Alumni Updates: Chinese Studies Graduates 2015-2016 News: Chinese Studies Spring 2016

Congratulations to our Chinese Majors!

MLL Graduation Ceremony (15 May 2016)

Chinese Majors 2016 MLL Graduation Ceremony

Picture 1: Marshall Richards, Isabel Perrin, Benjamin Neville, Jacob Keohane, Skyy Eshleman, Gille Cuda (Note: Five other seniors, including Max Lipkin, Charles Kelly, Rachel Johnson, Kathy Shi, and Lauren Leupold, also graduated. They could not attend the MLL graduation ceremony because of other commitments.)

Chinese Majors and Faculty 2016 MLL Graduation Ceremony

Picture 2: Chinese majors and faculty

Chinese Faculty 2016 MLL Graduation Ceremony

Picture 3: Calvin Hui, Yanfang Tang, Chun-yu Lu, Peng Yu, and Qian Su

News: Japanese Studies Spring 2016

Gender, Race, and Nation in the Glass of Fashion

2016 Nic photoCongratulations to Nic Querolo (’16), who has been awarded the 2016 MLL Book Prize in Japanese and recently defended his Honors Thesis, earning High Honors! Titled “Reconstructing a National Silhouette: Avant-Garde Fashion and Perceptions of the Japanese Body,” Nic’s thesis focuses on the avant-garde Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo and her label Commes des Garcon, examining how fashion as an industry and as artistic production responds to issues of gender and national heritage. His committee included Professors Tomoko Hamada-Connolly, from Anthropology; Jennifer Putzi, from the English Department and Women’s Studies Program; and Michael Cronin, from Japanese Studies. The topic reflects Nic’s interest in fashion as both a business and an art: he graduates this spring with one major in Finance and Business Administration and another major in Japanese Studies, self-designed and administered through the Charles Center. Nic’s engagement with Japan has developed over several years; he spent the spring semester of his sophomore year in the W&M study-abroad program at Keio University in Tokyo and he returned to Tokyo last summer with the support of a Charles Center Honors Fellowship.  Learn more about his research by watching the video below.  Best of luck, Nic!

News News: German Studies Spring 2016

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

Erin Duffin (German Studies, 2014)

duffinErin writes:

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

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

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

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

Tilghman Goldsborough (Philosophy, 2013)

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

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

lairdLisa checked in with us halfway into her Fulbright ETA:

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

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

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

News: Chinese Studies Spring 2016

Chinese Majors’ Projects 2015-16

In fall 2015, seniors majoring in Chinese took Professor Calvin Hui’s course CHIN 428 Advanced Seminar in Chinese (Fake Globalization, Counterfeit China). By the end of the course, they did research and produced a paper relating to the course’s major concerns. See below selected projects from the seminar.

News: Italian Studies Spring 2016 Uncategorized

My Year in Italy – Clara Kobler

There has never been a time in my life when I don’t remember my mother telling me stories of her junior year abroad in Montpellier, France. From describing her breakfasts to the amazing springtime trips with her friends, my mother filled my imagination with her memories and emotions from her life years before. It’s not a surprise, then, that with these stories came the assertion that, when the time came, I would have my own adventure abroad.

But I was stuck. In my own imagining of my future time abroad, I never felt a connection with a certain language or a certain culture where I was sure I could feel at home for an entire year. I took Spanish all thCK2rough high school and had basically accepted that I would be going to either South America or Spain, but my heart wasn’t fully content. I didn’t know what to do.

The love I developed for Italian then fell into my lap completely by accident. During my first experience with registering for college classes in the fall of 2013, I quickly realized that my Spanish skills were not good enough to place me above the 202 level despite my four years of experience. Only taking a language for fun in the first place, I soon settled on a completely random language to start from scratch: Italian. I took it because I liked Olive Garden and because my step-dad’s family is from Italy, but I had no major attachments to the language, nor the culture. I wasn’t even taking Italian with the idea that I would one day study abroad there; at that point, I was still invested in the William & Mary/St. Andrews Dual Degree Program, where I would spend my sophomore and junior years abroad in Scotland.

Soon, though, I knew I couldn’t go through with choosing Scotland over Italy. After only a few weeks in the Italian department at William & Mary, I was completely hooked. I would study for hours and complete the writing prompts with such fervor that I surely seemed crazy. I loved going to the Italian House activities, and signed up to live there as soon as I decided to leave the Dual Degree Program. By the fall of my sophomore year, spending a year in Italy was becoming a quick-coming reality.

