted us in Russia for the first few weeks.

The topic for my project was originally just the St. Petersburg Dam, which is a massive structure that closes off the part of the Gulf of Finland near St. Petersburg from the rest of the Gulf to protect the city from flooding. Program Director Professor Alexander Prokhorov suggested the idea to me and I decided to read more about the dam. As I began my research, I realized that there had to be an environmental impact from the structure, so I decided to change my topic to the St. Petersburg Dam and Environmentalism. At first, I could only find information on positive aspects of the dam, but then I continued my research with interviews in St. Petersburg. Both an architect and a professor raved about the dam. However, I knew this could not be the whole story. The rest of the narrative emerged one morning when I was talking to my Russian professor before class started about my project. He told me the phrase “damba – gorodu amba,” which he translated as “the dam is the end of the city.” I researched this saying and found an online interview detailing the negative effects of the dam. From there my research took off.St. Petersburg 2

Taking almost six months to complete, this was certainly the largest project I have ever undertaken, yet it was also my most rewarding endeavor. I learned so much about the history of St. Petersburg from my research, my interviewees, and talking with Russian university students. The collaboration with the students was by far the most valuable experience, because it required overcoming a language barrier and made cross-cultural exchange possible among our peer group. Watching all of the completed films recently was a proud moment for me as well and it made our entire group very nostalgic.


Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: Russian Studies

Russian Studies: The Politics of Soviet Cuisine

The Politics of Soviet Cuisine

Arianna Afsari (Russian and Hispanic Studies, ’19)

link to film

Soviet Cuisine 1Gastronomy is one of the most significant qualities that defines culture, for it possesses the power to narrate the history, and even the politics, of those who eat it. Given that nutrition is such an ordinary part of quotidian life, people rarely contemplate the deeper cultural implications that cuisine embodies, nor is much thought given to the politics of food. After conducting some preliminary research about the legacy of Soviet cuisine and the history of the Stalinist cookbook, The Book of Tasty and Healthy Food (1939), I went to St. Petersburg, Russia this past summer to further investigate my topic through interviews with various people in the food industry and everyday cooks at home.

Over the course of my six-week study abroad program organized by the Reves Center at William & Mary, I learned more about people’s personal experiences, memories, and nostalgia for Soviet cuisine, and subsequently, I recognized their understanding of the cookbook and of food as vehicles for promoting and securing Soviet propaganda. The Book of Tasty and Healthy Food was an essential tool for promoting the Soviet Union’s political agenda, and the same politicization of food still persists today in both the private and public spheres of modern day St. Petersburg.Soviet Cuisine 2

I had the pleasure of taking my knowledge of Russian language to a whole new level by conducting interviews with various people in St. Petersburg. The documentation of these oral histories was paramount to my research as I spoke with a wide range of Russians, including host mothers, restaurant chefs, and even the brand manager of a chain of Soviet cafes. Despite the harsh Soviet reality of breadlines, persistent scarcity, and, at times, starvation, the cookbook still enjoys popularity today among Russians who are nostalgic for the Soviet Union, or at least for the various staple Soviet dishes that defined the era. I emerged from my research with a better understanding of the cultural amnesia that surrounds memories of food during the Soviet era. People have an inevitable tendency to bury unpleasant recollections in favor of happier ones, and consequently romanticize a past that was much harsher than the rose-colored version of it they wish to remember. At the end of my research I also concluded that food is more than simple alimentation; it is culture, politics, and identity.

Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: Japanese Studies

Japanese Studies: On the Trading Floor in Tokyo

On the Trading Floor in Tokyo

Xinyi Wang (Finance and Applied Math, ’18))

Xinyi Wang

One of our students, Ms. Xinyi Wang, experienced an in-depth 10-week internship program at Morgan Stanley’s Institutional Equity Division in Tokyo this summer. She received the internship opportunity from Boston Career Forum, which provides an annual opportunity in Boston every November for Japanese and English bilingual students who seek either an internship or a full-time job in Japan. She has lived in the Japanese House on the William and Mary campus for two years. During her time at the college, Ms. Wang has worked as the W&M President of Japanese Culture Association and was a TA for Japanese 101 and 102.

Ms. Wang submitted her entry application and résumé in early September and participated in two telephone interviews before attending the forum. During the actual career forum, she was invited to a networking dinner with other selected applicants as well as current employees and got her offer after a short face-to-face interview at Morgan Stanley’s booth the next day. A particular requirement of the Morgan Stanley Tokyo office was fluency in business-level Japanese (which I will be offering as JAPN 402 this next semester) and English. Ms. Wang was not native to either language but had sufficient competency to win her the internship.

During the 10 weeks of that internship, she rotated among four different desks on the sales and trading floor, shadowed employees during market hours and worked after hours on her designated internship project. Although she did find the work schedule to be a bit daunting, the work day possibly starting as early as 6 am and extending to 8 pm, such hours were similar at other area investment banks.Trading Floor Desk

Morgan Stanley management and staff perceived the internship program as highly beneficial, and it was reflected through their policies. Ms. Wang was pleased to enjoy a free service apartment, a refund of the cost of her flight, and a regular stipend. Employees were also extremely helpful and supportive. She was able to schedule short Starbucks talks or lunches with staff members. Sometimes interns were even invited to casual get-togethers with staff after work.

According to Ms. Wang, she wants to pursue a career in finance in Tokyo after she graduates from William and Mary. She states, “I had a really great time in Tokyo and at MS, and this internship really inspired me to find a job in Tokyo after my graduation.”

Trading floors for IED:

Trading Floor




Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: Japanese Studies

Japanese Studies: Once Upon a Time in Japan

Once Upon a Time in Japan

Yunjie Zhang (International Relations and Global Studies ’20)


Akita 1Yunjie Zhang is a very active participant in the Japanese Culture Association and in the Japanese Language House, where he resides on the William and Mary Campus. He has been taking several high level Japanese language courses, ranging from the 200-400 level, and many different Japanese content courses. He had the exciting opportunity to participate in the three-week seminar, Once Upon a Time in Japan.

The Once Upon a Time in Japan traveling history seminar was a valuable, enriching and amazing experience. Presented by Akita International University (AIU), the three-week history and traveling seminar introduced me valuable learning experiences outside of the classroom. We spent one week inside AIU visiting historic sites in Akita while learning the foundation of Japanese history. During the remaining two weeks of the seminar, we visited eight cities with stops at several temples, castles and museums.

Lessons from the textbook and multimedia learning tools came to life during as we visited historic sites and discovered how history was narrated under a particular purpose.  Not only was the seminar education, but it was also fun! We climbed to the top of Osaka Castle, experienced Buddhist lifestyle at a temple in Kyoto, explored Chinatown in Nagasaki, and made traditional dishes in Akita. The entire traveling seminar was extremely inspiring and fun.Akita 2

The highlight of the seminar was exploring reasons behind certain narratives of history.  History is not only about what happened, but it is also about who could tell the story under what circumstances.  Thus, I am inspired to examine the “hidden” parts of history and, if possible, to decrease the hatred that originates from those narratives.

I recommend Once Upon a Time in Japan to anyone who is interested in Japanese history or culture. It’s also a great fit for those who simply want to travel, attend the seminar, and enjoy the fabulous, three-week experience in Japan!

Akita 3

Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: Japanese Studies

Japanese Studies: Teaching the Art of Ikebana at W&M

Teaching the Art of Ikebana at W&M

 Kado (華道) Demonstration Impressed Attendees with “…the Beauty of Simplicity.”

Kado 1

On Wednesday, November 29th, from 5 to 6 pm in the Japanese house, Kado Instructor, Ryoko Vogel from Okinawa, Japan presented a hands-on exploration of what she has been teaching for 6 years─ the intricacies of Ikebana.

Ikebana is the art of flower arranging (華道) to heighten the appeal of a vase and to use flowers to represent heaven, earth and humanity. The tea ceremony and flower arranging have traditionally gone together, with the objective of expressing purity and simplicity rather than creating something of elegant beauty. Flower arrangement seeks to create a harmony of linear construction, rhythm and color in which the vase, the stems, leaves and branches are part of the art form as well as the flowers. (

Kado photo 2Harmony (和) is a key concept of Japanese culture, and is one of the many principles of Zen Buddhism, along with minimalism, contemplation, simplicity and emptiness. These are also the concepts inherent in Kado. Thus, the demonstration challenged participants to be mindful of Zen values as they created works of art that they could keep.

One surprised attendee commented that “Ikebana sounded simple initially to me, just about pretty flowers and putting them in random places, but in reality we have to think about aesthetics and where the style comes from.” But as they worked under the close guidance of their talented and patient instructor, participants discovered that “simplicity of design” requires unexpectedly challenging attention to details as well as close focus on and integration of Zen principles.Kado photo 3

Ultimately, their efforts resulted in extremely satisfying works of floral art that participants took home with them.  These floral embodiment’s of Japanese tradition and philosophy will serve as lovely reminders of the experience and of Kado. When the creations were done and the lively discussion had subsided, participants partook of complementary Japanese cakes, snacks and green tea.

*Ryoko Vogel is currently planning an Ikebana flower show next year in Virginia Beach at the Japanese Language House.

Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: Italian Studies

Italian Studies: Contextualizing Family History

Contextualizing Family History

Jacopo Gliozzi (Physics and Mathematics, ’19)


Sergio Class 1

Fascism is a word that we hear a lot in today’s climate. Especially on a politically conscious campus like William and Mary, the label of Fascist is applied often enough that it’s hard to keep track of what the word means exactly. That’s why, when browsing Open Course List last spring, a class titled “Fascism in Italy” caught my eye.


