Tag Archive for romance languages

Language Experts Discuss Teaching, Researching, Assessing with Technology

On Oct. 19-20, Wesleyan hosted the New England Regional Association For Language Learning Technology (NERALLT) 2017 Conference. The event was held at the Fries Center for Global Studies in Fisk Hall and at Russell House.

On Oct. 19, in a “lighting round” format, speakers from Wesleyan, Yale University, Salve Regina University, Colby College, Boston University, Columbia University and the University of Connecticut discussed topics on language teaching, researching and assessing with technology. Talks focused on group-based learning tools, going beyond the classroom with technology, teaching language and multimodal literacies, simple tools for teaching language with technology and more.

On Oct. 20, guests from the University of Massachusetts- Amherst, MIT, Columbia University and Southern Connecticut State University led longer discussions. Topics included evaluating teacher tech literacies using an argument-based approach, the pros and cons to online discussion forums, language learning in a shared virtual space, connecting classrooms and communities with technology, and developing “Minecraft Memory Palaces” to teach French grammar and composition.

The conference concluded with a tour of Wesleyan’s language learning facilities.

Photos of the conference are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Antonio González, director of the Fries Center for Global Studies and Professor of Spanish, welcomed the conference participants to Wesleyan. 

Antonio González, director of the Fries Center for Global Studies and Professor of Spanish, welcomed the conference participants to Wesleyan.

Louise Neary, adjunct associate professor of Spanish and Ana Perez-Girones, adjunct professor of Spanish, shared how students at Wesleyan are building Spanish language portfolios using a Mahara language pack. Perez-Girones also led a discussion on Wespañol, an intermediate-level online program for independent learners.

Louise Neary, adjunct associate professor of Spanish and Ana Perez-Girones, adjunct professor of Spanish, shared how students at Wesleyan are building Spanish language portfolios using a Mahara language pack. Perez-Girones also led a discussion on Wespañol, an intermediate-level online program for independent learners.

¡Bienvenidos a Wespañol!

Seeing a need and filling it—that’s the story behind the creation of Wespañol, a newly launched online program that uses original video to help people who want to review and supplement their previous knowledge of Spanish without taking an actual class. The program’s launch coincides with the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 through Oct. 15).

Hyman ’85 to be Awarded French Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres

Visual artist and author Miles Hyman ’85 has been chosen for the prestigious title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French Ministry of Culture. The award will be bestowed during a ceremony on a future date to be determined.

Hyman studied drawing and printmaking with Professor of Art David Schorr at Wesleyan and went on to study at the Paris Ecole des Beaux-arts. Hyman’s award-winning drawings and paintings have appeared in books, magazines and galleries in the United States and Europe, with clients that include the New Yorker, the New York Times, Viking Press, Chronicle Books, GQ and Louis Vuitton. He is also the author and illustrator of several graphic novels, including his adaptation of his grandmother Shirley Jackson’s renowned short story “The Lottery” (Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”: The Authorized Graphic Adaptation, Hill & Wang/Casterman, 2016) and The Prague Coup, a graphic novel retracing Graham Greene’s voyage to Vienna in 1948 to write The Third Man (with writer J-L Fromental, Dupuis, 2017). The monograph Miles Hyman/Drawings, featuring more than 200 of Hyman’s works, was published in 2015 (Glénat).

French Students Offer a Glimpse of Wesleyan’s History

Students from Wesleyan’s French 325 class Museums, Objects and Empire, recently presented a pop-up exhibition on the history that surrounds Wesleyan’s former museum that once occupied Judd Hall from 1871 to 1957.

Students from Wesleyan’s French 325 class Museums, Objects and Empire, recently presented an exhibit on the history that surrounds Wesleyan’s former museum that once occupied Judd Hall from 1871 to 1957. Included was information on the Wesleyan’s missionary past; history on Javanese gamelan and ethnomusicology at Wesleyan; and a mummy, acquired by Wesleyan in the 1880s.

Wesleyan to Offer Muslim Studies Certificate

muslimstyThe certificate, approved by the faculty on April 25, was proposed by steering committee members Peter Gottschalk, professor of religion, director of the Office of Faculty Career Development; Typhaine Leservot, associate professor of French studies, chair of the Romance Languages and Literatures Department, associate professor of letters; and Ioana Emy Matesan, assistant professor of government, tutor in the College of Social Studies.

“Students in the certificate program will gain an appreciation for the diversity among Muslims geographically, culturally, historically, and religiously,” Leservot said. “They will become accomplished in multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approaches to the study of Muslim communities and their expressions and productions. In an American setting in which stereotypes reduce the more than 1 billion Muslims around the globe to singular caricatures, this represents no small accomplishment.”