I chose my program in Siena for several reasons: the first is that the town is not as big as many study abroad towns in Italy, and therefore does not have quite so many English speakers as the main metropolitan cities. The second reason is the service component, where we must go out into the community for several hours a week and give back, whether that is teaching English, helping at a nursing home, aiding the town’s emergency responders, or whatever other opportunities present themselves. The third and probably biggest reason is the host family experience. I had spent my entire life hearing about my mother’s wonderful host family in France, and even had the pleasure of meeting them this past summer. In choosing between my several location options in Italy, I had to decide whether having a host family was an important enough factor for me to choose the Siena program. After a quick phone call to my mom and a prayer that I would be placed with a nice family, I sent in my application to Siena Italian Studies.

It was the best decision I ever made. After only a week of being in Siena, my host family had already started to feel like a home away from home. They fussed over me and made sure I liked the food, and included me in every activity they took part in. My host sister, Luisa, quickly became one of my best friends in the world. She is 18 and in her last year of high school, so our ages are similar enough that we can share friends and activities easily. I often tag along to birthday parties and dinners out with her friends, and they have all accepted me aCK1s part of the gang. I can’t imagine going through this year without this family.

Because the truth of the matter is, too, that doing a whole year abroad can be really hard. Even in a place as wonderful as Italy, I have had my fair share of homesickness and sadness that only comes with being away from all things familiar for a long period of
ime. William & Mary was the only school I applied to, so to choose to go away for an entire year was heartbreaking, on a certain level. And being away from my family for so many months at a time was almost impossible to think about doing. But my host family gave me opportunities to feel like a part of a family over here, too, in a way that makes missing my real family not as painful.

For me, choosing to do an entire year abroad instead of just one semester has allowed me to build relationships with the community and culture that would be impossible in a shorter amount of time. For my community service, I have been

able to work with the same group of kindergarteners since September and therefore build a deeper and more trusting relationship with them, as well as see how much they have progressed since early fall. I feel less like a temporary tourist and more like a part of the life that goes on here in Siena. I have developed preferences to certain stores and restaurants that I can continue to use throughout an entire other semester instead of rushing to try it all before time runs out. I can speak Italian better and with more confidence than ever before. I love that I can help my new Spring-semester-only friends find their way in a city that was once just as foreign to me, but now feels like a second home.

If I had to go back and do it all over again, I would choose exactly the same course for me. Siena, Italy has beCK3en a place where I’ve grown as a person more than ever before, made lifetime relationships with the people in my program and especially with my host family, and learned how to become a part of a new culture by simply being willing to try. A year abroad gave me an opportunity to go above and beyond just the typical study abroad experience, and find my niche in a place on the other side of the world. It has been exciting, unbelievable,
and more than I ever could have imagined. I never want to say good-bye.

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fostering intercultural insights in the classroom

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

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

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

Graduates 2015-2016 News News: Italian Studies Spring 2016

Katie McGhee ’16 Senior Profile: Italian Studies

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

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

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

casa italiana

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


News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016

Memorias de Chapadmalal: Memory, and Civic Engagement in Argentina

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

News: Italian Studies Spring 2016

Jillian Sequeira ’16: “When the World Says No, Study Graffiti”

Jillian jpg

Women are “allowed” to like art. We are allowed to like sculpture, landscapes, oil paintings, and architecture—the type of thing a character in a Jane Austen book enjoys. But not graffiti. An art form dominated by male artists, characterized by danger and illegality, is considered outside of our domain. Growing up, I was always told that graffiti was something rowdy boys did. The most famous and commercially successful street artists are all male. Artists like Lady Pink, Swoon and Panmela Castro have carved out territory for women in the graffiti world, but they are the exception rather than the rule. Brash transformation in the art world is credited to the Warhols, the Pollocks and the Rothkos of the world—not the Kahlos, O’Keefes and Krugers—and the graffiti scene has towed that line. Unfortunately for those who want to preserve the boys club mentality of graffiti, I was granted an Honors Fellowship in the summer of 2015.