I was looking for the latest installment of my bi-annual humanities class, a strategy I’ve used to take a break from my physics major and stay on top of the COLL requirements. Besides the political relevance of first half of the course title, the second half piqued my curiosity for personal reasons. I was born in Italy and moved to the U.S. when I was four. While Italian language and culture have always been present in my home, I have always felt a little lacking in historical context. Through “Fascism in Italy,” my first course in the Italian department, I aimed to reconnect with the collective past of my parents and grandparents.


The course is a chronological study of the Fascist movement in Italy and its ramifications, starting from the unification of Italy and ending with Neo-Fascism today. Class discussions are rooted in various historical sources and, more commonly, critical analyses of these sources. Professor Sergio Ferrarese, who created the course, explains that his goal is to provide students with the critical tools to interpret Fascism as both a specific Italian phenomenon and a broader movement.


Now is the perfect time for a class on Fascism, according to Prof. Ferrarese, because the word is thrown around constantly in American political discourse. “When I was younger,” he continues, “I called anyone that didn’t share my political beliefs a fascist.” As he grew more experienced, Prof. Ferrarese learned the importance of applying the term properly, and his aim now is to share this perspective with his students.Sergio Class 2


A crucial aspect of “Fascism in Italy” is its interdisciplinary nature: as a COLL 200 anchored in the ALV domain but extending to CSI, the course utilizes a variety of perspectives to study Fascism. Throughout the semester, we have looked at the phenomenon in art, architecture, historical documents, speeches, film, philosophy, and critical theory. Prof. Ferrarese has a background in philosophy, but his vast knowledge of the history of the Italian peninsula makes for discussions that appeal to many different types of students.


For Prof. Ferrarese, this is another important reason for the creation of the class. Unlike most of the other courses in the Italian department, “Fascism in Italy” is taught in English to reach the widest audience of students possible. The ability to critically interpret information, especially of a political nature, is extremely valuable, and this course is a means of imparting it to students. Teaching a new class every two years is a personal goal of Prof. Ferrarese, who credits the undergraduate focus at William and Mary for constantly challenging professors to adapt and research new subjects. “Fascism in Italy” has been just that: a fresh course, tailored to today’s world and open to all students.



Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: Italian Studies

Italian Studies: Summer Internship in Pavia

Summer Internship in Pavia

Tyler Mlakar (International Relations,’19)


PaviaPerhaps one of the most stressful tasks that students face during their time at the College of William and Mary is the search for summer internships. Summer internships are of major importance for both graduate school applications and post-graduation job opportunities.  Students are always trying to surpass their peers in order to get the most prestigious internships through GPA and extra-curricular involvement. While these are important, I believe the key to discovering an incredible internship opportunity is to study a different language.

During the past summer, I interned for R2M Solutions, which is an international innovation technology transfer company with corporate headquarters in Pavia, Italy. The location of R2M perfectly complemented my studies, as I currently study the Italian language for my international relations major here at William and Mary. In fact, the main reason I was chosen by R2M was because I am a native English speaker and study the Italian language. Most of their work is focused on European Union (E.U.) policy programs. In the E.U., nearly every important international business or policy document is in English. However, at R2M Solutions, most employees are native Italian speakers, and struggle – to an extent – with the English writing tasks required by E.U. policy documents. Because of my background as a native English speaker and my ability to communicate well with my co-workers in Italian, I was able to provide assistance in writing these documents.

The working environment I was a part of in Italy was much different than what I was used to in America. The starting time was very flexible, I was not required to come into work until 9 am, and even then many of my co-workers would come in later, sometimes not even until 10 am. We would usually take a lunch break together at a nice restaurant and sit down to converse and eat, sometimes for hours. Upon finishing lunch we would all take a coffee break.  In Italy, the coffee of choice is espresso, which is drunk from a very small glass. When getting coffee in Italy, it is common practice to remain standing at the coffee bar, and once served, immediately drink the near boiling water all at once. The coffee in Italy had a very strong kick; one espresso and I would be going for hours on end. After the coffee break, we would all head back to the office, work for about an hour, and then converse for the rest of the day before heading home at around 5 pm. Amazingly, we still accomplished a lot in that short amount of time of actual work. To sum up my working experience in Italy, it was much more relaxed and friendly than that of the United States. I talked to several of my co-workers about this and they told me that it is common place in Italy to be more relaxed in the work atmosphere. They told me that Americans work too hard and don’t enjoy life, and that was one of the main takeaways I carry with me from my experience in Italy.

In addition to the necessity of the Italian language in the workplace, it was even more useful for my day-to-day life in Pavia. I lived in a small apartment with a native Italian speaker named Marcello. He spoke almost no English, so in order to communicate with him I had to speak almost exclusively in Italian. Marcello was a brilliant chef, every meal that he made I can

My experience with R2M Solutions provided me with insight on the importance of studying another language. Through my study of Italian at William and Mary, I not only gained a valuable professional experience abroad, but also gained many new friends of which I will never forget. I would recommend studying a foreign language and spending time abroad using that language to everyone I know.still remember to this day because it was the best food I have ever had. I met several of Marcello’s friends and through doing so gained a lot of valuable social skills and confidence in speaking a foreign language. Many of the Italians I met during my internship I still keep in contact with today. Marcello traveled with me to many places in Italy, and gave me personal tours of places such as Rome, Florence, and his home in Lake Como. Going to these places with an Italian native was an incredible experience because I learned much more than I otherwise would have about the Italian culture.

Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: French & Francophone Studies News: Hispanic Studies

French and Francophone Studies/Hispanic Studies: Experiences in Granada

Experiences in Granada, Spain

Julie Luecke (French and Francophone Studies, ’20)


IMG-20170627-WA0002In 2014, I spent three days in Granada, Spain, with a family I had known growing up. I distinctly remember walking around the fountain at los Reyes Católicos, the main square in Granada, with braids in my hair but not a single Spanish word in my mouth. I learned a few simple phrases (like no puedo ver–extremely useful for trying to watch TV with 5 younger children), but I swore I’d come back one day when I could truly appreciate the city by speaking its language (and ordering at Los Italianos, a gelato shop, by myself).

Three years later, I sat at the base of the same fountain at los Reyes Católicos with braids in my hair with my three host sisters, giggling and exclaiming at each other en español.

Through the Charles Center, I had received a grant to do cultural research in Granada, the final Moorish stronghold in the 1400s. In order to communicate with participants in my research though, I had to get a hold on the Spanish language. I had taken French all through high school (and am now a French major), so I was able to take accelerated Spanish classes with absolutely incredible professors: Profesora Carrion in the fall and Profesor Terukina in the spring.

Originally, I only took Spanish classes in order to conduct my research in Spain, but I loved class so much (especially thanks to two of my classmates, Will and Diana, who made having class EVERY MORNING at 9am bearable) that I decided to continue upon my return to the states. In Spanish 207 this fall with Profesora Baker, I remember turning in my first essay in Spanish, thinking, wow, just over a year later, I am capable of producing a coherent, persuasive, work in a language I had promised myself years ago that I would learn. It wasn’t particularly complex, but I was proud of my small feat on the way to fluency.Luecke 2

Unfortunately, I have to take next semester off Spanish classes as I study in Morocco, though I hope to continue its usage, especially in the Northern part of the country. I’ve still never ordered at Los Italianos by myself though, so it looks like I must take a small detour to Spain to visit my host family and their beautiful city again.

Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: Hispanic Studies

Hispanic Studies: Hispanic Studies Students Meet Pulitzer Grantee Journalist

Hispanic Studies Students Meet Pulitzer Center Grantee Journalist

–This collaborative article was authored by the Hispanic Studies 208 students in Cate-Arries’ class.



As part of a class unit on investigative journalism, immigration, and refugees in the Spanish-speaking world, students in Professor Cate-Arries Fall 2017 Hispanic Studies 208 course met with the award-winning freelance long-form journalist Malia Politzer during her October campus visit to William and Mary.Malia Politzer 840x410

 Politzer (b. 1983, San José, California; B.A. Hampshire College; M.S. Columbia University) has made a name for herself by reporting on the international refugee crisis, including Europe’s primary migration corridor from North Africa to Spain, and regularly publishing her articles in The Economist, Wall Street Journal Asia, Foreign Policy Magazine and Institute of Current World Affairs Letters. Currently based in Spain where she is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Granada, Politzer spent the past two years traveling in Niger, Sicily, Turkey, and Germany for her 2016 Huffington Post Highline piece, “The 21st Century Gold Rush: How the Refugee Crisis is Changing the World Economy,” awarded the “2017 Overseas Press Club Award for Best Digital Reporting on International Affairs”. (

In her lecture, Politzer opened with the statistic that there are 22.5 million refugees worldwide (“the most refugees we’ve had since WWII”), and her ensuing remarks point to her success in putting a human face on this daunting, growing number of refugees. When asked about her most inspiring, memorable encounter with one of these displaced individuals, Politzer immediately responded with the story of a Syrian refugee in Turkey, Muhammed. She “fell in love” with the incredibly intelligent boy who loved learning, teaching himself computer programing at a young age, who now no longer had access to formal schooling.

