Check out the Spring 2019 LCWA COMPASS Newsletter!
LCWA is excited to congratulate Dr. Anthony Greene, Associate Professor in African American Studies, has been nominated as a MLK Humanitarian honoree by the Black History Intercollegiate Consortium. He will be recognized on January 29th at the MLK Celebration!
The Black History Intercollegiate Consortium represents students and staff who are committed to improving cultural and ethnic diversity. It consists of four area colleges and universities —The Citadel, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), Charleston Southern University, College of Charleston and Trident Technical College.
Dr. Félix Vásquez
Following his undergraduate degree in accounting from the Universidad Particular Ricardo Palma in Lima, Perú, Professor Vásquez continued his education in the U.S. with an M.A. in Spanish from Winthrop University, and a Ph.D. in Colonial and 19th-Century Spanish American Literature from the University of Kentucky. He taught at both the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the University of Georgia before joining the College of Charleston’s Department of Hispanic Studies in 2001. Beyond courses ranging from elementary Spanish language through Early Colonial Spanish-American Texts, Dr. Vásquez regularly teaches the department’s business for Spanish curriculum that forms the foundation for the Business Language Minor in Spanish program that he started in 2011, and which is currently the department’s fastest growing minor.
Also a passionate advocate of the study abroad experience, Professor Vásquez is an 8-time director for the College of Charleston’s various programs in Chile, Cuba, Peru and Spain. Currently he is founding co-director of a new summer study-abroad program in Trujillo, Spain and in cooperation with the School of Business. This new, one-month interdisciplinary program will launch in June 2019 with courses in management, intermediate and advanced Spanish language as well as an introduction to Spanish for business.
Underscoring the teacher-scholar model, Dr. Vásquez also manages to showcase his work in the classroom through his scholarly activity, to include multiple conference presentations in both national and international venues as well as related publications, to include his recent book chapter “Case-Based Pedagogy to Develop World-Readiness Skill for Business” published with SabioBooks, LLC in 2018 in the edition Transferable Skills for the 21st Century: Preparing Students for the Workplace through World Languages for Specific Purposes.
In Professor Vásquez’s own words:
My goals as a foreign language educator are to foster my students’ cultural and linguistic awareness and help them gain communicative competencies in Spanish. In my Spanish for Business courses, the objective is to prepare students for successful communication in the Hispanic commercial world by building on their existing knowledge, developing their skills in practical, real-world uses of oral and written Spanish, and emphasizing the importance of cultural practices in doing business in Spanish-speaking countries and with Hispanics in the United States.
The Department of Hispanic Studies congratulates Dr. Félix Vásquez for his substantial contributions to his students, his department and the College, and for being selected for our January 2019 “Hispanic Studies Faculty Focus.”
Stay tuned for February 2019’s feature…
Madi Crow, a double major in Spanish and International Studies with a Latin American & Caribbean Studies Concentration and a minor in Linguistics (’20), is a William Aiken Fellow and International Scholar of the Honors College where she also served as a peer facilitator in 2017. Among her various international academic trips, she studied abroad in Latin America for two semesters: in Buenos Aires, Argentina in spring 2018, and in the College of Charleston’s program in Santiago, Chile in fall 2018. She is also a past volunteer for Charleston Hope (2016-17), a former mentor of Loving America Street (2016-17), a past delegate for the Model Organization of the American States (2017), and a former Cougar Ambassador (2017), among other activities.
