Hispanic Studies Bids Farewell to Professors Shields and Widener

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.

LCWA World Affairs Colloquium Spring 2019

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
American Multiculturalism.”

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.

Hispanic Studies’ Student Focus, December 2018

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.

CofC’s 23rd President

The College Today has written an excellent announcement of the College’s new 23rd president Andrew T. Hsu!

Check out the full article HERE!

Also check out an interview that the College Today did with him HERE!

 

The School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs would like to congratulate Andrew T. Hsu on being selected to be the new president of the College of Charleston.

HISP Faculty Focus, December 2018: Professor Stephanie Forgash

Professor Stephanie Forgash

Upon completion of her B.A. in Spanish at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Professor Forgash continued with an M.A. in the same area and at the same institution, and then spent a year teaching Spanish language at Central Piedmont and Rown Cabarrus Community Colleges respectively.  She then moved to Viña del Mar, Chile, where she taught English for a year to the Chilean Navy, and then returned to the U.S. in 2017 to begin her current position as an Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of Hispanic Studies.  Beyond the classroom, she is also an active member of the department’s Basic Spanish Language Program Steering Committee, and an active collaborator in Hispanic Studies’ distance education curriculum.

In Professor Forgash’s own words:

I feel extremely privileged to work alongside so many talented students and faculty members in the Hispanic Studies Department. For me, reminiscing on my own personal Spanish journey and seeing it transpire through my students’ experiences is the most rewarding thing about being an educator. At the end of the day I am someone who has lived the life, traveled the journeys, and learned the lessons and only aim to serve as a compass and road map for those who will follow. Whether it is through the various levels of Spanish I teach or trying to develop new testing strategies with the BSLP Steering Committee, I am always learning, and that is truly why I love what I do.

The Department of Hispanic Studies congratulates Professor Stephanie Forgash for her various contributions and for being selected for our December “Hispanic Studies Faculty Focus.”

Stay tuned for January 2019’s feature…

Dr. Martínez-Gibson’s Study Published in Fall 2016-17 Issue of _MIFLC Review_

Professor Elizabeth Martínez-Gibson’s essay “Por la Calle de Alcalá: The Languages Used in Storefront Signs along Madrid’s Longest Street” has just been published in Volume 18, Fall 2016-17 issue of the MIFLC Review.

Exciting events in Hispanic Studies

Check out some of the exciting things that have been happening in Hispanic Studies!

Hispanic Studies’ Student Focus, November 2018

James Riggs, a Biology major and a Portuguese and Brazilian Studies Minor (’19), is a First Year Experience Peer Facilitator and Team Leader, Treasurer of the Portuguese Club, Board Member for CougarCon, Vice President of the Catholic Student Association, Founding President of the Doctor Who Club, and accordionist for the College of Charleston Pep Band, among other activities.  His excellence in leadership earned him the college-wide New Student Leader Award in 2016, and for his exemplary performance in the Hispanic Studies’ Portuguese Program, he was awarded the Outstanding Student of Portuguese in 2017.

In James’ own words:

With her first language being Português, my mother was the first in her family born in the USA. Unfortunately, by the time of my interest in our culture, my mother and grandparents were no longer effectively using the language. One of the primary reasons that I chose to become a student at the College of Charleston was the offering of the Portuguese language. Despite being able to transfer my Spanish credits from the International Baccalaureate Program, I chose to instead investigate Portuguese. Dr. Luci and Professor José Moreira were most gracious to my desire to learn the variant spoken in Portugal, often pointing out when there were differences between the Brazilian and European dialects. I conducted Duolingo competitions with my colleagues; I have served as Secretary, President, and now Treasurer for the Portuguese Club, and I have worked as a Peer Facilitator for the Portuguese First Year Experience. I am now even able to conduct conversations with my grandparents, and recently my mother, over the telephone! The more I advanced through the courses, the more I wanted students to be able to minor in Portuguese. I started a petition to demonstrate that other students were also interested. After a long process, the Portuguese and Brazilian Studies minor is now available at the College! The Portuguese minor pairs well with my Biology major due to my focus in Entomology. With Portuguese in my arsenal, I will have the opportunity to explore and work with others in the field from around the world, especially in Brazil where the diversity of insects is exceedingly vast. While I have never gotten to partake in a study abroad, by having studied Portuguese at the College of Charleston I finally will have the opportunity, for I will be leaving the country for my first time to visit Portugal with my family in the summer of 2019!