News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2014

Intercultural Competence: A Conversation with Hispanic Studies Alums

Prof. Terukina, Ben Boone, Prof. Root, Sarah Parks, Maybelline Mendoza, and Prof. Stock
Prof. Terukina, Ben Boone, Prof. Root, Sarah Parks, Maybelline Mendoza, and Prof. Stock

Following in the steps of a successful Career Panel held last year, Hispanic Studies majors and students welcomed our successful alums back on campus for a conversation.  On March 24, Ben Boone (HISP ’07; Ph.D. Candidate, Dean of Students Office at W&M), Maybelline Mendoza (HISP ’07; MBA Candidate), and Sarah Parks (HISP ’03; Master in Social Work) shared their experiences in the Hispanic Studies program (such as Sarah’s trip with Prof. Silvia Tandeciarz to La Plata that eventually led to the creation of our W&M study abroad program), their post-graduation trajectories, and their professional paths with some twenty Hispanic Studies students.  This brown bag event, “Putting Together Your Career Tool Kit: Hispanic Studies and Intercultural Competence,” highlighted the training our alums received in cultural competence and intercultural bridging, and the role that these skills play in their trajectories in higher education administration and non-profits in Nicaragua, the world of business and the beauty industry, and public service scenarios from community health clinics and low-income housing community center to welfare of immigrant children.

Our alums, students, from freshmen to seniors, and faculty engaged in a lively dialogue that underscored how our program contributes to creating global citizens.

The event was kindly co-sponsored by the Cohen Career Center, and the Charles Center.

News News: German Studies

Terrence Mack (German Studies and IR, ’15) receives Robert Gates Scholarship

TerrenceGerman Studies and IR student Terrence Mack has received the prestigious Robert Gates Scholarship for Summer Study from the College. Terrence will spend the summer studying German language, literature, and culture at the Universitaet Potsdam. Upon hearing the news, Terrence said this: “The Robert Gates Scholarship news was amazing. When I applied for it and asked my German professors Robert Leventhal and Bruce Campbell for letters of recommendation, I didn’t really believe I would be chosen. I was only trying to make sure I pursued every possible avenue to study abroad since I have never been outside the country before. This scholarship has opened many new doors for me. Now I can spend an entire summer working on my fluency in the language, immersed in German culture. I am incredibly grateful to Robert Gates and the German Studies faculty for all the support and lessons they have taught me the last 3 years. It was the best decision I have made in College to double major in International Relations and German. I owe Bruce Campbell and Robert Leventhal a majority of the credit for my success. Without their support and guidance, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.I would advise any student at the College of William and Mary interested in a language to spend time in the German Department. The teachers are the most supportive group I know and invest everything they have in making sure their students succeed.” Well, the credit goes to you, Terrence, for your incredible accomplishments in German Studies at W&M in the last two years!

News News: German Studies

Sierra Barnes (’14) receives Scholarship for Helix Project

Sierra Barnes (German Studies and History, ’14) has been accepted to the Helix Project Yiddishkayt for the Summer of 2014. This four-week intensive program begins in July with an intensive course of cultural and language education in L.A. Then Helixers spend two weeks exploring the heart of Jewish Europe, learning and discussing with two leading scholars of Jewish history. Students follow in the footsteps of Jewish poets in Belarus, activists in Poland, and partisans in Vilnius. 


News News: Russian Studies

Second Annual Russian Language Olympics

sochiThe event will be held on  Saturday, March 22nd, 12:00 -4:00 pm, McGlothlin Street 20.

The Russian Language Olympics are a newly born tradition at the College of William and Mary. It gives an opportunity to students taking Russian to demonstrate their language skills in both an engaging and creative atmosphere.  Level 1 students will compete with each other in Jeopardy-style games. Level 2 students will act out skits completely in Russian. Level 3 students will recite Russian poems and present on the significance and influence of Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin.

Competitors will have a chance to win great prizes such as RLO t-shirts, mugs, and official Sochi Olympics magnets.  A fair evaluation of students’ performances will be provided by a  panel of judges including:Guest Judge, Pr. Yanni Kotsonis (New York University) and Professors Fred Corney, Bella Ginzbursky-Blum, Alexander Prokhorov, and Lena Prokhorova of The College of William and Mary.





News News: Russian Studies

Guest Lecture “Taxes and the Modern Citizen. How Taxes in Russia, the USSR, and the World Shaped Governments, Peoples, and Persons in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries”

yanni2013 Professor Yanni Kotsonis (Department of History, New York University) will give his presentation on Thursday, March 20, 4:00-5:30 pm, Washington Hall 201.

Taxes secure revenue but taxes are equally tools that reshape societies. In Russia this was a movement away from regimes of privilege where only the lower orders paid, to systems of income and excise taxation where everyone paid, though at flat rates. Soon the demand for equality yielded to the need to tax progressively on income as a form of socioeconomic fairness. Taxes could also produce new kinds of subjectivity as citizens were asked to fill out their tax forms and declare who they are economically, while states used the fiscal tools to encourage certain activities and lifestyles and penalize others. Modern tax systems therefore embody larger modern tensions that are still with us: between political equality and social fairness, between our right to be left alone and our obligation to the society as a whole, between our laissez faire impulses and our expectation that people can be reshaped and improved. This lecture shows how the evolution and the paradox were played out in the diverse historical settings of Imperial Russia, Soviet Russia, Europe, and North America.


News News: Russian Studies

Pr. Russel Zanca talk on “Nationalism and the Myth of Turkic-Muslim Unity in Central Asia”

zanca_pageProfessor Russel Zanca (Northeastern Illinois University) will give a talk on Thursday, March 13th, 5:00pm, Tucker 127A.

News News: Russian Studies

Rachel Faith ’14 wins 2014 National ACTR Post-Secondary Russian Scholar Laureate Award

rachel_faith_thumbOur congratulations to Rachel Faith who has been awarded the 2014 National ACTR Post-Secondary Russian Scholar Laureate Award. Way to go, Rachel! 🙂

News News: French & Francophone Studies

2014 William & Mary French & Francophone Film Festival

The William and Mary French and Francophone Film Festival brings every year award-winning french language films. The program starts this year on Friday January 31 and will run until February 28. For more details about the program,  consult the festival website ( You can also watch the trailer:

Fall2013 News News: Hispanic Studies

Cuban Film and Culture at W&M

Oneyda Gonzalez meets with W&M Students

The Hispanic Studies program hosted the U.S. premiere of two films by Oneyda Gonzalez in October.  “The Elf” and “Waiting for the Wild Boar to Fall” were screened in the Botetourt Auditorium.  The newly reconfigured space was filled to capacity.  Students had several opportunities to meet with the Cuban filmmaker, scriptwriter and poet during her week-long visit to W&M.  “Introduction to Hispanic Studies” sections learned of her experiences writing and filming and living in Cuba; “Mapping Cuba” sophomore seminar participants filmed an interview that will become part of the Cuban Cinema Classics DVD

series; and Translation students conversed with the guest about her book of interviews with filmmakers and script writers.  Professors Buck, Cate-Arries and Stock deemed the experience exceedingly productive, noting two exciting follow-on projects.  In faculty-student research collaborations, W&M Hispanic Studies teams will translate Ms. Gonzalez’s book for publication in the U.S., and will subtitle her short film, “The Elf”, for circulation at international film festivals. Oneyda enjoyed her stay immensely, and even took time out to celebrate Hispanic Heritage at the LASU event. This visit was sponsored by Hispanic Studies, Film and Media Studies and Swem Library.


Troy Davis, Emma Rodvien, and Prof. Ann Marie Stock work on a video project

October was a busy month for Professor Ann Marie Stock and Latin American Studies student Emma Rodvien as they worked to  submit the completed manuscript for the Havana volume in the “World Film Locations” series.  Stock signed the contract to edit the book, and then invited Emma, a student in her freshman seminar who had expressed an interest in Cuban culture, to assist.  With support from a faculty-student research grant (Christianson, administered through the Charles Center), Emma was able to devote the summer to collaborating with Dr. Stock.  She translated submissions from Spanish into English, selected the screen shots that will illustrate the volume, and wrote four original “scene description” essays.  Watch for more news when the volume appears in print in 2014 (Intellect, U.K.)  

Fall2013More News News: Hispanic Studies

Handbook of Fashion Studies, Regina Root, co-editor, hot off the presses

9780857851949The first handbook of fashion studies and a work that has been heralded as “essential” reading by folks at some of the top design schools, among others, is hot off the press.  At almost 700 pages, it can be added to the list of books published by members of our department.  This project began in 2008.  It was an international project, too.

A few select reviews of the book can be found here.

The handbook’s already getting some coverage across the Atlantic.  But it’s an international initiative that also began here at W&M.

News News: German Studies Spring 2013

Tyler Bembenek (International Relations and German Studies, ’15) receives first Gates Scholarship for Summer Study Abroad

German Studies and International Relations major Tyler Bembenek (’15) has been awarded the first Gates Scholarship for Summer Study Abroad. The scholarship, made possible by William and Mary Chancellor Robert M. Gates (’65) and his wife Rebecca, is a merit-based award that enables outstanding W&M students to pursue their field of study during the summer. Tyler elected to study medieval history at St. Peter’s College, Oxford, during the summer of 2013. “The English tutorial system has definitely helped me develop my research skills,” Bembenek said: “Now I have more confidence initiating my own research and engaging with academic sources outside of my comfort zone.” In the spring of 2013, Tyler was able to meet with Chancellor Gates, whom he sees as a model of serving the nation. Congratulations Tyler!

Fall2013More News News: Hispanic Studies

Raft Debate ’13: Hispanic Studies Prof. John ‘Rio’ Riofrio Defends the Humanities

Hard sciences the ‘natural’ choice in annual Raft Debate

John Riofrio and his children perform during the rebuttal portion of the event.Photo by Stephen Salpukas
John Riofrio and his children perform during the rebuttal portion of the event.
Photo by Stephen Salpukas

Dressed as Charles Darwin and armed with an erupting bottle of “science juice,” Dan Cristol scored a victory for the natural and computational sciences on Wednesday night at William & Mary.

The biology professor was this year’s winner of the annual Raft Debate, held on Oct. 2 in the Sadler Center’s Commonwealth Auditorium, which was packed with students, faculty and staff.

The event begins with this premise: Three professors are stranded on a desert island with only one chance of escape: a life raft. The professors – representing the humanities, social sciences and natural and computational sciences, overseen by a judge and opposed by the notorious devil’s advocate — battle it out to determine academia’s most valuable discipline.

In addition to Cristol, the debaters for this year’s competition were Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies John Riofrio for the humanities and Associate Professor of Sociology Thomas Linneman for the social sciences. Presiding over the debate was Virginia Torczon, the dean of graduate studies and research for Arts & Sciences, and playing the part of the devil’s advocate was Associate Professor of Mathematics Sarah Day.

Some students come in with an idea of who they want to win—a number of students in the front row were wearing homemade “Dan Fan Clan” T-shirts sporting Cristol’s face on them—but a number came simply to watch the fun. Some switched allegiances midway through the performance, and others even went for the nihilistic third option.

“In the beginning I was probably rooting for the devil’s advocate,” said Cole Pearce ’15.  “It’s fun, incites some conflict.”

Each of the professors and the devil’s advocate were given seven minutes to make their case. Then, after each had gone, they were given another three minutes for a rebuttal.

Cristol led the debate dressed in official robes and a fake beard, claiming to be Charles Darwin and giving a case for why the natural and computational sciences should claim the dinghy. Painting a world with only humanities as full of “naked people rooting around for tubers” and only social sciences as “like a world with only humanities, but with more marketing research,” he brought up natural sciences’ role in helping humanity through medicine, agriculture and the scientific method.

The high point of his statement was his inclusion of Mentos and a bottle of Coke, which produced a fizzy explosion onstage.

Riofrio, not one to be outdone, complemented Cristol on his use of “words and language” to give his presentation, and talked about the use of humanities in things such as the clothes Cristol was wearing (fashion design), the food everyone was eating (culinary arts) and general “expression and communication,” or language. Comparing his opponents to the Jersey Shore cast, he threatened that a world without the humanities would result in nothing but terrible reality TV shows, and gave the other professors a number of Jersey-Shore themed props.

Defending the social sciences last, Linneman brought up a number of issues with both of the other fields—that the natural sciences were more focused on the “coulda” rather than the “shoulda,” and the “outrageous obfuscation” present in the humanities—before insisting that the social sciences had a lot to offer.

“These other fields, they’re too old,” he said. “Nothing new is coming out of them anymore. Social science though is new, young: it’s still got a lot of area to explore.”

Finally, the devil’s advocate came up to speak her mind. She argued that in order for any of the fields to be of use, they had to be used in conjunction with all of them.

“A world with only humanities is like a bunch of brilliant actors and a great script in a room with no way to broadcast them,” she said. “With only social sciences, it’s a bunch of CSI shows with no actors, only real crime labs; and with only the natural sciences, it’s a reality show with no talented people at all.”

She gave each of the professors a gift she thought they could use: including yarn to Cristol to make a “bird harness,” a book on “how to speak bird” for Riofrio and a notebook and pens for Linneman, so that he could implement some thought experiments “while they were all alone on the island.”

The rebuttals began again with Cristol, who started with the claim that the humanities were “a luxury we simply can’t afford without science.” He further added that the social sciences, far from the clarity Linneman was touting in his opening remarks, were in fact riddled with obscurity.

Riofrio’s defense rested on the guest appearances of his two kids, who helped him perform a song loosely adapted from a Rihanna tune. This was met with great applause from the audience.

Linneman, however, didn’t seem impressed.

“I’m not even going to stand up,” he said, shaking his head. “Can’t even do anything once you break out the children.”

Day, in one last plug as the devil’s advocate, urged the audience to embrace balance between the disciplines and leave them all on the island.

After a quick round of questions from the audience, the votes were taken. All four contestants received a considerable amount of applause, but Cristol clearly took the cake.

“That’s what you get for telling your 500-student class that they get extra credit for coming to this,” quipped Judge Torczon.

Still, the audience seemed pleased by the result.

“I thought it was great,” Cole said. “I was happy to see Cristol pull through with a Dar-Win.”

Fall2013More News News: Hispanic Studies

Cate-Arries honored for ‘broad scope’ of professional achievements

Francie Cate-Arries was just about to leave the stage after giving a lecture at the College of Charleston on Sept. 12 when she was stopped by Mark Del Mastro, the executive director of the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society.

He had an announcement to make, he told the audience: Cate-Arries, a member of William & Mary’s Department of Modern Languages and Literatures since 1986, was being awarded Sigma Delta Pi’s Order of the Discoverers.

At that moment, three student members from the College of Charleston’s chapter stepped forward and presented Cate-Arries with the commemorative plaque.

Professor Francie Cate-Arries (second from left) was awarded the Order of the Discoverers on Sept. 12 following her lecture at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Also in the photo are (from left) Justin Lyons, College of Charleston chapter co-vice president; Jocelyn Moratzka, chapter president; Rachel Wadsworth, chapter co-vice president and Mark Del Mastro, executive director of the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society.Courtesy of Mark Del Mastro
Professor Francie Cate-Arries (second from left) was awarded the Order of the Discoverers on Sept. 12 following her lecture at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Also in the photo are (from left) Justin Lyons, College of Charleston chapter co-vice president; Jocelyn Moratzka, chapter president; Rachel Wadsworth, chapter co-vice president and Mark Del Mastro, executive director of the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society.
Courtesy of Mark Del Mastro

“I hadn’t shared with my hosts that it was my birthday,” Cate-Arries said. “It is an understatement to say that being honored this way was a most memorable surprise birthday gift.”

The prestigious Order of the Discoverers recognizes, among others, outstanding teachers of Spanish or Hispanic studies at the college or university level, as well as university personnel who have served the cause of Sigma Delta Pi in an exceptional way.

Cate-Arries, who was nominated by the national executive committee of Sigma Delta Pi based on her scholarship and the scope of her activities in the profession, qualifies on several levels. She is a professor of contemporary Spanish cultural and literary studies, and teaches courses at all levels of the curriculum, including Fundamentals of Literary Criticism; The Art & Literature of the Spanish Civil War; Film under Franco; Literary Landscapes of Spain, 1800-2012; Phantasms of Francoism: History, Literature, Memory; and language courses at all levels.

“Dr. Francie Cate-Arries’ impressive record of scholarship along with the broad scope of her other professional accomplishments earned her this important international distinction, which is among Sigma Delta Pi’s top honors,” said Del Mastro.

Cate-Arries regularly serves as a faculty adviser for W&M’s Semester in Sevilla program, which includes an innovative “International Service-Learning Internship” opportunity for qualified students. She also frequently directs the W&M Summer in Cádiz, Spain program, celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2013. She supervises on-site undergraduate research projects about contemporary topics in today´s Spain related to, for example, women´s issues, cinema, immigration, historical memory, music, commemorative cultures and youth cultures.

Her book Spanish Culture Behind Barbed Wire: Memory and Representation of the French Concentration Camps, 1939-1945 (Culturas del exilio español entre las alambradas: Literatura y memoria en Francia, 1939-1945), was the first monograph written about the literature and culture of the French internment camps for Spanish war refugees.

She is no stranger to awards. Cate-Arries was a 2007 recipient of the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia´s Outstanding Faculty Award and received the Plumeri Award for faculty excellence in 2010.

Her relationship with Sigma Delta Pi dates back to the 1970s and her days as an undergraduate student at the University of Georgia when she was inducted into that university’s chapter.

“One of my earliest memories as a new faculty member more than 25 years ago was attending a candlelight induction ceremony in the Wren Chapel for new undergraduate initiates into our local chapter,” she said. “During the years of my tenure at the College, I’ve seen our most outstanding students of Spanish language and culture, under the leadership of my colleague Carla Buck (long-time faculty adviser for our local chapter), join the ranks of the national membership.

“To have the society officially recognize my work as a professor and a scholar in the field of Hispanic studies is an especially satisfying connection to have with this accomplished body of university students. Good company to keep!”

News News: Japanese Studies Spring 2013 More

Japanese Program Graduation News

1) MLL Book Prize in Japanese

The prize is awarded to a student who has shown overall excellence in Japanese studies. This student is often an East Asian Studies major. This year’s award goes to Soyoung Kim.

Photo soyoung-kim (1)Soyoung Kim was born and raised in South Korea. She started learning Japanese in high school, and continued her study at William & Mary by taking four years of language classes. Since she loves to watch Japanese movies and listen to J-pop, she really enjoyed studying the language. In her senior year, she also took a Japanese-English translation class with Professor Knighton. Although she had been learning Japanese and watching Japanese movies, it was her first time doing translation. She learned how to be a creative translator in the class even though neither Japanese nor English was her mother tongue. Soyoung majored in International Relations and is very interested in the Asia-Pacific region After graduation, she is going back to South Korea to look for work enhancing relations among the Asia-Pacific countries. She expects her experience at the College and her Japanese skills to be very helpful in achieving her future goals. The Japanese section wishes Soyoung luck as she moves forward and congratulates her on this well-deserved award.

2) Kinyo Prize for Excellence in Japanese

This prize was established through the generous support of Mr. Kazuo Nakamura of Kinyo Virginia, Inc. This prize is given annually to recognize the hard work and achievements of the top students at each level of our Japanese program. Each student receives a $100 award.

First Year Japanese: Kyung Rae Kim

Second Year Japanese: Hanzhang Zhao

Third Year Japanese: Andrew Runge

Fourth Year Japanese: Soyoung Kim


Award Winner Bios

Kyung Rae Kim has done an excellent job in all aspects of the class throughout the year.  He always pays close attention to the details and easily adapts to new situations in a non-native language.  He is very goal-oriented and always seek to achieve results at a higher level.

Hanzhang Zhao’s Japanese proficiency has improved significantly this year so that she is able to talk with the instructor in a natural context. In addition, she always did a superb job on the oral presentations and other speaking activities, and they were well-received by her classmates.

News News: Russian Studies Spring 2013

Russian Olympics

On Saturday, March 23rd, students and faculty of the Russian Language department congregated for the first ever Russian Language Olympics at the College of William and Mary. The games, held in honor of Russia’s hosting of the 2014 winter Olympics in the city of Sochi, were the site of fierce, but fair, competition by Russian students of all abilities.

The event was organized from scratch by the students of Victoria Kim’s RUSN 306 class over the first half of the spring semester.Each level (1st, 2nd, and 3rd years) of students faced off for exclusive prizes, such as authentic Russian spoons, official Russian Language Olympic t-shirts and mugs, and of course, beloved Cheburashka dolls. The students competed in a jeopardy tournament, a short film contest, and a poetry recitation competition, respectively. Punctuated by brief breaks for pizza, trivia, and the screening of promotional videos for the Sochi Olympics, the event went off almost entirely without a hitch – the only exception being the Great Firewall of China prevented a “skyping in” of junior Rachel Faith.

In the end, almost every one of the 60 or so students and faculty in attendance went home with a prize or souvenir. The poetry contest in particular, where 3rd year students gave a short presentation on a famous Russian poet and then recited, first, Pushkin’s classic “I loved you,” and then a poem of their choice, revealed highly developed Russian skills and made a profound impression on the audience. In fact, some members of the audience were moved to tears by a stirring rendition of  “Babi Yar” by junior Jessica Parks.

The undeniably fun event concluded in true Olympic fashion with the extinguishing of the Olympic torch… for now!

News News: Japanese Studies Spring 2013

W&M Alum, Chris Bubb, Passes Top Level on Japanese Language Test

Hi, everyone. I’m Chris Bubb, a 2010 graduate of the College and former W&M Japanese student. Recently, I was excited to have passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test top level N1 exam. Below I share some of my experiences with the Japanese language at W&M and post-graduation, as well as suggestions for improving your Japanese ability.

On the road 2009
On the road 2009

Japanese Study at W&M

When it came time to choose a foreign language to take at the College, Japanese caught my eye as something that had become available for me to formally study for the first time, as it wasn’t offered at my high school. Being part of one of the first real generations of “gamers,” I knew of the existence of Japan from a very young age. I had even gone so far as to independently study kana while dabbling in a bit of Japanese grammar when I was in middle and high school. I enrolled in Japanese 101 at W&M, and in summer of 2009, spent a few weeks studying at a university in Osaka, Japan. This trip was a huge influence on my Japanese language study, and allowed me to make quite a few friends (from Japan and elsewhere) whom I stay in close contact with to this day. And I think that’s really a huge part in developing proficiency in Japanese, or any language for that matter: using it to communicate with other people. I know it may sound obvious, but actually physically communicating is really something that I cannot stress enough.

Working in Japan

My elementary school class
My elementary school class

In August of 2010, I moved to Japan to teach English. This was quite possibly the most exciting experience of my life. This is where foreign language goes from being a worksheet that you need to finish for class tomorrow to being the only way you’re going to get paid. The “moment of truth” came when I made my first trip to the post office in the tiny, one-road town that I lived in when I first moved here. The need to communicate to simply survive in this new setting was enough motivation to try to develop fluency in Japanese while living here. Not to mention that an overwhelming percentage of the population of Japan speaks Japanese exclusively, so getting along with coworkers and those outside of work requires a certain level of Japanese proficiency as well. You would not believe how much friendlier people are when they discover that you can communicate in their language. It’s an incredibly satisfying feeling for everyone involved, and something I hope everyone gets a chance to experience.

