Languages, Literatures and Cultures

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Faculty News ~ 2003


Dr. Anna Adams was invited to organize and give a paper at the first panel on Latino History for the annual Pennsylvania Historical Society Conference in September. In March she attended the annual Mid Atlantic Conference on Latin American Studies (MACLAS, an interdisciplinary organization of Latin Americanists) where she serves on the executive board and chairs the Martz Prize for the best graduate student paper. Next year the conference will celebrate its 25th anniversary at Muhlenberg. Anna and Joan Marx will be in charge of the program and local arrangements for that conference. They hope to involve students of Spanish and Latin American Studies in the planning. She is currently reviewing a manuscript for Westview Press entitled "Latin American Cultures and Change" and reviewed a new Spanish textbook, Aventuras, for the Vista Higher Learning Company. Her ongoing scholarly projects are an article on travel accounts by Moravian missionaries in Nicaragua and a study of the Syrian/Colombian community of Allentown.

Prof. Helen Bachochin has enjoyed her third year as a full-time instructor. She especially likes working with her students and colleagues and participating in department activities such as the Mesa Española. She will be attending the NECTFL: Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in Washington, DC, in April. She has made no definite plans for the summer, but is always looking for an opportunity to visit a country where Spanish is spoken.

Dr. James Barnhart-Park began serving as the new faculty advisor to the Spanish Club, which has promoted various social and academic events on and off campus and raised funds for Casa Guadalupe and for its own activities. This year, with the help of colleague Helen Bachochin, the Mesa Española was expanded to two meetings per week. Jimmy led the Pre-Orientation trip "Backpacking Along the Trail" last August. For the spring semester, he developed a Special Topics course entitled, Spanish-American Drama. On April 8th this class took a trip to Villanova University to see the presentation of the play, Adiós Ayacucho, by the touring Peruvian Theater Group "Yuyachkani".  In January, Jimmy gave an invited presentation at The Ohio State University in Columbus entitled, Technologizing and (de-) Academizing the Word: Discursive Shifts in Indigenous American Studies. Dr. B-P presented his paper entitled, Hacia la academia indígena: hétero-homogeneidad en literaturas e investigaciones en/de Chile, at the Latin American Studies Association's XXIV International Congress, "The Global and the Local: Rethinking Area Studies." Jimmy has been co-coordinating the XVI International Symposium on Latin American Indigenous Literatures, to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in July of this year. He will participate in a panel discussion on the teaching of indigenous American literatures while at this conference, after which he will attend the 51st International Congress of Americanists, "Repensando las Américas en los Umbrales del Siglo XXI," to be held in Santiago, Chile later that same month. After the ICA, Jimmy will spend four weeks in south Chile meeting with poets and compiling new material for his research and courses.

Dr. Franz A. Birgel has been actively researching various aspects of German cinema. Together with Klaus Phillips of Hollins University, he has just completed editing a collection of essays on the German filmmaker Doris Dörrie. The volume will be published by Scarecrow Press and should appear at the end of this year. Currently, he is spending a sabbatical semester writing a book on Third Reich films for Wallflower Press in London. In November 2002, Professor Birgel presented the paper "East Germany's Indian Films: Teaching U.S. History from a Marxist Perspective" at The Film and History League conference on "The American West(s) in Film, Television and History" in Kansas City, MO. He has also written two book reviews that will soon appear in print. In July, he will attend the second East German Film Institute, organized by the University of Massachusetts Amherst and held at Smith College. Like last year, he will spend the month of August in the film archive of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Prof. Joseph Brown will be participating in the Steering Committee of the Pennsylvania Governor's Summer Institute. The organization recruits outstanding high school teachers who mentor foreign languages teachers on instruction strategies and the implementation of the Pennsylvania Foreign Language Standards. He will also continue discussions with PSMLA colleagues on the interactions of curricular English and Spanish grammar for students of Spanish and English. An article is expected in the Forum, a PSMLA publication. Professor Brown has been asked to participate as a team editor of a proposal for a Governor's Institute presentation for the upcoming ACTFL conference in Philadelphia.

