Alumni Updates: Japanese Studies Graduates 2020-2021 News: Japanese Studies Spring 2021

おめでとう!J Studies Major Second Cohort

The 2021 graduates of William & Mary’s Japanese Studies Program celebrated their academic achievements during a virtual commencement ceremony on Friday, May 21. They marked this milestone with their peers, William & Mary faculty and staff, and thirty guests, including family and friends. The graduates—Bobbi Joe Carwile, Caleb Rivers, Jackson Lawson, Reese Willis, Jin Lee, Campbell Wharton, Ben Ryan, and Kayla Zanders—represent the second cohort of students in the major. In addition to eight students in the major, William & Mary also honored three students in the minor: Amber Blanton, Anna Ledwin, and Kate Lucas.

Japanese Studies on-line graduation attendees
Japanese Studies on-line graduation attendees

Ms. Tomoko Nakamura, Second Secretary at the Embassy of Japan to the United States of America, in Washington, D.C., served as the ceremony’s guest speaker. Nakamura commended the students for becoming part of the bridge between two countries. By embarking on the journey to learn the language and culture of Japan, the graduates are poised for greater job opportunities. The lessons the students learned at William & Mary have allowed them to better understand the similarities and differences between their culture, Japanese culture, and many others around the globe. As globally minded citizens, they are ready to navigate today’s interconnected world.

2021 Kinyo Awardees (clockwise from top left): Ben Bowles. (100 level), Ryleigh Line (200), Ana Ledwin (400), and Ryujin Barlow (300)
2021 Kinyo Awardees (clockwise from top left): Ben Bowles. (100 level), Ryleigh Line (200), Ana Ledwin (400), and Ryujin Barlow (300)

The Japanese Studies Program also recognized students’ academic excellence during the ceremony. Jackson Lawson received the Book Award. Kinyo Awards recipients included Ben Bowles. (Japanese 100 level), Ryleigh Line (Japanese 200 level), Ryujin Barlow (Japanese 300 level), and Ana Ledwin (Japanese 400 level). Jackson Lawson, Kayla Zanders, Bobbi Joe Carwile, and Kelly Shea were inducted into the Japanese Honor Society.

Dr. Michael Cronin, William & Mary’s Japanese Studies Program Director and Associate Professor of Japanese Studies, commended the students for their hard work and resilience during such a challenging time, sharing that he learned great lessons from their ability to adapt to change. Noting that few students come to college with significant training in Japanese language, he was happy to see such great success in the students as they discovered something new after arriving at William & Mary. We extend congratulations to the Class of 2021, wishing them a successful and prosperous future. 皆さん、おめでとうございます!

News: Russian Studies Spring 2021

The Year in Russian Studies!

Without a doubt, the last three semesters were extraordinarily difficult, and one of the most difficult aspects during the pandemic and strict distancing requirements was trying to create and maintain our sense of community, so dear to the Russian program. But we needn’t have worried: Our amazing students went above and beyond in organizing and running events, they attended and participated enthusiastically in everything that was offered, and our community in the Russian program continued to thrive in these challenging times. Russian House residents got together, whether virtually or outdoors, to play games, watch and discuss movies, and do art projects. The student-run newspaper, Газета, moved to an online format and is now more attractive than ever! Please visit to read the current issue. The student-run film series were hugely successful both in the Fall and in the Spring of this pandemic academic year. The Russian Music Ensemble got creative about their performances by recording music videos and giving concerts outdoors.

But, arguably, more than anything else that exemplifies the outstanding community of our Russian program is our annual Russian LRUSN olympics poster 20211024_1anguage Olympics (RLO) – traditionally, a large in-person gathering of students and faculty on a Saturday in March. In spring 2020 when everything shut down, our Olympics were canceled, and this year we were not sure if our fun, popular “event of the year” could be reproduced in a virtual format. The students, however, voted overwhelmingly to hold the event on Zoom and, as always, on a Saturday. Their participation in the virtual Russian Language Olympics was nothing short of spectacular. Of course, all of the credit and our deepest gratitude goes to the amazing RLO organizing committee – Celia Metzger, Rodrigo Arias, Tem Bullock, Maggie Herndon, Sonia Kelly, Liz Rives, and Gabriel Spira. They prepared and ran Russian language Jeopardy games for each level of study (Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced), they organized games that were focused on Russian culture for students who don’t yet take Russian language courses, and they included such traditional and beloved elements of our annual RLO events as video greetings from recent alums, the musical interludes by the Russian Music Ensemble, and everyone’s favorite: “Professor Trivia”. Thanks to all the organizers and participants the RLO is back to being the highlight of the year for the Russian program, and the 2021 RLO made it abundantly clear that our community is as strong as ever!