Improving Your Japanese

A drawing by one of my students
A drawing by one of my students

As a student at W&M, I was able to create a solid foundation for my Japanese ability, and as an English instructor living and working in Japan, I was able to put it into practice daily with my friends and coworkers and develop that ability further. What I suggest that you do is use Japanese like your life depends on it. Find someone with whom you feel comfortable speaking Japanese and speak with them all the time, every day if you can. Take risks and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The mistakes you make in your classes and conversations will correct themselves in time. The important thing is that you were able to use Japanese to communicate with another individual. This is where your proficiency will ultimately come from. Unfortunately, there is no “eureka!” moment, no moment of epiphany, so you may not notice a change in your own ability right away, but keep at it. Use what you learned in class over and over and over. Unlike scientists and mathematicians, linguists don’t have the luxury of going to their notes in the middle of a conversation. That’s why you need to use your Japanese at every opportunity.

In my case, when I would speak Japanese, I had to first think in English, translate it to Japanese, and then physically say the Japanese words. This takes quite a while, especially in the middle of a conversation. But what if you were to skip that second step? This is huge. I can’t say when it happened, but there was a day when I woke up and realized that I needed to begin thinking in Japanese if I was going to get any better at speaking it. Now, I know I said there was no “eureka!” moment, but this isn’t something that I was able to do overnight. This is something that you yourself must actively do every single day. And this may sound crazy, but one of the best ways to get yourself to think in Japanese is to communicate with yourself in Japanese.

Try phrases like: 「えーっと、日本語(にほんご)宿題(しゅくだい)(なん)だったっけ?」(Uh, what was the Japanese homework again?) or

「はぁ、(つか)れたぁ、ちょっとだけ昼寝(ひるね)しようかなぁ」(Whew, I’m exhausted, I should take a little nap).

This will make speaking with others in Japanese more natural because, for you, Japanese never stops! You can also do this a bit more proactively. Just find a clip from a Japanese TV show or song that you enjoy (they’re all over the internet), listen for a phrase that you know and just say it over and over aloud to yourself. Write it down to remember it if you have to. It doesn’t even have to be overly difficult; I personally watched a ton of children’s television programs when I first moved to Japan simply because I knew I could understand them. I ended up repeating things so often that I would be teased by the Japanese-speakers whom I was with. But that’s okay! Your room for growth in Japanese all depends on how much work you are willing to put into it both in and outside of the classroom. That doesn’t mean, however, that the “work” you put in can’t be enjoyable. For as embarrassing as speaking to yourself or even talking with your classmates in Japanese may seem, I can guarantee that any amount of experience you get communicating in the language will benefit your Japanese ability in the long run. Your professors are giving you all the tools you need; it’s your turn to use those tools and build on your Japanese language skills. You’re all capable of doing great things with Japanese!


Chris Bubb (W&M 2010)

News News: German Studies Spring 2013

(Ful-)Brightening Students’ Futures in German Studies at W&M

Brandon De Graaf, recipient of the Austrian Government English Teaching Assistantship, administered by the Fulbright Commission, with Professor Rob Leventhal at the MLL Graduation Ceremony
Brandon De Graaf, recipient of the Austrian Government English Teaching Assistantship, administered by the Fulbright Commission, with Professor Rob Leventhal at the MLL Graduation Ceremony

Students of the German Studies Program at William and Mary have had remarkable success in winning major international fellowships over the last decade. This year, Judd Peverall (German Studies and Philosophy, ’13) and Libby Hennemuth (Hispanic Studies and Government, ’13) were awarded the highly prestigious Fulbright ETA Fellowship to Germany, and Brandon De Graaf (German Studies and History, ’13) received an Austrian Government Teaching Assistantship, which is administered by the Fulbright Commission. In addition, Evan French is the first student at the College to be awarded a DAAD RISE Scholarship for a paid internship in software engineering in Hamburg, Germany, and Emma Paynter (Government and International Relations, ‘13) also received a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Germany.

Evan French, recipient of the prestigious DAAD RISE Internship, will be in Hamburg interning for a software firm. DAAD is the German Foreign Academic Exchange Service.
Evan French, recipient of the prestigious DAAD RISE Internship, will be in Hamburg interning for a software firm. DAAD is the German Foreign Academic Exchange Service.

These are the kinds of events which can change a student’s life, and they represent an immense personal and professional advantage for them as well as great publicity for the College. Since 1999, some 30 German Studies students at the College have been awarded Fulbright German or Austrian ETA or Research fellowships, or other major international awards of similar standing.

The German Studies students must naturally get the greatest credit here, and they are an extraordinary group. But the German Studies Section works very hard to prepare them for these types of opportunities and put them in a position where they can make their qualities known. Since 1999, the German Studies section has had a conscious, deliberate and sustained policy of preparing students to compete for these fellowships. To be sure, German Studies does not do it alone, and Lisa Grimes and the Charles Center, in particular, deserve a great deal of credit for their great support of German Studies.

William & Mary is one of the best colleges in North America, but few people know it is also one of the best places for German Studies. This is one of the many areas where William and Mary excels, without great fanfare and with only extremely moderate resources.

Judd Peverall (German Studies and Philosophy, ’13), recipient of one of three Fulbright ETAs to Germany this year
Judd Peverall (German Studies and Philosophy, ’13), recipient of one of three Fulbright ETAs to Germany this year


List of Major Fellowships in German Studies


  • Judd Peverall — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Brandon Travis De Graaf — Austrian Government Teaching Assistantship
  • Libby Hennmemuth — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Emma Paynter — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
Grace Brennan
Grace Brennan


  • Grace Brennan — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Sarah Salino-Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany


  • Monica LoBue — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Claire Chapman — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Ariana Berger — CBYX Scholarship in Germany for 2011-2012
    Continuing on with Standard & Poors


  • Christopher Consolino — Fulbright Research Fellowship for Germany (History)
  • Katelyn Andell — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Pete Gianannino — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Katie Sumner — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • John Palenski — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
    Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship (declined)
    William and Mary Law


  • Faith App — Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
  • Lauren Shaw — Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
  • Rachael Simons-Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
    Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany (declined)
  • Dustin Smith-Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
    Admitted to Graduate Program in German Studies with full support, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne (deferred)


  • Kasey Hutson (’07)  — Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
    Graduate Study at Washington University of St. Louis in German Studies
  • Carolyn Osinski (’07) — Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
    Graduate Study at Georgetown University with full support
  • Olivia Lucas (’07) — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
    Graduate Student in Music at Harvard
  • Naomi Dreyer (’06) — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany (2007 graduate)


  • Amy Benoit — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Lenore Cebulski — DAAD scholarship for one year of study at Maximilian University of Munich
  • Amanda Norris — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany


  • Amy Kuenker — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
  • Catherine Reynolds (’05) — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany


  • Kate Pierce-McManamon — Fulbright Research Fellowship for Germany
    Graduate school, Technical University of Brandenburg, Cottbus, Germany with an MA in World Heritage Studies, Historical Management and Administration, 2008
  • Alana Seifts — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
    Currently Lieutenant, USArmy and William & Mary Law School


  • Jessica Telhorster — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany


  • Marc Landry — Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
  • Jay Miller — Fulbright Research Fellowship for Germany
  • Lauren Nelson — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany


  • Emily Knight — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2013

Hispanic Studies Career Fair

On February 25, 2013, the Hispanic Studies Program hosted a career-panel for majors and potential majors. The panel, which was the result of engaged dialog between the Cohen Career Center and faculty in Hispanic Studies, featured four outstanding Hispanic Studies alums: Sara Gilmer (State Department), John Cipperly (National Center for State Courts), Jennifer Primeggia (physician) and Maybelline Mendoza (MBA student in Marketing and Development). These four alums agreed to come back to William and Mary to talk about their career choices, to discuss how their decision to major in Hispanic Studies has influenced their career paths and opportunities. Here is a video interview with Prof. Jonathan Arries about the event and its impact.

The event was an enormous success! Roughly twenty-five current and would-be majors listened attentively to stories and advice from alums in the fields of medicine, business, government and social services. Our students, as always, shined with provocative, thoughtful questions and were treated to insightful, considered answers from successful practitioners who were able to express in precise terms how their work in Hispanic Studies had prepared them to negotiate linguistic and cultural situations but also how Hispanic Studies had given them the necessary tools for engaged, critical thought in a wide variety of professional situations. After the panel, students were invited to stick around for a reception where they were able to spend time chatting-with and getting to know our alums and vice-versa. The event is a model for the powerful synergy between Hispanic Studies faculty, alums and the Cohen Career Center and was, without a doubt, one of the highlights of the spring semester.

News News: Chinese Studies Spring 2013

Senior Forum Highlights Student Research about Science in China

Science has played a key role in Chinese conceptions of what it means to be modern. Inspired, dazzled, and even threatened by the West’s scientific revolution and its pivotal role in spurring industrial modernity, Chinese thinkers sought to bring the concepts and methods of Western science into Chinese society, industry, and statecraft. The insistence upon science as a mode of knowledge key to modernization has spanned China’s own historical development from the late-nineteenth century to the present day – from the intellectuals’ slogan of the 1920s extolling the virtues of “Mr. Science and Mr. Democracy,” to the present day Chinese obsession with space exploration, the culture of science, or “scientism,” has penetrated almost all spheres of Chinese life.

Visiting Assistant Professor Emily Wilcox devoted her Fall 2012 senior seminar to the topic of “China and the Scientific Imagination.” As students read scholarship concerning the social role of science, much of it in Chinese, they also produced original research papers on a topic of their own choosing. In Spring, these students returned to their papers and revised their findings. This culminated in the Chinese Majors Senior Forum, held on April 19, 2013. Seven students presented their findings to an audience of classmates, faculty, friends, and supporters.

Associate Professor Miranda Brown, a specialist in early Chinese literature and history from the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan, delivered the keynote address: “Reflections on the Origins of Chinese Prophylaxis: The Ills That Do Not Ail,” derived from her book manuscript in progress on the history of Chinese medicine. Prof. Brown’s talk examined the origin of a key principle in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): preventative measures to avoid illness before they arise and produce symptoms.

According to Dr. Brown, the notion of asymptomatic illness, and the idea that special measures can be taken to prevent it, derived from texts and manuals of statecraft dating back from the Warring States Period (475-221 BCE). Among the many texts she examined, she paid special attention to the manual of statecraft known as Master Hanfei (Hanfei zi, third century BCE). The notion of hidden, invisible diseases, and the need to act against them before they caused harm, served as rhetorical parables that illustrated the need for governments to act preemptively against possible threats to the state rather than wait until these threats had already inflicted damage. The idea of asymptomatic illness and prophylaxis thus originally began as an extended metaphor to describe effective statecraft. By the Han Dynasty (206 BCD-220 CE), however, medical prophylaxis began to transform from a witty metaphor to an actual clinical practice, and would subsequently shape the whole of TCM to the present day.

Following Dr. Brown’s presentation the students presented their work in two panels, with Dr. Brown as discussant. The first panel consisted of four presentations. Bonnie Beckner, a double major in Chinese and Linguistics, examined the origins of the neo-Confucian term “ge wu” (“the investigation of things”) that arose in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). Suggesting that ge wu marked the beginnings of a kind of thinking that can be characterized as “scientific,” she explored how this principle was exhibited by naturalist Li Shizhen (1518-1593) in his encyclopedic compendium of medical knowledge, the Bencao gangmu. Max Rozycki, a double major in Economics, explored the topic of monetary inflation in the Song Dynasty. Mr. Rozycki argued that inflation could have been prevented in the Song Dynasty if the state had issued bonds; however, traditional taboos about the state being in obligation to private owners of debt prevented the Chinese state from ever adopting bonds as a form of revenue collection. Dereck Chapman, a double major in Government, explored the role of scientism as it pertains to the developing notion of the modern Chinese citizen. Employing insights from the philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche and Hannah Arendt, Mr. Chapman explored how the Chinese state organized a modern citizenry. Inho Kim, a double major in Economics, explored the meanings of qi, variably translated as “vital breath” or “material force,” and a key concept in Chinese medical and cosmological thought. Mr. Kim explored whether the existence of qi could be proved, and to what extent the existence of qi depended not so much on its actual empirical manifestation, but instead as a function of collective belief and practice.

The second panel featured three papers. Elizabeth Goldemen, a double major in Government, explored the relationship between Communist politics and the development of paleoanthropology and genetics in modern China. She noted the different ways in which the political goals of nation building shaped the trajectories of these two sciences. Clayton Kenerson, a double major in Finance, presented independent research conducted under the guidance of Prof. Yanfang Tang on the sources and consequences of the Chinese real estate bubble. Kevin Mahoney, also a double major in finance, spoke about the rise of microblogging (in particular, the site Sina Weibo) in China, and how the phenomenal popularity of celebrity microblogs constitute a contentious space for political expression and legitimacy.

While the theme of science and society unified most of the forum papers, the students’ own particular disciplinary interests drove their projects. For Ms. Beckner, her work in linguistics led her to trace a particular term, “ge wu,” through Chinese philosophical and medical texts. After graduation, she will teach English for two years in Hangzhou, a scenic town an hour away from Shanghai and a one-time imperial capital. After that, she “will probably come back to (the States) for graduate school.” She hopes the time abroad will help her focus her scholarly interests.

Mr. Mahoney, who studied Finance in addition to Chinese, was more drawn to recent developments in Chinese social media. Although trying to keep up with the latest digital Chinese slang was sometimes difficult, he found the research exciting: “It was a lot of fun. I actually spent more time than I need to reading (blog posts) because it’s actually kind of fun seeing what they’re talking about.” While Mr. Mahoney has one more semester left at WM in order to finish up his finance degree, he will spend the upcoming summer interning in Hong Kong. After graduation, he’d like to work in China, and then is thinking about eventually pursuing a law degree in combination with an MBA. Whatever he chooses to do, he hopes to incorporate what he has learned at WM. “I’d still work with China and use my language skills,” said Mr. Mahoney.

The Chinese Seniors Major Forum allowed WM students to demonstrate how four years of hard work in Chinese language study, coupled with studies in Chinese culture and society, as well as immersion in China study abroad programs, were instrumental in developing their own research projects. They exhibited the College’s goals in greater internationalization as well as modeled the kinds of interdisciplinary work the College is encouraging. Prof. Wilcox’s close work with her students displayed the kinds of mentor-intensive experiences the Modern Languages and Literatures Department has always emphasized in its pedagogy. This year’s seniors are now setting off to pursue new adventures and continued opportunities for learning and discovery.

News News: German Studies

Dr. Jennifer Gully to join German Studies in Fall

Jennifer Gülly received her Magistra from the University of Vienna, Austria, and her PhD in Comparative Literature from UCLA. She has previously held positions at Pomona College, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of South Florida before coming to William and Mary. Her research lies at the intersection of language policy, translation theory, and literary aesthetics, and she is currently working on a project tentatively titled Territories of Language: Law, Literature, and the Nation-State. In addition to all levels of German language classes, she teaches courses on German literature and German film, Vienna 1900-2000, the Holocaust in Literature and Film, World Literature, and on the history and theory of translation.

News News: German Studies

Lecture: “Young people in Germany and Experiences of Discrimination and Racism,” Wednesday April 10, 3:30, Andrews 101

The Sociology Department, German Studies, and Charles Center are pleased to sponsor a lecture by Prof. Rudi Leiprecht, who is a professor of Diversity Education at the Universitaet Oldenbourg in Germany. Currently, he is Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC. Professor Leiprecht will present a lecture entitled “Young People in Germany and Experiences of Discrimination and Racism” and show his documentary on the same topic. The lecture is open to the public.

News News: German Studies

Judd Peverall (German Studies and Philosophy, ’13) and Brandon De Graaf (German Studies and History, ’13) have received Fulbright ETAs

Judd Peverall (German Studies and Philosophy, ’13) and Brandon De Graaf (German Studies and History, ’13) have all received Fulbright and Austrian English Teaching Assistantships respectively for 2013-2014. Both will be placed in a >Gymnasien where they will serve as teaching assistants in the English programs of the schools and assist in curricular and non-curricular activities with students. Congratulations!

News News: German Studies

Evan French (’13) receives DAAD RISE Paid Internship in Hamburg

Senior Evan French, currently in Professor Leventhal’s GRMN 202 class, is headed to Hamburg. Evan scored a DAAD RISE paid internship with a software engenieering firm for six months beginning in June 2013. Congratulations, Evan!

Featured News News: Chinese Studies Spring 2013 More

WM Celebrates Chinese New Year

WM 2013 Chinese New Year

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

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

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

CCTV 13 “Morning News” Report

CCTV 3 “New Year’s Eve Countdown”

Faculty Awards News News: Chinese Studies PBK Award

2013 Phi Beta Kappa Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching to Yanfang Tang

tang_yYanfang Tang is a Professor of Chinese Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the College of William and Mary.  She is the Director of the Chinese Studies Program and also serves as the Director of the Confucius Institute at the College.

She received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in December, 1993. Before arriving at W&M in 1994, she had taught at Michigan State University and Brigham Young University. Although her doctoral training was primarily in classical Chinese poetry and East-West comparative literary theory, she has expanded her course offerings, since her arrival at W&M, to include Chinese cosmology, Yi jing (the Book of Changes), women in traditional Chinese literature, film and Chinese modernization, contemporary Chinese society, the history of the Chinese language, and Chinese behavioral culture. These courses were developed all in response to the rising interest of W&M students in learning about China and Chinese culture.

Professor Tang’s research interests also span a broad range of fields, with the analysis of “culture” as the connecting theme. She has published on poetry and philosophy, culture and text, language and thought, language and communication, as well as integration of culture with Chinese language acquisition. In addition to a  textbook project, she is currently working on a book entitled Meaning without Words: Mind and Methods of Traditional Chinese Poetry. This is a new study of traditional Chinese “modern-style poetry” (jin ti shi) focusing on the underlying philosophical and artistic thought and its embodiment in the distinctive Chinese modes of poetic expression. In terms of professional service, Professor Tang sits on two editorial boards and serves as a manuscript reviewer for many academic journals and presses.

News News: French & Francophone Studies Spring 2013

Fête de la Recherche

An annual “Fête de la Recherche” (faites de la recherche!) features the student research that takes place at the core of the French & Francophone Studies program. Students often present projects from their studies abroad in Montpellier, France, as well as longer papers written in association with I.F.E internships in Paris, Bruxelles, and Strasbourg. Other talks frequently showcase independent Monroe projects and senior honors theses.

Here are short video clips from our 2012 Fête de la Recherche:

The full conference programs can be found here


Fall 2012 More News News: Japanese Studies

Japanese: Loretta Scott (’10) named “Next EDU Guru” by YouTube and Khan Academy

William and Mary ’10 alumna Loretta Scott was named “Next EDU Guru” by YouTube in October, 2012.

Loretta Scott, an English/Japanese bilingual “edupreneur”, recently joined an international panel of 10 individuals known as the “Next EDU Gurus”. Loretta was chosen for her YouTube channel “KemushiChan: Bringing You Some Japan”, where she shares her tips and tricks to learn Japanese through funny skits, flashy subtitles, popping sound effects, and Japanese interviews. As a Next EDU Guru, she and the 9 other content creators were giving funding, exclusive promotions and training by YouTube to enhance their channels and grow their audiences.

“I first began uploading YouTube videos from my dorm room in 2006. Since then my channel KemushiChan has seen over 490,000 hits and grown to more than 5,800 regular subscribers,” says Loretta. “At William and Mary, I had many opportunities to learn about how people study and teach Japanese. I worked with Professor Kato as a Japanese T.A., and with Professor Hamada-Connolly in Japan on a research fellowship about digital communications. My favorite part of all of this was posting YouTube videos about what I saw, and hearing from viewers in the comments about some of their favorite ways to navigate such an amazing language and culture.”

In October, Loretta and the 9 other Gurus were flown out to the YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, CA where they received special training with the YouTube Staff, and met with some of the top name-brands in education today: Sir Ken Robinson, Salman Khan (Khan Academy), Coursera, and more. Since then, Loretta has already begun collaborating with other educators, like in her recent video in Japanese about Nuclear Chemistry in Japan.

Currently, Loretta works in New York City as an independent teacher and translator developing a Japanese Language company. Through her company she writes and designs personalized textbooks for her students, creating custom lessons that are fit especially to each student.

“I have some big plans for the next steps of my language company, but in the meantime I’m thankful that I’ve had such a loyal and supportive audience of fellow students through YouTube.”


Loretta’s Most Recent Collaboration, Nuclear Chemistry in Japan:

Loretta at Youtube HQ:

A Sample Japanese Video from Loretta:

Loretta’s Bio Video:

Fall 2012 News News: French & Francophone Studies

French and Francophone: Students scholars tackling the world. How the McCormack-Reboussin scholarship is transforming the lives of French and Francophone Students.

Marcel Reboussin and Mark McCormack

Research is at the center of the French & Francophone Studies program. Students are able to conduct research projects in many different ways, as the annual Fête de la Recherche demonstrates: short projects done while studying in Montpellier; longer projects conducted while studying and doing an internship through the I.F.E program in Paris, Strasbourg, or BruxellesMonroe projects; and honors theses. Some of our most exciting projects have been made possible by the McCormack-Reboussin scholarship. Last May, I sat with Bridget Carr, one of our most recent McCormack-Reboussin scholars to discuss her research and the incredible opportunity this scholarship has been for her. So what is this scholarship, and what do our students do with it?

In 1995, Mark McCormack, a distinguished alumnus and generous benefactor of the College, created a merit-based scholarship to support financially an outstanding French major during his or her third and fourth years at the College.  The scholarship was originally named in honor of Marcel Reboussin, a longtime member of the faculty in French at the College, and Mr. McCormack’s favorite professor from his days as a French major.  The scholarship now also bears the name of Mr. McCormack in honor of his many professional accomplishments, his unflagging devotion to his alma mater, and his inspired support for student research in the field of French & Francophone Studies. With the generous support of Mr. McCormack’s daughter, Mrs. Leslie McCormack-Gathy, the terms of the scholarship were changed in 2008 in order to benefit more students.

The scholarship is now awarded on an annual basis to a rising senior French and Francophone Studies major, and is worth a total of $12,000:  up to $4,000 to support research to be conducted in a French-speaking country or region during the summer between the junior and senior years, with the remainder ($8,000 or more) to be applied toward tuition and fees for the senior year.  The McCormack-Reboussin scholars’ research treat an intellectually relevant topic related to the French language, French/Francophone literature, or the culture of a French-speaking country or region.

In the past few years, McCormack-Reboussin scholars have been conducting research in France, as well as in Belgium and Senegal. Not only is the geographical scope of these students’ investigations broad; the field of their inquiries is also very diverse. The scholars work very closely with their honors thesis advisors to develop their research projects.

In 2012-13, Daniel Hodges is working with professor Leruth on a project on French involvement in the political life of Congo/ Zaire/ RDC from the 1880s to the present. This summer, Daniel was able to travel to Bruxelles and Paris to conduct his research. He will present a first iteration of his ongoing work on Saturday 10th at the Fete de la Recherche.

In 2011-12, Bridget Carr spent a month doing archival work and conducting interviews in Dakar. She eventually completed an her honors thesis on  “Franco-Senegalese Relations through the Lens of Development Aid (1895-2012)“ (Highest Honors/Professor Médevielle, advisor ).

In 2010-11, Philippe Halbert researched the image of the monster in French Enlightenment culture, and this project took him to Paris and Versailles. His honors thesis ultimately bore the title: ‘Heretofore Considered Legendary’: The Harpy of 1784 and the Making of Monsters in Eighteenth-Century France.“ (High Honors/ Professor Pacini, advisor)

Eve Grice (2009) also worked in Paris, and wrote a thesis entitled “What She Said: Gender, Race, and Discourses on Difference at the Cité nationale de l’histoire de l’immigration” (Highest Honors/Professor Fauvel, advisor).

If you are interested in learning more about past recipients of this scholarship, their projects, or if you wish to know more about the application process, please visit our website.