In Madi’s own words:
Over the past three and a half months, I had the incredible opportunity to live in Santiago, Chile, a city unlike any other I had ever experienced! Chilean Spanish, as I quickly learned, is a completely different language, and I loved the challenge of getting a handle on the thousands of “chilenismos.” My family was absolutely my favorite part of my experience. I lived with my host mom, host dad, and two host brothers; I spent just about every day with them whether that be at the dinner table or on the patio playing soccer. I got to know incredible Chilean friends who greatly improved my Spanish. Not to mention, I grew close with the spectacular group of brilliant girls in Santiago with me, and we were lucky enough to travel all over the wondrous country of Chile, seeing everything from Patagonia to the Atacama Desert (the driest in the world!). We even took a trip with the marvelous Dr. Sobiesuo to Peru. I took courses through a local university, and I was able to complete an Independent Study with Dr. Del Mastro on Contemporary Feminism in Chile through which I actually met and interviewed a Chilean feminist novelist. Throughout my time in Santiago, I not only broadened my understanding of the language but also of the country, the region and the world. I am so thankful for the many challenges and exciting opportunities I faced over the past semester, and I cannot wait to see where I will go next!
As a freshman coming into the College of Charleston, I knew I wanted to develop my Spanish skills and learn more about the Latin American world. Three years later, I have completed two semesters abroad in the distinctive and beautiful cities of Buenos Aires and Santiago, taking fascinating courses and working directly with the Hispanic Studies’ faculty. Not only was I able to use my Spanish major to develop my skills abroad but also at home. I have had the incredible support of the outstanding Hispanic Studies Department who have made this dream a reality and will continue to help me develop my skills as a scholar and global citizen. I look forward to getting back on campus and getting involved in the Hispanic community in the Charleston area as well. As far as my future is concerned, I am looking into many options including graduate school and research, and I know my time at the College through my unique opportunities will most certainly open many doors. I am not sure exactly where the next couple years will take me, but I am so thankful I have the support of the Hispanic Studies’ faculty!
The Department of Hispanic Studies welcomes two new faculty members and one returning for the spring 2019 semester:
Professor Dimondstein holds an MAT in K-12 Spanish from UNC Chapel Hill, where she also obtained her BA in Spanish with distinction. She previously taught at West Forsyth High School (Winston-Salem, N.C.), Charles E. Jordan High School (Durham, N.C.) and Guilford Technical Community College (Greensboro, NC), and she served as a Spanish interpreter for the Mayer Law Practice. She also has prior study-abroad experience in Guanajuato, Mexico.
Professor Hill is a graduate of our own M.Ed. program in Languages (Spanish), and a double major in French and Spanish as an undergraduate at CofC where he earned Outstanding Student Awards in both languages. His teaching record is extensive and distinguished as a current teacher of Spanish at the School of the Arts, and former employee at West Ashley High School where he was named Teacher of the Year in 2014.
Professor Martinez-Escobar taught repeatedly in our department since 2011, but we are delighted with his return after a multi-semester “break.” He is a seasoned Spanish language teacher with prior experience not only in our department, but also several years at James Island Charter High School, Trident Technical College and at the Universidad Industrial de Santander in his native Colombia. He was also a very active faculty member in our department serving on the HispaNews editorial team in 2016-17, and producing our now legendary, albeit outdated, promotional video for the Casa Hispana back in 2012: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDJZEKa4LPg
The School of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs welcomes James D. Melville Jr., a retired U.S. ambassador, as associate dean for international and community outreach! This is one more highlight moment for LCWA in our work to be the hub for global education at the College.
James D. Melville Jr., a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, was nominated by President Obama as the next U.S. Ambassador to Estonia on May 7, 2015, and confirmed by the Senate on August 5, 2015. He was sworn-in on September 18, 2015. He presented his credentials to President Ilves on December 8, 2015. He recently resigned (Sept. 30, 2018) his position in Estonia and retired from the foreign service after 33 years of distinguished accomplishments.
Ambassador Melville’s most recent position with the State Department, prior to Estonia, was as the Deputy Chief of Mission in the U.S. Embassy Berlin, Germany. From 2010 to 2012, he served as Executive Director of the Bureaus of European and Eurasian Affairs and International Organization Affairs. As Executive Director of EUR and IO, Ambassador Melville directed support for all of EUR and IO’s 79 overseas posts, as well as the domestic requirements for both bureaus.
