News News: Japanese Studies Spring 2017

History, Unevenness, and Urban Space in Japanese Cinema: Prof. Sasaki Presents on Kawashima’s “Suzaki Paradise: Red Light” (1956)

As part of the Bellini Colloquium series for spring 2017, Prof. Tomoyuki Sasaki shared his new research with colleagues and students.  On March 30, Prof. Sasaki presented a talk entitled “History, Unevenness, and Urban Space in Japanese Cinema: A Case Study,” which is part of his new research project.

Kawashima Yuzo's "Suzaki Paradisu Akashingo" (1956)
Kawashima Yuzo’s “Suzaki Paradisu Akashingo” (1956)

Prof. Sasaki’s presentation examined the intersection between historical narratives and cinema. Postwar Japanese history is often narrated as a story of the great success of the nation’s capitalist economy. This narrative is prescriptive in that it dictates how people should perceive the past (and the present). In this lecture, Prof. Sasaki discussed Kawashima Yuzo’s film Suzaki Paradise Red Light, released in 1956, at the onset of high-speed economic growth. This film participated in the contemporary discussion of the transformation that Japan’s capitalism was experiencing at that time, revealing its disquieting and contradictory nature. At the broader theoretical level, this presentation also considered the multiple possibilities that popular culture offers for narrating historical events.

The Bellini Colloquium is a lecture series sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. It is named after the first Professor of Modern Languages at the College, Carlo Bellini, a native of Florence, Italy and close friend of Thomas Jefferson. Bellini taught French and Italian from 1779 until 1803, and holds the distinction of being the only Professor to stay in residence at the College when classes were suspended for two years during the Revolutionary War.

News News: French & Francophone Studies Spring 2017 More

Monsters, medical oddities and changing mindsets – Attending the “Odd Bodies” conference

Image INCS confThe timing couldn’t have been better: as she was finishing the syllabus of her French literature course, “Circus Freaks and Bad Mothers,” centering on depictions of monsters in the 19th-century, Visiting Assistant Professor Julie Hugonny received a call for papers for the 2017 Institute of Nineteenth-Century Studies conference titled Odd bodies. “When I saw the subject of the conference, I just knew I had to take my students there,” she recalls. It was a match made in heaven.

After securing funding from the Charles Center and the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences and coordinating her group’s arrival with the organizers of the INCS conference, she advertised the weekend-long trip to her students, and set to take nine of them on this particular adventure.

IMG_2114The FREN 392 literature course she taught featured classic works of literature such as La Belle et la Bête by Jeanne Marie Leprince de Beaumont, La Mère au Monstres by Guy de Maupassant, L’Homme qui rit by Victor Hugo’s, Les Diaboliques by Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly, as well as theoretic articles on disability, perception and exclusion. The students were thus well prepared for attending a conference that boasted subjects like “ugly bodies”, “queer bodies”, “prosthetics”, “circus and freak show bodies”, as well as the more ominous “bodies behaving badly” and “dead bodies.”

Armed with fresh knowledge and a boundless curiosity, the students attended panels of their choosing and eagerly participated in the follow-up discussions. Each had taken the class for different reasons, some of them simply loved literature, some others came from a disability studies viewpoint or a background of postcolonial studies. At the conference, the range of panels addressed a multitude of subjects and amply rewarded all those penchants. In fact, the students’ only complaint at the end of the day was that, since the panels were simultaneous, they couldn’t attend them all and had to make tough choices.

Since the conference was taking place in Philadelphia, a visit to the Mütter Museum of medical oddities seemed a necessary step. This cabinet of curiosities, housed in the college of Physicians, features among other wonders, a life-size molding of Cheng and Eng, the original Siamese twins, the skeleton of a woman’s whose corset had reduced her ribcage to a life-threatening degree, and a wall of skulls, each labeled with the origin, gender and cause of death of its owner. Beyond its obvious entertainment value, the Museum presented the dominant discourse of the time and vividly illustrated the pathologization of deviancy from the norm, the very approach to bodily difference the conference endeavored to question.

Philly bridge 1The trip to Philadelphia was a success: the students went back to their readings (homework doesn’t wait for William & Mary students!) with a keener understanding of the historical and cultural context of the 19th-century as well as on the view of monstrosity prevailing at the time. More importantly, they acquired the literary strategies to examine, analyze and challenge this normative discourse.

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2017

Students and Faculty Share Their Research at MACLAS Conference

Katie Freund (HISP & Econ) presenting on creative industries, performance art and poetry
Katie Freund (HISP & Econ) presenting on creative industries, performance art and poetry

By Prof. Christina Baker.

Seniors, Katie Freund and Rachel Merriman-Goldring, presented at the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies (MACLAS), held at the University of Virginia, March 24-5. The senior Monroe Scholars attended panels on the topic of articulating Latin/o American identities in the United States on Friday, March 24th, engaging with presenters during Q & A sessions and beyond, during the reception and dinner portion. The two also presented during the 8:00 am session on Saturday, March 25th, accompanied by Visiting Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies, Christina Baker. Their panel, At the Intersections of Artistic Engagement: Creative Initiatives, Embodied Acts and Social Justice, garnered the attention of several scholars and community members from Virginia, Pennsylvania and Mexico.

Rachel Merriman-Goldring, presenting on materiality and art at MACLAS
Rachel Merriman-Goldring, presenting on materiality and art at MACLAS

Rachel Merriman-Goldring, a senior majoring in Environmental Science and Policy, with interdisciplinary interests, presented on the topic of materiality and art. Her talk, “Matter in Art: Vital Materiality in Vik Muniz,” applied theories of materiality by Jane Bennett to the work of Brazilian visual artist, Vik Muniz. Merriman-Goldring explored questions of ethics, art and affective qualities in Muniz’s work, which uses re-animates items from the trash dump, Jardim Gramacho, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

Katie Freund, a senior majoring in Hispanic Studies and Economics, presented on notions of creative industries, performance art and poetry with a focus on Colombia. Her talk, “Creative Interventions in Latin America: Economic and Social Projects that Work,” explored part of her senior thesis process. Blending theories from various disciplines, Freund highlighted the importance of artistic endeavors, and specifically, the Medellín International Poetry Festival amidst environments of violence and social upheaval.

Christina Baker, Visiting faculty in Hispanic Studies, presented, “Sounds of a Modern Nation: Mexico’s Landscape of Terror and Soundscapes of Fear,” rounding out the hemispheric and inter-arts conversation. Her presentation explored a particular theatre piece through theories of embodiment, musicology and post-traumatic stress. Part of a broader consideration of sound praxis and social trauma, this talk considered Mexico’s border region, drug violence and bullets as fertile ground for sound creation.

To hear the first minutes of Katie Freund and Rachel Merriman-Goldring’s presentations, please see the video here. They will soon be defending their excellent senior theses projects.

Participation in MACLAS was made possible by the generous support of Dean Homza, Latin American Studies, The Charles Center, The Parents Fund and Hispanic Studies.
IMG_6783 IMG_6787


News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2017 More

Award-Winning Cuban Filmmaker Aram Vidal visits W&M

Cuban filmmaker Aram Vidal was invited to W&M to participate as a special guest at the W&M Global Film Festival this spring.  On February 24, Aram screened a director’s cut of his debut feature film El pez azul [The Blue Fish] and discussed his filmmaking process. El pez azul follows Ernesto after he leaves Cuba, abandoning the love of his life, and continues to exist in two stages: his new life in Mexico and his past in Cuba with Clara.  While in Williamsburg, W&M Libraries also hosted a “meet and greet” with Aram on February 23, where he shared his work as a filmmaker and showed a few clips from the film.

Aram Vidal at W&M
Aram Vidal at W&M

Aram began his career as a writer. He won the El Caballo de Coral, Premio Nacional FEU prize and the Pinos Nuevos award which led him to publish his book La gente sí se da cuenta (2007). In 2005 he graduated from the University of Havana with a degree in Communication and started to work as a screenwriter and director at the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC). He has participated in artist residencies in Cuba, Mexico and the United States. His fiction productions include Recursion (2012), Relief (2013), and Cat (2016), which have garnered numerous awards.  You can watch clips from his films here.

This was not Aram’s first time at W&M.  During the summer of 2010, Aram became the inaugural Swem Media Artist in Residence.  During that summer, Aram shared his documentary “Ex-Generación”, a film about Cubans who have migrated to Mexico City, and which was subtitled by W&M students in Prof. Stock’s New Media Workshop.

News News: Japanese Studies Spring 2017

A State-Wide Japanese “Jam” Session

soranbushi 2On February 11, 2017, the William and Mary Japanese Culture Association participated in a trailblazing event when we journeyed to Virginia Tech for the first annual Intercollegiate Japanese Organization meeting. This event required exceptional coordination and planning among the Commonwealth’s educational facilities and Japanese instructors; yet how better to interact with myriad other students and instructors than by celebrating this extraordinary culture, with its rich means of expression and appreciation of nuance and delicacy.

At this premier event, Japanese culture organizations from all around Virginia came together to perform and celebrate our love for Japanese traditions. Each organization selected a ritual of the culture and produced a first-rate experience for the audience; the goal was to entertain an appreciative audience while simultaneously learning more about Japanese traditions.

The Japanese Cultural Association from William and Mary performed two different dances at this intercollegiate meeting, one modern dance and one traditional dance. The traditional dance that JCA performed, sōran bushi, is a staple dance in our repertoire.

Sōran bushi is said to have come from Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands. Myriad sea ports dot the perimeter of this 32,000-square-mile island; and its rugged interior includes volcanoes, natural hot springs (onsen), spectacular vistas and challenging ski areas. The dance evokes movements that honor the island’s fishermen and their work at sea. An especially engaging component of the dance includes a call-and-response component that allows the audience to become part of the performance. The song has multiple intervals where the performers call out “dokkoisho!” and “sōran!” Those calls indicate when the audience is supposed to respond. These words originally were used to encourage the fisherman during their work, which is the English equivalent of a “heave ho.” Even though sōran bushi is performed by most of the Japanese clubs in Virginia, each dance is never exactly the same, thus encouraging each school to insert its own unique style.

soranbushi photo1All who participated and observed came away immensely enriched by this gathering, with all its enthusiasm, variety and commonality of purpose. Now, as we begin to look forward to contributing next year, clearly we must “step up our game” to surprise our audiences and add to the excitement and learning experiences of all who attend.

News News: Alumni News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2017

Encuentro Latino: First W&M Latinx Alumni Reunion in Washington, DC

By Prof. John Riofrio.

On December 8, 2016, William and Mary held it’s first-ever Latinx Alumni Reunion in the William and Mary Washington, D.C. Office. Entitled, Encuentro Latino, this exciting first-time event was conceptualized as an opportunity para encontrarse y encontrarnos – to encounter and reconnect with one another. Associate Professor of Hispanic and Latinx Studies John Riofrio, “Rio”, was thrilled at the invitation to offer the evening’s keynote address.

Celebrating Encuentro Latino at the W&M Washington DC Office
Celebrating Encuentro Latino at the W&M Washington DC Office

Jessica F. Chilin-Hernández (class of 2012, French and Francophone Studies), who co-organized the event with the Assistant Director of Regional Alumni Engagement Jack Edgar (class of 2015), beautifully articulated the importance of the event for her. “When I first arrived at William and Mary, I felt as if I was the first of my kind: Salvadoran, immigrant, native-Spanish speaker. The founding, however, of the Latin American Student Union in 2009 revealed the presence of Latinxs on campus in ways that I had simply not imagined. The formation of LASU created a space for Latinxs to come together and explore who we were both as individuals and as a community.” WM’s first Encuentro Latino is the first step (of many!) whose sole purpose is to highlight the long-standing presence and contribution of Latinxs on William and Mary’s campus while enabling the possibility for remaining a tightly-connected community well beyond the years spent at William and Mary.

Eager to move beyond simply networking professionally, Encuentro was conceptualized as an opportunity to form new friendships and to renew a bond in the Tribe spirit that defines William and Mary. It was also, importantly, a space to speak Spanish, Spanglish and English, too, because Latina/LatinX/Latino identities cannot, and should not, be confined to one language, one experience, one narrative, one set of words to tell its stories.

The event dovetailed beautifully with William and Mary’s ongoing For the Bold campaign in that one of the primary goals of the campaign is to strengthen alumni engagement with William and Mary. The Encuentro Latino was an effort to connect to an alumni population that had yet to be addressed in a way resonant with their academic interests, passions and particular cultural distinctions. Professor Rio’s talk on the virtues of civil engagement and the need for joy within struggle led to a fantastic group discussion that lasted well beyond the event’s stated end time.

Over the next year, Jess Chilin and Jack are planning more events that will recruit more alumni volunteers to the cause, connecting alumni with professors and academic programs at the College, and giving LatinX alumni the chance to engage and support students of color at William & Mary. The success story of LASU and the first Encuentro Latino represents all that can be accomplished when individual alumni passions, demand, and staff support intersect in meaningful ways.

Fall 2016 Issue News News: Japanese Studies

Kexin Ma (’17)’s J.LIVE Tea Talk

JLIVETalks photo 1At the J.LIVE competition held at George Washington University in November 2016, Ms. Kexin Ma (’17) presented a dynamic and engaging talk about「黒い茶碗の中の世界」,”The world inside a black tea cup.” In this presentation, Ms. Ma cleverly introduced the audience to Jian ceramic wares, an ancient Chinese black-glazed ceramic popularized during the Song dynasty (960-1279). She explained how Jian wares reflect the artistic taste of Song literati developed from their appreciation of nature and highly popular cultural events related to the contemporary fashion of tea drinking.

An especially intriguing part of her discussion involved ancient Chinese and Japanese ceramics as appreciated works of art that are so creative and unique that they have become highly valued museum pieces. She pointed out that, although some museum audiences seemingly prefer such fine arts as oil paintings and luxurious jewelry rather than ancient ceramics, Jian wares nonetheless deserve closer examination.

As an Art History major at the college, Ms. Ma has developed an interest in Chinese ceramics, so she recognized such ceramics as mirrors that reflect cultures and societies of different ages as well as the high skills of the potters. During the presentation, she called people’s attention to the historical and cultural significance of ancient ceramics and she helped the audience understand how ceramics can be a link between the past and the present. The unique way Ms. May blended her two fields of study from the different departments made the presentation all the more informative and relevant.

J live talk photo 2The judges and the audience found the presentation both informative and insightful. Some in the audience even said the presentation sounded like an academic talk, as it not only helped them realize the unique aesthetic quality of ancient East Asian ceramics, but it also demonstrated how works of art provide insight into the development of human society.

Ms. Ma was placed in Category II level in the contest; that designation indicates that she possesses intermediate-high to advanced-low level speaking proficiency. She adopted a variety of expressions and vocabulary, including professional terminology related to her topic. Thus, her vocabulary, inflection, delivery and language proficiency were highly scored.

During the presentation, she effectively connected with the audience, asking questions and actively interacting with the audience. Among all the competitive contestants, Ms. Ma especially stood out in the Q&A session with the judges and the audience, answering their questions insightfully. In addition, she was able to clarify her answers effectively by following up with elaborate explanations.

Ms. Ma currently is in Japanese 302, Upper Intermediate Japanese. She routinely exhibits her confidence, oratory skills, creativity and innate curiosity about people and culture.

For a full description of the JLIVE at GWU, click here.

Fall 2016 Issue News News: Italian Studies

Presenting Sara Mattavelli, New Faculty in Italian Studies

We were lucky to have Sara Mattavelli join us this year as a Lecturer of Italian Studies. Please enjoy the following video to learn more about her and what she brings to William & Mary!

Fall 2016 Issue News News: Chinese Studies

New Faculty in Chinese Program Discusses Her Teaching and Research


This year we welcome Lu Lu to join Chinese Program. Lu Lu is Visiting Instructor of Chinese Studies. She is a PhD candidate of Chinese Linguistics at the University of Wiscosin-Madison and teaches Chinese language at William and Mary.

How do you feel teaching in the Chinese Program at William and Mary?
Lu: Teaching in W&M is one of the most wonderful experience in my life. I am impressed by how hard the students work to learn a new language. Most of the students are diligent and very responsible for their life. Also, I enjoy working with my colleagues in MLLL and Chinese program. They are friendly, smart, and supportive. I love to discuss teaching and research ideas with my colleagues, which inspire me a lot.

What are you teaching assignments this year?
Lu: I am teaching elementary Chinese and Upper-intermediate Chinese this year.

What is your current project?
Lu: My dissertation is about the interface between music and language in Chinese. The focus is the tone-tune relationship in Chinese local operas, such as Huju and Yueju, and how it affects listener’s perceptions. As for teaching, I am currently working on a research of the effectiveness of peer evaluation and error log on class oral project.

What is your future project?
Lu: I am interested in the code-switching phenomenon among language learners, especially comparing the code-switching patterns between beginning and advanced language learners. Prosodic phonology and how to apply it into teaching Chinese as a foreign language is another interest.

Fall 2016 More News News: Russian Studies

Alexander and Elena Prokhorov Publish New Book on Soviet Cinema and TV

9781441134288Professors Alexander Prokhorov and Elena Prokhorova have published a pioneering book that examines Soviet film and television of the 1970s as mature industries articulating diverse cultural values via new genre models. During the 1970s, Soviet cinema and television developed a parallel system of genres where television texts celebrated conservative consensus while films manifested symptoms of ideological and social crises. The book examines the genres of state-sponsored epic films, police procedural, comedy and melodrama, and outlines how television gradually emerged as the major form of Russo-Soviet popular culture. Through close analysis of well-known film classics of the period as well as less familiar films and television series, this groundbreaking work helps to deconstruct the myth of this era as a time of cultural and economic stagnation and also helps us to understand the persistence of this myth in the collective memory of Putin-era Russia. This monograph is the first book-length English-language study of film and television genres of the late Soviet era.

Fall 2016 More News News: German Studies

A Summer in Germany – Alternatives to Language Programs

Jessica Armstrong


Over the summer between my junior and senior years at William & Mary, I completed a chemistry research internship at the University of Cologne through the DAAD RISE program.  Throughout the summer, I worked with a PhD student who advised my project.  Every morning, I met with him to discuss my goals for the day and then set up any reactions that I needed to run.  Because each reaction stirred for several hours, I often left them running over our lunch break.

My lab group went to lunch at the Mensa every day at 11:30AM.  Most days, our group leader joined us, providing me with an excellent opportunity to get tips for conducting my research as well as travelling around Cologne and other German cities.  Our trip to the Mensa quickly became an integral part of my day.

After lunch, I returned to the lab, finished up the reaction I was running, and worked it up so that the product could be stored overnight until I returned the next morning.  Often, at the end of the workday, I simply hopped on a train back to my apartment, prepared dinner for myself, and planned out the upcoming weekend’s excursion to another city.  However, my favorite memories from my time in Cologne are times when I deviated from routine and met up with other interns to have dinner, drink a Kölsch, watch a Fußball game, and hang out.  It was one of these evenings that I discovered Döner Kebap—the sandwich that has taken Germany by storm and stolen my heart.

Apart from my evenings exploring Cologne, I have incredible memories of all of the weekends I spent travelling in Germany.  I competed in a half marathon in Hamburg, learned about Germany’s long history in Berlin, and sampled Bavarian sausages and pretzels in Munich.  By the end of the summer, I felt confident that, if dropped in any random city, I could figure things out.  Though I did experience some challenges both in research and while travelling during my summer in Germany, each challenge forced me to learn life lessons that I never could have learned in a classroom.

William Kelly


I am a junior majoring in German Studies at William and Mary. I am currently spending a year abroad studying Germanistik at the Westfaelische Wilhelms Universitaet in Muenster. Last year, I realized I would need to be proactive about improving my language skills before coming to school this Fall. I first applied to William and Mary summer programs in Germany, but quickly realized these programs were not financially sustainable for me. I immediately began searching for other options, and I came across a program called WWOOF. WWOOF (World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) provides its members volunteer opportunities working and living on organic farms. This means you work with a family for free, in exchange for food and stay.

This program sounded great for me. I could live in Germany for the summer, stay active and outdoors, and work on my language, all for the price of a plane ticket (plus some spending money). I started emailing families in the beginning of the Spring, and by the time the school year ended I was set up to work on two farms in Germany for the Summer! I decided to split time between two farms in June and July, one in the north of Germany and one in the south, to expose myself to different dialects. I ended up having amazing experiences on both farms. Some of the highlights include: Living with and bonding with families and fellow WWOOFers, taking care of farm animals (sheep, goats, chickens, etc.), landscaping, starting a new garden, learning to cook more for myself, traveling locally, experiencing a new landscape, canoeing, fishing, and of course improving my German.


  1. Start emailing early and often. Farms are receiving emails all the time and can only take so many people at a time. Getting connected early also gives time to set up what you will expect of each other as Host and Guest. Emailing in German also helps.
  2. (Maybe the most important part)

EXPECTATIONS: There should be no confusion about the living situation, amount and type of work expected, free time, etc. Remember that this program is completely voluntary on both ends. If one side is not meeting the expectations that were set, then either party has the right to end things.

  1. Try to find a farm with other WWOOFers or bring a friend! Farm life can become slow at times if you are the only person your age or the only one working every day. It would have been so much fun if I brought a friend, but the other WWOOFers and families I met were amazing and I learned about a variety of different cultures.
  2. Have an open mind! There were times when, due to language or cultural barriers, misunderstandings arose. Be understanding and know that things are not always how they initially appear.


Fall 2016 More News News: Italian Studies

“Post-Humanism in the Anthropocene”

(or Building Regional Connections Through Scholarly Exchange)

On the final day of this fall semester I had the opportunity to participate in a symposium just up the road in Charlottesville, at The University of Virginia. The symposium, “Post-Humanism in the Anthropocene,” was sponsored by the Mellon Foundation and UVA’s Institute of the Humanities & Global Cultures. It was carefully organized by Enrico Cesaretti, Associate Professor of Italian
at UVA and a 2016-2017 Mellon Humanities Fellow. While my journey was short, other IHGCspeakers traveled from all over North America to participate. Three successive panels took place throughout the day, according to the themes of “Questioning Boundaries,” “Energies, Ecologies, Matters,” and “Mediterranean Narratives Between Bios and Zoe.” While the majority of the speakers were Italian scholars, we were also joined by colleagues in German, Comparative Literature and English. All symposium participants were united by a shared interest in the Environmental Humanities, whether that surfaced as a focus on textual representations of landscape, petroleum cultures, or Pythagorean philosophy in contemporary film. We enjoyed fabulous conversations into the evening and made plans for future collaborative work, such as at the 2017 biennial conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. I was especially pleased to connect with colleagues from nearby institutions, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UVA, and look forward to continuing our work together in the future.