Fall 2012 More News News: Italian Studies

Italian: An Unexpected Passion

When I came to William and Mary I never imagined that by the time of my senior year I would be completing a research paper in Italian. I took only the bare minimum required by my high school, and as a result was required to complete 4 semesters at the College. At first, it was rough; I’ll never forget my first day of class freshman year when I walked into the room and Professor Angelone addressed everyone in lively Italian- I couldn’t tell you what she said, naturally. At the completion of my required study, I was at a crossroads- could I let those two challenging and rewarding years be for naught? I had come to respect and love the language, and enjoy studying the culture. At the beginning of my junior year,  I made the decision to embark on an internship in Florence through Global Experiences the following summer, and to spend the year further improving my Italian.

Last May, I departed from Buffalo, New York for Rome. After the flight, I took a train to my apartment in Florence. I am a small-town girl, so thankfully my roommate from the program was a street-savvy college student from New York City. After a tumultuous few days of jet lag, getting lost, and other unfortunate incidents such as shattering our stovetop and searching for antibiotics, we began to adjust. I bought a bus pass, and my roommate bought a bike, and we learned the fastest routes to our friend’s apartments.

By the end of June I finished the language school and began my internship at an English-speaking newspaper. I edited articles, wrote advertisements, and transcribed news clips from Italian into English. It was an invaluable way to get to know the city in a short amount of time- I learned about popular restaurants and clubs, and even interviewed a couple of business owners in the city. The network of friends I made from the newspaper was diverse-from a professor, to a restaurant owner (for whom I helped transcribe a menu), and two wonderful young women, a German and an Armenian, who went out of their way to make sure I felt welcome.

The experiences that changed me the most, however, were the unplanned moments- bike riding through the campagna in search of a lake on a beautiful Sunday afternoon with my roommate and some Italian friends, nighttime Vespa rides through the sleeping city, hopping a train for Ferrara, discovering a beautiful church on the hill near Fiesole. Those were the moments that solidified my love for Italy. Some may say that my experience was skewed by the fact that I was a college student in Europe, but I can assure you that my feelings are deeper. I miss the vibrant appreciation of culture and beauty, and the slowness of the culture. Even when there were impending deadlines for the newspaper, we still took time for a long break with a glass of wine and some fruit. People walked slower, and when you ran into someone there wasn’t this itching need to wrap up the conversation so that you could continue checking off your to-do list. I also miss speaking another language every day- there’s something liberating about it, almost as if you can speak more freely if you don’t hear what is said in your mother tongue.

Though I had only been living there for 9 weeks, I had become accustomed to my life, and since coming back have missed it a great deal. I have begun genealogy research on my great-great grandfather, who immigrated from Caulonia, Italy via Naples to New York in 1907, to work in West Virginia. I am also completing a minor in Italian. I registered for an independent study with Professor Ferrarese, which is serving as a capstone to my experience. I have been researching musical culture during the Fascist period. So far, I have learned a great deal about how political changes affected the type of music that was popularized during that time. As a Music and Government Major, I couldn’t imagine a better opportunity to delve deeper into my third, unexpected passion, Italy.

Fall 2012 News News: German Studies

German: The Spirit of Giving: The J. Richard Guthrie Scholarship in German Studies

Kai Simenson (’12), recipient of Guthrie Award, Summer 2011

J. Richard Guthrie believed strongly in the undergraduate study of German language, literature, and culture. As part of his estate, he endowed a scholarship fund to assist undergraduates to carry out semester or summer research in German Studies. Because of this generous endowment from his estate, the German Studies Section at W&M is able to award a limited number of scholarships to qualified undergraduates in German Studies.

A native of Hilton Village who attended Hilton Elementary, J. Richard Guthrie was graduated from Warwick High School in 1958 where he was elected the “Wittiest” in the class, a personality trait which stood him in good stead throughout his life. He held a B.A. Degree in French and German from William and Mary, an M.A. from Middlebury College Graduate School of French at the Sorbonne in Paris. There, as the elected Student Body President, he was presented the symbolic key to the city by the then mayor of Paris, later to become the president of the French Republic, Francois Mitterand.

Later, he continued on with his education earning the Ph.D. in Romance Languages with an extensive German minor, granted by special permission of the Graduate Committee from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He was the recipient of numerous grants for study at the Universities of Munich, Cologne and the Free University of Berlin in Germany. He was honored to have been chosen as one of 15 Americans to participate in a conference in West Berlin sponsored by the West German government in 1981 and a special grant for 12 university teachers nation-wide to attend a conference on the “New Germany” in Berlin in 1991, one year after reunification.

Elaine Vega (’13) and Anna Kim (’13) on their way from Potsdam to Berlin, Germany, both recipients of Guthrie scholarships for German Studies Research Abroad during the summer of 2011

He was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus from Christopher Newport upon his retirement in May of 2002 after 35 years where he was responsible for the construction, inauguration and implementation of the German major and minor programs from their beginnings until his retirement. He served three elected three-year terms as Chairman of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures. He traveled extensively throughout all of Europe: northern, central and southern, and the Mid-East, including Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Greece.

Professor Guthrie was passionate about German Studies, and he channeled that passion into creating opportunities for W&M undergrads to follow their passion. Thanks to his generous gift, German Studies undergraduates at W&M will be able to carry out research in German Studies in the United States or abroad for years to come. Recent recipients of Guthrie scholarship funds have included Kai Simenson, Anna Kim, Elaine Vega, Judson Peverall and Sierra Barnes.

Fall 2012 News News: Russian Studies

Russian: A Graduate Student Gives Back (video)

Erin Alpert with Profs. Prokhorov, Ginzbursky-Blum and Corney at her recent talk at W&M

Erin Alpert graduated from the College in 2007 with a degree in Russian and Post Soviet Studies.  During her time at W&M, she studied abroad in Russia thanks, in part, to a scholarship she received from the Reves Center.

“One of the highlights of my college career was definitely my summer study abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia. I loved having the opportunity to live with a host family, study in a Russian university, and explore the country whose language I had been studying in the classroom.”

Currently, Erin is pursuing her Ph.D. in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh.  Despite living on a graduate student’s pay, Erin contributes something each year to the Dobro Slovo Scholarship Fund, which annually provides a scholarship to one W&M undergraduate who is studying at St. Petersburg State University through the department’s study abroad program. Watch a video about Erin’s graduate experiences below:

“Even though as a graduate student I don’t have much extra to spare, I always find a way to contribute to the Dobro Slovo Scholarship Fund so that other students can have the same opportunities that meant so much to me when I was at William and Mary.”

It is generous donors like Erin who give a little each year that allow RPSS to continue supporting deserving students in their pursuit of a truly globalized education.  One such current student, Sophie Kosar (‘14), received just this kind of support for her trip to St. Petersburg in the summer of 2011, the results of which exceeded everyone’s expectations.

Modest Gifts Pay Big Dividends

Sophie’s 2011 summer trip to St. Petersburg featured many of the staple experiences students abroad have: classes in the target language, great times with the host family, and many fond memories of a city explored and friends made.  Where her experience differed begins with the research and film project she and her fellow students were tasked with by their group leaders, Alexander Prokhorov and Jes Therkelsen .

According to Sasha Prokhorov, “In 2011 WM students made several key innovations in their research projects.  First, they redefined their understanding of the sites of urban memory.  Instead of focusing on the sites that interpreted the past, they examined the sites that create history in the present and define St. Petersburg’s future.  For example, Alex McGrath analyzed the project for the new skyscraper The Gazprom Tower and Sophie Kosar studied the Marine Facade, St. Petersburg’s new seaport. Second, student added to their traditional tools of analysis, pen and paper, the new media, lapel microphone and digital camera. In addition to research papers, they produced documentary films. Third, students included in their film crews collaborators from St. Petersburg University School of Journalism.  Russian students helped WM students and served as their field producers.  The result of this genuinely international effort was a multimedia portal that combined the interactive potential of a blog, immediacy of a documentary and reflexive power of a research paper.”

Sophie and her partner’s film project approached the theme of memory through a somewhat non-traditional angle: the myth of St. Petersburg and the construction of the Marine Façade.  “Our projects were supposed to be about sites of memory, which makes one usually immediately think history and monuments and things like that,” says Sophie, by way of introduction.  “My project was on contemporary issues and contemporary problems.”

Sophie’s topic – the Marine Façade, a commercial port and business center meant to facilitate tourism and increase revenue in the city.  While many Petersburg residents were onboard with the proposed plan, which would also include the building of new neighborhoods and expanding city transportation, some were less than excited about the prospect of such a Western urbanization of the traditional Vasilievsky Island, one of several islands making up St. Petersburg.  This new, largely commercial and highly modernized region would clash with the city’s traditional aesthetic, thereby diverging with Petersburg as these residents viewed and remembered it.

However, as Sophie explores in the paper she wrote about her research into the Marine Façade, the myth and memory of St. Petersburg is a double-edged sword.  The traditional Petersburg many of the Marine Façade’s opponents used to support their case was itself an example of an extremely modern, Western city planned and built by Tsar Peter the Great as a means of connecting Russia with Europe.  Founded in 1703, Petersburg embodied from the very beginning the tensions between the old and the new, the East and the West.  As Sophie explains, the Marine Façade is simply continuing this tradition.

Researching a site of memory and making a documentary about it led to more opportunities the average study abroad student does not have, like interviewing a variety of pivotal figures in the Marine Façade discussion.  “First we interviewed an architect Rafail Dayanov who does historical restoration in the city,” describes Sophie.  “Then we interviewed the PR manager for the Marine Façade managing company Alexander Shimberg who is doing all the port business, all of the current development, all of the land reclamation.  And then we interviewed an opposition NGO leader Tatiana Sharagina.”

This experience, facilitated by the Dobro Slovo scholarship, not only did wonders for Sophie’s Russian, it gave her vital research and writing experience.  “Going to St. Petersburg last year was great, not only because it helped me a lot with my Russian, it gave me more confidence definitely…Doing independent research, especially at the undergraduate level, is invaluable.” Watch excerpts from our interview with Sophie in Kazan via Skype:

Sophie’s hard work abroad has led to more unexpected and pleasant surprises.  The research paper she wrote about the project has been published in Columbia University’s Birch, the first national undergraduate publication devoted exclusively to Slavic, East European, and Eurasian cultures.  It has also been featured in Vestnik, the School of Russian and Asian Studies’ newsletter.  Meanwhile, the documentary she and her partner made has been screened several times, including at the Global Film Festival, an international venue, in Feb 2012, where she got to walk the red carpet at the Kimball Theater in Colonial Williamsburg.  It was also screened at the University of Virginia’s Slavic Forum.

And all this is thanks, in large part, to the scholarship alums like Erin contribute to every year.  Such donations go far beyond the financial – they enable students to expand their horizons and inspire them to pursue new adventures and opportunities.  Sophie is currently spending her junior year studying Russian in Kazan, something she would have been hesitant to do had she not been able to go to St. Petersburg the summer before.  “I am so glad that I went last year.  It’s so much better, so much better.”

For all those generous alums, Sophie, and others like her, appreciate all that you do for them and plan to pay it forward themselves.  “I know that I for one, having received donations, definitely in the future am going to want to help out because it’s really important and I feel like if you can help other students, inspire their love of learning about x, y, or z, then it’s definitely worth it.”

So, thank you to all who contribute.  Without you, many of our students would be unable to have the kind of amazing experiences abroad that Sophie has had.  And don’t be strangers!  Sophie perhaps says it best: “It was really cool to meet all of the alums at Homecoming.”

Fall 2012 News News: Hispanic Studies

Hispanic Studies: “The Art of Medical Interpretation: Service-Learning on the Eastern Shore” (video)

That is the title with which Vivian K. Cooper (Major in Biology, Minor in Hispanic Studies, ’13) captured the real-world connection between the liberal arts, the sciences, and the College’s mission of service to national and international communities.  Vivian’s upperclassman Monroe Research Project was based on her research about medical interpretation and her experience as a volunteer medical interpreter in a four-week summer externship with Eastern Shore Rural Health System (ESRH) in July and August of 2012.  Hispanic Studies and ESRH have a partnership that began in 1998; in those fifteen years selected Hispanic Studies majors and minors who are fluent speakers of Spanish have helped physicians and nurses at ESRH treat thousands of Spanish-speaking farmworkers on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  In this video interview with Prof. Jonathan Arries, Vivian describes how she first became interested in her research topic, how she prepared to be a volunteer medical interpreter, and her most memorable experiences.



Fall 2012 More News News: Hispanic Studies

Hispanic Studies: Anne Foster (Class of 2011) teaches English in Spain through the Cultural Ambassadors Program

Every year, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of Spain offers the opportunity to teach English in different educational scenarios throughout Spain.  College graduates, seniors and juniors can apply for the very competitive Cultural Ambassadors Program for North American Language and Culture Assistants in Spain in November /December (dates vary) for the following academic year.

During late spring of 2011, Anne Foster (Hispanic Studies & History ’11) was delighted to find out she had been selected by the Program to teach English in a High School in Madrid during year 2011-12.  She describes her experience as follows:

“In four years in the Hispanic Studies program I focused heavily on issues and research in the Americas.  My freshman seminar was Mapping Cuba with Professor Stock followed by Mexican Cinema with Professor Buck.  The closest I came to taking a class on Spain was my senior seminar with Professor Terukina in which we discussed Spain as a colonial power, but even so it was more of a class on philosophy and colonialism than Spanish culture.

“So when I heard about the Spain Cultural Ambassadors Program through Professor Buck I was unsure if it was quite what I was looking for.  On one hand I thought it would be a great opportunity to travel to a new country and a new continent.  At the same time I thought—I know so little about Spain!  My hopes of travel and employment trumped my doubts and I added the Cultural Ambassadors application to the whirlwind of applications I was working on in the spring of 2011.

“The application process was a little daunting.  To apply I had to submit documents such as a notarized copy of an FBI background check.  Obtaining some of the documents meant navigating a maze of bureaucracy but it was for my own good.  The Spanish Embassy required me to submit these documents so that when I went through the process of obtaining my visa, I would be ready to go.  A few months later, the program offered me a placement at a school in Madrid, and I had to proceed to the visa application.  But I was pleasantly surprised to find that I already had all the necessary documents for the application.

Anne Foster (’11) received the Howard M Fraser Award in Hispanic Studies.

“But navigating the application and visa process were small feats compared to actually teaching.  The Cultural Ambassadors Program explained the guidelines and roles of the foreign teaching assistants in Spanish schools.  However, the specific duties of the assistant depend on the needs of his or her school.  Some assistants work one on one with students or small groups, some work alongside Spanish teachers.  I, however, found myself instructing classes of ten to twenty high school students on my own.  The first month made me rethink my ideas about teaching and social responsibility.  And gave me a new appreciation of every teacher I ever had growing up.

“A recurring theme of my job and travels in Spain was that of defining the Spanish nation as well as trying to define America.  My students were often eager to hear about the United States and they asked me open-ended questions such as, Does everyone get a car when they turn 16?  Is everyone fat?  What’s prom like?  They were just as eager to share with me their concepts of Spain: Spain is party.  Spain is lazy.  Some of them said.  Every time the class discussion turned to the country comparison game I couldn’t help but remember my Introduction to Hispanic Studies class in which we studied the concepts of imagined communities and nations.  The very concepts were playing out right in front of me as Spanish high schoolers and me, a young American, tried to describe entire countries with a mere few adjectives…lazy, rich, independent, extroverted.  But as we discussed in Intro to Hispanic Studies, these imagined national personas are nothing more than that: imagined.  Instead of encouraging these national stereotypes in the classroom, I looked instead for the things that my students and I had in common.  Music was a common class discussion.  I discovered that my students and I shared a fondness of Queen and ABBA, which are ironically neither American nor Spanish bands.  Another popular class activity was the “phrase of the day”; I would share an English phrase and the students would try to find a similar phrase in Spanish.  For example, one day I chose the phrase, I’m fed up.  And my students shared with me a Spanish phrase that expresses the same idea—hasta las narices (literally, up to the nose).

“I realized after a few months of teaching that, even though I didn’t have much hard knowledge on Spain before I arrived, I had been well educated in the ways of critical thinking.  My studies focused on Latin America, but Hispanic Studies as a concentration taught me how to question and critique my own country and to look beyond the façade of the nation-state.  In the end these qualities prepared me for work abroad not only in Spanish speaking countries, but anywhere in the world.

While at W&M, Anne received the Howard M. Fraser Award in Hispanic Studies.  This award recognizes the graduating Hispanic Studies major who has made significant achievements in the area of research and service related to the field of Hispanic Studies.

Fall 2012 More News News: Hispanic Studies

Hispanic Studies: Eleonora Figliuoli (Class of 2012): Critical Thinking and Graduate Studies

After interning at the Library of Congress during last summer, this fall Eleonora Figliuoli (History & Hispanic Studies, ’12) started her graduate studies in Hispanic Studies at the University of Virginia.  In the following lines, Eleonora reflects upon her experience at W&M, and the critical thinking skills she acquired through the Hispanic Studies program; skills she considers crucial for success in graduate school.

“My experience at William & Mary helped greatly in preparing me for the work I am currently engaged in at The University of Virginia, both as a graduate student and as a graduate teaching assistant. More broadly, my studies at William & Mary helped hone the critical thinking skills necessary for life in graduate school. I graduated from college as an independent thinker. Throughout my time as a student at William & Mary, I perfected listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, and I am now able to call upon those skills and strategies when necessary in the graduate classroom. Similarly, I come out of my undergraduate institution feeling prepared with knowledge of foundational concepts in my field of specialization, and the ability to form a concise and well-developed argument.

Eleonora Figliuoli, who wrote an Honors Thesis on César Vallejo and Pablo Neruda from an eco-critical perspective, participated in our W&M Summer Program in Cádiz (Summer of 2011).

“Specifically, the topics presented in my Hispanic Studies coursework at William & Mary have proven of great relevance for my graduate studies at UVA. For instance, in my freshman seminar at William & Mary, and in an upper level seminar later on in my undergraduate career, I studied the literature of the Spanish Civil War, and particularly of Carmen Martín Gaite. This semester, I am reencountering these same works in a broader-themed course on contemporary Spanish literature. The sequence of courses I took at William & Mary also exposed me to an introduction to reading medieval Spanish, which few of my colleagues can boast, and which I am required to do on a regular basis in a course on the History of the Language.

“Moreover, though I was never formally trained to teach undergraduate students at William & Mary, there I discussed teaching Hispanic culture in a senior seminar on colonial Latin American literature. This knowledge gave me not only introductory knowledge of the canon of colonial Latin American literature, but also of a few important topics in foreign language pedagogy.

“Lastly, when the time will come to prepare for comprehensive exams, or write articles in my seminar courses, my confidence is boosted knowing that the research skills I gained at William & Mary allow me to reflect independently on the lectures or texts that I listen to or read, and on my own written and spoken work in order to constantly challenge my preexisting assumptions and form new paradigms. In my duties as a teaching assistant, I try to facilitate the development of the same learning skills and strategies in my students, so the knowledge I gained comes full circle.

At W&M, Eleonora received the R. Merritt Cox Fellowship in Hispanic Studies, awarded to the graduating student with an outstanding level of academic excellence in the field of Hispanic Studies, and who will pursue a graduate degree in the field in Hispanic Studies.  This award was established in memory of Professor R. Merritt Cox, a well-known 18th century scholar in Spanish Studies and a highly esteemed colleague in W&M’s Department of Modern Languages & Literatures for many years. With this award, the faculty recognize a graduating Hispanic Studies major who exhibits those qualities admired and embodied by Professor Cox: a deep appreciation and broad interest in Hispanic cultures, literatures, and the Spanish language.

News News: French & Francophone Studies

Bellini Colloquium Talk: Thursday 4th, October. 3.30pm. Washington 315. Pr.Giulia Pacini “Invaluable Trees, or how and why trees and wood mattered in the long eighteenth century.”

Thursday 4th, October at 3:30pm in Washington 315

Throughout the eighteenth century, trees stood at the intersection of numerous and often competing discourses of value. Across Europe and   North America, they were viewed both as precious commodities and as ‘the true monuments of nations’, as Bernardin de Saint-­Pierre noted in 1784,underscoring the imposing and inescapable materiality of these plants, their cultural significance, and their political value in the project of modern nation-­building.

Trees could also be appreciated as charismatic objects of personal desire and of intellectual fascination, just as they were at the heart of Enlightenment discussions on environmental management and sustainability.

Fall 2012 More News News: Hispanic Studies

Hispanic Studies: Prof. Cate-Arries’ book on Spanish Civil War refugees translated to Spanish

[By Jim Ducibella. You can read the full article here]

Every author knows that there are book signings and then there are book signings. The first are pro forma, a mere exercise of putting pen to paper. The latter can be profound, soul-sharing experiences.

Full Professor of Hispanic Studies
Francie Cate-Arries

William & Mary Professor of Hispanic Studies Francie Cate-Arries recently returned from Spain and nearly two weeks of profound experiences presenting her book Spanish Culture Behind Barbed Wire: Memory and Representation of the French Concentration Camps, 1939-1945. (Culturas del exilio español entre las alambradas: Literatura y memoria en Francia, 1939-1945.)

The book originally appeared only in English when it was published in 2004. While there had been significant scholarship published on the Spanish Civil War and General Francisco Franco regime over decades, Cate-Arries’ book was the first monograph written about the literature and culture of the French internment camps for Spanish war refugees.

By the end of the Spanish Civil War in March 1939, nearly 500,000 Spaniards had fled the country to escape Franco’s military dictatorship. More than 275,000 of them found themselves interned in concentration camps in Southern France, exiles and outcasts in every sense of the word.

Although they were anti-fascists who expected a very different reception in democratic France, the French government was ill equipped to handle hundreds of thousands of war refugees. The French state also didn’t want to show friendship to the losers of a war whose adversaries had been very publicly supported by Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, to the point that France established diplomatic ties with Franco before the general even declared victory.

Book examines cultural, literary legacy of refugees

Cate-Arries’ book examines the cultural and literary legacy of the thousands of exiles who were interned in these concentration camps. She examined the literature and art that was produced, as well as refugees’ memories of the camps published during World War II, but never viewed or read within Spain during the Franco regime.

After the Franco dictatorship was dismantled in the late 1970s, there was a tacit understanding throughout the country that Spaniards were just going to move forward, not look back at this sad chapter of their history and wrestle with human rights violations and refugees.

Three years after Cate-Arries’ book was originally published, the Spanish Parliament modified this position in 2007 with its passage of complex — and controversial — legislation popularly known as the Law of Historical Memory, which opened the door for vigorous debate and coincided with new exhibits. In the case of Cataluña, museums were even opened, which focus on the history and cultural legacy of civil war exiles, including the inhabitants of those camps.

Culturas del exilio español entre las alambradas. Barcelona: Anthropos, 2012.

In March, an expanded version of Cate-Arries’ book was published in Spanish by Editorial Anthropos, a Barcelona publishing house, and in June she was invited to make presentations at four venues: the Museum of Catalonian History in Barcelona, the University of Barcelona, the Ateneo de Madrid in that city, and the Memorial Museum of Exile in La Junquera, right on the Spanish-French border, the 1939 gateway to exile for hundreds of thousands of war refugees.

There, her audience, whose questions to Cate-Arries were often in French, not Spanish, was almost entirely made up of the now-elderly children of exiles who crossed the border at that very spot, some of them babes in arms at the time. Most of them attended the lecture by way of Argelès in Southern France, once the site of the largest, most notorious internment camp, where their parents settled, often never to return to Spain.

They have formed a citizen’s group – FFREEE Association — dedicated to keeping alive the legacy and memory of parents who fought and fled Franco in the name of democracy.

After the presentation, a man approached Cate-Arries and asked her to sign a book for his mother.