Recognizing that at times it is difficult to see how her investigative reporting “makes a difference” given the often staggering scale of hardship that her informants endure, Politzer did recall with satisfaction her coverage of the case of Mexican immigrant Oscar Vasquez, a “Dreamer before the Dream Act.” Vasquez came to the U.S. as a child, was one of four undocumented Phoenix high school students whose 2004 underwater robotics team beat out MIT in a national competition, and completed his mechanical engineering degree as a ROTC student at Arizona State University. However, without documentation Vasquez was unable to accept the engineering job offers he received. Married, with a child, he returned to Mexico in an effort to legalize his status in the U.S., but received a 10-year penalty for his undocumented status in the U.S., and was unable to reenter the country. Politzer’s piece about the Vasquez family’s plight attracted the attention of a senator, who took up the case, and sponsored Vasquez on his path to U.S. citizenship ( Politzer remarked that often her stories address large issues with abstract resolutions, so this particular outcome was a gratifying moment for her, because of the direct impact that her reporting had on Oscar’s situation.CateArriesHISP208ClassPhoto

One of the most compelling facets of Politzer’s coverage of the refugee crisis, and of her and “The 21st c. Gold Rush” photographer Emily Kassie’s efforts to document refugee economies, is their challenge to the conventional narrative about refugees as passive victims and huddled masses, with no agency. Her stories include accounts of refugees’ creative incursions into local economies, sometimes benefiting the quality of life for the larger refugee community. A common thread among these actors on the world stage of the crisis of displaced persons, according to Politzer, is that they are “engaged in making economic decisions about their lives. They aren’t just waiting helplessly to do things, they’re actually actively participating.” On the other hand, Politzer warns, many people have “figured out how to profit from global instability, also known as human suffering,” and as long as this phenomenon continues, it is hard to see an end to the refugee crisis.



Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: Arabic Studies

Arabic Studies: Threads of Identity

Threads of Identity

Emma Russell (Government and Global Studies, ’19)

I spent the summer 2017 studying Arabic at the Qasid Institute in Amman, Jordan and volunteered 20 hours a week as a research assistant at “Tiraz Widad Kawar; Home for Arab Dress”. Widad Kawar, the owner of the museum collection, began preserving dresses when she was young. Growing up in Bethlehem she noticed the decreasing presence of traditional dresses and stitch patterns. What began as a hobby to collect beautiful dresses soon quickly became an active attempt to collect and preserve rare dresses before their stories were forgotten. The storage rooms of “Tiraz Widad Kawar; Home for Arab Dress” house the largest collection of both Palestinian and Jordanian dress, and also the largest collection of Syrian dress outside of the country. Through the material and stitch patterns of these dresses, researchers can trace the political, social, and cultural history of specific villages through time. Tiraz worked not only to educate the public about traditional dresses and artifacts, but also held workshops to teach groups the traditional stitch patterns and dyeing techniques that have become nearly obsolete in the face of mass manufacturing. In this way Tiraz not only preserves the past, but also actively works to ensure a future for traditional techniques.

IMG_8552My physical tasks at Tiraz were to help to remove Tiraz’s “Ya Hafeth Ya Ameen” temporary exhibit that exhibited protective silver adornments and talismans, followed by curating the new exhibit featuring a massive art installation entitled “Thirst for Solidarity” by the Naqsh Collective. I also was also delegated the creation of a Google Arts and Culture page and the maintenance of Facebook posts for advertisement purposes. At the end of my eight weeks, we hosted a large opening night event where hundreds of people came to see the new exhibit. The culmination of our effort was rewarded by all the people who were able to reconnect to their ancestral traditional culture and also learn about other cultures.

While at Tiraz I was also conducting my Monroe Research which focused on the traditional dresses of North Galilee.  My researched investigated the systemic fear that forced Palestinian women, the transmitters of their own culture, to sell their identities as embodied by traditional dresses. My research told the story not only of the dresses that have been successfully preserved by Tiraz, but also the story of the dresses that were lost.  I analyzed Galilee’s social and political climate that redefined the value of dresses which were essential to an identity of being no more than objects of trade, forcing the Galilee people to put a price on their culture for survival.IMG_8589

These dresses I researched were often labors of love that took months of intricate embroidery to create. Palestinian dresses can show familial lineage to particular villages, wealth, marriage status, and even religion based only upon the patterns of stitch and material. Each dress represents the Palestinian culture and individual story of the owner. Through my research, I wanted to reveal the historical context and the extreme pressure that would have led women to selling dresses that were so essential to their personal identity. Through my work at Tiraz and my research, I hoped to bring awareness to the continued need to preserve historical and modern Palestinian culture before it is all exchanged for the safety of assimilation.

Widad was a huge source of support throughout my research. She would frequently invite me to her home for lunch to discuss my progress and assign me new books to read. She read my complete research, gave me edits, and fact checked all my information. Leaving Tiraz I felt empowered, motivated, and enriched from my experience. I had learned so much, contributed to Tiraz’s beautiful mission, and found a family amongst the other interns.


Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: Chinese Studies

Chinese Studies: Experiencing China

Experiencing China

Sophia Wischnewski (Chinese Studies, ’20)


IMG_2568The Journey Begins

My experience traveling along the journey piqued my curiosity about the new world I was soon to encounter. From the time I was enrolled in a Chinese immersion program at 10 years old, I could only dream of visiting one of the world’s most powerful nations. Nine years later, my dream became reality. William and Mary’s brief immersion program gave me the opportunity to see China outside of my previous Chinese language and culture courses. However, I’ve come to find that reading about China and briefly living in China are completely different.

My first day in Beijing was riddled with culture shock. I was obligated to become independent, and that alone truly helped by forcing me to use my language skills. With out the comforts of Google Translate, I had to figure out the meaning of words on my own. I will always remember the word 厕所 (restroom) because of this experience.

The Real China

I visited four cities in China: Yanjiao, Baotou, Beijing, and Zhuhai. All were completely different. They all had different dialects and words. I thought it was a challenge to understand people in the southern and northern states in the U.S., but now I feel that China, as a nation, is not only a master in the art of Kung Fu, but also a master of languages for being able to understand so many dialects.

I had the opportunity to stay with my friend and her family for a week and a half before returning to Beijing. Since my friend Sally was the only one who spoke any English, I had to speak in Chinese with her family. Sally was strict with me in that she not only refused to give me a fork and learn to eat with chopsticks, but also encouraged me to use my language skills outside of her home as well. I felt that living with her and meeting other people were the greatest experiences I have had in my time learning Chinese.

IMG_4335I not only experienced the language, but the culture as well. During my stay I developed a cold and was brought to the doctor. Traditional Chinese medicine is still a common practice among modern medical solutions. Instead of prescribing me pills or syrup for my symptoms, the doctor looked directly into my eyes and advised me to drink a hot cup of water before going to bed and getting up in the morning. He said I needed more rest and time to get accustomed to the environment. All he gave me was root juice as a vitamin. I was told later by my friend’s mother that Chinese people believe that harmony between one’s diet and life style habits is the essence of good health. Sure enough, after a delicious home-cooked dinner, hot water, and rest, I was in even better health then I was in the U.S.

Chinese vs. American Cultures

Aside from learning about Chinese culture, I thought a lot about modern American culture in the process of learning Chinese. I reflected on how much I, just one person, was representing my own country while being a part of China’s society. I learned China believes in symbolism, so everything created acquires a unique purpose. I also noted that the U.S also associates itself as a symbol of freedom. I found this ideal American concept to be quite fascinating during the program. Not only did the American college and high school students extensively pursue their desires during the time in Beijing, but they also expressed the same American mentality of freedom in their accomplishments.

When I was in Beijing, I noticed differences between Chinese and American college students. A sense of destructiveness and a wild spirit was the impression given off by Americans, especially for the younger generation. During student events, such as the talent show, both American and Chinese students were encouraged to share a talent which embraced a bit of their cultural background. The two groups did very different performances. The acts performed by American students generally included songs about partying, individuality, and carefree actions. This music alone could potentially create misunderstandings of Americans, but it also helps spread American culture and American representation on a global scale. The Chinese music performed was a mixture of Chinese folk and modern day songs. The beats were slow, and the notes were long and drawn out. It created a tranquil ambience along with a happy atmosphere from common themes of love, inspiration, fortune, and tranquility in the lyrics.IMG_4787

The Journey Continues…

I learned so much in so little time. I feel like I cannot fully to express my feelings about my experience in China. The food, the places, and the friendships I’ve made are too valuable to be measured and conveyed into a single paper, and yet, that alone reveals how much this trip has impacted my thoughts and my future.

Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: German Studies

German Studies: Working with Refugees in Vienna

Working with Refugees in Vienna

Kathryn Eckler (Religious Studies, Minor in Biology, ’19)



EcklerThe past year has been a profound international adventure. In February, I was presented with the opportunity of serving as an intern with an international Baptist Church in Vienna, Austria. Projekt: Gemeinde is a Baptist Church that serves Middle-Eastern Refugees, Latino populations, and local German speaking families and students. Not only would this be an international experience in Austria, I would be working with people from all over the Globe..

I was stationed in Vienna for a total of two months. My duties as an intern included teaching theology courses for Iranian and Afghani refugees. On the average week, I would teach between thirty to sixty refugees. I taught in English, and my lessons were translated into Farsi or German. In addition to teaching, I also helped to meet the physical needs of the people around me. One of the church buildings was under construction, so I would cook lunches for the men working on the project. Gathering around a table with Europe’s refugees provided me with a humbling perspective. I came to appreciate those who have survived times of crisis, and I learned how to care for those who feel ostracized by society.