I used my fellowship to study antifascist graffiti across Italy, zeroing in on three subgenres: suppression, which involves the whitewashing of fascist graffiti to establish a negated space that threatens the fascists not to come back; transformation, which involves the reformation of classic fascist/Nazi imagery such as the swastika into hearts and diamonds; creation, wherein an artist creates their own stencil, sticker or tag from scratch with an antifascist slogan. The “Zona Antifa” graffiti tag—prominent not only in Italy but across the European continent—is the mark of a generation that rejects idealization of repressive twentieth century dictatorships and actively seeks to tear down emergent neo-fascism. Xenophobia and racism are not vague ideals, they are accelerants that have coated Europe for decades, fermenting and creeping into the very governments that swore to never again embrace the type of prejudice that built the Holocaust. The refugee crisis, the largest human migration since World War II, is a lit match. In a world where visual communication via social media is the keystone of activism and organization, graffiti is an integral part of the European political scene. In the Renaissance, knights wore symbols of allegiance on their armor and their standards. Today, we have lost the knights but we have not lost our visceral connection to symbols. In train stations, schools and bar bathrooms, there is no need for a complete manifesto when a single image and a handful of words will do: swastikas and racist slogans for the neo-fascists, the double flag and “Zona Antifa” for the antifascists.

Women are not supposed to like graffiti but at William and Mary, not only do we like it—we know more about it than you. Thanks to my fellowship, input from the incredible faculty of the Italian Studies program and the ability to pursue a Self-Designed Major, I spent this year immersing myself in the world of graffiti as I completed my honors thesis. One thing I was constantly surprised and impressed by was how much my peers and faculty members wanted to contribute to the project. Whether they were encouraging me to write papers on graffiti for their courses, recommending books and websites or simply asking me questions about my research, I felt that my thesis was a collaborative effort from start to finish. Undergraduates rarely get so much creative control over their own projects nor do they receive such constant support from professors in multiple disciplines, but at William and Mary, my experience was standard. There is a desire to help here that makes learning and exploring the minutiae of a project exciting from start to finish. People want to go on the journey with you rather than just read the line item on your resume after the fact. I am not the only person, and definitely not the only woman, on this campus who spent the year learning about graffiti culture.

I can unequivocally link my success as an Honors Thesis candidate to my studies in the Italian Studies program. Without a grasp of the Italian language, I would never have been able to conduct in-depth research and understand the history of Italian graffiti. Without the support of my thesis advisor, I would not have been able to produce an academic paper of substance. Without the courses I took on Italian history, politics and film, I would have never looked past the Italy of pasta, red wine and Vespas and seen the second, true Italy—a nation with a complex graffiti scene that reveals conflict and anger but above all hope for a brighter future. I am so thankful that when I arrived in Italy I had a grasp of the language, the culture and above all the politics that was beyond the superficial. I spent my semester abroad teaching in multiple schools, babysitting for local families and traveling off the beaten path—things which I was only able to do because of my language proficiency. I only began studying Italian as a freshman, but when I got to Italy as a junior, I was frequently complimented on my language ability by native Italians from Viterbo to Palermo. All of William and Mary’s departments and programs are excellent in their own right but I consider the Italian program to provide the most valuable catalogue of courses on our campus.

For future Honors Fellowship candidates, I have just one piece of advice. If you care about something that fascinates you, confuses you and challenges you to step outside of what you traditionally thought you found interesting, don’t ignore your interest. If you have an itch to learn more, go to the library, get online, conduct an interview—find out what you want to know. This school offers us a host of incredible resources—research funding, dedicated faculty, a diverse range of courses and a host of impressive alumni willing to help with your project. They want to help you so let them. When you want to learn, you should. Especially if you want to learn about something you’re not “allowed” to like.

News News: Russian Studies Spring 2016

Fourth Annual Russian Language Olympics (2016)


Aftermovie (dir. Vitalyi Humenyuk)

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016

Profs. Tandeciarz and Riofrio Among Inaugural Reveley Interdisciplinary Fellows

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

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

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

For the full story, please click here.

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

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

Alumni Updates Alumni Updates: French & Francophone Studies Spring 2016

Alumni Video Profile: Kevin Lonabaugh

News: Italian Studies Spring 2016

Davis Richardon: Honors Research in Milan

While living and studying in Milan, Italy as an exchange student after high school, I began to notice certain linguistic features that appeared exclusively in gay men’s speech. These included feminization of adjectives, affectionately tongue-in-cheek terms of address, and an animatedly flamboyant style. Given the work done by American scholars on the existence of and attitudes toward a gay American English sociolect (a dialect centered within a social group), my Honors thesis research will extend the issue of gay men’s speech to Italy, a country whose primary language has received little attention in this regard. In this way I will combine my linguistics major with my Italian Studies minor, and I could not be happier with how this project worked out!

More specifically I will employ qualitative interviews in the tradition of perceptual dialectology in order to discover what gay Italian men perceive to “count” as gay men’s language, as well as their attitudes to such language. Perceptual dialectology seeks to ask non-linguists directly about what they think constitutes a certain dialect (or sociolect). I will conduct these interviews in Milan, Italy, the most industrialized and progressive city in the country. Milan is important within the Italian context as a traditional destination for gay Italian men coming from the rural provinces to live in a culturally vibrant and cosmopolitan environment.