Emotional encounters with those who were there

“He said, ‘You know, my mother is 94 years old and she’s blind, and she’s not going to read this book,’” Cate-Arries recalled. “He said, ‘But I’m going to read it to her, and I’m going to read her the dedication that you write today. She was 21 years old when she went into that camp and that was a transformative moment in her life.’”

In the presentation at the Ateneo de Madrid, Cate-Arries shared the panel with Maria Luisa Libertad Fernández who was three weeks old when her parents carried her from Barcelona across the Spanish border, just before Franco’s troops captured the city at the war’s end. She spent the first four years of her life interned in a series of French camps.

“I told her, ‘I wrote this book for you before I ever even met you,’” said Cate-Arries.

Events organized during the Summer of 2012 in Spain (Girona, Barcelona) for the publication of Prof. Cate-Arries’ book.

One question Cate-Arries heard continually was why she undertook this project. Did she also have relatives affected?

“Unlike many of the audience members who came to hear me speak, I have no familial ties to this chapter of Spanish history. The story I tell was taken from my study of published memoirs, novels, poetry, artwork and photography,” she said. “As an American, it was nice to join the ranks of others who have come to the story of Spain’s civil war as outsiders. In my case, I was captivated by the absolute poignant beauty of the stories of hope, solidarity, and humanity that emerged from these testimonies of camp veterans. We identify with them.”

*N.B.: Prof. Cate-Arries’ original 2004 book in English, Spanish Culture Behind Barbed Wire (Bucknell UP) was distinguished with an Honorable Mention for the Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize, awarded by the Modern Language Association of America (MLA). The Prize is awarded to outstanding books in the fields of Latin American and Spanish literatures and cultures.
Fall 2012 More News News: Russian Studies

Russian: Profile: Erin Alpert ’07, Russian and Post-Soviet Studies

Erin Alpert

The time I spent at the College greatly influenced both my career path and who I am as a person. The people I met there, both friends and professors, continue to be a significant part of my life. I think it’s important for alumni to remain connected to the College and to help foster those kinds of connections for current and future students.

I majored in Russian and Post-Soviet Studies at the College, and my professors were excellent examples of teachers as well as mentors – a role they continue to play, even though I’m no longer “officially” their student. Now, as a graduate student, I hope to teach at the college level when I complete my degree.

One of the highlights of my college career was definitely my summer study abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia. I loved having the opportunity to live with a host family, study in a Russian university, and explore the country whose language I had been studying in the classroom. Without the scholarship I received from the Reves Center, I wouldn’t have been able to participate in the program.

Even though as a graduate student I don’t have much extra to spare, I always find a way to contribute to the Dobro Slovo Scholarship Fund so that other students can have the same opportunities that meant so much to me when I was at William and Mary.

Alpert is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh. Last year while Alpert was in Moscow conducting research for her dissertation, she met with William and Mary study abroad students to share her research and graduate school experience. The Dobro Slovo Scholarship Fund was established in 2004 to support study for a W&M undergraduate through the department’s summer program at St. Petersburg University.

Fall 2012 News News: Japanese Studies

Japanese: Julian Oreska ’09 speaks Bandai’s language


Julian Oreksa ’09

The following story originally appeared in the summer 2012 issue of the William & Mary Alumni Magazine – Ed.

Many come to the College of William & Mary to pursue degrees that they think will lead them to careers. Julian Oreska ’09 didn’t think his education would someday lead him to designing toys on the other side of the globe.

When Oreska returned to Williamsburg later in 2009 for the College’s Homecoming celebration, reconnecting with old friends led to a unique career. Oreska was searching for a permanent job in the United States after returning from an internship in Japan. He met Professor Rachel DiNitto from the William & Mary Japanese language faculty, who told him about a career forum in Boston for Japanese-English bilingual individuals interested in working in Tokyo, Japan.

Upon looking into the event, Oreska noted that Bandai, a prominent Japanese toy company, was among the companies that would be conducting interviews. Because Oreska had been a fan of Bandai since the company introduced the Power Rangers craze to the U.S., he decided to apply. During the interview process, his enthusiasm for the company won him the position.

“I apparently surprised my interviewers with an ability to answer questions in detail regarding specific Bandai product lines,” Oreska says.

With Bandai, Oreska serves as an integral part in the creation of new toy lines. As a product developer, he does everything from brainstorming new ideas to designing the packaging for the final product — and he does this all in his second language. Although he began studying Japanese when he was a sophomore in high school, majoring in East Asian studies and business at W&M made for a heavy course load that prevented him from taking language classes until he was a junior. He credits immersion into the culture as the only way he was able to achieve the level of mastery he has now.

“With a language like Japanese,” he says, “there are a myriad of idioms and nuances that arise in different settings, which formal instruction cannot replicate.”

While Oreska believes the skills he learned in the classroom at the College have prepared him for working for a consumer production company, he still faces many challenges working abroad.

“Living in a country where you were not born speaking the language can be tiring,”Oreska says. “Daily communication is a battle to remember the right words and phrases at the moment they are needed.”

For Oreska, a Richmond native, living in Japan has required many adjustments. He enjoys the conveniences of living in Tokyo, since “just about anything one could need or want is either in walking distance or just a short train ride away,” he says. However, he also noted that “living in a country as population-dense as Japan can feel strange at times.” His one-room Tokyo apartment that measures about 9 feet by 9 feet is a stark contrast to the“trees and wide-open spaces” of Virginia. Additional concerns, from the inability to find certain staples of American cuisine to earthquakes, make living abroad a challenge.

American and Japanese business practices can seem nearly as different as the languages the two countries speak. While companies on both sides of the Pacific seek to create a profit, Oreska personally witnesses the different ways they accomplish this. For instance, Japanese developers are often expected to perform joukin, a practice that requires Oreska to explain his products to individual shoppers. The countries also differ in work ethic. Oreska says, “Late nights in the United States are becoming more of the norm for young, American businesspeople, but 14-, 15-, even 16-hour days are nearly universal at Japanese companies.”

Even though Oreska misses many things from home (namely, Chipotle and his class of 2009 group from West Barrett Hall) he believes his experiences at the College prepared him to succeed abroad:

“I feel very fortunate to experience the business climate and culture of Japan firsthand.”

Fall 2012 More News News: Hispanic Studies

Welcome Party at the Hispanic House

Hispanic House residents having fun at the Welcome Party

This year, the Hispanic House, la Casa hispánica, (Giles Hall, 2nd floor) celebrated the beginning of the semester with a warm Welcome Party, “Fiesta de otoño,” on Saturday, September 22.

The Hispanic House residents, lead by our House Tutor, Auxi Baena, an art historian from Seville with ample experience in programming cultural activities, and our RA, Devon Shaw, who is back in W&M after having spent a full year abroad in Seville, organized a great party with plenty of food, drinks, and decorations.  The Hispanic Studies faculty joined the celebration and surprised the residents with some delicious homemade delicacies.  During the evening, residents and faculty were able to meet and learn more about each other, share their impressions about the House, enjoy some music, and above all, have a great time!

Hispanic House residents during a special activity at “la Casa”

Throughout the year, our tutor Auxi Baena organizes several activities at the Hispanic House, including movie nights, conversation hours, cultural celebrations, and cooking classes.  For more information about the activities in the Hispanic House, you can check its bulletin board located on the third floor of Washington Hall; or visit its blog regularly, where you will find the monthly calendar of activities.

Students who wish to become residents of the Hispanic House during 2013-2014 should plan early as the online application will be available between  November 5, 2012, and February 8, 2013 .  For more  information, you can visit the website of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

Fall 2012 More News News: Hispanic Studies

Hispanic Studies: Katie Brown (’13) & Jane Rabinovitz (’13) receive J. Worth Banner Award in Hispanic Studies

Hispanic Studies majors Katherine (Katie) Brown and Jane Rabinovitz have been selected to receive the J. Worth Banner Award in Hispanic Studies.  This award is given to the rising senior Hispanic Studies concentrator with the highest overall grade point average.

Katie Brown (’13) visited Machu Picchu while doing research and learning Quechua in Cusco (Summer 2011)

Katie Brown, who over the last two summers has conducted research projects on the Academia Mayor de la Lengua Quechua in Cusco, Peru, and on the chronicles by Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and Chimalpahin, is currently working on her honors thesis, which analyzes the role of science in the debates that 16th- and 17th-century Spanish, Creole, and mestizo intellectuals held regarding the nature of the population in the Andes and their political right to self-government.

“I never would have imagined upon arriving at W&M that I would have the opportunity to study abroad in both Peru and Spain, be able to work closely with faculty on developing and carrying our research projects, write an honors thesis, and generally expand and transform my understanding of and approach to Hispanic literatures, language and cultures,” says Katie. “I’m mostly just grateful to have been able to immerse myself so deeply in the subject over the past few years and to be a student in a department as dynamic and inspiring as that of Hispanic Studies at W&M.”  Katie plans to attend graduate school after graduating from W&M.

Jane Rabinovitz (’13) in Córdoba, during her semester abroad in Spain (Spring 2012)

Jane Rabinovitz, who is also minoring in Dance, is an accomplished performer who has participated in several productions with Orchesis, the modern dance company at W&M, with Sinfonicron, a student-run light opera company on campus.  During Spring of 2012, she participated in the W&M study abroad program in Seville, where she realized she could combine her two passions, Hispanic Studies and performance, through Spanish-English interpreting.  Now she plans to pursue a career in interpretation in a legal, medical, or governmental setting after graduation.

“I found in Sevilla that oral interpreting was a new and different aspect of my Spanish language study that I had never before tapped into.  I think I grew to love interpreting during my semester abroad because it helped bridge the gap between my two passions: Spanish and performing arts.  Interpreting is the performance of Spanish and I would love to pursue that aspect of my language study more in my final year of college and beyond into the work force,” explains Jane.

Congratulations, Katie & Jane!

The J. Worth Banner Award in Hispanic Studies honors Professor Banner, who was a well-liked Spanish professor at the College of William and Mary, and a respected Chair of the Department of Modern Languages & Literatures for many years. In the past, this generous award has helped support the recipient’s pre-honors research, international travel, or participation in study abroad programs.

Fall 2012 More News News: Hispanic Studies

Libby Hennemuth (’13) publishes article on U.S.-Argentina relations during the 1980 Grain Embargo

Elizabeth (Libby) Hennemuth (Hispanic Studies & Government ’13) recently published an article, “1980 U.S. Partial Grain Embargo: Pragmatism’s Centrality to Argentine Refusal to Cooperate,” in the Summer 2012 issue (17.2) of W&M’s The Monitor. Journal of International Studies.

Congratulations, Libby!

With this article, Libby joins other Hispanic Studies majors who in the recent past have published the results of their research in The Monitor: Casey Lesser  (’11), who published “A Confluence of Cultures: The Child Virgin Spinning Paintings of Colonial Peru” in Summer 2011 (16.2), and Nathan Hoback (’10), whose article “A Hollywood Haunting in Spain: Raza (1942), Rebecca (1940), and Commemoration of the Spanish Civil War” appeared in Winter 2010 (16.1).

Fall 2012 More News News: Hispanic Studies

Hispanic Studies: Lauren Ila Jones (Class of 2004) receives Fulbright Scholar Award for Research in UK

Lauren Ila Jones (Class of 2004)

Lauren Ila Jones (BA, W&M Hispanic Studies & Sociology, 2004; PhD, UCLA Social Science and Comparative Education, 2009) was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholar Award for the United Kingdom during 2012-2013.  She will lecture and do research in the Education Department at Roehampton University in London.  At Roehampton, she will work in the London Paulo Freire Institute, based in the Center for Education Research in Equalities, Policy and Pedagogy (CEREPP).

While at William & Mary, Lauren worked under the advisement of Prof. Jonathan Arries (Hispanic Studies) and Prof. Jennifer Bickham Mendez (Sociology).  Since 2007, she has worked with Prof. Arries as co-instructor of the William & Mary Modern Languages and Literatures Summer Institute in Nicaragua.  They plan to take the next cohort to Nicaragua in August 2013.

Alumni Updates Alumni Updates: Hispanic Studies Fall 2012 More News News: Hispanic Studies

Pravdic, Leksa (Class of 2012) receives Fulbright Scholarship

Leksa Pravdic (Class of 2012)

Hispanic Studies major Leksa Pravdic (’12) is one of only nine W&M 2012 graduates to receive a prestigious Fulbright US Student Grant.  During 2012-2013, Leksa will act as an English Teaching Assistant in Serbia.  You can read the full featured story here.

Congratulations, Leksa!

News News: Chinese Studies News: Japanese Studies

TRIP survey: East Asia more strategically significant, say IR scholars

A community of 3,466 international relations scholars from 20 countries believes that East Asia is the world’s region of greatest strategic importance to their nations today.

That was a key finding from the 2011 TRIP survey, published recently by the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations (TRIP) at the College of William & Mary. The survey, which was sent to all international relations (IR) scholars in the countries surveyed, included nearly 90 questions on the IR discipline, as well as respondents’ research, teaching and foreign policy views.

Sue Peterson

Three members of the Institute’s staff authored the survey, the largest ever undertaken on the discipline of international relations. They are: Sue Peterson, Wendy and Emery Reves professor of government and international relations and co-director of the Institute; Michael Tierney ‘87, director of International Relations, Hylton associate professor of government and co-director of the Institute; and Daniel Maliniak ’06, a Ph.D. student at the University of California, San Diego and a principal investigator on the project.

In 2008, 27 percent of all respondents named East Asia as the region of greatest strategic importance to their nations. That percentage of i

nternational scholars rose to 34 percent in the 2011 survey, with 57 percent of all respondents saying that East Asia will be the most strategically important region in 20 years.

Among U.S. scholars, the percentage responding that East Asia is the most strategically important region today rose from 30 percent in 2008 to 46 percent in 2011.

“That’s a big change from our last survey,” Peterson said. “A combination of things is responsible for the change, especially the growing recognition of China’s economic power and the concurrent U.S. withdrawal from a major military conflict in the Middle East, which in 2008 had dominated not only U.S. academics’ responses, but those in a lot of other English-speaking communities.

“The majority of scholars always said that in the long run East Asia would be the most important region, but we’ve reached that long run more quickly than we thought.  The reduction of U.S. commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan allowed scholars to turn their academic attention to East Asia.”

More scholars in the United States cited the rising power of China as one of the most important foreign policy issues facing our country over the next ten years than listed any other issue.

Michael Tierney

Scholars also were asked to rate U.S. and Chinese influence on a scale of 1 to 10.  At 4.34, China lags well behind the United States today at 6.63, according to survey respondents.  By 2020, however, IR scholars predict that this gap will narrow considerably with the United States at 5.68 and China close behind at 5.28.

“At the same time that IR scholars are concerned about the implications of China’s rising power relative to the United States,” Tierney noted, “they are not overly worried about the possibility of out-and-out conflict between the U.S. and China.”

When survey respondents were asked to rate on a scale from 1 to 10 the likelihood of war between these two great powers, they put the chance of conflict at 1.33 today and 2.28 over the next 30 years.

The 2011 survey, funded by Arts and Sciences and the Reves Center for International Studies at the College and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, is updated and expanded compared to previous surveys.

In 2004, the only International Relations scholars surveyed were from the United States. In 2006, respondents from Canada were added. In 2008, the survey added eight more English-speaking countries.

The 2011 survey includes all of the above, plus scholars from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Mexico, Norway, Sweden and Turkey. The total number of respondents from the 20 countries, representing five different languages, was 3,466 scholars, or 49.5 percent of the 7,001 scholars surveyed. No country had a response rate below 36.6 percent.

“We weren’t the first to ask some of these questions,,” Peterson said, “but TRIP is increasingly recognized as the most comprehensive, most extensive, data collection ever undertaken in the field of international relations.”

“IR scholars who want to study the IR discipline and the relationship between the theory and practice of IR,” Tierney added, “increasingly turn to TRIP for data.  One of our major goals is to help provide this public good for the discipline.”

A major paradox revealed by the survey is that, while East Asia is seen by most scholars as having the greatest strategic importance today and in 20 years, the region is relatively unstudied and untaught by international scholars.

In the United States, only nine percent of the responding scholars labeled East Asia as the “main” region of the world they study. Among all scholars, that number is just seven percent.

Peterson explained that there were several reasons for the disparity, among them: TRIP surveys scholars of international relations, not comparative politics, who may be more likely to develop an expertise in the history, culture and language of a particular country or region; and IR scholars who study the foreign policy of East Asia need to spend many years immersing themselves in the study of regional languages and politics.

Daniel Maliniak

On the teaching side, Peterson found less obvious reasons for the disparity between what scholars believe is the world’s strategically most important region and what faculty teach.

Only 34 percent of faculty respondents devote one or more classes in their undergraduate international relations courses about East Asia, less than those who teach about the Middle East and North Africa (37 percent) and Western Europe (43 percent). Among U.S. international relations scholars, 40 percent said they devote one or more classes to a discussion of East Asia, while 44 percent do the same for both the Middle East and North Africa and Western Europe.

“I would have expected more faculty to use case studies and current events to teach about various regions of the world, including East Asia,” Peterson said. “The numbers of faculty who teach about East Asia simply doesn’t match the importance that IR scholars attach to the region. We need to close that gap.”

The entire 2011 TRIP survey can be found here.

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2012 More

Eleonora Figliuoli ’12 – R. Merritt Cox Fellowship in Hispanic Studies

Eleonora plans to become a Hispanic Studies professor, having been accepted to Spanish programs at UVA and American and having been shortlisted at Johns Hopkins. Last spring she won the undergraduate research prize for her paper on Martín Fierro and the poetics of suffering which she subsequently presented at the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies. This same paper was later submitted to a refereed journal for which she received a “revise and resubmit”. Eleonora interned at the Library of Congress this past summer, where she continued to do work on her honor’s thesis on representations of environmental degradation and regeneration in the poetry of Pablo Neruda and César Vallejo during the Spanish Civil War. Eleonora’s senior honors thesis received high honors.

News News: Italian Studies Spring 2012

Student Profile: Casey Swann ’12 (Video Feature)

Casey Swann ’12 spoke to me a few days before graduation this May about her self-designed Italian Studies major, her study abroad research in Rome, Italy, and about her plans for after graduation.

News News: Arabic Studies Spring 2012

Student Profile: Kelly Houck ’12 (Video Feature)

Kelly Houck ’12 sat down with me a couple of days before graduation to talk about her experiences in the Arabic program at the College, her study abroad in Morocco, and what her plans are after graduation.

News News: French & Francophone Studies Spring 2012

Student Profile: Bridget Carr ’12 (Video Feature)

Bridget Carr, one of our graduating seniors in French and Francophone Studies, was kind enough to sit down and talk with us right after she defended her Senior Honors Thesis on French relations in Senegal. Prof. Nicolas Medevielle and I talked to Bridget about her study abroad research, how she used that research to develop her honors project, and what her plans are after graduation.

News Spring 2012

Graduation 2012 Photo Gallery

Modern Languages  and Literatures and Global Studies Graduates celebrated with family, friends, and faculty on Saturday and Sunday, May 12 and 13, in graduation ceremonies at Phi Beta Kappa Hall (Global Studies and International Relations) and on the Wren Lawn (Modern Languages and Literatures). Here is a selection of photos from the events.

News News: Russian Studies Spring 2012

William and Mary Students Present at UVA Slavic Forum (March 2012)

Jacob Lassin at Slavic Conference Session

On March 17, four Russian Studies students – along with professors John Lyles, Alexander Prokhorov, Elena Prokhorova, filmmaker-in-residence Jes Therkelsen, and Russian House Tutor Viktoria Kim – participated in the Third Annual Slavic Forum at the University of Virginia.

For the past few years, the Slavic Graduate Program at UVa has held student-organized conferences designed to provide practical experience with academic conferences, paper preparation, conference organization, and panel chairing for their students without the pressure of an official conference. This year, thanks to Professor John Lyles, newly arrived at William & Mary from the UVa program, W&M students submitted papers and joined in on the conference. There were also two students from Duke University participating. This year’s theme was “adaptation”. As can be expected, this theme garnered a wide range of paper topics, from the more conventional themes of adaptation in film and literature to examinations of music, radio programming, and oral histories.

Jacob Lassin (’12) presented a part of his thesis (, Oral Histories, and the Myth of World War II in Russian Cyberspace), Maggie Burke (’12) presented her paper “Winnie the Pooh and the Soviets, Too: Animated Adaptations of A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh Stories in America and the Soviet Union,” and Alex McGrath (’13) and Sophie Kosar (’14) presented documentary films made during William and Mary’s 2011 summer program in Saint Petersburg. Unfortunately, two panels were scheduled in each time slot, so it was impossible to attend all of them, but everything which I was able to attend was very interesting and well received.

Maggie Burke at Slavic Conference Session

This event has the potential to become something really useful both for UVa graduate students and graduate students and undergraduate seniors in the surrounding areas. With a more active recruitment of papers from surrounding universities and advertisement for a wider audience among the undergraduates at UVa, this conference could become an excellent source of experience both for students heading toward grad school and for graduate students heading toward academia. As it is currently structured, though, the conference still provides a fun, laid-back opportunity to practice presenting papers and chat with other Russian Studies folks over coffee and lunch.

News News: Russian Studies Spring 2012

Student Profile: Jacob Lassin ’12 (Video Feature)

Jacob Lassin recently won the American Council of Teachers of Russian’s (ACTR) Post Secondary Russian Scholar Laureate Award. This award, according to the ACTR newsletter, “honors those students who embody a love for and dedication to things Russian that is unparalleled among their peers.” Each college or university where Russian is taught may nominate one junior or senior as that school’s most outstanding student for that year. The award is given out annually from a nation-wide pool of candidates.

Jacob has had a very prolific and successful career here at W&M. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including W&M’s Russian and Post-Soviet Studies Excellence Award, and his senior thesis, “, Oral Histories, and the Cult of World War II in Russian Cyberspace,” received the highest honors. Jacob will be joining the Slavic Languages and Literatures Department at Yale University this fall.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jacob and talk with him about his experiences abroad, his undergraduate research, and the mentoring he has received from the Russian faculty.

Featured News News: German Studies Spring 2012 More

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

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

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

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


Featured News News: German Studies Spring 2012 More

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

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


News News: German Studies Spring 2012

“Writing on the Wall” – Understanding Today’s German Society through a Study of the Representations of the Berlin Wall in Literature, Art, and Music

November 9, 1989: Celebration at the Brandenburg Gate

In November 1989, pictures of jubilating East and West Germans dancing on the Berlin Wall went around the world. Chanting “We are the people”, East Germans had demanded their freedom and finally brought down the authoritarian GDR regime during the Peaceful Revolution. The Fall of the Berlin Wall, which led to the reunification of Germany in 1990, drastically changed the country’s geographical and political landscape. This watershed moment in German history also deeply affected many areas of everyday life and culture. More obviously, it transformed Germans’ definition of personal and national identities and attitudes toward perceived and actual imbalances between the former East and West. Different electoral behavior, divergent income and unemployment rates as well as waves of “Ostalgie” (nostalgia for the former GDR) are only some of the most evident signs and challenges of the still ongoing process of re-unification.

Students in Prof. Kathrin Seidl-Gómez’s advanced conversation course, “Writing on the Wall”, worked on representations of the Berlin Wall in literature, film, and music to develop an understanding of the importance of the mid-twentieth century separation and later reunification of Germany for today’s society. Examining a trove of sources, students learned about the unbroken desire for freedom that persevered in the GDR in the shadow of state surveillance and the artistic responses to a life in the shadow of the Wall. They studied how East Germans attempted, and in many cases succeeded, at escaping the GDR using manifold courageous and inventive strategies. East Germans used underground tunnels, self-built balloons and airplanes, forged IDs and hid in vehicles of all sorts.