-Monica Seger, Assistant Professor of Italian Studies

Faculty Profiles Fall 2016 Issue News News: Japanese Studies

Meet Tomoyuki Sasaki, New Faculty in Japanese

sasaki photoThis past fall, Dr. Tomoyuki Sasaki joined the Japanese program as an Associate Professor. We spoke to him recently about his research and teaching.

Q: Professor Sasaki, Welcome to William & Mary. I hope you are enjoying the campus and getting to know the town of Williamsburg. You started at W&M this August. Do you mind starting by telling us a little about your career before coming to W&M?

A: Sure. I earned my PhD in history at the University of California, San Diego, with focus on modern Japanese history. After that, I taught at Kalamazoo College in Michigan for one year as a visiting assistant professor. Then, I moved to Eastern Michigan University, where I spent six years, teaching courses on Japanese, East Asian, and world history.

Q: So you are trained as a historian. Can you talk a bit about your research?

A: Yes. Since I started my career as a scholar, I’ve been interested in relations between the military and civil society in the modern state—how the military, as an organization with the right to exercise physical violence, normalizes its presence in a democratic state. I used post-WWII Japan as a case study. Postwar Japan established a so-called Peace Constitution, renouncing war and banning the nation from possessing any type of war potential. But it also developed large-scale armed forces, called the Self-Defense Forces. Because of the gap between the constitutional ideal and the actual presence of a military organization, postwar Japan has actively contested the meanings of the military, so it presents a very interesting case. I deal with this topic at length in my book, Japan’s Postwar Military and Civil Society: Contesting a Better Life, which came out last year.

Q: What is the main argument of your book?

Sakaki bookcoverA: In the book, I focus on the Cold War period between the 1950s and 1980s. For Japan, as for many other industrialized countries, this was the time of high-speed economic growth. Japan’s high-speed economic growth is well-known worldwide, but it didn’t resolve many of the problems immanent to capitalism, such as unemployment, underemployment, and the economic gap between social classes as well as the gap between the city and the countryside. The SDF played an important role in alleviating these problems by offering employment for working-class men and using the labor of these men for the development of communities in the countryside, that were experiencing financial hardship. By looking at this role, I wanted to demonstrate how the SDF established itself structurally within Japan’s capitalist economic system and how this led to the consolidation of an intertwined socio-economic relation between the military and civil society.

Q: Any advice for students studying about Japan in particular and East Asia more broadly?

So much information on Japan and East Asia is available in America. Many people have fixed ideas about Japan and East Asia even before coming to college. In college-level education, I think, it’s essential to question what you know, to consider self-reflectively and self-critically how those ideas and understandings were shaped, and to become aware that there are many ways to conceptualize the object of your study.

Q: What courses will you be teaching at William & Mary?

A: In Spring 2016, I’ll be teaching two courses. First, Introduction to Japanese Studies. This course will introduce students to various methodologies, concepts, and theories crucial to the study of Japan. It’s a perfect course if you’re thinking of minoring in Japanese Studies. The other course is Japanese Cinema. We will deal with twelve films produced in the post-WWII period and examine the significance of these films within the historical contexts of US occupation, high-speed economic growth, social movements, and so on. During this period, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, there were so many great directors, actors and actresses, and screenwriters—it was a difficult task for me to select just twelve films; fun, but difficult. Anyone interested in Japan, Japanese films, and films in general is welcome.

Q: How do you spend your free time? Have you explored Williamsburg?

Watching old Japanese films always relaxes me. I also enjoy walking through colonial Williamsburg and petting the horses there. I’ve also been exploring some of the great restaurants in Richmond, too.

Thank you, Professor Sasaki. It was a pleasure talking with you.


Fall 2016 More News News: Hispanic Studies

The Global Search for Joy: Santiago de Compostela

During the summer of 2016, Prof. John ‘Rio’ Riofrio embarked in the adventure of co-leading our W&M-sponsored program in Santiago de Compostela (Spain); an interdisciplinary, international, and transformative experience.

Santiago de CompostelaLike people since the Middle Ages, Prof. Riofrio, Prof. Allar (Theater, Speech & Dance), and 9 valiant W&M students joined pilgrims from all over the world and covered 197 miles (311 kms) over 13 days, going from León and ending in Santiago de Compostela. While medieval pilgrims were motivated by the tradition that the remains of Saint James the Apostle were in Compostela, our W&M group set out in a challenging interdisciplinary pedagogical experience that included analyzing architectural examples, as well as art and graffiti found along The Way, and classes led by Profs. Riofrio and Allar before and after the actual physical transit along the Camino.  Students were also able to reflect on their experience by mapping their trajectory; you can read the thoughts shared by Brooks Henne, Martha Rose Oordt, Quinn Reiley, and Alex Wingate.

For more details on this experience, please check the article by Kate Hoving, A New Curriculum Transforms a Familiar Path, published in the latest issue of the journal of the Reves Center World Minded, 9.1 (Fall 2016): 11-14.


For more information on our W&M-sponsored summer program in Santiago de Compostela, please visit the website of the Reves Center.  For summer 2017, the application deadline is February 6, 2017.

Fall 2016 More News News: Chinese Studies

China’s Monkey King

FullSizeRender-1The Chinese Program presented the talk entitled “Journeys to the West:  The Many Adventures of China’s Monkey King” on November 3, 2016. The speaker is Professor Robert E. Hegel, Liselotte Dieckmann Professor of Comparative Literature and Professor of Chinese at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a world-renowned specialist in the narrative and theatrical traditions of late imperial China.

In the talk, Professor Hegel discussed Journey to the West, one of China’s greatest novels from the sixteenth-century.  Its central figure is the Monkey King who is both prankster and serious Buddhist pilgrim, monstrous warrior and interpreter of difficult philosophy.  He also plays a major role in the numerous literary sequels, films, television dramas, video games, and other spin-offs of the novel–each with a slightly different take on his journey to bring South Asian scriptures back to China. The major theme of the talk is the complexity of culture how many elements can be inextricably intertwined–specifically fiction, theater, and religious belief and practice in the case of the Monkey King.

This talk was attended by more than 100 audiences from students and faculty at W&M as well as Williamsburg community members. This event was organized by Chun-yu Lu and was generously sponsored by WMCI, Reves Center, and Arts & Sciences.




Fall 2016 Issue News News: French & Francophone Studies

Breaking Stereotypes through French Cinema: Maryse Fauvel’s COLL 300 Experience

Fondation Louis Vuitton, built by Frank Gehry
Fondation Louis Vuitton, built by Frank Gehry

Perhaps one of the most powerful aspects of cinema is its ability to not only project and perpetuate stereotypes, but also to challenge and even break them. In fall 2016, students in Prof. Maryse Fauvel’s course FREN 393 “Representations of Paris in cinema: stereotypes and beyond”, studied French cinema that moves beyond these stereotypes. Eight of the students enrolled in this course also registered for a 1-credit COLL 300 that entailed a trip to Paris from Oct. 7 to 15.

The purpose of the trip was to discover aspects of Paris that are rarely shown in films, Prof. Fauvel explains. Students wrote blog posts  on numerous interesting topics of their choice, including the metro, the commodification of death in the Père Lachaise cemetery, graffiti, sites of memory, and other topics.

Café at the Grand Mosque of Paris
Café at the Grand Mosque of Paris

Highlights of their trip included a visit to the Parisian sewers, a guided tour of several multicultural and multilingual neighborhoods (such as the Goutte d’Or, with immigrants from various French provinces in the 19th-century, and since then from Western Africa ; or Belleville, with immigrants from North-Africa ; or the so-called Chinese neighborhood, with immigrants from China, Vietnam, Thailand) ; as well as a tour of the film museum and film studios ; a tour of a brand new art museum built by Frank Gehry in a post-modern style in the western part of Paris, as well as a talk in the 19th-century art Museum d’Orsay on “Paris, a city from the 19th-century”.

Prof. Fauvel and her students in Montmartre
Prof. Fauvel and her students in Montmartre

Several students expressed that the trip to Paris was the “highlight of their educational experience” because it not only allowed them to view Paris and the French people from different perspectives, but they also put to work and developed their analytical, critical, and writing skills through the course blog that was created over just five days!

The course and the trip were a fantastic experience for everyone involved!

Tasting pastries in Paris
Tasting pastries in Paris
Fall 2016 Issue News News: Hispanic Studies

Prof. Cate-Arries’ Class Opens the World to Spanish Civil War

[Full story by Jim Ducibella here]

“At the end of her most recent trip to [Spain], [Prof. Cate-Arries] asked a local historian and screenwriter, Santiago Moreno, for a copy of a then-unreleased documentary, Three Days in July.  The documentary includes interviews with people who experienced the upheaval first-hand or whose loved ones did. If he would send it, she vowed, “My students will do something with it,” meaning a translation into English subtitles.

First-class translators Francie Cate-Arries'class, (Bottom row, L to R): Allison Esquen-Roca '17, Polly Lauer '17, Emily Kate Earls '18, Maya Loehr '17, Emily Abbey '18, Molly Bertolacini '17, Sofía Schaff '20. Top row (L to R): Nicholas Marino '17, Ashley Woodards '17, Eleanor Morrison '18, Katie Freund '17, Will Neely '19, Kyle McQuillan '17, 'Morgan Sehdev 17 and Maddy Moore '17. Photo courtesy of Mike Blum
First-class translators Francie Cate-Arries’class, (Bottom row, L to R): Allison Esquen-Roca ’17, Polly Lauer ’17, Emily Kate Earls ’18, Maya Loehr ’17, Emily Abbey ’18, Molly Bertolacini ’17, Sofía Schaff ’20. Top row (L to R): Nicholas Marino ’17, Ashley Woodards ’17, Eleanor Morrison ’18, Katie Freund ’17, Will Neely ’19, Kyle McQuillan ’17, ‘Morgan Sehdev 17 and Maddy Moore ’17. Photo courtesy of Mike Blum

They’ve kept their promise, finishing a fall 2016 project that maintains an important aspect of William & Mary’s study abroad program at the University of Cádiz. Since the program was established, W&M students have enjoyed a productive collaboration with institutional partners in Cádiz, as well as in Sevilla [Univ. Pablo de Olavide]. W&M students have subtitled three documentaries, and almost half of the student translators have previously studied in Cádiz or Sevilla.

On Nov. 7, in conjunction with the 80th anniversary of the insurgency, Cate-Arries will hand-deliver Three Days in July, to the provincial government of Cádiz, which funded this project and several other initiatives aimed at recovering what she called “lost history.”

“It’s a lovely moment for me as a professor of William & Mary students to take this documentary to the local government that made the film possible, as well as to university affiliates who also worked with William & Mary summer school students over there,” she said. “I’m extremely proud – and grateful – of the work they’ve put in.”


Translating and creating subtitles for Three Days in July was far from easy. From the outset, Cate-Arries’ translation class of 15 students has worked in teams of two. They each estimated they averaged about 40 hours outside of the classroom painstakingly preparing the film in just 30 days.

“Going into it I didn’t necessarily think it was going to be easier than it was, but I don’t think I was ready for the start … stop … start … stop … start … stop,” said Kyle McQuillan ’17. “It was a very tedious process, especially the original transcription, where you have to listen to the same sentence over and over, and transcribing two minutes can take three hours because you’re trying to separate what sounds like one word but is actually four because they dropped every consonant.”

Subtitling the film in English, Cate-Arries said, will give it world-wide exposure it wouldn’t otherwise receive.

“Spanish limits the audience,” she explained. “Two research assistants here at William & Mary — Robert Bohnke ’17 and Michael Le ’15 — did subtitles on a [previous] documentary, and, subsequently, filmmaker Juan León Moriche was able to enter it in a New York human rights film festival. It didn’t win, but organizers liked it enough to include it in a Civil War film festival this fall. That meant the world to the director because he never could have shown his film in the United States.”


During her visit in Spain, Prof. Cate-Arries was interviewed by the local newspaper Diario de Cádiz, and she commented on the experience of working with her undergraduate student in the process of subtitling the film.  Especially those who spent a summer in Cádiz with our W&M-sponsored program, it was an extremely valuable and enriching experience: “Estaban muy emocionados y creo que su trabajo va a ser muy valioso para la difusión del documental y de la historia,” she added, proud of her students’ dedication.

These remarks were offered during the public launching event of a new book series of the Universidad de Cádiz, Faro de la memoria.  Under the intellectual leadership of Prof. Cate-Arries as General Editor, this new series seeks to offer interdisciplinary and transnational studies of the varied theories and practices of social memory in times of crisis.


N.B. Prof. Cate-Arries is the author of Culturas del exilio español entre las alambradas. Literatura y memoria de los campos de concentración de Francia, 1939-1945 (Barcelona: Anthropos, 2012), a much updated and expanded version of her Spanish Culture Behind Barbed-Wire: Memory and Representation of the French Concentration Camps, 1939-1945 (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP, 2004). The latter was awarded an Honorable Mention for the Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize by the Modern Language Association.  She has received, among other honors, the Order of the Discoverers from Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish National Honor Society (2013), and the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (2007).

Fall 2016 More News News: Hispanic Studies

Dominican Bachata: Exploring Embodied Memories and Oral Histories

By Prof. Christina Baker.

Adam Taub's research on Dominican bachata included fieldwork and interviews
Adam Taub’s research on Dominican bachata included fieldwork and interviews

Adam Taub is not only a documentary filmmaker with many awards and credits to his name, but is also a highly regarded practitioner in the world of Latin/o dance. He joined William & Mary on November 1st, 2016 to give one of his innovative multimedia presentations and Dominican bachata dance workshops. Combining multimedia clips with embodied knowledge, Adam’s work came alive and was greatly enjoyed by his audience members.

With over 70 people in attendance, this unique opportunity brought together faculty, students and community members. From the community, dancers traveled from Norfolk to learn from Adam’s embodied pedagogy while local Dominicans came to reminisce about home. Faculty and staff from Theatre, Speech and Dance, Hispanic Studies, Latin American Studies and the School of Education sat amongst students from Hispanic Studies, Latin American Studies, Film & Media Studies and organizations like the Monroe Scholars, Latin American Student Union and William & Mary Salsa Club. On the dance floor, students, faculty and community members got to know one another as they rotated around the room practicing their new dance moves. Bridging disciplines and conversations, Adam’s talk and workshop created a rich interaction for all.

The lecture was followed by a bachata workshop led by Adam himself
The lecture was followed by a bachata workshop led by Adam himself

Beyond his talk and dance workshop Adam’s presence was felt on campus throughout the week as he made appearances and offered guest lectures in courses such as Hispanic Studies 207: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, American Studies 470: Blatinx: Black Identities in Latin America and Latin American Studies 350: Latin American Cultures, Society and Politics. His film, Duke of Bachata (2009) was also screened on Thursday, November 3rd, in Botetourt Theatre.

This event was made possible by the support of the Reves Center for International Studies, the Roy R Charles Center for Academic Excellence, Dean Homza, Hispanic Studies, Latin American Studies, Film & Media Studies, Africana Studies, and Anthropology.

Adam's visit brought together students and faculty from varied disciplines and programs, as well as members of the community at large
Adam’s visit brought together students and faculty from varied disciplines and programs, as well as members of the community at large
Faculty Awards Fall 2016 Issue News News: German Studies

The Detective is (not) a Nazi: Professor Bruce Campbell Gives the Tack Lecture!


On OctobDetective_Nazier 27, 2016, our very own Professor of German Studies Bruce Campbell had to honor of giving William and Mary’s Fall 2016 Tack Lecture. To a raucous audience outfitted with black fedoras and party whistles, Professor Campbell described the unique historical context of German detective fiction. “The Detective is (not) a Nazi” explained the fact that during the Nazi era the police functioned as murderers in the name of the state, and how this specific legacy affected received notions of the detective genre and necessitated adaptions for the German literary market. Strategies that writers took included setting their stories outside of Germany or creating detective figures who did not resemble the stereotype: female, gay, much older or much younger that your generic film or TV sleuth. And in contrast to the U.S. tradition especially, the fictional German detectives are largely quiet and law-abiding: “The bottom line here is … after Auschwitz, you couldn’t write a violent German detective,” Professor Campbell said. The lecture, which was broadcast via YouTube, ended with a reception serving up tasty pretzels, bratwurst with mustard, and hot cider!

Campbell was later interviewed about the topic on the NPR show “With Good Reason.”


Fall 2016 Issue News News: Japanese Studies

Beauty Queens and Cross-Dressing Geisha

Last month, the Japanese Program welcomed to campus Dr. Jan Bardsley, of UNC-Chapel Hill, a leading scholar of Japanese women’s studies.  Professor Bardsley joined students for two events to discuss two exciting new research projects.

On Wednesday,  October 19th, Nihongo House hosted a dinner for Bardsley.  Over indian food, Bardsley discussed her research into images of geisha and maiko (apprentice geisha) in contemporary pop culture.  After describing the life of geisha and maiko in Kyoto today, Bardsley introduced us to a series of light novels by Nanami Haruka titled Boy Maiko: There Goes Chiyogiku (Shōnen maiko: Chiyogiku ga yuku! 2002 – 2014), about a boy who leads a cross-dressed double life as a Kyoto maiko. Several students chimed in with additional examples of pop-culture appropriation of the maiko, including a Japanese dance hit that has gained fans in China.

On Thursday, October 20th, Professor Bardsley gave a public lecture on another current project, investigating the role of Japanese beauty pageants and beauty queens in the ideological struggles of the Cold War. As she noted, “American-style beauty contests complete with young women in tiaras, sashes, and swimsuits became big business in Japan in the 1950s. Pageants were held for all kinds of reasons – to attract local tourism, promote products, and, most interestingly, to do diplomatic work. Contests to crown Miss Black Ships, Miss World, and Miss Universe were also hailed as displays of women’s rights.” Bardsley’s talk focused on two controversial beauty queens, Miss Japan 1953 Itō Kinuko and Miss Universe 1959 Kojima Akiko. Both women were celebrated, she explained, “as emblems of the new self-confidence of young Japanese in the wake of postwar reforms.” At the same time, however, “critics attacked both queens as pawns in Japan-U.S. diplomatic and commercial alliances and as women imbued with a kind of ego and greed new to Japan.” The talk, accompanied by a wealth of photos and video footage from the ’fifties, highlighted “the allure and dangers of Americanization in 1950s Japan.” Bardsley ended the talk with a look at the renewed popularity of such contests today, as well as new controversies over the multiracial Miss Japan queens of 2015 and 2016 and the ideas of “Japanese-ness” they are expected to represent. All in all, the two-day visit provided a great opportunity for students and faculty to learn more about two fascinating new projects in the  fields of Japanese cultural studies and women’s studies. Our thanks to Jan for making the visit and sharing her projects with us!

Professor Bardsley’s visit was generously supported by the Reves Center and the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Program. The Nihongo House event was made possible through the generosity of the Saigo-san Fund.


Fall 2016 Issue News News: Russian Studies

Russian Studies’ Elena Prokhorova Wins 2016 Raft Debate

Russian Studies and Film/Media Studies Professor Elena Prokhorova won the annual Raft Debate in 2016. The Raft Debate features four W&M faculty members from various disciplines who, stranded on a deserted island with only a one-person life raft to get off the island, have to argue which of them should get the raft and escape back to civilization. Professor Prokhorova persuasively and convincingly argued the case that the person representing the humanities should get the raft, crafting her argument around the important of the humanities and foreign language education for human civilization. According to the rules of the debate, the participant who receives the loudest applause from the audience wins the raft. Professor Prokhorova successfully out-maneuvered representations from the Social Sciences, the Natural and Computational Sciences, and the Devil’s Advocate.

A compilation of the best moments of the Raft Debate, including Prof. Prokhorova’s moment of triumph:

A video of Prof. Prokhorova’s participation, and the full Raft Debate:

Fall 2016 More News News: Japanese Studies

Meet J-House Tutor Norie Sakuma

Sakuma self portraitI was born and reared in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, where I flourished and derived my desire for a sound education and enriching life experiences. I sought my bachelor’s degree from Showa Women’s University and finished my master’s degree at Akita International University (AIU), where I studied Japanese Language Education. Akita International University is in Akita prefecture and is a proud partner institution with The College of William & Mary (W&M) in Williamsburg, VA.

In addition to the natural setting and great foods for which Akita prefecture is known, it also boasts a university in which all classes are offered in English and all students are required to study abroad for a year. In fact, for those 200+ international students who come each year, the Japanese studies program provides not only Japanese language courses, which are taught in Japanese, but also content courses related to Japan that are offered in English.

While enrolled in University, I had many opportunities to practice Japanese language teaching with those international students. However, I quickly discovered that teaching Japanese was surprisingly difficult. Thus, I began to study Japanese Language Education to facilitate my teaching skills. In addition to my academic courses, I also learned how to wear kimono, an elegant example of traditional Japanese attire. As a result of practicing kimono, I subsequently received prizes in Kimono competitions.

Now, I am living with students in the Japanese Language House and  working at W&M as a Language House tutor. My main job includes organizing events on a regular bi-weekly schedule, activities such as cooking lessons and cultural functions.  For cooking nights, we have made dumplings, hand-rolled sushi, and other Japanese foods. Also, I have hosted collaborative cooking nights with other language houses. Our cultural events have included making chopstick rests and discussing present working conditions in Japan with Japanese MBA students.

During my time here as the house tutor, I’d like to continue introducing more cultural aspects about Japan to students as well as supporting those students as they improve their Japanese speaking skills.

J-House students practice wearing kimono
J-House students practice wearing kimono

J-house kimono activity 2

Alumni Updates Fall 2016 More News News: French & Francophone Studies

Fête de la Recherche 2016!

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La Fete de la Recherche is an annual conference that showcases our students’ research projects. It is an opportunity for students to present to their professors and peers the research they are doing for an honor thesis, courses, internships or, projects completed during the summer program in Montpellier. Presenters explain their motivations, research process, discoveries, and also the challenges of pursuing research.

Presentations are either in French or English and cover a variety of topics and different aspects of French and Francophone cultures including literature, public spaces, museums and monuments, films, music and more.

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La Fête de la Recherche is also the opportunity to meet your French professors and your peers, ask questions about courses, study abroad programs, scholarships, research opportunities, and the Francophone community on campus.