News: Arabic Studies Spring 2021

Live from Morocco!

“Live From Morocco”!  An Integrative Approach to Teaching Culture and Language

With the cancellation of many activities imposed by the Covid crisis, professor Driss Cherkaoui, found a way of teaching Moroccan dialect that is interactive and fun.

  1. What is “Live from Morocco” and how did you imagine it would fit into your course?

Teaching Moroccan dialect is also about teaching culture.  I did not want to use Youtube videos and I wanted an interactive class.  I created a program that blends in culture online where the session will be live allowing the students to witness a cultural event.  It was essentially a series of workshops with a  variety of activities such as cooking, Arabic calligraphy, henna design, and a trip to the market.  The Moroccan chef sends the students the recipe with the ingredients and they work together step by step.

  1. What did “Live from Morocco” offer your students?

It offered them experience and really opened another horizon on culture and the people.  Students saw for themselves first hand the interactive angle of Moroccan culture such as family relationships.

  1. What aspects did students enjoy the most?

For some reason, they enjoyed cooking and calligraphy.

  1. What are the challenges for hosting a program like “Live From Morocco”?

Primarily it is the funding and the training.  You need to prepare the hosting end to the experience of meeting American students, give them orientation sessions and to teach them the interactive participation  is required.  Technology can also be challenging since it takes time to set up.  It is essentially like teaching two different courses.

  1. Can this model be applied to other classes?

Yes, but one has to be well prepared for it to succeed.  It requires coordination and flexibility.  A class on the Qur’an would benefit greatly from this model where students can attend live Qur’anic chanting in mosques, classes where the Qur’an is taught and calligraphy.  This interactive model is invaluable in allowing students to see first hand a central aspect of Arab culture.




News Spring 2021 Uncategorized

MLL Successfully Prepares Students for Fulbright Scholarships!

At the core of W&M’s mission lies the objective to “cultivate creative thinkers, principled leaders, and compassionate global citizens equipped for lives of meaning and distinction.” It is with great excitement that, year after year, MLL witnesses our students flourish and build bridges domestically and at a global scale.  This is especially evident in W&M’s extremely successful record with the Fulbright Program.

U.S. President Harry S. Truman established the Fulbright Program in 1946, in the aftermath of World War II, to “to increase mutual understanding, and support friendly and peaceful relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” As it celebrates its 75th anniversary, the program operates in 160 countries, and “funds American citizens to study, conduct research, or teach English abroad.” Fulbright Scholarships are highly selective – 39 awardees have served as heads of state or government; 60 have received Nobel Prizes – and W&M students do extremely well when it comes to snagging them. This award cycle, eight W&M seniors and recent alums have received an award, and six additional ones have been selected as alternates. Of the 12 students identified, 8 have majored in MLL or RPSS, and 3 further students have taken advanced coursework with us.

In Modern Languages and Literatures, we are proud to contribute to our students’ success. Our language classes empower them to effectively engage in cross-cultural communication by meeting people in their own idiom. Our cultural studies classes challenge our students to understand with nuance and analyze with cultural sensitivity the stories and the worldviews of the communities with which they’ll work. Congratulations!

News News: Chinese Studies News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2021

Collaborative Translations and Epochal Transformations, East and West

AlfonsoXDuring the 12th and 13th centuries, Toledo, Spain, became a neuralgic center for the production and dissemination of knowledge in Europe.  As part of what came to be known as the Renaissance of the 12th Century, the collaborative translations carried out in Toledo by Jewish scholars, Mozarabic Toledans (Arabic-speaking Christians), and Christian intellectuals from all over Europe made available to the Latin West key texts by Hippocrates, Aristotle, Euclid, Galen, and Ptolemy, among others, that would make possible the foundational works by Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas and Roger Bacon.

LinShuQuijoteWhile the collaborative translations in medieval Toledo fundamentally changed the Latin West, the translations of Western classics into Mandarin carried out by Lin Shu (1852-1924) and his “factory of writing” transformed modern Chinese culture and offered new ways to imagine Chinese national identity.  Lin Shu, however, represents the case of a translator who was not versed in other languages, and hence depended on over 20 different bilingual assistants.  This collaborative system allowed Lin Shu’s “factory of writing” to offer Chinese versions of almost two hundred classics of Western fiction, including Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), Oliver Twist (1837-9), and, via an English translation, of Cervantes’ Don Quijote (1605).