Peter Golisch

During a guest lecture, students enjoyed the unique opportunity of hearing firsthand Peter Golisch’s experience of living and escaping the GDR. Mr. Golisch, born in Berlin in 1936, lived as a teenager in the GDR where he came under Stasi-surveillance due to critical remarks against the regime. He managed to flee into the West in the early 1950s, leaving behind an oppressive regime but never escaping from the formative impact these years in the GDR had on his life. Students also discussed the identity-constitutive aspect of the national borders as demarcation lines whose sudden disappearance came to force people on both sides to reevaluate their values, political allegiances, and cultural identity/ies. Particularly illuminating was a case study by the anthropologist Daphne Berdahl we studied. Berdahl’s ethnographic account of the lives of people in the East-German border village of Kella in the early 1990s gave students insight into a socialist society’s transition into capitalism. Reading the novel Aus dem Schneider by Katrin Askan allowed for a different kind of aesthetic experience and intellectual engagement with daily life in the former GDR. Askan portrays five decades of German history (1936-1986) through a family story and discusses the political events and conditions under two dictatorships including the role of chance versus self-determination in totalitarian societies, the import of the idea of Heimat (home), memory, and how identity is created in such circumstances. For the analysis of Askan’s novel we departed from questions such as: How it might have felt to live under an authoritarian regime: Would we be the same? What are the choices between compliance, protest, and escape? What were the consequences of such choices on your personal life and the well-being of your family? Reading Askan’s novel, we learned about daily life in the GDR, about mandatory flag ceremonies at school, and found ourselves exploring stunning oddities such as the layout of the Berlin train station Friedrichstrasse that – while located in the East – belonged in part to West-Germany.

Prof. Kathrin Seidl-Gómez

Students made indeed a number of surprising discoveries. They learned, for instance, that the GDR sold some of their imprisoned dissident citizens to West Germany to fight the deficit of their failing economy with injections of hard currency; that there were more than 400 cases of illegal crossings of the border from West into the East; and that hundreds of East Germans left behind all of their belongings to spontaneously seize the opportunity to flee into the West during the Pan-European Picnic in Hungary in August 1989. More than twenty years later, these events still form part of the lived experience of many Germans and condition the ways in which they define themselves and interact as a society. They inform their political views and the decisions of supporting other nations in their struggle for independence from dictatorships, or for survival during the hardships of the current crisis of the European economy.

We explored in this course how the Fall of the Wall has created a new conceptual framework that shapes the perception of borders, language, space and traditions. Senior Suzan Ok, who developed a research project comparing the Berlin Wall with other walls in history, points at the value of exploring this specific aspect of German history for an understanding of historical and cultural processes pertinent to other periods and regions: “In this course, I learned not only about the political and cultural influence of the Berlin Wall, but also the commonalities and differences among major walls and barriers in the past and present. This was a valuable lesson on the meaning of national identity.” The research project of Peter Lecce, also a Senior, drove the point home: He wrote a nuanced thesis on the applicability of lessons learned from the Berlin Wall to the situation created by the erection of the U.S.-Mexico Border Fence.

Philip Basnight presents his research

These two projects are just some examples of the variety of interesting, informative, and well-research work that students presented as their final projects of this course. Every student gave a 15-20 minute long presentation, discussing yet new aspects of life, media, culture, and politics and also of literature and artistic production both in the GDR and in Germany after the reunification. Sophomore Amanda Morrow notes how much she “enjoyed the conference-style presentations at the end of the course, because it was a great way for us to research a topic that we personally found very interesting and to learn about the interests of our classmates.” By being continuously engaged with relevant readings and in discussions, students not only expanded their knowledge about this essential part of German history, but also their competence of expressing opinions and constructing arguments in German, and they had fun. As Max Lazar put it, “it was an absolutely fantastic class.”

Other course materials included poetry by Sarah Kirsch, Uwe Kolbe, and Volker Braun, essays by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, short prose by Claudia Rusch and Durs Grünbein, and Peter Schneider’s novel Der Mauerspringer, narratives of contemporary witnesses, West German TV interviews from the 1980s with people who escaped from the GDR, political caricatures, documentary and feature films (Clayton Nemrow’s The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall, Wolfgang Becker’s classic Good Bye Lenin! and Roland Richter’s The Tunnel), and recordings of the performance of Beethoven’s Ninth’s in Berlin in December 1989 under Leonard Bernstein who altered for the occasion the words of the acclaimed “Ode to Joy.”
The course was offered as a joint 200/400-level course, and several students who took it at the higher level completed additional readings, attended extra meetings and led discussion groups. The Junior Sean Vadas reflects on the resulting learning experience: “This course was unique in how much I learned from my peers as well as my professor.”

News News: Japanese Studies Spring 2012

After the Quake: Student Research on the 2011 Japanese Earthquake

On March 11 last year, northeastern Japan was struck by a threefold catastrophe—a massive, 9.0 magnitude earthquake, a devastating tsunami, and level-seven nuclear meltdowns at three reactors. Sixteen thousand people perished in the disaster, and the country sustained economic losses equivalent to $235 billion, making it the most expensive natural disaster in world history. The long process of recovery began almost immediately, and continues today.  Since the start of the Fall 2012 semester, William and Mary students have been researching the earthquake, its antecedents, and the recovery.  In April, these students presented the results of their research at a poster session and  student conference, ‘After the Quake: Japan Responds.’

Seven students gave presentations at the conference on various aspects of the disaster and the recovery efforts, including comparisons with the 1923 Kantō Earthquake and the 1995 Kobe; the US military’s relief effort, Operation Tomodachi; and the prospects for a greening of the Japanese economy in the aftermath of 3.11. The first panel comprised Elizabeth Denny, Michael Harrington, Allison Kennington and Sara Caudill; and the second panel, Steven Pau, Peter Dorrell and Wen Chen. Each panel was followed by a lively Q&A session.

During a lunch break, members of the audience had the opportunity to view a poster session, where the presenters as well as students from Ms. Tomoko Kato’s Spring course, The Culture of Nuclear Fascination, were available to discuss their projects on various aspects of the events of March 11 and the political and cultural history of Japan’s involvement with nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Presenters from Ms. Kato’s class included Roger Chesley, Kelly Constance, Shun Fukuda, Jiamin Ku, Adam Labriny, Callum Lawson, Kazunari Nakamura, Rhode N’Komba, David Ranzini, and Jessica Wang.

After lunch, Alex Bates, Assistant Professor of Japanese at Dickinson College, in Pennsylvania, delivered the keynote address entited ‘Fire Guns and Bear Gods: Fear of the Outsider in Disaster’. Doctor Bates discussed how authors have used literature to help process the trauma of catastrophe, citing literary works written in the aftermath of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 as well as last year’s Tohoku Earthquake.

The conference was only the latest event in the college’s continuing engagement with this disaster and its aftermath.  The Japanese section thanks all the participants, and hopes that everyone will keep the victims of the 3.11 in mind as the recovery proceeds. During the conference, a collection was taken for the Japan Relief Initiative, a project set up by William and Mary undergrads, alumni, staff, and faculty, which helps to support smaller, local relief agencies. The need remains great; if you would like to donate to the JRI, you may do so here.




News News: Japanese Studies Spring 2012 More

Finding Opportunities: Sara Caudill

Sara Caudill '12

From her first semester at William and Mary, Sara Caudill threw herself into the study of Japan. “I had wanted to study language for many years before college,” she recalls. “I lobbied for on-line course in high school, but it didn’t happen. William and Mary gave me the opportunity.” Sara has since taken full advantage of the many opportunities for Japanese study here, and now, as she graduates, the Japanese section is proud to award Sara the 2012 Japanese Book Prize.

In addition to language, Sara took a course on Japanese society with Professor Tomoko Hamada-Connelly in that first semester. The following year, she enrolled in Gross National Cool with Professor Rachel DiNitto. For her final project in that class, she brought a new critical eye to an old interest, analyzing the ‘cultural odorlessness’ of Pokemon. Other courses included Professor Eric Han’s East Asia History Surveys and language classes with Aiko Kitamura and Tomoko Katō.
In 2011, Sara headed to Hikone in western Japan for a semester, but her studies were interrupted by the catastrophic earthquake that struck northeast Japan on March 11. Fortunately, Hikone was relatively unaffected by the disaster, and the crisis helped Sara identify the issue to which she now plans to devote her career. “I developed a new environmental consciousness,” she says. “I arrived in Japan wanting to do one thing, and I left wanting to do another.” Now, she says, she is “on a trajectory of interest in sustained development in Southeast Asia.”
Sara began exploring this new interest last semester, in a special seminar on the 3/11 disaster. In April, she presented her research at a student conference, After the Quake: Japan Responds, on April 15th. The title of her paper: “Violent Rebirth: The Path to a Green Economic Recovery in Post-Fukushima Japan.”
The next step will be a stay in South Korea, where Sara will teach English and explore the region for one year, before returning to America for graduate study, where, she plans to focus on “clean energy development and environmental social justice in Southeast Asia.” The Japanese section wishes Sara luck as she moves forward and congratulates her on this well-deserved award.

News News: Chinese Studies Spring 2012

William & Mary opens Confucius Institute

by Beth Stefanik and Megan Shearin

The College of William & Mary officially opened its Confucius Institute on Monday, April 16, with a day-long celebration of events involving William & Mary faculty and administrators, as well as delegates from Beijing Normal University (BNU), the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China.

The William & Mary Confucius Institute (WMCI) is a collaborative partnership with BNU and Hanban, and will offer Mandarin language and Chinese culture classes, provide teacher training, and augment other programs on Chinese culture for the College and local communities.

“The William & Mary Confucius Institute will contribute significantly to the study of Chinese language and culture at our university and throughout the region,” said President Taylor Reveley. “It’s a special delight for us to celebrate the opening of our Confucius Institute together with President Liu of Beijing Normal University, Deputy Director Wang of Hanban, and Minister Counsellor Fang of the Chinese Embassy, as well as many other distinguished representatives of their organizations.”

The WMCI will become part of a network of more than 300 Confucius Institutes worldwide, and is only the second Confucius Institute established at a university in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“It’s especially significant that there are only two Confucius Institutes in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Provost Michael R. Halleran. “The William & Mary Confucius Institute will meet a growing interest in and demand for information about China and Chinese language education here in southeastern Virginia.”

Yanfang Tang, director of the WMCI, echoed these sentiments.

“The opening of William & Mary’s Confucius Institute is a significant event for the College and for our surrounding Tidewater community, providing further international educational programs and activities,” she said. “I expect a bright future where these varied initiatives will lead to a greater understanding of Chinese language and culture.”

The grand opening schedule included a private tour of Rowe House, the home of the Confucius Institute at William & Mary, as well as a trip to the College Child Care Center to observe Mandarin language classes in action. A guided tour of Chinese scrolls and exhibits at Swem Library was led by Dean Carrie Cooper and Bea Hardy, director of the Special Collection Research Center, after which delegates witnessed a College Mandarin class in the Wren Building’s historic grammar school classroom.

A formal lunch was served in the Great Hall of the Wren Building, with musical entertainment provided by four folk musicians from BNU. The quartet included four traditional Chinese folk musical instruments: guzheng, erhu, pipa, and yangqin. Ms. Wang Jie, a visiting instructor of dance from Beijing Normal University, performed a dance entitled, “A Uygur Girl,” which expressed a girl’s happiness after falling in love. An official WMCI plaque was also unveiled at the end of the lunch program.

“This is just the very beginning stage of the William & Mary Confucius Institute,” said Deputy Director General of Hanban Wang Yongli. “We are very dedicated to continuing this relationship between the U.S. and Hanban, and to help the development and understanding of Chinese language and culture through Confucius Institutes such as this one at William & Mary.”

Following the celebratory lunch, a traditional dragon dance was performed in the Sunken Garden. Professional lion dancers and martial artists from Washington, D.C., were on hand to lead the parade while William & Mary students participated with a drum performance, a Yangge dance performance, a Tibetan dance performance and a Uygur dance performance. Three students also engaged in a martial arts display, and Emily Wilcox, a visiting assistant professor of Chinese Studies, performed sword choreography. The events were a culmination of a Chinese Cultural Semester organized by the WMCI.

“We are living in a fast changing world and it’s important to understand each others cultures together, and language is key to the understanding of cultures,” said Liu Chuansheng, Chairperson of University Council for Beijing Normal University. “I believe the WMCI is creating a bridge between our two universities, which will lead to mutual understanding between our two cultures.”

On Tuesday, April 17, the WMCI will host its first official event, the Faculty Forum on Confucian Classics. Participating in the forum will be W&M faculty members T.J. Cheng, Eric Han, Yanfang Tang, Emily Wilcox, Tomoko Connolly and Xin Wu, as well as eminent scholars from BNU, including Professors Wangeng Zheng, Zhen Kang and Zhen Han. Participants will present their research and perspectives on Chinese classics such as the Book of Changes and works by authors such as Confucius and Sun Zi, also known as Sun Tzu.

“The William & Mary Confucius Institute builds directly on our remarkable strengths in the study of Chinese language, culture, history and society here on campus,” said Stephen E. Hanson, vice provost for international affairs and director of the Reves Center. “The generous support of our Chinese partners will propel us to an even higher level of visibility and prominence in Chinese and East Asian Studies in the years ahead.”

Fang Maotian, Minister Counsellor for Education Affairs, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, summed up the day in his remarks during lunch.

“Education is one of the core elements in the China and U.S. people to people communication framework,” said Fang. “Young students are our future. Through the Confucius Institute we hope that the students at the College will learn Chinese language, be exposed to our rich culture and develop a cross-cultural communication capacity.”

News News: Japanese Studies Uncategorized

‘Gojira,’ Not ‘Godzilla’

On Saturday evening, we will screen the classic Japanese film Gojira (dir. Honda Ishirō, 1954), better known to Americans in the very different version released here as Godzilla. The screening will include introductory remarks placing the film within the context of Japan’s nuclear history. The screening will be followed on Sunday by a student conference on the catastrophic earthquake, tsunami that struck northeastern Japan on March 11th of last year, and on-going nuclear crisis. A collection will be taken at the screening to benefit relief efforts.

Saturday, April 14

7:00 – 9:30

Washington Hall 201


News News: Japanese Studies

After the Quake: Japan Responds

Join us Sunday, April 15, for a conference on the response to the catastrophic earthquake, tsunami, and on-going nuclear crisis that hit northeastern Japan on March 11th last year.  Students will present research papers in two panel and in a bilingual poster session.  Following this, Alex Bates, Assistant Professor of Japanese at Dickinson College, will deliver the keynote address, ‘Fire Guns and Bear Gods: Fear of the Outsider in Disaster.’ The conference will be held at the Cohen Career Center, next to the Sadler Center. The schedule is as follows:

Panel 1 (9:00 – 10:45)

Panel 2 (11:00 – 12:30)

Bilingual Poster Session (1:00 – 2:00)

Keynote Speech (2:00-3:00)


News News: Russian Studies

Guest Lecture: “Tolstoy in Eden”

Professor David Herman, Chair of the Slavic Department at the University of Virginia, will be giving a lecture about Tolstoy and his fiction on February 17th at 3 pm in Washington 315.  His lecture is titled: “Tolstoy in Eden.”  Here is a brief description of the content of the talk: “Virginia Woolf famously called Tolstoy the greatest of all novelists, and it may be that his gift was not just technical, but also an ability to interrogate the shared assumptions that ground modern subjectivity.  Tolstoy’s fiction asks us to think about life as a repeating tragedy of innocence or ignorance ruined by a fall into knowledge and awareness, rather like the Biblical narrative of Adam and Eve, but endlessly renewed in each individual life.  In so doing, Tolstoy’s works challenge us to ponder what innocence really entails and why we value it so much.

Featured News News: Japanese Studies

“Tekkon Kinkreet” Screening

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

News News: Russian Studies

A Russian Animation Character Supports the Movement for Honest and Transparent Elections

(Moscow, 24 Dec., 2011) Today we went to Andrei Sakharov Avenue to participate in the rally for fair and just elections.  About 100000 people came to the rally.  It was the biggest political manifestation since the demonstrations of the early 1990s.  We saw people of all walks of life and political preferences: from those who lament the fall of the Russian Empire and Communist Soviet Union to the supporters of Western style political and economic reforms.

In addition to familiar political logos, such as the hammer and sickle, anarchist black flag, and Yabloko party’s apple, we saw a new symbol of fair elections: the popular animation hero, Cheburashka.  Why did this character join the political struggle?  Russian people wanted a mascot whom everyone loves, who unites people rather than divides them because of their political allegiances. Those who showed up at Sakharov Avenue share a common goal: to challenge the cleptocratic leadership cheating  the electoral process.  Cheburashka  unites people fighting for their rights.

For Russians Cheburashka is the character from the fairy tales of their childhood.  Everyone grew up watching Roman Kachanov’s cartoons based on Eduard Uspensky’s books about Cheburashka–a little furry creature who is found in the box of imported oranges and finds acceptance and community despite the fact that Cheburashka’s identity and origins are unclear.  In the paranoid atmosphere of the late Soviet culture this was an extremely topical theme.

Like E.T.’s identity, Cheburashka’s identity is about otherness, which the mainstream culture learns to accept.  The last Soviet generation learned to love Cheburashka.  She (or he, or neither one) has been everyone’s favorite hero for the past forty years.  Moreover, since Cheburashka’s appearance on TV screens in the 1970s, she has been asserting her right for individual agency and it is only logical that in 2011 Cheburashka became a mascot of Russians’ struggle for their civil rights.

We are so happy to be here on Andrei Sakharov Avenue at this pivotal moment in post-Soviet Russia’s history.  Comrade Che rocks!

Fall 2011 News News: Hispanic Studies

The Politics of Quechua: student research in Cusco, Peru

During the summer of 2011, Hispanic Studies major Katherine Brown (’13) travelled to Peru to study the political uses of Quechua in the construction of national, regional, and class-based identities in present-day Peru. Under the auspices of the Christian-Ewell Scholarship granted by the Charles Center, Katie spent seven weeks in Cusco and Lima studying Quechua and doing research, while she attended the festivals of Inti Raymi, Corpus Christi, and Qoyllur Rit’i, and visited the house where the famous mestizo chronicler Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1616) was born.

Katie describes her project as follows:

Plaza de armas [Main Square], Cusco, Peru“This summer I had the opportunity to travel to Peru with a Charles Center grant to conduct a seven-week research project. This investigation focused on appropriations of Quechua, a South American indigenous language with 8-12 million speakers, in processes of identity construction in contemporary Peru. After an independent study last spring, six weeks of Quechua courses and interviews in Cuzco, and a week of bibliographical research in Lima, I decided to concentrate my analysis on the Quechua-Spanish dictionary prepared by the Academia Mayor de la Lengua Quechua (High Academy of the Quechua Language), an institution charged with regulating the Quechua language and promoting its usage in Peru. As Quechua has remained in a subordinate position to Spanish since the conquest and is now stigmatized as “rural peasant speech,” this effort would presumably be a positive development; however, the AMLQ relies on an ideological discourse in its dictionary that incorporates “imperial Quechua”, an elite dialect of Quechua associated with the Incan empire, into national identity while excluding the contemporary indigenous speaker of Quechua from the definition of the nation.

“By claiming that Quechua is a symbol of the glorious Incan past and a vital link between the modern nation and that past, and that the city of Cuzco represents the authentic origin of the Incan empire and of a “pure” variety of Quechua, the AMLQ seeks to justify its political claims in the present. It uses the dictionary to present the middle-class mestizo elite of Cuzco as an alternate body of power in the contemporary nation-state, challenging the authority of Lima as the capital city and site of cultural and economic prestige. Furthermore, its claim that it inherits and protects this elite variety of Quechua, despite glaring linguistic errors and misapplication of linguistic principles, allows it to regulate and “correct” the speech of millions of Quechua speakers throughout Peru, whose language is viewed by the Academia as imperfect and subaltern. These claims point to a definition of the nation according to a deliberately constructed history that values Quechua’s associations with the glories of the pre-Hispanic past, while it disdains Quechua’s associations with the modern-day speakers of Peru’s rural Andean regions. Therefore, the AMLQ’s dictionary becomes a political tool, a forum in which the Cuzco elite seeks to promote its own interests and endow itself with authority and power within the context of the modern Peruvian nation-state.

“I would like to thank those who made this project possible: the Charles Center and Mr. Bruce Christian for their generous support and funding of this research; Rodolfo Cerrón-Palomino (Professor of Linguistics, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Lima), Juan Julio García Rivas (director of the regional branch of the Ministry of Culture in Cuzco) and Fernando Hermoza Gutierrez (current president of the Academia Mayor de la Lengua Quechua) for their participation in interviews and contribution of their expertise to this project; and Professor Jorge Terukina for serving as my advisor and for providing constant guidance and support at every step of this investigation.

While in Peru, Katie documented her research process in the following blog: She delivered a formal presentation of her findings at the Monroe Lunch Series in November 2011.

Katie is currently working on a research project on Nahuatl-language religious theatrical pieces crafted and performed in 16th-century Mexico as ideological tools for the domination of the indigenous population. This project emerged from a Freshman Seminar on “Imagining the Early Modern Hapsburg Empire,” and she presented a preliminary draft of her findings at The Third Undergraduate Symposium in Medieval and Renaissance Studies at W&M (March 2011). Katie is also training with Prof. LuAnn Homza (History) in early modern Spanish paleography in preparation for archival research to be carried out in Pamplona (Spain) in January, 2012

Fall 2011 News News: German Studies

The Wall-Jumper: Student Research in German Studies

Students in Jennifer Taylor’s Freshman Seminar, “The Berlin Wall,” are researching cinematic and literary depictions of life in the former German Democratic Republic and finding some surprises. Many texts they are reading paint a bleak picture of oppression and state control behind the iron curtain that is familiar to readers in the post-Cold War era. Other texts, though, suggest that, for many East Germans, life was in many ways the same as it is anywhere. Reacting to Peter Schneider’s 1982 West German novel about life in the divided Berlin, The Wall Jumper: a Berlin Story, freshman Abby Hunter expressed her surprise that one character moves from West to east Berlin, “This part was interesting to me because… history classes have painted East Berlin as a horrible, awful, dark place that no one wanted to live in.” The students in the seminar are exploring the kind of contradictions Abby points out as well as questions about representation and textual authority; everyone is engaged in writing a 10 page research project on a topic connected to some aspect of the GDR.

“It’s funny, the last time I taught a class on the Berlin Wall, all of us had been alive during the wall’s ‘lifetime’; I was born in 1961 when it was constructed and they had all been born in 1989, when it was torn down. I had traveled in the former GDR as a twenty year old and remember it well. The freshmen students in my current seminar, though, were all born after East Germany ceased to exist,” Taylor said. For these freshmen, 1989 is a long time ago, and the research involved has meant many trips to the library and to the digital databases. Swem Library has played a huge role in helping everyone to get started on their research projects. “(Librarian) Paul Showalter and I met before the semester started and blocked in two whole class periods for him to work with the students, and it has been extremely helpful,” Taylor said. “Being able to use the resources of a research library gives the students an enormously important tool in the 21rst Century.”

Student research projects are focused on texts including the first German film made about the Nazi past, Wolfgang Staudte’s The Murderers are among us (1946), GDR films such as Gerhard Klein’s Berlin Schönhauser Corner (1957), Konrad Wolf’s Divided Heaven (1964) and post-Wall texts including Florian Henckel von Donnermarck’s The Life of Others (2006) and Anna Funder’s Stasiland. The topics include the role of the circus performer in Wim Wender’s Wings of Desire (1987), the depiction of technology in East German cinema, the problematic relationship between memory and trauma in depictions of the East German Secret Police and the relationship between West German capitalism and the Nazi past as depicted in film and literature.