My experience in Austria has led me to consider the impact that I can have on society. As a Religious Studies Major, I will continue to create awareness for the intersections between Christianity and times of global crisis.



Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: German Studies

German Studies: Working on a Sustainable Farm in Swabia

Working on a Sustainable Farm in Swabia

Sebastian Viscuso (German Studies and International Relations ’19)


In planning my study abroad, I wanted to have as many new experiences with the German language as possible. Since my study abroad ended after only 6 weeks, I decided to investigate other options for either studying or working while overseas. My research led me to WWOOF, an international educational organization dedicated to supporting worldwide, sustainable agriculture. WWOOF provides its members with a list of organic farms that need labor. I ended up living at Schwalbenhof, a small farm in Baden-Württemberg. On the farm I felt less like a worker and more like a member of a small, tight-knit community. Everyone who lived there participated in the daily work, ate meals family-style, and went on excursions together. While I learned a tremendous amount of German in this immersion environment, I also learned real skills such as harvesting, planting, weeding, herding animals, washing vegetables, and working at farmers markets. I would absolutely recommend this type of study abroad as an option for anyone looking to gain life-long memories and learn some German along the way.


Fall 2017 Issue Featured News: French & Francophone Studies

French and Francophone Studies: Editing a Criminal Law and Policy Journal in D.C.

Editing a Criminal Law and Policy Journal in D.C.

Zarine Kharazian (Government and French and Francophone Studies, ’17)


Zarine KharazianZarine Kharazian currently works as a legal assistant at the Washington, DC law firm of Berliner, Corcoran, and Rowe. Part of her job is to serve as assistant editor of International Enforcement Law Reporter, a monthly criminal law and policy journal that reports on the developments in the international enforcement law field, ranging from anti-money laundering policies to EU data protection directives. She uses her French periodically when writing articles or blog posts for the journal that draw on primary French sources, such as agency press releases and court filings. Kharazian says that the skills she honed while doing research for her honors are helpful to her on a daily day, particularly the ability to read academic scholarship critically, identify gaps in existing literature, and formulate novel arguments in the articles she writes for the journal she edits. Recently, she submitted an article based on her honors thesis (Yet Another French Exception: The Legal, Cultural, and Political Dimensions of France’s Support for the Digital Right to Be Forgotten) for the European Data Protection Law Review‘s Young Scholar’s Award, a competition normally for graduate students, and article was ranked as one of the three best papers among the submissions. As a result, Kharazian’s paper will be published in the upcoming issue of the EDPL. She has also been invited to present a paper at the Computers, Privacy, and Data Protection Conference to be held in Brussels in January 2018.



Faculty Profiles Fall 2017 More Featured News: French & Francophone Studies

New Book: Michael Leruth, French and Francophone Studies

leruth_mIn this video, Prof. Michael Leruth talks to us about his latest book Fred Forest’s Utopia: Media Art and Activism published, this year by MIT Press.

As mentioned on the MIT Press webpage, Prof. Leruth “shows that Forest chooses alternative platforms (newspapers, mock commercial ventures, video-based interactive social interventions, media hacks and hybrids, and, more recently, the Internet) that are outside the exclusive precincts of the art world. A fierce critic of the French contemporary art establishment, Forest famously sued the Centre Pompidou in 1994 over its opaque acquisition practices. After making foundational contributions to Sociological Art in the 1970s and the Aesthetics of Communication in the 1980s, the pioneering Forest saw the Internet as another way for artists to bypass the art establishment in the 1990s. Arguing that there is a strong utopian quality in Forest’s work, Leruth sees this utopianism not as naive or conventional but as a reverse utopianism: rather than envisioning an impossible ideal, Forest re-envisions and probes the quasi-utopia of our media-augmented everyday reality. The interface is the symbolic threshold to be crossed with an open mind.”

In this video, Prof. Michael Leruth talks to us about his latest book Fred Forest’s Utopia: Media Art and Activism published, this year by MIT Press.

As mentioned on the MIT Press webpage, Prof. Leruth “shows that Forest chooses alternative platforms (newspapers, mock commercial ventures, video-based interactive social interventions, media hacks and hybrids, and, more recently, the Internet) that are outside the exclusive precincts of the art world. A fierce critic of the French contemporary art establishment, Forest famously sued the Centre Pompidou in 1994 over its opaque acquisition practices. After making foundational contributions to Sociological Art in the 1970s and the Aesthetics of Communication in the 1980s, the pioneering Forest saw the Internet as another way for artists to bypass the art establishment in the 1990s. Arguing that there is a strong utopian quality in Forest’s work, Leruth sees this utopianism not as naive or conventional but as a reverse utopianism: rather than envisioning an impossible ideal, Forest re-envisions and probes the quasi-utopia of our media-augmented everyday reality. The interface is the symbolic threshold to be crossed with an open mind.”


Faculty Profiles Fall 2017 More Featured News: French & Francophone Studies

New Faculty Profile: Brett Brehm, French and Francophone Studies

Brett fall %2717 website photoWelcome to our new Faculty member, Brett Brehm, Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies with a specialization in 19th Century French Studies. His current research focuses on the history of color photography and its connections with literature and the visual arts. Brett is also  working on a book project, “Kaleidophonic Modernity: Sound, City and Technology.” For the full details, please watch his video interview below.





Faculty Profiles Fall 2017 More Featured News: Chinese Studies

New Faculty Profile: Michael Hill, Chinese Studies

New Faculty Profile: Michael Hill, Chinese Studies

Nicole Cook (International Relations and Chinese, 18’)


michael hillWelcome to William and Mary! Now that you’ve been in Williamsburg for a few months, how has your time been so far?

I’ve been having a great time! I have two really excellent classes this semester, a senior seminar and a course on Chinese pop culture. One of the reasons why William & Mary is so attractive is the great students. For example, in my senior seminar, I have 13 students who are able to work with pretty difficult materials in Chinese language. Their ability to work with the material is really exciting to me. It makes it really fun to teach.

Do you mind telling me a little about your career before coming here? What inspired you to begin studying Chinese?

I started Chinese in my sophomore year of college. At that time, I decided I was either going to study Chinese or Russian, and decided I would try Chinese. I had a great first teacher and was hooked! I took some time off between undergraduate and graduate school to not only work, but also to go to China. I made my first trip in 1997 a couple years after college. After that, I started undergraduate school at Rutgers University and finished at Columbia University. In between, I also spent time working at a translation company. The job involved translating things between Chinese and English that were not very exciting, like contracts, financial documents, and pharmaceutical packaging. This was an especially valuable experience as part of what I study is the history of translation between China and the West. I then worked at the University of South Carolina for 9 years before coming here.

You mentioned your research in the history of translation. Is that your primary focus of research? Do you have other projects you’re working on now?

Both my PhD dissertation and the first book I wrote were about Lin Shu, the first major translator of Western fiction into Chinese. He didn’t know any foreign languages but still managed to work with speakers of English and French to translate works into Classical Chinese. That was a really fun project because many of his translations changed quite a bit from the original to the Chinese translation.

More recently, I began leaning Arabic for my current research, which is on the history of cultural relations between China and the Middle East (late 19th century through the 1950s). Last academic year, I had a fellowship with the American Council of Learned Societies that allowed me to work at the Kluge Center in the Library of Congress. This gave me a unique opportunity to work on collecting sources for my project.

What classes will you be teaching next semester?

In the spring, I’ll be teaching a survey class on 20th century Chinese literature in English and a COLL150 class called “What is China?” The freshman seminar is based on the title of a book I’ve translated by a scholar named Ge Zhaoguang, which is scheduled for publication in January 2018. The book is interesting in the way it talks about different perspectives on Chinese history and major questions in Chinese history. So, for example, what is territory in China? The answer changes depending on if we study the past 1,000 years, 2,000 years or 5,000 years.  He does a really great job of talking about a wide variety of materials so it should be fun to discuss with students.

Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for students who are currently studying Chinese?

Stick with the language – it’s a long road, but it really pays off. I also encourage students to spend an extended amount of time in the language environment, whether that’s a summer, semester, or even, if possible, a year after graduation. If you go to China within a couple years of graduation and spend time there, you can really get your language skills up to a high level. Then, you have this tool that you can take with you anywhere in your career.

Thank you very much for your time!


Featured News News: Chinese Studies Spring 2013 More

WM Celebrates Chinese New Year

WM 2013 Chinese New Year

In the run-up to Chinese New Year, producers and reporters from Chinese Central Television came to William and Mary to report on New Year’s festivities celebrated by WM students. The students displayed their impressive language skills, practiced calligraphy, wore traditional Chinese outfits, and even sang in Chinese!

The reports were aired on the news program “Morning News” (Zhaowen tianxia) on CCTV 13 and a special New Year’s variety program “New Year’s Eve Countdown” (Chun wan dao ji shi) on CCTV 3. Featured in these reports are students Rob Weed and Linda Baysore singing a famous Teresa Teng tune, Sara Rock giving a tour of the Wren Chapel (in Chinese!), other students engaged in calligraphy and other traditional activities, and wishing TV viewers in China (up to one billion people) a Happy New Year.