Prof. Flor María Buitrago has enjoyed her first year at Muhlenberg as a full-time lecturer. She is also serving as director of this year's LVAIC Summer Study Abroad Program in Puebla, Mexico. She attended a Faculty Workshop at Lehigh University in March on Cooperative Learning: Using Student Groups/Teams to Promote Learning. As part of her preparation for the fall 2003 Spanish for Business course, Professor Buitrago will be presenting her paper "Focus on Technology as a Tool in the Foreign Languages Classroom and its Applications in the Teaching of Business Spanish" at this April's conference on International Business Languages & Technology: New Synergies, New Times.

Prof. Patricia Conrad often goes to Paris during spring break and this year just had to check out, first hand, the reaction of the French people toward Americans. She is pleased to report that the French understand the difference between governments and individuals. They were very friendly. She wants to remind teachers traveling abroad to be sure to take their school ID along since there are often discounts on museum and concert events. She saved $10 on two museums and one concert at the Sorbonne. FYI: Don't throw away old French francs. They can be exchanged until the year 2012. Pat's avocation is spending time in and writing about nature. Her most recent article, published in the spring edition of Great Outdoors magazine, was titled: "Something New in Nature Every Day: A Year on the Edge of MY Creek."

Dr. Luba Iskold published four articles this year: "Integrating Language Culture and Technology" appeared in the Winter 2002 issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly; "Comenius: 400 Years of Language Pedagogy" was published in The Forum, the PSMLA journal; "Theoretical Perspectives on Second Language Learning" in the Spring 2003 issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly, and "Building on Success, Learning from Mistakes: Implications for the Future Research" which will come out this Spring in The CALL Journal, one of the major European journals for research in computer assisted language learning. Her article "Electronic Resources for FLES Programs: focus on Russian" was published in the Newsletter of PSMLA. The brief overview was prepared with the assistance of Zoya Feldman '04 and Kelly Keiper '04. Dr. Iskold attended the Tenth International CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) Conference at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, last August. Together with Dr. Pearce she presented a paper entitled "Learning from Mistakes, Building on Success." Also, Dr. Iskold offered a new first year seminar entitled "Strangers in Paradise." This course was inspired by her participation in the Public Engagement Project and summer research on immigrant writers in post-World War II US literature.

Dr. Albert Kipa's area of research specialization is Germano-Slavic literary relations and his most recent study in the field, "Lesia Ukrainka and Goethe," is scheduled for publication this year. In addition to his responsibilities as head of the Department, he serves as campus Fulbright Advisor and faculty representative on the Dean's Ad Hoc Committee on Learning Disabilities. Last year he participated in the inauguration ceremonies and conference of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, lectured at the Shevchenko Scientific Society in Lviv and at the Ukrainian Free University in Munich on "The Life and Work of Wadym Kipa (1912-1968)," his father, a prominent Ukrainian pianist, composer, professor of Music, and Laureate of the Soviet Union. Last fall, Prof. Kipa attended an advisory council meeting of the St. Sophia Association of Ukrainian Byzantine Rite Catholics in Rome, Italy, at the invitation of the Church's Patriarch, Cardinal Lubomyr Huzar. He also continues to serve as vice-president and Editorial Board member of the N.Y.C.-based Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U.S.

Dr. Joan Marx presented the paper, "Marginación sociopolítica en Un mundo raro de Marcela Serrano: ¿México contemporáneo como emblema del progreso o el teatro del absurdo?" while attending the II Congreso Internacional de Literatura Hispánica at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú in Lima, Peru, in March. In April she will present her next paper, "Ethnicity as Metaphor in the Contemporary Latina Narrative: Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate and Ana Castillo's So Far From God" at the 31st Annual Conference of the National Association for Ethnic Studies: "Borderlands and Beyond: Examining Intersections of Race, Ethnicity, Class, Gender, Sexuality and Nation," in Arizona. In the coming year she will be serving as a member of the planning committee with her colleague from the History Department, Dr. Anna Adams, in order to organize the XXV Annual Conference of MACLAS (Middle Atlantic Council on Latin American Studies) which will be held at Muhlenberg College in February of 2004.

Dr. John Pearce is serving for his 12th year as advisor to the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega on campus. The group performs community services in and around Allentown. This year Dr. Pearce edited the Newsletter of the PA State Modern Language Association for the last time. He was editor for 12 years. He is serving a 2-year term as 2nd vice-president of this organization's board of directors. Dr. Pearce is active at his church, serving on the Education Team. He also chairs the Nominating Committee for Lehigh Presbytery, a group of 35 churches in Eastern PA. He serves on the board of directors of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill - Lehigh Valley chapter, especially with a program to reach out to Spanish speakers.