Fall 2011 News

Homecoming 2011 Photo Gallery

We had a great time at the Modern Languages 2nd Annual Homecoming Reception this year, which was once again held in the Reves Room at the Reves Center for International Relations. The turnout was good, with plenty of alumni, many faculty members and some of our best current students to round out the party. I didn’t catch everyone’s names from their nametags, so please send along any name corrections and accept my apologies if I missed your name. Send any updates or corrections to Mike Blum at

Fall 2011 More News News: Arabic Studies

The Virtual Library of Freedom

A new project at William & Mary is the Virtual Library of Freedom, a group started by William & Mary alumna Hannah Thornton ’10.

Melissa Woods, a student at William & Mary, writes:
The Virtual Library of Freedom (VLF) is a student organization founded in 2010 that aims to promote cross-cultural discussion online between American and Middle Eastern students. The organization has built a web-site ( that features a database of documents, a student blog, and discussion forum, and is working on translating the entire site into Arabic, French, and Spanish. The documents included in the database discuss the topics of civil liberties, good governance, human rights, Islam and democracy, international relations, and non-violent protest. Blogs and discussions focus on current events, such as the death of Gaddafi in Libya. The web site is still an ongoing project, but each semester we are making more and more progress! VLF also seeks to promote discussion at William and Mary through on-campus events such as the “VLF Global Activism Week.” In the future, the organization hopes to partner with student organizations at Middle Eastern universities to foster dialogue and present more diverse opinions on the site.

Fall 2011 News News: Arabic Studies

The Arab Spring at William & Mary

The Arab world has witnessed a series of political upheavals this past year which would have been difficult to imagine in past years. The events have affected the faculty and students of the Arabic section in many different ways. Several students found themselves in Egypt or Syria as the revolutions were getting underway, and had to end their programs early, sometimes even before they started. Several faculty members also found themselves in the middle of rapidly unfolding events in Tunisia and Egypt. Prof. Chadia Mansour was visiting family in Tunisia over winter break just as the demonstrators took over the streets in Tunis and other cities, and she found herself on herself on a plane headed back to the US just as Ben Ali was headed out on a plane himself. Our Arabic language house tutor, Hagar Eltarabishy, was one of the multitudes who took to Tahrir Square in Cairo last spring, participating in demonstrations which led to the end of Hosni Mubarak’s rule. Shukran ya Hagar!

The revolutionary events have had an effect also on the way that some of our Arabic classes have been taught. Prof. Eisele’s Arabic 308 class in Spring 2011 included a review and discussion of the latest news of the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, which happened to dovetail with many of the readings from both the classical period and the modern period, which dealt with the notions of tyranny and injustice quite often. This semester his Arabic 303 Media Arabic class devoted much time and class discussion to the revolutions and their aftermath, and included many news reports and documentaries on the events themselves.

Prof. Chadia Mansour has been especially active in this regard. She is an active tweeter and blogger on the subject of the Tunisian revolution, and is currently teaching a special topics course on the subject of the Arab spring. Her summer was taken up with research and preparations for the course, which included attending conferences about “Tunisia’s post January 14th Revolution” in al “Jahedh center” and Center of Islam and Democracy (CSID) in Tunis, where she also conducted interviews with young people on their perspectives on the Tunisian Revolution. She in turn conducted interviews with secular and Islamist activists from diverse backgrounds such as lawyers, professors, engineers , (including the well-known activist Mahdi Barhoumi who had a history of activism during and after Ben Ali regime), as well as interviews with members of internal ministry and military on the events of January 12 to the 14th and Ben Ali’s escape. As part of the course she has coordinated with activists from across the political spectrum and scheduled them as virtual guest speakers via skype in the Arab Spring class.

Prof. Mansour has also been active in setting up public forums for the William & Mary community to hear about and discuss these events, including a forum on the Tunisian Revolution, in Spring 2011, which included a guest speaker from Tunisia, Soubeika Bahri, as well as lecture and discussion by Prof. Mansour. More recently, Prof. Mansour was instrumental in bringing about the recent forum on the Libyan revolution, which included a visit by the Libyan ambassador to the United States. As she describes it: “One of my students – Malik Tatanaki- requested an independent study, and I advised him to work on the Libyan revolution since he is originally from Libya. This independent study led to the idea of holding an event on campus on Libya’s transition to democracy. Co-sponsored by the College & the charity, Libya al Hurra (“Free Libya”), Malik and I organized the event to host the First Libyan delegation at the college of William & Mary with Ambassador Al Aujali as the first Libyan official on campus on November 20th, 2011.” Following that, Chadia had a chance to try to change the perspective of Frank Shatz, a columnist for the local newspaper when she sat down with him for an interview on the topic of the Arab spring which was published in the paper on Nov. 18th.

The revolutions are far from complete, and we are following the events in Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Tunisia closely and wish our Arab brothers and sisters in the streets throughout the Arab world success and peace in their struggle for democracy, social justice, and political delousing.

Fall 2011 News News: French & Francophone Studies

Fostering Student Research in French & Francophone Studies

Students of French & Francophone studies have done original research for years. In order to recognize students who embarked in such projects and inspire other students to do the same, the French & Francophone studies section decided to create an annual Student research conference in 2010. In this video interview, Stephanie Kumah, a senior (French & Francophone/Government) who presented her ongoing Honor’s Thesis at the Fete speaks to Prof. Magali Compan about her project.

Our second annual French & Francophone Studies research conference took place on Saturday, Nov. 12, and featured five twenty-minute formal presentations and five poster sessions, all in French, by students who are doing, or who have just completed, original research on French and Francophone topics.

Some of the projects were honors theses in progress; others were research papers related to student internships in Paris; and the poster sessions were the result of our 2011 study abroad program in Montpellier, France. Our students enrolled in advanced French & Francophone classes were all in attendance, and the seniors did a great job introducing the speakers before each presentation.

The event also featured lots of good food and Francophone music, so that the atmosphere was festive and social. Our objective, after all, was for students to get to know each other, to share their experiences, and to learn from each other. The Fête was meant to be inspirational, and we certainly were impressed by the students’ projects and archival research, as well as by their exceptional confidence in speaking in a foreign language before such a large audience.

The event was kindly sponsored by the Charles Center and the Reves Center for International Studies.



Fall 2011 News News: Italian Studies

My Internship in Rome, Spring 2011

by Cassie Prena

Last Spring, I spent an unforgettable semester abroad at John Cabot University in Rome. Although my courses at the university and my daily life in a foreign country allowed a certain level of immersion, I was nevertheless determined to experience the more intimate aspects of Italian culture. I decided that an internship would be the perfect complement to enrich my semester, and John Cabot University put me in contact with several potential positions. By mid-January, I secured an internship working in the studio of the American Contemporary Artist, Joseph Kosuth on the historic Tiber Island. As an Art History major, the internship was an absolute dream! Joseph Kosuth is one of the fathers of conceptual art and his exhibitions have been featured at museums such as the Georges Centre Pompidou, the Guggenheim, the Louvre and the MoMA. He is known best for his philosophically inspired works, such as One and Three Chairs (1965), and artworks which deal with language and its interpretation.

Since my internship was in a studio, not a gallery or museum, I was able to witness the creation and promotion of the works of a living artist, which is very rare in ancient town such as Rome. I worked closely with my Italian supervisor, Barbara, to help her organize the studio and prepare for upcoming international exhibitions. I was in charge of cataloging Joseph’s prints and works in the studio, which meant I was handling valuable pieces of art on a daily basis. From my window as I worked, I had an excellent view of a Ponte Fabricio, a Roman bridge that has been standing since 62 BC. Only in Rome would I be able to work with a cutting-edge contemporary artist, who has a studio situated among ruins from centuries before.

However, without a doubt, my favorite part of the experience was interacting with the Italian and International employees. Through our conversations I have come to look at America more objectively, understand Italian politics, learn about Italy’s university system and discover differences in cultural customs. Stepping out for un caffè with Barbara was not only a time to people watch in the beautiful piazza di San Bartolomeo all’Isola, but a chance to practice my Italian as I helped Barbara with her English. I believe it was these experiences outside my Italian classroom that helped me to develop my language skills and more deeply understand daily life in Italy. Returning to the states, I have become a well-rounded individual with a greater comprehension of the international art world and Italian culture.

Fall 2011 News News: Russian Studies

Visualizing St. Petersburg: Research Through Documentary Filmmaking Abroad

by Jes Therkelsen

The documentary filmmaking process requires a tremendous amount of patience, discipline, creativity, and flexibility. You need to deal with people, but know how to troubleshoot technology; you must be organized, but open to spontaneity; you should be prepared for everything, but comfortable working in the unknown. For the eight students who studied abroad in the summer of 2011 in St. Petersburg, Russia, they had the added challenge of doing it all in Russian.

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Over the course of the past three years, professors Frederick Corney and Alexander Prokhorov made undergraduate research the central component of William & Mary’s St. Petersburg summer study abroad program. Each year, students work on research projects concerning places of memory and urban development in St. Petersburg. Specifically, students examine how these sites are remembered within a larger, public representation. Professor Prokhorov, the program’s director during the summer of 2011, wanted to include an element of video production into this year’s project and that’s how I became involved.

As the college’s environmental filmmaking-in-residence, I’ve sought to incorporate media production into current research and coursework across disciplines on campus. Professor Prokhorov saw the potential for collaboration, and with the support of a Reves Center Faculty Fellows grant, students gained access to camcorders and microphones, learned field production skills, collaborated with St. Petersburg journalist students, and acquired international documentary production experience.

“Making a documentary is a lot of work, but it’s exhilarating after you interview someone,” says Sophie Kosar ’14, whose project focuses on the controversial construction of a new seaport and business district, the Marine Façade, on the western
shores of the city. “You realize you had to forge this connection with your subject; you had to do this yourself.”

Will Lahue ’12, whose project explores how Russian Orthodox community and Goth subculture define Smolensky Cemetery as a site of commemoration, realizes the benefits of working on his film. “I’ve gained a more rapid acclamation into Russian society. Just running around getting things done, meeting people; it’s been a challenge. I’ve needed to accomplish a lot in Russian and that’s been good for me.”

Introducing students to video production in study abroad programs is incredibly enabling; the filmmaking process forces them out of their comfort zone, stretches their limits, and pushes them to interact in ways they would not have otherwise. The project has the potential to serve as a model for other study abroad program that want to challenge their participants to make connections, to pay attention, and to be creative.

“The biggest thing I’ve gained in this project is confidence in networking with people,” says Monika Bernotas ‘12. “It’s amazing how many people have returned my emails to say they would be willing to help out.”

On November 29th, these documentaries will be screened to the larger William and Mary community. In March, they will be exhibited at the Slavic Forum at the University of Virginia.

Jes Therkelsen is a filmmaker, photographer, media consultant, and activist. His work has confronted issues such as human rights, sustainable development and environmental justice. He is the Environmental Filmmaker-in-residence at the College of William and Mary.
Fall 2011 News News: Hispanic Studies

Poetry: A Tool for Literacy & National Identity in Nicaragua

by Leslie McCullough |  November 7, 2011

Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies Jonathan Arries

Nicaragua is often thought of as “a nation of poets.” National poets such as Rubén Darío and Ernesto Cardenal have made significant contributions to world literature. Less known but also significant is the transformative role poetry has played in educating Nicaraguan youth in resource-scarce schools and in adult education.

With support from the Philpott-Perez Endowment, Hispanic Studies major John Pence ’12  was able to join Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies Jonathan Arries on a research trip to Nicaragua for three weeks in summer 2011 to explore the educational role of poetry and to provide English-language instruction in an under-resourced elementary school in Managua. The “Poets and Pedagogy” project combined service-learning, community-based research, and interviews with leading poets and social activists.

“We wanted to investigate the use of poetry as a tool for critical literacy in Nicaragua,” says Arries. Critical literacy encourages learners to adopt a “critical” and questioning perspective toward the texts they read. “We anticipated our findings would deepen our understanding of the history and literature of Nicaragua, topics that are often a component in Introduction to Hispanic Studies, a required course for Hispanic Studies majors.”

Understanding the influence of poetry in Nicaragua requires a look back at the nation’s recent history.

People living in rural areas of Nicaragua had long been kept illiterate as de facto policy by the Somoza family dynasty prior to a revolution in 1979. In 1980, four months after the overthrow of the dictatorship, the new government organized the Nicaraguan Literacy Campaign which was directed by Rev. Fernando Cardenal, brother of the famous poet. Nearly 60,000 youths (high school and college age) and 30,000 adults were trained and sent to rural areas to teach literacy as part of a five-month national campaign.  At that time poetry workshops played a role in the national reconstruction and offered citizens an unprecedented means of expression denied to them during more than 40 years of the dictatorship. The national emphasis on poetry continues today.

The project team with students at the Partner School in Barrio Camilo Ortega: Prof Arries; Nathan Arries; Prof Lauren Jones; John Pence

“In a country where even the most basic school supplies can be extremely scarce, Nicaraguan children are being taught to memorize and recite certain nationally important poems as a way of learning about their country’s history,” says Arries.

As part of the three-week trip, senior John Pence assisted with Arries’ research project and worked with children and teachers at Escuela La Hispanidad, an under-resourced school in Barrio Camilo Ortega, Managua. John also introduced several wooden mathematical games into the classroom as part of his service-learning project. The games – donated by Catherine Sayle ’09 who taught in Nicaragua with Arries in 2008 –  turned out to be a hit with the children and a fine motivational strategy for their math teachers. John has since raised money to hire a local Nicaraguan carpenter to build more instructional games for the school.

“The experience was very humbling,” says Pence who stayed with a local Nicaraguan family. “There are often 30-50 students per class, with many sitting on the floor. Yet students were able to stand and recite deep, powerful poetry about their country and their history, and I realized how rich this culture is.”

Nathan Arries, Prof Arries, former Minister of Education Father Fernando Cardenal, and John Pence, taken at Universidad Centroamericana, Managua

During the trip, Arries, Pence, and Lauren Jones ’04 conducted interviews to learn more about the role of poetry in Nicaraguan education. Among those interviewed were Claribel Alegria and Rev. Ernesto Cardenal, Nicaraguan poets with international reputations, and Fernando Cardenal, former Minister of Education and director of the 1980 National Literacy Campaign.

“Poverty isn’t just there, like rain or seasons that we have no control over, we can influence it,” said Fernando Cardenal during his interview with Arries.  Cardenal believes education is key to reducing poverty, and poetry plays a major role in creating engaged and educated citizens.

“Having a student along on this project was extremely valuable,” says Arries.

“Not only was John a great resource for bouncing around ideas, he was a real contributor to the research,” continues Arries, referring to John’s interview of a fellow teacher who had been part of the Nicaraguan Literacy Campaign. “John located the source and followed research protocol. We wouldn’t have gotten this interview without him.”

As Arries continues his research, he hopes to uncover potential applications of poetry as a technique for the effective teaching of critical literacy in schools in the United States, such as in classrooms teaching English as a Second Language.

Fall 2011 News News: Hispanic Studies

Teaching palette refreshed with cultural insights

by Leslie McCullough | October 17, 2011

Kranbuehl Travel Award

Hispanic Studies Instructor Patricia Toney

In late 2009, Chemistry Professor David Kranbuehl established a charitable remainder trust to support travel for Modern Language’s continuing faculty who teach introductory language courses.

“I believe in the importance of international studies, and I wanted to reward the people who teach language courses,” says Kranbuehl who has attended French and Spanish classes at the College to prepare for overseas teaching opportunities. “I think the language courses taught here are fantastic. Modern Languages is a first-class department, and I’m a great admirer of how they’ve grown over my time here.”

Inaugural Travel Awards:
Patricia Toney, Hispanic Studies; Peru
Qian Su and Liping Liu, Chinese Studies; Chinese Teachers Association Conference in Denver

A new kind of social revolution is sweeping through Peru, changing the hearts, minds, and palettes of people across the country. This cultural shift is driven by a passion for a return to the nation’s culinary roots, and Hispanic Studies long-time instructor Patricia Toney calls the change “explosive.”

Doña Mary, serving ceviche in a popular market, is one of the many who went from food stand owner to successful entrepreneur.

“It’s something I never thought I’d live to see,” says Toney. “In a very classist culture, many native foods that used to be deemed as ‘only what an indigenous would eat’ are now skyrocketing in pop culture popularity. There is an explosion of passion for homegrown food and ingredients as well as traditional recipes that can date back to the Inca times.”

Toney was intrigued by this phenomenon and wanted to learn more. Thanks to the newly established Kranbuehl Travel Award (see box), Toney spent two weeks this summer traveling through Peru’s coastal region investigating and documenting how this new fusion cuisine is bringing about social and economic changes.

In speaking with farmers, fishermen, restaurant owners, and others, Toney found that the benefits of this food movement reach beyond the farm field and kitchen. A national pride has formed around celebrating Peruvian culture and traditions.

“One of the most emotional moments I had was seeing how lives have changed,” says Toney. “It’s not just about the food; it’s a whole social change that has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of Peruvian people. As regional foods around the country become more popular, the people who grow and create the foods benefit. We’re not talking about grand bistros; these are humble kitchens and farmers who have foods that no one cared about before and are now in huge demand.”

Anticucho, one of the hundreds of newly popular authentic Peruvian dishes.

One of the popular renewed dishes is ceviche made with fish, special Peruvian lemons, hot peppers, onions, and cilantro and served with sweet potatoes and yuca. Another favorite is anticucho, which is traditionally made with cow’s heart marinated in vinegar and spices, then cooked on a

skewer over an open fire. This dish is also now made with chicken, fish, and beef.

“Roadside vendors used to be unpopular with certain segments of society,” says Toney. “Now many venders have long lines of people anxious to enjoy a regional specialty. Many people have gone from poor to small entrepreneurs, and their quality of life has changed forever.”

Interest in Peruvian cuisine is also spreading internationally. Acclaimed, upscale Peruvian restaurants are opening in major cities across the United States and around the world. This kind of attention and focus on Peruvian foods, in turn, is further driving the sense of national pride.

“Peruvian people are coming together in unprecedented ways,” says Toney. “Indigenous farmers are now guests of honor at VIP parties. Culinary school is now available to poor families. Native people with little education have become culinary celebrities. This could never have happened years ago. A new culture is forming, and it is very exciting.”

Bringing Her Insight into the Classroom

Toney with Victoriano López, an indigenous farmer who now runs La Mar, a Peruvian restaurant in Manhattan.

As a native Peruvian, Toney moved to the United States as a young girl and has personal experience negotiating cultural shifts. As a Spanish-language professor, she feels that building cultural understanding is an important part of learning a new language.

“Of course learning verb conjugations and vocabulary words is an important part of the introductory language classes I teach,” says Toney. “But students must also learn about the culture. I try to provide a cultural note at every opportunity on the many regional foods, clothes, expressions, and so much more.”

She finds that many students aren’t aware that there are so many regional and cultural differences throughout Latin America. Assumptions are often made, such as that all Spanish speakers eat certain foods like tacos. By giving students insight into specific traditions, she helps them gain a deeper appreciation and understanding for what they are learning.

“I lived the [Peruvian] culture,” says Toney, “I didn’t just read about it in a book. I love being able to share my personal knowledge with my students, and I believe they benefit greatly from my first-hand experience.”

And now, thanks to her recent research trip, she can bring fresh, new insights to her classroom teaching.

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

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

Lauren Shaw, German Studies '09

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

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

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

News News: German Studies

Potsdam, Germany Summer Study Abroad Program Completes Third Year

The Potsdam, Germany Summer Study Abroad Program 2011 June 8-July 23 was an immense success.

The W&M Potsdam, Germany Summer Study Abroad program is an intensive 7 week German Language and Culture program. Students attend intensive German Language classes in the mornings from 9-12:30 and a GRMN 290/390 German Culture class in the afternoons. This year’s topic was Berliner Moderne 1885-1933 taught by Program Director Rob Leventhal, Associate Professor of German Studies. This year we had 11 students participate in the program, 10 from W&M and one from Kenyon College.

Arrival/Orientation/Our First Days

Universität Potsdam at the Neues Palais
Universität Potsdam at the Neues Palais

Students arrived at Tegel Airport in Berlin June 8 and were picked up by their host families.  The orientation program provided by the Universität Potsdam beginning the day after arrival and continuing for two days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) was excellent. On the first day, students received a general orientation on campus at the Neues Palais where the Humanities are housed at the Universität Potsdam. They meet the office staff of the Akademisches Auslandsamt, get their student identification cards, VBB Berlin ABC transport cards which covers all of Berlin and Potsdam for the entire time of their stay, a tour of the facilities, get instructions on how to connect to the Internet on campus, and learn the ropes of the library, the Mensa and the student cafeteria, student activities.

The next day (Friday, June 10) the students had an all-day intercultural seminar that explored the significant differences between German and American culture, living, and etiquette. In this seminar, conducted by AA Tutor Micha Adam, who studied history and politics at the Universität Potsdam, the students learn many things they will not have covered in the 1 credit spring seminar, which is also extremely useful for the students preparing to go to Potsdam. Things like cultural stereotypes, the use of water, Mülltrennung, protocol on buses and trams, market and boutique behavior, and restaurant etiquette are all covered.

Students at the Wall Museum in the Bernauer Strasse, June 11, 2011

On Saturday, we went on a whirlwind tour of Berlin, also conducted by Micha Adam. It begins at Berlin Friedrichstrasse, goes to the Mauermuseum and site in the Bernauer Strasse, Prenzlauer Berg, the Nikolaiviertel, the Museum Insel, Unter den Linden, Brandenberger Tor, Reichstag, Potsdamer Platz, Checkpoint Charlie before it ends in Kreuzberg. This year we were extremely lucky that the festival of cultures was taking place that Saturday and the tour simply segued into this festival in Kreuzberg at the end, with all students electing to remain in Berlin for the evening.

2011 Potsdam Students take a break at the Café Einstein in Unter den Linden

There was excellent coordination between William & Mary and the staff of the AA at the Universität Potsdam. Cooperation between Sabine Reinicke, her staff (Martin Müller, Micha Adam, the tutors Caro, Anna, Sabrina and Marlene) and faculty, and the W&M PD was outstanding. The Potsdam staff took care of a large part of the day-to-day organization of the program, and were responsible for the host families. Sabine Reinicke was the first local on-call contact in case of emergencies. She and her staff were extremely well organized, competent and effective.

The Akademisches Auslandsamt arranges for welcome and departing dinners at a lovely restaurant in Potsdam (“Quendel”) where students, faculty, tutors and host families meet for a nice meal and live music. This year, both events were extremely well-attended and very successful. These dinners are particularly important for continuity in the program and to retain excellent host families. The hope is that, over time, we will develop a reservoir of excellent host families.

The Welcome Dinner for students, host families, office staff and faculty at the Restaurant “Quendel” in Potsdam, June 10, 2011




This year we undertook three major excursions: the three-day, two-night “bonding” excursion at the beginning of the program, one week after arrival; Lutherstadt-Wittenberg; and the Island of Rügen/Jasmund National Park on the Baltic Sea. Only the first is actually part of the program, the other two were paid for by the students themselves (basic train transport and stay in Youth Hostel in Rügen; Trainfare to Lutherstadt-Wittenberg). The major “bonding” excursion is conducted the second weekend of the summer, around June16-20. The first weekend students are acclimating themselves to their new environment and homestays and it makes little sense to tear them away from that the very first weekend. And they are still a bit jet-lagged. The Potsdam-Berlin orientation program was exactly right for the first weekend. For the bonding excursion, this year we did one night in Weimar and one night in Dresden, which was fabulous. Dresden is a rich cultural city with a complex, fascinating history. The differences between Thuringia, Saxony, and Brandenburg are also quite important historically and become very evident to the students on this trip as we cross borders into all three territories.