This year’s Fête de la Recherche on September 30 included many great speakers, including a round table discussion on French beyond William and Mary featuring successful alumni Catherine Kang (Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology student at Harvard), Katie Gehron (Country Desk Officer, Peace Corp, Washington DC), Kevin Lonabaugh (Second-year pharmacy resident in family medicine and pediatrics,University of Oklahoma, OK), and Christian Bale (White House legislative analyst, Washington, DC).


 Sean Schofield from W&M’s Career Center shared some great information about the value of cultural literacy and critical thinking.  

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Attendees heard about some very exciting Undergraduate Research from students who participated in the IFE and Montpelier programs:

Zarine Kharazian – « Une exception technoculturelle: France’s Approach to the Problem of Digital Eternity. »

Lorraine Pettit – « Le tramway: une traversée de la ville et de la culture »

Paul Naanou – « War, Memory, and Trauma: Lebanese Francophone Literature. »


Last but not least, Lydia Funk and Rosie Vita spoke about their experiences in Montpellier!


For more information about this event visit our website:

Fall 2016 Issue News News: Hispanic Studies

Alexandra Wingate (HISP ’18) attends the London Rare Books School

Alexandra worked with a 1616 copy of the Historia General del Perú (second part of the Comentarios Reales), by Andean mestizo chronicler Inca Garcilaso de la Vega
Alex worked with a copy of the Historia General del Perú (second part of the Comentarios Reales), by Andean mestizo chronicler Inca Garcilaso de la Vega

After participating in the W&M Summer program in Santiago de Compostela and the Camino de Santiago, Alex Wingate (’18), a Hispanic Studies and Linguistics double major, enjoyed the truly unique and amazing opportunity of attending the London Rare Books School, at the University of London. During the two-week experience, Alex attended two classes: “Introduction to Bibliography,” and “Provenance in Books.” For one of her assignments, Alex worked on a bibliographical description of a copy of the second part of the Comentarios reales by Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.

To read the full description of Alex’s experience with the LRBS, click here.

In November 2015, Alex and James Sylvester (HISP ’17) did archival research under the guidance of Prof. George Greenia at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. Under the mentorship of Prof. Lu Ann Homza, and as part of her class on Early Modern Spain, Alex did archival work in Pamplona during the Spring of 2016. An aspiring rare book librarian, Alex is currently an undergraduate Teaching Assistant with the Hispanic Studies program, and works at Special Collections, Swem Library.

Fall 2016 More News News: Hispanic Studies

Los 43: Remembering the Disappeared Students of Ayotzinapa

Tiana Whaley reads a recent article on the events of Sept. 26, 2014 and wonders how this tragedy could happen

By Prof. Christina Baker.

The evening of September 26th, 2014, 43 students of Ayotzinapa, in the state of Guerrero, Mexico disappeared. These “normalista” students were studying to become teachers in Mexico and were not only being trained in pedagogy but also leftist political ideals. The night of September 26th, this group of 43, along with many others, embarked on a journey to Mexico City to protest education reforms as well as participate in commemorating the students massacred in Mexico’s Plaza de Tres Culturas on October 2, 1968.

Creating a collective Ayotzinapa memory wall underway at la Casa Hispánica

The search for these missing 43 students has unearthed numerous unmarked mass graves in Mexico and many remains of other missing and disappeared citizens. However, the search has yet to produce any evidence of these students. There have been numerous investigations, findings and reports, though no concrete answer exists. The state blames the students and cartels. The families blame the state. The students remain missing and no one has admitted guilt.

HISP 207 student, Maggie McCarty paints her hand as an act of remembrance

In honor of these missing 43 students, William & Mary students from Prof. Christina Baker’s HISP 207: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, in collaboration with Pablo Moral of the Casa Hispánica observed the loss. The students discussed news articles, posed questions and thought critically about how such tragedy could happen. The students, lastly, engaged in an act of mourning and remembrance. The students wrote letters to the missing 43 in solidarity with them and wishing them a safe return. They also participated in an act all too familiar on the streets of Mexico: Counting in unison to 43 and chanting the refrain “Vivos se los llevaron, vivos los queremos” (‘Alive they were taken, Alive we want them’).

Fall 2016 More News News: Hispanic Studies

Inaugural William & Mary Libraries Faculty Scholar: Prof. Stock

[Full article by Tami C. Back here]

Ann Marie Stock, professor of Hispanic studies and film and media studies, has been named the inaugural William & Mary Libraries Faculty Scholar.

Prof. Stock delivered the Tack Lecture last April
Prof. Stock delivered the Tack Lecture last April

In this new position, Stock will partner with library colleagues on several initiatives. Principal among them is the creation of a digital archive to inventory and make accessible the Cuban film materials she has been compiling and creating for some 30 years. The first component of this digital humanities project, an online exhibit of Cuban film posters, is underway. The physical exhibit, “UnMade in Cuba: Carteles de Cine,” is on display in the Botetourt Gallery in Swem through the fall semester.

Stock confesses to being “thrilled” with this new opportunity. She has served in a variety of capacities during her 23 years at W&M — as director of both Hispanic studies and film and media studies, associate dean and acting dean of international affairs, director of the Reves Center for International Studies and a leader in developing undergraduate research opportunities in the humanities.



Fall 2016 More News News: Hispanic Studies

Citizens of Memory: Prof. Tandeciarz Presents on Human Rights in Post-Dictatorship Argentina

As part of the Bellini Colloquium series for fall 2016, Prof. Silvia Tandeciarz shared her research with colleagues and students.  On September 15, Prof. Tandeciarz presented a talk entitled “Citizens of Memory: Recollection and Human Rights in Post-Dictatorship Argentina,” based on her latest project.

“40 years after the military coup that ushered in the most brutal dictatorship of Argentina’s modern history, human rights activists, cultural practitioners and ordinary citizens continue to struggle to define its meaning. The tolls of this period are well known: thirty thousand disappeared; many more exiled and/or subjected to torture in clandestine detention centers; roughly five-hundred children born in captivity, taken from their biological parents and appropriated by Junta sympathizers to be raised according to its “Western and Christian” ideological principles; and a nation disciplined by the “Process of National Reorganization” whose regime of terror marked its transition from State to market.

(Photomontage by Natalia Calabrese)
(Photomontage by Natalia Calabrese)

“While this story of State terrorism is not unique to Argentina, or to Latin America, the advances in human rights prosecutions of the last decade have turned the nation into a model of transitional justice. This lecture focuses on practices of recollection helped to shape the contemporary landscape. The analysis seeks to illuminate the productive confluence of aesthetic considerations and human rights practices, as well as the sometimes more fraught uses of memory, that this case study makes evident. The central proposition is that the creative labor informed by recall in contemporary Argentina is key not only to the nation’s ongoing project of democratization, but to the formation of citizens dedicated to the collective expansion of present and future spaces of hope.

The Bellini Colloquium is a lecture series sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. It is named after the first Professor of Modern Languages at the College, Carlo Bellini, a native of Florence, Italy and close friend of Thomas Jefferson. Bellini taught French and Italian from 1779 until 1803, and holds the distinction of being the only Professor to stay in residence at the College when classes were suspended for two years during the Revolutionary War.

Faculty Awards Fall 2016 Issue News News: Hispanic Studies Plumeri

Plumeri Award for 2016: Teresa Longo

Teresa Longo, Associate Professor in Hispanic Studies
Teresa Longo, Associate Professor in Hispanic Studies

Professor Teresa Longo is a faculty member in Hispanic Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures who brings immense experience and a great passion to her groundbreaking scholarship, interdisciplinary teaching and devoted service. As the dean for educational policy and dean for curriculum review, she worked on the design of William & Mary’s new College Curriculum, which emphasizes an integrated, interdisciplinary and global approach to liberal education. Also in her role as dean for educational policy, she had oversight of the Humanities and Arts Departments and the Global Studies programs. As a scholar, Longo has a history of publications, including her forthcoming journal article “Galeano,” published article “Humanity Rendered Visible: Literature, Art and the Post-9/11 Imagination,” and book manuscript Visible Dissent. Professor Longo is also the editor of Pablo Neruda and the US Culture Industry. She holds a doctorate in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Faculty Awards Fall 2016 Issue News News: German Studies Plumeri

Plumeri Award for 2016: Bruce Campbell

Prof. Bruce Campbell during the Tack Faculty Lecture in October 2016.
Prof. Bruce Campbell during the Tack Faculty Lecture in October 2016.

Bruce B. Campbell , Class of 1964 Term Associate Professor of German Studies and Fellow of the Center for the Liberal Arts, was awarded a 2016 Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence. He received his PhD. in European Diplomatic History from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has been at the College since 1999, and along with his academic appointment in German Studies, he has taught in European Studies, History and Literary and Cultural Studies. He is a past Associate Chair of Modern Languages and Literatures and a past Program Director of European Studies. He currently serves as German Studies Program Director and as a Fellow of the Center for the Liberal Arts. He has authored one monograph and two edited volumes, as well as numerous articles. He publishes in both German Studies and German History on such diverse topics as The Nazi Stormtroopers, the German Youth Movement, German Detective Fiction and Radio. He is particularly appreciated on campus for his mentoring of students to apply for Fulbright and other major international fellowships. He gave the Fall 2016 Tack Faculty Lecture on German Detective Fiction, and later appeared in an interview on the NPR show “With Good Reason”.

News News: French & Francophone Studies Spring 2015

Food in Southern France: Ellery Lea Shares Her Study Abroad Research Experiences

Since I was a child, I’ve always been interested in the role of food in contributing to a culture’s shared identity and sense of community. My interest in cuisine stems primarily from my family background because my parents have worked in the food service industry my entire life, and they used to run their own coffee shop. Seeing their hard work at their shop instilled in me a respect for small business owners and their ability to establish relationships with customers through personalized service and simple food and drink.


For my project last summer, I decided to investigate a small aspect of the culture in Montpellier by researching and sampling local foods created and sold within the Langeudoc-Roussillon region where Montpellier is located. My goal was to better understand the character of the region by investigating the goods that are important there. I also interviewed James Egreteau, the owner of Le Panier d’Aimé, which is a small business in Montpellier that sells locally produced food and drink. By tasting regional products, such as spreads, oils, and wines, and learning about Mr. Egreteau’s growing business, I was able to explore a facet of the culture in Montpellier from a local’s perspective. Locally sourced foods, like those sold at Le Panier d’Aimé, are a way for tourists and younger generations to connect to the rich agricultural history and traditions of the South of France.

boutique 2 Food can sometimes be taken for granted because it’s easy to purchase and consume food without thinking too much about where it comes from and who produces it. However, my experience in Montpellier reinforced the idea that food is a powerful way to connect with others and learn about an area’s history and personality.

  • Ellery Lea
News News: Japanese Studies Spring 2016 More

Japanese National Honor Society Inductees

MLL and the Japanese section are proud to announce this years inductees into the Japanese National Honor Society.  Among this year’s graduating class, three students have met the Society’s demanding criteria: completion of five semesters of Japanese language study (or their equivalent), all taken for a grade (rather than audited or pass-fail); a grade-point average of at least 3.5 in Japanese language courses; and an overall GPA of at least 3.0. You will recognize our new inductees at commencement by their red and white tassel cords; please join us in congratulating Qinao Wang, Katelyn Prior, and Yangyang Zhou:  皆さん、おめでとうございます!  Thank you for setting an example for others studying the language.  We hope you will continue to build your Japanese language skills, and we wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

Honor Society Inductees (from l. to r.) Wang, Pryor, and Zhou.
Honor Society Inductees (from l. to r.) Wang, Pryor, and Zhou.
News News: Japanese Studies

Japan Section Awards Kinyo Prizes

The Japanese Studies Program is proud to announce the recipients of this year’s Kinyo Awards for Excellence in Japanese language study.  The prize recognizes the hard work and achievement of the top student at each level of William and Mary’s Japanese language program. The awards are made possible through the generous support of Mr. Kazuo Nakamura of Kinyo Virginia, Inc., who established the awards in 2007 and has maintained them since then.  This year’s recipients are: in first year, James Stinneford; in second year, Charlotte Sabrina Deforest; in third year, Sungwon Kang; and, in fourth year, Eugenia Witherow. These students have demonstrated extraordinary diligence and accomplishment in Japanese language study over the past year. Congratulations to all the winners, and keep up the good work!  皆さん、おめでとうございます!

Award winners (from l. to r.): Kang, Deforest, Stinneford, and Witherow
Award winners (from l. to r.): Kang, Deforest, Stinneford, and Witherow
Alumni Updates Alumni Updates: Hispanic Studies News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016 More

Disseminating Research: Sarah Smith-Brady (’05) and the Field of Scholarly Publishing

Sarah Brady ('05)
Sarah Smith-Brady (’05)

“After leaving W&M in 2005 with a concentration in Hispanic Studies and certification in secondary education, I moved to Philadelphia to start a PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania. While at Penn, I met some amazing people and found the environment wonderfully challenging and intellectually stimulating. However, I was no longer certain I wanted to pursue a career in academia, so after earning an MA, I took a leave of absence to explore other options. I decided to stay at Penn, teaching courses as a lecturer, but also dabbled in the nonprofit realm, volunteering at the local arts league. At the close of that academic year, I moved to the Seattle area and began working at a regional office of a medical nonprofit organization, where I coordinated patient and professional education and support programs. I learned a great deal about fundraising, event planning and implementation, and volunteer management, and the job also provided a very helpful introduction to the business world.

“Although that experience was very rewarding, it was difficult living far from my family, so after a few years, I relocated to North Carolina. Soon after that, I started working as a contract editor for American Journal Experts, which is part of a company called Research Square that helps researchers succeed by developing software and services for the global research community. A couple months later, I moved into a managing editor position at the company, and after a couple years in that role, I began managing the newly created Customer Partnership team. I’ve been in that role for almost two years now, and I love everything about it! The members of my team are very smart and empathetic individuals with terminal degrees in their fields who answer customer questions about many different topics, ranging from the author services we provide to how to navigate the complex and rapidly evolving field of scholarly publishing. The majority of our customers are nonnative English speakers aiming to publish their research in English-language journals, and we are able to help them deal with the additional challenges faced by researchers trying to publish outside of their native language. It is a pleasure and an honor to serve our customers and help them succeed as researchers.

Sarah in a recent trip to Peru with her family
Sarah in a recent trip to Peru with her family

“Although I rarely have the opportunity to use Spanish in my daily tasks, I am often able to contribute cultural insights to discussions and projects at work, and I’ve been able to fit in fun trips to Mexico and, most recently, Peru during breaks from work. I feel fortunate to be where I am now and attribute much of my success to the education, training, and support I received in the Hispanic Studies program at W&M.

News News: German Studies Spring 2016

In Deutschland wohnen! W&M grads from different disciplines decide to live, work, and study in Germany

Erin Duffin (German Studies, 2014)

duffinErin writes:

“After graduating from William & Mary in 2014, I moved to Stuttgart, Germany to be an au pair for a family there. I spent about a year in Baden-Württemberg getting to know the Schwaben (Swabians, the people who come from the area around Stuttgart), before moving to Berlin in July, 2015. Here in Berlin, I work as a freelance copy writer and editor. I live in a little garden house, called a Schrebergarten, with my roommate, who was previously my host when I studied at the Universität Potsdam in Summer 2013.

At the moment, I don’t have any hard and fast plans for the future besides staying in Berlin (which is very Berlin-ish, to be honest). I’m enjoying living the Berlin life, and getting to know people from all over the world (although most of my friends are either from England or moved to Berlin from Stuttgart, funnily enough).

I love living in Germany. I get along very well with Germans, and I feel very much at home here. Their way of life is perfect for me. It can be challenging at times, because there can be a bit of a cultural divide, and dealing with the bureaucracy is never easy. But it’s all worth it when you know you have lifelong friends here, and enjoy where you live and what you do.

For anyone thinking of moving to Europe, I say… give it a try! No one says you have to stay here forever, so just give it a year, and see what you think. In my case, one year has now turned into two… and I don’t see myself leaving any time soon. Living in Europe is such a wonderful experience. You get to meet people from all over the world, there’s always something happening, and traveling to other European countries is a breeze. So if you want to try something completely new, and are looking for a grand new adventure, give it a shot! You have absolutely nothing to lose.”

Tilghman Goldsborough (Philosophy, 2013)

goldsboroSince graduating in 2013, Tilghman Goldsborough has been busy pursuing a variety of jobs, first in his hometown of Richmond, Va. and now in Germany, and he has plans to start graduate school in Germany soon. A Philosophy major, Tilghman became interested in Germany after taking part in the W&M Potsdam Program the summer after graduation. For almost a year now, he has been living as an au pair with a family in the suburbs of Stuttgart, tutoring the children and helping them improve their English. He has also had some of his poems published in an on-line literary magazine! After finishing his year with the family, he plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in American Studies at a German university. He says that, while the language still presents some challenges, he really likes the honesty of the Germans because you usually know where you stand with people there. He has regular contact with two other W&M graduates, one of whom lives in Stuttgart and studies at the University of Tubingen, and the other lives in Berlin. His advice to W&M graduates who might be thinking of moving to Germany is to “treat it like you’re moving anywhere new where you don’t really know anyone (or the language).” He suggests having a plan (and staying on top of the visa rules and regulations) but also staying open to opportunities that come up. Finally, Tilghman says to have fun and meet people. Living abroad “can be persistently low-key terrifying, but make the most of whatever it is you’re doing; the world is your oyster, und so weiter.”

Lisa Laird (European Studies and German Studies, ’13)

lairdLisa checked in with us halfway into her Fulbright ETA:

“I have been working as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) for eight months now and am beginning to find a comfortable spot on the scale of exciting foreigner to part of the woodwork. This year has been a fantastic lesson in creativity and spontaneity, jumping between the roles of living dictionary, private tutor, leading a crusade on proper comma usage, and running entire classes by myself. This week, I’ve been holding mock American Presidential elections in my 8th grade classes. A sample of 59 thirteen-year-olds would elect Hillary Clinton, who came in five points ahead of Bernie Sanders. Cruz followed with 13% of the vote and Trump (a name received by much laughter and jeering in the classroom) tied with write-ins for Turkey’s perhaps-not-so-humanitarian President Erdoğan—two votes each.

To compliment my 15-hour workweeks, I have been offering private tutoring and editing sessions, volunteering at the local animal shelter, and taking advantage of many travel opportunities such a central location offers. Should anyone have the opportunity, I highly recommend enjoying fika and kardemummabullar (cardamom rolls) on a snowy winter’s day in Sweden.

It’s hard to believe that the school year is almost over. After a short summer divided between Germany, the Netherlands, England, Wales, and the United States, I’ll be heading back to Europe in the autumn to start a year-long MSc in European Politics at the London School of Economics. In order to stay active academically, I am partaking in a MOOC on the upcoming Scottish and Welsh elections run by the University of Edinburgh and Cardiff University—a fantastic course for any devolution nerds!”

News News: French & Francophone Studies Spring 2016 More

Internships in France and Belgium: Five William & Mary students abroad with IFE

Zarine Kharazian – Paris – SciencesPo, Centre de recherches internationales
Zarine is working as an assistant researcher with CERI, a renowned center for IR research and joint laboratory of Sciences Po and the CNRS. Zarine was assigned to a research project entitled ITIC and aimed at analyzing modern political uses of new information and communication technologies. She was assigned to the topic of Five Eyes, an intelligence network federating several Anglophone countries, especially as related to the Snowden affair. Her theme is to demonstrate the limits of any cultural familiarity linking the member countries.

Rachel Larned – Brussels – ESISC – European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center
In her internship, Rachel is a research assistant
 with this think tank and intelligence consulting service. Recent events at home and abroad have generated
 considerable activity for ESISC. Rachel has been assigned to 
work on Francophone countries and in particular the Congo
 and Burkina Faso. She participates in briefings, lends a hand
with translations of documentation concerning North Africa, 
and generates analytic notes. Her research topic will be tied to current events in Francophone Africa, most likely focused on The Republic of the Congo.
Paul Naanou – Paris – École des Loisirs – Children’s book publisher
Paul is conducting his internship as a staff assistant to the
 communication service of a prestigious publishing house 
for children, one of the oldest in France. Combining his
 interest in publishing with his studies in mathematics and
computer science, Paul has been assigned to work with the 
firm’s webmaster on a complete redo website. At the same time, Paul is learning about all the firm’s departments and services and, more generally, about the publishing business. In March, Paul had the opportunity to assist with staffing the firm’s various stands at the Annual Paris Book Fair, including being responsible by himself for a stand featuring audio books. Paul has chosen to conduct his research on one of the firm’s authors, Geneviève Patte, author of “Laissez-les lire !” and a major figure in the democratization of reading among all children in France. His research theme will be cultural democratization without loss of pedagogical quality.
Jason Nagel – Paris – CERI – Principal French research institute for international affairs
Working as an assistant researcher in this renowned IR research
center, Jason has been assigned both communication tasks and
research tasks. For the Center’s administration, Jason has been
very usefully translating or correcting scientific articles and website
objects, including an interview with the authors of a work on
contemporary Algeria or the transcription of an interview with a
US State Department official during a seminar organized by CERI. In addition, with his supervisor who is CERI’s Director Alain Diekoff, Jason has been conducting bibliographic research on questions of culturalist theories in international relations. He also participates actively in the programs and events of the Center. His research topic will be related to the French intervention in Mali.

Nairuti Shastry – Brussels – Belgian public health agency for birth and early childhood (ONE)
Nairuti has been warmly welcomed as an intern and is
serving as an assistant to the director of communications
of this important social agency. She was trained
 to conduct observations and other activities in the field,
 particularly pre-natal and infant consultations, which has allowed Nairuti to make contact with
 other organizations. In the Communications Department
 she is contributing with translations, press reviews and
 the preparations for a conference in conjunction with the
network Eurochild. She will
 assist with the updating of the website and in developing new communication instruments. Lastly, Nairuti will lead a seminar on healthcare in India. Her research topic touches on health care access for immigrants who do not speak French and how much language proficiency influences the access.

News News: Chinese Studies Spring 2016 More

Make Love and War: Prof. Chun-yu Lu Presented on Chinese Popular Romance During the Wartime

As part of the Bellini Colloquium series for spring 2016, Prof. Chun-yu Lu shared her research with the W&M community.  On April 21, 2016, Prof. Lu presented a talk entitled “Make Love and War: Chinese Popular Romance in ‘Greater East Asia,’ 1937-1945.”

Prof. Lu’s talk focused on Chinese popular romances produced and consumed in the Japanese colonized and occupied regions during the Second Sino-Japanese War and investigates the complex relationships between emotion, representation, and consumption vis-à-vis wartime politics.