Dr. Lisa Perfetti continues her scholarly work on medieval women. Her article, "Is the Undergraduate Classroom Post-Feminist Yet?" was just published in the Medieval Feminist Forum. The essay focuses on her observations from teaching Medieval Literature over the past three years in the English department. Her book, Women and Laughter in Medieval Comic Literature will be published by the University of Michigan Press in June, 2003. She has now turned to editing a collection of essays on the representation of women's emotions in medieval culture.
While continuing her research in medieval culture, Dr. Perfetti has also pursued a new interest in environmental studies. This semester she is teaching a first year seminar entitled "Whose Land Is It? Debating Nature." The course, part of the Public Engagement Project, focuses on how different groups have historically viewed the natural world and how solutions to land use issues involve arriving at consensus between various stakeholders. Next year she plans to offer a French-language course on environmentalism in France and the Francophone world. Dr. Perfetti is currently the Program Director for the Center for Ethics and is working on putting together a program for fall 2003 on the theme of "Sustainable Communities: Balancing Ecology, Economy, and Justice." Her interest in environmental studies has also led her to begin scholarly work on Caribbean literature that she will present in Boston at the June conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment.

Dr. Erika M. Sutherland's article "Death in the Bedroom: Eduardo López Bago and his Suspect Syphilitics" will be published in next October's Excavatio. An earlier version of this study on this provocative writer was presented last summer in Jaén, Spain, at the AIZEN Conference. Dr. Sutherland will be continuing her exploration of 19th century literary and medical images of women and sexuality in Spain again this summer. Her early findings will be shared at the Congreso Internacional Sobre Mujeres Malas in Porto, Portugal, in her paper "La muerte de la muñeca de a bordo: El orgasmo femenino en la España del XIX." In December Dr. Sutherland presented her paper, "'Desde una vejación de siglos, grito': La recuperación de la historia gitana en verso, prosa y hasta baile," at the MLA convention in New York. She will share her ongoing studies of contemporary Gypsy writers in Spain in a spring, 2004 seminar on the Spanish gitano.
Many of Muhlenberg's Spanish students will soon see another aspect of Dr. Sutherland's work: she collaborated on the third edition of the elementary text Tú dirás. This first experience working on a language textbook was a good one, and will soon be followed by the web exercises for a different intermediate-level text.
Dr. Sutherland continues to work closely with the Hispanic community. This year she has worked hard to further connect Spanish students with the immigrant community and the organizations working with them. Some of these links will be integrated into next spring's service-learning course Spanish for Community Service.

Dr. Kathryn Wixon just returned from a trip to Aix-en-Provence with colleague Dr. Lisa Perfetti to visit the American University Center of Provence, where a number of Muhlenberg students have studied abroad in recent years. After a long, dreary winter, it was wonderful to bask in the sunshine of Provence and hear about the exciting experiences our four Muhlenberg students currently enrolled in the AUCP program are having. Dr. Wixon is a member of the AUCP's Advisory Board, and it was an excellent opportunity to learn about the program on-site. Thanks to senior student Jennifer Epting, Dr. Wixon is learning much about translation theory and practice in an independent study the two are doing this spring. It is fascinating to see the role that cross cultural perspectives play in the translation of language, and their study has made them ever-mindful of the importance of understanding multiple languages and cultures in these troubled times. Also on the student front, Dr. Wixon has been serving as a judge for the graduation project panels for high school seniors in her local school district. On the canine side, her newest Seeing Eye Puppy is a cute golden retriever named Elisha who, at 5 months, is already a regular in Dr. Wixon's classes. Dr. Wixon continues to serve as coordinator of the French program and co-director of Muhlenberg's Faculty Center for Teaching.


We will miss...

Prof. Patrizia Bracci, who brought life, energy, and many new students to the Italian section, is returning with her family to Italy.

Dr. Barbara Gorka, who infused the Spanish program with her love of travel and adventure, is now working as Associate Director of International Programs at Temple University.

Muhlenberg College - Languages, Literatures and Cultures