The reporters noted the impressive fluency of our students, as well as commented on the historic significance of WM as the second oldest college in the country. The clip for the “New Year’s Countdown” also included well wishes from Judy Chu, a Congresswoman from California, and members of the Chinese embassy stationed in the US.
Click the following links to watch the report:

CCTV 13 “Morning News” Report

CCTV 3 “New Year’s Eve Countdown”

Alumni Updates Alumni Updates: Chinese Studies Fall 2012 Featured News: Alumni News: Chinese Studies

Chinese Program 2012 Alumni Feature

by Emily Wilcox


The W&M 2012 graduating class boasted a stellar group of seniors in the Chinese Program. Three students received High Honors for senior honors thesis projects advised by Chinese Program faculty, and more than eighty-five percent studied abroad in China at least once as part of their undergraduate experience. Students double-majored in Chinese and a range of other fields, including Chemistry, Government, History, International Relations, Management, Marketing, and Mathematics.

Now, six months after their graduation, graduates in the 2012 Chinese Program class are thriving in jobs, internships, and scholarships related to their Chinese studies. The following is a sampling of some of the exciting work these students are doing today. Support and skills gained at William and Mary played an important role in achieving these successes; for most, foreign language proficiency specifically was a key criteria in the application and selection process for the jobs and scholarships in which they are now involved.

Congratulations to all of our talented 2012 graduates!


Kate McGinnis (W&M Chinese Major ‘12)

Intern, National Committee on US-China Relations, New York

I am currently interning at the National Committee on United States-China Relations, a non-profit that focuses on bettering the US-China relationship through exchanges and dialogue. In 1971 the National Committee hosted the historic Ping Pong exchange, kicking off the era of ‘ping pong diplomacy’. Today, they continue to host the exchange of teachers, policy leaders, government leaders, and youth. It has been a wonderful opportunity for me to work with this organization. So far, I have worked with the development team on our annual Gala Dinner, held at the Plaza Hotel, which raised 1.4 million dollars for the National Committee. In the four weeks I worked on the fundraising campaign I personally raised $78 thousand. I helped compile a briefing book for Navy Officers in preparation for our three-day educational conference on contemporary China. I am so thankful to the W&M Chinese program for giving me a strong foundation in Chinese language and culture, which has allowed me to thrive at the National Committee. I often find myself recalling experiences from my W&M study abroad trip in Beijing when we meet Chinese delegations stopping in at our New York City office. Most importantly, I appreciate the fantastic faculty at W&M who encouraged my interest in all things Chinese.



Timothy McDade (W&M Chinese Major ‘12)

IT Program Manager, Microsoft, Washington State

I graduated from W&M in May 2012 with dual majors in Chinese Language & Literature and Applied Mathematics, and am now working at Microsoft in Redmond, WA. I’m in a leadership training rotational program within Microsoft’s internal IT department, which allows me to experience the breadth of what a global company has to offer. My Chinese major has precipitated all of this – I got my job because of my language skills and travel experience. I plan to continue studying the language and culture in the future, and hope to spend a considerable amount of time working in Beijing and Shanghai. My mentors from the W&M Chinese department provided guidance and support during my job search. My international background and language skills have served me well so far, and will continue to ensure that I have a competitive edge as I move forward in the business world.



Lydia Fairfax (W&M Chinese Major ‘12)

Marketing Specialist, Registrar Corp, Newport News

After graduating from William and Mary, I was hired as a marketing specialist at Registrar Corp in Newport News. Registrar Corp assists companies in the Drug, Medical Device, Food and Beverage, and Cosmetics industries with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulatory compliance. The firm is headquartered in Hampton, Virginia, and has assisted over 22,000 companies in more than 150 countries, with 19 regional offices in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East.

 This year, I was working at trade shows in Washington DC and Baltimore when I was unexpectedly approached by representatives from Chinese companies who did not speak English. Although I had to improvise on the spot, I was able to present our company’s services and explain their questions using the Chinese I learned at William and Mary! The background in Chinese language and culture that I gained in the W&M Chinese Program helps me to understand other cultures, which is extremely important in my job due to the international nature of our company and our work. I got my job because of my ability to speak multiple languages. With so many international clients and offices, language abilities are essential in our company.



Stephen Hurley (W&M Chinese Major ‘12)

Boren Scholar, Beijing University, China

I started studying Chinese as a freshman at William and Mary in the fall of 2008. I studied abroad at Peking University through the W&M program in my junior year, and I have since returned to Beijing on a Boren scholarship to continue my Chinese studies. Currently, I am taking a classics course with a philosophy professor from Beijing University — this week we are covering the The Analects — and otherwise I am studying Chinese all the time. Tomorrow I will attend a job fair to get some practice networking, and we have an activity on Friday with the Beijing Film Academy. On my way to class one day, I was browsing the posters outside the campus amphitheater when I was shocked to see an advertisement for The Red Detachment of Women, a revolutionary ballet from the 1960s that we had discussed in my Chinese popular culture class last year. Needless to say, I immediately bought a ticket, and am very excited to see the performance next week.

Featured News News: German Studies Spring 2012 More

Sarah Salino (Independent Major, German Studies Minor ’12) awarded Fulbright in Germany

Sarah Salino, who designed her own major at the College and will graduate with Honors Sunday, May 13, has been awarded a Fulbright in Germany for the academic year 2012-2013. Although she has not yet been placed yet, Sarah will be teaching at a Gymnasium, working with students and other teachers and providing curricular support in American Studies to students getting ready for Unversity study. Sarah is also being initiated into Phi Beta Kappa on Friday, May 11.

In designing her own interdisciplinary major in Geography Sarah combined courses from Geology, Government, and Sociology that together give her the tools to ask the question, “Where?” of social, cultural, and physical phenomena.

For her thesis, she explored the use of an area-based socioeconomic measure, in this case the percentage of residents of a particular census tract who live at or below the poverty line, as an indicator of chlamydia risk. This research, done in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, used a methodology intended to produce policy-relevant results that will contribute to state- and national-level efforts to address health disparities attributable to socioeconomic inequalities.


Featured News News: German Studies Spring 2012 More

Grace Brennan (German Studies and Psychology, ’12) receives Fulbright to Berlin

German Studies and Psychology Major Grace Brennan (’12) has received a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Berlin for the academic year 2012-2013. Brennan is one of two Fulbrights to Germany this year. Grace is also being inducted into Phi Beta Kappa on Friday, May 11, as a result of her stunning academic achievements at the College in both of her fields of study.


Featured News: German Studies Spring 2012 More

Rob Leventhal receives PBK Award

Rob Leventhal, Associate Professor of German Studies, has received the 2011-2012 PBK John D. Rockefeller Award for the Advancement of Scholarship.  The award is given to a faculty member who has excelled in research and scholarship and made a substantial contribution to his or her field.  The award was celebrated at the annual PBK Award Dinner on February 19.  At the reception, Leventhal gave a short presentation on his research on the Emergence of the Psychological Case History in Germany, 1770-1820, which is the subject of the monograph he is currently completing.

Read the full story by Matt Allar in the W&M News here



Featured News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2012

Professor Regina Root Wins Award

Professor Root being awarded the Whitaker Prize

Professor Regina Root’s book Couture and Consensus: Fashion and Politics in Postcolonial Argentina was recently awarded the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies 2012 Arthur P. Whitaker Book Prize at American University.  Professor Root’s book, which explores the interaction of power, identity and fashion in post-colonial Argentina.  Editorial Edhasa will publish the Spanish translation later this year.

John Incledon of Albright College, a member of the selection committee that included faculty from various disciplines, said, “As a field, Cultural Studies interprets seemingly innocent elements of culture, showing the varied ways in which they can be ideologically molded and manipulated by societal stakeholders…  This year’s Whitaker Prize goes to Regina Root of The College of William and Mary for Couture and Consensus: Fashion and Politics in Postcolonial Argentina, published in 2010 by the University of Minnesota Press.  From the immense “peinetones” worn by women in the 1820s and 1830s to distance themselves from the fashion and customs of Spain and to aid them in their quest for female emancipation, to the white shawls worn by the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, stitched in blue with the names of their missing loved ones, fashion, she says, “is a carefully constructed language that [can be used] to prescribe limits and proclaim liberation, to establish social categories and delineate political loyalties.”  Couture and Consensus is a ground-breaking study on the intersection of fashion and politics.”
According to the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies, Arthur P. Whitaker (1895-1979) was a distinguished professor of Latin American history for almost thirty years at the University of Pennsylvania until his retirement in 1965. He published some twenty books and numerous articles over a fifty-year career, including a series of books on U.S. relations with Latin America. His alma mater, the University of Tennessee, describes Dr. Whitaker as having been “a pioneer in the development of the study of Latin American history in the U.S.”
Featured News: Japanese Studies

Meet The Suzan!

Garage/Psychedelic Rock band The Suzan, from Tokyo by way of New York, will be performing on Saturday night, February 18, as part of the Global Film Festival.  Come meet and chat with the band before the show, at a special coffee hour.  1:30 to 4:00 in Washington 315. It’ll be a unique opportunity to talk with insiders about the Japanese rock scene!

Featured News News: Japanese Studies

“Tekkon Kinkreet” Screening

The theme of this year’s Global Film Festival is Film and the City, and the Pre-Festival series kicks off Wednesday night with a award-winning animated feature from Japan, directed by American Michael Arias: Tekkon Kinkreet (Tekkon Kinkurīto, 2006).  Two young brothers, Black and White, roam through the streets and soar across the canopy of the city, battling an odd assortment of yakuza and giant assassins, as they try to save their neighborhood from redevelopment as an amusement park. But the real star of the film is the colorful, highly elaborated, and beautifully animated city itself.  The film will be screened at the Williamsburg Public Library at 6:30 on January 18th, and will be introduced by Michael Cronin, Professor of Japanese Literature.  Open to the public.  Rated “R.”