In the talk Prof. Lu introduced two of her case studies of Chinese popular romances under Japan’s domination. The first case is Begonia, a tremendously popular novel and its theatrical and cinematic adaptions in wartime Shanghai. The second case is a popular writer, Wu Mansha, a Chinese mainlander in colonial Taiwan and his propagandist romance that promoted Japanese imperialism in the Chinese language.

Prof. Lu suggested that when Begonia in Shanghai intends to tell a tragic love story of two individuals and their sufferings, its dramatic articulation stimulates a shared sense of victimhood and an indirect protest collectively. In contrast, when Wu Mansha explicitly promoted young couples to unite and fight for the “greater good,” the propagandist messages in his popular romance novel was used for his personal safety and private profits. By comparing these popular romances, Prof. Lu argued that while the wartime regime dictated that private emotions and love are to be devoted to the ultimate public needs—the war, and hence the individual would merge with the collective and eventually disappear, through writing and consuming popular romances writers and readers reaffirm their individual existence when they struggle between the tensions of patriotic love and romantic love. So paradoxically, wartime popular romance is a collective channel for confirming individual existence.

Chun Yu 2 Chun Yu1

Alumni Updates Alumni Updates: Hispanic Studies News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016 More

Nathan Hoback (’10) shines as a teacher

Nathan Hoback, a HISP alum (’10) who went on to pursue an M.A. with the School of Education at W&M, has recently been distinguished as Matoaca High School Teacher of the Year 2016.

A native of Roanoke, Nathan has been a member of the Matoaca High School faculty for five years, where he currently teaches Spanish 1 and Algebra II.  Susan Hester, Chair of the World Languages Department, says, “He is a fantastic teacher! He engages the whole student beyond just the academics; supporting them outside the classroom in the extracurricular activities and cultural events.  He is truly a model example of an enthusiastic instructor.  It is awesome to have him at Matoaca High School.”

Nathan Hoback (HISP '10)
Nathan Hoback (HISP ’10)
While at the College, Nathan was part of a group of students who, with the mentorship of Prof. Francie Cate-Arries and with the auspices of a Mellon grant, spent spring break of 2009 visiting sites of memory in Spain and meeting with survivors of the Spanish Civil War.  The research team produced a website, Mapping Memory in Madrid, which includes a map and a description of Madrid’s sites of memory, documents from the era, and profiles and testimonies from survivors of the dictatorship.  Nathan also wrote an honors thesis, “Hooray for Hollywood”: Postwar Cinema and Trauma in Franco’s Dictatorship in Spain, on the use of Spanish films to spread a Francoist version of the civil war, glorifying the Nationalists and demonizing the Republicans, and US films that, while censored, provided audiences with opportunities to resist the repressive Franco regime.  Some of his findings were published in The Monitor as “A Hollywood Haunting of Spain: Raza (1942), Rebecca (1940), and Commemoration of the Spanish Civil War” (Winter 2010 [6.1]).
News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016

A Matter of Accent: Student Research in Linguistics and Hispanic Studies

The fall 2015 issue of The Monitor, Journal of International Studies, published at W&M in order to promote interdisciplinary research among our students, and to contribute to multicultural understanding, features an article by Nicole Fitchett (HISP & Linguistics ’15) on accents among students of English in both Norway and Spain: “Native Language and Cultural Relevance- A Study on the Acquisition of English Phonology“. The initial ideas for the project originated in a personal journey to Norway and during the two semesters of her study abroad experience in Seville, Spain.

Nicole Fitchett ('15)
Nicole Fitchett (’15)

“I visited a friend in Norway one summer and was surprised not only at how well most Norwegians spoke English, but how well they sounded. Many people I met sounded like they could have been born and raised in any U.S. city, and I had a lot of trouble distinguishing the other Americans I met there from the Norwegians- I always had to ask! Then in Sevilla the next year studying abroad I took an advanced phonetics class and I realized just how difficult it was to dig into another language, accent-wise. My interest was piqued, and I decided to dedicate my research grant to exploring the topic more profoundly.

“I’ve always been interested in the process of language-learning, and at the time that I was researching phonetics was the most relevant to my life. During that period I spent two semesters in Spain over the course of two years and my biggest focus was trying to improve my accent to sound more native (or less foreign, depending on how you look at it). Now I use what I’ve learned to help my students in Galicia improve their pronunciation in English so they can communicate more effectively. It takes a certain amount of finesse because I can’t just tell them to “palatalize!” I have to adapt my explanations to their level of understanding, and I’m still working on it.

Since graduating last May, Nicole has been working in a school in Galicia, in northwest Spain, as a language and culture assistant. She describes her experience as follows:

Fostering intercultural insights in the classroom

“My formal job title is Auxiliar de conversación, or language and culture assistant. I was placed in a small-town primary school to help teachers of bilingual classes. Certain days of the week I help in the Art classes and other days in Physical Education, both of which are taught in English. The teachers are not always native English speakers so my purpose is to expose the students to a native speaker’s accent, expressions and culture, and help the teachers with any doubts they may have. Sometimes I take small groups aside for personalized attention, I lead activities if the main teacher needs to help one particular student with an assignment, I make presentations about U.S. holidays and cultures, and all of the other routine tasks that come with working in a classroom (behavior management, technique instruction, etc.) If you asked my students though, they’d probably tell you my job consists of handing out incentive stickers! For a lot of the students I’m the first American they’ve met in their lives, and it’s important for them to be confident communicating in English as Spain continues to globalize. It’s truly amazing how the same children who wouldn’t make eye contact with me in October now run up to hug me in the hallways with a “Hello Teacher! How are you?”

“Currently I’m developing a correspondence program between the students at my colegio and students at an elementary school in the U.S. While it’s certainly not easy coordinating the logistics between five classes in two time zones with two legal frameworks for privacy laws regarding minors, it’s definitely my favorite project so far. I get to witness the excitement of all of these students opening letters from halfway across the world, learning about how other cultures see them and adapting their worldview to accommodate their new friends.

During her time at the College, Nicole, a Monroe scholar, Phi Beta Kappa inductee, and Sigma Delta Pi member, was awarded the J. Worth Banner Award in Hispanic Studies for the rising senior with the highest overall GPA. She was also a grader for conversation classes in our HISP program.

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016 More

The W&M-Cuba Connection (II)

If summer and fall of 2015 had offered plenty of opportunities to strengthen the already solid connection that W&M has with the island, the spring would be no exception. Nevertheless, two were the highlights of the semester: a trip to Cuba for the 16 students enrolled in Prof. Ann Marie Stock’s New Media Workshop, and the Tack Lecture (March 31), during which, in front of a packed Commonwealth Auditorium, Prof. Stock offered her most valuable insights on Cuban culture (especially its visual culture) over the last half century.

"Unmade in Cuba"; an exhibit of carteles de cine for "ghost films"
“Unmade in Cuba”; an exhibit of carteles de cine for “ghost films”

As a piloting effort within W&M’s New College Curriculum, during the spring Prof. Stock and Troy Davis (Director of Swem’s Media Services) taught a course titled New Media Workshop: Curate-Connect-Cuba. Much of the content of the course revolved around a most unique experience: a trip to Cuba during spring break. The 16 students enrolled in the course, alongside Prof. Stock, Troy Davis, Jennie Davy (Exhibits’ Coordinator, Swem Library), and David Culver (W&M ’09) spent an unforgettable week in Cuba developing several projects. One group of students gathered information that would help them curate the exhibit of carteles de cine designed for “ghost films” that were never produced.  Another group documented the progress of the workshop in general, and captured the experience of traveling to the island. One of the products of this work is the piece produced by Kayla Sharpe.  A third group worked very hard on documenting interviews and developing an institutional profile for Televisión Serrana. Finally, another team undertook a collaborative art project between elementary students in Cuba and in Virginia seeking to build interpersonal and international bridges.

For a more detailed account of the students’ experience, please consult the article authored by one of the participants of the New Media Workshop, Alexandra Granato, “Curate, Connect, Cuba.”

"Remix and Revolution in Cuba" was delivered on campus on March 31
“Remix and Revolution in Cuba” was delivered on campus on March 31

Back in Williamsburg, Prof. Stock shared her decades of experience and insider knowledge on Cuba with W&M and the Williamsburg community at large as part of a Tack Lecture, “Remix and Revolution in Cuba. Screening the Island’s Transformation through Cinema.”  The event allowed Prof. Stock to remind us that, during the 50 years of broken relations between the US and Cuba, our understanding of the island lagged, as if frozen in time: “Most of us in the United States don’t know much about the country. The politics and practices of both governments have resulted in keeping us apart and both peoples in the dark for the last half-century. We tend to envision Cuba as stuck in time, a place that’s not changing, a place that’s static.”

In order to remedy this situation, Prof. Stock felt compelled to do her part in establishing connections and shared projects and experiences with colleagues and creators on the island over the last three decades: “It became clear that I would encourage creativity and foster collaboration and forge connections. I would experiment with what event to research and what event to teach students as scholars…. Part of my work has been to document what’s going on in Cuba’s film world and that’s been a window to the larger world.”

Prof. Stock’s full lecture is available here

Graduates 2015-2016 News News: Italian Studies Spring 2016

Katie McGhee ’16 Senior Profile: Italian Studies

This may surprise people who know me, but studying Italian at William & Mary has been a joyful four-year-long leap out of my comfort zone. I came to William & Mary dreading the language requirement because it would cost me twelve to sixteen credits – time that I could otherwise spend studying something I was actually interested in, I thought. I still remember deciding to quit Latin after three years of taking it in high school and how my teacher told me it was a big mistake because I would have to take another language in college. “Have to.” She made it sound like such a chore, which left me regretting my decision after it was too late to turn around and register for Latin IV. Today, I’m so thankful I decided to quit – a sentence this perfectionist never thought she would hear herself say. Within the first week or two of taking Italian it dawned on me that I might have stumbled into something that I was going to end up loving. When I met with my pre-major advisor after I took Italian 102, she made it a point to remind me to finish my language requirement, and I still remember laughing and telling her that the requirement was the last thing driving me to take Italian. The fact that my expectations were blown away so powerfully pushed me to realize, at the very beginning of my freshman year when I was still a nervous eighteen year-old navigating the world of college that seemed way too big for me, that going into something with an open mind can reveal passions that you never may have thought you would develop. If you’re like me and are worried about a class you have to take that is outside of your comfort zone, remember that you never know whether or not you may end up loving it. You may even change your major or minor because of it!

I’m continuously challenged by the Italian courses here as well as by my peers, all of whom are some of the most intelligent and passionate people I’ve ever met. I think this is the benefit of a small program at a liberal arts school: we come from the most diverse variety of majors imaginable and are united by our mutual love of Italian. The broad range of majors and backgrounds in our tiny program means people’s reasons for studying Italian vary greatly. Some students are fascinated by the rise of fascism and the political trends of the 20th century, and they find themselves well at home in Professor Ferrarese’s classes on modern Italian history and politics. Others enjoy studying the linguistic patterns of Italy, which is rich with dialects and regional languages. Also among the students who study Italian are artists, chefs, musicians, architecture scholars, film lovers, polyglots, and passionate TAs, all of whom study Italian for different reasons and contribute new perspectives to the study of the language and culture.

Looking back on my four years of studying Italian at William & Mary, I realize that the diversity of ideas and interests within the program is one of the major reasons why I love it so much. I’ll forever be grateful that I decided to live in the Italian house because being surrounded by countless different perspectives on the Italian experience has pushed me out of my comfort zone and deepened my understanding of the culture. I’ve been introduced to music, cuisine, films, and ideas that I know I would have never considered if I hadn’t surrounded myself with the amazing Italian community at William & Mary. My passion for Italian is, before anything else, a passion for the language itself: the way it sounds, the logic of the grammar, and the excitement that I still feel when I realize I can now understand something that used to sound like gibberish to me. Making friends who know so much about the other aspects of Italian history and culture can feel intimidating at first, but I now realize that’s why our Italian program is so special because we continue to challenge each other even after four years. As I look toward graduation, I can’t help but fear the possibility of losing my Italian skills rather than continuing to improve them like I want to. But as I look around right now at all the incredible people I’ve met through William & Mary’s Italian program, I’m reassured that I’ll never be done with my study of this beautiful language and fascinating culture. For me, the study of Italian is a lifelong journey that I’ve only just begun.

casa italiana

– Katie McGhee, c/o 2016 (Psychology, Italian Studies minor)


News News: Russian Studies

Russian Music Ensemble Concert, April 1, 2016

Come join the Russian Music Ensemble for an evening of folk music from Russia and other eastern European countries! Performances will include traditional tunes from a variety of countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Greece, and Macedonia.The ensemble will be joined by special guest musicians from the Washington Balalaika Society. Admission is free, but a $1 donation is suggested.
Location: Ewell Recital Hall

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016

Memorias de Chapadmalal: Memory, and Civic Engagement in Argentina

Our W&M-sponsored study abroad program in La Plata, Argentina, is unique in several ways: its focus on human rights is, perhaps, one of the most salient ones.  As part of their pedagogical experience with the Comisión Provincial por la Memoria, our students are able to participate in internships within the different branches of the Comisión: be it doing curatorial work at the Museo de Arte y Memoria, working with the Comité contra la tortura, cataloguing and digitizing archival documents at the Centro de Documentación y Archivo, or working in civic education for the youth via Jóvenes y Memoria.

During the fall of 2015, W&M students Ryan Durazo (HISP & GOVT ’16) and Mary Ellen Garrett (IR ’17) interned with the pedagogical branch of the Comisión, Jóvenes y Memoria, as they organized their annual meeting at the Complejo Turístico Chapadmalal.  Toward the end of the school year, every November, high school students that have been working on projects of local memory and civic engagement for the whole year, gather at Chapadmalal, a former resort created thanks to Perón’s government, in order to share their experiences and present their projects.  Ryan and Mary Ellen seized the opportunity to generate a project titled Memorias de Chapadmalal.  In their own words:

Memorias de Chapadmalal is a photo-narrative project completed during the 2015 session of the “Youth and Memory” Summit in Chapadmalal, Argentina. It seeks to capture the experiences of young people working for human rights from both a local and global perspective. Dreamed up after a long drive with two survivors of torture and styled on projects like Humans of New York, Memorias de Chapadmalal culturally grounds itself by focusing on stories of collective identity. The project was realized with help from the youth of Ringuelet, who invited us into their barrio to test our methods, and the staff of the Provincial Commission for Memory, who finalized and shared the project via social media. Photos by Mary Ellen Garrett (Class of 2017) and interviews by Ryan Durazo (Class of 2016).

What follows is an English translation (by Ryan and Mary Ellen) of two entries in their project.

* * *

Chapa1“One of my friend’s grandmothers had her son kidnapped. She told us her story and we made a short documentary.

“How was it for you to hear her story?”

“Really powerful, it was the first time she had told her story…she broke the silence. She hid herself in silence because if she had talked they would have robbed [kidnapped] her other children. She has five children.

“There are a lot of people who live with fear. We went out on the street to do interviews, and there were a few people who were members of the military. When we approached to interview them, they turned the question around and wanted to know who we were and who had sent us. Because [in] our nation, it makes me angry the silence that the dictatorship has left in our neighborhood.  Because, look, in our neighborhood there is also fear because there are robberies there and they don’t make police reports because justice is useless.

* * *

Chapa2“[Where we started the project, we participated in a march to reclaim respect for the gay community], we were three guys and that was it. And for us three it was difficult to go out on the street with the flag because they shouted [expletive for male prostitutes] at us. And they discriminated against us when we weren’t gay, just that we went to change the discussion and end the discrimination.

“In the first year, no one helped us, no one, nothing.  But now, [the project] is like the flag of our high school, we are 40 or 50 guys and girls.

* * *

For access to the original project, in Spanish, please click here.

Every year, the W&M-sponsored study abroad program in La Plata attracts students from different programs (HISP, Latin American Studies, Government, International Relations, Sociology, etc.) due to its unique focus in Human Rights.  The program offers the possibility of taking courses with the Comisión Provincial por la Memoria and at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP) during regular semesters (mid-February to mid-July; mid-July to mid-December).  Emily Earls (’18), who is currently studying in La Plata, is documenting her experience in her blog, Life in La Plata.

You can also read about Sarah Caspari’s (’15) experience in La Plata here.  For more information about the program, please consult the Reves Center’s website here.

News News: Russian Studies Spring 2016

Fourth Annual Russian Language Olympics (2016)


Aftermovie (dir. Vitalyi Humenyuk)

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016

Profs. Tandeciarz and Riofrio Among Inaugural Reveley Interdisciplinary Fellows

Hispanic Studies Professors Silvia Tandeciarz and John “Rio” Riofrio were recently selected as part of the inaugural cohort of the Reveley Interdisciplinary Fellows.  Funded by a $2.6 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Reveley Fellows are teams of faculty members housed in different departments and focused on integrative and interdisciplinary teaching and research.  The teams selected receive annual stipends over a three-year period in order to generate and implement an interdisciplinary course.

desaparecidos-argentinaAssociate Professor Silvia Tandeciarz is teaming up with Assoc. Prof. Betsy Konefal to create a course and a research agenda focused on the recovery of collective memory, via cultural artifacts like art, literature and film, in the aftermath of Argentina’s last military dictatorship (1976-1983) and Guatemala’s internal armed conflict (1960-1996).

Associate Professor John “Rio” Riofrio will be working with Assoc. Prof. of Secondary Education Jeremy Stoddard.  The team seeks to create a course, “Unequal by Design: Race and Education in the US,” that will address diversity issues and bring together faculty and students from Arts & Sciences and the School of Education.  This will provide opportunities for students to think about how race is constructed and how, in turn, these constructs have tangible effects in American schools.

For the full story, please click here.

Profs. Tandeciarz and Konefal have had a robust and fruitful academic collaboration for several years. Recently, their work with W&M students helped the prosecution in the trials of high-level military officers in Argentina for their participation in Operation Condor.  They also co-authored an article,“Dictatorship Declassified: Latin America’s ‘Archives of Terror’ and the Labors of Memory” Peace Studies Journal 7.3 (Dec 2014): 75-97.

Prof. Riofrio recently published his first book, Continental Shifts: Migration, Representation, and the Struggle for Justice in Latin(o) America (U of Texas Press, 2015).  He is also the latest recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award.

News News: Italian Studies

L’ Aperitivo Italiano!


As part of Majors Week 2016 the Italian Studies faculty hosted an aperitivo italiano yesterday evening in Washington Hall. It proved to be a great way to connect with current and future Italian Studies students, and to share some Italian culture. Over lemon sodas, parmigiano and various salatini (salty snacks) and affettati (cured meats), graduating seniors shared memories of studies and research trips abroad, while new arrivals learned about the program, including upcoming course offerings, the Italian Studies minor, and the chance to create their own Italian-focused major through the Charles Center. A great time was had by all. Cin cin!


News News: Italian Studies

Ghanaian-Italian filmmaker Fred Kuwornu Visits William & Mary

We were thrilled to welcome Ghanaian-Italian filmmaker Fred Kuwornu for two great events in November, 2015. While here, Fred shared an extended rough cut of his near-complete documentary Blaxploitalian: 100 Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema, and spoke to a packed room about diversity and media in Italy and beyond. Later that same evening, he also screened and discussed his 2012 documentary, 18 IUS SOLI: The Right to be Italian, which looks at issues of citizenship and identity. It was a great day dedicated to important cultural work and we can’t wait to have Fred back when Blaxpoitalian is complete.

Fred 4Fred 2

Fred 1Fred 3


Bio: Director Fred “Kudjo” Kuwornu, an activist-producer-writer-director, was born and raised in Italy and is now based in Brooklyn NY. After his experience working with the production crew of Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna in Italy, Fred decided to research the unknown story of the 92nd Infantry “Buffalo Soldiers” Division, which led him to produce and direct the Award-winning documentary Inside Buffalo (2010). In 2012 he released 18 IUS SOLI, which examines multiculturalism in Italy and the question of citizenship for the one million children of immigrants born and raised in Italy who are not yet Italian citizens. He is the founder of the Association Diversity Italia, promoting the importance of racial and ethnic diversity in Italy and Europe through film and other art forms as tools for building a more inclusive society.

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016 More

Building a Community: Showcasing the Hispanic Studies Major

A lively group of current HISP majors, minors, and interested students in general, joined the HISP faculty at the Botetourt Gallery of Swem Library in order to share their passion, their academic interests, and their experiences as part of the Hispanic Studies program.  During a warm February evening, Showcasing the Hispanic Studies major brought our community together, precisely in the scenario where several of our students, under the guidance of Prof. Ann Marie Stock and Troy Davis in the New Media Workshop, were making progress in their curatorial projects on UnMade in Cuba, an exhibit on “ghost films” designed for movies that were never produced.

The event was a great opportunity to reconnect, and to share stories, experiences, and a few laughs over pizza.  The venue also helped interested students get a more profound insight into the Hispanic Studies program.  In the words of one of our current majors,

Hispanic Studies isn’t just about showing employers you speak Spanish.  It’s about challenging you to think in a way that communicates concepts and ideas like no other discipline.  The creative thinking and problem solving that happens within the department pushes students to reshape their ideas of race, borders, culture, and countless other topics we engage with daily.  It’s an incredible major or second major, and it’s so much more than you can imagine when you first enter a Hispanic Studies class.

The evening was a great success, thanks in great measure to the organizational skills of Morgan Sehdev, and the graciousness of several students: Nichole Montour, current RA of the Hispanic House, shared her love for la Casa; Matt Adan was eager to talk about study abroad; Joanna Hernandez brought her knowledge of alternative break opportunities; Kyle McQuillan and Chantal Houglan were ready to talk about Honors theses and research in the program; Ryan Durazo presented “Memorias de Chapadmalal,” a photo-narrative project that he and Mary Ellen Garrett completed as part of their internship with our study abroad program in La Plata, Argentina.