Dresden, June 19, 2011

We did Lutherstadt-Wittenberg as a separate day-trip. It is easily accessible from Potsdam/Berlin in two hours and the Lutherhaus and Schlosskirche can be seen easily in an afternoon.

In Lutherstadt-Wittenberg July 5, 2011

This year I was able to arrange a three day, two night excursion to the Island of Ruegen (Ostseebad Binz) and the Nationalpark Jasmund for 100€ per student (40€ R/T trainfare and 60€ for two nights and five meals at the Youth Hostel in Ostseebad Binz, which is directly on the water). This proved to be a wonderful break/excursion, especially because there were no Americans in Binz, and we were able to see the historical National Park Jasmund, the Königsstuhl/Viktoria Sicht and the Wissower Klieke in this Caspar David Friedrich-inspired landscape. This excursion July 8-10 was the perfect closing bonding experience for the group. The Jugendherberge Binz is clean, comfortable and the meals provided are substantial and decent. The excursion to the Baltic Sea provided a completely rural environment, formerly in the GDR, very different from all the other places visited by the students and highly unusual (students can go to Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck or any other northern German city easily and cheaply by themselves). Swimming in the Baltic Sea proved to be refreshing!

The Island of Rügen, at the Königsstuhl in Jasmund National Park, July 8, 2011

Berlin and Potsdam have extremely rich resources for pedagogical excursions, and our excursions included: two performances of Brecht’s plays (“In the Jungle of the Cities” and the ”Threepennyopera”) at the famous Berliner Ensemble (Theater am Schiffbauerdamm); a visit to the Museum of the expressionist group Die Brücke; a visit to Neue Nationalgalerie on Potsdamer Platz; a lengthy visit to the Jüdisches Museum. One of the real highlights of the trip was a guided tour on July 15th of the “Einstein Tower” (a solar observatory built in 1921 for Albert Einstein), the “Great Refraktor” (the fourth largest optical telescope in the world, built 1898) and the Astrophysical Center of Potsdam (AIP).

Dr. Jürgen Rendtel of the AIP Uni Potsdam

Dr. Jürgen Rendtel of the Institut für Astrophysik at Potsdam took us through the “Einstein Tower” and the Great Refraktor (1898). He is a wonderful, knowledgeable man who hit just the right level with our students linguistically, explaining the significance and function of the structures in clear, simple language. The students thought this was one of the great highlights of the summer.

The Einstein Solar Observatory (1921)

The Great Refraktor (1898)

W&M Students inside the Einsteinturm

Finally, we took a day trip to Schloss Niederschonhausen in Pankow, a summer residence of the Hohenzollerns, and the site where the GDR was formed and where the 4+2 talks took place to dismantle it in 1990, with Micha Adam. This proved to be one of the most interesting and historically relevant excursions of the entire summer. We traversed the path from the 18th century, the Elector Friedrich Wilhelm, Friedrich I, Friedrich II and the Enlightenment to the formation of the GDR, the Fall of the Wall in 1989, and the unification in 1990!

It was a great summer! Thanks to all of the students who contributed, to the Akademisches Auslandsamt at the Uni Potsdam, and the Reves Center!

Rob Leventhal, Associate Professor of German Studies, Program Director 2011


Fall 2011 News News: Hispanic Studies

Prof. Ann Marie Stock comments on her latest book

Prof. Ann Marie Stock, Professor of Hispanic Studies and Film Studies, and Director of the Literary and Cultural Studies program at W&M recently published On Location in Cuba: Street Filmmaking during Times of Transition (UNC Press, 2009).  A specialist in visual culture whose research focuses on the role of film and media in identity formation, Prof. Stock draws from her vast research in Cuba in order to analyze the life and creative production of lesser-known Cuban artists as they struggle for social justice after the collapse of the Soviet Union.  In doing so, Prof. Stock hopes to challenge prevailing images of Cuba produced by US media.

Prof. Stock also shares her personal thoughts about having met Fidel Castro during a hurricane in Havana.

Prof. Stock is editor of Framing Latin American Cinema: Contemporary Critical Perspectives (U of Minnesota P, 1997, 2009).

Fall 2011 News News: Hispanic Studies

Prof. Regina Root presents her latest book at the Library of Congress

In March 2011, at an event sponsored by the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress, Prof. Regina Root discussed and signed copies of her latest book Couture and Consensus: Fashion and Politics in Postcolonial Argentina (U of Minnesota P, 2010) at the Mary Pickford Theater.  Couture and Consensus, which was recently awarded the 2012 Arthur P. Whitaker Book Prize by the Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies (MACLAS), analyzes the intersection of fashion and politics in nineteenth-century Argentina in order to understand how this nation forged its identity under the regime of Juan Manuel de Rosas (1829-1852).

Prof. Root is editor of Ecofashion, a special issue of Fashion Theory (2008), and editor of The Latin American Fashion Reader (Berg, 2005; 2006 Arthur P. Whitaker Book Prize, Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies).


Katherine Kulick wins Aceto Award

Story by Megan Shearin, June 10 2011

Associate Professor of French and Modern Languages Katherine Kulick is once again being lauded for her service and governance to William & Mary.

Kulick has been selected as the first recipient of the newly created Shirley Aceto Service Award, an honor to be awarded annually to a member of the instructional or professional faculty “who demonstrates most fully a commitment to excellence in service for the common good.” Established in 2010, the award is named for Shirley Aceto, whose dedicated service to the College as assistant to the provost spanned nearly four decades.

This is not the first time that Kulick has been recognized for her service and governance contributions. In 2009, Kulick received the Thomas Jefferson Award – one of the College’s most prestigious awards given to a faculty member recognizing a deep devotion and outstanding service to the College.

“To even be nominated for an award bearing Shirley’s name is a distinct honor, and I was touched when I heard the news,” said Kulick. “Knowing how many dedicated and deserving individuals there are in departments, programs, offices and units all across the university, I am both humbled and honored to learn that I will receive the Shirley Aceto Award. I am grateful to be a part of such an exciting and engaged community.”

Colleagues describe Kulick as a leader, mentor, consensus builder, and a champion for her department and the College. She has been a member of the faculty for more than two decades, providing valued leadership in many areas of faculty governance.

Her contributions are endless. In 2009, for example, she served simultaneously as the William & Mary faculty representative on the Board of Visitors, as a member of both the Faculty Assembly and the Executive Committee of the Faculty Assembly, and was also a member of the president’s Strategic Planning Steering Committee. Her leadership roles have included that of president of the Faculty Assembly, co-chair of the Faculty Committee on University Priorities, chair of the Faculty Compensation Board, chair of the Arts & Sciences Faculty Affairs Committee and six years as chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Over the past 12 years, she has led four triennial faculty surveys, which are now web-based – thanks to Kulick’s efforts.

“Katherine’s track record in the area of service and governance ranges across every level and in every area of the College,” said Provost Michael R. Halleran. “Her service is vital to the College’s core mission, her leadership is extraordinary, and her dedication exceptional. I am delighted that she is the inaugural winner of the Shirley Aceto Award.”

Faculty across campus praise Kulick for her leadership, collegiality, and gracious generosity to the academy. In his nomination letter, Professor of Sociology and American Studies David P. Aday, Jr., described his close working relationship with Kulick. The two served on SACS Reaffirmation of Accreditation leadership teams and helped to lead William & Mary through a successful 10-year reaffirmation process.

“Katherine was a steady source of information, guidance, and plain hard work as the committee worked its way through the many requirements, comprehensive standards and federal mandates,” he said. She also provided critical insights, says Aday, as the faculty outlined a “Quality Enhancement Plan” to build independent inquiry into the general curriculum.

In the scholarly world, Kulick is a nationally recognized expert in the field of second language acquisition and foreign language pedagogy and has shared her expertise through the Foreign Service Institute, the British Ministry of Education, the Defense Language Institute, the Peace Corps, as well as dozens of colleges, universities and national professional organizations.

For years, Kulick has offered a program of instruction to William & Mary students seeking international experiences beyond study abroad options. Teaching English overseas enables these students (from disciplines across the social sciences, the natural sciences and humanities) to find employment while immersing themselves in the languages and daily lives of other cultures. Kulick, and her departmental colleague, Jonathan Arries, are currently collaborating with faculty in the School of Education to establish an accredited TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) program at the College.

Colleagues say Kulick’s university-wide governance and service is inspiring for all individuals in the William & Mary community – and a great tribute to Shirley Aceto’s legacy.

News Spring 2011 More

2010-2011 Awards & Scholarships

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures is proud to announce the 2010-2011 graduating student awards and scholarships:

Dr. J. Richard Guthrie Scholarship in German Studies

  • Anna S. Kim
  • Judson R. Peverall
  • Kai I. Simenson
  • Elaine M. Vega

Elsa S. Diduk Scholarship in German Studies

  • Judson R. Peverall

Dobro Slovo Scholarship in Russian Studies

  • William Sinnott

Finn Prize for Excellence in Chinese Language Studies

  • Benjamin J. Gullickson

Finn Prize for Excellent Leadership in Chinese Studies

  • Anushya Ramaswamy

Howard M. Fraser Award in Hispanic Studies

  • K. Anne Foster

J. Banner Worth Award in Hispanic Studies for 2010-2011

  • Brittany L. Fulton (2010)

McCormack-Reboussin Scholarship in French & Francophone Studies

  • Phillippe L. B. Halbert- 2010-11
  • Bridget Marie Carr 2011-12

Pierre Oustinoff Memorial Prize in French & Francophone Studies

  • Ingrid L. Heiberg

R. Merritt Cox Fellowship in Hispanic Studies

  • Casey A. Lesser

St. Onge Prize in French & Francophone Studies

  • Michael A. Smith

Phi Beta Kappa

  • Eve P. Grice (French)
  • Ingrid L. Heiberg (French)
  • Ashley M. Hoover (French)
  • Edward Innace (Chinese)
  • Michael A. Smith (French)
  • Brittany Lynn Fulton
  • Emil Ann Vanderhoff

Highest Honors

  • Eve Grice (French & Francophone Studies)
  • Casey Lesser (Hispanic Studies)
  • Michael Ambrose Crawford Smith (French & Francophone Studies)

High Honors

  • Philippe Halbert (French & Francophone Studies)
News News: Russian Studies

Monika Bernotas and Suzanne Reed Win Honorable Mention Certificates at the 12th National Russian Essay Contest (May 2011)!

Congratulations to the winners of the Twelfth Annual ACTR National
Post-Secondary Russian Essay Contest.  This year two William and Mary students
win honorable mention certificates: Monika Bernotas and Suzanne Reed.

In this year’s contest, there were 1,139 essays submitted from 59
universities and colleges across the nation. Each essay was ranked by three
judges in Russia.

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2011 More

Eleonora Figliuoli Wins Juan Espadas Award

We were on our way to Pittsburgh. When we passed gallant windmills similar to those described in Cervantes’ Quijote, I feared we might be lost. But, it wasn’t until we read the sign that said “Welcome to Ohio,” that I became certain we were indeed lost. That’s always been a staple in my life: getting lost in new and (hopefully) exciting places. On a good day, I used to call this type of event an adventure. On a bad day, I might have regarded it more as a nightmare. Well, I believe that almost every day is a good day if you look at it in just the right light, so here’s to adventure.

It was late March and I felt excited—a brand new adventure had just begun. I was taking my learning outside of the classroom. Throughout my entire college career as a Hispanic Studies Major at The College of William & Mary, I’d jumped at the chance to learn about the cultures and literatures of Spanish-speaking countries as well as their histories. Now, I was traveling to the University of Pittsburgh to present a paper at a conference with some colleagues and Professor Regina Root, whose Fashioning the Nation class I had taken the previous semester.

I had attended Professor Root’s book discussion and signing for ‘Couture and Consensus’ the week prior to the Pittsburgh trip, during Spring Break, at the Library of Congress, since I felt inspired to learn more about post-colonial Argentina’s cultural history after reading her book for the class Fashioning the Nation. Also at the Library of Congress, I met several experts in the field of Hispanic Cultural Studies who have in due course become mentors to me. I spent six weeks of the summer helping the Hispanic Division organize and locate rare and reference books that were a part of the Jay I. Kislak Collection, a special gift given by Mr. Kislak of over 4,000 books, artifacts, and maps that dealt primarily with pre Columbian art, but which covered closely related topics as well.

We finally did make it to the conference, albeit somewhat late (We actually made it to Ohio first!) There, I presented my paper, written for Professor Root’s class—Martín Fierro: La encrucijada del dolor y la política, for which I won the Juan Espadas Prize for best undergraduate paper written and presented at the 2011 Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Scholars.  I have submitted it for publishing in the MACLAS journal. It was not the prize I won, though, that convinced me I was right for this field of study. Nor entirely that others might be interested in reading my work. It was my discovery that research was an adventure in more ways than one, and precisely that sense of adventure made me eager further to pursue my research interests.

In fact, I am confident that I will continue my work in Hispanic Studies, as I have already begun my honors project to be completed next semester, which I intend to present at MACLAS 2012.  In it, I am conducting an ecocritical and socio-political study of the 20th century poetry of Pablo Neruda and César Vallejo, and definitely can see myself studying 20th century Latin American literature from a similar perspective in graduate school, where I hope several professors might have an interest in working with me to further research of this type.

I won’t always have the right answer, I may not be able to always comprehend numbers, I may mistake left from right sometimes, and I may end up in Ohio while heading for Pittsburgh, but as long as I keep that sense of adventure, I’m not lost.

(left to right): Barbara Tennebaum (Library of Congress), Edith Couturier (National Endowment for the Humanities), Sofía Herrera, Eleonora Figliuoli, Professor Regina Root


News Spring 2011 More

Mike Blum receives 2011 Duke Award

by Erin Zagursky | April 19, 2011

When Mike Blum received a phone call from William & Mary President Taylor Reveley telling him that he had won this year’s Duke Award, the academic technologist suspected that his friends were playing a trick on him. When he next got a call from the president’s assistant and then another from a development officer, he knew it was no joke.

“It’s really wonderful, but it’s also incredibly humbling and I don’t feel like I can be given a particular award for my dedication to the College, because they make dedication incredibly easy,” Blum said.

The Charles and Virginia Duke Award, established in 1997, is presented each year to a staff member for his or her outstanding service and dedication to the College. Awardees receive $5,000 with the award as well as recognition during the College’s annual Commencement ceremony.

“Mike Blum’s strong desire to make William & Mary better and his excellent work to do just that are inspiring. We’re fortunate to have him at the College,” said Reveley.

Blum began working at William & Mary in 2001, about one month before Sept. 11.

“That was one of the first sort of important tasks I had was to get the TV to work so we could watch the horrible events (of that day),” he said.

Blum started at the College as a technology liaison, meaning, “basically if power came out of the wall and made this thing work, I was responsible for it for faculty members,” he said.

He would fix printers, show faculty members how to use word processors and give advice on how they could incorporate technology into their curriculums.

Throughout the last decade, he has helped members of the campus community integrate tablet PCs, Wiki pages, websites and even Google maps into their classes. Blum has become known as the go-to person for anyone with questions about Blackboard.

“I’m not an advocate for technology. I’m an advocate for academics,” he said, adding that, if technology is the best way for faculty members to accomplish their goals, he wants them to be able to use it.

Blum, who earned a master’s degree in English at the College and whose son now attends William & Mary, noted that the school is unique in that its undergraduates get to work directly with faculty.

“Anything that I can do to help that and facilitate students’ collaboration with the faculty members, that is really my absolute goal, so that’s why it’s not very hard to be dedicated,” he said.

Blum said he works with faculty members and students with a wide range of technological understanding.

“I think it’s important for someone who is doing the sort of work that I do to be in touch with both of those groups as well as to understand, from an IT perspective, what is coming down the pike,” he said. “It’s a multi-faceted job.”

Though he never knows what challenges the day is going to bring him, Blum said that’s what makes his job so enjoyable.

“It’s never the same every day. It’s never the same every week, and it changes over the years,” he said.

Blum said his time at William & Mary has been “an absolutely wonderful experience.”

“For the past 10 years, I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity and a more fulfilling job for my personality because I get to work in academia, but I also get to help faculty members use technology that’s going to help them in their research, that’s going to help them in their teaching.”

Although he still finds it hard to believe that he is this year’s Duke Award winner, Blum said that receiving the honor “says just as much about the people who put me up for the award as it does about anything that I do for them.”

“It’s a very humbling experience, not only knowing that they value what I do, but when you take a look at the other people who have won this in the past, it’s just, I feel very privileged,” he said.

Featured News News: German Studies Uncategorized

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

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

Featured News News: German Studies

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

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

Featured News News: Arabic Studies

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

Roundtable discussion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News News: French & Francophone Studies

Bellini Colloquium Talk: Vlad Dima

Thursday, April 21st, 4:00 PM, Washington 315

Sound Moves: Sonic Space in French and Senegalese Cinemas

This presentation explores the ways in which sound creates a new sense of spatiality in the films of Jean-Luc Godard and Djibril-Diop Mambety. Both directors challenge the primacy of the visual by foregrounding how aural planes affect and alter the economy of visual planes. As a result, I determine that new (aural) narrative plateaus surface from the plasticity of sound, which displaces and complicates filmic images. These planes, diegetic and extra-diegetic, reshape the current paradigm of the relationship between spectator and film. In other words, the sound manipulation techniques encountered in the films of the two directors generate a space continuum in which the audience becomes intimately involved with the projection on screen. I will discuss two such prevalent techniques (that I identify as the sonic jump-cut and the sonic rack-focus) which unfold aural planes in a way that suspends the visual-focused narration.

In general, the objectives answer the question of what should be done to achieve the goal.
News News: Hispanic Studies

W&M student wins Latino Scholar award

Milena Jaimes Ayala and Prof. Jonathan Arries
Milena Jaimes Ayala and Prof. Jonathan Arries

Milena Jaimes Ayala received the “VALHEN Latino Scholars Award” at the annual meeting of the Virginia Latino Higher Education Network on March 25th, 2011. A junior, Milena transferred to William and Mary this spring semester from Richard Bland College. Her major is Kinesiology and Health Sciences, a field she chose because of her desire to help those in need to overcome physical limitations and lead the fullest life possible. Her long-term goal is to obtain a Doctorate in Physical Therapy

Conclusions from this source buy essay online of a research paper are a description of the research results, a summary of everything that was written in the main body.
News News: Russian Studies Spring 2011

Russian television provides opportunities for learning and collaborative research

Watching too much television is bad for you. That is, unless you’re a student in Elena Prokhorova’s Senior Research Seminar class. In Prof. Prokhorova’s class, they’re studying the cultural significance of television programs like the Russian version of Fran Drescher’s sitcom “The Nanny”, but this is no mere classroom exercise. The course is designed around an end-of-semester scholarly symposium the students are organizing. Jacob Lassin (’12), a student in the class, has been working hard on organizing the conference, including designing the conference t-shirt. Jacob is in the group working on the conference paper focusing on the Russian Nanny, and he says their paper will be “about adapting gender roles from an American sitcom to a Russian sitcom, and how gender roles are portrayed.” Watch Jacob’s interview, with a discussion of the paper, below:


The symposium, which will take place on April 7-9, will host many prominent scholars in the field of Russian Cultural Studies from around the world. Will Sinnott, W&M class of 2011, another Russian student involved in the symposium, describes how the experience of working on the symposium has broken some of the boundaries between faculty and students and has led to real collaboration and research opportunities. Watch an excerpt from Will’s interview here:


Prohorova emphasizes that “the students are involved in the most immediate way: they will present their papers, they are participating in all other panels, so they will be exposed to actual research that is happening in the field, and they are also involved in organizing this whole event.”


The synergy of coursework and real research, along with the opportunity to meet and interact with scholars in the profession, makes this a unique opportunity for the students in the Russian program, and the skills they are learning in organizing the symposium are remarkable. This emerging model of collaboration between our faculty members and students to produce real research and real-world forums in which to present that research is one of the most exciting new developments at the College and Professor Prokhorova is hoping to be able to continue hosting such symposia in future years.

The symposium will take place from Thursday April 7 through Saturday, April 9, 2011. Many of the symposium’s events, such as film and television episode screenings (some subtitled by our own students), will be open to the public. For more information, a list of participants and a schedule of events can be found on the symposium website: All the featured films and television programs will be available at Swem Library at the end of the symposium.

Professor Prokhorova would like to thank the Reves Center for International Studies, the Charles Center, Global Studies, Film Studies and the Office of the Dean of Arts & Sciences for their generous support.

Eine mitarbeiterin der abteilung fr internationale beziehungen, mara julia antua, zeigte uns die bibliothek und die studios der hochschule.
News News: Russian Studies

Public Lecture: An Eye Witness Account: Doing Hi Tech Business in Russia

Public Lecture
An Eye Witness Account: Doing Hi Tech Business in Russia
Friday 3/25 at 3:30pm in Miller Hall 1088

As an executive of the United Technologies Corporation, Peter Barzach
developed, implemented and managed the start-up of the first US Manufacturing
Joint Venture (JV) with a member company of the Russian Ministry of Defense in
history.  The  JV was featured in the IVth Gore-Chernomyrdin Summit as an
example of how to do business in Russia.  The JV recently celebrated it’s 10th
anniversary and won the Presidents Medal, the highest award given by the
Russian Federation. Mr. Barzach will discuss his experiences and the
of doing business in Russia.

Sponsored by the Russian and Post-Soviet Studies Program

Once they post a photo or a message online, it’s out there forever for the world to see that includes college admissions best key logger program counselors, summer job employers, etc.
News News: French & Francophone Studies Spring 2011

2000 attend the 2011 Tournées French & Francophone Film Festival

The 2011 Tournées French & Francophone Film Festival was attended by about 2000 people this year.

The 5th French & Francophone Film Festival took place from January 28th to February 25th at the Kimball Theater in Williamsburg.  Organized by prof. Magali Compan (MLL. French & Francophone) , the French & Francophone Film Festival was made possible this year again thanks to the funding of the Wendy and Emery Reves Center for International Studies, Literary and Cultural Studies program, Film Studies program, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the French Ministry of Culture (CNC). Each film was free to the public.

This year films featured came from France, Belgium and Burkina Faso.  Each Friday night, for 5 weeks, we presented a different film. Two movies were presented during the weekend of the Global film festival (February 17-20).

The festival opened with a wine-and-cheese reception on Friday, 28th. The first movie featured was “Séraphine” a 2008 French-Belgian movie about Séraphine Louis (1864-1942), a French painter in the naïve style.  The movie reeceived the 2009 César for best film, while actress Yolande Moreau received the César for best actress that year. The movie was introduced by Prof. Catherine Levesque ( Dept. of Art and Art History).

On February 4th, we featured Le Silence de Lorna/Lorna’s silence by the critically acclaimed Dardenne’s brother. This 2008 social drama takes place in Charleroi, a declining industrial Belgian city and focuses on Lorna, a young woman who migrated to Belgium from Albania. The movie was presented by Prof. Gul Ozyegin (Dept. of Sociology).

On February 11th, Welcome (France, 2009), a movie featuring Vincent Lindon, was presented. Welcome takes place in Calais, Europe’s main gateway to Great Britain, were hundreds of illegal immigrants are trying to find an opportunity to cross. It documents the friendship between Simon Calmat (Lindon), a 40 years old swim coach, and a young Kurdish immigrant from Irak, Bilal. The movie was presented by Prof. Nicolas Medevielle (Dept. of MLL/ French & Francophone).

The next weekend, two movies were shown and included in the Global film festival’s program.

The landmark environmental film Home (France 2009) by world renowned areal photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand and narrated by Glenn Close ’74 was presented on February 18th. Prof. Maryse Fauvel (dept. of MLL/ French & Francophone Studies) . After her intervention, director Yann Arthus-Bertrand made a few comments about his movie via skype!