After making audio recordings of around 5-7 interviews, I will spend several months transcribing the speech and eventually translating the Italian into English for use in my final product. This part of my methodology will take the longest to complete, but I will have the 2015-2016 academic year to complete my thematic analysis of the interviews before eventually writing the thesis. You may follow along with my progress on the William & Mary Honors Fellows blog at Grazie mille e spero che continuerete a seguire le mie avventure!

Anderson “Davis” RichardsonDavis%20Richardson

James Monroe Scholar

The College of William and Mary ’16

Linguistics & Italian Studies

News: Italian Studies Spring 2016

Exploring Immigration in Turin, Italy

By Akela Lacy, c/0 2015

This past winter break I had the opportunity to combine my interests in journalism, human rights and Italian. As part of William and Mary’s Sharp Journalism Seminar in conjunction with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, I traveled to Turin, Italy to conduct research on immigration from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe. I wanted to understand what kinds of challenges immigrants faced, what life was like for someone who fled persecution in their home country only to find further hardship in a new, strange place.

I became interested in immigration to Europe and to Italy in particular after the summer of 2014 when I started hearing news story after news story of boats carrying migrants sinking on their journeys from Libya to Italy. I didn’t understand why people were leaving their homes, why they were going to Europe, or why they were losing their lives. With help from the Pulitzer Center, extensive guidance and support from Professor Boyle and Professor Seger, and a generous sponsorship from the Charles Center and Anne and Barry Sharp, I went to Turin in January of this year to conduct interviews and further research to understand what was going on. There were many professionals writing on the politics of the issue, on the conflicts forcing people to flee, and even providing some personal accounts by people making the journey themselves. I wanted to take this opportunity to explore for myself and to push myself to use my Italian to connect with others.


Before leaving I was in contact with lawyers, legislators, researchers, religious and cultural organizations and even students in Turin who were working to understand what was quickly becoming Italy’s “immigration problem.” I set up a few meetings to talk with them once I arrived in Turin, but my ultimate goal was to talk with someone who was living this “problem.”

By chance I met a woman named Judith Trinchero, an ex-pat Wellesley alumna whose undergraduate teaching stint in Italy turned into a lifelong stay. She was part of a group of Italian citizens who were deeply involved with Turin’s immigrant community, paying frequent visits to the houses where immigrant men and women were living, helping them with basic needs and trying to ease their transitions. Thanks to her I was able to travel to Turin’s abandoned olympic village – known locally as “ex-Moi” – where around 400 migrants found temporary find homes. I spoke with several men living there who were willing to share their experiences with me. Below is an excerpt from one of their stories:

Mohammad S. wakes up at 3 or 4 in the morning and takes the local bus about an hour away to his landscaping job. He asks that his full name not be used in order to protect his identity. He has only been in Italy for three years, and the documents allowing him to work legally will expire within the month. He has come to Mosaico, an organization run by refugees to help newcomers in Italy, for advice regarding his permit to work. He explains in a defeated voice that “Sudan was better…even with war.”

One of an imploding number of refugees arriving on Italy’s shores since 2011, Mohammad S. worries daily about his future. He fled his home country of Sudan to find work in Libya, forced by the Libyan military to come to Italy after war broke out in 2011. He slept on the streets before finding temporary shelter. “Tanto volte non dormo mai”—“Many nights I don’t sleep at all.” Why? “Too many thoughts.” Where he hopes to be in a month? “Spero di essere morto. Quando state qua non c’è futuro.”—“I hope to be dead. When you are here there is no future.”
I conducted all of my interviews in Italian, with help from Professor Boyle and Seger in developing questions and finding the right words to ask them. I would never have given thought to taking on this research without inspiration from my classes in the Italian Department, or without having spent time studying abroad during the fall of 2013 in Perugia. I look back on this experience as a reflection of my studies in both the Italian and Sociology departments at William & Mary. My professors in each department have helped me to think in new ways that connect ideas and issues that are seemingly disconnected. This may be the accomplishment I’m most proud of so far! I hope other students will take advantage of similar opportunities to connect modern languages with their work in other disciplines, and to continue using modern languages outside of the classroom.

You can find the rest of my story and others from this and past years’ Sharp Seminars here.

Akela Lacy

Sociology major, Italian Studies minor

William & Mary class of 2015

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016

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

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

[Original article by Prof. Francie Cate-Arries]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2016

The W&M-Cuba Connection (I)

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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