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016

Hispanic Studies Seniors Shine the Spotlight on “W&M in Cádiz, Spain Research Program” at National Conference

Sarah Mullen, Stephanie Heredia, Chantal Houglan, and Prof. Francie Cate-Arries February 5, 2016, WISE Conference, Wake Forest University (NC)
Sarah Mullen, Stephanie Heredia, Chantal Houglan, and Prof. Francie Cate-Arries
February 5, 2016, WISE Conference, Wake Forest University (NC)

[Original article by Prof. Francie Cate-Arries]

At the 8th annual Workshop on Intercultural Skills Enhancement (WISE) and Conference hosted by Wake Forest University in February, Hispanic Studies seniors Stephanie Heredia and Chantal Houglan took center stage. During a 75-minute session organized by the Reves Center’s Sarah Mullen, entitled “Embedding Undergraduate Research into Faculty-Led Programs,” and alongside their research supervisor Francie Cate-Arries, the two Cádiz program alumnae shared insights about the role that faculty-mentored research has played in their respective academic trajectories. Given that each student enrolled in the program during opposite ends of their four-year course of study at W&M, their remarks focused on complementary aspects of their intellectual journey as Hispanic Studies majors. For Chantal, who as a high school student had almost opted to pursue Fashion Studies through a design school instead of a liberal arts university, such an intensive international research experience after the first year of college, allowed her to consolidate her combined interests in fashion, retail, and Spanish cultural studies:

Chantal Houglan, Cádiz, Spain, June 2013
Chantal Houglan, Cádiz, Spain, June 2013

“So when ultimately deciding to pursue a Finance degree with an international emphasis, I knew I had to incorporate my love for the fashion industry in any way possible. This brings me to the foundation of my desired career path: the field work I conducted in Cádiz in which I analyzed the relation between the economic crisis in Cádiz and a local high fashion festival, South 36.32N: The New Fashion Latitude. I wholeheartedly believe that the field work I conducted as a freshman during my study abroad experience has served as a platform that has influenced and fostered my ability to pursue a career in my chosen path of fashion.

She adds that when she successfully applied for her recent New York-based internship with Moda Operandi, that her future supervisor was intrigued with Chantal’s research in Cádiz, especially her interviews with the Spanish fashion designers.

For her part, well-traveled Stephanie Heredia prepared for her capstone year at W&M—she had previously studied abroad in Austria and Ireland, journeyed as a pilgrim to Israel, and made family trips to Bolivia and Spain—ready to assume a new viewpoint as a different kind of international traveler:

Stephanie Heredia, Cádiz, Spain, June 2015
Stephanie Heredia, Cádiz, Spain, June 2015

“During this program, I saw Spain through a very different lens, a unique one of an aspiring scholar. What made this program especially memorable was the field research experience. The Cádiz program not only fulfilled the academic craving I had as every rising senior must, but it also created this unique intimacy with the culture and the people. Because of the field research, the full immersion experience that we all strive for happened. Because I have always been passionately interested in religious popular culture, specifically Catholic traditions in the Hispanic world, I researched how the feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated by the people of Cádiz … how it creates a unique community rooted in solidarity, affirming collective identity.

Stephanie credits the satisfying research she completed this past summer as strengthening her recent applications to various graduate programs in Hispanic Studies.

Hispanic Studies professors Carla Buck and Francie Cate-Arries co-founded the Cádiz program in 2003; Buck will direct the 14th annual research trip in May of 2016. For more faculty & student perspectives on W&M research in Cádiz, and links to sample student research papers, see

Corpus Christi, Cádiz, Spain, June 2015
Corpus Christi, Cádiz, Spain, June 2015


News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016

Two W&M Undergrads Leave Their Mark in Study of Spanish Manuscripts

[Original article by Courtney Langley; for the full article, click here]

In November, Greenia took two undergraduate Hispanic Studies majors to the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, to begin examining some of the more than 50 Spanish manuscripts he and another professor discovered in the 1990s.

The find, quite literally, fell into Greenia’s hands during a 1994 visit to the library, which is generally considered to be the world’s leader in the photographic preservation of manuscripts. While in the rare books vault, Greenia innocently asked about a roll of sheepskin teetering on a top shelf and leapt to bat it down. It turned out to be a legal document relating to a 14th-century Spaniard suing a monastery over a land dispute. […]

This semester, he took two students from his class on the Medieval Book to explore the collection. James Sylvester ’17 and Alexandra Wingate ’18 had both obtained Student Research Grants through the Roy R. Charles Center for the trip. […]

Sylvester is studying the Leyes de Moros, the law code used to govern Muslim communities in late Reconquest Iberia, as part of his senior honors thesis.

He said he’s long been interested in Islamic culture and has visited Turkey a number of times as well as the Alhambra in Granada during a trip to Spain.

W&M Hispanic studies majors James Sylvester '17 (left) and Alexandra Wingate '18 (right), along with Hispanic studies professor George Greenia, study Spanish manuscripts from the 14th through 19th centuries at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library. Photo courtesy George Greenia
W&M Hispanic studies majors James Sylvester ’17 (left) and Alexandra Wingate ’18 (right), along with Hispanic studies professor George Greenia, study Spanish manuscripts from the 14th through 19th centuries at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library. Photo courtesy George Greenia

“It was just incredible to see the Islamic influence on Spanish society,” he said. “Even though the Reconquista is seen as [Christians] taking back what was theirs, it’s interesting to me that the Muslim people had been living there for about 800 years before they were united with Christians under this Moorish law code.”

So Sylvester jumped at the chance to study the Leyes de Moros in real life. The copy in Minnesota is one of only three in existence, with the other two in Copenhagen and Stockholm. […]

Wingate, who is a double major in Hispanic studies and linguistics, focused the bulk of her time in the library on a book of miscellany that had been compiled by a certain Blas Osés in the early 1800s. The manuscript is representative of the time when people copied by hand items they wanted to remember and later bound them into books.

Osés’ book is a true miscellany, containing descriptions of war with Apaches, a history of Napoleon, accounts of fires, poems and an ode to Spanish lieutenant general Antonio Gutiérrez de Otero y Santayana after he defeated British Admiral Horatio Nelson at Santa Cruz de Tenerife, among other entries.

Also in Osés’ book is an account of a 1779 voyage from San Blas, Mexico, to points some 5,000 miles up the West Coast to Alaska, with attending descriptions of the native populations. This intrigued Wingate, she said, because of her research interest in colonization and contact linguistics.

Wingate worked on transcribing Osés’ table of contents, even catching a few errors that Greenia had made years before.

“It was my first big-kid, professional research experience,” she said. “I was looking at a manuscript that few scholars have looked at since 1817.” […]

* * *

Both James Sylvester and Alexandra Wingate kept an account of their research trip in respective blogs: “Manuscripts in Minnesota” (Sylvester) and “Manuscript Research at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library” (Wingate).

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016

The W&M-Cuba Connection (I)

Prof. Stock walks the streets of Old Havana with David Culver ('09)
Prof. Stock walks the streets of Old Havana with David Culver (’09)

Cuba has always had a visible presence in our campus through the labors of Prof. Ann Marie Stock, and the amazing visitors she regularly welcomes in Williamsburg. During the fall, though, the Cuba connection became even stronger.


It all started during the summer, as the US and Cuba moved to re-established diplomatic relations after a half-century embargo. W&M alum, David Culver (’09), from News4 NBC Washington started visiting the island and witnessing first-hand the changes that were rapidly ensuing. For him, there was a personal side to these journeys, as he explains in “Rediscovering Cuba: A Journey Home.”  Furthermore, he did not hesitate to invite his former professor, Ann Marie Stock, to accompany him and share her unique insights on Cuba, as the US Embassy in Havana was getting ready to open its doors again.

During the summer, Prof. Stock also led a delegation from Swem Library to the island.  Carrie Cooper, Dean of University Libraries, Jay Gaidmore, Director of Special Collections, Troy Davis, Swem Library’s Head of media services, and Prof. Stock had a mission: “to acquire collection materials, to explore the tradition of book arts and publishing, and to gather digital material for the growing archive related to Cuba’s vibrant film culture.”  Troy Davis and Prof. Stock also went into the Sierra Maestra mountains in order to interview the creators of Televisión Serrana (TVS), a community media organization, and visit old friend Carlos Rodríguez, who had been an artist in residence at Swem back in 2014.

Ernesto Piña Rodríguez shares his insights on animated films in Cuba
Ernesto Piña Rodríguez shares his insights on animated films in Cuba


Back in Williamsburg, in October, Prof. Stock welcomed internationally acclaimed director of animated films, Ernesto Piña Rodríguez (ICAIC & ERPIRO STUDIOS). His works include, among many others, EME 5 (2004), inspired by Japanese anime; you can also see a project proposal for his feature Anti-ciclón (2013). HISP students in particular were excited to hear him talk about “El dibujo animado en Cuba.” Ernesto Piña also shared his experience in a second lecture, “An Animation Insider from Cuba.”


As 2015 drew to an end, a momentous event drove Prof. Stock back to Havana. The Spanish version of her cutting-edge On Location in Cuba (2009), Rodar en Cuba. Una generación de realizadores (Ediciones ICAIC, 2015), was launched as part of the activities of the 37th International Festival of New Latin American Cinema. The event was presided by renowned filmmaker, winner of the Premio Nacional de Cine, and mentor to Prof. Stock, Fernando Pérez. In his words, “Ann Marie is one amongst us, and you can tell by reading her book. She analyzes a very important phenomenon in Cuban culture: independent filmmaking. This is a pioneering book.”

And, as the flurry of Cuba-related activities seemed to come to a rest, Prof. Stock could not have envisioned what was to come during the spring semester…!


News News: Japanese Studies

“Shun” and Japanese Cuisine

American chefs and gourmands have recently rediscovered seasonality and locality —eating and celebrating the ingredients specific to the season and region.  In Japan these notions never faded from the cultural imagination. On November 4, the college community was treated to a fascinating lecture on the significance of “shun,” or “seasonality” to Japanese cuisine, and the special cuisine of the Akita region, presented by Dr. Yosuke Hashimoto, a professor at our partner institution, Akita International University. With its clearly differentiated seasons, Akita enjoys a variety of delicious foodstuffs, each with its high season.  And to survive through its long winter, the region developed various fermented foods, including the prototype of modern sushi-rice. Dr. Hashimoto accompanied his talk with mouthwatering photos of seasonal and local specialties, and samples of Japanese sembei rice crackers and tea.

On the following day, Dr. Hashimoto prepared several local Akita specialities together with the residents of Japanese House, the language-immersion residence hall in Preston Hall, including soup, hot-pot, and perhaps Akita’s most representative dish, kiritanpo—mashed rice shaped around skewers, toasted, and served with sweetened miso paste. Both events were organized as extensions of Tomoko Kato’s course on “Washoku,” or Japanese traditional cuisine, taught in Japanese. As you can see from the photos, it all made for a very convivial evening!


students making kiritanpo J house food 3 J house food 2 J house food 1

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016 More

Prof. Riofrio Publishes Book on Representations of Latinos in the US

Continental Shifts: Migration, Representation, and the Struggle for Justice in Latin(o) America (Austin: U Texas Press, 2015) is the product of several years of intense research on hemispheric issues by Prof. Riofrio.

Prof. Riofrio's book was recently released by the University of Texas Press
Prof. Riofrio’s book was recently released by the University of Texas Press

Applying a broad geographical approach to comparative Latino literary and cultural studies, Continental Shifts illuminates how the discursive treatment of Latinos changed dramatically following the enactment of NAFTA–a shift exacerbated by 9/11. While previous studies of immigrant representation have focused on single regions (the US/Mexico border in particular), specific genres (literature vs. political rhetoric), or individual groups, Continental Shifts unites these disparate discussions in a provocative, in-depth examination.

Bringing together a wide range of groups and genres, this intercultural study explores novels by Latin American and Latino writers, a border film by Tommy Lee Jones and Guillermo Arriaga, “viral” videos of political speeches, popular television programming (particularly shows that feature incarceration and public shaming), and user-generated YouTube videos.  These cultural products reveal the complexity of Latino representations in contemporary discourse.  While tropes of Latino migrants as threatening, diseased foreign bodies date back to the nineteenth century, Continental Shifts marks the more pernicious, recent images of Latino laborers (legal or not) in a variety of contemporary media.  Using vivid examples, John Riofrio demonstrates the connections between rhetorical and ideological violence and the physical and psychological violence that has more intensely plagued Latino communities in recent decades.  Culminating with a consideration of the “American” identity, this eye-opening work ultimately probes the nation’s ongoing struggle to uphold democratic ideals amid dehumanizing multiethnic tension.

Prof. Riofrio has also contributed to the Huffington Post on controversial topics related to immigration.  More recently, he was distinguished with the Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award at William & Mary.

Alumni Updates: Japanese Studies Graduates 2014-2015 News News: Japanese Studies

Gotta JET!

JET 1 (1)Last summer several graduating seniors jetted off to Japan—in order to become  “JETs.”  The Japan Exchange and Teaching, or JET, Program was established by the Japanese government in 1987 to “promote grass-roots exchange between Japan and other nations.” The Department of Education selects college grads from around the world to teach English in Japan for a year or more at kindergartens, and elementary schools, junior highs, and high schools. It’s a great opportunity for graduates interested in Japan to go there with the full support of the Japanese government, which trains participants, places them, and provides housing and a comfortable stipend. About 4,000 graduates participate in the program each year, with about 2,300 of those coming from the U.S.

Applicants for this prestigious program go through a careful selection process, and this past year, William & Mary students had remarkable success. Five of our 2015 graduates will become JETs: Isabel Bush, Andrew Kim, Michael Le, Jack Powers, and Mark Zuschlag. We spoke to a few of them about their plans.

Isabel is graduating with a self-designed major in Japanese Studies.  She describes the JET program as “the most logical career choice” for her. At the College, Isabel studied three years of Japanese language and took at least one other course related to Japan each semester. She also spent two summers conducting independent research on Japanese history and culture through the Charles Center. “I was able to do an internship with the Japan-US Friendship Commission during my junior year, and being part of an organization that helped foster exchange between academics, governments, and students and individuals of all ages really changed how I look at Japan and the US. I want to be an active part of that exchange, and teaching English while I work on my own language skills seems like the perfect way to do it.” Isabel hopes to improve both her language and professional skills while a JET. “I’m really excited to be a real part of a community in Japan, and to start putting my time at William & Mary to use in the real world!”

Andrew, who graduates with a concentration in East Asian Studies in the AMES (Asian and Middle Eastern Studies) Program, first heard about the JET Program from a colleague at a summer teaching program. “She was talked about the wonderful experiences she had teaching in Japan. I want to become a teacher in the future, so I decided to apply to JET in order to experience a foreign education system from a faculty position. In the five years I’ve spent here at W&M, I’ve learned so much from the wonderful teachers here in the Japanese Studies department. Under their guidance, I’ve not only developed the language skills I need to converse in Japanese, but have come to deeply appreciate Japan’s complex culture and unique history.” Andrew just learned that he’ll be teaching in the city of Takamatsu, on the island of Shikoku. “I’m ready to experience living in Japan as opposed to simply surviving,” he says. “I encourage all of you reading this to take the leap and do the same!”

Michael graduates with a major in Hispanic Studies and a minor in Japanese Studies. He began taking Japanese courses, he says, “in an impulsive fit of rebellion,” and initially viewed the JET Program as an unattainable goal. But through his Modern Languages courses, he says, “I really connected with cultural-theory work that looks to understand the complexities of representations and narratives. I gained stronger analytical and linguistic skills as well as a deeper cultural sympathy beyond my own.” At that point, it was only natural for him to apply to the JET Program. He was especially drawn to its emphasis on transnational exchange at a grassroots level. Michael, too, will be teaching on Shikoku. “I expect to rigorously challenge my worldview and culturally condition myself for the life of a translator and interpreter.”

If you’d like to know more about the JET Program, check out the website here, or speak to any of the Japanese Studies faculty.  Congratulations to Isabel, Andrew, Michael, Jack, and Mark!

News News: Japanese Studies

Canon Internship: Gaining Skills, Making Friends

Finance major and Japanese Studies minor Shumin Gong spent three months in Japan this past summer thanks to William & Mary’s internship program with Canon Corporation. Here’s her report on the experience.

“During the three-month internship period, not only did I gain working experience in a different environment, I also had a great time living and traveling in Japan. In the company, I was given various jobs, including running data and reading reports. Although these assignments were usually not complicated, they sometimes required data processing or Japanese reading skills, which allowed me to apply things I learned at W&M in varies ways. Meanwhile, my supervisor and my colleagues were supportive of me at all times, especially when I had questions regarding my job. Thus, the office environment of my division was not as stressful as I thought. On the contrary, Japanese people’s politeness and their diligence impressed me a great deal. In addition, Canon’s internship program also offered me the opportunity to explore Tokyo. Since the workload was designed for interns, I was able to utilize my time both after work and on weekends. As I spent time with some of my colleagues, I actually developed personal relationships with them out of the office too. In fact, Canon had its once-in-five-years Expo in New York this September, and I was also invited to the event by my internship manager. I consider it a great chance to get a closer look at Canon and I hope I can remain such relationship with my colleagues in the future as well.

“Being able to intern at Canon Corp. makes me feel more confident about my abilities and gives me more hope of getting a job in Japan after graduation. Personally, I would recommend this internship program to students who like Japan or to those who want to get a sense of working in a foreign environment. Again, I am honored to be chosen as Canon’s intern from W&M this year, and I am sure that my experience over the summer will guide me through my last semester at college as it leads me to my future career.”

Shumin Ging, center, at Canon's Tokyo offices with other Canon Global Interns
Shumin Gong, center, at Canon’s Tokyo offices with other Canon Global Interns
News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2015 More

National grants let Root explore ‘Tillett Tapestry’

[For the original release, please click HERE]

With two prestigious, competitive grants in hand, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies Regina Root is continuing her research on what is known as the “Tillett Tapestry,” an embroidery chronicling the conquest of the Aztecs.

Forgotten Treasure. A scene in the 104-foot-long tapestry depicts the brutality the Spaniards visited upon Aztec families. Courtesy, the Tillett family.
Forgotten Treasure. A scene in the 104-foot-long tapestry depicts the brutality the Spaniards visited upon Aztec families. Courtesy, the Tillett family.

Root has been awarded $50,400 by the National Endowment for the Humanities and another $15,000 from the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design to continue the project.

With the funds, Root will study and photograph the tapestry, a 104-foot-long embroidery depicting the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs from the points of view of both the victors and the vanquished. The tapestry features 231 scenes, including almost 1,500 human figures, using more than 55 million stitches.

“When I received a call from Sen. Mark Warner’s office, I was so excited to learn that my project, ‘The Tillett Tapestry and Post-Revolutionary Mexico,’ had been chosen for funding by the National Endowment for the Humanities,” Root said. “What a tremendously thoughtful and meaningful gesture that was for this humanities scholar!”

Root, an expert in the material and environmental culture of the Americas, was intrigued when in 2011 the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York called to ask if she’d be interested in researching the tapestry.

Prof. Regina Root
Prof. Regina Root

Cooper Hewitt’s Associate Textiles Curator Susan Brown said that shortly after she saw the Tillett Tapestry for the first time, she met Root.

“I knew she was the perfect person to interpret this remarkable object,” she said. “The tapestry tells a complex tale of creative exchange in post-revolutionary Mexico, encompassing design practice, political history and the creation of cultural narratives – precisely the territory where Regina’s research interests and expertise lie.
“I think the tapestry is a forgotten American treasure, so I was so happy to introduce it to someone I believe will tell its story in a deeply intelligent and compelling way.”

The tapestry is actually an embroidery, a classification that reveals part of its uniqueness: The embroidery represents a chronology of the conquest of Mexico in a linear sequence, much like the 11th-century Bayeaux tapestry (also an embroidery) depicts England’s conquest by the Normans.

The genesis for the tapestry stemmed from conversations between Leslie Tillett and Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. In the mid-1960s, Leslie Tillett started the hundreds of drawings and lithographs that formed the basis of the embroidery’s sweeping chronology.The work of art is the masterpiece of renowned textile designer Leslie Tillett. Born in England in 1915, Leslie Tillett arrived in Mexico with his brother James in 1940, planning to work with Spanish Civil War refugees. Shifts in the Mexican cultural realm meant that the Tilletts joined a thriving artistic community.

Forgotten treasure. A detailed scene of conquest in the Tillett Tapestry, which was widely shown through the 1990's but has since fallen into obscurity. Courtesy, the Tillett family.
Forgotten treasure. A detailed scene of conquest in the Tillett Tapestry, which was widely shown through the 1990’s but has since fallen into obscurity. Courtesy, the Tillett family.

Over the next 12 years, Leslie Tillett, then living in New York, carried the tapestry across the U.S.-Mexican border to collaborate with embroiderers who hand-stitched the detailed scenes. He engaged hundreds of artisans and seamstresses in Mexico, Haiti and Queens, New York, before finishing the tapestry in 1977.

“Leslie Tillett referred to his embroidery as ‘El Tapiz’ – The Tapestry,” Root said. “He researched its many details with precision and impeccable care. Over decades, he documented in stitches what was to become a work representing the conquest of Mexico from all viewpoints, both indigenous and Spanish.

“El Tapiz offers us a unique opportunity to wrestle with what it means to be conquered or the conqueror and to understand the terms of cultural heritage and historic memory.”

Root’s book will contain detailed, large-scale photography and the first scholarly treatment of the tapestry and its history. She hopes a traveling exhibit follows in 2019, 500 years after the conquest.

Tapestry detail. Courtesy of the Tillett Family
Tapestry detail. Courtesy of the Tillett Family

“Reading Root’s work has given me an academic appreciation for the study of fashion as a durable record of human activity,” said Dennis Manos, William & Mary vice provost for research and graduate professional studies, “starting with weaving and tanning as primary tools to satisfy basic human needs; through coloring, decoration and arrangement as artistic expressions of subliminal drives; and most importantly, to seeing customs of dress as powerful mirrors containing nonverbal statements of the political, religious and cultural content of societies.
“But really, I love reading Professor Root’s work for the fun of being surprised by her connections and insights. I expect her very deep-dive on the Tillett Tapestry will be the best yet. I can’t wait to see it.”

Root’s project will involve archival research and interviews to explain the tapestry’s significance. The Craft Research Fund Project Grant is helping with the photography and travel to archives, while the NEH grant will allow Root to examine and write about artifacts and materials that help translate its meaning.

“A lot of detective work goes into the projects I choose,” she explained. “Worthwhile scholarship is not instantaneous. Archival research can be tedious, although there are wonderful moments when one exclaims, ‘Eureka!’ Especially when finding an amazing piece of information sure to unlock the next piece of the puzzle.”

She hopes to involve students when she gets a little further along in her research and expects that it will inform some of her classes in the future.

Forgotten treasure. Here the Aztecs have the upper hand, though heavy losses are hinted at by the heads in the water. Note the hundreds of knots that make up the sea. Courtesy, the Tillett family.
Forgotten treasure. Here the Aztecs have the upper hand, though heavy losses are hinted at by the heads in the water. Note the hundreds of knots that make up the sea. Courtesy, the Tillett family.