The next morning, “Panique au village/ A town called Panic” (Belgium 2009), an animation film by Stéphane Aubier & Vincent Patar, was presented.

This years’ edition came to a close on February 25th with Reves de poussiere (2006 France, Burkina Faso), a meditative movie that presents the dismal conditions of gold miners in Burkina Faso. The movie was presented by prof. Neil Norman (dept of anthropology).

We are already working on the 2012 French and Francophone Film Festival’s edition. Next year we will no longer have the support of the French embassy, as we did in the last 5 years, but we are confident the festival is here to stay!

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2011 More Uncategorized

Bellini Colloquium with Jorge Terukina

Cortés Map of Mexico, Ayer 655.51.C8, Newberry Library
Cortés Map of Mexico, Ayer 655.51.C8, Newberry Library

“Creoles, Peninsular Newcomers, and Aristotelian ‘Economic Thought’ in Balbuena’s Mexican Grandeur (1604): a Transatlantic and Pre-Disciplinary Inquiry”

Jorge Terukina, Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies
Wednesday, March 23, 4:00pm.
Washington Hall 315

Bernardo de Balbuena (Valdepeñas, Spain, c.1563 – San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1627)’s long poem praising Mexico City, published in 1604, has usually been read as a descriptive and referential poem written by an ambitious Creole cleric and intellectual. Unsurprisingly, this reading has lead to retrospective appropriations that place it in the national pantheon of cultural goods that give historical density and legitimacy to the present-day Mexican nation. In regards to economics, Mexican Grandeur has been made to mimetically attest to the transatlantic and transpacific trade implemented by the Spanish empire and, hence, to the ‘central’ and privileged geographical location of Mexico City in such capitalist and mercantile network. Against this commonly-held, referential interpretation, this presentation provides a different, discursive contextualization by highlighting the transatlantic circulation of fields of knowledge, and Balbuena’s appropriation of, and departures from the canonical Aristotelian ‘economic thought’ taught at early modern Spanish universities. This transatlantic and pre-disciplinary approach provides an ‘economic’ discursive formation within which Mexican Grandeur’s references to trade, professional labor and money bespeak Balbuena’s positioning as a Peninsular newcomer rather than a Creole or pro-Creole intellectual, of his exaltation of Mexico City as a colony subordinated to the glorious Spanish empire rather than a privileged ‘center’ of ‘global’ trade, and of his professional anxieties as a writer who seeks social and economic compensations in exchange for his representational labor.


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News News: Chinese Studies Spring 2011

W&M Chinese faculty to host teaching workshop

The phenomenal rise of interest in Chinese language study is making a significant mark in the transformation of the K-12 curriculum. As college programs across the country continue to expand, elementary and secondary institutions are also hiring more teachers and building new curricula to accommodate demand for Chinese from schoolchildren and their parents. Increasingly important are partnerships between language pedagogy experts at the university level and K-12 teachers that facilitate the exchange of new ideas, methods and practices.

On April 16, 2011, William & Mary will host the annual Spring workshop of the Chinese Language Teachers Association of Virginia (CLTA-VA). This workshop will bring together language teachers from Virginia schools of all levels, from kindergarten and through university.

CLTA-VA was founded in 2008 by a consortium of professors and educators in Chinese language. Since then, it has hosted workshops at the University of Virginia and George Mason University designed to help Chinese teachers of all levels improve their teaching and learn the latest techniques in this growing field. CLTA-VA is also affiliated with the Foreign Language Association of Virginia (FLAVA) and contributes to, to FLAVA’s yearly workshop on foreign language pedagogy. This year, W&M is the host of the CLTA-VA workshop, and the theme is incorporating technology in the classroom. Professor Yanfang Tang and Chinese instructors Qian Su and Liping Liu are all board members or officers of CLTA-VA. This year, they are in charge of bringing the workshop to William & Mary. They expect between 50-70 teachers and instructors from all over Virginia will attend to share ideas, listen to speakers, forge new networks and consolidate old ties. “CLTA-VA is not just for the college level,” says Liu, who holds a doctorate in Education. “It’s also for middle school and primary school. Especially in the DC area, there are many Chinese teachers in the elementary levels.” She noted that the majority of attendees are instructors of elementary and secondary education. Qian Su, the lead Chinese instructor at W&M, echoed these remarks. “As college instructors, we’re doing outreach to help K-12 teachers. Local teachers really look up to what we’re doing in the college level. We see this workshop as a way to help promote Chinese language as a form of enrichment for K-12 students.”

This workshop highlights the heavy involvement of both W&M professors and instructors in contributing to the K-12 community, and in the promotion of Chinese language instruction throughout Virginia. Prof. Tang, Su and Liu are very active in developing and promoting Chinese language pedagogy. Their work also underscores the importance of thorough and dynamic Chinese language training as the key component of the Chinese major and minor programs at W&M. By helping develop Chinese language at the K-12 level, CLTA-VA hopes to funnel talented and experienced language students in Chinese major programs throughout the state, in the same way that programs in French or Spanish benefit from students with secondary education training in those languages.

As a continued part of W&M’s commitment to fostering Chinese language instruction in the community, the School of Education recently approved licensure in K-12 Chinese teaching for W&M students who seek to teach Chinese at the K-12 level. As demand for Chinese teachers in the K-12 level grows, W&M’s Chinese program and the School of Education hope to increasingly take part in fostering new ranks of Chinese teachers.

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News News: German Studies Spring 2011

German Studies Student-Faculty Research Project Culminates in Peer-Reviewed Journal Publication

In 2007-2008, Rob Leventhal, Associate Professor of German Studies, directed a Group Independent Study on the reemergence of the Jewish Community in Munich, Germany and the construction of the new Jewish Synagogue, Jewish Center, and Jewish Museum at St. Jakobsplatz. During the spring break of 2007, Leventhal and then W&M Students Sam Thacker, Olivia Lucas, Daniel Reisch, Benjamin Fontana, and K.C. Tydgat traveled to Munich with financial support of the Charles Center, the Reves Center, the Associate Provost of Research, and the Dean of Arts and Sciences, to study the Jewish Community and the new Jewish Center. Leventhal continued to work on the project, returning to Munich several times to conduct further interviews and do more research, and has now published “Community, Memory, and Shifting Jewish Identities: The Case of Munich, 1989 to the Present” in The Journal of Jewish Identities 4/1 (2011) 13-43.

The “negative symbiosis” of post-war German-Jewish culture took a decisive turn in 1989 with the fall of the Wall and the almost immediate unification of Germany one year later. Based as it was on a specifically German-Jewish perspective and orientation, this prevailing reading of the situation of the Jews in Germany underwent a radical change with the simultaneous dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the Federal Republic’s willingness to serve as a Zufluchtsort – a place of sanctuary – for over a quarter of a million Russian Jews over the next fifteen years. Munich became a destination of choice for many Russian Jewish émigrés, often even preferred to Israel and the United States. The utopistic promise of the reunification, the initial euphoria that followed 1990, the social welfare state of Germany, and the strength of the existing Jewish community in Munich all contributed to a powerful vision of future affluence, citizenship, cultural and social belonging and support that attracted thousands of Russian Jews to Munich.

By 1996-1997, however, this positive image of Germany and the optimistic sense of the Russian Jewish émigrés had changed radically. In a study published in 1999 based on data captured and analyzed in the preceding two years, the team of Julius Schoeps painted a very bleak picture indeed both of the current state of this community as well as its short and longer term prospects unless fundamental changes could be made, both by the Jewish Gemeinde, and the city, state and federal governments. Schoeps and his team pointed out that while fear of anti-Semitism had fallen since 1993-1996 (when it was at its height because of the vicious attacks against foreigners, mostly by Neo-Nazi groups in Mölln, Solingen, Hoyerswerda). There has been a dramatic increase in unemployment among the Russian Jewish émigrés, problems with integration into the work and housing market, insufficient and poor language instruction, increasing isolation and alienation, both from the existing Jewish Community and the German communities in which they were embedded, the sense of loss of both prior status and present perspective, feelings of dependence and hopelessness. Many respondents to the questionnaire the group developed indicated a kind of cultural collective depression.

The situation for Russian Jewish émigrés in the Federal Republic of Germany changed radically since 2000. Most importantly, significant changes in the Federal Law concerning immigration have all but cut off the flow of Jewish émigrés from the former Soviet States. According to the new procedures and regulations of the German Immigration Law, there are essentially three classes of Jewish émigrés from the former Soviet States: there are those who placed an application to enter Germany prior to July 1, 2001, those who placed their immigration application between the July 1, 2001 and December 12, 2004; and those who placed their Einreiseantrag after the 12th of December, 2004.

The possibility of admitting more Russian Jewish émigrés has now been directly linked to ability and willingness of the Länder to support the GemeindeGemeinde. For the period after 2006, while there have been many negotiations among the four parties directly involved – the Auswärtiges Amt, the BAMF, the Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland, and the Union Progressiver Juden – and supposedly some oral “financial commitments” have been made, as of this writing no actual fundsGemeinde. For the year 2005, no applications or Anträge for entry into the Federal Republic were accepted: “Die deutschen Botschaften und Konsulate in den Ländern der ehemaligen Sovietunion haben nach Auslaufen des ‘Kontingentverfahrens’ am 31. Dezember 2004 schlichtweg keine Auswanderungsanträge mehr angenommen.”

In 2003, on the 65th anniversary of Kristallnacht, then Federal President Johannes Rau helped lay the first stone of Jüdisches Zentrum Jakobsplatz – the Jewish Center at the Jakobsplatz – a massive architectural and cultural event that has now become the location for the new central Synagogue, the Jewish Museum of Munich, a Jewish Community Center, and a Jewish School. A plot to bomb the ceremony by members of a neo-nazi group was successfully thwarted. The Synagogue opened its doors on November 9, 2006, and the Jewish Museum was inaugurated on March 22, 2007. While some observers and critics claim that such physical demonstrations of culture merely “externalize” or “displace” the deeper cultural conflicts, and many German Jews remain highly skeptical of a “reemergence of Jewish culture,” it was necessary to work-through the various readings to arrive at a more objective, more historical, and therefore more encompassing sense of this transformation of Munich’s center.

Leventhal explored this significant reconstruction and reemergence in Munich with his students as a cultural and social event that is saturated with historical meaning and rife with conflicted and conflicting views, both for the German Jews and DPs of the first and second generation and the Russian Jewish émigrés who have arrived since 1989. Through close study of the literature and journalism, close tracking of the history of this emergence, on-site interviews with key literary, historical, and community figures, and real-time interpretive analysis of the structures themselves in their historical, social, and cultural contexts, the GIS (Group Independent Study) GRMN 411 attempted to a understand what was at stake in this reconstruction, how it has been and is still being interpreted and used, how it is functioning as a cultural-discursive event and site.

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News News: Chinese Studies Spring 2011 More

Chinese film digs out of poverty

In the middle of the night, when the police are avoiding unpaved roads, a group of miners transports petrified wood to Shanghai and Beijing. For a group of Uighur miners, this transport of petrified wood is their first stepping stone out of poverty: one piece may earn them over half a million Chinese yuan.

On Tuesday night, the Asian Studies Initiative hosted an on-campus screening of “Deserted Diggers,” a documentary by Chinese independent filmmaker Joy Le Li, as part of the Silk Road events to promote the new major, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.

Rachel DiNitto, associate professor of Japanese and co-director of the grant-funded Asian Studies Initiative, helped to arrange the screening of the film. The Silk Road events promote Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, which combines East Asian Studies, South Asian Studies and Middle Eastern Studies. The Education Policy Committee approved the new major in fall 2010 and hope to offer the program to students by fall 2011.

“As part of the grant and our interest in kicking off the new major, we’ve set up a whole series of events for this semester,” DiNitto said.

The documentary tracks the lives of a group of Uighur miners in the world’s second largest petrified wood forest of the Junggar Basin near Xinjiang, China. The ongoing conflict between the majority group, the Han Chinese, and the Muslim minority group, the Uighurs, creates disparity in the town of Xinjiang. In order for many Uighurs to provide for their families, the men must mine petrified wood. However, in doing so, the miners risk their lives and safety.

In 2011, the Chinese government outlawed the excavation of petrified wood. Only one company, a Han Chinese company called the Yema Group, was able to obtain the rights to mine the fossilized wood. In order for Uighurs to continue to mine, they had to either mine illegally or share some of their profits with the Yema Group.

DiNitto presented the film to spread awareness of the social issues with the Uighurs. Although Li was unable to attend the screening, DiNitto and Li arranged a live Skype session following the screening for the audience to discuss the film. For the students in attendance, the film offered a rare glimpse into the lives of Uighur miners in China.

“Through watching this specific group of miners, you learn more about the Uighur issue as a whole,” Claire Dranginis ’11 said. “I had heard of the Uighurs before, but I never really knew of them in detail and was curious about the issue.”

In the Skype session, Li recounted the struggle to understand the Uighur minority. Since the Uighurs are often discriminated against in China, Li had to rebel against the Han Chinese negative perception of the minority.

“Some Han Chinese think that Uighur people are backwards and have bad tempers,” Li said. “The groups coexist, but they don’t really intermingle.”

Stephen Hurley ’12 attended the screening after studying abroad in Beijing last semester.

“What Joy said about the Chinese people’s perspective on the Uighurs was, in my experience, right on the dot,” Hurley said. “Some of the teachers in the program gave off the feeling that the Uighurs are us, but they’re not really us.”

The disconnection between the groups was most evident through the story of Jengis, a Uighur miner. Due to his extreme poverty, his wife had left him. Mining petrified wood was his only chance to overcome his situation. He described the daily trials of being a part of the minority and trying to mine petrified wood.

“It’s really hard to dig. We do it. We have no choice,” Jengis said.

Jengis and the other miners shared their personal struggles and opinions on their conditions in the documentary. The eclectic mix of personalities illuminated the life behind the conflict of the Uighurs and Han Chinese. When she arrived in China after studying at Columbia University in New York, Li happened upon the group by chance.

“The way I met this group of Uighurs was really pure luck. I was lost in the desert and I ran into them,” Li said. “They helped me get out of the desert, and I was so fascinated by them. I decided I would go back and make this film.”

The chance encounter in the desert led to the production of a documentary. Li filmed the group over a two-year period and focused on the miners’ lives with their families and their daily struggles in the mines.

The road to the final product was not smooth, as Li often faced police interrogations. Even today, the film has not been shown in China for fear of punitive measures being taken by the government. Still, Li hopes that the film will help other people understand the struggles of the Uighurs.

“I want to let people understand Uighurs better,” Li said. “They have love, they are funny, and they are just like everyone else.”

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News News: Italian Studies Spring 2011

Italian Documentarian Brings Trash Crisis to William and Mary

In February, the William and Mary Italian Studies Department invited Ivana Corsale, an up-and-coming Italian documentarian, to debut her latest film as part of the 2011 William and Mary Global Film Festival.

Corsale’s film, Unhappy Country, tackled a growing issue in Southern Italian society: the illegal and unhealthy handling of industrial waste. The beautiful, fertile area near Naples has been transformed into a toxic wasteland where even breathing the air is hazardous to Italians’ health. What is worse, Corsale argues in Unhappy Country that those who are polluting the area illegally—namely, members of the region’s organized crime group, the Camorra—not only do so with impunity, but are actually helped by the lack of government oversight, even complicity.

In a rare treat for William and Mary, Corsale brought Unhappy Country to Williamsburg as a first cut, with most of the film previously unscreened. This debut accompanied the screening of another documentary, Terra Madre, which also examined our relationship to the environment. While Terra Madre had a more optimistic ending, Corsale’s Unhappy Country offered a shocking portrait of an Italy that is hidden from tourists.

After the night’s double feature, the filmmaker visited two Italian Studies classes to discuss her film. The students were able to ask Corsale to elaborate on her documentary’s powerful images to gain a better perspective on this persistent problem. The students provided important feedback to Corsale, who plans to finish her documentary by May 2011. While she may find opposition by Italian distributors when she begins to screen Unhappy Country in Italy, she hopes that her film will inspire all Neapolitans to address the issue that many believe is slowly killing them.


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News News: Hispanic Studies

National Colloquium on Minority Studies

The College hosted the National Colloquium on Minority Studies in February 2011. John “Rio”Riofrio, Professor of Hispanic Studies at the College, was the host and organizer of this incredibly successful event. Watch the video below to learn more about the colloquium and Rio’s involvement in this exciting initiative:


Want to see more? You can watch Rio’s faculty video profile here

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2011

Spanish Pilgrimage brings together Hollywood stars, academics

An academic colloquium is not usually where one would expect to see Hollywood stars, but the Camino de Santiago is said to have caused greater miracles to happen.

George Greenia with Martin Sheen and Emilio EstevezThe thousand-year-old Spanish pilgrimage is the setting for “The Way,” a new film written and directed by Emilio Estevez and starring Martin Sheen. Thanks to the efforts of William & Mary Professor George Greenia, the two Hollywood stars screened their film on Feb. 18 at Georgetown University, kicking off the Workshop on Pilgrimage Studies, co-hosted by the College and Georgetown’s department of Spanish and Portuguese.


Scholars from a wide variety of disciplines and 30 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada attended the two-day workshop. The group is working to create an international, interdisciplinary consortium to teach pilgrimage studies in Santiago de Compostela starting in the summer of 2012.

“The historic trek to that World Heritage Site is a unique example of a universal urge to leave home to find yourself,” said Greenia, a professor ofHispanic studies. “From the Ganges to Ground Zero to Graceland, we are all pilgrims on the way.”

Greenia, who has travelled the 500-mile Camino every year since 2005, said that plans for the pilgrimage workshop were almost complete when organizers learned of the Estevez’s film, which had premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and in Spain.

The movie focuses on the character of Tom, an American doctor who travels to France after his son dies just one day into the pilgrimage. Tom, played by Sheen, decides to finish the journey that his son began. Along the way, he meets other pilgrims who are facing their own struggles and looking for some sort of redemption or resolution through the journey.

“This is a whole journey of discovery and loss,” said Sheen. “And very often the only way we can heal loss is by helping others.”

With the assistance of the Washington Post’s Ann Hornaday, Greenia was connected to Estevez and asked whether the actors would be interested in screening the film at the workshop.

“He graciously said yes,” said Greenia, “and a studious academic affair immediately turned into a Washington event.”

More than 350 people attended the Friday evening screening, including Jorge Dezcallar de Mazarredo, Spanish Ambassador to the United States, and Infanta Cristina of Spain, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, her consort, Iñaki Urdangarín, and their son, Juan Valentín. Additionally, a number of faculty members and students from William & Mary were in attendance.

Prior to the screening, Martin and Estevez gave several press interviews, including one on video to William & Mary News, moderated by Greenia. The Washington Post later included a photo of Greenia’s interview with Martin and Estevez and a description of the event in its Feb. 21 “Names and Faces” column.

Greenia opened the workshop weekend by welcoming the audience to the screening, thanking the William & Mary Washington Office, Georgetown and numerous others for making the event a reality.

William & Mary President Taylor Reveley also gave brief remarks before the film, saying that this is “the latest manifestation of an enduring collaboration between Spain and William & Mary.”

Reveley noted that William & Mary faculty have been teaching on the Camino for nearly two decades and that Greenia has led students on the journey for each of the past six summers.

“Their research projects conducted on the 500-mile trek have spanned a host of disciplines,” said Reveley. “As George has described in the brochure tonight, the rhythms of the walking offer a stark contrast to the immediacy of modern travel. Though an individual person takes each step along the Camino, there are many partners in the journey.”

Reveley said that William & Mary looks forward to working with all of the universities involved in the consortium “as our individual strengths yield a collective good for the benefit of our students.”

“Recent decades have brought a resurgence of interest in the 1,000-year-old Camino de Santiago and the pilgrimage offers the perfect means for Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez to share their Spanish heritage and their artistry with the American public,” he said.

Sheen, whose father was born in the Galicia region of Spain, said that the film is “a reflection of a miracle that happened in our family in 2003.” That year, Estevez’s son Taylor, who served as an associate producer on the film, was travelling the Camino with Sheen by car when he met his future wife.

Estevez said that the film “is truly a love letter to Spain, and it is also an homage to my grandfather.”

Along with writing and directing the movie, Estevez also appears in it as Tom’s son. Calling the film a father and son story, Estevez praised his both on-screen and real-life father for his work in the film.

“The only thing that my father has ever tried to sell to anybody is his heart, and you see it all over this picture tonight,” Estevez said. “It is a performance of quiet dignity. It is the performance, in my opinion, of a lifetime, and I’m extremely proud to have called myself his director and his costar in this.”

The film is expected to be released in the United States Sept. 30, 2011, and on DVD in February 2012.

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News News: French & Francophone Studies

Bellini Colloquium Talk by Nicolas Medevielle

Location: Washington Hall 315
Wednesday, February 16, 4pm

The Bellini Colloquium in Modern Languages and Literatures
is pleased to invite you to a talk by

Nicolas Médevielle,
Assistant Professor of French & Francophone Studies

“Maps of Desire: French Renaissance colonial Ventures and Cartography”

Wednesday, February 16, Washington Hall 315, 4 pm

From the 1530s on, the city of Dieppe in Normandy became an important center of cartography and later on of hydrography. Dieppe was at the time one of the most important port for French international expeditions: the city sent commercial ships to Newfoundland, Brazil, the West African coast and as far east as Indonesia. The Dieppe maps of the mid-sixteenth century generally took the form of world atlases or of large world maps, all richly illustrated with lavish miniatures. These maps were hand drawn and painted; their large scales made them useless for navigational purposes. In this talk I propose to explore what we know about a set of Dieppe maps from the 1540s and 1550s: why were they created? What do we know about their circulation?  Where did the possible models for their illustrations come from? I will in particular explore the possible connections between the advent to the throne of Henri II in 1547 and the apparent increased production of such maps in the latter half of the 1540s.

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News News: Russian Studies

WM Students take part in the 12th National Russian Essay Competition

This year nine students from three levels of Russian language courses took part in the competition: 5 students from Russian 102 (Cheng Cheng, Ciara Kazmierski, Karl Carlson, Robin Parrish, and Peter Yanev), 3 students from Russian 202 (Monika Bernotas, Eleonora Figliuoli, and Alex McGrath), and one student from Russian 340 (Suzanne Reed).

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News News: Chinese Studies

Summer 2009 Tsinghua Slideshow

This is a slideshow of the Summer 2009 W&M Study Abroad Program located in Tsinghua University, Beijing. Slide show was made by Tsinghua University Chinese instructor and 2009-2010 House Tutor Longzi Yang.


Alumni Updates Alumni Updates: French & Francophone Studies News News: French & Francophone Studies

Julia Zamecnik ‘11: from William and Mary to NATO

When I got to college, I’d completed my language proficiency requirement and was fully prepared to stop taking French, and in fact I didn’t take any French my first semester at William and Mary. However, I can honestly say that restarting French was one of the best decisions I’ve made since arriving on campus. I’ve learned first-hand that speaking French has wide-ranging benefits in many areas of study outside just grammar and literature.

By taking French at William and Mary I was able to apply to spend my sophomore year abroad in Lille, France, where I mostly studied European government and EU-US relations. This has provided me with an amazing ability to both greatly improve my French and to take a multitude of fascinating political science courses towards my government major.

I am convinced that it was largely thanks to my proficiency in French and my time abroad that I was selected for an internship with the U.S. Mission to NATO this summer in Brussels. I will be living in Belgium from May through most of August working full time in the Armaments Department of the U.S Mission to NATO, as one of about five undergraduate interns at the Mission. I will also be conducting my own research project on France and NATO while living in Brussels this summer.