News: French & Francophone Studies Spring 2016 More Uncategorized

Forget Me (Not)? : Zarine Kharazian’s research in Paris

News about our McCormack Reboussin scholar in France

google ps1

William & Mary student Zarine Kharazian ’17 shares news about her research on “the right to be forgotten” and differing views between the U.S. and France when it comes to preserving (or deleting) one’s digital past. Zarine is a double-major in French and Francophone Studies and Government. Read the whole story!

News News: Japanese Studies Spring 2016 More

Japanese National Honor Society Inductees

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

Honor Society Inductees (from l. to r.) Wang, Pryor, and Zhou.
Honor Society Inductees (from l. to r.) Wang, Pryor, and Zhou.
Alumni Updates Alumni Updates: Hispanic Studies News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016 More

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

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

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

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

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

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

News: Italian Studies Spring 2016 More

Leaving their Artistic Mark: The Beautification Process of the Casa italiana : by Prof. Katie Boyle

Anyone who has ever been in the Italian house will tell you about the warm and welcoming environment created each year by wonderful groups of students brought together by their shared interest in the Italian language, the culture and the people. While a few residents originally decide to live in the Italian house in order to stay with a current roommate, they can’t help but make incredible friendships very quickly and end up learning a lot about Italy in the process. Some of those residents even go on to enroll in Italian courses the following semester and stay for a second year in the house!

Anyone who has been in the Italian house will probably also tell you about the amazing tutor who comes each year from the University of Florence to live with our students and organize countless cultural activities, ranging from conversation hours to movie nights to cooking classes, etc. These incredibly hardworking and dedicated language house tutors (un caro saluto a Giacomo Poli, Giulia Manganelli, Veronica Fantini and Stefano Olmastroni, with whom I had the great pleasure of working and now call my friends) make the house what it is. The past and present residents of the I-house and I could not be more appreciative of what you all brought to the house.

But there is another comment that one hears over and over again while spending time in the Italian house and that comment is: “Did they really need to paint the whole place this shade of brown??”

And that is where the beautification process of the Casa italiana began. It was collectively decided that this *interesting* shade of brown was not working for the house anymore and something had to be done. Lucky for us (and the walls), Residence Life is supportive of students leaving their artistic mark on the language houses, as long as we filed the proper paperwork and went through the necessary steps.

We started small with two individual pieces back in 2011-2:

Global voices 1

The mural featured to the left has deep significant meaning for the artists and contains a very philosophical quote in Italian, which you can read underneath the featured design.

Global Voices 2Did I mention all the walls are brown? The colors of this very popular “Pace” (peace) flag make a huge difference in brightening up the room and this represents just the first step in a very important process.

There is a narrow hallway in the Italian house that was very dark and void of color, until the artistic visionaries in the I-house saw that hallway and knew exactly what could go there. It was the absolute perfect spot to depict a canal scene from Venice:

Global Voices 3Global Voices 4

(Credit to the Casa italiana residents of 2012-3)

The motto in the house became to leave no wall untouched … even if it was just to liven up a doorway with a quote from Dante’s Paradiso: L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle (Paradiso XXXIII, 145)

Global Voices 5

Once the residents got started, they couldn’t stop and the results were amazing! The scale of the murals only continued to grow and the ideas became more and more impressive with each new project.

In 2013-4, our artists dreamed of even bigger murals and set their sights on Tuscany. This gorgeous design of a Tuscan countryside with rolling hills that seems right out of a movie was drawn by a previous Italian house resident, Ryan Krysiak, and left in the famous tutor closet by Giacomo Poli for the next year’s residents. When Giulia found the drawing, she and the residents immediately agreed that Ryan’s idea was perfect for the mural in the kitchen!

Because of Giulia’s love of photography, the making of this stunning mural is documented, from the drawing to the final product:

Global Voices 6 

Katie McGhee, a three time Italian House resident and a big part of many of these murals, and Garrett Tidey, a former I-house resident now studying art in Florence, sketched out Ryan’s entire drawing by hand on the wall main wall in the kitchen:

Global Voices 7

Global Voices 8

The residents might have given up eating for a few weeks, but sometimes you have to sacrifice for your art!