The Muslim Studies Certificate will mirror an existing certificate in Jewish and Israeli Studies. Students must complete six designated courses in a range of areas, including contemporary society and practice; literary, artistic and musical studies; and historical inquiry. Courses involving Muslim studies already offered by more than a dozen faculty members will be included.

“This new certificate will highlight Wesleyan’s remarkable collection of faculty, courses, and resources for students interested in studying the lives of Muslims around the globe,” Gottschalk said. “Our faculty teach and conduct research in fields as diverse as Arabic, art history, College of Letters, English, French, government, history, music, religion, and Spanish. As Muslims become increasingly prominent in the United States, the number of faculty and students alike interested in Muslim studies has expanded.”

“The certificate aims to maximize students’ education in Muslim traditions by providing a structured program to guide their studies,” he added. “This will require students to diversify their exposure across disciplines and divisions, period and place.”

At a time when American Muslims are becoming increasingly marginalized, the certificate “will also help our non-Muslim students better understand a set of groups and traditions increasingly the target of disinformation and prejudice,” Matesan said. “Meanwhile, it would signal to our Muslim students and potential applicants that Wesleyan recognizes the diversity and significance of Muslim traditions.”

Frosh Honored for First-Year Seminar Essays

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Five students from the Class of 2020 were honored for their First-Year Seminar essays during a ceremony March 28 in Downey House. The students include, from left, Daniel Atik ’20, Maya Bernstein-Schalet ’20, Gina Savoy ’20, Benjamin Glass ’20 and Sophie Dora Tulchin ’20. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

During her fall semester First-Year Seminars intensive writing course, Gina Savoy ’20 investigated the career of artist Vincent van Gogh and penned an essay titled “The Church: A Lifelong Obstacle for Vincent van Gogh.”

On March 28, Savoy’s essay took top prize at the Endeavor Foundation First-Year Seminar Essay Contest. She and four other first-year students received cash awards ranging from $250 to $75 and a book, selected by their course instructor. With support from The Endeavor Foundation of New York, Wesleyan was able to offer the offer inaugural awards ceremony and celebrate the success of 43 FYS in the fall, and 10 this spring.

First-Year Seminars are writing intensive courses that introduce students to a variety of topics ranging from Greek mythology to neuroscience. Faculty teaching these classes highlight the type of writing associated with their respective disciplines, and help students develop, compose, organize and revise their writing.

“All first-year students at Wesleyan are strong students, but even still, they arrive with a range of writing abilities,” said Meg Furniss Weisberg, visiting assistant professor of French, interim director of academic writing.

During the FYS program, faculty teach students the specifics of college-level academic writing: formulating an original, debatable claim; supporting that claim with textual and scholarly evidence; making analytical rather than simply observational arguments; and synthesizing one’s points into an effective conclusion. Faculty also expose students to scholarly and critical articles, as well as teach them about this new kind of reading, thinking and writing.

In addition, the structure of the courses, which favor multiple drafts and peer workshops as well as feedback from the instructor, fosters an environment of individual and collective progress, rather than of pure skill acquisition.

“The first year of a student’s time at Wesleyan should be a time of exploration, of expanding intellectual boundaries, and taking some intellectual risks,” Weisberg said.

Savoy, who was enrolled in the Arts and Art History course Van Gogh and the Myth of Genius, taught by Katherine Kuenzli, associate professor of art history, associate professor of German studies, focused her essay on van Gogh’s tumultuous relationship with religion, specifically the church, which is illustrated through his increasing incorporation of nature in his work throughout his nearly decade-long artistic career. “Although van Gogh had to find a new source to satisfy his unwavering desire for religious meaning in his life, his resentment towards the traditional church did not translate to abandoning the subject in his artwork,” Savoy said.

Her paper examines several of van Gogh’s works that feature a church motif and uses the painting The Church at Auvers, completed in the last few months of his life in 1890, to analyze his nearly two-decade long religious transformation. “The evolution of the church motif in his work supports the argument that nature provided van Gogh a sense of meaning and purpose the church never could,” Savoy said. “This reality is reflected in his complete substitution of Christianity for nature in his work in the last few years of his life.”

Other essay winners included:

At right, Melissa Katz, visiting assistant professor of romance languages and literatures, speaks about the book she chose for essay winner Daniel Atik '20. Several faculty attended the essay content award ceremony to applaud and speak about their students' essays.

At right, Melissa Katz, visiting assistant professor of romance languages and literatures, speaks about the book she chose for essay winner Daniel Atik ’20. Several faculty attended the essay contest award ceremony to applaud and speak about their student’s essay.