Alumni Updates Alumni Updates: German Studies Featured News News: German Studies

Lauren Shaw, German Studies ’09, scores job at German Historical Institute

Lauren Shaw, German Studies '09

Lauren Shaw has been going places lately– Slovenia, the Baltic States, Carinthia/Austria — and returning to the DC area.

After finishing a two-year Fulbright ETA in Austria, Lauren (German Studies, ’09) has returned to the United States and taken a job at the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C. as a paid research assistant.  At GHI, she’s working with a team of scholars doing research on Transatlantic Perspectives (, focused on mid-20th century European immigrants to the US and changing perspectives of Europe. In addition, Lauren was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage the previous summer, where she co-authored an article in the forthcoming volume From Stage to Screen, edited by Massimiliano Sala, Volume xix of the Speculum series, published by Brepols. (

Often asked what students can do with a major in German Studies, we refer to students like Lauren who have used their writing, research and language skills and their knowledge of the humanities, German language, literature, and culture in particular, to secure rewarding work in exciting places. Lauren wants to eventually go to grad school, but right now she is building her skill portfolio, enjoys working with her “team,” and loving DC!

Featured News News: German Studies Uncategorized

Monica LoBue (German Studies and Biology, ’11) awarded Fulbright

Graduating senior and Phi Beta Kappa initiate Monica LoBue (German Studies and Biology, ’11) has been awarded the Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Germany for the academic year 2011–2012. This much sought after Fulbright provides Monica with round-trip airfare to Germany and a substantial monthly stipend to work with students learning English and American Studies at a German Gymnasium, which prepares students for study in the German University System. At the high school, she works intensively with a teacher, participates in the school’s programs, and works with students individually, introducing them to aspects of American Culture while teaching them advanced English. After the Fulbright, Monica hopes to pursue her dream of going to Medical School and becoming a physician. Congratulations, Monica!

Featured News News: German Studies

Ariana Berger (’11) awarded CBYX Scholarship in Germany for 2011-2012

The German Studies Section of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures is extremely pleased to announce that graduating senior Ariana Berger (German Studies and Business, ’11) has been awarded The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) full-year work-study scholarship for Young Professionals in Germany for 2011-2012. This full-year scholarship will provide Ariana with round-trip airfare, two months of intensive language training, four months of study at a German University or Technical University, and a five-month internship in a German-speaking work environment, chosen specifically in consultation with her to correspond to her career objectives. Ariana is one of 75 students chosen from the United States for this competitive, comprehensive scholarship this year. Congratulations, Ariana!

Featured News News: Arabic Studies

The Arab world revolutions and uprising: from the personal to the political

Roundtable discussion

The Arab world revolutions and uprising: from the personal to the politicalrevolutions in arab world rountable discussion

The revolutions, uprisings, and rebellions which have convulsed the Arab world have transfixed the world. Please join us for a discussion of these events from the perspective of citizens from countries which have witnessed or are witnessing these epochal changes.

Egypt:       Hany SalahEldeen
(Phd candidate, Dept. of Computer Science, Old Dominion University)

Tunisia:        Imen Laabidi
(Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant, Arabic House, William & Mary)

Libya:        Selwa Sheibani
(Depts. of Arabic & French, Virginia Commonwealth University)

Sudan:        Nadia Makkawi
(Dept of Modern Languages, William and Mary)

Thursday    April 21
Tyler 102
5:00 to 7:00 pm

Presented by William &Mary Programs in Arabic and Middle East Studies with support from the James H. Critchfield Fund

Featured Spring 2011 More

Conference: Post-Soviet Television: Global Formats and Russian Power

The international symposium “Post-Soviet Television: Global Formats and Russian Power” aims to offer a survey and a critical, reflective assessment of new approaches to the study of television in post-Soviet Russia. During the 1990s Russian television experimented with the new formats and modes of production (private, public, foundation-sponsored, joint-stock company). By the beginning of the new millennium this pluralistic model of television culture was replaced with a more traditional authoritarian one. The influx of global television formats and genres (sitcom, dramedy, soap opera, game and talk show, reality TV) coincided with the increasing return of the government control over television programming. This trend culminated during Putin’s presidency when the government took over the three national television channels: First, Russia, and NTV. Using new approaches and research findings, the symposium participants will examine the role of Russian television in post-Soviet political and media culture, the dialogue between the old Soviet-era and globally mediated formats that coexist on Russian television today. The participants include distinguished international scholars: Christine Evans (U. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee), Helena Goscilo (Ohio State U.), Yana Hashamova (Ohio State U.), Steven Hutchings (U. of Manchester), Lilya Kaganovsky (U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Mark Leiderman (U. of Colorado, Boulder/Ural State Pedagogical University, Ekaterinburg), Tatiana Mikhailova (U. of Colorado, Boulder).
The symposium will also serve as a forum for undergraduate research at William & Mary. Students from the senior seminar “Russian Television Culture after Communism” will present their research at the undergraduate research panel at the symposium.
Apart from the scholarly component the symposium includes three public events: a public lecture by the keynote speaker Professor Hutchings (U. of Manchester) and two screenings. See the symposium schedule.

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National Minority Studies Colloquium

Feb 24-27th, WM will be hosting a national colloquium on Minority Studies.  The colloquium, which is a partnership between WM and the Future of Minority Studies Project (FMS) will bring together nationally recognized scholars and activists dedicated to Minority Studies on both a national and international level.  The program will feature panels on Human Rights, Critical Pedagogies, Native Issues and Race and Immigration.  “Subjugated Histories” is an interdisciplinary event representing disciplines as diverse as Critical Race Studies, Philosophy, Literature, Social Psychology, Education and Sociology and will feature renowned scholars Walter Mignolo, Linda Alcoff, Paula Moya and Hazel Markus.  FMS events are unique in that, because there are no simultaneous panels, participants engage in sustained dialogue over the course of the two days and have ample opportunity to converse with graduate students, junior faculty and senior scholars from around the country.
All panels are free and open to the public.

More information at:
For more information please contact Professor John Riofrio “Rio” (

Information on the Future of Minority Studies Project:

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Featured News News: Arabic Studies News: Hispanic Studies

W&M student shares experiences in Egypt

by Erin Zagursky | February 10, 2011
William & Mary junior John Pence signed up to study abroad in Egypt this semester because he was “ready for the next challenge.”

“This was a challenge. I definitely learned a lot about myself, but it wasn’t the challenge I was expecting,” he said.

Pence was one of hundreds of Americans who were evacuated after widespread protests both for and against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak erupted across the country in January.

John Pence '12 (courtesy photo)John Pence ’12 (courtesy photo)

Pence began that month ready to spend a semester at American University in Cairo, studying Arabic and Middle Eastern politics. He was in the country for about two weeks, staying in a dorm in the Nile island area of Zamalek, before the protests began. The third-party study abroad program at AUC is not sponsored by William & Mary, but Pence was in touch with staff at the College’s Reves Center for International Studies throughout his time in Egypt.

“I loved it,” he said. “I met a lot of great people from all over the world, Egyptian students as well, and up until the protests began on the 25th of January, it was very peaceful.”

The night before the protests, Pence received text messages from some of his Egyptian classmates, telling him that he may want to stay in the next day because of planned protests. Monday, Jan. 25, thousands of Egyptians took to the streets, demanding that Mubarak step down. Over the next few days, Egyptian police clashed with the protesters and Egyptian troops and tanks were brought in to act as peacekeepers.

Throughout this time, Pence stayed in the Zamalek area, abiding by the curfew and staying informed about the events unfolding around him through satellite television and through his Egyptian classmates who lived in or around Cairo.

“I tried to stay away from everything because of my safety and because I’m not Egyptian. It wasn’t my fight,” he said. “I did feel for the people, and I still do.”

On Thursday, Pence went out to eat and was surprised to see that protests had reached the streets of Zamalek. The next morning, he knew the situation was really deteriorating.

“When I woke up and the phones were out and the internet was out, that’s when I was like, okay this is really serious,” he said. “This is the government really trying to show their iron fist.”

On Saturday, Pence watched as F-15s and military helicopters flew low over the city, and he heard that more tanks were being brought in.

“That’s when I knew this semester is not going to happen. Now it’s really about getting out.”

On Sunday evening, American University told students that the State Department was offering charter planes for American citizens who want to leave the country. Pence got on a bus with other students the next day to be transported to a hangar near the international airport in Cairo.

That bus ride was the first time that Pence had left Zamalek since the protests began – and the first time he saw the tanks on the streets and the burned buildings. At the airport, Pence joined hundreds of others in a long line for one of the charter flights.

“It was the line to freedom, basically,” he said. “Everybody was anxious to get out.”

After waiting in line for seven hours and leaving a pile of his belongings behind due to a one-bag restriction, Pence boarded a plane that was bound for Turkey. As he left Egypt, his thoughts were with the Egyptian people.

“Leaving, I felt bad for all the people that are out of a job now that we don’t have school anymore there,” he said. “You could see it on the faces of the Egyptian people as you were going to the airport. They would all say, ‘Oh, you’re going to be back, right? We’ll see you soon,’ and it was just sad.”

After a brief stay in Istanbul, which Pence used to see sites like the Blue Mosque, the William & Mary student finally left for the United States on Feb. 2.

“It was a long flight – a couple of flights – but I was glad to get home,” Pence said.