Global Voices 9

(Former residents: Lauren Harrison, Ellie Martin and Bree Cattelino hard at work!)

The completed mural is breathtaking and remains a focal point in the kitchen and really adds to the ambiance of the cooking classes each week.

Global Voices 10

One very special mural that was a total group effort brought together three “generations” of Italian house residents. At a massive end of the year potluck dinner organized by Giulia in May of 2014, residents of the previous years, current residents and the following year’s residents came together to create the mural appropriately named, “3 Case italiane: passato, presente, futuro”:

Global Voices 11Global Voices 12

The making of the mural – pictured from the top left going clockwise: Stephen Prifti, Sam Haling, Catherine King, Giulia Manganelli, two-time I-house RA Charlotte Lessa, Susanne Khatib and Alessandro Roux, Haset Solomon, Julia Brechbiel, Linda Moses, Bella Kron and Blake Burns, and last but certainly not least, Philip Kang.

With those two murals we really upped the ante and now could we follow this beautiful Tuscan countryside scene and our sentimental mural bringing together many years of residents? Easy! By creating an equally beautiful field of sunflowers, recognizable to anyone who ever taken a road trip through Tuscany and found themselves surrounded on either side by endless fields of flowers. This was the idea and I think Veronica and her residents in 2014-5 did an incredible job recreating this scene

Not a brown wall in sight! Even the shelves got a facelift!

At the start of the 2015-6 academic year, there was an entire room left to tackle, a room full of brown walls that were begging to be painted over. Stefano and this year’s residents were up to the challenge and full of ideas about the next mural in the house. It would require a trip further south and the idea was to present an entirely different landscape from the rolling fields of Tuscany.
Global Voices 14


Global Voices 13


Global Voices 15

Where they landed was the Bay of Naples and what they had in mind was a very ambitious plan for a large scale mural in the lounge area. Here is the design idea and proposal:

Global Voices 16

The residents have been hard at work this semester and the mural is wonderful! I think one of the favorite activities this semester has been our recent weekly Monday night pizza and gelato dinner followed by group mural painting. Here are some pictures of the making of this mural:

Casa 1

Pictured hard at work from left to right: Italian house RA – Margaret James, Katie McGhee, Italian house tutor – Stefano Olmastroni, Micailya Mattson and Alexanna Mc Tammany all rocking our 2015-6 Italian house t-shirts!

Look at how happy Micailya is with the addition of her boats to the mural!

Global Voices 17

Even Stefano and I got in on the action …

Global Voices 18

This above house was our 2nd attempt and I dare say redeemed our previous efforts.

Global Voices 19Here is Katie adding to Stefano’s and my other attempt at contributing to the mural. The disco party house was not my original design and I do not think that HGTV and House Hunters International will be contacting me anytime soon to be a part of their design team.

Global Voices 20

Pictured from the top row L: Nathan Fajfar, Stefano Olmastroni, Roberto Watkins, Bridget Thompson, Margaret James, bottom row L: Donna Kinney, Sofia Tipton, Micailya Mattson, Keabra OpongBrown, Katie McGhee, Michele Ricciardi and Alexanna Mc Tammany. Several of our wonderful artists from this year are not pictured but have contributed an incredible amount to the current mural.

The beautification process of the Casa italiana has spanned the last five years and represents the work of four tutors, countless incredibly talented residents, and one less-than-artistically-inclined Italian house advisor, who was smart enough to limit her contributions and focused instead on moral support and bringing the pizzas.

Ottimo lavoro, ragazzi!



News News: French & Francophone Studies Spring 2016 More

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

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

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

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

News: Japanese Studies Spring 2016 More

Japan Section Welcomes New Faculty

Dr. Tomoyuki Sasaki
Dr. Tomoyuki Sasaki

The Japanese Program welcomes a new faculty member this coming fall. Dr. Tomoyuki Sasaki received his PhD in history from the University of California, San Diego.  He also holds a Masters degree in Japanese studies from the Kobe City University of Foreign Studies.  He has taught at Kalamazoo College and Eastern Michigan University.  His research addresses issues of democracy, sovereignty, and the military, and their cultural representation. His monograph, Japan’s Postwar Military and Civil Society: Contesting a Better Life, was published last year by SOAS/University of London through Bloomsbury.