LinShuIncLin Shu’s Don Quijote was a great editorial success. Recently, the Instituto Cervantes published a Spanish rendering of Lin Shu’s version.  Given the occasion, BBC Mundo interviewed Prof. Michael Gibbs Hill, specialist in Lin Shu’s work, and author of Lin Shu, Inc.: Translation and the Making of Modern Chinese Culture (Oxford UP, 2013).  Prof. Hill explains that Lin Shu’s collaborative methodology was not uncommon at the time, and that it allowed him to make authors like Dickens and Tolstoi available to Chinese readers.  Lin Shu’s “factory” was so efficient that it produced around 180 titles over 20 years.  And while the Quijote translation seems to be rather ‘faithful,’ Prof. Hill explains that Lin Shu would sometimes introduce deliberate changes.  For instance, his version of Dickens’ Oliver Twist underscores a very negative image of England in order to suggest that, by identifying its ailments, literature could transform and better a society.  Despite his success, Lin Shu eventually came to be seen as too commercial, and too conservative by his younger readers.

The full note from BBC Mundo is available in Spanish.

Prof. Hill has published translations of Ge Zhaoguang’s He wei Zhongguo?, and of the introduction to Wang Hui’s Xiandai Zhongguo sixiangde xingqi.

News Spring 2021

Decolonizing the Humanities Project

The Decoloning Humanities Project (DH) at W&M provides a forum “to learn from, interact with, and collaborate with academics, artist, musicians, performers, journalists, intellectuals, activists, public figures and community organizers.” In close collaboration with colleagues from Modern Languages and Literatures and the department’s Bellini Lectures, the DH Project celebrated various eveAmerica can (We) be Born Again (2014) by Diógenes Ballester. Image courtesy of the artist. nts this semester.
These included faculty discussions with Professor Stephen Sheehi (DH Faculty Director, Arabic Studies), an invited lecture with the distinguished Professor of Philosophy Linda Alcoff (Hunter College & The Graduate Center), and a poetry event. The poetry event, moderated by Professor Emily Wilcox (Chinese Studies), featured international poets Juana Iris Goergen and Azad Ashim Sharma. An additional poet, Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, performed a collaborative bilingual reading together with Professor Silvia Tandeciarz (Hispanic Studies). The DH project/Bellini Lectures brought together faculty from various departments in the Arts & Sciences, graduate and undergraduate students, and alums, in order to rethink the structures of settler colonialism.
Image: America can (We) be Born Again (2014) by Diógenes Ballester. Image courtesy of the artist.

News Spring 2021

MLL Research Showcase II: Honors Theses

In the second of two undergraduate research showcases, MLL students introduced their Honors Theses to an audience gathered in a Zoom room on Friday afternoon, April 23. This was a very special cohort, in that almost all of the students had conceived of their projects and the research involved before the pandemic began and travel to archives and field sites, and even interlibrary loans, become difficult or impossible. Students had to reconceptualize their topics and their methodologies, but the results were astounding. In eight presentations from across the department, we heard in-depth studies on the socio-cultural context of politics from the French Revolution to 1970s Italy to present-day Andalusia and China, and the socio-political background of such cultural phenomena as exotic birds at the court of Louis XIV, higher education in France, soccer fandom in Germany, and wallpaper patterns in the Chinese export industry. Students also spoke about their motivation to take on intense research projects, the difficulties encountered along the way, and how they intend to use the knowledge and skills gained in the future. Congratulations to the 2021 MLL Honors Students!

Justin Kaley: “Mollétisme as a Paradigm: the Decline and Future of the Parti socialiste de France”
Emma Burleigh: “Wielding a Double-Edged Sword: China’s Soft Power via U.S. Confucius Institutes Amidst the Proliferating ‘China Threat’.”
Nori Thurman: “The French Baccalauréat as an Instrument of Elite Selection: Past, Present, and Future.”
Judith Tauber: “Hegemony and Revolution: the Red Brigades between Violence and Consensus.”
Sally Mullis: “Des Oiseaux Spectaculaires: Birds Observed and Imagined in French Culture under Louis XIV.”
Daisy Garner: “Mehr als ein Spiel: Far-Left and Far-Right Football Subcultures in Germany.”
Beau Nardo: “Andalusia in Layers: Reconciling Andalusian Identity with Spain and Europe.”
Hannah Sanner: “Structured Fantasy: The Translation of Chinese Motifs in Exported Wallpaper.”