“There will be the opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to get involved,” she said. “That would be a wonderful thing. I can see using this work of art as a jump-off point to read the texts that influenced post-revolutionary culture quite profoundly.”

News News: German Studies News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2015 More

MLL Faculty at the Center for Liberal Arts

The new general education curriculum (COLL curriculum), rolling out in August, calls on faculty to inspire future William & Mary students as they themselves were inspired. General education requirements comprise about a quarter of the 120 credits needed for an undergraduate degree and are taken alongside electives and the classes required for majors. For more than a year, the Center for Liberal Arts Fellows have been working closely with faculty behind the scenes to develop the new COLL Curriculum.  And Professors John Rio Riofrio (Hispanic Studies) and Bruce Campbell (German Studies), as Fellows of the Center, have had a important role in the discussions across campus.

Read the full piece, including a video with Prof. Riofrio, HERE.

News News: Japanese Studies Uncategorized

Japanese Studies Book Prize Awarded

The 2015 MLL Book Prize in Japanese has been awarded to Luis Madrid. The prize is given each year to a student who has shown overall excellence in Japanese studies.  A graduating senior, Luis has demonstrated a remarkable facility for learning languages during his time at the College, studying French in addition to Japanese. After graduating, Luis will be working over the summer as a full-time Spanish-language research assistant with the TRIP (Teaching Research International Policy) initiative at the W&M IR Institute. He also hopes to pursue a Master’s in International Security, and will be applying to graduate schools in both America and France. Congratulations on the award and on your graduation, Luis, and best wishes for the future!

Prof. DiNitto, Luis Madrid
Prof. DiNitto, Luis Madrid


News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2015

Michael J. Le (’15) Researches Spanish Graphic Novel

El arte de volar (2009)
El arte de volar (2009)

During the summer of 2015, El Cid, the National Journal of the Tau Iota Chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, at The Citadel, will publish an article by Michael J. Le (HISP ’15; minor in Japanese).  Michael’s article focuses on the graphic novel by Antonio Altarriba, El arte de volar (2009). Altarriba’s poignant graphic novel details the author’s attempt to portray his father’s life during the war and post-war through his themes of reconciliation and fragmentation, reflected in the very medium itself. Not only do the frames divide the narrative and must be completed to continue: Altarriba masterfully superimposes his own narrative voice onto that of his father, creating a tense intersection spanning generations and political perspectives. In essence, the reader becomes the connective tissue that binds the relationship between son, father, and narrative and is subsequently transformed into a witness to the greater part of the 20th century. A true collaboration between reader and text. Within this context, Michael looks at how Altarriba elevates the personal narrative to a national narrative of trauma and collective memory, examining the familial unit as a metaphor for political turmoil.

artedevolar2As a Hispanic Studies major, Michael has embraced multiple and varied opportunities in our program, including serving as a Teaching Assistant for our language classes. After a successful internship at the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress (summer 2013), during which he developed the basis for a finding aid for the Handbook of Latin American Studies, Michael spent last summer (2014) interning at the Cultural Division of the Spanish Embassy in Washington, D.C..  During the latter, Michael found himself doing heavy editorial and translation work, which dovetailed with the translation courses he had taken in our program, his translations for the documentary La memoria se abre paso, and for Oneyda González‘s book Polvo de alas: el guión cinematográfico en Cuba.  Translation was also an important part of Michael’s work as a research assistant to Prof. Francie Cate-Arries for the Cádiz Memory Project.  Under the auspices of a Weingartner Fellowship, Michael was able to translate testimonies and research Historic Memory in post-Franco Spain, which included translating and subtitling the documentary La Sauceda, de la utopía al horror.

After graduating, Michael will spend a year teaching English in Japan through the prestigious JET program.

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2015 More

Johanna Hribal (’13) presents research on Julio Cortázar

Julio Cortázar (1914-1984)
Julio Cortázar (1914-1984)

As she finishes her coursework to earn an M.A. in Spanish at the University of Louisville, Johanna E. Hribal (HISP ’13) recently presented her research at KFLC, The Languages, Literatures and Cultures Conference, the longest-standing foreign language conference in the US. Her presentation, entitled “El sadismo y la reivindicación femenina en ‘Recortes de prensa’ de Julio Cortázar,” focuses on female agency and solidarity against the phantoms of State-sponsored terrorism during the last military dictatorship in Argentina, in a text that had originally been censored when Cortázar tried to publish his collection of short stories Queremos tanto a Glenda (1980). For a full abstract of Johanna’s research paper, please click here.

Before entering the MA program in Spanish at Louisville as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, Johanna spent a semester in our W&M program in La Plata, where her passion and interest for Argentine culture deepened.  A Phi Beta Kappa member and a recipient of a Gilman Scholarship, Johanna also served the program as an undergraduate Teaching Assistant.

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2015

Why I Give to Hispanic Studies: Cody Hill (’09)

Cody Hill ('09)
Cody Hill (’09)

I choose to give to the Hispanic Studies program at William and Mary because it was there that my love of other cultures and the Spanish language was cultivated. Beyond the value I’ve gotten from learning an important language, I was exposed to powerful literature from writers like Jorge Luis Borges, Isabel Allende, and Federico Garcia Lorca. Of particular impact was my senior seminar with Professor Cate-Arries on exiled Spaniards during the Franco dictatorship. I became ‘pen pals’ with an elderly lady, Isabel, in Spain who opened up to me about what life was like for her and her family under a totalitarian state. It was incredibly eye opening for me as a young kid living in the college bubble.

After graduation I took the opportunity to live and teach English in Spain for two years, where I was able to further my language skills and love of the culture. I also got to actually meet Isabel in person in Madrid which is an experience I’ll always cherish. The skills gained through my time in the Hispanic Studies department have served me well in my two jobs after returning from Spain. I worked in sales and marketing with several resort chains in Latin America and the Caribbean and now am the Associate Director of Business Development at The Latinum Network in Bethesda, MD where I work directly with the Hispanic and Multicultural marketing strategies of Fortune 500 companies.

Faculty Awards News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2015 More

Prof. Jonathan Arries to receive The Thomas Ashley Graves Jr. Award for Sustained Excellence (2015)

The Graves Award is presented annually to a member of the faculty in recognition of sustained excellence in teaching.

arries_jJonathan Arries, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies, received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialty in Foreign Language Education. His dissertation title was “Ideology and Social Studies Textbooks Used in the Education of Hispanic Americans,” and his current area of research is the scholarship of teaching and learning, focusing on service-learning in two different locations: in the Latino community in the U.S. and also in Nicaragua. His most recent contribution to that field is an article titled “Searching for Conscientização: Mentoring Fieldwork in International Service-learning,” coauthored with alumna Lauren Jones and published in Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture 9.1 (2009). Professor Arries was also associate editor of Juntos: Communty Partnerships in Spanish and Portuguese, Heinle, 2004.  Professor Arries’ courses address such topics as action research in Nicaraguan schools, Hispanic Cultural Studies and service-learning in the Latino community, dialects of Spanish and national identity, farm worker culture and art, and medical interpretation for clinics that serve farm workers on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

Throughout his distinguished career, Prof. Arries has received several awards, including the President’s Award for Service to the Community (2005), the University Chair for Teaching Excellence (2002), the Pew National Scholarship for Carnegie Scholars (2001), the VA COOL Faculty Award (2000), and the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching (2000), among others.

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2015 More

Morgan Sehdev (’17): Interdisciplinary Work and Community Outreach

Morgan Sehdev (’17)

Morgan Sehdev, class of 2017, is a Hispanic Studies major and Biology minor at the College. Her interest in the full liberal arts experience has led to her involvement in research in the fields of natural science, social science, and the humanities. Her work in Dr. Saha’s developmental biology lab has earned her a primary authorship and a Goldwater Scholarship. Her experience in social science research, particularly field work,  includes her participation with the Student Organization for Medical Outreach and Sustainability in the Dominican Republic. Morgan’s courses in Hispanic Studies program this year included a course in Medical Interpretation, and a subsequent research experience this summer will be a four-week internship as a  volunteer medical interpreter with Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. Her goal while on the Eastern Shore is not only to assist health care professionals and the farmworker community, but also to learn deeply about the migrant experience through research. In collaboration with Prof. Jonathan Arries, Morgan’s research project will be to adapt and implement a model of popular education known as “Gente y Cuentos” under the auspices of the Literacy Council of the Eastern Shore.

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2015 More

Collaborative Research in Pilgrimage Studies

Three undergraduate research assistants in Hispanic Studies, William Plews-Ogan (’15), Emma Kessel (’16), and Bobby Bohnke (’17), collaborated with Prof. George Greenia on an original article on the exhausting nature of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages.  Their team effort will be published under the title of “The Bartered Body: Medieval Pilgrims and Spiritual Transaction” in the forthcoming anthology The Pilgrim Body: An Anatomy of Intentional Movement.  As they explain in their opening paragraph,

greeniaThe medieval Christian pilgrim was nothing without his body.  All the sacred debris that he ferried and fondled–all the gifts he carried forward, and relics and souvenirs he clutched on his return–were mere accessories. … The journey physically disciplined and dirtied the body, exposed the traveler to danger and death, and denied him normal comforts.  To sustain their worthiness, pilgrims scrupulously cleansed before entering the sacred precincts, and emblazoned themselves with badges and even tattoos for the return home.  Their bodies were tabernacles for their devotion, their best offering on arrival, and their principal relic on return.

Sections of their essay explores topics as diverse as The Body as Risk, The Diseased and Weary Body, The Legal Body, The Bartered Body and The Sacred Body.  Kessel presented portions of their shared findings during the 2015 Undergraduate Research Symposium sponsored by the William & Mary Program in Medieval & Renaissance Studies, and will continue her research during William & Mary summer study abroad in Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain.  She will both narrow her scope to specifically the medieval woman’s bodily experience, habitually underreported in pre-modern sources, and expand the team’s scope to consider the body of the mature modern pilgrim.

Graduating senior Plews-Ogan is a veteran pilgrim from two trips on the pilgrimage routes to Santiago and has completed a senior honors thesis in sociology on alternative forms of judicial sentencing–including being sent on pilgrimage.  Bohnke has studied abroad too, in William & Mary’s program in Cádiz, Spain, and already as a sophomore is enrolled in a senior seminar in Hispanic Studies at the College.  During the summer of 2014, Bohnke worked as a research fellow with Professor Francie Cate-Arries and the Cádiz Memory Project.


News News: Arabic Studies Spring 2015

Sheehi’s students launch Arab American Tribe blog at W&M

[Full story by Cortney Langley]

Being Muslim and Arab American themselves, both Duenya Hassan ’16 and Saif Fiaz ’17 thought they were in for an easy spring semester when they enrolled in “Arabs in America/America in Arabs.”

“I was like, ‘I got this. It’s going to be an easy class,’” said Fiaz, a biology major whose parents are Pakistani. “But I’ve learned a lot. I was surprised.”

Hassan, a government and gender, sexuality and women’s studies major whose parents are Palestinian, echoed Fiaz. “I didn’t think I’d learn as much as I have,” she said.

They attribute some of that learning to the style of the class taught by Stephen Sheehi, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Associate Professor of Middle East Studies at William & Mary. In addition to traditional class readings, essays and discussions, students must design and post multimedia blog entries integrating current events and issues with the class materials. The class materials are prescribed, but students can take off in any direction they choose as long as they relate it back to the material.

“They are encouraged to think in terms of multimedia, using written sources, videos, music, to explore what activists – not only intellectuals – are doing,” Sheehi said. “They explore the political conditions affecting the Arab-American experience and how Arab Americans answer those conditions, how they forge their own identities.”

The blog, “Arab American Tribe,” had Hassan and her classmates responding within days to the shooting deaths of a Jordanian couple – both graduate students – and the sister of the wife in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in Feburary. Their post examined the reluctance of the police and media to label the murders as a hate crime, in contrast to Muslims around the world.

“In class we were talking about racial hierarchies within the U.S. and how Arab Americans have had this process, according to Matthew Jacobson, of becoming white,” Hassan said. “The first Christian Arabs were able to assimilate, to integrate, and to receive many of the privileges the majority received. After 9/11, you see this flip. You have discrimination against Arabs, and, at this point, it doesn’t matter if they are Muslim or Christian, because it’s based primarily on physical appearance.

“In looking at this incident, we were trying to understand where Arab Americans fit into this racial hierarchy now, and because the media portrayed this as some lone incident, whether there are sentiments the public has about this issue.”

You can read the full story here.

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2015 More

Interpreting the Environment, Communicating Nature, and Encouraging Stewardship

Caitlin Verdu ('14) and the Blue Goose, the mascot of the National Wildlife Refuge
Caitlin Verdu (’14) and the Blue Goose, the mascot of the National Wildlife Refuge

Since graduating last year, Caitlin Verdu (’14) has found herself actively combining her love for nature, her outreach engagement, her linguistic skills in Spanish, and her intercultural communication skills.  A double major in Environmental Science & Policy and Hispanic Studies, Caitlin spent the summer of 2014 interning with the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) at the Manassas National Battlefield and the Conway Robinson State Forest, where she designed interpretive materials and assisted on land management projects.  Caitlin then moved to Ohio, where she currently works as a Visitor Services Intern with the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.  She regularly leads guided hikes and participates in their urban outreach efforts to instill in urban youth a sense of stewardship regarding nature and the environment.  She recently published an article on her work, “What’s the Buzz at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge? Creating Pollinator Habitat Through Urban Outreach,” in the February 2015 issue of the  Midwest regional newsletter of the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

During her undergraduate studies, Caitlin had already had the opportunity to combine her interests in ENSP and Hispanic Studies.  Her study abroad experience in Central America (Nicaragua and Costa Rica) with the Center for Ecological Living and Learning allowed her to work on community sustainability projects (organic farming, solar energy, etc.) while testing her linguistic and intercultural communication skills, as she had to interpret from Spanish to English in various formal and informal settings.  At W&M, Caitlin worked as an EcoAmbassador, and as a research assistant for several projects.

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2015

Immigration and Human Rights In Hemispheric Perspective: the Comisión Provincial por la Memoria visits W&M

Early in the spring semester, W&M welcomed a most special delegation coming from the Comisión Provincial por la Memoria, in La Plata, Argentina.  As is well known, the Comisión is our partner institution in La Plata and coordinates W&M’s study abroad program in Argentina.

Sandra Raggio (director of the CPM), Bruno Carpinetti (CPM & Universidad Nacional Arturo Jauretche), and five young interns & volunteers at the CPM (Ángeles Lucía Fernández, Ignacio Abel Gil, Gabriel Illescas Álvarez, Victoria Collado Ferrari, and Camila Marchione) were invited to explore issues of immigration near Tucson, AZ, at the US-Mexico border.  After a week of intense physical and psychological fieldwork, the delegation arrived in Williamsburg in order to share their experience and their perspective with different student groups and the community at large.  As part of their visit to the College, the delegation offered a comparative analysis of the challenges and issues of immigration and human rights both at the US-Mexico border, and in Argentina.  The event, “Crossing Borders in the Americas: A Roundtable on Immigration and Human Rights,” was moderated by Prof. Silvia Tandeciarz (Hispanic Studies & Latin American Studies).

[the full video of the roundtable, without English subtitles, can be found here]

During their time at the College, the delegation met with W&M students who had also visited the US-Mexico border earlier in January studying global complexity with Prof. Jonathan Arries (Hispanic Studies & Latin American Studies) and Bill Fisher (Anthropology & Latin American Studies).   They also shared their insights with Prof. Jennifer Bickham Méndez (Sociology & Latin American Studies) and students in her advanced seminar, SOCL 409 – ‘Immigration and Human Rights.’

The visit of the Argentine delegation was sponsored by the Reves Center, the Latin American Studies Program, the Charles Center, and the Hispanic Studies Program. Technological assistance for the production of the videos was generously offered by Pablo Yáñez and Mike Blum; subtitles were generated by Prof. Jorge Terukina.

Faculty Awards Jefferson Award News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2015 More

Riofrio honored with Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award

[Original story by Cortney Langley; for Prof. Riofrio’s remarks upon acceptance of the award during Charter Day, February 6, 2015, click here]

John 'Rio' RiofrioAssistant Professor in Hispanic Studies
John ‘Rio’ Riofrio
Assistant Professor in Hispanic Studies

To John Riofrio, the day a student walked out of his class in frustration represents as large a teaching victory as the day a quiet conversation led another one to remain in William & Mary and later choose teaching as a career.

That might seem a strange posture for an instructor who during Charter Day will be bestowed the Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award. But it’s a perfectly consistent attitude for the Hispanic studies professor who goes by “Rio” and who daily tries to prod students into challenging intellectual territory.

His efforts will be rewarded on Charter Day, Feb. 6. The award is given annually to a younger faculty member who has demonstrated – through concern as a teacher, character and influence – the inspiration and stimulation of learning to the betterment of the individual and society.

“I’m not a highly awarded anything,” Riofrio said. “This is the first big award I’ve won, and it’s an amazing feeling.”

Hispanic Studies Professor Ann Marie Stock said in a letter of support from the Modern Languages and Literatures Awards Committee that in 2009 the department envisioned hiring a Latino cultural studies specialist mainly to create and offer courses in the emerging field.

“But we gained so much more: a brilliant scholar whose work is shifting paradigms in ethnic and area studies across the hemisphere; a highly effective teacher consistently lauded by his students for ‘life-changing’ experiences and sought out by his colleagues for pedagogical advice and curricular enhancement; and a generous citizen devoted to the greater good. Professor Riofrio inspires us all, and his leadership and collaborative spirit have left us changed,” she said.

Riofrio emphasizes a hemispheric approach to identity politics by examining Latino cultural production, border studies, globalization, immigration and migration, Stock said. Classes such as Border Theory, Constructing the Barrio and Critiquing the American Dream expose students to new perspectives, and they respond enthusiastically in evaluations that rank Riofrio and his classes “well above” the departmental mean.

“It was one of the first classes I had that really required me to think,” wrote Chenoa Moten ’12 in a letter of recommendation. “There was no ‘remember, recite, repeat’ going on in Rio’s classes. He would constantly challenge us to have an opinion and to share it.”

Another student, Jin Hyuk Ho ’16, said the class lit up when Riofrio walked in. “He was genuinely interested in what everyone had to say and, for the first time in my life, I got to experience a classroom in which no student held back his or her thoughts for fear of sounding stupid.”

For his part, Riofrio dodges credit, pointing to the nature of teaching and the students themselves for his success.

“Good teachers are constantly critiquing themselves. One of my advisers once said that good teachers were inherently like thieves: They would see a good idea and steal it, take it for their own classrooms and their own pedagogy. He’s absolutely right about that.

“William & Mary is absolutely sincere about its dedication to teaching. I never felt like if I had published two brilliant books in my field and had been a terrible teacher, I would have been able to stay.”

In the classroom Riofrio sparks discussion and sniffs out dissent. If students feel like it’s the first time they are being asked to think deeply about a subject, Riofrio said it’s more a commentary on K-12 education emphasizing standardization than it is on him.

“William & Mary students are often the students who have best been able to negotiate that context. The problem is I don’t know that that necessarily qualifies you to be a critical thinker. But what does it mean to actually spend time teaching critical thinking? It’s time consuming, and it’s often really frustrating for students.”

Enter the student who exited. Riofrio recalls the class was discussing consumerism, and what it means to live in a country whose economy is dependent on citizens buying all the time. One student argued that “sometimes shopping just feels good,” but balked when asked what generated that good feeling.

“I remember she was upfront that this was so frustrating, that she just felt like, ‘Where’s the right answer? Should we buy stuff or not?’

“And that frustration is actually what my classes are about. I don’t pretend I have any answers to these things. And our efforts to work through them, to just wrestle with them, was precisely what they hadn’t been asked to do in high school. What I love about teaching here is that when they do come to my classroom, almost across the board they are ready to think about these things.”

Students say Riofrio is just as inspiring outside the classroom. Daniel Vivas ’11 had already met with a recruiter, having decided to drop out of school to join his brother in the military, when he went to see Riofrio.

“What was said in that office will stay between him and me,” but the conversation changed his mind, Vivas told the awards committee. Today he’s himself teaching while pursuing a doctorate. “Every day I’ve spent as an educator, I’ve spent it trying to be as good a teacher as [Riofrio], and to be as impactful with my students as he was with me,” he said.

Riofrio denies he has a particularly nurturing demeanor and actually gave up freshman advising because he felt he wasn’t good enough at it.

“Mine is not the kind of office where a steady stream of students comes in to sort of pour their hearts out,” he said. “I don’t have a box of Kleenex ready to go. But I care about them, and I respect them.”

On campus, Riofrio is one of the inaugural group of Center for the Liberal Arts Fellows implementing the new COLL curriculum. He sits on the W&M Diversity Advisory Committee and has also served with the Ad Hoc Admissions Committee for Latino Recruitment. In 2011, he organized a national colloquium on minority studies on campus.

His forthcoming book, Continental Shifts: Migration, Representation and the Search for Justice in Latin(o) America, will be released by University of Texas Press this year. He has also published a series of opinion pieces inThe Huffington Post.

Off campus, he serves on the board of directors of All Together Williamsburg, a group promoting diversity in the Historic Triangle. He participated in a Virginia Department of Health workshop on Latinos and has co-facilitated public workshops in Williamsburg on Latino immigration.

“I’ve really wanted whatever I do to be relevant, particularly trying to bridge the disconnect between the public perception of Latinos in the United States and the reality,” he said. “There’s still an enormous amount of misunderstanding. I feel like my academic work shouldn’t be entirely distinct from my role in the community.”

Fall 2014 News News: Russian Studies

New Russian Prof. Robert Mulcahy Discusses Research and Courses

Russian Senior Lecturer Bella Ginzbursky-Blum interviews new colleague Robert Mulcahy about his research and teaching. Prof. Mulcahy just started teaching at William and Mary in the Fall of 2014.

Fall 2014 News News: Japanese Studies

Embracing the Horror: Japanese Studies Alum Mike Crandol (’07) talks about his current work

Mike Crandol '07
Mike Crandol ’07

This past October, William & Mary alum Mike Crandol (’07) returned to campus to share with us what he’s been up to since he left.  After graduating with a major in East Asian Studies, Mike entered the graduate program at the University of Minnesota, where he’s now finishing up his doctoral degree.  Mike’s research concerns the genre of “kaiki eiga”  or “bizarre films”—predecessors to today’s “J-horror.” After his fascinating talk, Mike answered some questions about grad school, his research, and how W&M prepared him for both.