Now back in his home state of Indiana, Pence, a Spanish major, is working with the Reves Center to continue his semester in Argentina via the La Plata program.

Although Pence didn’t get to study in Egypt the way he thought he would this semester, he still learned quite a bit from his experience there, including “how fortunate we are in this country to have a somewhat stable democracy and also how dangerous the world is.”

Pence said it was really interesting to see the events unfold from both an insider and an outsider perspective. For instance, although the violent protests made the news, Egyptians were also trying to come up with peaceful and proactive solutions to some of the country’s problems.

“I know a lot of students who went out when the protests started and were encouraging people to clean the streets up and being proactive,” said Pence. “If (people are complaining) about how dirty the streets are in Cairo, let’s do something about it. But that message gets swallowed up by people who decide to cause chaos and havoc and fear.”

Via Facebook and other means, Pence has kept in touch with many of the students he met in Egypt.

“We only had a week and a half or two weeks with each other, but you go through something like that, you get to know people pretty well,” he said.

And as he prepares to leave for yet another country, Pence continues to monitor the situation in Egypt.

“I hope that there’s a peaceful resolution in sight soon,” he said.

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Featured News News: Japanese Studies Spring 2011

Faculty-Student teaching collaboration yields benefits in Japanese classroom

Professor Rachel DiNitto and Student-Assistant Pam Kennedy recently set out on a new model for teaching Japanese culture courses at the College. Students in DiNitto’s courses have been producing much of their coursework as an online website. The project has had wide-ranging benefits, both inside the classroom and out. The idea is that DiNitto teaches the course and her teaching assistant, who in 2010 was upperclassman Pam Kennedy, would act as editor of the online content and student mentor. Visit the Post Bubble Culture Japanese Website Here or Watch the video below to learn more:


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Featured News News: Arabic Studies

Arabic Textbook Project

Ahlan ya gamaa`! (Hello gang!)
We are making progress on our Arabic textbook series.
We have completed and tested 4 chapters of volume one, and are working and testing the next 4 chapters this semester. It has been bumpy at times, but we are confident that in the end the project will be a significant advancement in Arabic language pedagogy.

In addition to the textbook for Modern Standard Arabic, we will be editing and testing the Moroccan textbook this summer in Meknes. This is a significant step, because it represents a serious attempt to deal with the issue of variation in Arabic language studies which until now has not been dealt with in a comprehensive fashion.

There are other projects underway at the present time that are trying to deal with this issue, but we feel that ours deals comprehensively with the three main issues that underlie the challenges that face learners and teachers of Arabic, namely: linguistic reality, linguistic dissonance, and linguistic choice.

1. Linguistic reality in Arabic must recognize the issue of variation–both the difference between the written and spoken varieties, as well as the geographic variation between the spoken dialects. We handle this by providing information on dialect variation in the Modern Standard Arabic textbook as part of the “linguistic culture” section of the text, as well as by providing related but freestanding textbooks on four of the main Arabic dialects: Moroccan, Iraqi, Egyptian, and Syrian.

2.Linguistic dissonance must be taken into account in designing materials which try to handle this reality: introducing too much variation at certain times and in certain contexts may be detrimental to the acquisition of any one of the varieties, and care must be taken in designing materials to take this into account.This is one reason why independent but related textbooks are provided for the four main dialects–separating the “codes” will allow attention to be paid to “accuracy” in each of them, which will facilitate the later development of native-like strategies for integrating the various codes.

3. Linguistic choice has to do with which varieties are chosen to be taught. Rather than replacing one linguistic ideology with another (Egyptian Arabic as the spoken “koine” instead of Modern Standard or another dialect), we believe that this choice should be left to the particular circumstances of each program and context of learning. For example, learning in country should demand that the local dialect be taught alongside the Modern Standard form. Outside of in country learning (i.e. outside of the Arab world), we should encourage introduction of dialectal varieties into the curriculum by providing good textbooks which will allow programs to offer dialect classes depending on the native dialects of their instructors.

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Featured News News: Alumni News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2011

Research “Side Trip” Fruitful for Sarah South Parks ’03 and the College

Story by Leslie McCullough

Luck, chance, or fate? Maybe some combination of the three. During a summer 2002 undergraduate research trip to South America, Sarah South Parks ’03 suggested an exploratory side trip to La Plata, Argentina. The rest is history.

Sarah Parks and Professor Tandeciarz at this year's homecomingSarah was finishing her junior year as a Hispanic Studies major and jumped at the chance to join her advisor, Professor Silvia Tandeciarz, and fellow student John Cipperly for a two-week research trip to Chile and Argentina, two nations emerging from brutal experiences with state terrorism. The students’ participation was made possible by a Borgenicht Foundation for Identity and Transformation Grant supporting faculty-directed student research projects.

In preparing for the trip, Professor Tandeciarz asked Sarah and John to read A Lexicon of Terror: Argentina and the Legacies of Torture by Marguerite Feitlowitz. Sarah recalls being particularly interested in a chapter about the alarming number of children, students, and faculty who “disappeared” from the university town of La Plata, Argentina, during its so-called “Dirty War” (1976-1983).

“It was a terrible and secretive time,” says Sarah. “Thousands of Argentineans were arrested, imprisoned, and declared missing. People involved with the university and education were seen as a threat by the dictatorship, and many disappeared.”

Together the group visited “memory sites” (e.g., museums, monuments, bookstores, schools, and memorials) to document and analyze the role of memory in the re-construction of Chilean and Argentinean national identities.

Sarah expressed interest in visiting the sites of memory in La Plata that she’d read about. Although only a half-hour drive from Buenos Aires, La Plata at that time represented uncharted territory.

There, while visiting a memory site at an elementary school, the group noticed a poster for the Comisión Provincial por la Memoria (Commission on Memory), a nongovernmental organization dedicated to the study and dissemination of human rights abuses committed during the Argentinean dictatorship. The commission was set up to do the very thing Tandeciarz’s team was researching. It was an incredible find.

Sarah’s research focused on the children of the disappeared in Argentina, some of whom were adopted by military families and are just coming to discover their biological identity. Working with the Commission offered access to many invaluable resources. Later, Sarah reported her research findings in an academic paper she presented at a Modern Languages and Literatures colloquium.

“When we engage in collaborative research with students, the rewards can be endless,” says Professor Tandeciarz. “It was Sarah’s leadership that got us to La Plata. If there had been no grant, there would have been no students on this trip, and we never would have made this wonderful connection.”

Since the initial connection, Tandeciarz has helped to develop a strong relationship between the Commission and the College. As a result, William and Mary students from many majors have participated in a semester study abroad program in La Plata, the only one of its kind available there to U.S. college students.

“This semester program is unique in that it offers students the opportunity to take university courses while collaborating on a variety of human rights initiatives through internships at the Comission, thus bringing William and Mary’s service learning tradition into global education,” says Professor Tandeciarz. The funding structure of the La Plata program also has made it possible for Argentinean students to come to the College for short research trips, usually conducted over spring break in collaboration with William and Mary undergraduate students.

“I never could have guessed what this trip would turn into,” says Sarah. “It is neat to think about how this program is benefiting the lives of so many other students. In my opinion, one of the College’s greatest assets is the ability to maintain an environment that allows for such strong collaborations between students and faculty.”

Since receiving her master’s degree in social work in 2006, Sarah South Parks has worked with international adoption programs and Hispanic immigrant children who had been separated and subsequently reunited with their families. She is currently working in Williamsburg with The Barker Foundation, a private adoption agency, to provide counseling to women or couples facing unplanned pregnancy.

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Featured News

W&M part of national trend for foreign language studies

by Megan Shearin
There are more students enrolled in foreign language courses than any other department within the Arts & Sciences at William & Mary, making the College a leader in a nationwide trend that’s sweeping across higher education in America.

According to the recent report, “Enrollments in Languages Other Than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Fall 2009,” released by the Modern Language Association (MLA), enrollments in languages other than English at U.S. colleges and universities have continued to grow over the past decade.  They are also diversifying to include an increasingly broad range of language studies, says the report, the longest-running and most comprehensive analysis of the study of languages in higher education.

“The majority of students are not taking language courses because of the foreign language proficiency requirement, they’re taking language courses because of their interest in the particular subject matter, future career goals or their desire to learn another language,” said Professor Silvia Tandeciarz, chair of modern languages and literatures.

The new survey found that the study of Arabic registered the largest percentage of growth since 2006, with course enrollments growing by 46.3 percent.  Chinese and Japanese enrollments also increased significantly, up 18.4 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively.

Tandeciarz, who teaches Hispanic Studies courses, said William & Mary also has seen tremendous enrollment increases in those language areas. Departmental data shows that since 2005, enrollments in introductory Chinese increased by 27 percent and Arabic by 25 percent.  Overall, the department has seen an 8 percent increase in lower-level courses, or an additional 155 students in the classroom.

Professor Rachel DiNitto, associate chair for educational policy for modern languages and literatures, said enrollments had increased so vastly “that a few years ago, we had one year in which there wasn’t a single seat open for incoming freshmen in any introductory language class in the whole department.”

Since then, the department has started enrollment management and now saves half the seats in every introductory language course for freshmen.   They also added additional course sections to relieve some of the enrollment pressures, she said.

“The biggest demand is in 101 and 102,” said DiNitto, who also teaches courses in Japanese. “And, part of that is just a function of the numbers themselves because all languages have an attrition process.”