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2021

Sharon Philpott receives the W&M Alumni Medallion

Sharon Philpott, class of 1985 and Accounting major, receives the 2021 W&M Alumni Medallion.

GV - Spring 2021 - 2018 HISP 150 Freshman Seminar - in fron tof Puerta de AlcalaIn 2010, Sharon generously helped establish the Philpott-Perez Faculty-Student Research Endowment, which has since that time permitted the undertaking of several initiatives by Hispanic Studies faculty in support of undergraduate research. With her support, students have been able to tra2018 HISP 150 Freshman Seminar - 12 of 14 studentsvel abroad and conduct research abroad in Guatemala (with Prof. Tandeciarz), to the Basque country (with Prof. Buck) and to Madrid, Spain as part of a freshman seminar during Spring 2018 (with Prof. Cate-Aries), among other places.


Mary Trotto, one of the graduating students who travelled during spring 2018 offered some reflections on the experiences that the Philpott-Perez Endowment helped make a reality:

GV - 2021 Spring - Philpott article
Mary Trotto – 2018 Freshman Seminar trip to Spain

“I still think of the Imagina Madrid seminar’s trip to Spain as the greatest opportunity I had at William and Mary! This trip was the first opportunity I ever had to leave the U.S., and its accessibility in helping students to experience a trip to another country was a formative part of my becoming a Hispanic Studies major and pursuing a research project on Francoism in Cádiz the following summer. This trip was truly remarkable in how it let us students experience firsthand what we had been reading about all semester, and it really opened my eyes to the benefits of international experiences and studying another country’s history and culture.”

The class’s story map of the trip is located here.

Additional ways that Sharon’s contribution has supported student research and international experiences can be found here:

The full story of Sharon Philpott’s award reception is here:

More about Sharon can be viewed here:

News: Chinese Studies News: German Studies Spring 2021

Diversity Recognition Awards for Professors Ellis and Hui!

Every year in April, W&M’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion celebrates members from the campus community for their efforts to promote Diversity and Inclusion. In Spring 2021, two faculty members from Modern Languages and Literatures were recognized: Professor Robin Ellis from German Studies and Professor Calvin Hui from Chinese Studies. You can read up on their awards here. MLL is grateful to our faculty members who strive to make a positive impact!

News News: Chinese Studies News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2021

Research Labs in MLL? Yes!

Most of us do not think of the humanities when they hear the word “lab”. A research lab conjures up images of bunsen burners and beakers, microscopes and white coats, and perhaps various signs warning of fire hazards and chemical spills posted inside and out. But those who attended the first of two MLL Undergraduate Research Showcases, part of W&M’s “April is Undergraduate Research Month,” could hear all about labs in Modern Languages and Literatures. Paul Vierthaler, Assistant Professor in Chinese Studies, and Rachel Varra, Assistant Professor in Hispanic Studies and in Linguistics, gave us an overview of what their labs look like, and of the kind of work students do in those labs. Like any lab, there is a lot of equipment: computers that are more powerful than your regular laptop, specialized software, recording devices, but also: mini-fridges and sofas. Students spend a lot of time in these spaces. Much of the wdatlasork they do is inherently collaborative – a somewhat unusual approach to research in the humanities. Prof. Vierthaler’s students spoke about bringing ideas for data processing to him and developing and workshopping apps; another group of students is creating a game to help raise awareness of human trafficking. Prof. Varra’s students are interviewing Spanish speakers in the community and learning how to transcribe recordings and compile a corpus. The lively discussion and the numerous questions from the audience prove that interdisciplinary work – with Data Science and with Linguistics in these cases – and collaborative forms of research are of great interest to students.

Alumni Updates Alumni Updates: Hispanic Studies News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2021

W&M Students continue work on declassification of U.S. and Argentinian government documents; New publication by U.S. government

GV - 2021 Spring - NSA article - newspaper
The largest government-to-government declassification project in US history began under U.S. President Barack Obama in March 2016 and was continued by President Donald J. Trump. But W&M students and faculty had been engaged in related archival work on campus, in Washington, D.C., and in Argentina for over a decade under Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies and Latin American Studies Silvia Tandeciarz, Associate Professor of History and Latin American Studies Betsy Konefal, and National Security Archive analyst Carlos Osorio.

