COVID-19 in Sierra Leone

Dr. Kristen McLean is undertaking a new study of Community-based Experiences of Covid-19 in Sierra Leone. While many countries around the world are witnessing a decline in coronavirus cases, rates of infection continue to climb across the African continent, prompting one scientist to refer to the situation as a “ticking time bomb.” This is concerning for a number of reasons. First, system challenges—such as limited testing and diagnostic capacity and poor monitoring and data collection systems—will make it difficult for many African countries to effectively respond to the pandemic. A rise in treatment needs and mitigation efforts targeting COVID-19 will also divert already limited resources needed to tackle existing health issues in the region, such as HIV, TB, malaria, malnutrition, and maternal health.

In Sierra Leone, where McLean has worked since 2013, a rise in Covid-19 cases will likely lead to substantial disruption. As exemplified during the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone’s healthcare system has been severely weakened due to its history of civil war, followed by years of underinvestment in public health services. This created obvious problems during the epidemic, when hospitals and clinics quickly became overwhelmed and local populations avoided public facilities. At the same time, given their history and experience with Ebola virus disease, Sierra Leoneans may be uniquely positioned to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

It is with an appreciation for the need to engage with local communities that this study seeks to understand what has been referred to as “the view from below” in the midst of a global humanitarian response. This project will rely upon phone-based qualitative interviews to assess individuals’ greatest concerns regarding the pandemic, what they are doing to protect themselves and their families from infection, and how people are coping with the indirect economic ramifications that social distancing and other containment measures pose.

If you are interested in learning more about the study, or would like to pursue this topic for your bachelor’s essay, please email mcleanke@cofc.edu for more information.

International Studies Major receives Fulbright Award!

International studies major Aaron Aldstadt ’20 received the highly competitive award from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program this spring, allowing him to study, research and teach overseas.

“My career goals include engaging as a responsible global citizen, as well as to become a U.S. foreign service officer or to serve in a cultural diplomatic role,” says Aldstadt, adding that he first became interested in international studies in an introductory course with faculty member Sarah Wuigk. “It really sparked my interest in the major and fostered an appreciation for a global perspective.”

Aldstadt will be broadening that perspective through his Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in South Korea, where he’ll be teaching secondary school students.

“My focus as a Fulbright ETA will be to strengthen English language abilities and knowledge of American culture,” he says. “By focusing on the importance of communication, I hope to make a positive impression with the Korean people and to serve as a positive bridge builder between our cultures.”

Check out the full article in The College TODAY.

Dr. Christina García Presents Research in Multiple Venues

Professor Christina García presented her research in three different venues during the spring of 2019:

In March she participated in the American Comparative Literature Association Conference at Georgetown University with a presentation “Eat Me: Inhuman Writings and Failed Incorporations.”

In April she was the featured speaker in Sigma Delta Pi’s Faculty Lecture Series with her study “Of Souls, Skins and Leopard Prints: Queer and Animal Creations of Cubanbeings.”

In May she presented her paper “‘Trágame. Pero no me leas’: Inhuman Writings in Ahmel Echevarría’s Búfalos camino al matadero in the panel “Aesthetics Beyond Nature in Latin America” she co-organized at the Latin American Studies Association conference in Boston, MA.

Dr. Christina García’s Essay Published in _Cuban Studies_

Professor Christina García’s article “Baroque Revolutionaries, Communist Fags, and Risky Friendships: Reading the Politics of Friendship in Fresa y chocolate” has been published in Volume 47, 2019 issue of Cuban Studies.

Dr. Raúl Carrillo Arciniega Inducted into Sigma Delta Pi’s Order of José Martí

On April 12, 2019 during the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society’s reception at the 72nd Annual Kentucky Foreign Language Conference in Lexington, Kentucky, Professor Raúl Carrillo Arciniega was inducted in the Order of José Martí, one of the Society’s highest honors. Dr. Carrillo Arciniega’s exceptional contributions to Hispanism earned him this international distinction.

Dr. Garrett’s Study Published in _Journal of Disability in the Global South_

Professor Vicki Garrett’s article “Precarious Bodies, Precarious Lives: Framing Disability in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Cinema” has been published in the Journal of Disability in the Global South.

Dr. Del Mastro’s Essay Appears in _Hispania_

Professor Mark P. Del Mastro’s essay “Sigma Delta Pi and the AATSP: A Shared Century of Leadership and Collaboration” has been published in the March 2019 issue of HispaniaThis “Special Note” connects to Dr. Del Mastro’s ongoing research for his book Sigma Delta Pi: Rediscovering a Century (1919-2019) that will be published by Juan de la Cuesta Hispanic Monographs in 2020.

Dr. Joseph Weyers Guest Lectures at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Colombia

On Wednesday, February 20, 2019, Professor Joseph Weyers gave a guest lecture “El voseo en Medellín: tradición lingüistica y dimensión cultural” in the course “Lengua y cultura” at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellín, Colombia. Dr Weyers’ lecture, held from 12:00-1:20pm, was open to the university community.