But with 75 percent of students coming to William & Mary having already met the foreign language proficiency requirement, Tandeciarz says there’s been a clear shift in the recognition of language and its importance as we transition into the 21st century.

“Students are not taking language courses because they need to or because they have to,” she said.  “They’re doing it because they want to.”

A Changing and Globally Connected World

Historically, Tandeciarz says there’s always been pressure to teach additional languages, mainly because of rising economies and a globally driven market.

“The university has to shift and respond to pressures from social movements, pressures from a changing world, so the academy today isn’t what the academy was 100 years ago,” said Tandeciarz.  “We’re constantly shifting, re-thinking ourselves, reinventing what we do in light of what’s happening around us.”

And in today’s global climate students are learning more than one new language while in college. DiNitto said the department is tracking another new trend: dual languaging in either Chinese and Japanese or Chinese and Arabic.

“The dual language in Japanese and Chinese is a natural connection, especially because of the writing systems,” said DiNitto.  “But Arabic and Chinese are completely different.  China is becoming the world’s strongest economy and the government needs people who can speak Arabic, so to a certain extent students are covering their bases, but that’s a real commitment to study those two languages.  It’s not just a passing fancy.”

Both professors agree that the main appeal of dual languages is that students have a broader scope and a wider view of a more globally connected world.   One way to streamline the two would be for students to take the newly proposed major in Asian and Middle East Studies, combining Middle Eastern Studies with East Asian Studies and incorporating South Asian Studies.  During fall 2010, the Educational Policy Committee voted to approve such a major, which is slated to go before a vote by the Faculty of Arts & Sciences this spring.

“Along with the study of the major languages of the region, the proposed Asian and Middle East Studies major will include courses on history, politics, religion, literature, fine and media arts, and expressive and ritual culture,” said Teresa Longo, dean for educational policy.   “The interdisciplinary components of the curriculum are meant to provide students with a specialized knowledge of a vital region within Asia and to introduce them to cross-regional practices.”

A More Diversified Student

While institutions are still figuring out how to balance the language needs of their students, they’re also experiencing another change on the language forefront:  what type of student can they expect to enroll in language courses?

“For many years, the students who studied Japanese and Chinese were traditionally East Asian Studies majors,” said DiNitto.  “Now, we’re getting more and more students who are business majors, chemistry majors, and majors from academic fields across campus.  And they’re coming at language from a very different angle.”

DiNitto attributes the influx of students from various demographics and academic fields to an internationalized world that continues to diversify, and students who want to be prepared for global citizenship.

“Back in the 1980s, students got a business degree and regardless where you went, they just hired a translator and that was considered sufficient,” she said.  “It’s no longer sufficient anymore, nor is it desirable.”

At William & Mary, Japanese enrollments in upper-level courses have increased 24 percent over the last five years, according to departmental data.  The program has split the third-year class into two sections to accommodate the increasing number of freshmen entering with advanced language skills.   Chinese has registered almost a 50 percent increase for its upper-level courses and now offers two sections of third and fourth year courses.

“The increases in upper-level courses are in response to high schools teaching those languages more regularly in comparison to the traditional languages taught such as French, German and Spanish,” said DiNitto.

Moving Forward

It’s hard to imagine the future without considering the past: William & Mary is the first and oldest Modern Languages and Literatures Department in the nation.  Its beginnings can be traced to a professorship established by Thomas Jefferson in 1777, said Tandeciarz.

“It’s challenging to stay on top and figure out what the needs are and how to best address them,” she said.  “But, we recognize that it’s a shifting landscape and as we think about training our students for a more globally interconnected world, having these language skills is extremely important.”

One thing is for sure:  the study of a language is just one small piece that is necessary when looking at our world.

“What students are really getting is a deep cultural understanding that is only available to them if they can read what people living in those parts of the world are writing, understand what they are saying, and identify with how they’re representing themselves and the issues they face,” said Tandeciarz.  “It’s much more about cross cultural understanding and not simply that language skill – learning the language is really a first step, a tool for the work that we do.” help me with my homework.
Featured News News: Hispanic Studies

Dressed for Dissent

photo by Stephen Salpukas‘Couture & Consensus: Fashion and Politics in Postcolonial Argentina’ by Regina A. Root
Story By Lillian Stevens

Couture & Consensus, a new book by Regina Root, offers a history of fashion and its influence on the political climate following Argentina’s revolution of independence in 1810. In her book, Root explains how dress served as a critical expression of political agency and citizenship during the struggle toward a new Argentine nation.

The result of an extensive archival study that took several years to complete, Couture & Consensus: Fashion and Politics in Postcolonial Argentina reveals how politics merged with dress to encourage creativity and (depending on the wearer’s ideology) to enforce or protest authoritarian practices.

“This book maps the search for a collective identity, or consensus, through material culture. At a time when the region was at war and the idea of an Argentine nation still seemed a dream, fashion became a creative language through which to engage the nation-building project,” says Root, Class of 1963 Term Distinguished Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures.

Conformity and rebellion

There are five chapters, beginning with “Uniform Consensus” in which Root describes the often theatrical manifestations of conformity and rebellion. Root explains the divide between the Argentine Federalists (those who pledged loyalty to Juan Manuel de Rosas, an authoritarian leader) and the Unitarians who opposed the Rosas regime. Rosas, she writes, actually mandated a uniform for civilians in the province of Buenos Aires, while an 1832 decree established crimson as the “color of faith” for the Argentine federation. Unitarians wore green or light blue—when they could get away with it, Root says. When such colors were outlawed, Unitarians risked death when inserting political messages into their top hats.

The second chapter, “Dressed to Kill,” is about female complicity during the push for independence from Spain. Here, Root gives voice and presence to the many nameless and overlooked women who participated actively in the war effort—women who constructed uniforms and who sometimes even donned them in order to fight during the various (ultimately unsuccessful) British invasions of Buenos Aires.

Big hair for the cause

Then comes “Fashion as Presence,” the third chapter, which explores the meaning of exaggerated dress—from oversized skirts to giant hair combs called peinetones—in the quest for female emancipation. Peinetones, usually made of tortoiseshell and reaching one yard square, were worn by women of the 1820s and 1830s to distance themselves visually from the fashions and customs of Spain. By wearing massive skirts and intimidating headpieces, women also commanded a space of their own, effectively asserting their presence in public, Root says. These emblems of Argentine identity sometimes incorporated political slogans or patriotic motifs. “They definitely called into question the political vanity of 19th-century male leaders who had fought Spanish oppression, but then denied women their emancipation,” she said.

In the fourth chapter, “Fashion Writing,” Root demonstrates how easy it was for authors to elude authorities by masquerading their politics under the guise of entertainment prose. As a result, it became possible in postcolonial Argentina to regain control of the body politic by planting urban, democratic ideals within the pages of fashion magazines. In this chapter, Root recounts the liberating qualities of fashion at this pivotal moment of national reorganization and modernization.

Empowering Argentine women

The final chapter is titled “Searching for Female Emancipation.” Root gives voice to the political foothold women were gradually gaining. While revolutionary men gained political footing under the guise of writing articles about fashion, it was the women who felt empowered by their ability to finally speak their minds. Root calls on everything from storylines of novels to the history of the magazines to prove this point.

In the book’s epilogue, Root discusses how the tradition of mixing fashion with politics continues in modern-day Argentina. Among the examples she cites are the shawls of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. These are the mothers of los desaparecidos—the thousands of people who “disappeared” during Argentina’s Dirty War promulgated 1976-83 by the Videla administration. “One usually recognizes a Mother of the Plaza de Mayo by the white shawl that she wears, the name of her beloved child cross-stitched in blue thread on the back corner,” Root writes.

Couture & Consensus was published by University of Minnesota Press this past June, the text is intended for a scholarly audience but Root says that it will appeal to a broad range of disciplines.

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Featured News News: German Studies

Bruce Campbell: An unsung hero behind our bumper crops of Fulbright Scholarships

By Erin Zagursky

Over the past decade, William & Mary’s students and alumni have been very successful in obtaining Fulbright Scholarships to teach and study in countries around the world. This year alone, a record 13 students and alumni were selected.

But the students who have obtained the highly competitive scholarships did not get there on their own. Much of their success is owed to the support and opportunities offered to them by the College’s faculty and staff members, who work tirelessly with students to prepare them for the scholarships.

One of those faculty members is Bruce Campbell, an associate professor of German and associate chair of faculty affairs in the modern languages & literatures department.

“While many William & Mary faculty members take an active interest in promoting the Fulbright program to their students and mentoring them through the process, Bruce has really made it a mission to increase the number of Fulbrighters we send to Germany and Austria,” said Lisa Grimes, William & Mary Fulbright program advisor. “The proof of his success is in the numbers: four of our students are currently finishing up a year in Austria or Germany, and in the fall we’re sending four students to teach English, one to conduct research, and one student is an alternate for a position in Germany. No other country has nearly that many Fulbright recipients or applications.”

Campbell said that he—along with colleagues—have made a conscious effort over the past decade to assist students in applying for Fulbrights or other academic honors. That help begins with letting the students know what opportunities are available to them as soon as possible in their college career.

He was also quick to note that the College’s Fulbright success begins with its students.

“We don’t coach the students, we don’t write things for them—the students are doing it on their own. We’re just there every step of the way,” Campbell said.

And when those students succeed—as they have done for a decade now—the professors celebrate, too. Campbell, who was an English teaching assistant in Germany himself, knows what it can do for a student’s life and career.

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