GV - 2021 Spring - NSA article - ArgentinaProtests
Throughout that time, students interning with the National Security Archive in D.C. or participating in W&M’s La Plata study-abroad program have sifted through both U.S. and Argentinian documents to learn more about what happened in Argentina during the dictatorship and what role the U.S. may have played. The Argentinian government has already used some of that work in its prosecution of accused perpetrators of human rights abuses.  This latest publication offers insight into what the US government knew about the coming coup–the story of a coup foretold.  The publication was covered in all the main news outlets in Argentina and was paired with a Briefing Book published on the NSArchive website the day prior to the 45th anniversary of the coup.

JGV - 2021 Spring - NSA article - orge_Rafael_Videla_Oath
GV - 2021 Spring - NSA articleYou can find more information on our Study Abroad program in La Plata here, and a heartfelt testimony from a participating student here.

Other stories about the W&M internship with the National Security Archive can be found here.

News: Italian Studies Spring 2021 Uncategorized

Caro Beppe… A Conversation with Beppe Severgnini

Come Sta l'italiano_By Monica Seger

Journalist and author Beppe Severgnini serves as editor in chief of the weekly magazine for Italy’s Corriere della sera newspaper, has long been a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and has written over 17 books. Since 1998, Severgnini has also written a daily column for the Corriere della sera, in which he responds to readers’ queries about contemporary Italian issues. This past fall, our colleague Rita Paolino sent a letter in to the column, which is aptly called “Italians,” asking what faculty might do to highlight the continued relevance of studying Italian language and culture in North America. Not only did Severgnini respond in print, he agreed to have a live conversation with us via Zoom about that question and more.

On Monday, March 8, William & Mary Italian Studies students, faculty and over 100 guests from other institutions gathered together online for a lunchtime conversation with Severgnini. After opening remarks from the author, Prof. Sara Mattavelli deftly moderated a conversation between Severgnini and our students, who had prepared a thoughtful collection of questions in advance. Topics ranged from Italy’s experience with the coronavirus, to regional differences within the country, to students’ futures and how they might apply their experience with Italian Studies. Severgnini and guests were particularly struck by a question from student Santiago Lanza, who cited the author’s Ted Talk on “Five Ways to Fail Perfectly.” All in all, it was a rich and thought provoking conversation, and we were delighted to spend time with Severgnini. Please watch the video below for the full conversation.

News: German Studies Spring 2021

A Conversation with Susan Neiman

On February 17, 2021, students and faculty from German Studies, the W&M campus, and several other institutions joined to hear Susan Neiman talk about her latest book: Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil. “Zooming” in from Berlin, where she now lives, Neiman related to us her experiences growing up in a Jewish family in the U.S. South, her education and training in philosophy, and her subsequent move to Germany. It is her unique background that has enabled her to see connections between Germans working through the history of the Nazi era, and the necessity in the United States of confronting its history of slavery. In a lively yet thoroughly accessible conversation with Prof. Leventhal, Program Director of German Studies, Neiman interwove the personal and the historical to bring together pressing moral questions.

News: Chinese Studies sidebar Spring 2021

Qian Su elected president of the Chinese Language Teachers Association of Virginia

Qian Su, a senior lecturer in Chinese studies in the Modern Languages and Literatures department, was recently elected president of the Chinese Language Teachers Association of Virginia (CLTA-VA)! The CLTA-VA is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and improving Chinese language education in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Congrats to Qian for this impressive honor, and thanks for your impressive commitment and service to Chinese Studies!

News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2021 Uncategorized

Mackenzie Krol (’21) Publishes on her Experience with W&M Study Away with Professors Konefal and Tandeciarz

In the Spring/Summer 2021 Issue of the Newsletter of the Muscarelle Museum of Art, Mackenzie Krol (’21) reflects on her experiences on a William & Mary Study Away to Guatemala during the fall 2018 semester, and her exposure to Daniel Hernández- Salazar’s moving art and how it all came together during the class “Beyond Recollection” taught by Betsy Konefal (History) and Silvia Tandeciarz (Hispanic Studies). Read the full Newsletter here.

Screen Shot 2021-02-19 at 1.57.09 PM Screen Shot 2021-02-19 at 1.57.16 PM

News News: Hispanic Studies Spring 2021

Professor Root & student mount installations at Muscarelle

Screen Shot 2021-02-19 at 1.49.05 PM  Professor of Hispanic Studies Regina Root, her students, and Director of Collections & Exhibitions Melissa Parris mounted three separate installations of paintings at the Muscarelle Museum of Art between 2017 and 2018. The first was an unofficial installation in the Herman Graphic Art Room at the Muscarelle, which allowed Root’s students to study them. After a semester of study, the paintings were installed in the Sadler center and then moved to the second floor of the Earl Gregg Swem Library where they are currently on view.  Read more about it at