 How did you become interested in Japan and Japanese cinema?

Anime was the gateway drug, like it is for a lot of people in my generation, I suppose. I’ve loved animation my whole life. When I was a kid I wanted to be a Disney animator. As I got older, the more sophisticated content in some Japanese animation appealed to me. I also started to get more interested in live-action cinema, so it all kind of came together neatly when I decided to major in East Asian Studies at W&M.

Did you do a study-abroad program while an undergrad at W&M?

No. At the time I was convinced that I needed to study Japanese for several more years before I’d even be able to function in Japan. I’ve since learned that’s not true. The sooner you go to Japan, the faster you will pick up the language, no matter what level you’re at when you arrive.

Why did you decide to continue on to graduate school?

I had no intention of going to grad school while I was at W&M. The summer after I graduated I went to talk to Professor [Rachel] DiNitto, and told her I really didn’t know what to do next, but I didn’t want to let all my time studying Japanese language and culture go to waste. She knew I was interested in cinema and suggested I apply to the PhD program in Asian Literatures, Cultures, and Media at the University of Minnesota, where a colleague of hers did some work on Japanese film. That colleague became my graduate advisor!

How did your undergrad experience at W&M prepare you for graduate school?

I think your undergraduate education ideally prepares you to be able to talk about texts and topics that interest you in a more insightful manner. It gives you the context and the raw materials. At W&M I took classes not only on Japanese film but Japanese history, culture, and religion as well. This allows you, as a grad student, to do theoretical analysis of Japanese film while taking into account cultural/historical contexts that a regular film critic might miss.

What led you to kaiki eiga?

Along with animation, horror movies are another lifelong interest of mine. J-horror was still pretty popular when I was at W&M – things like The Ring and Ju-on: The Grudge. Everybody – even academics – was talking about these films, but nobody seemed to know what had come before. While I was at W&M, Criterion released a film from 1960 called Jigoku by a director named Nakagawa Nobuo on DVD. In the extra features, renowned J-horror director Kurosawa Kiyoshi talks about the influence of Nakagawa’s kaiki eiga on his own films. That was the beginning, for me. Nakagawa was the greatest Japanese kaiki eiga director, but it’s this whole genre of popular horror film that covers a span of over 50 years. Yet today most people know almost nothing at all about it, even in Japan.

What sort of reception have you gotten to your research topic?

People are excited by it, both here and in Japan. There are only two or three scholars in Japan who have really tackled the topic before. Japanese academics I’ve met have been surprised a foreigner has even heard of some of these movies. And American and European scholars I’ve spoken with agree that it’s important to correct the notion in the West that Japanese horror is only Godzilla, The Ring, and splatter-gore pictures like Ichi the Killer.

Any advice for students trying to identify a compelling research project?

It’s of course important to try and find something new or ‘fresh’ that hasn’t really been done before, but I think it’s more important to do something you genuinely love. It sounds cliché but it’s true. If you’re going to devote a big chunk of your life to something, it needs to be something you’re passionate about. Be an otaku about it. If you have that level of geeky love for your topic, you’ll certainly be able to notice something about it that no one else has. And that’s how you make it fresh and your own.

Fall 2014 News News: Italian Studies

Introducing Italian Professor Monica Seger

Professor Monica Seger is our new faculty member in Italian Studies. In this interview, Professor Seger talks about her research, courses she’s teaching, and how her passion for the environment breathes life into both.

Fall 2014 News News: Hispanic Studies

Testimonies of Trauma, Mourning & Remembrance: the Cádiz Memory Project

Robert Bohnke '17 (far right) and Prof. Francie Cate Arries (center) interview a family affected by the Spanish Civil War. Image © Mike Blum, 2014
Robert Bohnke ’17 (far right) and Prof. Francie Cate Arries (center) interview a family affected by the Spanish Civil War. Image © Mike Blum, 2014

In the summer of 2014, Hispanic Studies majors Michael Le (Class of 2015) and Robert Bohnke (’17) worked as research fellows with Professor Francie Cate-Arries, supported by a generous grant by the Weingartner Fellowship for International Studies. Cate-Arries’ historical memory project seeks to record and digitally archive testimonies gathered in the province of Cádiz, Spain from family members whose loved ones were murdered during the early days of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the Francisco Franco dictatorship (1939-1975). In collaboration with photographer and videographer Mike Blum, W&M Academic Technology Specialist, the research team is creating a website to showcase the oral testimonies,  the objects of memory, and the places of remembrance that tell the story of the civil war’s losers. Spain’s new generation of activist grandchildren advocate for the exhumation of mass graves, recovering not only the remains of family members “disappeared” during the regime, but the buried history that now comes to light as victims’ descendents recount families’ tales of terror & resistance.

Robert Bohnke’s contributions included his transcriptions of recorded testimonies, and subtitles for a 2014 documentary about the 1936 civilian massacre of villagers of La Sauceda. He recalls high points of the project: “In Cádiz, the history of the Spanish Civil War is all around you. There are castles on the beach of La Caleta that were used as prisons for political prisoners and shortly thereafter as the sites of executions. In addition to the presence of this history, a growing number on Spaniards are working to create a social and political dialog about those who were executed during war… Some of the most inspiring, serious, and thought provoking moments of my study abroad came while I was working on my research project and while discussing the legacy of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) with the diverse assortment of individuals I met in Spain. I attended documentary screenings about a recent exhumation of a mass grave at La Sauceda, interviewed a historian, and traveled through Cádiz with Professor Cate-Arries observing how modern Spaniards remember and commemorate their past. I heard a member of the audience at the documentary say that equally as important as the disinterment of the remains is the ‘recovery of the ideas of these bones’.”

Michael Le similarly transcribed audiofiles and the documentary script. When one of his research blog readers asked him about the emotional dimension of working with testimonies of trauma–“Are there any narratives that stuck out to you as you transcribed?”—he responded: “I transcribed a bit of Andrés Rebolledo’s interview where he talks about his grandfather and this intense yearning to know his grandparents. It’s heartbreaking and feels very much like a need to know one’s identity, which has essentially been denied and stolen from him. I also recall the vocal Lucía Román, who spoke about how her grandfather died in her father’s place when the soldiers collected civilians. I also remember María Martín Pérez, the granddaughter of a desaparecido. She spoke about how the soldiers were killing children, and her grandmother had to leave her husband to protect her family. She ends up in tears when she says that her grandmother and mother were so consumed with the fear that the soldiers would find and kill them one day, that her mother ended up committing suicide years later. It’s rather hard to watch.”

Sample testimonies may be consulted online at

Fall 2014 News News: German Studies

Prof. Bruce Campbell Discusses His New German Detective Fiction Book

campbell01In 2014, Prof. Bruce Campbell came out with a new book which he co-edited and wrote an article for. The volume, titled Detectives, Dystopias, and Poplit: Studies in Modern German Genre Fiction, is a study of what Prof. Campbell describes as denigrated genres of popular fiction. Below is his discussion about the production of the book and why you should pay more attention to the genres of detective fiction, science fiction, and other popular fiction if you really want to know about German society and culture.

Fall 2014 News News: French & Francophone Studies

French Prof. Magali Compan’s Students Speak Out About New Course

In the Fall semester 2014, Prof. Magali Compan taught a new course in the French section, a Freshman seminar entitled “Francophone Women Writers”. The course examined texts by women from around the Francophone World (Mauritius Island, France, Haiti, Guadeloupe, Reunion Island, Sénégal, Tahiti, Algeria). During the course of the semester, students examined how women from different cultures and countries narrate their lives through literature and film. The texts they explored reveal vital insights into the history, culture, social realities, and politics of francophone cultures. While the course theme centered on questions of gender, the texts they explored also raise important issues of race, social class, religion, colonialism and post-colonialism. This class, which was taught exclusively in French, offered the opportunity to discuss in large and smaller groups literature and theoretical texts. In this video her students share some thoughts about the Freshmen seminar.

Fall 2014 News News: Chinese Studies

Visiting Professor of Chinese Jennifer Lee on Teaching and Research

Professor Jennifer Lee arrived at William and Mary in the Fall and has jumped into her duties in the Chinese program. Below is an interview with Prof. Lee about her teaching, research, and life at the College.

Fall 2014 News News: Arabic Studies

Iron Chef Katsuya Fukushima Cooks for the Arabic House

Chef Katsuya Fukushima, owner of Washington, DC ramen restaurant Daikaya and two-time winner of Iron Chef America came to William and Mary in the Fall to teach a class on Arabic cooking. Chef Fukushima cooked for students of Prof. Stephen Sheehi in the Arabic House, taught them about Arabic cooking and then answered some questions about his career and experiences as a cook. Watch the interview and some highlights from the cooking demonstration below:

Fall2014More News News: Hispanic Studies

Teaching at a bilingual school in Costa Rica

Kate Wessman ('13) conducts an interview in Cádiz, Spain, during summer of 2014.
Kate Wessman (’13) conducts an interview in Cádiz, Spain, during summer of 2013.

Phi Beta Kappa scholar Kate Wessman (HISP ’13) is currently teaching 4th and 5th grade Mathematics, Science, and English at the bilingual Escuela Cristiana El Puente in Quepos, Costa Rica. After graduating with a major in Hispanic Studies, she went on to earn an MA in Elementary Education with endorsements for Spanish (preK-12) and English as a Second Language (preK-12) in 2014.  Kate explains her ow background, her academic trajectory, and her experiences at El Puente in her website.

During her years as an undergraduate, Kate spent semesters abroad in Florianópolis (Brazil) and Sevilla (Spain) to perfect her language skills. During the summer of 2013, and thanks to the support of a Weingartner Fellowship, she accompanied Prof. Francie Cate-Arries and fellow graduate Megan Bentley to Spain and conducted interviews in several small towns in the Sierra de Cádiz and in Madrid, with family members of victims of the Franco regime, and survivors of state repression and political exile.  Kate, Megan, Prof. Cate-Arries and IT Academic Liaison Mike Blum presented their project, “Franco’s War & Repression 75 Years Later: Picking Up the Pieces of Mourning & Remembrance,” in January 2014 as part of the Bellini Colloquium, a lecture series sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, and named after the first professor of Modern Language at the College, Carlo Bellini.

Fall2014More News News: Hispanic Studies

John E. Pence (’12) co-authors study on the history of corporate law in Brazil

John E. Pence ('12) is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese
John E. Pence (’12) is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese

Currently a J.D. candidate at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Hispanic Studies alumnus John E. Pence (’12) has recently co-authored a study on the history of corporate law practice in Brazil. His research, “Legal Elites and the Shaping of Corporate Law Practice in Brazil: A Historical Study,” is forthcoming (2015) in Law and Social Inquiry, an interdisciplinary academic journal sponsored by the American Bar Foundation.

While at William & Mary, and thanks to the support of the Philpott-Pérez Award,  John was able to travel to Nicaragua with Prof. Jonathan Arries and W&M alumna Lauren Jones (’04) to work on “Poets and Pedagogy,” a service-learning, community-based research project that investigated the role of poetry as a tool for critical literacy in Nicaragua.  John was also able to provide English-language instruction in an under-resourced elementary school in Managua.

The Philpott-Pérez Award in Hispanic Studies was generously established by Sharon K. Philpott in 2010 in order to support faculty-student research.

Fall2014More News News: Hispanic Studies

Katie Brown (’13) publishes article on Libro de buen amor

Libro de buen amor (manuscript S; 1343), fol. 2r.The manuscript has been digitized by the Biblioteca Nacional de España
Libro de buen amor (manuscript S; 1343), fol. 2r.
The manuscript has been digitized by the Biblioteca Nacional de España

Hispanic Studies alumna Katie Brown (’13) recently published an article on orality and performativity in the 14th-century Libro de buen amor by Juan Ruiz, Archpriest of Hita.  The article appears in the latest issue of the e-journal eHumanista. Journal of Iberian Studies: “La voz performativa y el voluntarismo en el Libro de buen amor“. eHumanista 28 (2014): 748-58.  Katie is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese at Yale University.

During her years at the College, Katie was a Monroe Scholar who travelled to Cusco to study Quechua and carry out research on the political issues surrounding the Academia Mayor de la Lengua Quechua.  She also studied abroad in Seville, and wrote an Honors Thesis on the use of science as a political tool to justify the subordination of the indigenous people in the Andes in the early modern Spanish empire: “Imaginando el derecho “natural” en el imperio español: apropiaciones del discurso científico y la posesión de los Andes en la historiografía colonial.” She was also awarded the J. Worth Banner Award in Hispanic Studies.

Fall2014More News News: Hispanic Studies

Teaching English in Chile

Kristin Giordano, surrounded by her students, at an English public speaking competition
Kristin Giordano, surrounded by her students, at an English public speaking competition

Since graduating with a double major in Hispanic Studies and Linguistics, Kristin Giordano (’14) has been teaching English at the Liceo (High School) Pablo Neruda in Temuco, Chile.

A Phi Beta Kappa Scholar who worked as a Teaching Assistant for the Hispanic Studies program, Kristin’s deep interest in the way language shapes our lives and the realities we inhabit led her to apply to the English Open Doors Program, an initiative launched by the Chilean government and supported by the United Nations Development Program.  Upon arrival, prospective teachers receive intensive language-teaching training, and are then transferred to their respective institutions, which are located throughout Chile.

A dynamic English classroom
A dynamic English classroom

While Kristin had already taught English during her semester abroad with the W&M program in La Plata, Argentina, prior to traveling to Chile, she enrolled in the special MDLL course “Teaching English Abroad” (MDLL 348).  During her undergraduate trajectory, Kristin also participated in Prof. David Aday’s project M.A.N.O.S. (Medical Aid Nicaragua: Outreach Scholarship), and interned at the Embassy of Spain in Washington D.C.

For more information on teaching English in Chile via the English Open Doors Program, please consult their website.

Fall2014More News News: Hispanic Studies

In Flux: A Conversation on the Art of Translation

Traduttore, traditore (roughly, ‘translators are traitors’) is a phrase frequently invoked when discussing the art of translation. Why would the act of translating be considered analogous to treason? What lies behind the act of translating? Can we speak of an ‘original’ and a ‘subservient translation’ or ‘copy’? What are some of the challenges a translator may face? How does one transit between texts and languages?

Neva Mícheva
Neva Mícheva

On November 13, 2014, a group of Hispanic Studies students and faculty members convened to discuss these and other questions related to literary translation.  As a special guest, they were joined by Neva Mícheva, one of the most accomplished translators of contemporary literature in romance languages into Bulgarian.

Neva Micheva, a polyglot with M.A. degrees in Italian Philology and Journalism, was distinguished with the coveted 2014 Hristo G. Danov National Literary Award for her translations into Bulgarian of Los poemas de Sidney West (1969) by Argentine poet Juan Gelman, and Centuria: cento piccolo romanzi fiume (1979) by Italian writer Giorgio Manganelli. This fall, Micheva has been a Writer-in-Residence at the renowned and highly selective Omi International Arts Center (Ghent, NY). Thanks to Micheva’s translations, Bulgarian readers can enjoy the works by notable Hispanic intellectuals such as Eduardo Galeano, Manuel Puig, and Augusto Monterroso, Catalan writers such as Manuel de Pedrolo, and Sergi Belbel, and Italian authors like Antonio Tabucchi, Italo Calvino, and Dino Buzzatti, among others.

News News: Japanese Studies Uncategorized

Public Talk: An Army for the People

Dr. Tomoyuki Sasaki, History, Eastern Michigan UniversityDr. Tomoyuki Sasaki, History, Eastern Michigan University

Japan’s postwar constitution renounces war as a sovereign right and stipulates that land, sea, and air forces will never be maintained, yet the country today possesses a large and powerful military. Join us as Dr. Tomoyuki Sasaki, of Eastern Michigan University, traces the development of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces within the context of postwar economic development and discusses its various roles and relations with civil society. Part of the Reves Distinguished Lectures in International Studies series.  Supported by the Reves Center and the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Program.

Thursday, November 20, 5:00 – 6:30, Blair Hall 223

Fall2014More News News: Hispanic Studies

Farmworker Culture, Social Justice, and Hispanic Studies

Kate Furgurson ('14)
Kate Furgurson (’13)

Since graduating in May 2013, Kate Furgurson has been trying to ameliorate the lives of farmworkers in North Carolina.  A double major in Environmental Policy and Hispanic Studies, Kate joined Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF) in order to work on helping farmworkers access health care services.  Her proficiency in Spanish (which she uses on a daily basis) and her commitment to social justice, which reverberated throughout her trajectory in our Hispanic Studies program, played a major role in her professional decision.  Through SAF’s Sowing Seeds for Change fellowship, Kate received the necessary training to work in rural health clinics in NC, and provide health care education.  Kate’s work in this leadership program was showcased in the following video, in which farmworkers from Coahuila, Mexico, share their experiences, concerns, and anxieties with her.

During her undergraduate trajectory Kate worked with Students Helping Honduras and participated in the W&M study abroad program in La Plata, Argentina.  She was also a Sharpe Community Scholar.  Kate is currently Farmworker Health Outreach Coordinator at the Surry County Health & Nutrition Center in Dobson, NC.

Every year, Student Action with Farmworkers accepts applications for their 10-week summer internship “Into the Fields,” and for their Sowing Seeds for Change Fellowship.  For their 2015 programs, the application deadline is February 4, 2015.  For further information, please consult their website.

Fall2014More News News: Hispanic Studies

The Camino de Santiago and the Forging of Galician Identity

Since the Middle Ages the Camino de Santiago has been a major goal of pilgrimage in the Christian West, but its role in shaping a distinct Galician identity in our age is still a matter of research.  Thanks to the generous endowment of the Philpott-Pérez Award, professor George Greenia and Hispanic Studies major Ryan T. Goodman (’14) were able to present their initial findings at a most unique conference on Galician studies held at the University of Wisconsin-Milwakee in May 2014, and to extend their collaboration by carrying out field research in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, during the summer.

Ryan Goodman (’14) presenting his research on “Patron Saint of King, Country and Post-National ideal” at the 2014 Symposium on Pilgrimage Studies

At a conference on (Re)Mapping Galician Studies in North America: A Breakthrough Symposium (May 2-3, 2014), Prof. Greenia and Ryan participated in a session exclusively devoted to the Camino de Santiago.  Prof. Greenia presided the session and offered his remarks as a respondent, while Ryan presented his paper on “Modern Galician Youth: Pilgrimage and Diaspora.”  Soon afterwards both travelled to Spain as Professor Greenia co-led the W&M summer study abroad program in Santiago de Compostela and mentored over a dozen student research projects. Ryan remained in Santiago after the William & Mary study abroad experience interning at the cathedral’s Pilgrim Office and conducting further work on Galician identity amid competing claims of loyalty to the Autonomous Region of Galicia and the Spanish monarchy.  Ryan was even present for the new King’s inaugural speech on the Feast of St. James when Felipe VI and his wife the Queen gave their formal declaration of support to the pilgrimage while Galician nationalists protested outside the cathedral precinct.  Goodman presented the results of his summer research as a poster presentation for the 2014 Symposium on Pilgrimage Studies, Shared Journeys: The Confluence of Pilgrimage Traditions, celebrated at William & Mary (September 26-28, 2014), and Goodman and Greenia are coauthoring an article entitled “Santiago: Patrón de una nación y protector de su monarquía y un ideal posnacionalista.”

Ryan’s internship in Santiago also captured the attention of local media. For a full story of Ryan’s experience, please read the following article prepared by staff reporters of the College.

The Philpott-Pérez Award in Hispanic Studies was generously established by Sharon K. Philpott in 2010 in order to support faculty-student research.

Fall2014More News News: Hispanic Studies

La Plata, Argentina: A Student’s Experience

Comisión Provincial por la Memoria (La Plata, Argentina)
Comisión Provincial por la Memoria (La Plata, Argentina)

When she was 17, Sarah Caspari (’15) decided she would apply to William & Mary and spend a semester abroad in La Plata, Argentina.  During the fall semester of 2013, Sarah was finally able to realize her dream.  She prepared herself as much as she could taking several classes in Hispanic Studies and Latin American Studies, but, as she puts it, “there’s only so much you can learn from books.”  Hers was a transformative experience: “The experiences I had abroad re-lit my fire and gave me new inspiration to advocate for people who continue to suffer, and for the people who gave their lives for the legacy of human rights, who are presente: ahora y siempre. They’re here: now and forever.”

Sarah shares her thoughts on life, culture and politics in Argentina, and several other intercultural insights, in her article “La Plata’s legacy: igniting passion and freedom,” which appeared in the latest issue of the Reves Center’s magazine, World Minded (Vol. 6, No. 2, Spring 2014; pp. 4-5).

Sarah Caspari is a Robert M. and Rebecca W. Gates Scholar. Her passion for La Plata led her to return last summer in order to conduct on site research for her honor’s project on a series of kidnappings and forced disappearances of young students in La Plata.  Sarah is also a Teaching Assistant in the Hispanic Studies program.

News News: German Studies Spring 2014 More

Mack ’15 awarded Gates Scholarship

Headed to Germany to study | Terrence Mack '15 is the second recipient of the Robert M. and Rebecca W. Gates Summer Scholarship, and will use it to continue his pursuit of a career teaching German.
Headed to Germany to study | Terrence Mack ’15 is the second recipient of the Robert M. and Rebecca W. Gates Summer Scholarship, and will use it to continue his pursuit of a career teaching German.

Terrence Mack ’15, a double major in German studies and international relations, has been awarded the Gates Scholarship for study abroad, generously donated by Chancellor Robert M. Gates ’65 and his wife, Rebecca. Mack will study abroad this summer in Potsdam, Germany, with William & Mary’s faculty-led program there.

For Mack, a Hampton (Va.) High School graduate, choosing to major in German studies became an obvious choice when he realized he was seeking out YouTube videos in German and studying the language on his own. Mack also credits William & Mary professors Bruce Campbell and Robert Leventhal, both of the Modern Language and Literatures Department, for helping him develop his interest in German and international relations.

Studying abroad will also give him a boost when it comes to choosing his future career path, Mack said. His goal is to become a professional interpreter, and he also plans to pursue a master’s degree in education so he can teach high-school students German. Mack plans to continue working as a Teaching Assistant during his senior year, and he hopes to help other students, especially other people from traditionally underrepresented groups, have the confidence to pursue their passion.