Prior to that assignment, he served as Minister-Counselor for Management Affairs at Embassy London from 2008 to 2010 and at Embassy Moscow from 2005 to 2008. In Moscow, London and particularly in Berlin, Ambassador Melville frequently served as Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Ambassador Melville’s first Foreign Service assignment was in the U.S. Embassy to the German Democratic Republic from 1986-1988. He has also served in Seychelles, St. Petersburg, at the U.S. Mission to NATO, and in Paris. In Washington, he has worked in Legislative Affairs, as a Senior Watch Officer in the Operations Center, and at the Foreign Service Board of Examiners.
Mr. Melville speaks Russian, German, and French. He graduated from Boston University with an honors degree in history, has a J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law, and is a member of the bars of New Jersey and New York. He is originally from Bradley Beach, New Jersey.
Ron Menchaca with The College Today posted an outstanding article about Ambassador Melville and his new responsibilities here in LCWA. Check out the full article HERE.
At the conclusion of the fall 2018 academic semester, Professors Eileen Shields and Donna Widener will retire from the College of Charleston’s Department of Hispanic Studies after a combined 40 years of teaching on campus. Professor Shields joined the department in 1990, and Professor Widener in 2006. Their dedication, conscientiousness and genuine care for our students will be greatly missed as we wish them the best for the next stages in their lives, and we thank them for all they have done, for so long, for our Department of Hispanic Studies.
On January, 14th LCWA will host Dr. Steven Lee,
Associate Professor of English, University of California, Berkeley
Author of The Ethnic Avant-Garde: Minority Cultures and World Revolution, to present the lecture, “Beyond Interference: Soviet and Russian Lessons for
Russian interference in the 2016 elections included the manipulation of U.S. identity politics: for instance, fake social media accounts promoted rallies both for and against the Black Lives Matter movement, apparently with the intent of exacerbating social discord. The new Cold War here merges with our new culture wars.
This circumstance finds a hopeful precedent from the old Cold War, when Jim Crow was a favorite topic for Soviet propaganda, which indirectly led to U.S. civil rights reform. Building on this precedent, my talk focuses on how Soviet and Russian discourses on race, ethnicity, and nationality might open new ways of conceptualizing multiculturalism here in the U.S. I’ll be arguing that in the Soviet Union, one’s identity as a minority subject could be simultaneously essential yet irrelevant, eternal yet absent—a phenomenon I trace back to both official nationalities policy and avant-gardist performance. The result was a layered, estranged approach to identity, one that possibly contributed to the USSR’s collapse but which also provides, I think, a useful complement to contemporary U.S. discourses of “otherness” and “intersectionality.”
As a case in point, I will then discuss the half-Korean, half-Russian rock star Viktor Tsoi (the Kurt Cobain of late socialism), the difficulty of ascribing any fixed identity to him, and his 1990 visit to the Sundance Film Festival.
Co-sponsored by the Russian Studies Program and European Studies Program.
Alexandra Mielcarek, a double major in Spanish and Public Health (’20), is a student of the Honors College where she serves as an Honors Engaged Liaison since August 2017. She is currently Vice President of the Public Health Society Executive Board and its past Treasurer and Public Relations Chair, and she is also a member of the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, Photographer and Strategist for The Rival at CofC, and an Intern with the Women’s Health Research Team, among other activities.
In Alex’s own words:
Majoring in Spanish has allowed me to pursue one of my core passions: achieving a more complete understanding of others. CofC’s Spanish courses not only teach you how to communicate effectively with Spanish speakers, but I have also found cultural and historical insights throughout each class (even when learning how to write). The best thing about CofC compared to other universities is that CofC has some of the most dedicated professors, each of whom is so passionate about their subject(s) and students that they make the effort to ensure every student has a complete understanding of the material. After graduating from CofC, I will take this knowledge with me into my Masters of Public Health in Sociomedical Sciences where I will include Spanish-speaking populations in my research and outreach, hopefully impacting the health of communities by increasing understanding.