Daniel Atik ’20 took second place in a tie with his essay “Converted Bells: An Exploration of Religious Power Dynamics,” written in his College of Letters 120 course, Muslims, Jews, and Christians, Getting Along in the Medieval World. The class was taught by Melissa Katz, visiting assistant professor of Romance languages and literatures.

Maya Bernstein-Schalet ’20 also took second place with her essay, “Mocking the World in The Life of Symeon the Fool,” written in her College of Letters 150 course, Great Books UnBound. The class was taught by Tushar Irani, associate professor of letters, associate professor of philosophy.

Sophie Dora Tulchin ’20 took third place with her essay, “Subtleties of Subversion,” French in Translation 123 course, Love, Sex, and Marriage in Renaissance Europe. The class was taught by Michael Meere, assistant professor of French.

Benjamin Glass ’20 took honorable mention with his essay, “The Art of Stability. An Anatomical Explanation of a Mechanical Clock,” written in his Physics 162 course, It’s About Time. The class was taught by Lutz Hüwel, professor of physics.

During the ceremony, Ellen Nerenberg, dean of the Arts and Humanities and the Hollis Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, presented the the students with their awards, and Meg Furniss Weisberg presented the students with a a book chosen by their course instructor. Contest judges included Nerenberg, Weisberg and Wesleyan faculty Andrew Curran, Marc Eisner and Joyce Jacobsen.

Photos of the awards ceremony are below:

During her fall semester First-Year Seminars intensive writing course, Gina Savoy '20 investigated the in-depth career of influential artist Vincent van Gogh and penned an essay titled “The Church: A Lifelong Obstacle for Vincent van Gogh."

Gina Savoy ’20 won the top prize with her essay, “The Church: A Lifelong Obstacle for Vincent van Gogh.”

Daniel Atik '20 took second place in a tie with his essay “Converted Bells: An Exploration of Religious Power Dynamics," written in his College of Letters 120 course, Muslims, Jews, and Christians, Getting Along in the Medieval World. The class was taught by Melissa Katz, visiting assistant professor of romance languages and literatures.

Daniel Atik ’20 took second place with his essay “Converted Bells: An Exploration of Religious Power Dynamics.”

Maya Bernstein-Schalet '20 also took second place with her essay, “Mocking the World in The Life of Symeon the Fool,” written in his College of Letters 150 course, Great Books UnBound. The class was taught by Tushar Irani, assistant professor of letters, assistant professor of philosophy.

Maya Bernstein-Schalet ’20 took second place with her essay, “Mocking the World in The Life of Symeon the Fool.”

Sophia Dora Tulchin '20 took third place with her essay, “Subtleties of Subversion,” French in Translation 123 course, Love Sex, and Marriage in Renaissance Europe. The class was taught by Michael Meere, assistant professor of French.

Sophie Dora Tulchin ’20 took third place with her essay, “Subtleties of Subversion.”

Benjamin Glass '20 took honorable mention with his essay, “The Art of Stability. An Anatomical Explanation of a Mechanical Clock," written in his Physics 162 course, It’s About Time. The class was taught by Lutz Hüwel, professor of physics.

Benjamin Glass ’20 took honorable mention with his essay, “The Art of Stability. An Anatomical Explanation of a Mechanical Clock.”

Shapiro Publishes Work on French Literature

Screen Shot 2016-12-12 at 10.48.26 AMNorman Shapiro, the Distinguished Professor of Literary Translation, is the author and translator of Creole Echoes: The Francophone French Poetry of 19th-Century Louisiana, a new addition to Second Line Press, New Orleans’ Louisiana Heritage Series, published Dec. 1.

Shapiro also previously contributed to the Louisiana Heritage Series, New Orleans Poems in Creole and French (2013), a title, which covers almost all the French and Louisiana Creole poetry of noted intellectual Jules Choppin between 1830-1914.

Future translated works to be published by Second Line Press include, two plays of poet and playwright Victor Séjour— “The Fortune-Teller” (La Tireuse de cartes), a five act play in prose based on the celebrated Mortara Affair, and the five-act formal-verse drama, “The Jew of Seville” (Diégarias).

More details on Shapiro’s work is online here.

Shapiro’s Poetry Translations Featured in Hyper-Texts

Norman Shapiro, professor of romance languages and literatures, and Wesleyan’s Distinguished Professor of Literary Translation, is one of the poets featured in the August 2016 “The Hyper-Texts,” a prestigious website honoring individual American poets with chosen examples from their work.