“I want to congratulate Terrence Mack ’15 on receiving a Gates Scholarship to study in Germany this summer,” Gates said. “I admire his aspiration to become a high school foreign language teacher, especially because the United States lags so badly behind other developed countries in this area. I am proud to have someone of Terrence’s commitment and character receive a Gates Scholarship.”
Chancellor Robert GatesChancellor Robert Gates

Finding the right balance between his studies and holding several jobs wasn’t always easy, though, Mack notes. He struggled at first to find his place at William & Mary when his initial plan to go in the business school didn’t work out. Mack’s college experience, however, is defined by perseverance: finding a new avenue to succeed when failure looms large.

“‘Where is your place at this school with all of these smart, intelligent students from all around the world?’” Mack remembered asking himself.

He found the answer in German studies.

“It took me a while but I’m glad I finally figured it out,” he said.

Mack has already developed a strong set of language skills during his career at W&M, and he serves as a Teaching Assistant in the German language program.

“I’ve started to feel more fluent in German, started to understand it more,” he said. “I can hold conversations in German, think in German.”

This summer Mack plans to spend the entirety of his study abroad experience doing just that: living, speaking and thinking in German. He is confident that being immersed in a German-speaking environment will perfect his fluency, and he is looking forward to all of the cultural insights he will gain on his first trip out of the United States. Mack acknowledged that for him, studying abroad wasn’t a possibility without the Gates Scholarship.

“So much weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” he said. “I want the scholarship to not only affect me but the rest of the community.”

News News: Italian Studies Spring 2014

The Best Worst Experience Ever: Finding my niche in Italy

Casey-ThompsonI would have never guessed as a Freshman at William & Mary how much of an impact studying Italian would have on my life. I began college wanting to double Major in Hispanic Studies and Business, however after taking my first Italian class and spending so much time in the Italian House even before my two years as a resident, my plans had already changed. I remember going to my first conversation hour at the Italian house incredibly nervous, and leaving incredibly inspired. The house tutor that year, Giacomo Poli, essentially taught me how to speak Italian while I went along with a textbook to learn the grammar. I attended every activity I could at the House as Giacomo really instilled an appreciation for the Italian culture in everyone who went there. Thanks to him I was able to start Italian in the classroom that Spring in Italian 202 with Professoressa Boyle, who made me love the Italian language and culture even more and easily convinced me to pursue a minor in Italian, as well as do my study abroad semester there.

Being a Business major I decided to study in Milan, at Italy’s top Business School: La Bocconi. I created my own study abroad program by going through their single courses program and getting approval from many people between the Reeves Center and the Business School. After just a few days at Bocconi, I began to question my decision to create my own program. For being such a highly appraised University, I had a different experience. Let’s just say they made everything a struggle, and didn’t allow me to do practically anything at the school besides attend class. The terrible experience with Bocconi was actually for the best as it turns out. I figured out that Business was not the field of study for me and I also improved immensely on my Italian arguing skills when dealing with their registrar. But where I really improved my Italian was outside of Bocconi, and mostly outside of Milan. I am proud to say that I did not speak to one American the entire time I was in Italy, and for that matter, I spoke barely any English. Speaking Italian became first instinct after befriending so many cyclists.

Now here’s where I thank God that I brought my bike with me to Europe. It gave me such a unique study abroad experience that also helped shape my future. Through the Cassinis cycling team in Milan, I was able to connect with so many other cyclists around northern Italy. The cycling community no matter where you go is such a welcoming one. Through the people, I met I had the opportunity to fully explore the area around me because someone is always proposing a new adventure! From cycling the seaside in Liguria to crossing the Swiss border to climb l’Alpe di Neggia, and from having amazing opportunities such as cycling around the Montichiari velodrome or touring the Bianchi Factory, they allowed me to truly explore and grow within the Italian cyclist culture.  One particular friend from the team, Ale “Ironman” Sciarro, was one of the most inspiring and adventurous people I had ever met. He was dedicated Ironman triathlete who simply loved sharing his passion for the sport with others. He took me on several neat adventures, such as riding with his triathlon team on the world-famous autodrome of Monza, going around the Lago di Bracciano outside of Rome, and most importantly introducing me to the mountains of Lecco, where I first climbed Ghisallo, one of the most renowned climbs in the Giro di Lombardia. Little did I know that introduction ride to Lecco was more of a sneak peak to where I would be conducting my research this summer.

A week later after that ride, lo Sciarro sent out an email seeing if anyone wanted to accompany him in doing the Granfondo Cinque Terre. Wanting to explore as much as possible on my bike, I quickly said yes and that weekend was provvidenziale (heavensent). During a dinner at a small bed and breakfast outside of the town before the race, we encountered a larger group of people who recognized us as cyclists, and also the fact that I was not Italian, which led to very lively conversation as to what on earth I could be doing there. We discovered they were all from Lecco, where I had just biked a week ago. From a single conversation, I could already tell they were a special group. There was Fabio, ex-pro cyclist, his fiancée Laura, his father Elio, and their family friends Gianni, Mario and Enrico. Luckily, I ran into them again the next day after the race.

In a Granfondo there are usually two courses to choose from: a long or “short” course. I was disappointed in myself for not choosing the longer route and instead opting for the short 86km course due to the heat and humidity that day. Upon finishing, I heard “L’americana!” I turned around to find Enrico surrounded by the others from the night before. My disappointment with myself was immediately transformed to happiness. I ate the post race meal with them while I waited for Sciarro to finish the long course. I found out they all did the race in honor of a friend of theirs, a previous winner of the race, who passed away. Also a part of their group was il Don Agostino, with a few teenage boys from la communità Don Guanella of Lecco. Don Guanella is an educative community that houses several young boys from outside countries and helps them learn and grow until they are 18 years old and ready to go out on their own. They explained to me the wonderful concept behind the community and that il Don provides a road bike for every young boy there as a way to help them integrate themselves into the city and the outside world. I was touched by that concept and then incredibly thankful to have met them. I exchanged contact info with Fabio so I could take the train up to ride with them in Lecco, which I could not wait for.

A whole two months later, I made my return to Lecco. Due to conflicting schedules and my travels, it took a while to finally plan a ride together. I arrived at the train station and received a hug from Fabio, Elio, and Gianni before we set out to do the Ghisallo climb. The entire ride (literally) they explained to me everything there is to know about the mountains, the lake, and the history of where we were biking. I could go on forever about how wonderful that ride was, and how much they shared with me. Basically, I grew even fonder of them and might have invited myself back to ride again later that week. They were delighted and that’s when I started spending more time in Lecco than Milan. That next weekend, after a beautiful ride to Varenna, they invited me to their house for lunch and a hike to Monte Barro, where I met Fabio’s mother Gabriella and his brother Luca, also incredible cyclists. They actually live away from Lecco in Castello di Brianza, which is also part of the region of Brianza. That marked the first of many delicious meals and fun times spent with them, and as well as the first time I heard their dialect spoken: Brianzolo.

This family made my study abroad experience unforgettable and made me want to return to the beautiful area of Brianza as soon as possible. So, I decided to forget about finding a Business related internship for the summer and I pursued an honors fellowship through the Charles Center to further research and document their dialect, as it is slowly disappearing with the passing generations. I will also be looking at how it is spoken across three regions. This research project will serve as an outlet for me to study what I’ve always had a passion for from my Spanish and Italian studies: Language. I will be spending this summer back in Castello di Brianza, in the province of Lecco to answer the many sociolinguistic questions I have about their dialect, as well as provide documentation for it.

News News: Japanese Studies Spring 2014 More

Kinyo Prize Awarded for Excellence in Japanese

The Japanese section is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s Kinyo Prizes for Excellence in Japanese.  The Kinyo Prize has been established through the generous support of Mr. Kazuo Nakamura of Kinyo Virginia, Inc., to recognize the hard work and achievement of the top student at each level of William and Mary’s Japanese program. This year’s recipients are: in first year, Anastasia Rivera; in second year: Won Kun Lee; in third year, Jiaqi, Zong; and in fourth year, Andrew Runge.  Throughout the year, these four students distinguished themselves by their diligence and their accomplishment in Japanese language. 皆さん、おめでとうございます!

News News: Japanese Studies Spring 2014 More

Eight Inducted into Japanese National Honor Society

Congratulations to the eight new members of the Japanese National Honor Society!  Among this year’s graduating class, eight students have been inducted into the society.   The inductees have met several demanding criteria: completion of five semesters of Japanese language study (or their equivalent), all taken for a grade (rather than audited or pass-fail); a grade-point average of at least 3.5 in Japanese language courses; and an overall GPA of at least 3.0. The following students met the grade:

  • Tara Naughton
  • Jeffrey N’gare
  • Steven Pau
  • Dylan Reilly
  • Andrew Runge
  • Amanda Schiano di Cola
  • Xiaorui Tong
  • Jiaqi Zong

If you see them at Commencement wearing the distinctive red-and-white cord around their neck, please join us in congratulating them!

Dylan Reilly
Dylan Reilly
Steven Pau, Xiaorui Tong, Amanda Schiano di Cola
Steven Pau, Xiaorui Tong, Amanda Schiano di Cola
Jiaqi Zong, Jeffrey Ngare, Andrew Runge, Tara Naughton
Jiaqi Zong, Jeffrey Ngare, Andrew Runge, Tara Naughton


News News: Japanese Studies Spring 2014 More

Kinyo Prize Awarded for Excellence in Japanese

L-R, Winners Zong, Runge, Rivera, and Lee

The Japanese section is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s Kinyo Prizes for Excellence in Japanese.  The Kinyo Prize has been established through the generous support of Mr. Kazuo Nakamura of Kinyo Virginia, Inc., to recognize the hard work and achievement of the top student at each level of William and Mary’s Japanese program. This year’s recipients are: in first year, Anastasia Rivera; in second year: Won Kun Lee; in third year, Jiaqi Zong; and in fourth year, Andrew Runge.  Throughout the year, these four students distinguished themselves by their diligence and their accomplishment in Japanese language. 皆さん、おめでとうございます!



News News: Japanese Studies Spring 2014

Japan Studies Seniors Present Research at AMES Conference

Student presentations at a conference on April 12 showcased a wide range of interests in Japanese culture and society, as well as the possibilities for student research at William and Mary.

Graduating seniors in the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES) Program presented the results of year-long research projects at the AMES Undergraduate Student Conference.  Among the thirteen presentations over the course of the day, five focused on Japan.

Elizabeth Denny discussed the Takarazuka Revue
Elizabeth Denny discussed the Takarazuka Revue

Elizabeth Denny discussed her research into the Takarazuka Revue. Founded in 1914, Takarazuka is Japan’s most popular theatrical institution, staging elaborate musical period dramas, including The Great Gatsby and Gone with the Wind, with an all-female cast. Denny’s project examines how the theater performs male and female characters on stage, and the implications for the social construction of gender. Elizabeth based her presentation on her Honor’s Thesis, for which she was recently awarded Highest Honors.  Elizabeth recalls the beginnings of her interest in Japan: “I took my very first Japanese language class all the way back in 2004, as an eighth grade elective, simply because it was different from anything else I’d studied… Almost ten years later, it has taught me so many things: how to succeed and, more importantly, how to fail; how to look at the world from a different perspective; and most of all, what I love in life, which is studying Japanese culture.” Elizabeth plans to apply to graduate programs in Japanese Studies next year.

Tim Hogge’s presentation focused on the work of Japan’s master of animation, Miyazaki Hayao, the director of such modern classics as My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky, and Princess Mononoke. Taking issue with scholars who argue that audiences no longer respond to “grand narratives,” Hogge analyzes Miyazaki’s hit film Spirited Away and finds ample evidence for the continuing relevance of such narratives. Tim cherishes the opportunities he found at William and Mary: “Studying Japanese has allowed me to not only learn another language, but learn about another culture that is so vastly different from American/European culture, and allowed me to study abroad in Japan and have such a wonderful experience learning the language and culture first-hand.” Tim, too, plans to continue his studies: this fall, he enters the Masters program in East Asian Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dylan Reilly looked at the recent social phenomenon of hikikomori—otherwise healthy adults, many of them in their twenties and thirties, who shut themselves indoors, refusing to go into society or interact with others. Dylan presented some of the sociological, psychological, and economic factors that have been identified as possible influences on the growth of this phenomenon. He then examined the representation of hikikomori in pop culture, as well as the virtual community of hikikomori on-line. Dylan will also be entering the Masters program at the University of Pittsburgh this fall.

Madeleine Spangler presented on the subject of Japan’s hisabetsu burakumin—descendants of Japan’s feudal-era outcast groups, who still face discrimination today. Madeleine’s presentation traced the history of this community from the feudal era to the present day. It also introduced the author Nakagami Kenji, whose stories helped to raise awareness of the discrimination faced by the community. Finally, she identified key factors that will impact social attitudes going forward.

Steven Pau’s presentation focused on the “zainichi” community of ethnic Koreans living in Japan
Steven Pau’s presentation focused on the “zainichi” community of ethnic Koreans living in Japan

Steven Pau’s presentation focused on the “zainichi” community of ethnic Koreans living in Japan. He traced the difficult history of this community, from Japan’s annexation of Korea in 1910, through the uncertainty at the end of World War II, to the fracturing of identity in the Korean War. Steven addressed the question of zainichi naturalization and acculturation within Japanese society, and charted attitudes toward that process voiced by various zainichi activists and intellectuals.  The last part of his presentation discussed the issue in light of the recent “Korean Wave”—the boom in the popularity of Korean pop culture among Japanese consumers—arguing that it presents new opportunities for zainichi identities.

Steven’s research grows out of his unique, self-designed major, titled “Japanese Culture and Language Studies.” During the Fall 2014 semester, Steven also helped to organize the William and Mary Issues of Identity Conference, which brought to campus scholars from several universities in the region. Steven heads to Duke University this Fall, where he will enter the Masters program in East Asian Studies to study the intersection of nationalism and identity and critical race theory.

Our congratulations to these and all the other students who presented at the AMES conference! Your presentations demonstrate the College’s commitment to student research. We encourage you to continue exploring your interests, whether within or beyond the academy.

Link to all the presentations:

News News: Russian Studies Spring 2014

Russian Studies: An interview with graduating senior Sophie Kosar ’14

Sophie Kosar is a graduating senior with a Russian and Post-Soviet Studies major, who had very rich and fulfilling experiences both at William & Mary and in her studies abroad. Over the course of her studies she published two articles about history and modern day urban development of St. Petersburg.  One of her articles appeared in the Journal of Undergraduate Studies at Columbia University.  Sophie also produced a documentary film The Marine Facade: Underneath Piter’s New Face, which was screened at several  domestic and international film festivals.  During her senior year she worked on a translation project for the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relation.

Sophie is the recipient of the 2014 MLL Outstanding Achievement Award in Russian Studies, which is given to a graduating senior for contribution in research and Russian language studies, she is a member of the National Slavic Honor Society — Dobro Slovo, and she is the recipient of the 2011 Dobro Slovo Scholarship to study abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia.

We recently sat down with Sophie Kosar for a conversation about her research in St. Petersburg and about her experiences in the Russian and Post-Soviet Studies program here at William & Mary.

Here is Sophie’s original documentary:

News News: French & Francophone Studies Spring 2014

Preston Heinlein (’14) speaks about his experiences as a major in French & Francophone Studies

Preston Heinlein transferred to W&M at the beginning of his junior year. He knew that he wanted to study linguistics and the French language in particular. He spent a summer in Montpellier, taking courses at the Université Paul Valéry and working on an independent research project about the local LGBT community, which he then presented at the annual W&M Fête de la Recherche. Other highlights of his time at the College include his experience working as an intern for the 2014 French & Francophone Film Festival. Preston has just been elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and is the recipient of the 2014 St. Onge prize for the student in French & Francophone Studies who shows the most promise for graduate-level work. Next year he will teach English in France through the French Embassy’s TAPIF program.

News News: German Studies Spring 2014

German Studies: The Language of Film is Universal? – Teaching Language through Film

206_3Is there such a thing as a universal language of film? The students in German 206 “Intermediate Composition and Conversation, team-taught by Visiting Assistant Professor Jennifer Gülly and German House Tutor Carolin Wattenberg, ” were about to find out: thirteen movies covering almost 100 years of German and Austrian film history. Thirteen movies, that’s thirteen individual stories: the story of a young couple whose life is torn apart by the Berlin Wall (The Promise); the story of a son who keeps the GDR alive in an attempt to save his mother’s life (Good Bye, Lenin!); the story of a boy who refuses to grow up out of contempt for his elders and their ready compliance with the Nazi regime (The Tin Drum) or the multiple stories of Turkish, Russian, and other immigrants and their struggles behind, between, or across physical and psychological borders.

The range of movie plots, characters, themes, and styles put us in a very fortunate position: they provided us with a sheer endless source of material to discuss with our students. It was not just the fact that they made it possible for us to cover a variety of vocabulary but the movies also provided us with visual representations of Germany’s history and culture. We would spend one week on each movie; first giving students an introduction into its specific historical background and context, before moving on to a more specific discussion of the movies’ themes, plots, character developments, cinematography or scenery.

206_2The students actively led class discussions by doing three oral group presentations each. The purpose of these was not so much to provide a synopsis of each movie but for them to think of crucial questions and issues that they’d want to discuss with their classmates. Presentations challenged them to practice speaking German freely and in front of an audience, while also actively managing their classmates’ responses and reacting to them in real time.

Homework consisted of additional grammar exercises geared to the specific movie contexts. Compositions of three to four pages required students to analyze the movies in greater detail, compare them to each other or to creatively elaborate on a given theme from the perspective of one of the characters, e.g. through diary entries, inner monologs or letters.

For their final assignment, students will work on their own subtitling projects. They will produce English subtitles for one of the movies we discussed in class. They’ll be introduced to both technological as well as linguistic aspects of creating movie subtitles. Apart from the mere translation of individual words from German into English, students will face the challenge of grasping the core of each dialog, its irony, humor, context, and even more importantly, its subtext. They’ll realize that it’s more than just words they’ll have to translate and that it can be very challenging to lend an American voice to characters who are very much determined by their German language. In the end, students will have to find an answer to the question that has accompanied us all semester long: Is the language of film really universal or always inextricable from its national context?

Carolin Wattenberg helps students navigate an important concept
Carolin Wattenberg navigates an important concept

Jennifer Gully illustrates a point
Jennifer Gully illustrates a point
News News: Chinese Studies Spring 2014

Chinese Students Show Their Research Skills

In fall 2013, seniors majoring in Chinese took Prof. Calvin Hui’s course CHIN 428 Advanced Seminar in Chinese, which focused on fashion, media, and consumer culture in post-socialist China. By the end of the course, they did research and produced a paper relating to the course’s major concerns. They also presented their research outputs in the 2014 Chinese Major Forum. You can have a taste of the interesting projects that our Chinese majors produced in the research seminar.

Rachel Faith, Male Cosmetics Advertisement

Tyler Brent, Cooperative Marriage Between Gay Men and Lesbian Women in China

Sara Rock, Dog Ownership in China

Daniel Otto, Changing Views on Sex and Sexuality in Post-Socialist China

Linda Baysore, Peng Liyuan’s Fashion

News News: French & Francophone Studies Spring 2014 More

Congratulations to this year’s French prize winners

The French & Francophone program has just awarded three graduation prizes:


The St.Onge prize is awarded annually to the student in French & Francophone Studies who shows the most promise for graduate-level work. It was established in May 2010 to honor Professor St.Onge’s forty years of dedication to the College. This year the St. Onge prize goes to Preston Heinlein (’14).
The Pierre Oustinoff prize for excellence in research goes to Elena Santini (’14).
The Modern Languages & Literatures book award for outstanding students who have distinguished themselves in French & Francophone Studies goes to Laura Bolger (’14). 


News News: Russian Studies

Sophie Kosar ’14 Wins MLL Outstanding Achievement Award in Russian Studies

Sophie hannah jessRussian Studies Program of the MLL Department is happy to announce that

The 2014 MLL Outstanding Achievement Award in Russian Studies (formerly MLL Russian Book Award) goes to Sophia Kosar.

The award seeks to recognize a graduating Russian Studies major for her contributions in research and language studies.

Congratulations Sophie!

News News: Russian Studies Spring 2014 More

Jessica Parks and Hannah Kitchen Win RPSS Excellence Awards


The RPSS Executive Committee is happy to announce that the RPSS Excellence Awards for the year 2014 went to Jessica Parks and Hannah Kitchen.

The RPSS Excellence Award seeks to provide recognition for the best Russian Studies senior majors and minors who made a major contribution to the Russian Studies program in the areas of research, language and culture studies.

News News: German Studies Spring 2014 More

Sierra Barnes awarded Austrian Government ETA for 2014-2015

Sierra Barnes (German Studies and History ’14) has been awarded an English Teaching Assistantship by the Austrian Ministry of Education and Women’s Affairs and Austrian-American Educational Commission (AAEC), sponsored and administered by the Fulbright Commission, for the academic year 2014-2015. This award includes travel expenses and a substantial monthly stipend to teach at two schools located in the Danube Valley about 31km from Linz: the Europagymnasium des Schulvereins Europagymnasium in Baumgartner and the Bundes-Oberstufenrealgymnasium BORG in Perg, Austria. Congratulations Sierra!


News News: French & Francophone Studies Spring 2014 More

Congratulations to Elisabeth Bloxam, McCormack-Reboussin Scholar for 2014-2015


Congratulations to Elisabeth Bloxam (’15), the latest recipient of the McCormack-Reboussin scholarship in French & Francophone Studies! Starting this summer, Elisabeth Bloxam will research an honors thesis entitled “Le Mythe et la Mémoire : Les séquelles de la deuxième guerre mondiale en France à travers ses monuments nationaux.”

This research will focus on the lasting effects of the Resistance Myth, the romanticized idea of the French Resistance as a national movement that was perpetuated by French leaders at the end of the war in an attempt to unify a nation in crisis. More specifically, her research will examine the endurance, eventual discrediting, and current status of the Resistance Myth through a study of collective memory and museums. She will examine the complex mechanics of collective memory through a study of French museums dedicated to WWII. She hopes to draw a comparison between the breakdown of collective memory in France in the 1970s and the proliferation of WWII museums erected in the 1980s.



News News: French & Francophone Studies

Congratulations to our graduating seniors!


Congratulations to Preston Heinlein (’14) for his election to Phi Beta Kappa!


And congratulations to our many seniors who have been selected to teach English in France through the French Embassy’s TAPIF program:

Laura Bolger (’14) and Emily Eyestone (’14) have been placed in Bordeaux

Samantha Fansler (’14) will be going to Lille

Preston Heinlein (’14) will be going to Rennes

Emily Wolfteich (’14) will be teaching in Dijon