Dr. Sasaki will offer two new courses for fall 2016. Cultures of the Cold War (JAPN 307 02) examines the immense impact of the Cold War on forms of social governance, notions of democracy and freedom, perceptions of the past, and people’s everyday lives in Japan.  Crossing Lines (JAPN 208 01) considers how flows of people have shaped Japan’s modernity, looking at travel, migration, and other cross-border movement both out of and into Japan, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century. Both courses are taught in English.

News News: Chinese Studies Spring 2016 More

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

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

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

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

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

Chun Yu 2 Chun Yu1

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

Nathan Hoback (’10) shines as a teacher

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

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

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

James E. Young speaks on “The Stages of Memory” and teaches MAUS

James YoungAuthor of Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust: Narrative and the Consequences of Interpretation (1988), The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning (1993), and At Memory’s EdgeAfterimages of the Holocaust in Art and Architecture (2002), James E. Young is the one of the preeminent scholars of Holocaust and Memory Studies in the world. His teaching, writing and public engagement have been concerned primarily with post-war literary, artistic, architectural, cinematographic and memorial responses to the Nazi genocide of the Jews. Professor Young taught Rob Leventhal’s Freshman Seminar Responses to the Holocaust on Art Spiegelman’s MAUS and delivered a lecture on his current research/book project: The Stages of Memory, the making of the 9/11 Memorial.

News: German Studies Spring 2016 More

Helmut Puff (U Michigan) gives talk and conducts workshop in German Studies

Helmut PuffHelmut Puff, Professor of German, History, Women’s Studies, and affiliate in the History of Art and in the Program in History and Anthropology at the University of Michigan, is one of the  most innovative voices in German Studies, Early Modern History, Gender and Queer Studies, the History of Sexualities, and Media Studies today. His work is characterized by its far-reaching interdisciplinarity, its precise philological and textual analyses, its nuanced grasp of terms and their uses, and an astonishing breadth of knowledge of the institutions and the social, legal, political and medial contexts within which such terms are deployed. Helmut Puff is the author of Lust, Angst und Provokation: Homosexualität in der Gesellschaft (1993); Von dem schlüssel aller Künsten / nemblich der Grammatica”: Deutsch im lateinischen Grammatikunterricht, 1480-1560 (1995); Sodomy in Reformation Germany and Switzerland, 1400-1600 (2003);  and Miniature Monuments: Modeling Destruction and German History (2014) in addition to numerous edited volumes, book chapters, and articles. At W&M, he spoke on his new book project, Towards a History of Waiting, and led a workshop in German on Textuality and Visuality around 1500.

News: German Studies Spring 2016 More

Jacqui Sorg (German Studies and Linguistics, ’16) receives Max Kade Fellowship at IU


Jacqui SorJacquig (German Studies and Linguistics, ’16) has received  full support in the form of fellowships and teaching assistantships in the Department of Germanic Studies at Indiana University for the Fall. She is the recipient of the prestigious Max Kade Fellowship her first year, after which she will receive full TA support and a dissertation-writing fellowship — seven full years of support total. Of her experience at W&M, Jacqui writes:

“My foray into German Studies at William & Mary has been fast-paced and thoroughly rewarding: after my first year I enrolled in the six-week summer abroad program in Potsdam where I tested into the more advanced course and subsequently went on to more advanced literary courses in the following semesters despite beginning to study German at university. I found equal traction in the considerable scope of Linguistics (from social to psychological to theoretical). It was immediately evident that I enjoyed discussing socio-linguistics but my real ambitions were sparked in syntax and phonology which appealed to the early ich-laut challenge: How does one say ‘tschechisches streichholzschächtelchen’? The invaluable time I’ve spent at the College of William & Mary is defined not just by the academic material but also by the community of engaged faculty and enthusiastic classmates and teammates. Such an environment so fully outfitted to tackle the challenge of the ever curious mind, it has been a beautiful chapter of my life and has sketched an inspired picture of where my next steps lead.”

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016 More

The W&M-Cuba Connection (II)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prof. Stock’s full lecture is available here

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016 More

Building a Community: Showcasing the Hispanic Studies Major

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

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

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

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

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016 More

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

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

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

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

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

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