Shapiro’s poetry translations include “Innocents We,” translated from the French words of Paul Verlaine; “To the Reader,” translated from the French of Charles Baudelaire’s Au Lecteur; “Invitation to the Voyage” translated from the French of Charles Baudelaire’s L’Invitation au Voyage and “End of the Day” translated from the French of Charles Baudelaire’s La Fin de la Journée.

Among Shapiro’s many translations are Four Farces by Georges Feydeau, which was nominated for a National Book Award; The Fabulists French: Verse Fables of Nine Centuries, named Distinguished Book of the Year by the American Literary Translator’s Association; One Hundred and One Poems by Paul Verlaine, which won the Modern Language Association of America’s Scaglione Prize in 2001; and Charles Baudelaire: Selected Poems from “Les Fleurs du mal,” the last published by the University of Chicago Press. With his next volume of La Fontaine translations, Shapiro will have done all the Fables, to go along with a volume of La Fontaine’s Contes. Other books of translations include Lyrics of the French Renaissance (published by Yale University Press), The Comedy of Eros (published by University of Illinois Press), and two forthcoming including a collection of nine centuries of French women poets to be published by Johns Hopkins, and a collection of one-act comedies by Eugène Labiche.

Shapiro Translates Anthology of French Poet Cécile Périn

51foxWquF1L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Norman Shapiro, professor of French and the Distinguished Professor of Literary Translation, is the author/translator of The Gentle Genius of Cécile Périn: Selected Poems (1906-1956), published by Black Widow Press, 2016. This comprehensive bi-lingual anthology covers the full expanse of Périn’s (1877-1959) works.

“A reader of Cécile Périn’s work cannot help being struck by the spontaneous and intuitive nature of her poems, effortlessly flowing from one subject to another, touching the reader by their unstrained yet profoundly beautiful images and sounds,” Shapiro said.

Despite limited bibliographical resources available on Périn’s life, The Gentle Genius provides readers with sufficient material to embrace fully her talent and confidently identify her as a significant femme de lettres. For contemporary readers, this work gives renewed access to the world of female imagination in the mostly male-dominated field of early and mid-20th-century French poetry. Her images of female sexuality, free and uncensored, are placidly combined with descriptions of nature and human emotions-not overly romanticized-to create a harmonious and warm verse, candid and authentic, yet no less profoundly artistic.

Shapiro is an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la République Française and a member of the Academy of American Poets.

RL&L Presents Two Evenings of Theater

Italian Play (4)Two evenings of theater will be presented by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures this month. Both events are free and open to the public and will take place at the department’s common room at 300 High Street in Middletown, Conn.

Students from French 281 and Theater 291 will present three plays in French on Dec. 9 at 6 p.m.: “Tu honoreras ton père et ta mère”  or “You Will Honor Your Father and Mother,” by Samira Sedira; “Ah! La belle vie” or “Oh! The Good Life,” by Anne Giafferi; and “First Lady,” by Sedef Ecer. A reception will follow. The evening is sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, the Thomas and Catharine McMahon Fund, and the Center for Pedagogical Innovation.

Non tutti i ladri vengono per nuocere” or “The Virtuous Burglar,” by Dario Fo, will be performed entirely in Italian, with a plot summary in English, on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. A reception will follow. The play is directed by Hannah Skopicki ’18, stage managed by Ryan Dobrin ’18, and produced by Camilla Zamboni. The evening is sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and the Thomas and Catharine McMahon Fund.

Curran on Making Sense of His Father’s Death With Baudelaire

Andy Curran

Andy Curran

Andrew Curran, professor of French, William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities, wrote a moving piece in The New York Times about the life-changing experience of his father’s sudden death.

Among other things, Curran describes the experience of seeing his father’s body for the last time and saying goodbye. He also recounts the trip to his parents’ house in North Carolina as a “chronology-less blur of grief and purifying laughter.”

He writes:

I still dream quite often about my father. He generally makes an appearance toward 2 or 3 in the morning, sometimes waving to me from his car (he loved taking extraordinarily long car trips) or, on other occasions, sitting just out of listening range at a crowded dinner party.

A psychologist might say these silent visits (we never speak in the dreams) reflect the imperious muteness of the deceased.

But I am mostly frustrated by the cruel joke that my mind continues to play on itself: In each of these dreams, I invariably have a family-related story on the tip of my tongue that I am unable to convey. One time I wanted to tell him about my daughter’s latest crew race, another time about something I had finally managed to publish.

This deep-seated need to crow to one’s parents is something that I had not really understood before the bailiff came slinking into my life. Mothers and fathers are irreplaceable sources of affection, to be sure, but they are also the most important audiences for our victories, be they great or small.